The qualities of democracies
Leonardo Morlino: Analysing Democratic Qualities
The key topic of this chapter is to look into the macro-process of deepening by singling out the different qualities of democracy, its more specific aspects and the connections among those qualities. The old question was ‘what is the best form of government’, and more recently, this question has been reconsidered and re-worded within empirical research as: ‘what is a good democracy’ or, better, ‘what is democratic quality’? But the consequent, even more important question is: what is the best analytic tool for exploring and detecting democratic deepening and qualities in various countries? This chapter tries to provide a reply to this question as well as the other one. The recurrent way of subverting freedom and equality are basically two. The first concerns the proliferation of formal acknowledgement of rights without taking care of implementation and the second the acknowledgement of social rights without effective allocation of costs with the result of not implementing them. The author analyzed how one might define a democracy with lesser or without qualities, that is, a democratic regime where the subversion is frequently practised, even up to the point of creating problems of delegitimation and eventually related problems of consolidation. He analysed the most important components of democratic qualities: rule of law, the accountabilities, the participation, the competition, the freedom and equality, and the responsiveness,
Bedrudin Brljavac: Leviathization or Democracy? The Case of Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina
Very often it is taken for granted that rapid political and economic liberalization reforms make transitional or post-conflict countries stable and fully functional. However, such strategy proved insufficient and shallow since large number of post-conflict societies has continuously faced serious political, legal and economic problems over a long period of time. Probably, the ideal example would be the post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina where free and fair elections are held regularly but it is hard to argue that democracy has flourished in the country. Therefore, in this work my central standpoint is that in the absence of stable and efficient state institutions it is very difficult or almost impossible to implement successful political and economic liberalization reforms in the post-war countries such as Bosnia. To support my argument I have provided three cases or examples where speedy democratization proved wrong strategy in order to bring political stability and economic growth. Also, I have given two `technocratic` examples which have made deep contributions in terms of building robust and effective state institutions rather then putting emphasis on rapid democratization.
Csaba Varga: The Legacy of Marxism in Law
Having just passed the threshold of the third millennium, it is perhaps too early for us to prognosticate anything about such a legacy’s future. What seems to be taken for granted is that Marxism may still have some potential. Moreover, it may even strengthen its position, at least regarding its inherent elements addressing “the quest for community”, in paradoxical support of present-day Christian and other humanistic tendencies. And we can even add a number of still living and inspiring concepts imbued with problem-sensitivities, methodological insights and definite value-consciousness, such as the principle of historicity and the idea of social conditionality. Others include the methodological significance of the concreteness of human and social existence, the theory of alienation, the immanent criticism of Capitalism and forms of post-capitalism as a civilisational idea reduced to material production and consumption, the deconstruction of “ideological” constructs, the advocacy for indigenous rights in an anti-colonialist spirit, the traditional concern for the fate of the Third World and, thereby, also the theoretical criticism of ongoing globalisation.
Mikolaj Czesnik: Voter Turnout in Poland – a Major Problems after Twenty Years of Freedom?
The aim of this article is to discuss one of the main problems of Polish democracy – electoral participation. The first section of the article discusses the theoretical background of the article. The second section presents main aspects of Poland’s ‘exceptionalism’ as far as voter turnout is concerned. Third section discusses the consequences of low and lowering voter turnout. The article has two main conclusions: Firstly, according to the empirical analyses presented above, voter turnout in Poland is different than in other democracies. The article argues that there are three chief aspects of difference. Voter turnout in Poland is significantly lower than in other democracies. Moreover, voter turnout in Poland is less stable than in other democracies. And finally, it is less over-reported than elsewhere. The second conclusion of the paper refers to the fundamental question of importance of low voter turnout. The article suggests that low voter turnout in Poland matters, at least since representation (and therefore political influence of particular social groups) is concerned.
Mihály Csákó: Youth, School and Democracy in Hungary
What kind of idea Hungarian teenagers may have about democracy in these conditions today? When entering the political age, young people have large gaps in their knowledge on politics, they lack well founded ideas and systematic understanding of democratic institutions. The survey “School and Society, 2005” shows that they see democracy rather as a personal shield of protection than an activity. These results prove that the development of the image of democracy is far from a linear and uniform process among teenagers; most 15-17 year old adolescents have no clearly structured idea of democracy and stress its components which defend the individuals; one fifth of them tend to extend this umbrella function towards lower social strata as if keeping the value of “égalité” in mind; another fifth of teenage students consider active political participation the main element of democracy, for them democracy means liberty for acting first of all. An unexpected observation: those who attach more personal important to democracy are ready to accept anti-democratic views more frequently than others. The roots of this behaviour cannot be found in the cognitive dimension: this problematic group of adolescents belongs to the best informed on political topics.
József N. Szabó: The role of cultural diplomacy in the formation of foreign policy of Hungary toward the Central European countries after WWII.*
This approach to the importance of culture and civilization was, enforced twice in Hungary during the 20th century. The first time was after the Versailles Peace Treaty (signed between the entente and Hungary in the Little Trianon Palace, hence called Trianon Peace Treaty in Hungary). As answer was sought for the national disaster and points of breakout were examined in order to improve the Country’s apparently hopeless situation. After 1920 Hungary used the means of culture to shape the image of Hungary and the Hungarians in the world. Cultural diplomacy acquired increased importance, as the possibilities of foreign politics and military potentials had diminished. For different reasons and on different grounds Hungarian cultural diplomacy became important again after 1945. At this time the objectives were similar: a desperate situation after a lost war was to be handled and the country had to break out of isolation once again. A factor that boosted the efficiency of Hungarian cultural diplomacy after the war was that there were many common features in the culture of the countries of the Carpathian Basin. Cultural traditions and common roots were used as bridges between Hungarians and politically hostile nations. Building up cultural and educational relations first paved the way for establishing political connections later.