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Beyond Crowd Psychology

The Power of Agoral Gatherings

Adam Biela

This book tries to answer some intriguing questions concerning the power of agoral gatherings. The 20 th century is discussed as an age of crowds and masses. The book asks why the communist system disappeared in Europe during the last two decades of the 20 th century and examines the factors which determined the collapse of the main military, political, social, economic and even symbolic infrastructures of the communist system in Europe. It poses the question why the end of communism in Europe was a peaceful phenomenon – except in the Balkan Peninsula. The author also discusses the predictability of this kind of phenomenon. In order to answer these questions the book introduces and extends the notion of agoral gathering as a new concept in the area of collective behavior and interprets the large-scale political transformations in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s in terms of peaceful collective behaviors as a political alternative for post-communist countries.

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Eva Naništová: Retrospective and Current Approaches to the Velvet Revolution in Slovakia

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Retrospective and Current Approaches to the Velvet Revolution in Slovakia Eva Naništová 1. Introduction The year 1989 is an embodiment of a historic turning point that provided new possibilities to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This year brought monumental events unfolding in the Communist Bloc countries and a domino effect resulting in a great number of revolutions. One of the turning points was the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, which symbolized one of the most important changes in modern world history and was part of considerable changes in Eastern Europe. Huntington (1993, p. 15) wrote that such a “... wave of democratization is a group of transitions from nondemocratic to democratic regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly out- number transitions in the opposite direction during that period of time.” This wave of events started with Solidarity in Gdansk, Poland, and continuing in the other Bloc countries. Metaphorically, we can say that this radical turning point took place in Poland over ten years, in Hungary ten months and in Czechoslo- vakia ten days. These ten eventful days in Czechoslovakia came between No- vember 17 and 27, 1989. On December 4 the border to Austria was opened, ef- fectively ending the Iron Curtain division of the East and the West. November events in Czechoslovakia emerged in the background of public demonstrations, which were surprising for their peaceful and non-violent pro- cess. They were characterized largely by large gatherings of people...

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