Studia Politica. Romanian Political Science Review vol. XXI, no. 2, 2021


Studia Politica @ 20.

Tracing the evolution of Romanian political science: institutionalization, professionalization, past and future challenges

ALEXANDRA IANCU (University of Bucharest), CATERINA PREDA (University of Bucharest), Introduction: Studia Politica @ 20.

This short article introduces the special issue “Studia Politica @20” briefly assessing the evolution of the journal published by the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Bucharest in the last twenty years (2001-2021). It first sketches out the framework in which the journal was created in 2001 to accompany the Faculty of Political Science’s intellectual project, which had started a decade earlier. In a second step, the article retraces how the aims and contents of the journal have changed in these two decades. In a third section, it presents the articles that are part of this special issue and that focus on the institutionalization and professionalization of political science and the thematic evolutions in Romanian political science.

Keywords: Romanian political science, professionalization, institutionalization, FSP-UB.

ALEXANDRA IANCU (University of Bucharest),

CATERINA PREDA (University of Bucharest),

RAMONA COMAN (ULB), Interview with Cristian Preda: “We Wanted to Emulate Western Political Science Journals”


DRAGOȘ DRAGOMAN (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), BOGDAN GHEORGHIȚĂ (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), Structuring Political Science in Romania: A Brief Overview

More than three decades of teaching, adapting and developing political science in Romania represent a tremendous effort of building a ship at sea, especially when one takes into account the origin of the new political science teaching and disseminating at society level. Before 1989, political science was not only extremely ideological, but very instrumental in its purpose of educating single-party personnel with future administrative tasks. Therefore, the current article focuses on the structural constraints when it comes to assess how political science developed in post-communist Romania. In this vein, the article takes into account the transition between the two ideological systems and the renewed momentum that impetuously pushed forward this scholarly discipline in terms of authors’/teachers’ scholarly background, main research areas, core theories endorsed, methodology, original bibliography and Romanian translations, international cooperation, and language of communication. The exploratory attempt does not intend to thoroughly classify all the products of the discipline, but to set up milestones that have defined the institutionalization and professionalization of political science in Romania. However superficial, the brief overview is suitable enough for assessing how political science was structured during the last thirty years.

Keywords: political science, post-communism, democratization, Romania.

DRAGOȘ DRAGOMAN (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu),

BOGDAN GHEORGHIȚĂ (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu),

BUZOGÁNY ARON (BOKU Vienna), RAMONA COMAN (ULB), FRANCISCO DE ARAUJO VASQUEZ (ULB), Institutionalization, Professionalization, and Internationalization of Romanian Political Science

Studia Politica. Romanian Political Science Review celebrates twenty years of existence since its creation in 2001. If this anniversary is a celebration, it also raises questions about the evolution of political science as a discipline since the collapse of communism. There are many ways to trace the genesis and the development of a discipline and one of them is to look at peer-reviewed academic journals. They reflect a given field of study or discipline as much as they construct it. Drawing on a sociology of knowledge approach and using bibliometric methods, this article examines the institutionalization, professionalization, and internationalization of Romanian political science, as well as its contribution to the discipline as a whole from an inward and outward looking perspective. To do so, the article draws on a database which brings together political science articles focusing on Romania published over the last twenty years in Studia Politica, in thirteen area studies and six European Union (EU) studies journals. Inductively, tracing the evolution of Political Science as a discipline through the lens of Studia Politica, the place of Romania in international area studies journals and academic articles on Romania in EU studies journals, the article shows the role of “locals,” i.e., Romania-based researchers in the legitimation, domestic professionalization and internationalization of the discipline and illustrates the roles of the “foreigners” and “emigrants” in the development of the transnational Romanian studies political science community. If Romanian political science as a discipline is mainly institutionalized by “Locals,” research on Romania emerges as a co-constructed field involving “Foreigners,” “Emigrants,” and “Locals.”

Keywords: institutionalization, internationalization, legitimation, field, transnational community, Romanian political science.


