democracy

  • Sites of Memory in the Public Space of Chile and Georgia: the Transition and Pre–Transition Period

    By undertaking discussion on the aspect of special forms of commemoration, we may obtain a lot of useful information about the remembrance policy of a given country. That is why the analysis of the issue of the sites of memory seems to be of key importance for understanding problems related to the state’s interpretation of the past from the perspective of an authoritarian regime, political transition and democracy. The aim of this paper is to address one of the elements of a broader issue, i.e. the study of the politics of memory. This element focuses on the presentation of the most significant sites of memory in two countries with the experience of authoritarianism – Chile and Georgia – emphasizing changes which took place in the sphere of commemoration from the beginning of democratic transformation to the moment of achieving full democracy. By describing these places we are showing the main directions and framework assumptions of the remembrance policies of Chile and Georgia, reflected in the form of spatial and visual objects of the “living history”. 

  • Compensation Liability for Damages Incurred while Exercising Public Authority: a Basic Pillar of Democratic State Ruled by Law

    The leading aim of this paper is to portray the constitutional institution of compensation liability for unlawful acts of public authorities in Polish law related to the development of general principle concerning democratic rule of law. Compensation for damages brought upon the citizens by civil servants constitutes a basic pillar of contemporary democratic state, because it guarantees acting by public authorities in compliances with law and deepen trustfulness. It is also said that the state of the above–mentioned institution indicates the development of democracy. 

  • Democracy without demos?

    The article presents an analysis of the role of demos in power relations in democratic states. The author of the text postulates the need for contemporary political science research to expand its analyses beyond formal structures of political institutions and include in its scope also features of demos – the “cultural factor” to better understand the functioning and chances for success of democracy in different states. 

  • Mediatisation of Democracy – Is This the End of Freedom?

    The role of the public sphere has increasingly come to the fore in studies concerning the state of democracy in Europe. Similarly the role of culture in formations and transformations not only of personal but of political identities as well has attracted attention. It is the purpose of this article to bring these areas together in a comprehensive approach to media, culture and democracy with a view of the public sphere as a crucial mediating field. Article focuses on the role of media in sustaining and developing democracy, a democratic dialogue and in fulfilling the role of media as the critical watchdog of the political system and other powerful players on the European scene. The concept of knowledge democracy is meant to enable a new focus on the relationships between knowledge production and dissemination, the functioning of the media and our democratic institutions. The emerging concept of knowledge democracy moreover obliges us to realise that the institutional frameworks of today’s societies may appear to be deficient as far as the above mentioned undercurrents, trends and other developments demand change. Democracy is without a doubt the most successful governance concept for societies during the last two centuries. It is a strong brand, even used by rulers who do not meet any democratic criterion. Representation gradually became the predominant mechanism by which the population at large, through elections, provides a body with a general authorisation to take decisions in all public domains for a certain period of time. Fragmentation of values has lead to individualisation, to uniqueness but thereby also to the impossibility of being represented in a general manner by a single actor such as a member of parliament. More fundamentally media-politics destroy the original meaning of representation.

  • Democracy at the Service of the Community

    In popular consciousness, the dispute between the communitarians and the liberals focuses on citizens’ individualism and the role and place of the community in contemporary society. However, it is merely a simpli-fied vision of the topic of discussion between supporters of the currents of political thought indicated above. Indeed, a no less essential part of the debate concerns problems associated with the interpretation of the idea and the principles of democracy, their uses and importance in human life. The canon of fundamental values of democratic government includes freedom and equality. These principles are inherently conducive to the emergence of conflicts, as illustrated by the classic dilemma „the more freedom, the less equality, and the more equality, the less freedom.“ This particular problem has determined the emergence of two major theories of democracy: individualistic and collectivist. The main difference between these approaches to democracy concerns the view of the relationship between the state and society, and between the state and it‘s citizens. And thus, the individualistic current (procedural) derived from the traditions of the English Revolution aims to reduce the area of activity and competence of the government to the minimum specified explicitly in the rules of law. Consequently, both Society and citizens are free from the state, the latter becoming only the guardian of the laws.

  • Discrimination, Democracy, and Postmodern Human Rights

    The question of discrimination, as far as it is considered in the field of philosophy, cannot be perceived as a problem which can be effectively combated. Even the most precise diagnosis of human nature will not restrain people from defining others as evil and inferior. The most universal and spacious conventions, declarations, cards or bills will not solve the problem either. They can be regarded as an example of applied philosophy at most. On the other hand, we should pose the question what the world would look like if political pragmatism were the main obligatory rule. Thus, the situation finds us between philosophical wishful thinking about a global order free from discrimination and macro – or micropolitical pragmatism.

