Studia Politica, vol. IX, no. 3, 2009
ALEXANDRA IONESCU, The Short Communism’s Journey into Democracy. An Appraisal of Romanian Democratization, pp. 393-398
Romania, parties, postcommunism, democracy, state, regime, society
Two decades after the demise of communism, one can draw a state of the art of democratization in Romania. The task of building democracy was not only an endeavor of institutional engineering, but also a re-conceptualization of the intellectual resources of politics, as well as a re-conversion of the instruments and modes of government. Romanian democratization meant simultaneously unraveling the state and the regime and separating the state and the society. Both processes were grounded in the make up of political parties which turned to be not only their authors, but also one of their chief products. Successful as they were, these two disengagements led unwittingly to a third one: between the political regime and the society reshaped by postcommunism.
ALAIN CHATRIOT, Les renouveaux de l’histoire politique française du contemporain, pp. 401-423
political history, historiography, Constitution, corporatism, economic council
The New Modern French Political History
The Modern French Political History has been significantly transformed over the last twenty years. Apart from the pluralism of disciplinary approaches – law, political science, history – Pierre Rosanvallon’s seminal work represents a landmark for the specialists of the political period inaugurated by the French Revolution. After presenting this historiography, we take a precise example in order to show the interest of these new approaches. Even though the history of the Conseil économique et social has been relatively neglected by scholars, it remains the third French constitutional assembly of the twentieth century. It held a specific position within the institutional framework in that it was not elected by universal suffrage but was considered by its members to be one of the rare ”institutional representations of civil society”. The successive attempts to create the Conseil économique et social during three different republics – in 1925, 1946 and 1958 – offer an opportunity to connect the theoretical debates on the competing forms of democracy and the specific institutional experiences. By focusing on the composition, responsibilities and functioning of the different councils as well as on the debates which consistently accompanied their establishment, a series of questions emerge about elections, notions of representation, and sovereignty in modern political regimes. Inspired by Pierre Rosanvallon’s political historical perspective, this study offers a new approach on the institutions, ”corporate” tendencies, and interest groups of the French republican model.
MIHAI CHIOVEANU, The Paper Solution. Jewish Emigration from Romania during the Holocaust, pp. 425-444
emigration, ethnic-cleansing, anti-Semitism, war, genocide
With late 1942, and the continent wide Holocaust in full swing, Romanian decision makers decided to return to and promote emigration, a former, long-abandoned by that time Nazi strategy and policy, as the only acceptable solution to the Jewish Question. The Romanians made no secret out of their intention to continue their ethnic cleansing operations by other, more civilized means, and with more profitable ends: funds from ransoming Jews, containing German protests, signaling the allies that Romania took a different path. However, none of the goals was achieved by the end. Episodical and incoherent, Jewish emigration from Romania during the war went rather slow as the government refused taking major risks and any direct involvement in coordinating the operations. Considering the rather small number of Jews that left Romania as to reach Palestine after a long and unsafe voyage, one can only conclude that emigration did not mattered much in saving the Jews, nor when it came to ethnically cleanse Romania. My chief interest is with delineating the reasons and motivations behind the decision of the Romanian government to move back to emigration, to understand the twisted and paradoxical decision-making process, and the metamorphosis of cleansing nation statism. Attention is given not only to the Romanian government, but also to the Nazi perspective on emigration, the attitude of the Allies and the neutral countries, and the efforts of the Jewish leadership and international organizations to rescue the remnants of the community at large. Analyzing the actions and attitudes of the above-mentioned actors in a wider European context might shed some light on the controversial issue of Jewish emigration from Romania during the Holocaust, an issue that was often abused in a desperate attempt to diminish or overlook the dimensions of extermination and the radical nature of Romanian state anti-Semitism. Living apart several aspects that were not addressed, the main problem comes with the general view on emigration as a practice to be honored and not a policy to be reconsidered and critically assessed, as it aimed but for the destruction of the group.
