World of Ideas and Politics

Volume 6

World of Ideas and Politics
Volume 6/2006

Table of contents:
Studies and analysis:

  • Jarosław Nocoń: Methodological foundations of modern political theory
  • Sławomir Manikowski: Muslim fundamentalism as a social movement
  • Janusz Sujecki:Sociology of knowledge as a research perspective in the analysis of the program pattern interpretation
  • Waldemar Rogowski: Liberty as a main criterion of building institutions of democratic legal state in the concept of Józef Tischner
  • Artur Laska: Social justice as "a casually disputable concept"
  • Adam Gwiazda: Controversies over globalization
  • Maria Ewa Szatlach: Between integration and regional particularism - the global context to the European Union
  • Aleksandra Ciżmowska: Debates on the European welfare state
  • Radosław Sajna:Hugo Chávez and the oposition - media war in Venezuela
  • Marcin Mendyka: Pathogens influencing the decisio making process of Ronald Reagan

Book reviews:

  • Krzysztof Karczewski: Krzysztof Tyszka: Nationalism in communism. National ideology in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of Poland
  • Artur Lipiński: Chantal Mouffe: Paradox of democracy
  • Jarosław Reszka: Maria Wojtak: Press genres
  • Izabela Zielińska: Informacja naukowa

Jarosław Nocoń:

Methodological foundations of modern political theory
The above outline of the research paradigms occurring in modern theories does not exhaust a variety of methodological approaches found in modern political theory. The article presents mainly paradigms of modern theory inter alia neofunctional, neoinstitutional, postbehavioral concept and also politics in the game theory perspective. It only concerns lines strictly connected with analyticalempirical theories. The problem of methodological foundations of normative theories is, however, very difficult to present. Although the researches noticed a necessity for their existence and development, the issue of rational justification of axiological opinions is still open. A lot of space is created to inspire the formation of political science metatheory base, not excluding referring to classical philosophy.
At present it is difficult to explicitly identify philosophical and methodological foundations of the normative political theory. One may find reference to many different lines, from Thomism to sceptical conservatism and a variety of problems concerning hermeneutics and phenomenology. From the pos-positivistic point of view, ontological inspirations of the normative political theory in particular belong to metaphysics. For this reason the normative theory contributed little to empirical methodology. It is preferable to refer to genetic explanation, generalization and pre-scriptive monographic forms.

Sławomir Manikowski:

Muslim fundamentalism as a social movement
Muslim fundamentalism is not only a religious but also a social and political phenomenon. Political science considers it both a political ideology and a social movement. Since we have been observing an increase in its popularity for a few dozen years, it is worth considering what makes a lot of Muslims follow this fundamentalistic ideology.
The author tries to answer the questions: who an average fundamentalist is, what education he obtained and what attracts him to the fundamentalistic movement.
The author also describes the social basis of fundamentalism, which will permit us to find why this ideology is so popular. The author considers poverty as a catalysing factor but he also points to transformations in Muslim societies concerning modernity, such as globalisation, political centralisation, urbanisation, massmedia widespreading, or migrations. Neither does he miss antiAmericanism as an important mobilising factor.
The other part of this paper concerns the so called "Muslim terrorism" and its relationship with fundamentalism. The author takes note of the necessity to differentiate between the both concepts and presents the two streams of fundamentalism: terrorist (salafijja dżihadu) and "peaceful".

Janusz Sujecki:

Sociology of knowledge as a research perspective in the analysis of the program pattern interpretation
Transformation of the political system in Poland has created a new friendly environment for the research on the history of social movements, including socialistic program, formulated basing on Marxism. The lack of any ideological pressure and censorship restrictions formed particularly advantageous circumstances for the researchers interested in the history of the socialistic concept. Today one can consider whether the opportunity which appeared by vanishing the ideological corset has been used properly. In the 1990s, the former approach, usually coming down to treating Marxism as religious dogma, was replaced by negation mostly resulting in the elimination of the issue itself. You could observe a tendency to avoid the research on the history of socialistic concept, so necessary after decades of barriers, resulting in passing over in silence or misrepresentations.
The foregoing considerations show vital stages of the process of forming program interpretations created basing on Marxism. However, the presented here schematic depiction may also be useful for demonstrating the process of formulating the program constructed as one of a few variants of any doctrine, i.e. a pattern. The choice of Marxism as a program pattern is only a consequence of referring to an instance of the hagiography of the Polish socialistic movement and is strictly related to my interests concerning the history of the Polish socialistic concept. I regard the suggestions presented here as my voice in the discussion lasting since 1990 on the use of research abilities being a result of the political system transformation in Poland.

Waldemar Rogowski:

Liberty as a main criterion of building institutions of democratic legal state in the concept of Józef Tischner
Retrospective consideration of the priest Józef Tischner.s writing permits us to describe him as a philosopher of liberty. He considered this idea as a determinant of humanity and a basis of creating a new political realty during the political system transformation. At the same time the idea of liberty as a fundamental value shaping a sense of a human being.s dignity was a subject of lively discussions. Concepts clashing with each other presented this idea in different ways. There appeared opinions absolutising a human being.s liberty with reference to individualism which derived from the tradition of J. Locke.s classical liberalism. In turn, others indicated that man should restrict his freedom for the sake of communitaristic superiority of common good over the individual one. Other opinions warned against freedom as an unfortunate gift that would destroy a human being.
Tischner based his view of freedom on personalism and courageously propagated a necessity of using it to form institutions of a democratic legal state. His critical look at new political subjects and institutions as well as on a changing role of the Catholic Church is essential in this paper.
The timeless character of Tischner.s proposals or suggestions in the issues of institutions or political systems is still open and may be used as an important voice in a discourse concerning the directions of political transformation.

