Understanding Central Europe (Hardback) book cover

Understanding Central Europe

Edited by Marcin Moskalewicz, Wojciech Przybylski

© 2018 – Routledge

590 pages

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Hardback: 9780415791595
pub: 2017-11-13
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pub: 2017-11-20
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“Central Europe” is a vague and ambiguous term, more to do with outlook and a state of mind than with a firmly defined geographical region. In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Central Europeans considered themselves to be culturally part of the West, which had been politically handicapped by the Eastern Soviet bloc. More recently, and with European Union membership, Central Europeans are increasingly thinking of themselves as politically part of the West, but culturally part of the East. This book, with contributions from a large number of scholars from the region, explores the concept of “Central Europe” and a number of other political concepts from an openly Central European perspective. It considers a wide range of issues including politics, nationalism, democracy, and the impact of culture, art and history. Overall, the book casts a great deal of light on the complex nature of “Central Europe”.

Table of Contents


Making sense of Central Europe: political concepts of the region (Marcin Moskalewicz, Wojciech Przybylski)

Part I: Positioning Central Europe

1) Positioning in global hierarchies: the case of Central Europe (Attila Mellegh)

2) Centers of Europe (Mate Zombory)

3) Creating Central Europe in Polish and Czech Samizdat (Weronika Parafinowicz-Wertun )

4) Transition/transformation, state capture or varieties of capitalism? (Marcel Tomasek)

5) Europeanization (Michal Wenzel)

Part II: Orientalism

6) Which way east? A conceptual misunderstanding (Adam Reichardt)

7) Problem of “Western” approach to the “East” – a need for more careful listening and better understanding (Igor Lyubashenko)

8) Poland and the East (Tomasz Zarycki)

9) The East in the Czech perspective (Radomír Sztwiertni)

10) On "East", "Central" and "Eastern" Europe: Belarus and Central European politics of identity (Aliaksei Kazharski)

Part III: Geopolitics

11) Regional geopolitics perspective of contemporary Poland: same or different with other V4 Countries? (Wojciech Kazanecki)

12) Geopolitics in the Polish national strategies (Łukasz Medeksza)

13) Towards a sustainable Visegrad: some reflections on the future role of Central Europe in the EU (Tomáš Strážay)

14) Popular geopolitics: understanding the Central European space in the Czech Republic (Matus Halas)

15) Regional geopolitics: the case of Hungary (Attila Jakab)

Part IV: Nationalism

16) Nation: Central European context (Radoslaw Zenderowski)

17) The normative isomorphism of language, nation and state (Thomas Kamusella)

18) Nation and region in Central Europe (Bálint Varga)

19) My hero, your enemy: competing national memory cultures and symbolic politics in Central Europe (Bálint Varga)

20) The concept of "nation" in Polish educational books (Daniel Ciunajcis)

21) Europe-but-not-Europe? National identity in contemporary Slovak politics (Kristina Mikulova)

22) Narratives of trauma and suffering in Slovak–Hungarian relations (Dagmar Kusa)

23) Nationalism in historical constructs of the nation in Hungary (Gabor Egry)

24) Nationalism as civil religion: the case of Hungary (Attila Pato)

25) Czech Republic: dream to be nationalistic (Martin Ehl)

26) Historical consciousness: Czech and Slovak examples (Jiri Subrt)

Part V: Federalism

27) No federation without separation: István Bibó about the prerequisites of regional and European integration (Zoltán Bretter)

28) The ghost of Judeopolonia or the never-existing Eastern European confederation (Zoltán Halasi)

29) Feliks Koneczny’s theory of civilizations (Tomasz Raburski)

Part VI: Liberalism

30) Liberalism in the Czech lands: between nationalism and party marginality (Vit Hlousek)

31) A fall of liberalism foretold? Liberal politics in Hungary at the turn of two centuries (Szabolc Pogonyi)

32) Liberalism in Poland: past experiences – present challenges (Michał Warchała)

33) Liberalism and its tradition in Slovakia (Samuel Abraham)

Part VII: Civil Society

34) The rise and fall of civil society in East-Central Europe (Agnes Gagyi, Mariya Ivancheva)

35) Individualized vs. organized civic engagement in CEE countries (Jiri Navratil)

36) Contention and the civil society (Grzegorz Piotrowski)

37) Civil Society as a jargon: Central European experience of civic activity after 1989 (Jan Grzymski)

Part VIII: Participatory democracy

38) Participatory democracy in Hungary: out of practice due to lack of interest (László Komáromi)

39) Understanding and political use of participation in Polish urban politics (Marta Sienkiewicz)

40) The opportunities and threats for multilevel governance in Central Europe (Łukasz Medeksza)

41) Too many actors reshape the plot: why the rise of participatory democracy undermines the old ideological framework (Oksana Forostyna)

42) Environmentalism and civil activism in Hungary (Daniel Mikecz)

Part IX: Information society

43) Startup ecosystem in the Visegrad Group and its main challenges (Sara Koslinska)

44) Impact of the ITC on the information society in the Visegrad Group states (Jakub Gradziuk)

Part X: Lustration

45) Lustration: Ukrainian case (Maryna Bessonova)

46) Lustration in Poland (Spasimir Domaradzki)

47) Lustration in Slovakia (Pavlina Janebova)

48) Lustration in Czech Politics (Michal Vit)

Part XI: Power

49) The Kundera paradox: dying for Ukraine and Europe? What the Ukrainian crisis can tell us about European power (Aliaksei Kazharski)

50) Polish power: potentia and its limits (Roderick Parkes)

51) Power and the liberal conscience: context of Central Eastern Europe (Agnieszka Rosner)

52) The power of the Visegrad cooperation (Zsusannah Vegh)

Part XII: Solidarity

53) European solidarity from the Central European perspective (Magdalena Góra)

54) "Round table" talks as a conflict resolution tool. The Central and Eastern European experience (Dariusz Dobrzanski)

55) Between anti-politics and post-politics: a history of the idea of Solidarity (Jacek Koltan)

56) Solidarity by decree: a view from Hungary (Szabolcs Pogonyi)

Part XIII: Politics of Health

57) Sterilization in the name of public health (Josef Kuře)

58) Eugenics in the Polish context: from the racial hygiene to new genetics (Ewa Baum, Agnieszka Żok)

59) From eugenics and “race protection” to preventive medicine and family planning in Hungary (Enikő Demény)

60) The matrix of the physician–patient relationship within the context of medical ethics in Slovakia (Andrea Klimková)

Part XIV: Cities

61) Urban solemnity and warped public space in Poland (Kacper Poblocki)

62) The city as an actor, arena and topic of political conflicts in contemporary Poland (Lukasz Medeksza)

63) Five tales of a city: dysfunction and potential in a Central European capital (Levente Polyak)

64) Civic initiatives and city culture, a case study: Szeged (Attila Pato)

Part XV: Languages of art

65) Languages of art in Central Europe: participation, recognition, identity (Magdalena Moskalewicz)

66) An isolated archipelago or simply one of many islands? (Jan Zálešák)

67) Visualizing, mocking and enacting: vocabularies of Eastern European artistic activism (Margaret Tali)

68) Roma contemporary art – the language of European de-coloniality (Tímea Junghaus)

About the Editors

Marcin Moskalewicz is a Fellow at the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Sciences, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland.

Wojciech Przybylski is the Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight – a magazine on Central Europe – and Chairman of Res Publica Foundation in Warsaw.

About the Series

BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General