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CIVIL SOCIETY REVISITED / Vol. 68, No. 4 (Winter 2001)

January 1, 2002

Arien Mack, Editor

Elzbieta Matynia, Guest Coeditor

 

Table of Contents

 

Elzbieta Matynia
Editor's Introduction

This is the eighth issue in the Social Research series on Central and Eastern Europe. The series was launched soon after the momentous events of fall 1989. Today, not only has the term civil society become a ubiquitous part of our democratic vocabulary, providing a conceptual framework for democratic action throughout the world, it also provides an ongoing challenge for the social sciences: subjecting the concept and the phenomenon of civil society to further theoretical and empirical examination.

 

Adam Michnik
The Montesinos Virus

The article discusses the political conditions in Peru and Yugoslavia in 2000 and 2001. The author offers information about significance of the project of national reconciliation in Peru which was announced by President Alberto Fujimori. The peaceful dismantling of dictatorship by way of negotiation and compromise is rightly regarded as the finest political invention in recent decades. The project assumes amnesty for the military and the police despite major human abuses. They have also discussed the main objective of the project which is the creation of alternative structures in politics, labor, culture, media, and publishing.

 

Elzbieta Matynia
The Lost Treasure of Solidarity

The article discusses the political changes in Poland. The author offers information on Solidarity, a social movement between 1971 and 1981. The Solidarity miracle that disappeared with the terror of martial law imposed in December 1981 reemerged only briefly in a more limited version to hover over the spectacular Roundtable negotiations in April 1989. The surge in both the volume and the diversity of civil initiatives in the mid-1970s coincide with the signing of the Helsinki Accords and with the country's dramatically worsening economic situation.

 

Jacek Kurczewski
A Self-Governing Society Twenty Years After: Democracy and the Third Sector in Poland

The article discusses the political development in Poland. The author provides information on Solidarity, a social movement associated with the concept of the civil society. They have also described the Communist power structure of the government in the 1980s. The author also presented the characteristics of the civil society as the third sector of the country. The shrinking Solidarity and the other trade unions that played so important a role from 1980 to 2000 means the reduction of the real advancement mechanism that allowed wider society to influence daily politics apart from the mostly ritualistic elections with their record low turnout.

 

Vladimir Tismaneanu
Civil Society, Pluralism, and the Future of East and Central Europe

The author discusses the civil society, pluralism, and the political structure of East and Central Europe. The author offers information about characteristics of the civil society in the 1980s and 1990s. They have also discussed the factors behind the success of the civil society strategy. The author also presented the stages of the disintegration of the communist regimes, including the events during the post-Stalinist period. It provides a persuasive interpretation of the main causes of the weakness of civil society in Eastern Europe, including a widespread distrust of political institutions and associations.

 

Jeffrey C. Goldfarb
1989 and the Creativity of the Political

The article discusses the political events and development in the Soviet Union in 1989. The author discusses the factors behind the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the activities of the civil society. They have also mentioned the importance of the microstructure of the global changes as a constitutive element of civil society. According to W. I. Thomas, one of the leading members of the Chicago School of Sociology, the formulation in his investigations of social delinquency and disorder, since social personality was linked with social organization.

 

Maria Renata Markus
Decent Society and/or Civil Society?

The article focuses on the development and concept of civil society in Poland. The author discusses the historical and social conditions which gave rise to different types for civil society. The application of the concept is continuously expanding, encompassing more and more social phenomena, from associations to civility, trust to social capital. Despite of the criticisms directed at the concept of civil society, the notion itself has retained its relevance for both contemporary social theory and for the practical activities of people living in various societies today.

 

Agnes Heller
A Tentative Answer to the Question: Has Civil Society Cultural Memory?

The article discusses the factors that affect cultural memory. Cultural memory is embodied in objectivations that store meaning in a concentrated manner. It is linked to places where a significant or unique event has taken place, or to places where a significant event is regularly replayed. The building of strong and complex cultural identities represented the ascending high cultures of the axiological age. The centrality of cultural memory in developing identity was known, and cultural memory thus cultivated, since times not immemorial.

 

Jose Casanova
Civil Society and Religion: Retrospective Reflections on Catholicism and Prospective Reflections on Islam

The author discusses the relationship between civil society and religion. The author offers information about the role of Catholicism in the civil society. The public mobilization of Islam is unlikely to be conducive to democracy and the emergence of civil society, and that the civilizational clash between Islam and the West may replace the geopolitical clash between the superpowers during the Cold War. They point out that the church only becomes an institution of civil society when it ceases being a church in the Weberian sense of the term.

 

Irena Grudzinska Gross
The Post-Postsociety

The article discusses the factors affecting the civil society in Europe. The author offers information about the characteristics of the postsovereign states and the implications of the weakening of the state. It has become increasingly doubtful that in today's world the state is or should be the bearer of a national identity, the main actor in a process of modernization and therefore the key to economic growth and social integration. The weakening of the state is global because the reasons for that weakening are global, although local differences matter enormously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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