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In the Shadow of the Iron Curtain

Central and Eastern European Alterglobalists

Grzegorz Piotrowski

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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This book could not have been written without the help of many people, who agreed to devote their time and energy to help me complete my project. Firstly I would like to thank the activists that not only agreed to meet me, explain the nuances of the movement in their country to me, provided me with materials and explanations whenever I needed. They were not only the source of information to me, but also occasionally helped me with a place to stay, shared a meal or a drink with me. Many of them became my friends and this thesis is an attempt to give an occasion to share their claims with a broader public. Here I would like to thank especially two people: Marta Kolařova and Szabina Kerenyi for their patience with explaining to me the histories of the movement in the Czech Republic and in Hungary. Also my warm regards go to the activists from my hometown of Poznań.

This doctorate would not be possible without the support of my supervisor, prof. dr. Donatella della Porta. Her continuous belief in me and her priceless suggestions made it possible for this work to come to an end. Also the comments and suggestions of prof. dr. Don Kalb had a tremendous impact on the shape and structure of my work. I would also like to thank prof. Grzegorz Ekiert, prof. László Bruszt and prof. Michał Buchowski for their academic input and comments given to me...

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