RAMONA COMAN (Université Libre de Bruxelles),

FRANCISCO DE ARAUJO VASQUEZ (Université Libre de Bruxelles),

CRISTINA STĂNUȘ (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), Policy Research and Education in Romanian Political Science: A Quantitative Look

The paper maps from a quantitative perspective the place of policy research and education in Romanian political science. It starts from the assumption that public policy is a building block of political science and should have its place in both teaching and research in Romania. Moreover, it assumes that within policy research and education the emphasis should fall on the subfields which better contribute to the integration with the other building blocks. It assesses the place of policy education within the BA in political science degree requirements, the policy focus of MA programs, the policy-related output of the doctoral schools in political science, and the extent to which comprehensive political science journals give space to policy research. It finds convergence with international trends concerning policy education, while also pointing out a diminished presence of policy research in comprehensive journals and reduced interest in research topics with integrative potential.

Keywords: policy education, policy research, political science, Romania, development of Political Science.

CRISTINA STĂNUȘ (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu),

LAVINIA STAN (St. Francis Xavier University), Transitional Justice Research: An Overview of Latest Trends

Transitional justice has gained prominence during the last two decades as a field of study and practice. An increasing number of new and old democracies and post-conflict countries has adopted a wide range of programs, practices and methods designed to reckon with the legacies of recent pasts marred by gross human rights abuses. Governments, civil society organizations as well as international actors have championed transitional justice for truth, justice and reconciliation goals and in the hope that such atrocities will never re-occur. Court trials for redress, truth, history and inquiry commissions, rewriting history textbooks, lustration, screening and vetting programs, access to secret files compiled on ordinary citizens, rehabilitation of former political prisoners, reintegration of former combatants, reforms of repressive state institutions, restitution of abusively confiscated property, official apologies and condemnations, citizens’ opinion tribunals, unofficial truth projects, museums and other memorialization initiatives are among the many reckoning methods implemented in post-communist settings and beyond. This article provides an overview of the main themes debated by transitional justice scholars, internationally as well as in Romania, and discusses some of the scholarly works that have made a significant impact in the field.

Keywords: transitional justice, politics of memory, Romania.

LAVINIA STAN (St. Francis Xavier University),

MARIA BUCUR (Indiana University), Gender Analysis and Gender Ideology: Gender Studies in Romania

Gender studies has achieved a unique position of dubious notoriety in Romania. Within twenty-five years, it went from being unknown and not having even a terminology in Romanian to becoming a presumed threat to the morality of young people and a form of political “proselytism.” To understand this trajectory, I present a series of historical examples to illustrate how gender norms and gender ideologies have shaped social, economic, and political reality for people in Romania. I follow that historical framework with a short of narrative about the development of gender studies as a formal inter-discipline. My focus turns next to the question of how gender studies has been integrated with other academic disciplines and with policy making. My conclusions will focus primarily on what could be gained through the continued development of gender studies as a scholarly field recognized and supported by the academic community in Romania.

Keywords: gender studies, history, women, Romania, academia.

MARIA BUCUR (Indiana University),

CRISTIAN CERCEL (Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr University Bochum), TAMÁS KISS (Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities), TIBOR TORÓ (Sapientia University), Hungarians, Germans, and Roma in Post-1989 Romania: Different Minority Paths

This article is an overview of post-1989 Romanian minority politics, with a comparative focus on three national minorities (the Hungarians, the Germans, and the Roma). It uses a broad array of secondary sources and scrutinizes the following aspects: 1) the situation of the three minorities when state socialism dissolved; 2) the scholarship focusing on minorities; 3) demography and issues of identification and migration; 4) political mobilization, identity politics, and claim-making; 5) kin-state politics; 6) Europeanization, and 7) social status and the place of these minorities within the Romanian political community. The contribution makes two main arguments: 1) that despite the unitary formal framework of Romanian minority politics, the three minority groups in Romania stand for different paths as regards minority politics and 2) that these paths and the post-1989 development of Romanian minority politics in general ought to be looked at from a perspective decidedly emphasizing its transnationalism. In providing this overview, the article implicitly teases out questions with respect to the evolution of scholarship (both from the disciplinary field of political science, but also beyond it) on Romanian minority politics over the past three decades, as well as with respect to the challenges that this scholarship needs to address.

Keywords: minority politics, Romania, Hungarians, Germans, Roma.

