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Mars and Venus in Action? The US and EU’s foreign relations strategies in academic discourse

Abstract

This article reviews the existing academic literature that compares and explains the differences between the US and the EU’s external actions. An analytical matrix is devised to group publications by level of analysis (micro-, mid-, and macro) and by theme of comparison criteria. The key findings are that in the macro level of analysis, authors tend to compare the role actors have in international relations before claiming either that the EU is a different kind of power due to its peculiar historical experience, or that the EU is weak due to its complicated structure and lack of military capacities. Furthermore, authors conducting their analyses at the micro level tend to find more similarities between the EU and the US’s external actions than those working at the macro level. The article concludes by making a point in favour of further comparisons as an essential tool to better understand the EU and other actors in international relations.

Open access
Memories of Discipline in Soviet Lithuania: Stories in Oral History

Abstract

Totalitarian regimes attempt to restrict and control virtually every aspect of human life. Interestingly, conscious reflection on disciplinary practises takes up only a small part of the life-stories of interviewed Lithuanians, as far as the memory of the post-Stalin era is concerned. The interviews that form the foundation for this paper were conducted during the summer of 2017 in three different districts in Lithuania. The article aims to answer the following two research questions:

1) Which mechanisms of discipline did people recognize and reflect upon?

2) How were disciplinary actions remembered and described?

According to interviews, tangible individuals filled the role of disciplinarians in schools and workplaces. In addition, the responsibility for discipline and control lies within the imperceptible disciplinarian, supplemented by the invisible discipline of the collective. This led to overwhelming uncertainty in the society, where people invoked intuition and interpretations of who is trustworthy to adapt to uncertain situations. The greatest impact of the totalitarian discipline was that people effectively internalized it and consequently became their own most significant disciplinarians.

Open access
Time and History in the Memories of Soviet Generations

Abstract

This article aims to reconsider how and where the boundaries within Soviet generations as differentiable memory communities could be established. On the basis of Mannheimian theory of generational units and the theory of narration, as based on the conceptual metaphors of container, a method to identify the boundaries between generations was devised. The method was applied to biographical narratives, collected during the summer of 2017, and revealed the existence of different history-related calendars to structure time in the biographical past.

Open access
Accession to the European Union and Perception of External Actors in the Western Balkans

Abstract

This paper focuses on perceptions of the European Union (EU) and external actors (such as the United States, Russia, and Turkey) in six countries of the Western Balkans (WB) and Croatia in a comparative perspective. We present data generated by public opinion polls and surveys in all countries of that region in order to illustrate growing trends of EU indifferentism in all predominately Slavic countries of the region. In addition, there is an open rejection of pro-EU policies by significant segments of public opinion in Serbia and in the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia-Herzegovina. On the contrary, there is much enthusiasm and support for the West in general and the EU in particular in predominately non-Slavic countries, Kosovo and Albania. We argue that the WB as a region defined by alleged desire of all countries to join the the EU is more of an elite concept than that shared by the general population, which remains divided over the issue of EU membership. In explaining reasons for such a gap we emphasise a role of interpretation of the recent past, especially when it comes to a role the West played in the region during the 1990s.

Open access
Application of Legal Entities to the European Court of Human Rights: a Significant Disadvantage as the Condition of Admissibility

Abstract

This article lists the content and deals with the criteria for assessing the presence or absence of material damage suffered by the applicant to the European Court of Human Rights, the subject of entrepreneurship, as a new condition for the admissibility of an individual application. The article establishes that the list and content of the criteria for assessing the presence or absence of material damage suffered by the applicant to the European Court of Human Rights are different for individuals and for legal entities – business entities. Moreover, the article initiates a discussion on the list and content of these criteria for the subjects of entrepreneurship – the applicants to the European Court of Human Rights. In the light of the Court’s practice, the author reveals their content as well as legal categories such as ‘substantial harm’, ‘financial harm’, ‘pecuniary damage’, ‘non-pecuniary damage’ incurred by the applicant, the subject of entrepreneurship, and highlights the issues to which objectives may be caused by ‘moral harm’ in case of violation of the rights of the subject of entrepreneurship.

