Nations, Minority Rights and Civil Attitudes

Janine R. Wedel: Why Collision and Collusion? Econolobbyists, Transactors, and Western aid to Central and Eastern Europe
The chapter is dealing with the relationships – between Easterners and Westerners,  among Easterners, and among Westerners – that shaped the outcome of nearly all grant aid to the region: This is true whether it is technical assistance through person-to-person contact; grants to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the recipient nations, or assistance for economic reform to a single political-economic group.  Although these strategies differed significantly, in all of them it was crucially important exactly who participated and how these participants connected to their counterparts and compatriots. Aid policies, like any policies, do not exist in a vacuum.  They are only as successful as their implementation by individuals and institutions: The author draw attention to the importance of relationships:  how they are set up; who wins, who loses; and how the choice of representatives influences social and political organization on the recipient side.  The structure of relationships among individuals crucially shapes the effectiveness of billions of dollars of foreign aid and the relationships of nations.

Konstantinos J. Papadoulis: Comparative Public Policy Concertation: Analysis within the 15 EU Member-States (1957-2002)
Public policy concertation is a major public policy style and process between government officials and representatives of employers and trade unions in European Union (EU). This article explains the political dynamics of public policy concertation of the 15 EU member-states in terms of the varying configurations of three variables: recognizable obstacles, the degree of pre-existent common socioeconomic understanding between political and public policy actors, and their expectations on the capacity of the public policy implementation process. It is found that the incidence of broad public policy concertation over the twentieth century can be explained almost entirely in terms of the configurational  theory.

György Csepeli: The New Distress of the East European Small States
The paper deals with old and new distresses which have layered on top of each other, and they spoil the future cumulatively in Eastern and Central Europe. The transition to market economy devalued the former lives and knowledge of millions in the region, excluding them from the paths to upward mobility and success, which had opened up primarily for the young and educated city-dwellers. Cleavages previously unknown appeared within society, whose depth and width were increased by the digital divide. Political and cognitive patterns which were believed to be extinct for a long time revived, generating a considerable demand for the messages of old and new nationalism, incessant anti-Semitism and hostility toward minorities disguised as racism. We can expect a breakthrough only if European integration begins to accelerate and extend over our everyday lives. It requires the creation of a common European information and economic space, which raises no obstacles to the movement of people and ideas; on the contrary, it facilitates and provides the same with a competitive basis.

Miroslav Kusý: The Politics of National Minorities in Slovakia.
The Slovak Republic is not the smallest among all the European states. Of Europe’s thirty-nine states, it ranks twenty-sixth in area and population combined and twenty-second in population alone. But in comparison to all its immediate neighbours, Slovakia is the smallest state of the region. This factor is strongly determining the geopolitical position of Slovakia in ECE and has special impact on its ethnic minority’s policy. Almost all minorities living in Slovakia have their „maternal nation“ in the neighbouring states: first of all (because of their size) Hungarians and Czechs, but also Ruthenians and Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, and Romani. After the split in 1992 the change of the geopolitical position of Slovakia has a sensible impact on the ethnic minorities, which can compare it with the new much more favourable geopolitical position of their „maternal nations“ (Hungarians, Czechs, Poles).

József Kotics:  Integration or Segregation? (Gypsies in Zabola, Háromszék, Romania)
This essay examines the development and changing of the opinions about Gypsies in a community in which Romanians, Gysies and Hungarians live together in the village of Zabola, in Transylvania. I argue that rethinking and changing the views about Gypsies is part of the ethnicity-production process. Following the approach of Fredrik Barth, when examining ethnicity understood as the social organization of cultural differences, I only focus on cultural boundaries and not on the cultural material within these boundaries. This approach puts emphasis on those activities of the different ethnic groups by which they mark their limits, maintain, and constantly reproduce the boundaries. My primary object is to examine how the previously existing relations and opinions between and about the different ethnic groups in Zabola have been shaped following the political changes of 1989. The changes in Gypsy and non-Gypsy relations have taken various directions.

Tamás Fricz: Typifying Hungarian Democracy: a New Typology of Democracy
The paper attempts to typify the most important features and characteristics of Hungarian democracy. In order to have a typology capable of integrating everything and to present accurately the specificities of Hungarian democracy I also attempt to create a new typology. First he critically analyzed the literature about the democracy, after he explains his theory about the content of “exclusive” and “inclusive” democracy. By his opinion, Hungary is part of the inclusive democracy, because different historical reason. In my view Estonia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are closest to the inclusive type. Bulgaria, Lithuania and Croatia are somewhere in the ‘middle’, but closer to the inclusive type. On the exclusive side Romania, Slovakia and Poland are closer to the ‘ideal type’, whereas Latvia and Hungary are very close to it

Gábor Biczó: The Contemporary Assimilation Research and the Hungarian Diaspora Issue
The general question of assimilation is a crucial problem of our dynamically changing East-European societies. The present paper hopes to interpret the recent anthropological approach to the phenomena of assimilation: that is originally a natural process of social life. On the one hand, this approach conceals the existential correlations that are the essential elements of any assimilation event and it makes the fundamental structural characteristics of the phenomenon inaccessible to analysis. On the other hand, it fails to take advantage of the rich variety of meanings associated with assimilation – simultaneous historical, cultural, philological, philosophical and anthropological connotations – in this complex and differentiated system of correlations whose understanding would greatly advance of our understanding of the mechanisms of socio-cultural change.

