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Towards dialogic post-socialism: Relational geographies of Europe and the notion of community in urban activism in Bratislava

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matej BlazekORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This paper seeks to reinvigorate post-socialism as an analytical tool for addressing the changing geographies of Europe, particularly the differences across 'the East' and 'the West'. We argue for departure from the dialectic understandings of post-socialism and propose a 'dialogic' approach that would resist teleology and closure, and promote ontological openness and spatio-temporal contingency. We illustrate this argument by tracing the different attitudes to the idea of community in Western and Eastern Europe. The notion of community has been largely absent in formal as well as everyday politics in Eastern Europe. The paper interrogates the reasons behind this absence and then tracks the recent emergence of community among urban activists in Bratislava (Slovakia) as a case study. We suggest that while the links between the West and the East are important for this emergence, it cannot be explained simply in terms of convergence towards the West. Instead, manifold geographical and historical connections are fundamental for the formation of diverse and often contradictory ways in which the notion of community underpins activist initiatives. Pointing towards the relational composition of post-socialist processes, dialogic approach offers a more robust relational approach to the contemporary geographies of Europe.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blazek M, Suska P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Geography

Year: 2017

Volume: 61

Pages: 46-56

Print publication date: 01/11/2017

Online publication date: 27/06/2017

Acceptance date: 15/06/2017

Date deposited: 16/06/2017

ISSN (print): 0962-6298

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5096

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.06.007


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