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ISDS Regimes and Democratic Practice: Creating Conflict of Interests between Governments, Investors and Local Populations

Abstract

The recent debate over the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regimes of international arbitration has resulted in concerted efforts aimed mainly at protecting the rights of states to regulate, improving transparency of proceedings and eliminating inconsistency in decision making of the tribunals. While the existing scholarly work frequently addresses issues of the relationship between the existing investment regimes and good governance in general, increased attention is rarely paid to the effects that investment arbitration has on democratic practice. The article applies an “action-based” approach to democracy, in order to analyse the role that the ISDS regimes play in exacerbating conflicts between the local populations, foreign investors and governments. The analysis leads to a conclusion that the ISDS regimes create incentives for the governments and foreign investors to disregard sound democratic practice. The article represents an attempt to move the discussion about the ISDS regimes away from the question of legitimacy of the regimes to the question of the impacts that the regimes have in practice.

Open access
Reconciling after Transitional Justice: When Prosecutions are not Enough, the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Abstract

The concept and study of transitional justice has grown exponentially over the last decades. Since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after the end of the Second World War, there have been a number of attempts made across the globe to achieve justice for human rights violations (International Peace Institute 2013: 10). How these attempts at achieving justice impact whether or not societies reconcile, continues to be one of the key discussions taking place in a transitional justice discourse. One particular context where this debate continues to rage on is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many scholars argue that the transitional justice process and mechanism employed in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not fostered inter-group reconciliation, but in fact caused more divisions. To this end, this article explores the context of transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina from a unique perspective that focuses on the need for reconciliation and healing after transitional justice processes like war crime prosecutions. This article explores why the prosecuting of war criminals has not fostered reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and how the processes have divided Bosnian society further. Additionally, this article presents the idea of state-sponsored dialog sessions as a way of dealing with the past and moving beyond the divisions of retributive justice.

Open access
Same Old (Macro-) Securitization? A Comparison of Political Reactions to Major Terrorist Attacks in the United States and France

Abstract

After the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the French government reacted swiftly by declaring a state of emergency. This state of emergency remained in place for over two years before it was ended in November 2017, only after being replaced by the new anti-terror legislation. The attacks as well as the government’s reactions evoked parallels to 9/11 and its aftermath. This is a puzzling observation when taking into consideration that the Bush administration’s reactions have been criticized harshly and that the US ‘War on Terror’ (WoT) was initially considered a serious failure in France. We can assume that this adaption of the discourse and practices stems from a successful establishment of the WoT macro-securitization. By using Securitization Theory, we outline the development of this macro-securitization by comparing its current manifestation in France against the backdrop of its origins in the US after 9/11. We analysed securitizing moves in the discourses, as well as domestic and international emergency measure policies. We find extensive similarities with view of both; yet there are differing degrees of securitizing terrorism and the institutionalisation of the WoT in the two states. This suggests that the WoT narrative is still dominant internationally to frame the risk of terrorism as an existential threat, thus enabling repressive actions and the obstruction of a meaningful debate about the underlying problems causing terrorism in the first place.

Open access
Being a Small State: Discussion on the Role of Size

Abstract

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.

Open access
The Long Road from Neoliberalism to Neopopulism in ECE: The Social Paradox of Neopopulism and Decline of the Left

Abstract

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.

Open access
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