CRISTIAN CERCEL (Ruhr University Bochum),

TAMÁS KISS (Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities),

TIBOR TORÓ (Sapientia University),

RALUCA ALEXANDRESCU (University of Bucharest), Measuring Time, Debating Individuals and Taking Distances: Approaching Modernity in Romanian Political Thought

Studying Romanian political modernity implies mobilizing a heteroclite corpus of various sources demanding a transdisciplinary approach that political science has been dealing with in both the continental and Anglo-Saxon traditions. This approach took time to breach the traditional research methods in Romanian social sciences, which is precisely why the study of Romanian political modernity should remain one of the main focuses in unveiling and retracing political modernity. The methodological approach of this article targets political modernity as a crossroad between modernization and democracy, analyzed from the point of view of conceptual history and of several related disciplines combined. For the last two decades, there was an ongoing effort to address a relevant corpus of texts claimed otherwise by historians. The study focuses on the Romanian political modernity in its making, through the nineteenth century, built discursively in an always problematic relationship with the past. The conceptual instrumentation of the modern political identity evolves with the perception of a political and historical time, in a consubstantial narrative making its way through “History,” “Homeland,” “Patriotism,” and “Democracy.” The present article aims to bring into discussion these ambivalent discursive attitudes, and to interrogate the possible directions of construction of the modern Romanian political discourse, in relation to them.

Keywords: political modernity, conceptual history, democratic narrative, individuals, Ancient and Modern.

RALUCA ALEXANDRESCU (University of Bucharest),

OANA LUP (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), GÁBOR TÓKA (Central European University), Studies of Voting Behavior in Romania

This article reviews the academic literature on how citizens make choices in competitive elections in contemporary Romania since the 1990s. Our review focuses on studies written by Romanian scholars with either national or international academic affiliations and published in academic journals and books. Some of these studies, geared toward an academic audience, test explicitly stated hypotheses derived from extant research and devote considerable attention to explaining technical details so that the readers can, in principle, replicate the analysis. Other studies are less theoretically grounded and less technical, but they provide rich context around specific election events. While most of these studies were published in Romanian scientific journals and with Romanian publishing houses, a group of more recently written studies were published in international journals. In addition to providing a summary of the Romanian literature on voting behavior, our review also discusses areas that were insufficiently explored. The ultimate aim for this review is to provide a research map to those interested in exploring and further contributing to understanding voting behavior and its East European context.

Keywords: Romania, elections, voting behavior, surveys, models.

OANA LUP (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu),

GÁBOR TÓKA (Central European University),


GABRIELA BORZ (University of Strathclyde), GEORGE JIGLĂU (Babeș-Bolyai University), The Impact of Legislative Reforms on Party System Change

What is the impact of legislative reforms on party system change and stability? This article provides a detailed account of how rules impact on party system stability. We trace all legislative reforms relevant to political parties, which include amendments to electoral laws, party finance law and party laws. The central argument is that party system change does not depend solely on changes to electoral laws or on value changes within societies. Changes to the other party laws are also key to explaining changes in the structure of competition. The analysis provides a longitudinal study on the impact of rule change on relevant dimensions of the Romanian party system. The results draw attention to the importance of permissive and restrictive rules and their implementation on the process of party system change and stability.

Keywords: party law, party finance law, electoral law, party system change.

GABRIELA BORZ (University of Strathclyde)

GEORGE JIGLĂU (Babeș-Bolyai University),

ANA MARIA ANGHELESCU (Şcoala Naţională de Studii Politice şi Administrative), Is Romania a Middle-Power? A Neoclassical Realist Interpretation of Post-communist Romania’s Foreign Policy

The paper investigates whether Romania is a middle power in the EU and NATO framework, considering the national capabilities and the foreign policy decisions in the post-communist period. The study explores the hierarchical dimension of middle powers through a material capabilities assessment based on the Composite Index of National Capabilities (CINC) developed by the Correlates of War project, and through the soft power measurement offered by the Elcano Global Presence Index. Additionally, by employing a neoclassical realist framework of analysis, the paper explores whether the behaviors developed, and the functions performed through the national foreign policy contribute to the middle power status of Romania. The study concludes that, while Romania can be hierarchically labelled as a middle power, it does not fulfill the functions of a middle power in the European context.

Keywords: middle power analysis, Romania’s foreign policy, neoclassical realism, European Union, wider Black Sea area.

ANA MARIA ANGHELESCU (Şcoala Naţională de Studii Politice şi Administrative),

ONDŘEJ STULÍK (University of West Bohemia), JAKUB PALEČEK (University of West Bohemia), “Recall” as an Empty Signifier – The Problem of SPD Party Populism

The article seeks to provide a critical reflection of the recall (“reverse personalized plebiscite”) policy pronounced by the SPD political party, rooted in debate in the Czech Republic about the quality of the democratic system and the quantity of democratic mechanisms. Based on Laclau’s theory of populism, this article analyzes the speeches given by representatives of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party which call for an implementation of the recall. The assumption is that SPD is not entirely clear on the purpose and method of instating recall, which is therefore not intended to serve the purpose of extending democracy (in any definition) but is merely an instrument of populism used with no intended effects on political system.

