Studia Politica, vol. IV, no. 3, 2004
The New Europeans Face the Ballot Box
The article analyses the results of the first elections for the European Parliament in an enlarged European Union, an event that the authors consider as a first concrete translation of enlargement itself. Placed in the context of national and European electoral politics, the results are traced and explained for the new member states, drawing the necessary conclusions about how the distribution of seats in the EP – and the corresponding political statement of the electorate – are likely to affect the (feeble and uncertain) domestic balance of the new entrants. While massive abstention and the sanctioning of incumbent parties from the national government level replicate tendencies in the EU-15, the study finds that euroscepticism and especially allegiance to right-wing extremist poles should not be of short-term concern for the new member states.
Consensualist Administration and Partycracy
An informative survey and in-depth discussion of the outcomes at the Romanian local elections of 2004 and of the majorities in the county councils, the study confirms previous research by the author. The awkward combination between the consensualist goals of the Law on local public administration and the partycracy tendencies entrenched in the political regime yields the conclusion that the same six main political parties that had won seats in the Parliament in the 2000 general elections continue to dominate the administration and the outcomes of the local elections. Therefore, for the moment, the 2000 national elections remain decisive for articulating the Romanian party system, which oscillates between the two models of Arend Lijphart, majoritarian and consensualist, with a pragmatic emphasis on the former.
The Respectable Bourgeois Woman. Reflections on the Political Dimension of the Medical Discourse in 19th century Romania
19th century Romanian society experienced a reconstruction of individual and collective identities due to the numerous social, cultural and political changes. This study focuses on the political effects of normative scientific standards, i.e. on the ideological stakes underlying the hygienist discourse. The reshaping of social hierarchies and the emergence of new actors – i.e., the ”experts”, who seek to legitimize the new political discourse – call for a re-evaluation of the status of hygiene and of the hygienist specialists during the 19th century. Taking the Western analyses treating similar topics as a starting point, this study suggests that respectability and national ideology are the vectors in the process of elaborating new social models and new gender identities. A careful examination of the hygiene treatises – whose specific object and audience were bourgeois women – allows the reconstruction of a comprehensive normative model prescribing a systematic control of feminine gestures, stances and sentiments. As those treatises repeat the stereotypes of the dominant ideology – e.g., the importance of demographic growth and the emphasis on work and savings – the author develops the intrinsic link between the political order and the corporal order.
The modernization of the traditional societies challenges the ability of the political élites to ensure political stability. Political stability can be achieved through a certain design of the party system, which could be dominated by a single party, or could be characterized by bi- or multipartidism. Maintaining political stability was also a priority for the political élites of interwar Romania, who wished to restore the model of the pre-war stable bipartidism. The electoral legislation of 1926 aimed to consolidate a two-party system, but in the long term it had the perverse effect of multipolarization. While painting a very detailed analysis of the interwar party system, the author argues that such effects are due to the influence of the very competitive political culture of the ideology-driven ruling class, a ”political tradition”, which undermined political stability. Moreover, while the electoral legislation introduced in 1926 was maintained, a new propensity to short-sighted bargaining and the paucity of the social issues raised by the parties marked the ever more complex party politics, as the effects of this socio-cultural context began to wane.
August 23, 1994 – December 30, 1947: Political and Constitutional Regimes
The paper explores, from a constitutional angle, the political transformations taking place in Romania between August 23, 1944 and the forced abdication of King Michael. By resorting to the reinterpretation of a number of legal documents and political writings, the paper argues to what extent the apparent return to the 1923 Romanian constitution was essentially a deceptive one, since it is in this period that the foundations of a new totalitarian order were laid. A particular attention is paid to the role played by Lucrețiu Pãtrãșcanu, acting as Minister of Justice in the governments preparing the transition towards the imposition of the Soviet-style popular republic.
The author purposes an analysis of the degree of Europeanisation of the Romanian minority rights policy, within the context of EU conditionality for accession. She begins with a detailed plea for a historical neoinstitutionalist framework, enriched with elements of rational choice and sociological institutionalism, simultaneously drawing upon the Europeanisation concepts of outcomes and mechanisms of change. Accordingly, she investigates the evolution of the governmental behaviour, discourse and strategies addressing the Hungarian minority in Romania, identifying three major periods, which coincide with the electoral cycle, respectively describing them as a first phase of inertia and retrenchment, a second phase of absorption, and a third phase of transformation. A similar analysis maps the EU, from gate-keeping during the Balladur Plan, monitoring, vague legislative and institutional templates in the Commission’s annual reports, while the EU’s financial contribution for consolidating minority rights in Romania constitutes another mechanism towards Europeanisation via aid and technical assistance.
Coal Miners’ Raids and the Rewriting of History. Instruments of Legitimation or Delegitimation in the Press of the 1990s
The coal miners’ movements towards the capital constitute a pretext to examine the confrontation of miners and journalists, perhaps the most important pressure groups in post-communist Romania. Considering the social structure of these groups, this divergence mirrors their conflicting reactions towards the political system that was instituted after December 1989. Yet, notwithstanding their separate perceptions of democracy, the author proposes to investigate the arguments used in this confrontation. The causes and evolution of the miners’ visits to Bucharest as gauges in the evolution of the Romanian democracy, the legitimation and delegitimation of their actions since the events of June 1990 are thus traced in three daily newspapers, Adevãrul, România Liberã and Dimineaþa, which the author monitored over the corresponding tidal periods: January-September 1990, September-December 1991, and January-March 1999. One method of undermining the other’s legitimacy is that of twisting history though partisan interpretation or even by re-writing those historical events that shaped the adversary’s particular identity. Such events that built the miners’ image are the strike of 1929, which the communist regime considered an essential episode of the fight against the bourgeois oppression of the workers, and the strike of 1977, which, on the contrary, produced an anti-communist alibi. Nevertheless, the latter representation began to fade, especially after the events in June 1990, as some editorialists questioned the incomplete resistance of 1977, the miners’ feeble participation in the uprising of December 1989 and their unconditional support for the communists who remained in office. The most striking case is that of the January 1999 miners’ raid, when the strike of 1929 receives completely opposing connotations in România Liberã and Dimineața.
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SANDRINE KOTT, Le communisme au quotidien. Les entreprises d'État dans la société est-allemande, Belin, coll. „Socio-Histoires“, Paris, 2001 (ALEXANDRA IONESCU), pp. 759-763
DAN LUNGU, Construcția identității într-o societate totalitară. O cercetare sociologică asupra scriitorilor, Editura Junimea, Iași, 2003 (LUCIA DRAGOMIR), pp. 763-765
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ION ILIESCU în dialog cu VLADIMIR TISMĂNEANU, Marele șoc din finalul unui secol scurt, Editura Enciclopedicǎ, București, 2004 (CRISTIAN PREDA), pp. 768-769
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MIHAI COMAN, Mass-media în România post-comunistă, Polirom, col. „Collegium“, Iași, 2003 (ANDREI NICULESCU)
MIHAI COMAN, Mass-media, mit și ritual. O perspectivă antropologică, Polirom, col. „Sociologie-Antropologie. Cercetări și eseuri“, Iași, 2003 (ANDREI NICULESCU), pp. 774-782
ELVIRA-ECATERINA IVÃNESCU, Societatea ortodoxă națională a femeilor române (1910-1948, 1990-2001), Editura Universitară Craiova, Craiova, 2001(IONELA BÃLUȚÃ), pp. 782-783