chapter  10
Workers and Populism in Slovakia
Pages 15

The heroes of Péter Hunčík’s novel, The Border Case, live in a small town, the dominant type of settlement in Slovakia and most of Central and Eastern Europe. These towns are the seats of state offices, regional markets and shopping malls. The inhabitants do not trust the formal institutions of the state. Indeed, the frequency of top-down transformations experienced in Eastern Europe has encouraged a heavy reliance on family networks and friends. Furthermore, with few exceptions, which are more likely to relate to sports or entertainment rather than recognizably political events, there is little interest in mobilizing or organizing around particular causes. Even workers living in larger cities share patterns of behavior with these townfolk that could be described as politically passive. In this chapter we argue that this set of attitudes and behaviors is associated with what we call a “postpeasant” social setting.2