Electronic Library of Scientific Literature


Volume 30, 1998, No. 3, p. 345-408

Slovakia in the Period of "Normalization" and Expectation of Changes (1969 - 1989)

Jozef Žatkuliak
The Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava

The papers gives a more systematic perspective on the political and social development of Slovakia in the period 1969 - 1989. The paper consists of the two parts. The first part The politics of normalisation and the society in Slovakia shows the interconnection of the Communist party politics with the development of society. It demonstrates the consequences of the normalisation as emigration and political purges and compares the situation in Slovakia to the one in the Czech Republic. Special attention is given to the indications of the partial awakening of society in 80s (the impact of the Helsinki Conference, the struggle for religious freedoms and for the position of Churches, critical dimension of art, especially theatre etc.) that, however, did not change stagnant character of Slovakian society. On the contrary, the dogmatic communist party wing succeeded to acquire the power in this period and to continue the political persecutions.
The second part discusses the constitutional law position and the economic position of Slovakia in the Czechoslovakian federation It is evident that the normalisation politics manifested itself in a full extension in the sphere of constitutional law and economy. Both the deformation of the federal arrangement and the centralisation of economy had seriously affected the situation in Slovakia. The attention is given to the position of Slovakia in the Federation and to the issues of Slovakians social and economic equalising with the Czech lands. The economic data comparison doubts the taken-for-granted statement that the Czech lands "paid for" Slovakia. I also introduce the data about the situation in the power elite in both the countries, the data about military industry and description of the problems of the proposal of new constitution.
The paper describes divergent traits of the processes that underwent in Slovakia of that time. In spite of the overall stagnation Slovakia paradoxically showed the economic growth. Shifts apparent in next domains are documented and evaluated briefly. The offered description helps to understand the historical background of the democratisation processes in the Slovak society, the split of the common state of Czechs and Slovaks, the economic problems, problems in culture and in social sphere that have become visible after the November 1989.

Sociológia 1998, Vol 30 (No. 3: 251-268)

MAILING ADDRESS: PhDr. Jozef Žatkuliak, CSc. The Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Tel: +421 7 326 321, 325 753, Fax: +421 7 361 645, E mail: husav@hu.savba.sk

Some Implications and Consequences of the Social Transformation Process in Health Care in the Slovak Republic

Eva Laiferová
Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University, Bratislava

In this paper, society´s visions and expectations for health quality of the Slovak population after a radical turn in the system of medicine and health care are confronted with the existing reality in sense of policy evaluation study.
Although the relatively slow transformation process in the Slovakian health care system shows some positive results, it is also followed by a great number of negative social impacts. The feedback between the reforming social and institutional systems and their individual elements such as individuals and social collectivities is particularly obvious in the field of medicine. This relationship becomes mainly evident in the following topics: the way of evaluating and financing health care outputs and services, access to top health facilities, expensive medication and health supporting pharmaceutical products, and problems in communication between physician and patient. The process of individualization and activation of the Slovak population involves a new approach toward health. The changes in the institutional and social system have evoked also the changes in citizens´ behaviour in relation to health. The secondary analysis of some empiric indicators shows that decisive factors influencing attitudes of Slovak citizens to their health are education and living style.
The factors of the same importance concerning the trends in the improvement of health conditions are measures accepted by state health authorities in the National Program of Health Support of SR, which include several strategies oriented to the quality improvement in Slovakian health conditions.
There are such strategies as alternative medicine, a culture of self-treatment, development of self-help groups on one side, and strategy of health protection, strategy of health development and strategy of health prevention on the other side.

Sociológia 1998 Vol. 30 (No. 3: 269-282)

MAILING ADDRESS: PhDr. Eva Laiferová, CSc., Department of Sociology, Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University, Gondova 2, 818 01 Bratislava, Slovak Republic, Telephone:+ 421/7/304 111, e mail: ksoc@fphil.uniba.sk

Citizenship Potential of Unemployed and Self-Employed Youth in East-Central Europe

Ladislav Macháček
Institute for Sociology Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava

