The illusions and disillusions of civil society
The case of the Group for Social Dialogue
in Revolution, democratic transition and disillusionment
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This chapter reveals how the civil society illusion was particularly built in Romania in order to fit and support the larger capitalist illusion. It seeks to challenge common misconceptions about the nature of Romanian civil society, and provides an alternative understanding of the role of civil society through the particular trajectory of the Group for Social Dialogue (GSD). The GSD was formed in the days immediately following the fall of the Ceausescu regime in Romania by a series of Romanian intellectuals and dissidents who came together under the impulse to create a space for discussion. This discussion would facilitate the democratization process. The chapter also seeks to underline the striking discrepancies between initial imaginings of the role of civil society by different Central and Eastern European writers and later use of the concept mainly in conjunction with a series of national and international NGOs.

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