Studia Politica, vol. IV, no. 1, 2004
Norberto Bobbio, a Philosopher of Doubt and of Radical Demands
A eulogy og Norberto Bobbio, spotlighting the solitude of his liberalism in the Italian intellectual setting, tipically enticed by transformism and authoritarianism.
The Meekness of the Political Philosopher. A Tribute to the Memory of Norberto Bobbio
In order to individualize Norberto Bobbio as a political philosopher, the article explores the meanings and uses the Italian author assigned to political philosophy. In so doing, the paper draws mainly on a later work, Elogio della mitezza e altri scritti morali (Pratiche Editrice, Milano, 1998), which was published in English under the title ”In Praise of Meekness” in Convivium. Journal of Ideas in Italian Studies, I, no. 1, 1995, pp. 21-38. The paper’s contention is that Bobbio uses once again his analytical method of understanding a concept by exploring its opposite. Thus, the Italian political philosopher goes against the mainstream that, from Machiavelli to Schmitt, focuses on aristocratic and heroic political virtues as courage, magnanimity, discretion, and the like intended to empower some people to govern most of the people. Bobbio takes the side of a non-political virtue, namely meekness, described as the virtue of the private citizen who has no ambition to rule over things or people. Bobbio argues that a better appraisal of what politics is can therefore be achieved by considering what is beyond politics.
“Democracy” before Parties
The article portrays the main tendencies of the concept of ”democracy” in the 19th century Romanian political thought, before the formal creation of the political parties. Using the methodological basis of conceptual history (Kosselleck, Skinner, Farr, etc.), the author follows the emergence of several meanings of ”democracy”, in the pre- and post- 1848 cultural and intellectual context, related, at first, with the 17th century philosophical heritage (Descartes, Locke, etc. ) and slowly translated into the 19th century philosophical language. The European invention of some fundamental concepts, such as ”Revolution” and ”Nation State”, including some essential debates opposing democracy and equality and linking the democratic system with the idea of representation and universal vote, is also present in various ways in the Romanian political thought.
This study attempts to explain how the decision-making process is handled in the political parties at the European level. The author proposes to interpret a case study on the European People’s Party, while concentrating on the transnational processes developed by the (national) political parties, the parliamentary group in the European Parliament, and the extra-parliamentary party or federation. The broader aim is to assess and understand how the neofunctionalist propositions, the intergovernmental implications, and the neoinstitutionalist observations (apud Simon Hix) explain the development of the Europarties.
The Romanian Party System between Fickle Entries and Unexpected Exits
On the eve of the fifth postcommunist elections, the author proposes to inquire whether there has been a relevant change in the Romanian party system after the 2000 elections. The study abides by three measures – the quantitative and qualitative criteria of system classification, as well as precise socio-historical guidelines – to find that all the clamorous exits (that of the liberals in 1992, as well as that of the PNÞcd in 2000) and entries (the PRM in 2000) are merely peripheral to the established party system, and that Romania continues under the sign of dyadic artificial conflicts, in other words, a sign of a weak consolidation of the party system.
The Evolution of the Leadership in the Romanian SPD
The article follows the evolution of political structures and leadership in the Romanian Social-Democrat Party (SDP), in the postcommunist political life and system. Founded by Ion Iliescu, now president of Romania, the ”ancestor” of the SDP was the National Salvation Front, born during the revolutionary days of December ’89. During the transitional years, the party suffered several transformations and mutations both on the structural and on the ideological level, but the central characters attached to the life of the party remained mainly the same. The study follows some of the major political changes reflected by the evolution of the party itself and the implications of some important political figures, as well as the changes of the parliamentary representation of the present SDP.
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