PETRU NEGURĂ, Le combat culturel. Alphabétisation et propagande dans les milieux ruraux en Moldavie soviétique de l’après-guerre (1945-1953), pp. 445-452
literacy, propaganda, Soviet Moldova, Soviet Union, ”cultural revolution”
The Cultural Struggle: Literacy and Propaganda in the Rural Areas of Post-war Soviet Moldavia [1945-1953]
After the Soviets annexed Bessarabia in June 1940, and again after its recapture in August 1944, the authorities launched a campaign to increase adult literacy. The context was one of high tension, as a result of the war and the policy of enforcing the re-establishment and (re-) sovietisation of government apparatus. The ”elimination of illiteracy” was influenced by the ideological tradition of the ”cultural revolution” of the 1920s and by wartime rhetoric, but it had both positive and negative aspects. On one hand, it was positive campaign for the education of the masses, for ”cultural construction” and in favour of ”civilising popular culture”. On the other hand, it had negative objectives, because it was directed against ”ignorance” and also against the ”wrongs” of Romanian education and propaganda. The case of post-war Moldavia is a revealing one because of the great political importance which the Soviet authorities attached to literacy. My paper takes this example to examine how these dual components, both positive and negative, alternated and competed with each other, and were enmeshed both in the practice of literacy education and in the discourse which promoted it. To understand the whole process, I have brought together for analysis two important perspectives: that of the state (in a series of speeches and official documents) and that of the ”people” (in a body of interviews conducted with a sample of rural inhabitants born in the 1920s). The agents of the literacy campaign – who represented the state but were mainly of popular origin – acted as bridges and intermediaries between the two ”camps”.
VICTOR IULIAN TUCĂ, A Universalistic Perspective of National Identity and Nationalism, pp. 453-470
democracy, identity, liberalism, Marxism, myth, nation, nationalism
This article is based on the idea that the nation possesses no reality independent of its images and representation. On the contrary, classical discourse of modern liberalism implies that human beings are engaged in recurrently revising the forms of life and modes of experience which they have inherited and by which ”human nature” itself is constituted at in any given time and place. Classical liberalism sees personal identity, not in terms of the mass manufacture of any one type of human being, but as the promotion of the growth of the powers and capacities of autonomous thought and action. In total contradiction with the classic liberalism, the Nazi vision asserts that each individual is a cell belonging to the giant organism that is the people. Nazism was based on the idea that the race is the most important element in defining a human being. Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau discovered that ”the engine of history” is not the Marxist class struggle but race struggle. On the other hand, while in the liberal doctrine the individuals take theirs decisions in conformity with theirs own free choices, the communist utopia set up as a certain task, namely, the edification of the bright future of humanity. According to Marxism, nationalism is not a result of a popular movement but it is an action of the bourgeois or intelligentsia towards the masses. The central Marxist’s claim that nationalism will not survive capitalism was not proved correct. The argument developed in this article, following the path of Benedict Anderson, is that a nation is more than a text or a discourse that can be understood and deconstructed and it is based on the central myths including symbols, common past, traditions, laws and institutions. The concept of myth is seen as a process through which the history functions as an almost non-conscious foundation for our perception of reality.
ALEXANDRA IONAŞCU, The Weakness of Social Actors in CEE. Exploiting or Consolidating the Trade Unions in Post-communist Romania?, PP. 471-486
trade union consolidation, corporatism, politicisation, civil servants, organisational development
Trade unions in Central and Eastern Europe exhibit a difficult organisational development, a high degree of fragmentation and a lack of strength. Focusing on the Romanian trade union confederations, this paper aims to provide an alternative explanation of their influence during the democratisation process. The study emphasizes that, in the Romanian case, the articulation and the consolidation of the trade union movements were directly dependent on the relationship created with the political arena. In its turn, the reconfiguration of the trade unions’ politicisation entailed a change in their internal structures and in their strategies. The general mechanisms of Romanian unions’ transformation are scrutinized in the last section of this article by mobilising the case of the civil servants interests representation after 1989.
RADU CARP, Turkey in the European Union. The End of the Secularist Modernisation Project, pp. 487-500
borders, European Union, modernity, religious freedom, secularism, Turkey
Turkey adopted from its very beginning an original project of modernity seen as an alternative both to Westernisation and Islam. It seems that this ”third way” does not help enough in order to achieve the democratic standards of a European country. This paper analyses not all Turkey modernity aspects, but only secularism, mainly because this was considered for a long time the most successful one. Turkish secularism is based not on a separation between State and Church, but on putting all religious practices and institutions under the control of the State. In order to see what the meaning of secularism in Turkey is right now, this paper addresses the historical background of political parties in Turkey, starting with Refah Party and ending with the latest developments of AK Party of the current Prime Minister Erdoğan. This party tries a unique experiment in Turkey, willing to adapt traditional Islam values to modernisation and giving a new meaning to secularism. This paper discuss many issues related to the role of religion in society, either Islam (”the Muslim veil” interpreted by ECHR in Leyla Şahin v. Turkey – 2005, the Alevi community, Imam Hatip schools), or Christian (the new 2008 legal framework on associations acknowledging the right of property of the religious associations, mainly Christian, the ECHR decision on Ecumenical Patriarchate v. Turkey – 2008, the status of the Theological School of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the island of Halki). At this moment, the question if a Muslim majority country could Member State of the European Union is not at stake, but in what extent the European Union may be involved in changing the current Turkey approach on religious freedom, taking into account that there is no European model on Church – State relations. This is the reason why, even in his last 2008 Report, European Commission relies not on the acquis communautaire, but mainly on enforcing ECHR decisions. The question of Turkey belonging to the European Union is addressed in this paper also from the perspective of different types of Europe borders – geographical, institutional, cultural and transactional (formal). No matter the type of border considered, Turkey is still a problematic case. Its European aspirations accelerated the debate on what is and what should be the European Union: a construction based on Western civilization and Christianity or a polity based on democratic values without reference to history or even geography. The paper conclusion is that it is in the very interest of the European Union to accept Turkey and it has to act in such a way that at a certain moment Turkey will transform itself into a country with a similar approach to religious freedom as all other existing Member States.
