Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 7 Issue 1 (February 1997), Pages 1-101

The Meanings of the Community and of the Individual in Slovakia and in Scotland (pages 19-37)


The purpose of this paper was to examine meanings of the terms ‘individual’, ‘the community’ and ‘local community’ in Slovakia and Scotland. The social, cultural, political and economic histories of these two small European nations are quite different. Slovakia is one of the post‐communist countries in which rapid changes have recently taken place. In contrast, Scotland has enjoyed a relatively stable parliamentary democracy within the UK. Two groups of respondents, 200 from Slovakia and 200 from Scotland, were presented with a word association task which included 38 political and economic terms and with two scales containing the same list of terms. They rated phenomena referring to these terms with respect to their importance for the well‐being of the individual and to the well‐being of the community. The results suggest that for Scots but not for Slovaks, the term ‘local community’ evokes positive associations and that local community is a meaningful concept. The data suggest that local attachments and loyalties were destroyed in Slovakia during communism. (© 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.)

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