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The Empowering Potential of Reformist Urban Activism in Czech Cities

Authors
  • Pixová, Michaela1
  • 1 Charles University, Institute of Sociological Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, U Kříže 8, Prague 5, 158 00, Czech Republic , Prague 5 (Czechia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Jun 25, 2018
Volume
29
Issue
4
Pages
670–682
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11266-018-0011-1
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Since the late 2000s, activists involved in conflicts over urban space and municipal budgets in a number of Czech cities have had an increasing tendency to enter the formal political realm in order to disrupt non-transparent ties between politicians and private business, and to narrow the gap between public administration and citizens. According to critical urban theorists, similar reformist strategies tend to end up co-opted by the status quo and are ineffective in ending neoliberal urbanization. This paper shows that in a context affected by the communist past and a long tradition of non-participatory political culture, the transformative potential of radical approaches may be diminished, whereas reformist strategies, such as increasing government transparency and institutionalizing participatory practices, can be more productive in terms of taming haphazard development and the extraction of municipal assets, and even the potential to reduce the democratic deficit within their cities.

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