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A General Interpretation of Transition in the Czech Republic (1989-1993)

JIŘÍ KABELE
Czech Sociological Review
Vol. 7, No. 1 (SPRING 1999), pp. 3-21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41133047
Page Count: 19
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A General Interpretation of Transition in the Czech Republic (1989-1993)
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Abstract

General interpretations of societal transition provide overall pictures of fundamental changes, their basic trends, their time scales, and the clashes between the main players. These interpretations allow both participants and analysts to focus on the important historical facts and the key social processes. The fundamental changes in the Czech Republic since November 1989 are shown here as a transition brought about by the interplay of the drama of the erosion of the old regime with that of the birth of a new order. The old order was partly dismantled and society found itself in transitional anomie, which made it possible to gradually build a new one. This transitological view sees a transition as a provisional state of affairs constructed by many different persons (individuals, groups, communities and organisations). This provisional situation is characterised by a rich dynamic of social problems, together with an unbalanced and changing distribution of gains and losses. The resulting conflicts become -in successful cases - part of the universe of myth. In this universe of myth these conflicts are seen as a series of crises/tests which push the society indirectly from the old order to the new. The originally open transition comes to a close when the participants cease to see the current events as provisional. The main task then becomes the normalisation of the new order, the enforcement of its regime and coping with the formerly provisional arrangements which were in many ways 'justified' by the apparent anomie.

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