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Activism as the Moral Duty to Help: Beyond the "Conflict over Family" in Slovakia

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Popis This paper studies the how activists of conflicting movements make their efforts significant and relevant. It focuses on the representatives of the Slovak ‘conflict over family’ between LGBTQ rights activists and advocates of ‘traditional family’. Utilizing the cultural-sociological perspective on the civil sphere (Alexander 2006), I explore how both groups recount their work. The analysis shows all engaged activists justify their work on the moral grounds as helping others. I identify the conceptual meaning structure the activists draw upon as the narrative of helping. This discursive mechanism proves to be successfully adopted by both movements, although as justification for conflicting goals: the strive for the LGBTQ emancipation, on one hand, and the efforts to reverse it, on the other. The category of ‘help’ serves as a common point of reference in the discourse of activists: it legitimizes their endeavors within the civil sphere and makes activism morally satisfying work perceived as the moral duty to help.