David Doellinger. Turning Prayers into Protests: Religious-Based Activism and Its Challenge to State Power in Socialist Slovakia and East Germany. Budapest: CEU Press, 2013

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Roman Krakovsky


Eastern Europe, Communist Rule, Social Movements, Religion, Collective Action, Protest


Scholars studying resistance movements under communist rule have focused broadly on internationally visible movements such as samizdat and Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia or KOR and Solidarity in Poland. With the exception of Poland, the role of religious beliefs and institutions in opposition movements has been widely understudied, even if some important studies are already available (Beeson [1974] 1982; Ramet 1987, 1998). And yet, religion was among the few spheres in communist regimes where alternative political discourses could be elaborated. David Doellinger’s book partly fills this gap, offering an analysis of how the churches in Slovakia and the GDR progressively expanded spaces for action independent of state control, eventually becoming serious challenges to communist rule.

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