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Participatory Budgeting in the Major Cities in Poland – Case Study of 2018 Editions

Abstract

The paper refers to the social innovation of participatory budgeting which has become a very popular tool for stimulating citizen participation at the local level in Poland. It focuses on the major cities, defined as capitals of the voivodeships or regions. Based on the data concerning 2018 participatory budgeting editions in the eighteen cities, it describes the funding, organisation of the process, forms of voting and voter participation as well as the nature of projects selected and implemented. According to the amended Act on the Local Self-Government, organisation of participatory budgeting will only be obligatory for Polish cities from 2019. Despite that fact, it has already become quite popular and broadly applied in local communities. However, citizens’ participation and involvement in the process seems quite low, suggesting a need for experience sharing and improvement of the initiative. Also, project selection reflects the influence of various social groups within urban communities, rather than assisting groups which are at risk of marginalisation.

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

References Aldrich, John H., et al. (2016): Getting out the vote in the social media era: Are digital tools changing the extent, nature and impact of party contacting in elections? Party Politics 22 (2): 165–178. Aldrich, John, H. (1996): Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Party Politics in America. Bibliovault OAI Repository, the University of Chicago Press. Bellucci, Paol – Garzia, Diego – Lewis-Beck, Michael S. (2015): Issues and leaders as vote determinants: The case of Italy. Party Politics 21 (2): 272–283. Bene

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Political Trust and Russian Media in Latvia

Abstract

Russia’s attempts to influence public opinion outside its borders attracted increased interest in the context of its involvement in the war in Ukraine, Brexit referendum, the elections in the US and other political processes in the West. This article focuses on the assumption that Russian activities in the information environment of NATO and the EU member states among other things are aimed at undermining public trust in democratic governance institutions. Russian state-owned media is one of the tools about how Kremlin disseminates and promotes its worldview within and outside Russia’s borders; therefore, the research questions being addressed in this paper are related to the relationship between political trust and consumption of Russian media. To study this issue, Latvia was chosen as an outstanding case due to the relatively large presence of Russian media content in its information environment. The paper examines the trends of Russian media consumption and political trust in Latvia to assess if this is a fruitful further research area since linking political trust and Russia’s information activities is a new perspective on the issue. The theoretical part of the paper outlines the concept of political trust and the factors affecting it as they are identified in previous research, with a specific focus on the impact of media on political trust. The empirical part of the paper examines the trends in the growth of the audience of the TV channels retranslating Russian media content and political trust in Latvia in the period from 2007 to 2017. Considering that political trust in Latvia is increasing alongside with an increase in Russian media consumption, this paper suggests several further research directions with a focus on political and economic performance indicators and the impact of domestic media.

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Mitigating Risks of Hybrid War: Search for an Effective Energy Strategyin The Baltic States

[Accessed 20 October 2018] Ratsiborynska, V, 2018 (June), Russia’s Hybrid Warfare in the Form of its Energy Manoeuvers Against Europe: How the EU and NATO Can Respond Together?, NATO Defense College Research Paper n o. 147. Rühle, M & Grubliauskas, J, 2015 (April), Energy as a Tool of Hybrid Warfare, NATO Defense College Research Paper n ° 113. Slobodian, N, 2016 (March), Energy Instruments of “Hybrid Warfare”, Stratfor Worldview. Available at: https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/energy-instruments-hybrid-warfare [Accessed 20 October 2018

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Genetic Knowledge and Genetic Reproduction Technologies as New Modes of Governance – are We Witnessing a New Form of Eugenics?

Abstract

This article aims to examine whether there is continuity between eugenics as employed in Nazi Germany and modern-day medical genetics. Drawing on Foucault’s conceptualization of the relationship between power and knowledge, it draws the conclusion that despite the differences in the means employed and underlying motivations, both may serve as disciplinary tools and shape human behaviour. Finally, it addresses ethical issues that arise during genetic reproduction counselling. Namely, it reviews how genetic information during genetic reproduction counselling is presented to those being counselled and puts forward the idea on how to stay committed to the principle of non-directiveness.

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The Personalisation of Politics at the Local Level in Poland and Selected Central and Eastern European States: A Contribution to the Research

Abstract

Images about politics take a specific form in the imagination of the electorate, eliciting specific associations and thus becoming a source of attitudes and influencing election preferences. At the same time, the increasing importance of politicians’ perceived personality traits and images has been observed. Empirical studies of politicians’ personalities provide one of the more effective tools for studying the basic features of the personalisation of politics, including at a local level. Such studies involve the measurement of citizens’ perceptions of politicians’ personality traits. This article seeks to systematise key concepts and provide an introduction to conducting advanced empirical research in this area.

