This volume makes a significant contribution to the debate about the development of post-communist civil society by focusing on its alleged 'dark side', i.e., on the groups that are excluded from 'civil society' on both conceptual and normative grounds. The chapters, written by specialists in the field, explore in rich empirical detail the complexities involved when such groups - like the skinheads in Hungary, the farmers' 'Self Defence' movement in Poland or the war-veterans in Croatia - challenge the state, engage in community activism, or get involved in protest actions. It also offers a contrasting perspective by focusing on similar activities by the alleged 'pro-democratic' actors of civil society, such as Impulse 99 in the Czech Republic. The book maintains that political protest, or contentious politics, should be included under a broad and positive development of associational activity in the region.
Uncivil Society? Contentious Politics in Post-Communist Europe is a fascinating study, and will be of interest to scholars of Eastern European politics and history.
This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.