Social Resistance Movements in Post-Socialism: Who are the ‘Actors of Change’?

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All three presenters conducted interviews with civil society activists who were preparing and participating in these peaceful political upheavals, to get knowledge about their motives, experiences, roles and hopes. First results show that the focus of activists was not on the fraudulent elections as limiting democracy but the fraudulent elections making it clear that there would be no change in the level of corruption or in the failure of the government to develop a viable (economic) policy. The gathered material also demonstrates these peaceful movements had heterogeneous social layers; young and old, male and female, professionals and unemployed etc. Willing to take a risk these men and women became cognizant of their oppression. Opposite to the expectations of the incumbents, people overcame passivity and fear and started to become ‘actors of change’ (Mary Kaldor 2003). Taking agency men and women seek to emancipate themselves from old behavioral patterns. Challenging the theory of ‘human development’ as described by Welzel/Inglehart/Kligemann (2003) the panelists analyze these bottom-up processes in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine from the perspective of youth groups and NGOs. ‘Otpor’ in Serbia, ‘Kmara’ in Georgia, ‘Pora’ in Ukraine were the social power who made these revolutions possible together with political opposition. The panelists will analyze the political and societal circumstances in the respective countries to ask for possible causes for this habitual change in individuals. What led to a break-down of the old habitus as a principle regulating the production of practice to a reflective process of weighing opportunities and choice. Questioning the idea if practiced values, especially the idea of peace, could emerge as a ‚culture of power‘, with its own contradictions, contentions, repressions and unrealized potentials in the future. Comparing the three case-studies the panellists try to formulate and discuss a general theory of social resistance in the context of post-socialist space.

Keywords: Transition, Mass Movements, Human Development and Social Resistance, Post-Socialist Space
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Francoise Companjen

Ass. Professor, Cultural Anthropology
Culture Organization and Management, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Companjen lectures on Intercultural Communication focusing on Eastern Europe and the Caucasus from an interdisciplinary background of cultural anthropology and organization studies. She is particularly interested in Georgia, the Rose Revolution and events thereafter. She lectures and gives workshops on Georgia among other places at the Centre for International Conflict analysis and Management in Nijmegen. She is coordinator of the Caucasus Network in the Netherlands. Born and raised in the Middle East/Eurasia from Dutch-French parents she has an international background. This international experience is drawn upon during lectures and workshops on communication and cultural change.

Prof. Jane Curry

Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California, USA

Dr. Doris Goedl

Affiliation not supplied
Salzburg, Austria

Ref: I08P0281