Political culture and multi culture in Central Europe

George Schöpflin: Majorities and Minorities: A continuing political relationship
The newly empowered state discovered gradually that it was more efficient to rule with the consent of the governed than against and that consent to be governed was culturally coded. The redistribution of power implied by the efficient exercise of power in modernity required a much higher degree of trust and communication than previously. The minority is different society, with different thought-worlds and norms, it is constructs its moral world differently from the majority, though in engagement with it. The key problem of majority-minority relations is the question of voice and the recognition of voice. It is essential for the minority that the majority gives it recognition and allows it articulation of its concerns. When this does not happen, minorities become restive. Civic norms should help, but if they are constructed by the ethnic norms of the majority, as they often are, they will not be necessarily helpful. The ideal model, therefore, may well be one where majority and minority societies live in parallel and when they come together, they do so under well established, transparent rules of citizenship that have drawn on the norms of both (all) communities.

Kálmán Kulcsár: The New Political System and the Hungarian Reality
Representative democracy offers relatively rare and limited political participation to the citizen. As a result, the extraordinarily strong role of political parties in the political processes is supplemented by a rather weak citizen participation and control. The principles suited for the preservation of the continuity of Hungarian constitutional development and for the further development of representative democracy that may be inferred from its Western development and from the current Hungarian phenomena are essentially identical. They consist of the broadening of democratic participation; its institutionalisation as ‘multi-channel’; and the increase of the instrumental acceptance of democracy to a size allowing its normative acceptance to become a significant factor of consolidation. Therefore there are normative-institutional possibilities for the further development of the political system that are also suited for the preservation of its historical continuity. The europeanisation of the party political structure of the country and its ideological and practical components, as well as the professionalisation of the political elite are the preconditions that would enable the political system to suit the tasks manifest in the three time perspectives.

Olaf Leiße; Utta-Kristin Leiße: The Romanian Pathway To Europe
Romania plays a special role within the process of the extension of the European Union. On the one hand, Romania’s desire to become a member of the EU is universally supported by Europe’s political establishment. On the other, political and economic structures in Romania are still deficient to such a degree as to raise doubts about the scheduled date of accession in 2007. Why was Romania’s membership uncertain for a long time? What do young Romanians think about the country’s political and economic affairs? How keen are they on becoming EU citizens? A survey conducted among this group shows that while the market economy is widely accepted, there is a lack of approval of the democratic system. For many, EU membership is associated with the hope of a regeneration of Romania. In spite of all the deficits in the current political and economic system, the attitudes, visions, and hopes of the young generation of Romanians show the will and capability of the country on the Eastern edge of Europe to become a full-fledged EU member.1

Jesse Lutabingwa, Zana Vokopola and Ilir Bejt: Citizen Perception of the Decentralisation Process in Albania: the Case of the City of Elbasan
Since the 1990s, Albania has progressively decentralised its local governments.  Basic institutions and legal framework have been established and policies towards decentralisation implemented.  Decentralisation is premised on the theory that local governments are closer to citizens and, therefore, more informed about citizens needs.  This study collected data on existing public perception of the decentralisation process and performance challenges in the provision of public services in the Elbasan municipality.  Findings indicate that citizens are aware of the decentralisation process but are dissatisfied with how some of the services are provided.  The question is whether decentralised public services are being provided effectively and efficiently with accountability measures in place.

Óscar Gª. Luengo: Media Malaise Revisited: Media Exposure and Political Activism in Europe.
Demonstrations in Spain on March 13th 2004, taking place after the terrorist attacks in Madrid, presented an interesting challenge for political communication research. For the first time in Spain’s history, and with few other examples, people employed communication technologies in order to create the dynamics of peaceful civil disobedience. The events generated a debate as to the intensity with which citizens are willing to take part in the political process through non-conventional mechanisms of participation; this took place especially in a political climate in which the expansion of disaffection attitudes has been deep enough to increase the preoccupation not only of scholars but also of politicians.

Csaba Fazekas: The Lesson from the Past: The Church-State Relations and the Beginnings of Political Catholicism in Hungary from 1790 to 1848.
The paper is focusing to the church-state relations in the 19th century Hungary. The first half of the century (from the end of the 18th century to 1848) is the period of the first conflicts between the Roman Catholic Church and the Hungarian Liberals. These Liberals wanted to change the Hungarian ‘Ancien Regime’ to a Modern, European State, so their political programme included the separation of the church and the state and abolish the feudal privileges of the Roman Catholic Church. The first part of the paper collects the most important data about the Hungarian Church policy with special regards to the problems of Josephinism in Hungary and the mixed marriages, which made the biggest conflicts in the period as in other European countries, in Hungary, too. The church policy of the Hungarian Liberals had a lot of specialities, which were made up in the second part. The most important and the newest research results the author wrote in the third part under the title ‘The goals and strategies of Political Catholicism’. A group of Roman Catholic Ecclesiastics started a new strategy to abolish the Liberal Reforms, e.g. the religious equality, the separation, the secularisation of the large estates etc. In conclusion their movement was the real forerunner of the later Political Catholicism in Hungary.

Ates Aslu: Intellectuals of Central Europe Between Empire and Nation-State
Most of the studies on intellectual elites highlight the differences between the western concept of “intellectuals”, and the East-European (more precisely, Russian) concept of intelligentsia. The Hungarian intelligentsia (as its counterparts in other parts of Central Europe) had an ambiguous position towards the state. In general terms, the intelligentsia was critical towards the political and social systems of the empires or of the nation-states; but on the other side they contributed to the reproduction of the intellectual framework of these systems. The people’s democracy was not a merely «imported» political system, alien to the Central Europe; it was built on the social and political basis of the states of the region, in continuity with the systems of empire and nation-state. The intelligentsia assured this continuity, in a large part.