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Contemporary Religiosity and the Absence of Solidarity With Those in Need

Abstract

The article uses an adapted version of the multidimensional theory of religion to explore changes in contemporary religiosity in Central Europe, with a special focus on the Czech Republic. It asks whether there are any possible connections between the current absence of welcome of refugees, and the fact that the dominant religiosity that replaced the secularist ideology despises religious dogmas and institutions. It asks how people believing in “something”, who do not wish to define that “something” or share its vision with others, can make an informed and healthy judgment and make themselves capable of solidarity with others. The final part of the article returns to the possibilities of strengthening precisely those dimensions of religion that have been downplayed, yet without unrealistic expectations that people would move back to the form of religiosity their parents, but more often already their great-grandparents, left behind.

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How to Respond to Conflicts Over Value Pluralism?

Abstract

This paper starts with arguing that the main reason why value pluralism has become conflictual is that it challenges people’s socio-cultural identity. The next section gives a summary of recent sociological research on socio-cultural tensions and conflicts in the Netherlands and Europe. They are closely linked to “globalization issues,” such as cosmopolitism, immigration, and cultural integration. This shows that the prediction of the modernization theory, according to which substantial socio-cultural values would be replaced by a universalist, procedural ethics, has not come true. The third section discusses the philosophical reasons of the potentially conflictual character of today’s value pluralism: the fragility of socio-cultural identity, the spread of the culture of expressive individualism and the ethics of authenticity, and the influence of the (politics of) recognition of socio-cultural differences. The fourth section discusses two philosophical responses to the conflictual character of value pluralism. First, there is Taylor’s plea for a broadening of our socio-cultural horizon and a transformation of our common standards of (value-)judgments, based on his idea of a fusion of cultural horizons. In spite of its obvious merits, Taylor underestimates the degree of cultural distance that characterizes many instances of value pluralism. Second, there is an idea of cultural hospitality, which is an application of Ricoeur’s idea of linguistic hospitality to the cultural sphere. It is more modest than Taylor’s proposal, since it recognizes the unbridgeable gap that separates different cultures and their values. Another even more modest suggestion to diminish the conflictual character of value pluralism is the virtue of tolerance, which combines the idea that I have good reasons for my value attachments with the recognition that my values are not the completion of the ideal of human existence.

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The Challenge of Postsecularism

Abstract

Since September 11 attacks on World Trade Center, the word “postsecularism” became a kind of key to explain the existing tension between the secular and “indifferent toward religion” Western world, and the growing religious fundamentalism. However, the existence of conflict between secular and religious worldviews and the attempts to overcome it are not new. The aim of my paper is to present a few examples of successful endeavors of worldviews exchanges between believers and nonbelievers. But, first, a definition of postsecularism will be suggested together with some critical reflection on the concept of religion. I will also discuss some inspiring ideas and theories of postsecularism from the last decade. I would like to suggest a comprehension of postsecularism as a kind of pluralism.

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Conditions of Economic Efficiency of Industrial Enterprises in the Enterprise Life Cycle Stages

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: The purpose of the study is to determine the variables determining the level of synthetic measure of economic efficiency in listed companies of the industry sector as part of their enterprise life cycle.

Materials and methods: The article uses data from annual unitary financial statements of industrial enterprises according to the classification of the Warsaw Stock Exchange and data describing the macroeconomic situation of the state economy. The research period covered the years 1999-2012. In order to examine which factors determine the level of economic efficiency at each stage of the life cycle of enterprises, estimation of econometric models was carried out.

Results: In the models obtained for companies in the growth and maturity stage, statistically significant determinants were obtained only in the field of internal factors. In the models estimated for companies in the stages of launch, shake-out and decline, statistically significant conditions were identified, both in terms of external factors and in the area of internal factors.

Conclusions: A comprehensive assessment of the conditions for the level of economic efficiency of enterprises should take into account both factors dependent on the enterprise (microeconomic) as well as those determined by the environment (macroeconomic) and beyond its control. It is therefore necessary for managers of enterprises to have extensive and up-to-date knowledge of factors and conditions that are significant in shaping the level of economic efficiency.

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Direct Foreign Investment in Peripheral Regions: A Case Study of the Lublin Voivodship

Summary

Subject and purpose of work: The subject of analysis and evaluation are foreign direct investments (FDI) in Poland with particular emphasis on the Lublin Voivodship as a peripheral region. The aim of the paper is to present the investment attractiveness of the voivodship, the state of investment and ways to enhance the investment attractiveness of the region.

