kapitola v knize / monografii
Kostelecký, Tomáš, Šimon, Martin

Spatial Dimension of Post-1989 Transformation in Czechia

Kostelecký, Tomáš, Šimon, Martin. 2016. „Spatial Dimension of Post-1989 Transformation in Czechia.“ Pp. 42-60 in Lu. P (ed.) . Beyond the transition. Social Change in China and Central-Eastern Europe. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press China. 453 s. ISBN 978-7-5097-9605-4.

The book chapter analyzes profound economic and political changes in Czech society after 1989 from spatial perspective. The Czech society was very egalitarian in socio-economic terms at the end of 1980’s. The economic transformation dramatically changed the institutional setting, the ownerships structure and “the rule of the game” in economy, which opened the way for more social diversity and inequality. The cleavage between highly educated and people with low education has been rising both in terms of their salaries but also in cultural and political terms. The rising socio-economic inequality, increasing mobility of labor force and the introduction of market principles in housing contributed to the rise of socio-spatial differences. Thus, the country has also been increasingly polarized in socio-spatial terms. The economically booming large cities and their suburbs have been developing gradually as a place of residence and professional activities of higher classes, while old industrial cities as well as rural peripheries became place of residence of lower classes.

The introduction of a multiparty system and competitive elections constituted the most visible feature of a political transformation. Soon after the system change, the balance of power between four different ideologically defined types of parties and their supporters have been established. Although the electoral fortune of individual political parties has change over time, and individual voters used to change their electoral preferences, the overall proportions in terms of popularity of the most relevant political ideologies among voters was found to be quite stable. The links between socio-economic positions of voters and their electoral preferences, however, has been strengthening over time. The voting patterns increasingly mirrored the social structure, both on individual and socio-spatial level