  • E–voting as a new form of Civic Participationin democratic procedures

    Times are changing. The second half of the 19th century and the following years stood for rapid development of various tools based on electricity. Expansion of telecommunication and progress of electronic media constitute important elements of this period. It may be said, we now live in the Internet era, and there is a perception that anyone who does not jump on the technology bandwagon is going to be left far behind. The growth of online interactions can be observed by the inconceivable increase in the number of people with home PC and Internet access.

  • E-Voting as a New Form of Civic Participation in Democratic Procedures

    Times are changing. The second half of the 19th century and the following years stood for rapid development of various tools based on electricity. Expansion of telecommunication and progress of electronic media constitute important elements of this period. It may be said, we now live in the Internet era, and there is a perception that anyone who does not jump on the technology bandwagon is going to be left far behind. The growth of online interactions can be observed by the inconceivable increase in the number of people with home PC and Internet access.

  • The Unfulfilled Promise? Deliberative Democracy vs. Political Participation

    The article aims to, first, critically assess the idea and practice of deliberative democracy and, second, find it a proper place in the democratic theory. I start with defining the concept as it emerges from the works of some of its most prominent proponents (such as Fishkin, Cohen or Habermas), reiterating several of the important arguments in support of it. I then present various criticisms of deliberative democracy, regarding philosophical assumptions that inform it (the idea of common good, the conditions of rational deliberation etc.) and its modus operandi (its alleged procedural superiority over aggregative methods). I then off er further criticism of deliberative democracy as a model of democracy, an alternative to the dominant model of representative democracy, arguing from its ineff ectiveness in influencing political decisions. Instead, in the final section, I propose to establish deliberation as one of the two criteria of classifi cation and assessment of democratic systems, thus restoring its importance in the democratic theory.

  • The Sixth Republic under Roh Tae Woo: The Genesis of South Korean Democracy

    The inauguration of Roh Tae Woo as president of the Sixth Republic of Korea in February 1988 can be considered as a turning point in South Korean political history. The five years of the Roh Tae Woo administration, 1988–1993, contained many of the fi rst steps, albeit sometimes transitionally imperfect, toward democracy and an ultimate return to civilian rule of law, as well as greater political freedoms. According to Samuel P. Huntington, the Korean form of democratization was an example of transplacement, in which the government made concessions and opposition political groups accepted it to avoid mutual catastrophe. Furthermore, a case can be made for the mode of democratic transition in South Korea also being like Donald Share’s transition through transaction, Terry Lynn Karl and Philippe C. Schmitter’s transition by pact, and Adam Przeworki’s democracy with guarantees.

  • What American people can tell – freedom of speech in United States

    Freedom of possessing and expressing own ideas and opinions and their dissemination is one of the fundamental rights, that entitled to each person. In addition to this, the freedom enables searching and getting information. Thanks to it, the right to express your own identity, selfrealization and aspiring to truth are guaranteed. It is one of the basic premise and the necessary condition to realize the idea of democracy. In the United States, the cradle of civil rights and modern democracy, the freedom of expression is guaranteed in the First Amendment to American Constitution (Bill of Rights), enacted in 1789 (came into force in 1791). On its virtue, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of (…) the freedom of speech, or of the press (…).” Although the record suggested that this freedom is absolute, (not restricted of any legislation), the later jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court (by case law) isolated categories of utterances that have not been contained by the First Amendment. ! e essential issues are answers on the following questions: in the name of what values Congress can limit the First Amendment? And where is the border of freedom of speech? One of the expressions that are not protected by the law is fi ghting words and hate words. The second are libel and slanders that are understood as a infringement of somebody’s rights.

  • Religion and Democracy: Points of Agreement, Points of Controversy

    Introductorily, it should be observed that the discussed problem’s significance is increasingly pressing as our interest drifts towards societies dominated by great, universalizing religions Islam being only one of them. From the above, a question arises of whether the notions of religion and democracy, as mentioned in the title, are reconcilable within a single order in the first place. In his deliberations, Bohdan Chwedeńczyk inclines to the view that three types of relations may be distinguished in this respect: religion favours democracy; is indifferent to democracy; or is harmful to democracy. The discussion of the above opinion has, respectively, developed threefold. In one point of view, religion is by nature contradictory to the democratic order, it is in a sense its direct opposite. In other words, we face a choice of opting either for religion or democracy. Supporters of an alternative viewpoint claim that in the long run, a democratic system is not viable without the basis of notions such as religion, and therefore religion does play a vital part in the social order. It serves members of the public by satisfying those of their needs that do not belong to the scope of duties performed by the state and its institutions. Finally, the third approach basically acknowledges the fact that no definitive claims can be made as to the possibility of agreement between religion and democracy. I must admit that the latter is closest to my personal stance in this respect. Naturally, through careful selection of examples, arguments to support the first or the second of the mentioned opinions can be easily produced. There have been numerous examples of academic and journalistic articles advocating one of the clear-cut standpoints, which seem not to leave much room for discussion. However, the issue becomes far more multifarious when taking into account the complexity of religious and political issues analysed in both theoretical and practical perspective.

