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The Role of Voluntary Organisations in Constructing the Common Identity and Mobilising of Polish Community in Southeastern Lithuania

Abstract

This paper is based on a series of qualitative (semi-structured) interviews conducted by the author with representatives of Polish civic organisations in southeastern Lithuania (the towns of Eišiškės, Jašiūnai, Pabradė, Šalčininkai, Švenčionys, Švenčionėliai, and Turgeliai). Data was collected from January 2013 to June 2014 as part of a research project to investigate ethnic, civic, regional, and local identities of ethnic minorities in southeastern Lithuania. The project was carried out by the Institute for Ethnic Studies at the Lithuanian Social Research Centre and was funded by the Research Council of Lithuania. The paper discusses the role of voluntary organisations operating in Southeastern Lithuania in mobilising the Polish community. The author investigates the activity of Polish organisations as they maintain and construct the identity (ethnic, civic, local and regional) of local community. Part of the research strategy is to recognise the content and means by which these organisations appeal to collective memory to create and affirm Polish identity. An analysis of interview data shows that the activities of organisations predominantly target the Polish community and their aims are to promote and foster Polish culture, language, and history. The Polish civic and political organisations and their leaders play active roles in identity building and mobilising the Polish Community in southeastern Lithuania. Referencing and recalling collective memories of the Polish ethnic group is an important tool for building a collective identity that lack local and regional dimensions.

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The Rules on Political Parties in Romania Under Comparative Scrutiny

Abstract

This article is based on two premises. First, the requirements for establishing political parties in Romania are the most restrictive in Europe. When a party has succeeded to register and took a non-ideological position, the electoral participation slightly increased. If the requirements for registering political parties were relaxed, new parties could emerge while greater participation to the elections is under question. The current legal procedure for registering political parties is contrary to Article 40 of the Constitution (the right to association) and the requirement according to which a political party wishing to participate in parliamentary elections must make a deposit is contrary to Article 37 of the Constitution (the right to be elected). Proving the validity of these premises leads to the necessity of changing the current normative framework in the sense of relaxing the requirements for the registration of political parties. This change may be accomplished by a draft law (which is already registered in the parliament) or by the intervention of the Constitutional Court.

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Soviet Manipulation of the Memory of the Lithuanian Guerrilla War

Abstract

The paper analyses the transformation of the collective memory of the Lithuanian guerrilla war (1944–1953) during the Soviet occupation. The problem that arises on observation of the collective memory of Guerrilla war period is the disparity between the sense and meaning of the guerilla war as it was happening and the shapes of its memory that emerged at the beginning of the perestrojka and the reestablishment of the independence. The shift from the high support for the resistance and it’s goals in the 50’s to the ignorance of it can be observed, as well as the changing of the perception of it as the fight between two sovereign countries (Lithuania and the SSRS) towards the internal conflict in Lithuanian society. The paper raises the question about the reasons for this transformation and the impact of Soviet propaganda (expanding it to the scope of “historical culture” in Jorn Rüsen terms). The research of one peculiar sphere of soviet historical culture, that is, the building of monuments and carrying out of the related memorial practices, proved, that the forms and the intensity of the development of the soviet narrative of the Lithuanian Guerrilla war were poor and inconsequential. Such a results support the hypothesis that the soviet historical culture was not decisive in transformation of a collective memory, and that suggests to pay more attention not to the actions of the regime, but to sociological, sociohistorical and anthropological research of Lithuanian soviet society.

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Urban Policy in Election Campaigns – The Case of the Presidents of the Biggest Cities of Lower Silesia

Abstract

The main aim of the article is to present the relationship between urban policy and the marketing activity of the presidents of Wrocław, Wałbrzych, Legnica, and Jelenia Góra during the period of the 2014 local government election campaign. Analysis of the marketing activity of the presidents, conducted via chosen social media, enables presentation of the most important conditions and reasons for using urban policy in the competition for the support of citizens – potential voters. First, it will show that the marketing actions of a president during an election campaign are not the means of creating the image of a city but gaining the support of voters. Second, the analysis will prove that the election message constructed by presidents is based on the actions conducted in the various areas of urban policy.

