This collection of studies grew out of a workshop held in Měchenice near Prague in April 2001, where early versions of the chapters were presented as papers in an informal and relaxed setting which allowed us to devote considerable time to free discussion of a number of related themes. The workshop was hosted by my friend Jirří Holub, lecturer in political science at Charles University in Prague, who has a summer house in Měchenice and is a member of the local sports club where we held the event.The very setting called for our engagement with the issue of local community responses to social transformation: Měchenice is a village faced with the challenge of maintaining or adapting an identity tied up with patterns of work and leisure ...

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