A Far-reaching Shift in Argumentation: Parliamentary Debates on (post-)socialist Agricultural Cooperatives in the 1990s
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The debate as to whether Slovak post-socialist agricultural cooperatives are cooperatives or not represents one of the focal points of their post-1989 development. The answer to this question determined and/or legitimized the rationale for the legislative framework concerning their post-socialist transformation. This analysis draws mainly on data from the parliamentary debates that preceded the enactment of three pivotal laws. In comparing the debates in 1991/1992 and 1995, the examination focuses on the shift in the argumentation put forward by representatives speaking on behalf of cooperative farms. A dramatic shift in reasoning about the character of cooperative enterprises and appropriate voting rights is interpreted as a pragmatic, effect-oriented action. It is argued that both delicate work with the hybrid nature of post-socialist cooperative farms as well as the initial withholding of cooperative principles contributed to the preservation of the specific kinds of agricultural cooperative, and consequently also large corporate farm, which now exist in Slovakia.
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