The transition to democracy and market economy takes a longer time and high unemployment rates have turned out to be more persistent than most east-central Europeans probably expected in 1989. Persistent youth unemployment is also commonly regarded as political threat. The research (1997) involved interviews with a total of 800 young unemployed people, 100 in each of two regions in four east-central European countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). Alongside this research, parallel surveys in all eight regions were conducted among samples of the young self-employed (400). Generally, young business people demonstrate a civil potential which is compatible with the new political and economic systems. They recognise the significance of their participation in shaping the political system through the process of general elections. They support the principles of the free market economy and attribute improvements in family life to its working. Moreover, they evaluate the EU as the most important body with which to cooperate in the European context. The young unemployed have rather different outlooks. They display less interest in citizen participation. Not only do they regard the quality of family life as having been better in the past, but many are sceptical about the free market economy. However, they support cooperation with other countries. In spite of Slovakia's generally polarised situation, both the young unemployed and self-employed in Slovakia prove broadly comparable with their counterparts in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Sociológia 1998 Vol. 30 (No. 3: 283-296)

MAILING ADDRESS: Doc. Mgr. Ladislav Macháček, CSc., The Institute for Sociology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Telephone: +421-7-326 321, Fax: +421-7-361 312, e-mail: surosko@klemens.savba.sk

Third Sector in Post-Communist Bulgaria And Its Support for Young People in the Labour Market

Siyka Kovatcheva
Department of Social Sciences, University of Plovdiv

The expanding third sector with its multiplicity of organisational forms and activities addresses a wide range of social problems that arise in the course of the economic and political restructuring in post-communist Bulgaria. This article discusses the support offered by nongovernment organisations (NGOs) to young people in their transition from school to work. It analyses results from research into two local labour markets in Bulgaria involving a survey of young people's experiences and case-studies of NGOs.
The organisations active in both labour markets were predominantly new entities, often understaffed and with poor material provision. The foundations built around a legal property had more financial resources than the associations which relied mainly on voluntary labour. The non-profit organisations were free from ossified structures but suffered from a lack of professional expertise. There was little co-operation among the studied NGOs. The third sector in the two regions had mainly vertical links with organisations in the centre rather than pluralistic and horizontal relations among the local groups and foreign support was largely monopolised by central NGOs in Sofia. The hard economic situation in the country, the unwillingness of state agencies to cooperate and the widespread public suspicion to organised activism erected serious obstacles.
The voluntary associations in our sample had a wide range of activities to support young people, typically offering advice, information and contacts. They were most effective in launching educational programmes and training courses but could rarely improve significantly the situation of the young unemployed by making them more employable or ready for entrepreneurship. The third sector in Bulgaria had not yet effectively filled in the social niche emptied after the withdrawal of the state from pervasive authoritarian intervention.

Sociológia 1998 Vol. 30 (No. 3: 297-310)

MAILING ADDRESS: Siyka Kovatcheva, Department of Social Sciences, The Paissii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, 24 Tsar Assen St., 4000, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Professionalization of Post-Communist Journalists

Andrej Školkay
Academia Istropolitana Nova, Svätý Jur

This article defines professionalism and analyzes the degree of professionalization of the media elites in post-communist Czecho-Slovakia before and after the break-up of the Federal Republic. It argues that unprofessional behavior on the part of Czech, Slovak and foreign journalists contributed to the break-up of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. This paper also argues that many former communist journalists who were dismissed from the Communist Party after the failure of the 1968 Prague Spring hindered the democratic transition process. However, the aim of this article is to dispel the direct and overwhelming responsibility attributed by the leading politicians of the day to the journalists for bringing about the transition from Czechoslovakia to independent Slovakia. More specifically, it argues that there was no conspiracy among journalists but rather a lack of real professionalism, especially on the part of the Slovak journalists. Among the politicians, there was a lack of understanding of the work of the media in a democracy. There were too many additional contradictory factors involved which influenced the performance of journalists. These are mentioned at the end of this paper. The two most important ones are: lack of experience with populist politics and the concept of objectivity. The concept of objectivity lead in fact to pseudo objectivity. It gave room for populist dicourse and successful agenda-setting by some politicians. There was a need to tackle contradictory issues: to offer moderate but conditional support for the new government, to be impartial and play the role of a watch dog, to apply a new style of interpretive news reporting. However, this dilemma was difficult to reconcile for both Czech and Slovak journalists.

Sociológia 1998 Vol. 30 (No. 3: 311-336)

MAILING ADDRESS: Andrej Školkay, Academia Istropolitana Nova, Prostredná 13, 900 21 Svätý Jur, Slovakia. E-mail: Andrej@ainova.sk, tel: +421/7/597 04 52-53 ext.127; fax: +421/7/597 04 55.