  • Civic Education for Human Rights

    The success of democracy depends on the formation of the social capital conducive to the maintenance of democratic patterns of behavior. Civic education is the most important instrument of the formation of such social capital and is, therefore, an essential responsibility of the democratic state. The concept of social capital, introduced in the social science theory by such authors as Pierre Bourdieu (1984) and James Coleman (1988), implies that the quality of democracy depends on the relations between citizens, particularly on the acceptance of such values as trust in others and willingness to accept them as equals. Consequently, the way in which human rights are perceived in a society has profound importance for the quality of political life and constitutes the crucial component of democratic political culture.

  • Deliberative democracy and citizenship

    The model of deliberative democracy poses a number of dificult questions about individual rationality, public reason and justification, public spiritedness, and an active and supportive public sphere. It also raises the question about what kind of civic involvement is required for the practices of democratic deliberation to be effective. The aim of this article is to examine the last question by looking at the role and value of citizenship understood in terms of participation. It argues that deliberative democracy implies a category of democratic citizens; its institutional framework calls for the activity and competence of citizenry, and consequently, the participatory forms of deliberative democracy come closest to the democratic ideal as such. Also, the model of participatory-deliberative democracy is more attractive as a truly democratic ideal than the model of formal deliberative democracy, but it certainly faces more dificulties when it comes to the practicalities, and especially the institutional design. This problem is raised in the last section of the article where the possible applicability of such a model to post-communist democracies is addressed. The major dificulty that the participatory-deliberative model poses for the post-communist democratization can be explained by a reference to the cultural approach towards democratization and to the revised modernization theory presented by Inglehart and Welzel. The problem of the applicability of such a model in the post-communist context seems to support the thesis presented here which suggests that active citizenship, civic skills and civic culture are indispensable for the development of deliberative politics.

  • Społeczeństwo obywatelskie: mit czy warunek konieczny stabilnego rozwoju demokracji

    This essay aims at taking reflection on the civil society. The author tries to prove the validity of the thesis that civil society is a precondition for stable development of democracy. For this purpose, author invokes the Polish and foreign studies and sources of public opinion surveys, referring mainly to the example of Poland. Atthe beginning terms such as civil society and stable democracy are explained. Then the arguments are given and critical private opinions of the author. They confirm this thesis. There is no shortage of the scientific data and references to personal experiences of the author, which is professionally associated with many non-governmental organizations for several years. This texts aim is to deepen the theme of the development of civil society and encourage the substantive discussion of the condition of contemporary democracy in Poland.

  • The borders of democracy: the past and the present

    The present study to shows:

    1) since the beginning of its existence this institution met with approval of wide social circles and the criticism of intellectuals, paying attention to the impossibility of its realization according to the ideological vocation and with assumptions;

    2) from the time of the French Revolution 1789–1799 democratic ideas are closely connected with populism. Politicians and ruling use tchem as fulfilling the will of the majority of society, and as a tool solving all sociopolitical problems;

    3) political pragmatism, and includedperformance of the public life, cause that the idea of the democracy is replaced by the challenge of building thecivil society which is commonly accepted as sociopolitical reality.

  • Współpraca Unii Europejskiej z Kazachstanem w zakresie dobrego rządzenia, demokracji, praw człowieka i wsparcia reform instytucjonalnych

    The European Union supported Kazakhstan in carrying out political, economic and social reform twice. For the first time EU did so within the framework of the TACIS program in the years 1991–2006 when Kazakhstan has received $ 166 million mainly for the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, transport, environmental protection, administrative reform and health care and education. Again, the European Union has granted funds to Kazakhstan in the framework of the Strategy for Central Asia in 2007–2013. The main burden of support has been designed to prepare for institutional reforms for good governance and human rights protection. There were implemented 17 projects within four sectors: legal services and the judiciary; human rights, economic policy and development, strengthening civil society. In assessing the changes in some regions of the country reported good practices in the field of dialogue between local authorities and non-governmental organizations, increase the efficiency of public services and the transparency of budgetary expenditure. It was emphasized, however, that the authorities of Kazakhstan do not show understanding for the concept of good governance and democratization processes.

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