Contentious Politics in Post-Communist Europe
Edited by Petr Kopecky, Cas Mudde
Routledge – 2002 – 208 pages
Series: Extremism and Democracy
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.