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Contemporary Religiosity and the Absence of Solidarity With Those in Need

Abstract

The article uses an adapted version of the multidimensional theory of religion to explore changes in contemporary religiosity in Central Europe, with a special focus on the Czech Republic. It asks whether there are any possible connections between the current absence of welcome of refugees, and the fact that the dominant religiosity that replaced the secularist ideology despises religious dogmas and institutions. It asks how people believing in “something”, who do not wish to define that “something” or share its vision with others, can make an informed and healthy judgment and make themselves capable of solidarity with others. The final part of the article returns to the possibilities of strengthening precisely those dimensions of religion that have been downplayed, yet without unrealistic expectations that people would move back to the form of religiosity their parents, but more often already their great-grandparents, left behind.

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How to Respond to Conflicts Over Value Pluralism?

Abstract

This paper starts with arguing that the main reason why value pluralism has become conflictual is that it challenges people’s socio-cultural identity. The next section gives a summary of recent sociological research on socio-cultural tensions and conflicts in the Netherlands and Europe. They are closely linked to “globalization issues,” such as cosmopolitism, immigration, and cultural integration. This shows that the prediction of the modernization theory, according to which substantial socio-cultural values would be replaced by a universalist, procedural ethics, has not come true. The third section discusses the philosophical reasons of the potentially conflictual character of today’s value pluralism: the fragility of socio-cultural identity, the spread of the culture of expressive individualism and the ethics of authenticity, and the influence of the (politics of) recognition of socio-cultural differences. The fourth section discusses two philosophical responses to the conflictual character of value pluralism. First, there is Taylor’s plea for a broadening of our socio-cultural horizon and a transformation of our common standards of (value-)judgments, based on his idea of a fusion of cultural horizons. In spite of its obvious merits, Taylor underestimates the degree of cultural distance that characterizes many instances of value pluralism. Second, there is an idea of cultural hospitality, which is an application of Ricoeur’s idea of linguistic hospitality to the cultural sphere. It is more modest than Taylor’s proposal, since it recognizes the unbridgeable gap that separates different cultures and their values. Another even more modest suggestion to diminish the conflictual character of value pluralism is the virtue of tolerance, which combines the idea that I have good reasons for my value attachments with the recognition that my values are not the completion of the ideal of human existence.

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The Challenge of Postsecularism

Abstract

Since September 11 attacks on World Trade Center, the word “postsecularism” became a kind of key to explain the existing tension between the secular and “indifferent toward religion” Western world, and the growing religious fundamentalism. However, the existence of conflict between secular and religious worldviews and the attempts to overcome it are not new. The aim of my paper is to present a few examples of successful endeavors of worldviews exchanges between believers and nonbelievers. But, first, a definition of postsecularism will be suggested together with some critical reflection on the concept of religion. I will also discuss some inspiring ideas and theories of postsecularism from the last decade. I would like to suggest a comprehension of postsecularism as a kind of pluralism.

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Hillsides as Part of the Socio-Cultural Capital and Development Potential of Villages/Regions (Example of Hrušov and Oravská Lesná)

Abstract

This study is based on an analysis of local economic, environmental, social and cultural activities in the municipalities which were awarded the “Village of the Year” title, with a special focus on the Hrušov hillsides and the settlements in Oravská Lesná.

The basic historical and ethnological features of these villages include dispersion of the population, since the development period until the establishment of collective farms was characterised mainly by self-employed farmers. In both cases, it happened with a delay – in the 1970s and the 1980s. Ever since, the hillsides and settlements have become depopulated, mainly as a result of the growing construction of family houses or municipal (cooperative) flats in the central parts of municipalities.

Inspired by the theoretical and methodological framework of the authors who have dealt with the transformation of hillsides/settlements (Priečko, 2003, 2015; Huba, 1989, 1990, 2009), four possible development processes influencing the hillsides/settlements over the past decades can be hypothetically assumed:

1. Strengthening the original residential and economic function through a set of incentives.

2. Complete functional transformation of the sites from residential to recreational areas.

3. Exclusion of the sites from the category of built-up areas and delimitation of agricultural land to forest land category;

4. Combination of two and more functions with a view to a rational use of the landscape potential and preservation of the genius loci, which, however, requires the ability and willingness of the original or new users to respect the natural and cultural values of places of habitation and of the country, traditional agro-technical processes as well as landscaping in connection with the local/regional cultural heritage.

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The Organisation of Cultural and Social Life in Selected Successful Villages

Abstract

This paper compares the methods of organisation of cultural and social life in three municipalities which were awarded the “Village of the Year” title, namely the municipalities of Oravská Lesná, Liptovská Teplička and Spišský Hrhov. The research in these three municipalities suggests several historical and socio-economic similarities between the villages of Oravská Lesná and Liptovská Teplička, which contrasts with the situation in Spišský Hrhov. These similarities and differences between the municipalities are also manifested at the level of their cultural and social life and development strategies. On one hand, we have the traditional mountainous villages with stable long-term and internally driven demography; on the other hand, a changing municipality with a high rate of immigration. In the former case, activities related to the identity of a traditional municipality are being developed, while in the latter case, the identity of the municipality is being actively created also through new cultural and social activities. The key factors of the municipalities’ cultural and social life in both cases are initiative inhabitants and proactive self-governments open to their initiatives.

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Our People in the World – Slovaks South of Slovakia’s Border I–III
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Participatory Observation of the Celebration of Czechoslovakia’s Centenary at the All-Sokol Rally (“Let’s Get Stronger!”)

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present the form of celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Republic. The physical culture association Sokol played an important role in the foundation of the republic and became part of the Slovak civil associations scene in 1918. The XVIth All-Sokol Ralley (Všesokolský zlet) in 2018 was one of the official events dedicated to the celebration of Czechoslovakia’s anniversary. For this occasion, the Slovak-Czech piece of motion music „Spolu” (“Together”) was composed. Based on participatory observation of the rehearsals in the role of a trainee, as well as interviews with the author of the music and observations at the All-Sokol Ralley, I have explored the symbolism of the celebration and reflected on the participation of Slovak women in this event.

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Selected Concepts of Contemporary Rural Research: Inspirations and Challenges for Rural Anthropology

Abstract

The objective of the study is to offer an overview of selected concepts and approaches to the study of the contemporary rural environment and rurality from the perspective of disciplines close to social anthropology (mainly sociology and human geography) on the basis of scientific literature. The study builds on the objectives of the APVV project, introduced in the Editorial of this volume (Socio-cultural capital of successful villages as a source of sustainable development in the Slovak countryside). The selection of theories closely relates to the project and presents those concepts that might bring theoretical-methodological impulses for rural anthropology, but could also be useful for rural municipalities. For better understanding of contemporary theoretical approaches in rural studies, I pay closer attention to key terms “rural” and “rurality”, and further focus on concepts of rural resilience, sustainability, multifunctionality and peripherality.

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