This paper discusses theoretical debates regarding small states and their foreign policy and also argues that research should include more analysis of small states’ identities and the dominant meanings related to being a small state. Using poststructuralistic theoretical perspective and discourse analysis, two empirical cases – Lithuania and New Zealand – are analysed with attention paid to the meanings of smallness and the ways these meanings are constructed. Empirical analysis follows with suggestions for how future research of small states could be improved.
We live in a “post-neoliberal world”, as it has been discussed in the mainstream literature, but the vital link between neoliberalism and neopopulism has been rarely discussed. Nowadays in international political science it is very fashionable to criticise the long neoliberal period of the last decades, still its effect on the rise of neopopulism has not yet been properly elaborated. To dig deeper into social background of neopopulism, this paper describes the system of neoliberalism in its three major social subsystems, in the socio-economic, legal-political and cultural-civilizational fields. The historical context situates the dominant period of neoliberalism between the 1970s in the Old World Order (OWO) and in the 2010s in the New World Order (NWO). In general, neoliberalism’s cumulative effects of increasing inequality has produced the current global wave of neopopulism that will be analysed in this paper in its ECE regional version. The neopopulist social paradox is that not only the privileged strata, but also the poorest part of ECE’s societies supports the hard populist elites. Due to the general desecuritization in ECE, the poor have become state dependent for social security, yet paradoxically they vote for their oppressors, widening the social base of this competitive authoritarianism. Thus, the twins of neoliberalism and neopopulism, in their close connections—the main topic of this paper—have produced a “cultural backlash” in ECE along with identity politics, which is high on the political agenda.
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.
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.
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.
In the last decade there has been a process of rolling-back Europeanization efforts in the EU’s new member states (NMS), a process intensified by the global crisis. This de-Europeanization and dedemocratization process in the NMS has become a significant part of a more general polycrisis in the EU. The backslide of democracy in the NMS as a topical issue has usually been analysed in terms of macro-politics, formal-legal state institutions, party systems, and macroeconomics. The most significant decline of democratization, however, is evident in the public’s decreasing participation in politics and in the eroding trust. This decline in systemic trust in political elites in the NMS has been largely neglected by analysts. Therefore, this paper concentrates on this relatively overlooked dimension of declining trust and social capital in the NMS. This analysis employs the concepts of governance, trust, and social capital to balance the usual formalistic top-down approach with a bottom-up approach that better illustrates the divergence between East-Central Europe and the Baltic states’ sub-regional development.
This article examines the decision-making processes within political parties in Latvia. Two important variables have been chosen for analysis: 1) policy formulation (which actors are involved in the elaboration of election programs), and 2) candidate selection (how parties create their electoral lists). A survey of Saeima (Latvia’s parliamentary body) deputies indicates that party board members have the most say in deciding which individuals to include on electoral lists and which policies to pursue; financial supporters seem to have almost no impact on parties’ internal decision-making processes.
This paper aims to determine Lithuania’s, Latvia’s, and Estonia’s parties’ positions on the European Union (EU) and to ascertain whether these party positions mirror their voters’ positions on the EU. Analysis suggests that parties in this region have rather varied positions on the EU, with the exception of hard-Eurosceptic views, which are absent in Baltic states’ party systems. This paper also indicates that parties in the Baltic states tend to mirror, with some exceptions, their voters positions on the EU. This suggests that there may be additional factors determining parties’ positions regarding the EU in the Baltics.
In this article we describe the adoption and execution of public administration reforms in Central and Eastern Europe between 2008 and 2013, as well as examine whether post-communist countries differ from other groups of European countries in terms of the substance of reforms and their implementation process. Instead of following popular Western administrative theoretical frames, we adopt the policy process approach. We focus on the role of policy actors during reform policymaking and implementation at the level of policy subsystems. More specifically, we employ the rational-comprehensive and garbage can perspectives to understand the reform processes in the post-communist region. Our research is based on the statistical analysis of survey data and two case studies of reforms initiated by the 2008-2012 Lithuanian government. The article concludes that countries in Central and Eastern Europe share some common characteristics: they focused on the issues of civil service and public or administrative services, their reform policy was often formulated on a top-down basis, and its execution often lacked adequate capacities. Despite a rational reform façade in these countries, the implementation of governance change appears to be quite erratic, as anticipated in the garbage can perspective. This can have negative consequences on the effectiveness of public policy, continuing to generate public distrust in post-communist state institutions.
In this article I analyse how Georgia, as a political entity, coped with the de facto loss of two of its territories: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The process by which Georgia lost these territories started in early 1990 and reached its final phase in 2008 after the Georgian-Russian war. This article explores how Georgia adjusted to these losses without ever acknowledging its loss of the two territories, demonstrating a perfect example on how the normative territorial structure of an international system works. The analysis focuses on the crucial role of time in the process of the de facto territorial changes and examines how Georgia, in adapting to territorial losses and through its own actions, actually strengthened its separation from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.