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Society & Politics 3-4/2006

(Társadalom & Politika 2006/3-4)

Foreword of the Editors

International Politics
Gyula Gazdik: Additions to the Issue of the Palestinian Statehood
The Wilsonian vision of spreading democracy to all over the world especially came to the forefront of the American foreign policy after the collapse of the bipolar world order. The more and more unilateral pursuit of this missionary goal led to the escalation of several conflicts – hereby, having a global destabilizing effect. From the middle of the 1990s, this has made social science focus on state-failure researches. One of the most frequent subjects of such researches has become Palestine: a state-like entity that has systemic problems in its political superstructure causing not only inner malfunctions but even instability in the international framework. Studies have provided us with some important results, but most researches draw conclusions based on parameters of Western states. This study aims at shading the overall view with some specific details and some important hints at the necessities of history and the existing political culture formed by inherent traditions. Among others, the reader gets relevant input about the emergence of the Palestinian nationalism and its first institutionalizations, about the basic social trends in the Palestinian society after 1948, about the founding of the PLF and the origins of the Arafat-phenomenon, and about the Oslo Process, the institutional framework of the Palestinian autonomy, and the debates about the constitution.

Péter Király: Geopolitics as a Method Suitable for Interpreting the Global World – The Geopolitical Approach in the World of “Post-Something”
The appearance of geopolitical thinking is connected to the emergence of nation-states and the main difference between political geography and geopolitics is the more politicized viewpoint of the latter. In a globalized world, the role of space and the role of nation-states are being revaluated, and this phenomenon creates new challenges to geopolitics, which has to introduce new concepts and notions for the deeper understanding of global processes. The changes of the international system cannot be understood without geopolitical analysis, which is able to handle multilevel approaches. The essay attempts to provide a broad overview of the basic concepts and approaches in their older and newer sense, and it examines and describes some recent phenomena of this field if study.

Security Policy
Róbert László Holndonner: Terrorism in the Mirror of 9/11 – through American Eyes
The author’s main aim with his study was to have a look at the international terrorism of our age, and highlight its characteristic features from an American perspective, or rather through American reactions. The study is a case study as far as it focuses on the “nine-eleven” Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States; however, it deals with the problem in such a way that the reader can conclude and summarize some generally valid principles of international terrorism and its possible remedies. The study investigates three fields in detail. The first one is the national security apparatus – its structure, its tasks, and the changes implemented after (or because of) the attacks; the author puts a special emphasis on outlining the most basic concepts of homeland security and the main driving forces behind the changes and on providing the reader with some different conceptual framesets. The second one is about some constitutional considerations and worries (concerning civil liberties and privacy) put into the centre of attention by the legislation of the administration. And finally, the third one is international relations or the international system – with a focus on the possible options of a cooperative international community, and the direct and indirect means of fighting terrorism.

Klarisz Leppes: Political Transformation in Italy: the Structural Changes of the Party System and the Reform of the Electoral System
During the last decade, Italy has gone thorough a process, which was envisioned to lead to “the Second Republic”. The pivot of the transformation was planned to be the new election system introduced in 1993. This work concentrates on the basic concepts and definitions of the party systems, enumerates their important relevant and non-relevant parties, and describes the Italian electoral systems in detail. The party systems are categorized in Von Beyme’s framework, but Smith’s and Ludger Helms’s theories also get emphasis. Beyond their actual realization, the dissertation also analyses the background and the effects of the changes on the composition of the parliament, too. The evolution of and the differences between the new and the old party systems also get highlighted. Finally, the author examines whether that the change of the electoral law is accountable for the descent of the party system.

Beáta Zita Gábosi: The Role of the Micro-Regions in the Modernization of the Administrative System and Its Functioning in Practice: the Micro-Region of Bereg
The most important sub-section of the Hungarian administrative system, the task-managing ability of the local governments – because of changes in the international environment and the alteration of the society – has gone through a series of changes since 1990. There is a claim for a new, more transparent, measure-efficient, and more organized level of administration. This can be the micro-region, and the partnerships or associations of local governments. The author examined the micro-region of Bereg, which is one of the most underdeveloped regions of Hungary, and drafted the most important problems and challenges of the region, as well as the experiments and efforts to solve these problems. There is a special focus on the operation of BEREGTÖT, which is the association of the area’s local governments. A basic conclusion of the study is that although the Association and the local governments of the micro-region will have to face many challenges and conflicts, their partnership can be an efficient way to provide the micro-region’s further development.

