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Society & Politics 2/2010

(Társadalom & Politika 2010/2)

Editor's Foreword

International politics
Tamás Varga: German–American Relations Since the End of the Cold War in the Mirror of World Politics
The German–American relations have gone through at least two turning points since the end of the Cold War. The German reunification, as the final act of the Cold War, happened in the sphere of the Western alliance, according to American interests. The emerging Germany entered the scene of world politics as one of the most important allies of the United States. However, the different political and economic interests became apparent in the 2000s. The German–American debate in connection with the War in Iraq clearly showed that the two countries set off on different paths in the new millennium. The study – after providing a glimpse at post-World War II historical processes and the Cold War political make-up – focuses on the bilateral and multilateral international relations of Germany and the United States in the post-Cold War era. It describes the foreign policy of post-Cold War German cabinets, from Kohl to Merkel, with a special attention to issues of transatlantic relevance.

Security Policy
János Kemény: The Anti-Insurrection Operations of the U.S. Army in Iraq
The American-led coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, after the initial traditional military phase, turned into a lasting anti-insurrection struggle, which proved to be more difficult to manage than the toppling down of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime. The author analyse this latter phase of the invasion in detail. First, he introduces the reader into the fundamental concepts, logic and dynamics of such anti-insurrection operations in general, then he turns toward the specific lessons learned by the American military during its presence on the Iraqi scene. Namely, the study informs us about the experience of intelligence-gathering, the so-called CMOs (civil-military operations), and information operations (public affairs etc.) as well. The statements of the study are heavily based on first-hand materials, that is, on official reports of the military.

István Murányi : One possible explanation of students’ prejudices: life-form
A lot of Hungarian research results show that high level of prejudice toward different minority groups characterise those young people who live in disadvantageous socio-cultural circumstances: elderly and uneducated parents, bad or unstable financial conditions, under-developed region. The focal question of the study is: How can we explain this correlation between prejudice and social background? The study is based on two surveys. One of them was carried out in 2005 with 5000 respondents – high-school students from four Hungarian counties and the capital city. The other one is an international data-survey – this latter being rather a comparative pilot study to check the explanation in different types of social and cultural contexts and in another age-group; for this reason, in this survey, carried out in 2008, the researchers polled 400 students from five countries: Hungary (University of Debrecen), Finland (University of Kuopio), Russia (Krasnoyarsk State University), Romania (Babeş-Bolyai University) and Ireland (Cork University). The author tries to answer the basic question with the help of Fuchs’s and Case’s conception. According to Fuchs and Case, prejudice is not an attitude, but a way of life. It can be explained by the concept of ritual density, which is based on the open or closed character of interactions within and across group boundaries. The aspect of national attitudes as another factor is also added to the analysis.

Public Policy
Márton Gellén: Tracking Down Governmental Reforms of the Past and the Future – What has Happened Until Now, What Should Happen from Now On?
Twenty years after the regime change and five years after the accession to the European Union, the Republic of Hungary had come to a stage when its previously unsolved internal problems came to the surface and incarnated in consequent failures of social and economic governance as well as in failures of internal operations. The decision-makers’ response was a series of measures with the ambition of cost-saving and efficiency-increase, but the elaboration and the execution appeared to be erroneous. The failed attempts further deepened the crisis of the state, although they serve as a forcing factor for the policy-makers of future reforms. Based on the given experience, prospectively, the following elements might be the keys to success: enhancing strategic governance; restoring the moral content of public administration; securing better conditions for public service; and acknowledging the special characteristics of public administrative and policy reforms. The present study, in short, both describes the past sources and the present state of affairs and provides possible future solutions.

Media and Communication
Balázs Barkóczi: Network-Building and Political Thematization on the Internet
This study examines the nature of online political discourse, the behaviour of web-based communities, and the characteristics of political networks and movements organizing themselves online. Mainly, it focuses on the organization of the far-right-side groups of the national political scale in Hungary, as their online presence indicates a conscious online activity and community-building. The presence on the news portals and the operation of web pages and blogs clearly show that the political groups defining seditionary goals in the contemporary protest atmosphere realized the potential of the Internet in determining the political agenda and recruitment. They combine these opportunities with online guerrilla marketing in order to popularize their political presence. The author provides several diagrams as well, in order to catalyse the understanding of the online communication and community-building of the Jobbik through a network of radical rightist portals of various profiles and with different ideological and personal backgrounds.

Péter Paczolay – Chairman of the Hungarian Constitutional Court, university lecturer, professor of law and political science

Róbert L. Holndonner: /Parliament’10 (Hungary) – Experience, Changes, and Results

Contets & Abstracts