Artur Laska:

Social justice as ''a casually disputable concept''
All revolutions and wars were conducted to build a just order, and both followers of the new deal vision and those who defended the old one wished to realize the idea. As a result, the logical concept of social justice appears to be extremely difficult. Considering all categories constituting a political discussion, the concept seems to be one of the most significant but obscure. That is why it should be considered as "truly disputable". The intensity of such a normatively neutral and non-justifying thesis is based on the conviction that no interpretation is better than any other. Its weakness also amounts to assuming that there exists a permanent disagreement within a political discourse, which, as experts say, would make the functioning of the society impossible. Therefore, the author presents his own suggestion of a complex and coherent definition that may be used as theoretical foundation for analyzing political deliberation on this disputable in its essence category.

Adam Gwiazda:

Controversies over globalization
The paper shows the current debates about globalization with special emphasis on the most controversial issues such as the impact of that process on the global welfare and economic development of the individual countries and the rise of transnational corporations which have become in some spheres more influencial than nation states. It focuses on not only one, positive aspect of globalization while entirely neglecting the negative one. This article examines various approaches to globalization and various definitions of that concept. The enormous number of such definitions and the mounting volume of literature on globalization has brought about such a paradoxical situation in which the more we read about globalization, the less clear we seem to be about what is means and what it implies. There are various types of globalization which are discussed in this paper including economic globalization, cultural and political one. While economic globalization refers mostly to changes in capital and labour flows, production systems and trade in goods and services, so political globalization refers to the changing global context of political awareness, processes and activity. It also can be perceived as a growing tendency for managing globalization and finding global solutions for the global problems which creates globalization. The open question is to what extent globalization can be considered as a process which has weakened nation states due to the growth of economic power of transnational corporations and other alternative international organizations and movements. The effects of globalization are the most visible in trade and capital flows, but they go beyond. Unfortunately they are evaluated not only on the basis of available historical experiences, facts and statistical data but also depend on the ideological background of a given author. There is no doubt that globalization has removed many barriers hindering the economic development in the global scale and has a huge potential to expand freedom, democracy, innovation and social and cultural exchanges. However, globalization has reinforced mostly the strong countries and societies and further weakened the weak ones. Therefore it should be reformed or humanized in order to secure sustainable economic and social development if not for all people in the world so for the majority of people.

Maria Ewa Szatlach:

Między integracją a regionalnym partykularyzmem. Unia Europejska w kontekście globalnym
W latach 50. XX w. pojawiło się nowe zjawisko polityczne: współpraca i integracja państw w skali regionalnej. Unia Europejska jest wyjątkowym przykładem tego fenomenu i to nie dlatego, że powstała jako pierwsza, lecz dlatego, że posunęła się najdalej w aspekcie przekazania części swojej władzy przez państwa członkowskie centralnym instytucjom unijnym. Próby zrozumienia Unii są dużym wyzwaniem, głównie z powodu olbrzymiej ekspansji i transformacji jej członków, zakresu funkcjonowania głównych polityk, realizowanych celów, architektury instytucjonalnej i, zwłaszcza ostatnio, z powodu jej wzrastającej roli jako globalnego podmiotu w stosunkach międzynarodowych.

Aleksandra Ciżmowska:

Debates on the European welfare state
The welfare state, one of the most important European institutions of the 20th century, is in a serious crisis now and many experts forecast its near decline.
The author of the article tries to prove the fact that there have always been many debates on the welfare state: its origin, essence, and its models. But now the welfare state is a subject of a very severe criticism. The author describes some arguments against the welfare state, especially those which underline its economic ineffectiveness. The author also presents some of its advantages.
Although nowadays the attitude of most economists and politicians towards the European welfare state is negative, some positive results of its transformation in some European countries (Sweden is the best example) show that the welfare state has the chance to survive.

Radosław Sajna:

Hugo Chávez and the oposition - media war in Venezuela
When in 1998 Hugo Chávez became a president of the country, Venezuela entered into a new period in his newest history. Its society was divided into two groups: one that supports the new president and his ideology, defined as "Socialism of the XXI Century", and the other that represents the liberal values. This ideological conflict (simplifying: the poor versusteh capitalists) would not be possible without media participation. Hugo Chávez uses for his purposes above all the state media, that is tv station VTV (Venezolana de Televisión) and the radio station RNV (Radio Nacional de Venezuela). Every Sunday VTV and RNV broadcast "Aló, Presidente" - a programme of several hours, in which the president of Venezuela comments events, meets people (e.g. Fidel Castro), opens dialoque with compatriots (visits farmers, soldiers, people suffering in hospitals or youth in schools). Private tv stations present another vision of the world, alike the biggest dailies in the country, that is .El Nacional. and the liberal "El Universal". Hugo Chávez tries to silence the opposition tv stations, encountering, however, a strong resistance on their part. And the comments that you can read on the columns of the "El Universal" daily emphasize the liberals. extreme negative valuation of Chávez.s rule.

Marcin Mendyka:

Pathogens influencing the decision-making process of Ronald Reagan
Mind sobriety and good physical condition contribute to taking accurate and proper decisions by politicians. However, it often happens that political decision-makers do not obey some rules. They pursue political power at all cost, regardless of their health condition. This not only influences them badly but also affects their social decisions. It is often impossible to verify and put off ill politicians, because they providently suppress their trouble.
An illness is to a large extent defined as a factor deforming the intentions of political decision-makers. Affected by a strong pain, a politician can make far-reaching concessions only to rest. It is claimed that the older you are the more experience you have to rule. But you also acquire illnesses that should be balanced by experience. It happens that health trouble takes priority in a critical situation. Not without a reason does the author combine the age factor and a pathogen, as the text concerns Ronald Reagan who while taking his presidential office in the White House was almost seventy.