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The Ambiguities Of Censorship And Resistance

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Chapter Summary

A certain thematic dichotomy tended to dominate much of what was produced in the West as 'knowledge' about cultural issues in Eastern Europe. A dichotomy in which the issue of the 'censorship' practised by the communist regimes was positioned on one side and issues of textual production and reception in resistance to the totalitarian authorities, usually grouped under the conceptual umbrella of 'samizdat', were positioned on the other side. Paradoxically, the notion of censorship-whether performed at the institutional or individual levels-necessarily generates space for its own glorification or, more precisely, for the glorification of its social impact and cultural consequences. The question of the actual social impact of samizdat and of the active support for it continues to be a matter of debate. One figure that has contributed substantially to the discussion of the role of samizdat and alternative culture in more general terms is Václav Havel.

Keywords: censorship; eastern Europe; passive resistance; samizdat; totalitarian books



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