Political History
Zoltán Gábor Szűcs: “Two Versions in Front of Us” – A Political Discourse Analysis of the Debate About the Arms of the Nation
By a case study, this political discourse analysis makes an attempt to exhibit how the political use of national history contributed to the formation of new political divisions in Hungary after the transition in 1989-1990. During and after the dissolution of the communist regime, it seemed plausible to deliberate on the alternative of returning to the pre-communist state of affairs or rather accepting a kind of continuity between the pre-communist and the post-communist political systems. In this way the attitudes toward and the interpretation of the pre-1945 political culture could become effective means of identifications and creating political divisions within the democratic political parties. The debate about the arms of the country contended in this essay takes a special place among the polemics, since it did not provoke a debate between a historical and an ahistorical argumentation, but two distinct historical traditions: the continuity of the “revolutionary heritage” and the “thousand-year-old statehood”. However, both traditions had commonly shared elements, so the participants were forced to use redescriptive moves to reshape the pre-given, inherited discursive traditions to the political intentions of the present state of affairs. Therefore, to understand the events, the essay puts the focus on the mechanisms of the re-descriptions by which a kind of interplay may have come about between the inherited discursive traditions and the identity of the political actors.

Political Philosophy
Emad El-Din Shanin: Salafiyah: a Reform Movement Founded by Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh at the Turn of the Century
The modern Salafiyah movement founded by the Arab Sunni Muhammad Abduh and the Persian Shia Jamal al-Din al-Afghani aimed at achieving reforms in the Islam, and became the “flagship” of the Islamic revival. The – in today’s wording – “Islamic Fundamentalist” movement wanted the return of the original principles of the Islam in their pure form and the preservation of the unity of the community of Muslims, but it also carried the possibility of renewal in itself. The modern Salafiyah roots back to the pre-modern Salafi Wahhabi movement, which had tried to find solutions to decadent social trends of a similar kind and in a similar way. The pivot of their reforms lied in education: by the combination of the traditional Muslim and the modern Western methods, they wanted to bring a new elite up. The teachings of Salafiyah has spread to all areas of the Muslim world and had a deep effect on the future Islamist movements – an effect that can be observed concerning recently active organizations, like the Muslim Brotherhood, as well. The study examines the origins, the development and the future effects of the movement – not lacking a definite relevance today.

Public Policy
András Bakonyi: The Introduction of the Special Tax on Banking Houses in Hungary – a Policy Study
Public policy, according to one of its definitions, is a process of decision-making on actual issues, during which problem-solving options are discussed and debated among the relevant parties. Among such issues we find economic issues in a considerable proportion. In this paper, the author examines an issue, from 2004, of introducing a kind of special tax on banking houses in Hungary. The author puts emphasis on the exact use of the scientific terminology of the field in order to give an actual content to the theoretical framework through the analysis of a concrete example. The reader gets a detailed chronological description of the relevant events, a descriptive analysis of the relevant parties and an evaluation of their activities, as well as a short summary about possibilities of policy integration. Finally, the author presents a piece of policy recommendation addressed to one of the parties acting as a fictive client – giving a real practical sense to the writing of the study.

Political Culture
Hortenzia Hosszú: The Role of the Yasukuni Shrine in Japanese Politics
In the early spring of 2006, Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan visited the Tokyo Yasukuni Shrine for the 6th times during his premiership. The shrine honours the 2.5 million war-victims of the nation and the executed wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and 13 other leaders convicted as Class-A war-criminals, who have died in Japanese wars between 1853 and 1945. The visits have stirred debate in Japan and provoked protests in China and the two Koreas, which suffered under Japanese rule: for them, the visits glorified Japan’s past militarism. However, Prime Minister Koizumi’s determination to visit Tokyo’s controversial war shrine needs to be seen in a wider perspective. This article tries to give deeper explanations of the reasons for the prime ministerial visit and the symbolic role of the Yasukuni Shrine in Japanese politics.

Pros & Cons
Zoltán Páll: The Hisbollah as a Resistance Organization. Analysis in the Mirror of Historical Facts and International Legal Regulations

Attila Novák: Hisbollah: “Resistance” and Islamic Revolutionary Expansion

Bassam Tibi, professor of political science, university lecturer at the University of Göttingen, visiting professor of Harvard University

Gergő Czeglédy: Morality and Politics: The Analysis of the Problem of Dirty Hands After M. Walzer

The 2nd Conference of Young Students of Political Sciences from the Carpathian Basin – the General Assembly of the National Association of Students of Political Science
Publikon – the young portal of social sciences
Politikatudományi Szemle 2006/2-3. (A leading periodical of social sciences)
József Krizmanits (ed.): Religious Fundamentalism. Tradition, Politics and Radicalism in the Islamic World (Political Science Analyses book-series)

Contents & Abstracts