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Social conflicts and the culture of cooperation in transitional society

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to review the complexity of post-Communist transition with regard to the processes of creating a legal and institutional environment, which will predispose social actors to cooperate to solve social problems and neutralize disparities. The paper also seeks to consider the shift from social destruction (everyone fighting with one an other) to social collaboration. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The focus of the paper is on the scope of the simultaneously functioning political, social and moral extremes. They are seen as the key attributes of chaotic social transition and as material for creating cooperative links. Findings ‐ Political and social transformation running simultaneously, and followed by legal and administrative modernization, provoked formerly unknown social conflicts in the transitional society. The case of Lithuania shows that the old methods for dealing with new conflicts were not suitable. Society became fragmented. Social costs of disintegration were high but not equal, when compared internationally. Interdependence between functionality, innovative and cultural potential of the state, and its capability to regulate conflicts and social controversies had been brought into political debates and public discussions after transition had been in progress for several years. This was a signal that political parties and the most influential social players became concerned about social outcomes of the reforms. Developing a new legal and institutional environment, empowering cooperation and conflict management in social interactions, is perceived as an indicator of the progress of the continuing transition. Research limitations/implications ‐ Because of its nature and size, the research does not develop insights into the processes which were in some sense dependent on, and simultaneously became incentives for, the culture of cooperation in society; for example, dynamics of cooperation and competition among authorities and citizens, business and politics. Originality/value ‐ Though great interest is shown in transitional processes in social and humanitarian studies, the rise of conflicts in society as well as the limitations of constructive ways of dealing with such conflicts are not yet the focus of social investigation.

Keywords: Lithuania; National economy; Political systems; Social capital; Social change; Transition management

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17465260910958818

Publication date: May 15, 2009

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