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A Nation of Joiners. Volunteer Firefighters and Slovenian Nation- and State-Building from Below

A Nation of Joiners. Volunteer Firefighters and Slovenian Nation- and State-Building from Below AbstractChallenging the received view that the Western world is the authentic cradle of associations, with the United States often epitomised as the ‘nation of joiners’, this article interprets voluntary associations in East Central Europe (ECE) as variations from the Western model. New studies on associational life in ECE suggest that well-established theoretical dichotomies like state-non-state or governmental-civil need to be overcome and argue that voluntary associations always actively interacted with the political context and contributed to shaping it. The article revisits these theses by focusing on the role of volunteer fire departments, which in ECE have existed almost uninterruptedly since the mid-19th century. It focuses on the period of double transition in Slovenia around 1990—to a democratic system and to an independent Slovenian state—and argues that the volunteer firefighters were able to negotiate the inevitable changes also because they were recognised as associations of Slovene national substance. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Südosteuropa de Gruyter

A Nation of Joiners. Volunteer Firefighters and Slovenian Nation- and State-Building from Below

Südosteuropa , Volume 68 (2): 28 – Jul 28, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
0722-480X
eISSN
2364-933X
DOI
10.1515/soeu-2020-0013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractChallenging the received view that the Western world is the authentic cradle of associations, with the United States often epitomised as the ‘nation of joiners’, this article interprets voluntary associations in East Central Europe (ECE) as variations from the Western model. New studies on associational life in ECE suggest that well-established theoretical dichotomies like state-non-state or governmental-civil need to be overcome and argue that voluntary associations always actively interacted with the political context and contributed to shaping it. The article revisits these theses by focusing on the role of volunteer fire departments, which in ECE have existed almost uninterruptedly since the mid-19th century. It focuses on the period of double transition in Slovenia around 1990—to a democratic system and to an independent Slovenian state—and argues that the volunteer firefighters were able to negotiate the inevitable changes also because they were recognised as associations of Slovene national substance.

Journal

Südosteuropade Gruyter

Published: Jul 28, 2020

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