Studia Politica, vol. IX, no. 2, 2009
political consent, democracy, liberalism, political theory, nation-state
The surmise underlining this introductory note is that an examination of the forms taken by political consent, apprehended as the reason of democracy, may grant the benefit of historical depth to the transformations the corporeality of democracy, that is European nation-states, both Western and Eastern, had to cope with in the period between the junctures of 1945 and 1989, but also before and beyond. The assumption of the paper is that the language of political consent was, and still is idiomatic, dialectal and rarely submitted to a universally accepted rule and that the nation-state may not be, the only imaginable incarnation of democratic expectations. Regarded as an autonomous and discriminating response given by ordinary citizens to the different appeals of democracy (electoral, liberal, constitutional, popular, pluralist, populist), consent might be a research object that is worth being imagined, contrived and probed.
Phanariot, nationalism, identity, myth, political discourse, elites
Few episodes in Romania’s history are as heatedly debated, disputed, and instrumentalized for political, ideological, educational, and entertainment ends, as the Phanariot Century. The bulk of scholarly studies notwithstanding, for most Romanians this period represents the paradigmatic ”Dark Age” of decadence, and the icon of the ”Ancien Regime” of their national history. Due the univocal nature of the topic, the too strong and restrictive focus on aspects that are not necessarily essential and illustrative, the abused and misused Phanariot was gradually turned over the last two centuries into a trope. Reflecting on the above matter, my intention is to analyze in the nexus created by text and context a particular set of written works and historical events relevant to the process of shaping Romanian modern historical culture and national identity. My aim is to reconstruct the conflict flanked by the antithetical role models of the Good Romanian and Evil Phanariot. In this sense, I will trace and analyze the emergence and evolution of the specific, anti-Phanariot discourse. My focus is on the origins of the theme, its dynamic, and frequency, the way it was used, abused, and misused by the Romanian elites during the 19th and 20th century. My emphasis is not on political and social themes but rather on issues closer to cultural history, with the Phanariot as a literary artifact making my chief attention. Inspired by Hayden White’s ”archeology of ideas”, I will consider and analyze only some of the most representative and popular representations of the Phanariot. Consequently, the final result will consist in a collection of artifacts that might illuminate the reader on the complex cultural pedigree of a constitutive, in many respects fictional, otherness.
Nation-building, state-building, representation, historicism, Romania
The paper starts from the assumption that 1866 – the year a foreign prince is invited to the Romanian throne and a constitutional government is introduced – elevates to the rank of state ideology the discourse of the ‘unitary nation’ that immediately becomes the hegemonic narrative. As early as 1866, at the dawn of mass politics in Romania, the parliamentarians compensate for the late and weak statehood (with internal challenges and separatist movements, and difficult international acknowledgment) with the patriotic rhetoric of national brotherhood and the exclusivist appraisal of ”Romanianness”. The first part examines the foundations of the new regime, by drawing comparisons with Greece. In May-June 1866 Romania condenses Greece’s experience from March 1844 to March 1864. In both cases, the foreign prince from a European royal family (respectively Karl Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Otto von Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria) is considered the price to pay in order to gain the foreign powers’ protection and their support for obtaining political autonomy, if not yet independence from the Porte. Some of the main questions asked are: to what extent the new prince is ready to accept de facto and de jure the contractual nature of the Constitution? What is the meaning of the ”Constitution” for both the parliamentarians and Charles I (the name taken by the von Hohenzollern as ruling Prince of Romania)? Who is the holder of the pouvoir constituant in 1866? Why is the reference to the autochthonous constitutional tradition absent in 1866? How to explain the xenophobic arguments of the parliamentarians who oppose the foreign prince? The second part of the paper examines three of the first major pieces of legislation adopted during the first parliamentary session of 1866-1867 – on the new national currency, national day and coat of arms – in order to integrate the foreign Prince and his dynasty into the national narrative and imaginary, and to make visible the signs of state autonomy.
Holocaust memory, survivors, resistance, collaboration
This article examines how the Holocaust survivors from Romania represented and reinterpreted the notions of resistance and collaboration. Overall, it seems that the treatment of the Holocaust in post-WWII public opinion and scholarship influenced the way survivors represented the Holocaust. For many years, resistance was equated with ‘heroic’ armed struggle. Gradually, the perspective of the Holocaust began to change, and new interpretations enlarging the concept of resistance have since emerged. The issue of Jewish collaboration with the Nazis has also triggered heated debates. Due to changing social and political contexts, new interpretations focusing on the difficulties and moral dilemmas faced by the Jews have started to emerge.
communism, memory, political parties, FSN, PSD
The first part of this text illustrates the conditions and the context in which the political utilization of the communist past become central in the process of redesigning Romanian political culture after 1990. Furthermore, the text refers to the manner in which the newly emerged post-communist power has represented and referred to the communist past, while in the end, it analyzes the identity and the role played by the political party that mainly influenced the Romanian transition, namely today’s PSD, the Party of Social Democracy. The political attitudes towards the past which shaped the Romanian political scene before 2000 play now a lesser role. But this fact appears as a sign of a crisis of Romanian pluralism, not as a result of a successful democratization.
deliberative democracy, rhetoric, agonism, political justification
This article surveys some of the main recent debates concerning deliberative democracy. It first sets out to discuss the main elements of a generic structure of deliberative democratic theories, and then lists and assesses some of the most promising critiques to the current versions of public deliberation. Alternative understandings of democratic politics, grounded on agonism or rhetorical persuasion, may provide a renewed perspective on the core political nature of contemporary democracy.
démariage, relationship, family, family policies, France
When proposing to surpass the political alternative family-individual, the author underlines that the variety of contemporary families becomes comprehensible only if analyzed in the context of big structural, political and cultural evolutions that affects the entire society. With contemporary conjugality turning more and more contractual, privatized but also more unstable, the link of filiations goes the other way around, turning more unconditional. Hence, the author introduces three important aspects concerning the family institution nowadays. The first is connected to the increasing number of mixed couples. The second aspect is linked to an ever increasing life expectancy. Lastly, the third concerns the diversification of filiations by means of adoption, family reorganizations, and medically assisted conception.
urban development, cultural events, economic impact, European Capital of Culture, Sibiu, Romania
This article intends to describe and analyze the impact of a cultural mega-event on a specific city context in post-communist Romania. Our case-study of Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007 shows that cultural events have not only undeniable cultural and social value, but also an important economic impact. The cultural event in Sibiu managed not only to enhance the city’s image and to promote Romania worldwide, yet it largely helped local and regional economy by direct, indirect and induced economic effects. Our analysis shows that European Capital of Culture programme had a noticeable impact on local tourism, infrastructure, and Sibiu municipality’s budget. It largely helped to boost local economy, which was recovering after a decade of economic decline, and to turn the city into a major destination for foreign and national investments in Romania. The impact of the 2007 European Capital of Culture event on urban development explains why the nomination of Capital of Culture became so envied by numerous European cities.
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