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Unpacking an Institutional Vacuum: The Communist Origins of Post-Communist Civil Society and Nonprofit Organizations

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Abstract:

A raison d'être of post-communist civil society aid projects was that civil society and the nonprofit sector need to be built out of scratch and be insulated from communist legacies. I argue that neither civil society, nor nonprofits emerged out of an institutional vacuum after the fall of communism. I assess the scholarly literature on the communists’ treatment of what is identified today as civil society and nonprofit organizations (voluntary associations and foundations) in post-war Hungary. I bring together arguments from studies of communism and post-communist transitions to re-evaluate our knowledge about the political and economic climate and their effect on civil society and its organizations in Hungary until 1989. I identify three institutional origins of post-communist civil society and nonprofits under state socialism: social organizations, associations that were state-controlled and structured into mass organizations; the second economy, the state-sanctioned sphere of private economic activities pursued outside the formal socialist state economy; and the second society, the informal and clandestine sphere of political activity pursued outside the institutions of the party-state. Post-communist civil society and its constituent nonprofits have roots in the capitalist transformation and political liberalization that grew potent under late socialism and within the communist organizational apparatus.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

societi (164), organ (128), civil (117), social (111), polit (89), state (88), parti (85), communist (62), second (53), hungari (52), associ (52), nonprofit (50), 1989 (43), movement (42), institut (39), hungarian (37), socialist (36), form (36), privat (35), 1992 (34), post (33),

Author's Keywords:

communism, civil society, nonprofit organizations, voluntary associations, foundations, second economy, second society, institutional vacuum
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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MLA Citation:

Fazekas, Erzsebet. "Unpacking an Institutional Vacuum: The Communist Origins of Post-Communist Civil Society and Nonprofit Organizations" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston and the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA, Jul 31, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-12-01 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p239967_index.html>

APA Citation:

Fazekas, E. , 2008-07-31 "Unpacking an Institutional Vacuum: The Communist Origins of Post-Communist Civil Society and Nonprofit Organizations" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston and the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA Online <APPLICATION/OCTET-BINARY>. 2014-12-01 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p239967_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: A raison d'être of post-communist civil society aid projects was that civil society and the nonprofit sector need to be built out of scratch and be insulated from communist legacies. I argue that neither civil society, nor nonprofits emerged out of an institutional vacuum after the fall of communism. I assess the scholarly literature on the communists’ treatment of what is identified today as civil society and nonprofit organizations (voluntary associations and foundations) in post-war Hungary. I bring together arguments from studies of communism and post-communist transitions to re-evaluate our knowledge about the political and economic climate and their effect on civil society and its organizations in Hungary until 1989. I identify three institutional origins of post-communist civil society and nonprofits under state socialism: social organizations, associations that were state-controlled and structured into mass organizations; the second economy, the state-sanctioned sphere of private economic activities pursued outside the formal socialist state economy; and the second society, the informal and clandestine sphere of political activity pursued outside the institutions of the party-state. Post-communist civil society and its constituent nonprofits have roots in the capitalist transformation and political liberalization that grew potent under late socialism and within the communist organizational apparatus.


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