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Trust in organisations: religious elites and democracy in the post-Communist Czech Republic

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My research establishes that the elite of the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic demonstrate a strong commitment to the norms of tolerance, plurality, and public participation. This finding (the existence of democratic virtue within theocracy) challenges the contemporary consensus around the work of Robert Putnam and others that there is an inverse relationship between civility and associational hierarchy. I explain this finding by showing how the organisations and networks in which the Bishops were involved during Communism, for example Charter 77 and the prison universities, functioned as ‘schools of democracy.’ These ‘schools’ produced the strong civil values of Czech Bishops still in evidence today. The argument indicates that Putnam and other social capital theorists should move beyond the formal level of associations in their search for the causes of civic virtue.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29064/1/Cswp22.pdf

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