Open access
Energy Charter Treaty – Standards of Investment Protection

Abstract

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in its Part III which regulates standards of protection guaranteed to foreign investors by the ECT States members, together with the Article 24 of the ECT, constitutes a kind of autonomous investment treatment within the ECT. The ECT provides for a very broad spectrum of standards of protection: fair and equitable treatment; most constant protection and security; prohibition of unreasonable or discriminatory measures; „umbrella clause”; national treatment; most favoured-nation standard and effective means to assert the claims. It can be said that at the time of its drafting the ECT enclosed all standards of protection as recognized in BITs and NAFTA. There have been more than 100 publicly known investment arbitration cases where the ECT was invoked, more than 30 of which concluded by arbitral awards. This comprehensive arbitral practice strongly influences the practice applying other IIAs and vice versa.

Open access
Note-taking and Notability: How to Succeed at Legal Doctoral Fieldwork

Abstract

Fieldwork is the bridge between academia and practice. Often, this bridge is not crossed due to lack of guidance, time and practical experience. Academics are left on their own to guess what would work best. In facilitating this, this article assesses the methods used in a case study of doctoral fieldwork at the European Parliament within the civil service. Findings include identifying optimum methods to plan, develop and execute doctoral fieldwork.

This research is structured in four parts, which covers a literature review on fieldwork in the social sciences, the case study, the methodologies used, and a problem-solving section giving tips to succeed at fieldwork. Findings include a selection of methodologies which include participant observation and note-taking. These methodologies assist in improving skills such as time management, working under high pressure and delivering quality reports with attention to detail, which are fundamental for a successful academic career.

The experience covered in this article will assist academics in designing their fieldworks at all levels of their careers. The methods described are transferrable to fieldworks across legal, political and policy-making institutions.

Open access
Understanding Contemporary Asymmetric Threats

Abstract

In the 21st century, warfare has evolved into a challenge that many countries are ill prepared to face. In contrast to the warfare of yesterday, victory is not defined by defeating an opposing military force, but rather defeating their ability to pursue political objectives by violent, often unconventional, means. Increasingly, these unconventional means are based on asymmetries between the two opposing forces.

A plethora of definitions for the term ‘asymmetric conflict’ exist, but they can largely be summarized by a general idea that one side in a conflict, due to its own failings or its opponents’ strength, is unable to achieve its political aims through conventional (i.e. symmetric) military means. Because of this, the weaker side uses new ideas, weapons and tactics in a manner that is not expected, exploiting surprise to undermine the relative strength(s) of their opponent (Lele, 2014). The character of contemporary asymmetric threats can be analyzed through a framework of several key characteristics, which will be described in this paper. Understanding this framework, particularly in light of the horizontal transfer of technology, tactics, organization structure and procedures between emerging asymmetric threats may contribute to better understanding of such threats.

Open access
Article 7 TEU: From a Dormant Provision to an Active Enforcement Tool?

Abstract

For a long time considered, improperly, a sort of ‘nuclear’ option, Article 7 TEU is the key EU Treaty provision in the field of values enforcement. In the context of the Union’s current rule of law crisis, such a provision deserves the greatest attention, especially after the European Commission’s proposal in December 2017 to trigger the procedure against Poland, under Article 7(1) TEU. This article contributes to understandings of the provision by reviewing its main features and contextualising its deployment in the general Polish rule of law crisis, with the aim of evaluating whether it can now be considered as an operational instrument for values enforcement. Although the Commission’s (late) decision to activate the Article 7(1) TEU procedure should be welcomed as a major effort in restoring the rule of law within the European Union, the (perceived and real) limits of Article 7 TEU and the inertia of the EU institutions cast a shadow over the procedure’s effective implementation.

Open access
Bi-Ethnic Federalism and the Question of Sovereignty: Understanding the Competitive Security Postures in Cyprus

Abstract

When ethnic groups negotiate self-government arrangements, ‘ethnic sovereignty’ lies boldly at the heart of their security considerations. The constitutional nature of self-determination and the extent of territorial control can determine the degree of ethno-territorial sovereignty attributed to groups. However, in competitive contexts influenced by fear and mistrust, groups interpret these pillar elements in ways that increase their own sense of security. The present study argues that legal and political positions on sovereignty in Cyprus are largely built around the competitive security assumptions held by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaderships, and explains how the divergent viewpoints and understandings of sovereignty reflect the underlying security fears and suspicion of parties. The analysis finds that the two ethnic leaderships in Cyprus have sought to accumulate a distinct ‘sovereignty capital’ in an effort to safeguard their own and overpower each other’s perceived security intentions in the event of federal collapse, making thus the attainment of settlement in Cyprus particularly elusive.

Open access