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Understanding campaign “axiotechniques”: Their nature and practical usage in Ukrainian elections

Abstract

This article seeks to shed more light on Ukraine’s parliamentary elections by considering campaign tools that were derived from values in the electorate and used in elections between 2006 and 2012. The influence of political values on the electoral process was pointed out by American political scientists in the mid-20th century. My research demonstrates, however, that the political choices of Ukrainians in the 2006–2012 elections gave rise to campaign techniques that were not based on “classic” political values like freedom, human rights and democracy. Instead, their source was national identity-related values including the importance of a common history, culture and language along with religious and geopolitical preferences. These values differed between the western and central regions of Ukraine on the one hand and the southern and eastern parts of the state on the other. This regional polarisation did not seem very dangerous, however, until the emergence of election campaigns based on political ideology. As ideology gradually lost its mobilising potential, there was a need for an effective new system of political influence. Manipulative techniques were deployed to incite artificial clashes between citizens with different political identities. This article analyses specific uses of these techniques and uncovers links between their application and the destruction of the electoral space in Ukraine as well as the division of the country’s real political arena.

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The Visegrad Group as an Ambitious Actor of (Central-)European Foreign and Security Policy

Abstract

Even after achieving its goals, i.e. the entrance of member states into NATO and the EU, the Visegrad Group has managed to profile itself as a significant collective actor. Analyses to date clearly show that the group is able to function as a distinct and even key actor in various policies, including those within the EU; this statement is without doubt valid primarily for the region of the European neighborhood policy and the Eastern partnership, but also for enlargement policy and its clear targeting of the Western Balkans. We can also observe a highly proactive approach in issues linked to security, primarily in the energy sector and recently also cyber security. Nonetheless, all of these and many other significant V4 activities have been overshadowed of late by dispute between the group and a significant portion of members states on perspectives regarding the migration crisis including the tools to deal with it or preventive measures to prevent it from continuing or repeating. This stance on the issue, however, can be seen as proof of the relative power and success of the V4.

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The Environmental Situation in the Visegrad Region: Neglect and Insufficient Cooperation in the Face of Serious Environmental Threats

Abstract

Only a few studies have covered environmental problems in Central Europe and analysed environmental governance in Central European countries and no study has considered environmental cooperation in this region. The goal of the article is to map and analyse the environmental situation in Central Europe, paying attention to Central Europeans’ perceptions about the environment, key environmental problems and the policy tools these countries plan to use to face them. For this purpose, I concentrate mainly on the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, which represent the core of Central Europe. My findings suggest that the most active and successful environmental cooperation is taking place in an area that includes the V4 countries, their neighbours and other European countries. The EU offers the most important framework to support and develop this environmental cooperation. My assessment of the environmental situation in the V4 region shows that environmental cooperation among the V4 countries cannot be expected and would only have limited value. Because of their geopolitical situation and physical geography, Poland and Hungary in particular are linked to environmental issues that go beyond Central Europe and call for far wider environmental action. Dealing with environmental threats successfully and protecting the Central European environment efficiently cannot be tasks for the V4 group alone. Clearly we require a cooperative and cross‑border Europe‑wide approach.

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Is the “new” always “new”? Theoretical framework problems of new political parties’ research: The Czech Republic experience

Abstract

New political parties can be essential holders of party systems’ change. A lot of scholars underline this reality. In fact, it is often not enough only to establish a new political subject. There is a significant relationship between a new party emergence and the subsequent electoral success, which is often an overlooked research dimension. This article intends to focus on the most important features narrowly connected with new political parties’ study approaches. There is no concurrence on what a new political party exactly is. It is possible to find a whole range of high-quality based articles exploring newness in a current or recent state of knowledge. Despite it, this research still has several substantial doubts about this question. Examples of Czech political parties that have been successful in the first-order elections (FOE) and where the problematic aspects of their declared novelty can be traced will be compared here. The evidence of complexity pertaining to this phenomenon is obvious: every political party is new in the moment of its formation in reality, but on the other hand not every political party is new regarding an appropriate theoretical concept. This empirical base shows that declared novelty can be rather more a tool of broader communication and image strategy than a real indisputable party attribute.

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