Keywords: CAQDAS, democracy, populism, recall, Freedom and Direct Democracy, SPD party.

ONDŘEJ STULÍK (University of West Bohemia),

JAKUB PALEČEK (University of West Bohemia),

CAROLINA ACEVEDO DE LA HARPE (Universidad Católica de Temuco), Beyond National Averages: Subnational State Capacity in Chile

This study challenges national averages by analyzing Chile's state capacity in its three main dimensions at the subnational level: coercion, extraction, and public goods. The first objective is to show the inequality of the subnational state capacity, while the second is to explain the factors of said inequality. Through a multilevel logistic regression analysis, it is determined that there is an economic and indigenous bias in the average probability of having state capacity, revealing the importance of individual characteristics over institutional factors. This study contributes to ongoing research that deepens the subnational state capacity in its various dimensions.

Keywords: subnational state capacity, Chile, multilevel analysis, indigenous bias, economic bias.

CAROLINA ACEVEDO DE LA HARPE (Universidad Católica de Temuco),

NATALIIA KHOMA (Lviv Polytechnic National University), YEVHENIA VOZNIUK (Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University), Turkey’s Middle East Policy: Vectors, Aims and Results

This article studies Turkey’s Middle East policy since its foundation in 1923. Turkey’s interest in the Middle East is bound up with a resurgence of the traditional basis of Turkish foreign policy, namely Ottomanism (neo-Ottomanism) and Pan-Turkism (neo-Pan-Turkism). Two periods of Turkey’s relations with the Middle East will be examined: 2002–2016, corresponding to the conceptual design and implementation of Davutoğlu’s initiatives with the support of the AKP party, and 2016–2020, the post-Davutoğlu era. It will be shown that throughout both periods, Turkey tried to go from being a buffer country to becoming a diplomatically active state and the leader of the Middle East. The country’s Middle East policy thus underwent a gradual shift from soft power to a combination of hard and soft power. In the process, Turkey’s policy of “zero problems with neighbors” has given way to a new reality of “zero friends.” Any current cooperation Turkey has with its neighbors is mostly pragmatic rather than friendly. In the following, it will be shown how the current configuration of Turkey’s foreign policy combines neo-Ottomanism and Islamism (Islamist neo-Ottomanism), and that Turkey’s interests have extended to parts of the Middle East which have never been under Ottoman rule.

Keywords: Turkey, Middle East, Turkey’s Middle East policy, Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), neo-Ottomanism.

NATALIIA KHOMA (Lviv Polytechnic National University),

YEVHENIA VOZNIUK (Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University),

OKSANA KUKALETS (The National University of Ostroh Academy), TETIANA SYDORUK (The National University of Ostroh Academy), MARIIA AVHUSTIUK (The National University of Ostroh Academy), China-EU Student Mobility: Policies, Opportunities, and Challenges

The aim of the paper is to analyze the cooperation between China and the European Union in the field of student mobility. The focus of this analysis regards the tendencies in the mobility of Chinese students to study abroad in the EU, particularly in what concerns the increase of their number in the universities of Central and Eastern Europe. We assess comparatively the characteristics of existing and potential opportunities as well as of challenges in the China-EU cooperation. The study uses qualitative methods to analyze the references on this topic, as well as the Chinese and the EU strategy and policy documents, papers, reports, and other documents from analytical centers, scientific and government institutions. The authors seek to prove that cooperation between China and the EU in the field of student mobility tends to increase due to the increase in the number of Chinese students willing to study abroad, to the deterioration of the US-China relations, and to the coincidence of European expectations and China’s interests in the field. Although the most popular European countries among Chinese students are the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, and the Netherlands, since 2013 the numbers of Chinese students coming to Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, has increased. The EU-China student mobility provides a wide range of opportunities for the development of cooperation between both sides in the political, economic, cultural spheres, as well as in the extent of interpersonal contacts. Moreover, there are several risks and challenges associated with the different approaches of China and European countries to the development of higher education.

Keywords: People’s Republic of China (PRC), Europe, Central and Eastern European countries, higher education, student mobility.

