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Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic
The Environmental Movement in the Transition Process
Since a handful of environmental activists helped to bring down the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the arena of environmental politics has offered a valuable lens on the transition process, providing a unique insight into the contradictory and highly contingent relationship between democratisation and neo-liberalism. Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic offers a radical perspective on the democratisation process, revealing the extent to which the consolidation of a politically efficacious and diverse civil society is far more complex than the earlier generation of commentators acknowledged. The environmental movement has not flourished under political democracy; its radical activists have been marginalized and targeted by the state, their ideologies and strategies compromised and their critical voice silenced. Yet the book concludes that whilst the mainstream environmental movement has become institutionalised and appears incapable of representing community interests, the environmental issue retains the capacity to mobilise, this time against the neo-liberal agenda of the democratic government.
This definitive account of the evolution of the Czech environmental movement since 1990 offers a radical evaluation of the institutions and practice of political democracy, and challenges some of the certainties of social movement theory. Although focused on the Czech Republic, the book will undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding of the role of environmental movements within contemporary politics throughout the world. It will be welcomed by political and social scientists with an interest in Central and Eastern Europe, and academics and students with an interest in environmental politics.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'... the book's contents will appeal to academics working within the fields of environmental politics or central and east European studies, as well as to political or social scientists with an interest in SMO development.' -- David Benson, Environmental Politics 'Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic is a succinct, well written and scrupulously researched book...' -- Sean Hanley, Europe-Asia Studies '... this book provides a well-researched survey of the development of the environmental movement in the Czech Republic and of its role in relation to the democratic transition process... For scholars and students looking at environmental politics in Central and Eastern Europe, it provides a wealth of information that will be useful in conducting comparative studies.' -- Alberto Costi, European Environment 'Fagan has written a well-researched analysis of the evolving role and status of Czech EMOs since the overthrow of communism.' -- John M. Kramer, Slavic Review 'This volume presents an original study of the development of the environmental movement in the Czech Republic, particularly in relation to the democratic transition process. It offers a broad, historical analysis of the evolution of the movement through the 1990s to the present day, and presents rich case studies on a number of environmental organisations. The detailed empirical work reveals interesting insights into the character of contemporary Czech politics and the difficulties faced by the environmental movement. This is a well researched and well written piece of work which will make a valuable contribution to the existing literature.' -- James Meadowcroft, University of Sheffield, UK