Materials and methods: This paper is based on statistical data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS), the National Bank of Poland (NBP) and other institutions, as well as published literature of this topic.

Results: This paper presents theoretical foundations of foreign investments, characteristics of the inflow of foreign direct investments to Poland in the years 2000-2017, their origin and directions of their use and distribution in the country. FDI is presented in detail in Lublin Voivodship, which is considered to be a peripheral region of Poland and the European Union.

Conclusions: FDI inflow to Poland was uneven in time, and investments were concentrated in the Masovian Voivodship and a few other voivodships of Western and Central Poland. Lublin Voivodship, despite activities increasing its investment attractiveness, still has unused opportunities for application of foreign investments.

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The Discussion of Possible Savings based on the Efficiency Argument in the Smallest Municipalities? The Case Study of the Vysočina Region

Abstract

The unique municipality structure in the Czech Republic is one of the most interesting research topics in the Czech political space. The large number of municipalities with less than 1,000 or less than 500 inhabitants causes differences between Czech municipalities. There are differences in economic factors, differences in the development of municipalities, among other. All of these differences are discussed by experts, researchers and politicians in term of the efficiency of the smallest municipalities. The term ‘efficiency’ is used as the benchmark for a successful or an unsuccessful government. This research evaluates the argument of efficiency presented by Deborah Stone (2002). This argument was applied to the case of Kraj Vysočina, one of the regions with the largest number of the smallest municipalities in the Czech Republic. We analysed the selected argument of efficiency – economies of scale. Based on our quantitative analysis we have confirmed that evaluating municipalities through the prism of the economies of scale argument is not a good measurement of the efficiency of municipal government. The argument of efficiency is more complex and we cannot view it only in economics terms.

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Endangered European Municipalities: A Systematic Outline of the Problem and Its Political Impact

Abstract

Drawing on the experiences of Czech municipalities that cannot perform their local government role due to grave indebtedness, this article seeks to identify other European countries where municipalities may be facing existential problems. It can be assumed that grave indebtedness is not the only potential threat to communities in Europe. One aim of this study is, thus, to identify other possible threats to municipalities and provide specific examples. My goal, among other things, is to start a scholarly discussion about endangered municipalities and bring this phenomenon into the realm of political science. My methodology uses qualitative research and content analysis to identify potential threats that could in extreme cases wipe out European municipalities. To obtain data about specific endangered municipalities in Europe, I rely on snowball sampling, a method used by researchers to identify potential subjects who may be hard to locate. My findings identify five potential threats to European municipalities, which I divide into two groups: common and less common. I highlight the locations of endangered municipalities and those where problems are pending as well as the groups of municipalities in the greatest peril from individual threats. I also highlight potential political impacts. My approach uses empirical case studies to model possible scenarios. Based on this analysis and the experiences of specific endangered municipalities, I outline six general forms of endangerment and eight different courses of municipal endangerment.

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The fight against terrorism is not optional: cases of V4 states and their participation in the fight against IS

Abstract

This article describes attitudes of V4 states (Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland) and their activity in the fight against terrorism, and specifically in the fight against the so-called Islamic State that has appeared in 2014. In addition to applying role theory, the main aim of article is to define the roles that V4 states perform. The second aim is to give an explanation of their (non-)participation of active involvement in general in the fight against terrorism within the EU. The results showed that roles differ and only Poland is active in the fight against IS, however rest of V4 took part in passive support that relies on their size, budget and also political will. These results were observed in main statements made by policymakers of each particular state that have been done through content analysis.

Open access
It’s Getting Personal: Personalisation of political campaigns in four Prague districts during the 2018 Czech Senate elections

Abstract

In October 2018 Senate elections were held in the Czech Republic. In the capital city of Prague, 41 candidates – both party members and independents – contested for the votes of the electorate of four districts. The goal of this article is to analyse the electoral campaigns which were conducted within these four districts in the online sphere of the social media site Facebook. Through complementary quantitative and qualitative methods, this text focuses its attention on the communication of the candidates themselves, but also on the reactions of the electorate in the environment of social media. Employing qualitative content analysis of the topics addressed by the candidates, sentiment analysis of user commentaries and quantitative analysis of posting frequency and followership, this article examines whether the candidates who led an active personalised campaign were more successful than the candidates who communicated with the public only sporadically and with less personalisation. The aim is to explore how the campaigns of successful candidates were conducted and to accentuate that social media is becoming more important in the campaigns of individual candidates, but that they are not a panacea for non-partisan candidates without an established supporter base and financial resources.

Open access