Society and Culture Publications
January 1999 - The image of humanist intellectuals opposing absolutist power in the name of Enlightenment ideals is a powerful one. Yet it represents only one way intellectuals have engaged in political activity in Europe. Czech intellectuals have been more than dissidents: they have also led political parties and served as parliamentary delegates, ministers, and presidents. Moreover, some of the best-known figures in Czech politics have been intellectuals. This essay addresses the careers of four intellectuals who have played important roles both in Czech letters and in Czech politics from 1848 to 1998.
Relying on the metaphors of plan and clan, this essay endeavors to show the similarities and differences in Hungarian and Russian paths and will evaluate the starting points, factors, processes and outcomes of post-communist transformation in Hungary and Russia. Focusing on clientelistic privatization and corruption networks, as well as on forces countervailing clandestine relationships, the author argues that whereas “clans for market” proved to be an accurate description of Hungary’s development, this interpretation is hardly applicable to Russia. The Russian-style clans endangered market building and prepared the reemergence of “clans for plan.” The following discussion will address what these opposite trajectories may mean for Hungary and Russia, as well as for the world at large.
In June 1994, five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall symbolically ended the Communist hold on Eastern Europe, only a quarter of the eligible voters turned out for the local elections in Poland. Elections in Hungary and the Czech Republic and referenda in Lithuania have been plagued by similarly low turnouts. Even in countries where voter turnout was high in the first post-Communist elections, the number of people who say they intend to cast ballots in upcoming elections has dropped, an indication of declining turnout. This paper examines civil society, the participatory culture, and public legitimation in the region, as well as democratization policies.
Experts who took part in a June 2000 discussion reveal that countries in the Andean region suffer from deep problems of governance: crisis of citizenship, reflected in widespread apathy and low levels of participation in the political process; the decline of political parties; corruption and a lack of accountability of civilian as well as military elites; weak institutions; and the military's involvement in politics.
This author's objective is to investigate how intellectual activity in Romania under Ceausescu contributed to reproducing an ideology in which "the nation" had pride of place. Much as had occurred in the period between the two World Wars, Romanian intellectuals debating with one another helped to strengthen a national ideology; their actions, and not simply Ceausescu's much-invoked "manipulation of nationalism to promote legitimacy" contributed to fortifying the idea of the nation and undermining the discourse of Marxism-Leninism on which Romania's socialist system supposedly rested.
This report draws from the dialogue and seminar papers shared at a December 2008 meeting co-hosted by the Wilson Center and the Fetzer Institute to explore conditions that promote resilience and examine compelling examples of community resilience worldwide.
April 1998 - This presentation is devoted to the current status of the language and politics interface among the Yugoslav successor states and entities. By perusing the recently published dictionaries, grammars, orthographic manuals, and polemical articles on the successor languages to Serbo-Croatian, one can examine the viability of the new languages and the prospects for ethnic reconciliation, given the deepening linguistic divide. Since the Serbo-Croatian linguistic union was agreed upon in 1850, language controversies have reflected broader ethnic/political tensions or, in some instances, may have served to spark a worsening of ethnic relations.
All nationalities, ethnic groups, or peoples are by definition intrinsically unique, set apart from one another by their cultures, languages, and historical experiences. Yet it can be said confidently that in many respects the Roma (Gypsies) constitute a most unusual ethnic group, not only in Eastern Europe but also in a larger, global sense. The uniqueness of the Roma lies in the fact that they are a transnational, nonterritorially based people that do not have a homeland to provide haven or extend protection. As the author discusses, it is this characterization of the Roma which explains their marginality as well as their relationship to the states and societies of Europe and beyond.
Gender and Islam in Africa examines ways in which women in Africa are interpreting traditional Islamic concepts in order to empower themselves and their societies.