- Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University of Toruń (Poland)
- Year of publication: 2004
- Source: Show
- Pages: 111-126
- DOI Number: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2004009
In spring 2005 I received an invitation from the US Department of State to visit the USA. Under an international research project International Visitor Leadership Program I took part in more than 70 different appointments, panel discussions, conferences and lectures. My stay was an individual and open one which means that it was arranged for a single person and several months in advance I was able to indicate the towns, universities and institutions I would like to visit and name the persons I would like to meet. The stay was also arranged in a way that provided me with an opportunity to become well acquainted with the United States both through the perspective of US cities (such as New York, Boston and Seattle), middle-sized towns (e.g. Buff alo and Indianapolis) and US provinces. The differences are by no means trivial both with respect to sizes and infrastructure as well as cultural and moral aspects. Diff erences may also be observed when comparing the East and West Coast. The complete itinerary of my visit included Washington – Hartford – Buffalo – Chicago – Indianapolis – Bloomington – Minneapolis – Seattle – Boston – New York.
The starting point of theoretical discourse on social conflicts, including ethnic ones, usually concerns their inevitability. This is because they form a specific class of social conflicts and as such are inherent – and crucial – for all social relations. A lot of notable works on the subject include such observation. ‘Conflict, of course, is intrinsic to human society and is often an agent of reform, adaptation, and development. But conflict can also engender destructive violence’, writes Richard H. Solomon. Conflicts perform the role of both social destroyers and creators, says Johan Galtung, and stresses: ‘Conflict generates energy. The problem is how to channel that energy constructively.’
The Warsaw Uprising of August to October 1944 is a most appropriate subject given the impending 60th anniversary observance of this heroic and tragic occurrence. Our panel affords us with the opportunity to discuss and to reflect on this event, which in many ways embodies so much of the larger story of modern Poland. Our discussion occurs also at a time when we recall many other events of 1944, a climactic year in World War II. June 6 marks the 60th anniversary of the successful and massive Allied military invasion of France in Normandy. This victory was the decisive military achievement of the United States of America and its allies against Nazi Germany on the western front.
According to a nationwide survey conducted in July 2004 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in association with the Council on Foreign Affairs 41% of those surveyed cited war, foreign policy and terrorism as the most important problems facing the United States of America. For the first time since the Vietnam era American voters are more concerned about international and defense issues than the economy or other domestic issues in the upcoming presidential election; thus the importance of foreign affairs in Democratic and Republican Parties’ platforms.
A common knowledge shapes our perception of the world and forms our understanding of political phenomena. And almost everyone could agree with the argument that circumstances influence politics. The ebbs and flows in influence, power, prerogatives, performance, and activity of many political actors are an effect of changes in the world outside of them. But one may reasonably argue: what is the cause and what is the result? Is it really true the circumstances evidently, clearly have an effect on e.g. US presidential prerogatives? Or, quite contrary, is the actual, current politics as active as the presidents used their power? The article is about how the two worlds infl uence each other, what are the mutual connections between politics and political actors’ powers.
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