OANA VALENTINA SUCIU, Are We at the End of Ethnicity?, pp. 501-514
ethnicity, ethnic identity, ethnic groups, nationality, nationalism
The article aims to present some of the most important approaches of a relatively recent term, i.e. ”ethnicity” and its correlative phenomena: ethnic identities, ethnic groups, nations, nationality and nationalism. The theoretical considerations regrading the widely-used, but less-explained concepts are added value by presenting examples from various communities, societies and tstates, in an attempt to transform in rather clearer clearer tools for analysis. Moreover, at the end of the day, students of tehnicity agree upon the fact that ethnic loyalties are extremely stable.
AITANA RADU, Democratization in the Arab World. Challenges and Setbacks, pp. 515-531
Arab democratization, modernization theory, authoritarianism, Arab elections, political reform
This study aims to answer a basic question in connection with the Arab world, namely what are the reasons standing behind the Middle East’s unique resilience toward democracy. In so doing I start with an evaluation of the main theories on this subject and then proceed to an extensive analysis of the nature and typology of Arab authoritarian regimes. This article concludes with a brief overview of the electoral process in the Middle East, as an indicator of democratization failure in the region.
JEAN-PIERRE DUPUY, Tsunami. Scurtă metafizică a catastrofelor, Romanian transl. by Ion Doru Brana, Nemira, Bucureşti, 2007 (CRISTINA-ANDREEA GOLOMOZ), pp. 535-537
PIPPA NORRIS, Driving Democracy: Do Power-Sharing Institutions Work?, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2008 (DRAGOŞ DRAGOMAN), pp. 537-540
DEVORAH KALEKIN-FISHMAN, PIRKKO PITKANEN (eds.), Multiple Citizenship as A Challenge to European Nation-States, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2007 (ANA-MARIA TANAŞOCA), pp. 541-543
PIRKKO PITKANEN, DEVORAH KALEKIN-FISHMAN (eds.), Multiple State Membership and Citizenship in the Era of Transnational Migration, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2007 (ANA-MARIA TANAŞOCA), pp. 541-543
IAN KERSHAW, Hitler, the Germans and the Final Solution, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2008 (LETIŢIA POP), pp. 543-546
JACQUES SÉMELIN, Purify and Destroy. The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide, Columbia University Press, New York, 2007 (ANA-MARIA TANAŞOCA), pp. 546-550
ILAN PAPPE, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, One World Publications, Oxford, 2006 (ŞTEFAN TURCU), pp. 550-554
GÉRARD PRUNIER, Darfur: A 21st Century Genocide, Third Edition, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 2008 (ION ENACHE), pp. 554-557
JÓHANNA KRISTÍN BIRNIR, Ethnicity and Electoral Politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 2007 (ANDREEA ZAMFIRA), pp. 557-561
PASCAL DELWIT, ÉMILIE VAN HAUTE (éds.), Le vote des Belges (Bruxelles-Wallonie, 10 juin 2007), Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 2008 (ANDREEA ZAMFIRA), pp. 561-564
RADU CARP, Dumnezeu la Bruxelles. Religia în spaţiul public european, Eikon, col. «Universitas», seria «Theologia socialis» 3, Cluj-Napoca, 2009 (IULIANA CONOVICI), pp. 564-567
SERGIU MIŞCOIU, OANA CRĂCIUN, NICOLETA COLOPELNIC, Radicalism, Populism, Interventionism. Three Approaches Based on Discourse Theory, EFES, Cluj-Napoca, 2008 (CRISTINA EŞEANU), pp. 567-569