Matyáš Křížkovský

The missing pieces in researching the Czech environmental movement: The populist legacy of non-political politics

Since the mid-1990s, the Czech environmental movement has been studied in close relation to the context of civil society development in Central and Eastern Europe. The various authors offer a fairly wide range of factors explaining why ecological activism has not developed a form of a social movement(s) as we know it from studies of the Western movement since the 1970s. Exploration of Czech case shows, that these differences cannot be framed merely as an effect of “being behind” or “lacking something” in comparison to its western counterparts. It stresses rather a difference in imagining of politics and civil society that prominent dissidents developed since the 1970s to oppose state socialism, especially its productivism and technocratism. Affinity to the tradition of ‘non-political politics’ suggests that we need to consider long-term ideological differences. Considering them is especially important if we take into account a current upheaval of climate movement(s).

The presentation will tackle particularly the last issue of current upheaval, focusing on the student protests at the Charles University in November 2019 (on 30th anniversary of Velvet revolution) that were closely related to climate justice movement(s), as well as to main cleavages of Czech political culture.

Discussant: Mariya Ivancheva