Res Publica

About this journal  

Subscribe to the email alerts for this journal here to receive notifications when a new issue is at your disposal.

Issue 1, 1994 Expand all abstracts

    Not much has been written on the foreign assistance policy of Belgium, but work that focuses on it singly or in comparison with other cases tends to charge that Belgium lacks a coherent foreign assistance policy. This study examines the rhetoric of Belgian decision makers and the policy behavior of the state, utilizing a framework of four national role conception profiles, each bringing together a set of perceptions regarding the role decision makers perceive their state to play in this issue area. Parliamentary debates for the period 1975-90 are coded for mention of themes associated with these profiles, white OECD data regarding the foreign aid expenditures for the same period provide insight into the policy behavior. It concludes that Belgian decision makers do not perceive foreign assistance as a separate issue area, but as inextricably linked with foreign (economie) policy.

Marijke Breuning

Access_open L'engagement des intellectuels dans la France des années trente

entre culture et politique

Authors Philippe Bradfer

    Because of the extent and evidence of political participation of intellectuals in France of the thirties, the latter may be considered as full actors of the political life and debates of these years. The historical circumstances are however not sufficient to explain the political role they then assumed. More precisely, the article is intended to show that in order to explain the peculiarity of the phenomenon, one must necessarily turn to the cultural data, i.e. the set of values and representations that found the social recognition of intellectuals in France and that account for the believe according to which those who, because of their intellectual activity, arenotorious, have an authorized opinion on political matters. In this perspective, one may conclude that the commitment of intellectuals in France of the thirties may not be reduced to a political fact. It also constitutes a cultural fact, resulting from the combination of a value crisis and the system of political attitudes attached, in this country, to the status of intellectuals.

Philippe Bradfer

Access_open The termination of coalitions in Belgium

Authors Kris Deschouwer

    Coalitions have a limited life-span. There has been quite some research on the duration of coalitions and on the factors explaining variations in duration. But there is so far no solid theory on the mechanics of the termination of coalitions. This article gives an overview of the mechanics of termination in Belgian politics. By using the contextual approach (Pridham), that has originally been produced to analyse coalition formation, this overview might be a first step in the construction of a comparative explanatory model. The historical context, the institutional setting, the international context and the economical situation are described as elements that affect the termination of coalitions. The Belgian ethno-linguistic cleavage proves to be a very effective coalition-killer.

Kris Deschouwer

Access_open Fiscale oversijpelingseffecten in federaal België

de EG-aanwezigheid en de Brusselse gemeentefinanciën

Authors Bruno Heyndels

    Belgian municipalities rely heavily on surcharges on national income taxes as a source of income. In a context offederal government, such taxes create "fiscal externalities": decisions at one level of government affect the welfare at other levels. We focus on one such interdependency: EC-civil servants are not subject to national incame taxation. We show that this federal decision has far reaching budgetary effectsfor the municipalities (in the region of Brussels) where these people reside. Apart from its budgetary impact, this situation also baspolitical and social relevance.

Bruno Heyndels

    The joint international action against Iraq and the search for a new security doctrine following the end of the Cold War, led, in the early '90s, to a revival of the notion of collective security embodied in several international agreements. This notion is based on the assumption of responding collectively to international aggression. However, the international guagmires of recent years and especially the case of former Yugoslavia where international organizations have played the role of alibi to agression, has once more, dealt a major blow to the illusion of the implementation of the principles of collective security. In a way similar to the 1930s and the bipolar balance of power of the Cold War, collective security seems ephemeral today. We can therefore safelypredict that in the foreseeable future, international relations will continue to be shaped by the balance of specific state interests and not by universally applied principles of collective security.

Huri Türsan

Access_open Hoe zwart is Vlaanderen?

Een exploratief onderzoek naar uiterst-rechtse denkbeelden in Vlaanderen in 1991

Authors Hans De Witte, Jaak Billiet and Peer Scheepers

    On the basis of the research literature, five aspects of the extreme right-wing ideology were distinguished: racism, extreme ethnic nationalism, the preference for a strong leadership, anti-parliamentarianism, and an anti-left attitude. The data of a postal survey in the spring of 1991 of a representative sample of the Flemish population in Belgium show that the items with which these extreme right-wing topics were operationalized show a one dimensional structure. About 10% to 25% of the interviewees agree with the individual items and about 20% of the subjects scored on the extreme right-wing side of the scale. The 'hardcore' of extreme right-wing respondents is, however, much smaller (about 1% to 2%), and does not seem to be higher in Flanders than in most of the surrounding countries. The right-wing extremism scale developed correlates as expected with a previously developed typology that integrates the attitude with respect to autochthons and allochthons. The analysis confirms that the voters for the Vlaams Blok - taken as a whole - may not be considered right-wing extremists, as suggested by previous research. Right-wing extremism correlates with a large number of attitudes and seems to be embedded in the broader opinion dimension of socio-cultural conservatism. This may also explain why it is associated primarily with the age, educational level, and religiosity of the respondents.

Hans De Witte

Jaak Billiet

Peer Scheepers