Central and Eastern European Alterglobalists
This book examines the alterglobalist activists in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Based on lengthy ethnographic fieldwork and numerous in-depth interviews with key figures of the movement, it covers mobilizations and actions between 1998 and 2011 and analyzes the process of adapting the alterglobalist way of thinking, claims and organizational modes in post-socialist countries. By pointing out the main challenges the movement faced, the author discusses the ways it tried to overcome these. The main argument is that the post-communist legacy (expressed in low levels of mobilization, in rejection of leftist ideals and discourse and in deep mistrust towards political life) had a tremendous impact on the formation and the shape of the alterglobalist movement in the region.
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- Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017. 210 pp., 7 b/w ill.
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Chapter 1: Studying social movements in Central and Eastern Europe
- Qualitative studies of social movements
- Arena of struggles
- Key Informants
- The Interviews
- Other Data Sources
- Chapter 2: Alterglobalism
- Where does the term alterglobalism come from?
- History of the movement
- Key alterglobalist events in Central and Eastern Europe
- Composition of the movement
- Different levels of activism
- Changes within the movement
- Problems with Anti-Americanism
- Chapter 3: Western activism meets Eastern reality: alterglobalism in Central and Eastern Europe
- Explaining cross-national similarities
- East - west cooperation
- The diffusion of ideas and practices in Central and Eastern Europe
- Chapter 4: Postsocialism
- What is the area of study and why?
- Central and Eastern Europe – history, politics and contentious protests
- Social and economic transformations
- Social apathy
- The rejection of ‘the left’ and the dominance of the conservative discourse
- Chapter 5: Civil Society, Uncivil Society and Grassroots Activism
- What is civil society?
- Civil society in Central and Eastern Europe
- The ‘third cycle’ – youth between the communist party and the dissidents
- After the transformation
- The concept of ‘uncivil’ society
- Civil society and social movements
- Chapter 6: The scene – the cultural background of the movement
- The Scene – the background for the movement
- Culture or subculture? Various models of subculture
- Purity of the scene
- Green issues
- Local and national biases of the movement: to what extent can one speak about a truly global movement and which of its features are globalized?
- What is characteristic for the alterglobalist movement in CEE?
- Local specifics of the movement. Similarities and differences
- Self-image of the movement and its reputation
- A lack of variety within the movement
- The goals of the movements
- The effect of postsocialism on the development of the movement
- The problem of the left
- Differences between language and reality
- Continuity or not: are the movements anti-capitalist or anti-systemic?
- The development of the civil society in the region and its consequences for the movement
- Infra and sub politics: how the movements define politics?
- The concept of the scene and its significance for the movement
- Table of figures
The main incentive for this book was the issue of the different scales – and levels of popularity – of the alterglobalist movement in Central and Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. It all started with a rather personal experience during the largest social mobilization in the world – the 15th of February 2003. It was a global day of action against the upcoming war in Iraq, for which more than 15 million people all over the world went out on the streets to demonstrate their disapproval of this intervention. At the time, I was studying in Copenhagen, and I took part in a demonstration of around 50 thousand people; I had never seen a street protest of that size before. After the demonstration, I went back home to check the news from back home, seeing as my fellow activists organized a protest in my hometown of Poznań as well. Media reports indicated a demonstration of 300 people… Poznań is a city of a similar size to Copenhagen (with approx. 700 thousand inhabitants each), which made me wonder what the differences are between these two cities. Was there a factor, or a set of factors, which would explain the differences in the levels of mobilization? For the purpose of comparison, I have chosen the alterglobalist movement, a movement that is by definition global and transnational (Pleyers 2010). I assumed that comparing the various aspects of the same movement in Central and Eastern Europe, and by cross-referencing the results with...
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