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Civic socialization in post-transition condition

Domonkos Sik

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The essay is aimed at answering the question: what are the special difficulties of civic socialization in post-socialist democracies? In order to elaborate an answer, first a general theory of civic socialization has to be reconstructed, which can be used as a reference point – for this purpose Habermas’ model of a communicative-intentional socialization is evoked. Second, those special difficulties have to be identified, which reveal the limits of such a general theory – at this point Bourdieu’s theory of pre-intentional habitus is used. Third, a way has to be introduced capable of overcoming these difficulties – here Arendt’s ideas on the original impression of freedom prove to be helpful. As a conclusion I argue that the Habermasian model of democratic socialization is incapable of providing an analytical framework for the special problems of post-transition condition, as it can not grasp the key problem caused by the anti-democratic habitus emerged during the state socialism. A pre-intentional change requires stronger impressions than mere arguments; such is the elementary impression of freedom experienced during “action in public sphere”.

Keywords: Habermas – Bourdieu – Arendt – civic socialization – post-socialism