Slovaks - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. In hamlets the basis of social Organization is a loose grouping of related families and in villages, one or more groups of households. This local organization takes responsibility for villagewide events such as facilitating weddings and funerals. The leadership of the collective farms in the rural sector took over some of these activities and Certainly was responsible for directing the work force in the Villages. Informal, voluntary associations of amateur musicians exist on the village level and play for various events, including the end-of-the-school-year procession and the end-of-theharvest celebration. Males, related and unrelated, congregate nightly in the village bar to play cards, drink, and visit. Females, related and unrelated, visit in the evenings and do a considerable amount of the planning for communal events.

Political Organization. Prior to 1990, the Slovak Socialist Republic of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was divided into eighteen administrative districts ( okres ), each with a large town or city serving as a district seat. The boundaries of the districts were drawn in 1949 and correspond somewhat to yet older political divisions, župa, that were in place from 1886. The Slovak Republic of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic instituted a local government system of elected mayors and councils in 1990 several months after holding elections for national representatives, republic representatives, and national and republic leaders. Therefore, at least on the community level, the prospect is for more flexibility in local decision making.

Social Control. Widely accepted expectations and obligations among the peasants who lived in virtual daily contact with one another resulted in broad compliance within the parameters of acceptable behavior. Antisocial behavior would ordinarily be dealt with directly by the offender's and victim's relatives in order to maintain harmony in the community. As communities grow larger and more diverse, disputes more frequently are settled in the courts.

Conflict. Today there is still conflict over inheritance and, with the changes since 1990, renewed conflict over land occurs as the government attempts to repatriate plots confiscated by the Communist government since the 1950s. Theft from the collective farms and from village construction may be overlooked if the offender is a local person, but intruders from other villages (operating at night) are confronted outright by local men, who may beat the thief, relieve him of his loot, and then telephone the police the next morning when the post office opens. Villages do not have police in residence.

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