Book publication

Otto Eibl, Vlastimil Havlík, Jakub Kyloušek a Michal Pink

Krajské volby 2008

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The publishing house CDK has issued its tenth volume in the ISPO series, Krajské volby 2008 (The 2008 regional election), written by Otto Eibl, Vlastimil Havlík, Jakub Kyloušek and Michal Pink. The book aims to bring the most comprehensive overview possible of the recent election of the regional assemblies in the Czech Republic. Individual chapters focus on the electoral campaign, the electoral gains of political parties and coalitions, and contextualise these gains in the perspective of the election of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament; they also reflect the post-election negotiations and the formation of the individual regional councils. The goal of the book is to provide a detailed interpretation of the 2008 regional election results using both proven and innovative approaches of the political sciences.
Ondřej Císař: 

Political activism in the Czech Republic

288.gifCDK Publishers has issued new book by Ondřej Císař entitled "Political Activism in the Czech Republic: Social Movements and Civil Society in a Period of Transformation and Europeanization". Research on this publication was partially supported by the research project "Political Parties and Representation of Interests in Contemporary European Democracies". In the Czechoslovakia of 1989 the regime of real socialism collapsed, and a society began to appear that was not dependant on the whim of a paternalistic state, but the activity of free citizens. The possibilities opened up for autonomous political activism; important political players began to see a functioning civil society as a prerequisite for a stable democratic regime. This book focuses on the political element of organized civil society. Specifically, it responds to two concrete questions. First: what kind of political activism has been developed by non-parliamentary organizations and groups that make up today's social movements? This question is addressed by the first part of the study, which presents four types (modes) of activism as it has constituted itself since the beginning of the 1990s. One, the so-called transactional mode of political activism, which displays its specific characteristics on first sight, of which the most important is that it is not founded on mass mobilization, is analyzed in the following part of the book. This part takes up the second question of the study: what made it possible for transactional activism in the Czech Republic to develop at all? According to the results of the analysis presented here, it was established by international programs that after the fall of the communist regime assisted the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to build a democratic "civil society". Therefore the second part of the book focuses on the concrete impact of these programs, and later the influence of the European Union. Unlike the prevailing interpretation, which says that these programs and the pressure of the European Union contributed to the cooptation of non-state actors into the political system, this study concludes that on the contrary, they have helped in their stabilization as effective advocacy organizations.

 

Reviewers' comments

 

Using the Czech Republic as an example, Císař wishes to correct pessimistic opinions on the underdevelopment of civil society in the post-communist countries. He certainly got people's attention with the provocative theory that the professionalization of non-government organizations does not mean the decline of political activism. With its emphasis on representation as opposed to participation, Císař's book represents a new voice in the current discussion of the nature and future of democracy.

Pavel Barša, Charles University, and the Institute for International Relations

 

The book represents an important contribution to the empirically-grounded and theoretically-oriented study of political activism, civil society in the post-communist countries, and their transnationalization, and to the study of protest events.

László Bruszt, European University Institute

 

This book by O. Císař attacks the prevailing theory of civil society. Using modern methods it shows that civil society can be strong even when it is based on small professional groups instead of large mass movements. Císař convincingly casts doubt on the common argument that relying on foreign funding leads to cooptation of groups in civil society by the political system. On the contrary, he shows that foreign financing can in some cases lead to the radicalization of these groups.

Steven Saxonberg, Uppsala University and Masaryk University


Vít Hloušek

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Conflict vs. Consensus: Cleavages, Party Systems, and Political Parties in Austria 1860-2006

This publication examines the formation and development of the party system in Austria. It takes up the issue in a historical perspective from its very beginnings in the 1860s to the present. The book is an attempt at a comprehensive application of political science approaches, especially the concept of cleavages, and Sartorian analysis of the formats and types of political party system and society among our southern neighbors.

The monograph was published by the International Institute of Political Science, Masaryk University.

Reviewed by doc. PhDr. Ladislav Cabada Ph.D., doc. PhDr. Jan Holzer, Ph.D., doc. PhDr. Blanka Říchová, CSc.  


Jakub Šedo

Electoral Systems in the Post-Communist Countries

vol_syst.gifThe text of the book Electoral Systems in the Post-Communist Countries summarizes the development of electoral systems in twenty countries from 1989 to mid-2007. The text is divided into three connected parts. The first follows the development of electoral systems in the individual countries; electoral reforms are described, and the more general trends in electoral engineering in the post-Communist countries are also evaluated. The second part identifies sets of elements in the individual countries that are directly or potentially related to the electoral system. These include assessments of the immediate impact of the elections (in the sense of evaluating the degree of advantage or disadvantage to the individual parties), fragmentation, stability of the party system, presence of coalition ballots, independent candidates, and candidates of parties on the fringes of the political spectrum, stability of governments, and prevailing dominant formats in assembling governments. Attention is also given to the possible influence of electoral systems on the course of democratization. In the third part the results for the individual countries are subjected to comparative analysis. The findings of the research cast doubt on several simplistic assumptions about the relationship between electoral and party systems, as it is possible in a number of cases on the basis of the electoral system to explain the presence or absence of certain phenomena in the party systems, from a comparative perspective most of these causalities are called into question by the examples of other systems that with similar rules arrived at clearly differing results.

Reviewed by doc. PhDr. Ladislav Cabada Ph.D.


Jakub Kyloušek, Michal Pink, Jakub Šedo

Electoral map of Brno

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As the eighth volume in the edition Comparative Political Science, the Center for Study of Democracy and Culture publishes the book Electoral Map of Brno. Its authors are ISPO researchers Jakub Kyloušek, Michal Pink, and Jakub Šedo. More information in the section on publications on the CDK web pages.