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The Character of the Polish Local and Regional Elections – Polytonality

Abstract

Contemporary Polish local and regional elections serve the purpose of electing the government on the level of a municipality, county, and the voivodeship, and therefore represent a particular type of elections which could be referred to as polytonal. A unique quality of polytonal elections is the fact that the separate elections for each of the levels of local/regional government that take place on a single day are quite distinctive in terms of the behaviour of voters, politicians, political parties, and other organisations participating in the elections. As a consequence, we can indeed observe differences in the results of the elections on the level of municipality, county, and voivodeship.

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From the Concept to the Practice of Parliamentary Immunity

Abstract

Scholars have long debated the normative rationality, the temporal and legal aspects, and finally the limits and modern practices of parliamentary immunity. Therefore, this study does not insist on these classical interpretations anymore, but seeks to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the conceptual history of parliamentary immunity. Embracing two schools of thought, the Koselleckian interpretation and the Skinnerian variant, this paper aims to establish and clarify in detail the story of the concept of parliamentary immunity in order to elucidate, in a Socratic fashion, what we really mean when we say that a senator or a deputy benefits from legislative immunity. This inquiry will help us emphasise how this concept leaves behind its abstract notion and becomes an institution with strict rules and practices. In addition, considering the importance of this concept in the modern legislative and rhetoric histories and the frequency with which it is used, this study will question the meanings of parliamentary immunity in the light of different historical settings and will eventually trace out a single, coherent, and unified conceptual matrix. My contention is that once parliamentary immunity – seen as a conceptual construct only adjusting the balance of power between the executive and the legislative powers – becomes an institution with strong practices, it enforces the parliament as a unified and independent body and creates the prerequisite conditions for the democratic development.

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Political Science in Great Britain and Germany: The Roles of LSE (The London School of Economics) and DHfP (The German Political Studies Institute)

Abstract

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik (DHfP, German Political Studies Institute) in Berlin both emerged extramurally. LSE was founded in 1895 by Fabian socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webb; DHfP was established in 1920 by liberal-national publicists Ernst Jäckh and Theodor Heuss. However, superficial resemblances ended there, as shown in the paper’s first part. The founders’ aims differed markedly; incorporation into London and Berlin universities occurred at different times and in different ways.

The chair of political science set up at LSE in 1914 was held, until 1950, by two reform-minded Fabians, Graham Wallas and Harold Laski. DHfP, which did not win academic recognition during the 1920s, split into nationalist, “functionalist”, and democratic “schools”. Against this backdrop, the paper’s second part discusses Harold Laski’s magnum opus (1925) A Grammar of Politics as an attempt at offering a vision of the “good society”, and Theodor Heuss’ 1932 study Hitler’s Course as an example of the divided Hochschule’s inability to provide adequate analytical assessments of the Nazi movement and of the gradual infringement, by established elites, of the Weimar constitution. Laski’s work and intellectual legacy reinforced the tendency towards the predominance, in British political science, of normative political theory. West German political science, initially pursued “from a Weimar perspective”, was also conceived as a highly normative enterprise emphasising classical political theory, the institutions and processes of representative government, and the problematic ideological and institutional predispositions peculiar to German political history. Against this background, the paper’s third part looks, on the one hand, at the contribution to “New Left” thinking (1961 ff.) by Ralph Miliband, who studied under Laski and taught at LSE until 1972, and at Paul Hirst’s 1990s theory of associative democracy, which builds on Laski’s pluralism. On the other hand, the paper considers Karl Dietrich Bracher’s seminal work The Failure of the Weimar Republic (1955) and Ernst Fraenkel’s 1964 collection Germany and the Western Democracies, which originated, respectively, from the (Research) Institute for Political Science – added to Berlin’s Free University in 1950 – and DHfP, re-launched in the same year.

In a brief concluding fourth part, the paper touches on the reception, both in Great Britain and West Germany, of the approaches of “modern” American political science since the mid-1960s.

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The Selection of Party Leaders in Poland: Democratisation of Rules and Predictability of Results

Abstract

The objective of this analysis is to examine political party leadership with reference to the rules and results of its selection process in post-communist Poland. The exploration of these matters is based on qualitative and quantitative data concerning 16 different political parties and 80 selections they conducted in the years 1990-2013. The comprehensive research methods employed for this study ranged from in-depth analysis of particular election results to analysis of constitutional and structural party variations. This extensive investigation enables the reader to draw conclusions about Polish intra-party politics and to understand the vetting processes that Polish politicians must undergo. The findings indicate that political parties tend to address wider selectorates; and that the rules of selection are transparent, democratic, and empirically predictable.

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