OKSANA KUKALETS (The National University of Ostroh Academy),

TETIANA SYDORUK (The National University of Ostroh Academy),

MARIIA AVHUSTIUK (The National University of Ostroh Academy),

ROK ZUPANČIČ (University of Ljubljana), FARIS KOČAN (University of Ljubljana), TJAŠA VUČKO (University of Ljubljana), The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Culture and Arts in the Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Processes in Post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina

The potential of culture and the arts in peacebuilding and reconciliation processes in post-conflict societies has received growing scholarly attention. Many authors consider culture and the arts as essential to post-conflict efforts because they allegedly provide an acceptable space for alternative thinking, and they are less politically charged than some other peacebuilding and reconciliation strategies. Focusing on the case study of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), this paper offers a more nuanced view on the role of cultural and artistic endeavors in peacebuilding. The authors argue that culture and arts do not necessarily aspire to transcend the narrowly defined ethnic identities and boundaries per se, which is considered to be one of the main aims of arts and culture in peacebuilding, but, on the contrary, often build on ethno-political narratives, frequently even reinforcing inter-ethnic divisions. The paper analyzes five cases of cultural and artistic expressions that attracted wide public attention in BiH precisely because of their highly charged “ethno-political character,” which did everything but bring peoples closer. Based on the analysis, the authors suggest the need for a more thorough understanding of the role of culture and arts in peacebuilding and reconciliation studies.

Keywords: peacebuilding, culture, arts, reconciliation, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

ROK ZUPANČIČ (University of Ljubljana),

FARIS KOČAN (University of Ljubljana),

TJAŠA VUČKO (University of Ljubljana),


MATTEO BOLDRINI (University of Florence), The 2021 Scottish Regional Elections: A Step to Independence?

The 2021 elections were the first major political event for the Scottish political system after Brexit. The European Union exit and increasingly visible divisions within the SNP were supposed to impact strongly upon the electoral results. In general, the elections were seen as a possible preamble for a renewed path to independence. Two scenarios were foreseen. First, in the case of SNP’s overwhelming victory, the experts considered that the arguments in favor of a new referendum would become stronger. Second, an electoral victory of the unionist camp was supposed to lead to a freezing of the project of independence, at least temporarily.

Keywords: elections, referendum, independence, European Union.

MATTEO BOLDRINI (University of Florence),

MARINA POPESCU (Median Research Centre), GÁBOR TÓKA (Central European University), The Hungarian Opposition Primaries of Fall 2021: Testing the Feasible in an Authoritarian Regime

This note reports and analyzes a use of primary elections in an authoritarian regime. The Hungarian opposition parties grouped with the aim to choose joint single-member district candidates and a ticket-leader to unseat Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his party in the 2022 parliamentary elections. Our analysis explores the context and reasons for the choices they made regarding the rules and logistics, and shows that an open and unpredictable context was created and led to the victory of a potent but somewhat unpredictable independent candidate for prime minister, Péter Márki-Zay, who, in second round of the primary, defeated the liberal social democrat Klara Dobrev, who was much more deeply socialized into the pre-existing norms and behavioral patterns of the anti-Orbán electoral alliance. A detailed focus on the impact of the primaries is provided in the last part, in particular with regards to the significant publicity granted to the opposition, the successful recruitment of new activists, and the acquisition of a large and legal voter database for the upcoming legislative campaign.

Keywords: primaries, candidates, authoritarianism, Viktor Orbán, Hungary, legislative elections.

MARINA POPESCU (Median Research Centre),

IVAN KRASTEV and STEPHEN HOLMES, The Light that Failed. Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy, New York, Pegasus Books, 2019 (BOGDAN MUREȘAN, University of Bucharest)

ADEL BAKAWAN, L'impossible État irakien: Les Kurdes à la recherche d'un État [The impossible Iraqi state: the Kurds in search of a state], Paris Editions L'Harmattan, 2019 (LUCIAN-ANDREI DESPA, University of Bucharest)

ENRICO PADOAN, Anti-Neoliberal Populisms in Comparative Perspective. A Latinamericanisation of Southern Europe?, New York, Routledge, 2021 (RADU GEORGE DUMITRESCU, University of Bucharest)

ROXANA MARIN, The Role of Local Political Elites in East Central Europe, Opladen/Berlin/Toronto: Budrich Academic Press, 2021 (PETRE DRĂGHICI, University of Bucharest)