The publication tracks the electoral behavior of Brno and its individual municipal quarters from 1907 to the local elections of 2006. The text is divided into four parts, of which each presents one stage in history in which at least partially free elections were possible. The reader is guided through the elections during the final years of the Hapsburg monarchy, then the First Republic, and then the partially-free elections of 1946. But the most important part of the publication is devoted to the era after November 1989.  Each section is introduced by brief information about the development of the town during the era in question (changes in the external and internal borders, changes in composition of the population). This is followed by a description of the electoral system (changes in the types of people granted the right to vote, the set of institutional positions filled by direct elections, and the manner in which these elections took place). The analysis itself is preceded by basic information on the political party system. The research on electoral behavior is accompanied by many maps and charts, the aim of which is to help the reader understand Brno's electoral geography. The individual eras are not only tracked separately, but also linked by brief descriptions of the elements of continuity and discontinuity of electoral behavior. The publication's authors, Jakub Kyloušek, Michal Pink, and Jakub Šedo, are researchers at the Institute for Comparative Political Research, where they specialize mainly in elections and electoral systems.


 Vít Hloušek, Roman Chytílek a kol.

elections_and_parties_visegrad.gifParliamentary Elections and Party Landscape in the Visegrád Group Countries

 

Content:

Vít Hloušek, Roman Chytílek: Parties, Elections and Democratic Consolidation in Central Europe

Sarah Birch: Elections, Electoral Systems and Party Systems in the Visegrad States, 2005 -2006

Roman Chytílek, Jakub Šedo: Party System Stability and Territorial Patterns of Electoral Competition in the Czech Republic

Róbert Tardos: Polarization and the Dual Face of Consolidation - a Delicate Balance: the Case of Hungary

Artur Wolek: Polish Voters 2005: Volatility in its Extrem or a Brave New World of Stabilization

Olga Gyárfášová, Vladimír Krivý: Electoral Behavior - Persistent Volatility or Clear Sign of Consolidation? The Case of Slovakia

Maxmilián Strmiska: The Czech Party System: a Few Observations on the Properties and Working Logic of the Czech Party Arrangement

Zsolt Enyedi: Stability in the Shadow of Chaos.Hungarian Party System in 2006

Andrzej Antoszewski: A Turning Point? The 2005 Parliamentary Elections and Consolidationof the Polish Party System

Marek Rybář: The 2006 Parliamentary Elections and its Impact on the Party Political Scene in Slovakia

Otto Eibl, Roman Chytílek: Conclusion

The publication was published by the CDK.


Stanislav Balík a kol.lokalni_pluralismus.gif

Local Political Pluralism

The publication looks at phenomena associated with political pluralism in Brno from the aspects of historiography and political science. Over one hundred and fifty years of history are analyzed, from the beginnings of self-government after 1848, to the recent referendum over whether to move the railroad station.

 

 


D. Čaloud, T. Foltýn, V. Havlík a A. Matušková (eds.):

Elections to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006

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The publication presents eleven chapters analyzing the various aspects of the 2006 elections: development of party political system in 2002-2006, the importance of “European” themes in the identity and election platforms of political parties, the role of public opinion poles, the role of media in the campaign and the influence of political marketing on the methods of organizing political campaigns, candidates and the methods by which  ballots are assembled, electoral geography, effects of the electoral system on election results themselves, the mechanical effects of electoral systems, and post-election events from the perspective of coalition theory.
Reviewed by prof. PhDr. Michal Klíma, CSc., M.A.

R. Chytilek - M. Mareš (eds.):

Reprezentace zájmů menšin v EU

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M. Strmiska - V. Hloušek - L. Kopeček - R. Chytilek:

Politické strany moderní Evropy

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Lubomír Kopeček (ed.):

Trajectories on the Left: Social Democratic and (Ex-)Communist Parties in Contemporary Europe: Between Past and Future

ISPO_3.gifThe political Left in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century finds itself in a curious and in many ways historically unique condition. Its roots are connected with the end of the decades-long division of Europe into the East and the West in 1989. This has initiated the process of transformation of communist parties to the east of the River Elbe. As part of adaptation to new conditions, some of these parties formally gave up their original names, accepted democratic political competition as the basic means of the power struggle, and abandoned their Marxist-Leninist identities. In the attempt to strengthen their local and international legitimacy, these ex-communist formations usually became socially democratic. Not all former monopolistic communist formations decided to change their identities and ideologies so radically after 1989. They often remained more or less tied to their communist traditions. This results in the Central and Eastern Europe providing a very varied picture of the political Left.
However, it was not only the Left of the Central and Eastern Europe that went through a dynamic development at the end of the 20th century. Social-economic and political changes have lead to the erosion of electoral support of most Western European communist parties already since the 1950s. During next decades some communist parties got rid of a larger or smaller part of their original identities, and accepted new ideological programme elements. The problems and changes in the last decades of the 20th century affected also Western European social democrats. Many social democratic parties are in serious crises today. The aim of the articles contained in this book is to explain the current state of the social democratic and communist Left across Europe, and its causes. The presented cases of parties demonstrate some of the above-mentioned trends in the development of the Left in Europe, and show the problems and challenges faced by the Left today.

The publication was published by the CDK.


Petr Fiala - Maxmilián Strmiska (eds.):

Víceúrovňové vládnutí: teorie, přístupy, metody

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Pavel Pšeja:

Political parties in the Czech republic

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