Abstract

Participation, movimients and human rights

Máté Szabó: Civil Society and Security Reform in Hungary (1989-2002)
A specific trait has to be considered analyzing the relations between the civil society and security reform after 1989 in Hungary. There were fears, that violence can occur during transition, so the Round Table talks among former elite and counter elite groupings tried to build up a consent on the peaceful change. This worked during the transition. The idea that the security forces should be put under pluralist political, multy–party and different types of civil control, civil society, mass media, publicity, was widely accepted. Only core elements of the former state terror-in 1989 already past experience- as the Workers guard and the former state security organs within the Ministry of Interior had been dissolved in 1989 and 1990 with active participation of the new political forces coming from the human right’s opposition of the Kádár regime. Alliance of The Free Democrats and of the Young Democrats two brand new liberal parties of that time coming from different generations and groupings of the former anti-communist opposition played a leading role within these processes.

Peter A. Ulram: Participation and Political Culture in Central and Eastern Europe 1990–2000.

The author is looking at the ‘subjective side’ of democratic consolidation, the political culture of the population in post-communist societies. With regard to process culture one finds a high level of dissatisfaction about the working of the new political system and the performance of political and administrative institutions. Subjective awareness of political competence and assessment of the responsiveness of political elites is less developed in all countries than in established traditional and post-authoritarian democracies. As opposed to countries such as Austria or Italy, where disappointment with elites and below-average evaluation of subjective political competence are embedded in relatively stable institutional structures, the attitudinal consolidation on the meso-level of East and Central European political systems is much weaker; the low affective identification with political parties and the lack of integration into institutional networks are indicators of this, as are the weak intensity of political cleavages.

Mark Morjé Howard: Free Not to Participate: Why Post-Communist Citizens Do Not Join Voluntary Organizations
What is it about the communist experience that makes its citizens, almost 10 years later, much less likely to join organizations than citizens of countries from comparable economic backgrounds, living in democratic systems with comparable political rights and civil liberties, and even for a comparable number of years?  The paper starts with a brief discussion of the definition of civil society, and how the concept can be applied and operationalized empirically.  Then he summarizes the results of the 1995-97 WVS, which show the consistent weakness of civil society across post-communist Europe.  The next two sections of the paper incorporate individual-level statistical analysis of the PCOMS survey, focusing on general socio-economic factors as well as three “experiential” factors that are specific to post-communist citizens—a legacy of mistrust of formal organizations, the persistence of private friendship networks, and a deep disappointment with post-communism.  He concludes by discussing the theoretical implications of the ways in which post-communist citizens link their current behaviour to their prior experiences, and he mentions the empirical consequences of this lasting weakness of civil society on the future of democracy in post-communist Europe.

Ashok Kumar Upadhyay: Reflections on the Theoretical Development of Concept of Justice
Justice has been the topic of hot debate right from the beginning of systematic political theory. In the ancient time when Political Science was treated as master science, the concept played a central role in the theoretical exercises of Greek philosophers. Justice was one of the four virtues, which every individual possessed. As a virtue, the function of justice was to organise the self at individual level and the state at societal level. In the middle ages, the concept of eternal justice was complimented by divine concept and as such, the individuals were obliged to subordinate themselves to the commands of political and religious arrangements, which were supposed to be just. In the modern period, individuals declined to accept the yoke of political and religious control and consequently asserted for their personal freedom. Justice came to be constituted in limited governance and all social and political institutions became subordinated to individual interests. Currently the social basis of justice emerged and theoreticians and philosophers emphasised more on the just functioning of social and political institutions. The present article aims at finding the development of the concept of justice in western political philosophy. The attempt has been made to trace and analyse the concept from ancient Greeks to the contemporary philosophers.

Juan de Dios Andrade: The Mexican Democratization Process: Dismantlement of Party-State
Mexican political transition to the democracy started in a globalized world context.  The changes in Mexico are the result of different national and international factors.  The great challenge for Mexican people is to determine whether they will be able to substitute the obsolete political system for a democratic one. In this process the political parties and the political elites has a salient role. Vicente Fox’s government faces a difficult to solve problem, on the other hand, it seems that the system of security and intelligence has also been corrupted by the games of poweri. This is the situation that Mexico keeps as a result of the change of party in the government. Certainly in Mexican future many pending problems exist, in certain way they are a 71 year-old inheritance, but there are also a heap of challenges and opportunities that can become advantages to establish a true democracy.

Julia Isabel Flores: The Culture of Democracy in Mexico: Citizens Participation and Political Change in the Year 2000
This paper analyses the importance of cultural factors and political culture in the Mexican transition to democracy and explores the values on the basis of which democracy is being established in Mexico and analyses the extent to which the population internalises these values. The article explores various aspects of citizen’s involvement in politics, and changes in the patterns of socialization and analyzes the link between these issues and the development of a political identity. It concludes with an exploration of the construction of citizenship for democracy in Mexico.

Zsolt Boda, Balázs Kiss and Kata Berta: Campaign on the Net. Parties, Papers and Palavers in the 2002 Hungarian Elections.
In Hungary, the 2002 general elections could be considered the effective debut of the Internet into the political arena. The authors give a report on the Web events during the campaign period. In their summary, they define three protagonists: the parties, the online news portals and the citizens involved in political talks on Index, the leading Hungarian portal. They raise the questions: what use the parties made of their web sites, whether they take advantage of the possibilities the new medium offered; how the news portals followed the campaign developments, whether there were significant differences among the various types of portals; how the life of Index’s political forum reflected the fierce battles during the campaign, whether the talks in the topics were deliberative.