Assessment of civil society's role in promoting democracy and preventing nationalism : a comparative study of non-governmental organisations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
This thesis explores whether and to what extent civil society within the
framework of post-communist transition, provides a bulwark against the resurgence
of exclusivist nationalism, in four countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and
Romania. In that respect minorities' and especially Roma's rights are extensively
examined. Related to these issues is to what extent the third sector has been able to
develop a democratic political culture among the populations of the respective
During the course of the research, the concept of political culture was
perceived relatively strong, considering the short period of post-communist transition.
However, it is worth looking into whether civil society has managed to develop
attitudes consistent with what a democratic political culture demands.
Non-governmental organisations have been selected as agents of civil society,
capable of articulating the demands in the new post-communist era. Particular
consideration is given to the theoretical relation between civil society, nationalism
and democracy both before and after the fall of communism. The same topics are
briefly presentedfo r eachc ountry individually.
The empirical section examines three different methods of appraising NGOs:
firstly NGOs are assessed according to basic criteria namely, founding members,
financial resources, co-operation with local authorities etc. Secondly, their direct
impact on legislation and institutional development is analysed. Thirdly, their impact
on the development of a democratic political culture is examined. Finally, all factors
are evaluated and concluding comparative remarks are made