Multiculturalism and political action

Ashok Kumar Upadhyay: Multiculturalism as Political Concern
What brings cultural studies in social discourse? What is multiculturalism all about? What are the different stages of philosophical frame work for its development? How does it see the concepts like identity, social justice and feminism? Culture is an activity, which is originally derived from nature, and is perhaps one of the most complicated words. Intellectual development refers to the capacity of considered moral judgment for taking a decision to make a workable choice. However, this is not the complete statement about the life of a free individual. It becomes multi-culturalist and the follower of multiculturalism when it publicly declares through policy and legislations that all cultures are equal in their capacity and substance. Multiculturalism is the interplay between the three basic insights of culture. There is a significant link between identity of a person and his community. It also gains the support of all minority groups by recognizing their uniqueness and by providing them importance in public sphere. This helps in bringing the political obligation towards the democratic Social Order.

Jesús de Andrés Sanz and Rubén Ruiz Ramas: Institutions and political regime in Putin’s Russia: an analysis
The article analyzes four main elements in the institutionalization of the Russian political system (executive, legislative, party system and the informal influence of elite groups) during the two presidential terms of Vladimir Putin. This analysis will allow us to contribute to a controversial debate: Under Putin’s rule was there more change or more continuity in the Russian political regime? The hypothesis supported points out that Putin has achieved consolidation and stabilization of a political project that Yeltsin failed to materialize, a project which was devised in the Russian Constitution of 1993. As a consequence, the author’s position is that Putin’s period has not meant a change in direction of Russia’s democratization, but it has produced the consolidation of a hybrid political regime.

Peter Szigeti and Ibolya Vincze: Politics and Political Action – Some Remarks to the Theory of Political Power
Every period of civil society is followed by the dualism of socio-economic and political power. The thematization of Karl Marx and Max Weber, which are significantly different from each other but both use objective and subjective factors (Klassenherrschaft: Herrschaft – Macht), has mental superiority to the monistic elite-theories. The exercise of power is detached to the regime. In the process of globalization, between the dominance relationships of world systems global order prevails  above the nation states in such a way, that the correlation of institutionalization of the organizational (WB, WTO, OECD, IMF, Transnational investors services) , normative-legislative, ideological (Washington consensus) of the super structure  and that of the nation-state level actors can both be seen. The latter playing the functional complementary role in the steering of politics, which takes place without a Global Governance (J. Stiglitz).

György Schöpflin: Minorities, Citizenship and Europe
At the heart of the problem of minorities is the failure of democratic theory and forms of citizenship to develop an adequate response to collectivities which have a different ethnic identity to that of the ethnic majority. The argument in this paper is that historic minorities, by virtue of their temporal and spatial qualities and historically defined status, demand special consideration. They are equal citizens in formal, but seldom in real terms, in that they are subject to various disabilities politically, sometimes economically, certainly culturally, e.g. their access to tertiary education is often well below that of the majority. Perhaps more than anything else, with respect to their moral equality, as equal members of the moral community of citizens, they suffer discrimination in that they lack the same capacity for voice, for input into the discursive capital of the majority or even full access to the goods of the state.

Csaba Varga At the Crossroads of Civil Obedience and Disobedience (A Case Study of a Moment of Constitutional Impotence in Hungary)
Two cases are confronted in the essay, showing the political partisanship of both the intellectuals and the media in situations of political divide, the taxi-blockade of October, 1990, falsely qualified to be an instance of civil disobedience but enforced to end by granting blockaders mercy, and the dismantling of the cordon fencing around the parliament building in February, 2007, falsely refuted to be an instance of civil disobedience but unreacted in law to this very day. In the first one, gasoline price policy of the government was at stake, in the second one, the constitutional impasse of protesting against police restrictions of the popular protest. The legal analysis of civil disobedience, performed by the author in 1990 and renewed in 2007 as well, is then contrasted by weighing the chances of civil obedience under the conditions of constitutional impotence. The outcome is to show that rule of law committed on paper and used in official rhetorics does not imply automatically that claims under the rule of law can be easily implemented in practice.

József  N. Szabó: The Role of the Hungarian Non-governmental Participants in the Diplomatic Connections with the Western Countries /1945-1948/
Non-government bodies, especially civilian organizations, undertook a very important role in Hungary’s breaking out of international isolation and opening Hungarian culture to the outside world. In the new democratic atmosphere after the world war people made use of the opportunities and established a wide variety of organizations. The democratic professionals fully recognized the danger of isolation of country after the war so they wanted to find arguments that reduced the responsibility of Hungary for the war. They were established by and consisted of professionals, but their membership usually also reflected the pluralism of society. The professional elite – scientists, artists and writers – felt particularly responsible for the future of the nation in the postwar era when a new world order was taking shape. All actions and efforts of the civilian organizations, the cultural and scientific events, emphasized the universality of human civilization, the need of cooperation, the friendship of nations and the shared humanistic values. Educational and cultural associations and societies, however, did not confine their activities to culture and science. They sought for, and found, points of meeting between Hungary and other nations in various fields of life. Culture was able to connect nations to each other through these organizations. Building confidence and mutual trust was one of the most important parts of the mission the civilian organizations fulfilled. Finding common historic roots was important, as it was expected to serve as a foundation upon which a more peaceful future would be built.

Jody Jensen: Netizens of the Blogosphere: E-democracy or E-ristocracy?
Netizens are Internet users who utilize the networks from their home, workplace, or school (among other places). Netizens try to be conducive to the Internet’s use and growth. The era of participatory media provides challenges and opportunities, but also dangers. The monolithic media and its increasingly simplistic representation of the world cannot provide the competition of ideas necessary to building consensus. Besides new opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, we should always keep in mind that the new media can also invent new ways to deceive and mislead through abuse and manipulation, promoting anti-cosmopolitan values and interests like nationalism, xenophobia and exclusion.

Leonidas Donskis: Soviet Culture, Russian and Lithuanian Culture
What was Soviet culture? Was it the same Russian culture, only ideologized to the extreme and transformed into a totalitarian project, or was it a completely new type of culture, erasing both history and traditions, and incompatible with anything that had existed prior to it? Soviet modernization created modernity without freedom, or, paraphrasing the catch-cry of the 1960’s generation after Nikita Khrushchev’s Thaw policy, modernity without a human face. George Orwell’s prophecy had come true, that all totalitarian revolutions are destined to become the longest road leading from one form of oppression and exploitation to the next. Yet the most beautiful aspect of Soviet culture were the everyday cares, objects, nostalgia and memories that survived and were fiercely defended in the films, plays and books from Russia and other nations. The same could be said about the great moments of Lithuanian culture from the Soviet period.