David Furmann: Psychic Origins of the “Anger”
Comparing Communism to Fascism has been one of the “favored” topics of the Hungarian intelligentsia even till today. The hypothesis of the chapter is that the antagonism of the contemporary debates originates in the Kádár-regime and in its ambiguous nature. Starting with an illustration of the current situation, the author intend to present the social psychological side of the regime in order to support my statement. The paper is based mostly on the own ideas of the author. The state exploited this over-dog-underdog system as far as possible, thus revitalizing the traditional feudal hierarchy of the Hungarian history. It has become so deeply rooted into the society that it is one of the main legacies of Communism; it has been still hindering the development of a real competitive market economy. For the better understanding of the mechanisms of the regime one has to know the relevant basic rules of social psychology, the dichotomy of us and them (the plural version of the self and the alien). The most significant psychical effect of this feudalism is the ‘infantilization of the society’. A society in which everyone regards himself or herself as a juvenile can be treated as a mass of dependants easy to control and manipulate.

Krisztina Mária Szabó: Time to Fear?
The time between is what we have, during which we meet countless anguishes and horrors warning us and distracting us from the direction in which we have already had a mischance. Politicians use the motivational power of fear perfectly, but advertising professionals, who stand for tempting us to buy products, work with the same method as well. The motive of fear becomes effective, if our message: 1.causes fear in the receiver; 2.We gives guidance regarding how to prevent the threat; 3.The receiver has to accept my action-plan; 4.They has to believe in me and in themselves and together we are able to defeat the threatened. Do we have enough democrats after long times of communism? But unfortunately the history of Central European country from Poland to Croatia is full with democrat heroes and martyrs. Unemployment, distrust, electoral campaign, political parties, ideologies, communism, fascism… Is coming back again the time to fear in Central Europe?

Zoltán Berényi: Behind the Façade: weak civic culture in Hungary
Since the collapse of communism, Hungary was praised for its political stability and for the improving performance of its market economy. In the light of recent riots in 2006 however, this positive picture is fading rapidly. Although economic and political transformations can be regarded as remarkable, there are serious problems with the development of civic culture. During the past 16 years in Hungary, the political system has failed to incorporate vested interests and special groups into a decision-making process. In part, the economic reform has generated social inequalities, which are reproduced into political exclusion by the state. The danger that the persistence of the culture of informality presents for democracy is that this system does not give the opportunity to channel their interests into decision making spheres for those who are not able, or do not want to use informal connections.

Máté Szabó: Dissent and Opposition in Kádár-Regime of Hungary
After the terror against the participants in the Uprising of 1956, the Kádár regime grew gradually more open again to critical intellectuals. After 1968, a current of liberal-democratic orientation emerged from the milieu of the Revisionists of communism. In 1988 they fund the oppositional Alliance of Free Democrats (Szabad Demokraták Szövetsége – SZDSZ). A second source of dissidence was formed by nationally-oriented Populism, which has influenced Hungarian literature and art up to today and which developed in its own direction within the opposition after 1968. The Populist opposition, among whose representatives were the writers led to the founding in 1988 of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (Magyar Demokrata Fórum – MDF). A reform-oriented student movement formed in the 1980s in connection to these groups, engaged for reform of the universities and against environmental pollution. From this youth protest milieu, which one may characterize as a ‘new social movement within Socialism’, came the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége – FIDESZ) in 1988.

Imre Lévai: Globalisation: Evolution of the Complex World System
The modern world system is a complex one with all its non-linear and dynamical attributes of condition and behaviour (structure and function). Complex systems are unstable dynamically as they are highly sensitive to minor changes in the initial conditions and they tend to behave cyclically along a deterministic chaotic trajectory (strange attractor). All systems possess synergic (quantitative) efficiency attributes in general, but complex systems also have the particular capability of emergence, that is producing (qualitatively) new structures. The regionalisation can be interpreted as asymmetrical globalisation or, conversely, regional differentiation in the modern world system. Invented controversies on “universalisation” or “homogenisation” vs. “segmentation” and “fragmentation”, etc. just miss the point: integration and differentiation are but “two sides of the same coin”, that is two inseparable aspects of world system evolution.