Studia Politica, vol. VIII, no. 2, 2008
This short article aims to question some of the arguments advanced in recent democratic theory that uses a certain understanding of the science-politics relation in order to advocate for participatory procedures at the expense of political representation. It critically examines the conceptual and normative assumptions of a certain framing of the legitimacy problem that is based on Science and Technology Studies (STS) findings and offers an argument for a renewed interest in the complex yet rich normative potential of political representation.
Christianity and Democracy. A Possible Model of Theory and Political Action
This study aims to answer the question of whether Christian Orthodoxy can inspire political movements. In so doing we start from the political theories of modernity where the link between Christianity and democracy is central. Our result sounds unexpected: interaction between Orthodoxy and democracy seems to not have a perspective. It is too late for it since most political movements in post-communism do not have the religious identity of their members as a criterion. The situation was not different before. As an example, the effort of the orthodox theologians and laymen in Romania before the outbreak of the Second World War is quoted here. Almost without an exception all focused and restricted their interest on the question of the nation. Therein we see the principal reason for the above-postulated perspective of an orthodox political doctrine until now. On the European level, the situation looks also no better. Even the parties, which attribute themselves to the Christian values, have at present large difficulties to convey their message. It remains only to hope that the political actors rediscover the social and actively support the Christian ethics in the public area. Only so can democracy be regarded as one of the most important binding forces also under the Christians.
Communist Death in Romania
The study catches a glimpse of the different faces of ”communist death”, imagined as ”assumed death”, ”egalitarian death”, or exemplary (i.e., heroic) death. In fact, this was really the death of individuality. The goal of this study was achieved through transdisciplinary methodologies, which involve the specific tools of social investigation, interconnected disciplines (see political history, political, cultural and funerary anthropology, social psychology, art and architecture history), through convergent usage of historical sources specific to recent history (official documents, newspapers of the Stalinist period, memory literature, ethnographic sources, funerary inscriptions, interviews). The aim is to present the operations involved in the ideologization of death, a process demanded by ”the hunger for legitimacy” of the communist system.
Actors and Strategies for the Production of the Nationalistic Discourse in Ceauşescu’s Romania
The objective of this study is to propose an analysis pattern for the production of the nationalistic discourse during Ceauşescu’s regime and the interdependence relations connecting the various actors of this type of discourse. The main idea is that the nationalistic message of Ceauşescu’s regime is not the exclusive creation of the main political actor, i.e. the political instrument of the Communist Party; the nationalistic message is in fact built from the interaction of an ensemble of political and cultural factors integrated within a network of multiple communication choices and of mutual influence.
Political Culture in Urban Romania
The poor performance of the political system in Romania, still marked by disaffection and pervasive corruption, may be shaped by the lack of control from the citizens. Much more responsible towards its electoral basis, the Romanian political system would be more legitimate. The political performance and legitimacy would in turn make citizens more satisfied and eager to defend democratic values. The happy circle of civic control, responsiveness, satisfaction and political performance may be started somehow. The research paper is an attempt to evaluate political culture in urban Romania as a source of political legitimacy and performance. We focus on the civic culture, this special association of knowledge and feelings about the political system that settle citizens to political communication, partisanship, social cooperation, political competence, and, in the end, political action. By analysing survey data, we outline a meager civic culture in Romania, but also the hope for a future civic competence.
The history of the Romanian-Hungarian relations is burned by a series of failures, as far as attempts aiming to provide patterns of integration of the Hungarian minority are concerned. These failures, together with the tradition of institutionalized mistrust of the Romanian authorities represented a difficult legacy for the post-1989 political projects and ethnopolitical strategies on both sides. Since 1989, the situation of the Hungarian minority in Romania has improved significantly in many concerns. In spite of the undeniable achievements, the conflicting interests of the two communities could not be reconciled, and the options of the Romanians and Hungarians, as far as the issue of the integration is concerned, continue to differ in essential terms. The dominant patterns of public opinion yield conflicting identity structures and competing ethnopolitical strategies, which raise the intriguing question: on what grounds can Hungarians in Romania be considered as part of the Romanian political community? The paper tries to offer an answer to this question by comparing the dominant trends in conceptualizing the term political community with recent research results which bare, according to the author, the evidence of those identity structures and ethnopolitical strategies which divide the Romanian political community along ethnic fault-lines. The paper reaches the conclusion that if we bare in mind, following Elizabeth Frazer, the ”thin” interpretation of the concept, the Romanian political community qualifies without doubts. However, if we consider the ”thick” version of the term’s prevailing significance, the entirety of the Romanian citizens, which includes the members of the Hungarian minority, falls short of the criteria of the ideal political community for several reasons.
The Beginnings of Romanian Feminism: from Individual to Collective Action
The paper explores the beginning of women’s movement during the second half of the 19th century in Romania. What kind of capitals and positions did allow women to enter a sphere (the public sphere) that officially was inaccessible to them? What kind of actions or ideas mobilized women? What was the relationship between the normative models and their contestation? The social origin, the intellectual formation, marriage (especially the husband’s profession) seem to have been essential factors for the women’s public presence and expression. The article shows that initially charity and discourses on feminine education prevailed; feminist ideas and practices intervened at a later stage and had difficulties in consolidating. The context in which these changes take place is the period of the formation of a gender awareness, a condition for the birth of the feminist movement.
The Political Demands of Romanian Women in the ’20. The Feminist Work of Princess Alexandrina Cantacuzino at National and Balkan Levels
In the 20’s, the Romanian feminism fights for the acknowledgment of the full political rights for women. In this fight, princess Alexandrina Cantacuzino’s figure is remarked, who acts both on the national and international level, to make the Romanian women’s demands known to the Balkan feminists. Alexandrina Cantacuzino creates associations on a national and Balkan level, as to promote the Romanian women’s interests: The National Group of the Romanian Women and The Little Feminine Agreement which are only two examples presented in this study. The analysis of The National Group of the Romanian Women allows the understanding of Alexandrina Cantacuzino’s authoritative and nationalist logic and at the same time, it allows the integration of the Romanian feminism in the women's international movement which has its upsurge in this epoch.
The Political Construction of Gender Relations. The Romanian Family Policies within the European Context
The article aims at ascertaining to which extent family policies determine, accompany or announce the social and especially family realities, identifiable in the dynamics of socio-demographic data, in order to uncover in depth the contemporary metamorphoses of gender relations. The author thus presents an overview of family policies and gender equality in the European context, and, more specifically, in the framework of the ”other” Europe, before and after the fall of communism. This comparative approach is then used in the case study of the particular link between political regimes and the gender divide in Romania. Therefore, the article emphasizes the complexity of relations between gender and family policies, relations which are connected with the multiple ways of conceiving equality, as well as with the plurality of perspectives on family, which underlie the articulation of any family policy.
Debating Prostitution. The Politics of Knowledge
Prostitution seems to play a key role nowadays in academic and public debates about women’s status in complex societies and the ways political discourses take into account sexualities. The aim of this article is to offer a survey of different manners of theorising prostitution. More precisely, it tends to free the subject of prostitution from a field imposed by a totalizing discourse driven by a medical gaze and oversaturated by ethical and dogmatic prejudices and to redeem its theoretical substance. We believe that this dialogue between traditional scholarly discrete disciplines on prostitution might open new perspectives on the democracy’s assets and enrich the critical inquiry on gender and politics. Our view on this topic tries to debunk essentialist views inherited from the great narratives built up by political philosophy and bring the subject of prostitution to a critical condition, by exposing the discourses that shaped it.
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