New Trends in Civic Activism in Central and Eastern Europe
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Institute of Political Science and International Relations, Jagiellonian University in Krakow
Publication date: 2023-12-15
Studia Politologiczne 2023;70
Transitions, democratization and recent democratic backsliding in CEE provide a rich context for examining the meaning and shifting of civic activism and how people participate and organize in civil society today. This article offers a fresh and comparative analysis based on empirical data on the question of what motivates formal and informal activism, and the potentially transformative role of civil society that has recently faced such challenges as democratic backsliding, shrinking public space and polarization. It looks specifically at the responses of Polish and Hungarian activists and advocacy CSOs to these new challenges. Their strategies bring an important lesson on how civil society actors can adapt, continue their mission, or even turn challenges into opportunities. These new trends indicate that civic space in CEE is shifting which is further influenced by the reactions to new forms of social, economic and political crises. It is argued that this shift and the new trends in civic activism require not only fresh empirical data, but also a revision of normative and methodological approaches that have so far been used in civil society and social movement research.
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