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Journal Res Publica x Year 1997 x Category Article x

    The first general elections for the Flemish Parliament have given this institution a new dynamic. In its first session (1995-1996) several ambitious reforms were approved in order to modernise the internalfunctioning of the Flemish Parliament. It has become a place for debate beyond party borders. In its classic functions like voting laws and controlling government improvement is also visible. However, there are some disappointing results: the attraction of the plenary session stays low and the number of interpellations is still considerable. In its second session the Flemish Parliament was very active in trying to improve democracy in Flanders. Those innovations have still to be implemented in 1997 and 1998. The modernizing of Flemish Parliament in the last two years has structural characteristics. The end of 1997 and 1998 must show if that is sufficientfor a lasting change in mentality.

Norbert De Batselier

    1996 was a y ear of both gridlock and reform for the European Union. The EU experienced one of its major institutional crises with the Mad Cow Disease. It was equally confronted with only minor progress in the ongoing Intergovernmental Conference for institutional reform as no major breakthroughs could be expected before the UK elections of May 1997. However, some major achievements occured as well. The adoption of the Stability Pact at the Dublin Summit in December increased the credibility of the EMU-project seriously. At the same time, the EU intensified its efforts to improve its trade relations with different parts of the world, especially South and South-East-Asia. At the same time however, the Commission bas been confronted with increasing disputes on the way in which it uses its prerogatives in competition policy and the enforcement of implementation.

Bart Kerremans

Mark Deweerdt

Belgian politics in 1996

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1997
Authors Ivan Couttenier

    In 1996, Belgian politics centered around three major issues: the jobs contract, the 1997 budget and political fallout of the Dutroux affair (the four girls killed by a pedophile ring). During the first months of the year, Prime Minister Dehaene attempted to win support for a comprehensive jobs contract, but the draft agreement was turned down by the Socialist trade union militants. Nevertheless, the measures contained in the agreement were later implemented by the cabinet, without the consent of the employers and organized labor. Together with adjustments made to the social security system and implementation of budgetary measures needed to reach the conditions set by the EU for joining the Economic and Monetary Union, the jobs contract was implemented by means of special powers. The cabinet obtained these special powers from Parliament before the summer recess. After the summer, as a result ofthe Dutroux alfair, the cabinet dealt with legal reform, in the process trying to quell tensions arisen among the law enforcement agencies.

Ivan Couttenier

De kennis van de federale logica en van de bevoegdheden en het beleid van de Vlaamse overheid

een verklaringsmodel

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1997
Authors Jaak Billiet, Bart Cambré and Marc Swyngedouw

    In 1995, the Flemish Government commissioned a two wave panel study on the citizens knowledge about the Flemish institutions, structures, and policy, and on the effect of an intensive information campaign held between the first and the second wave. 710 respondents co-operated in thefirst wave. In 1996 the study was repeated, following a simulated test-re-test design with 532 panel respondents and 455 new respondents. This study is based on the 987 respondents in the 1996 survey. After a discussion of the theoretical models for political knowledge, a model with eight latent variables and with a number of social-background variables is introduced and tested, using a structural modeling approach. The model has a strong predictive power for political knowledge (64% explained variance). The most important explanatory variables are education, and reading political news in newspapers. Other explanatory factors for the variation in political knowledge are generation, and membership of voluntary associations, gender, individualism, and reading local news. The 'consumption' of local news or sensational news about crimes or calamities has a negative effect on political knowledge. The lack of political knowledge clearly affects both trust in polities and the experience of a complex incomprehensible society. The less the knowledge the more distrust and feelings of uncertainty. These relationships clearly show the importance ofknowledge about politics for the quality of democracy.

Jaak Billiet

Bart Cambré

Marc Swyngedouw

Peter Biondi

    In the political field, Flanders experienced a very eventful year throughout 1996. The inauguration of the Flemish Parliament and the award for a 'Draft Constitution for Flanders ' made up two symbolic heights of the Belgian federalization. On the other hand, the deepening and the widening of the Flemish autonomy regularly led to tensions between the Flemish and the Walloon Community. In the policy fields as well, far-reaching changes took place. The most important ones are mentioned within the scope of this annual review article.

Jo Craeghs

Le nouveau Sénat

les n catégories de sénateurs

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1997
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica

    Rankings of politicalparties are often used to map the multiple party preference of the electorate. This article shows how the obtained rankings may be analysed by means of the exploded logit-technique, which allows for testing both the difference between the rankings and the effect of either categorical or quantitative independent variables on the rankings. An analysis of the effect of age on the party preference rankings of the christian democratie (CVP) electorate in the 1991 Belgian parliamentary election shows that the older CVP-voters tend to rank the liberal and the socialist party equally, white the younger voters hesitate between the liberal and the green party. The younger CVP-voters are also significantly less averse of the far-right Vlaams Blok.

Istvan Hajnal

Bart Maddens

    This analysis concentrates on the linguistic laws of1921 and 1932 concerning the linguistic statuts of the civil servants, and on their contribution to the quest for political identity of Flanders. It exhibits the real political signification of the parliamentary debates on unilinguism and bilinguism. This debate is in the same time paradoxical and instructive for the future of the country. The paradox is that the Flemish circles were in favour of the bilinguism of the civil servants (which postulates a unitary conception of the State), and the Frenchspeakings for the other solution (supposing the linguistic duality ofthe civil servants). The unilinguist solution which was decided will certainly f acilitate the federalization of the civil services beginning in the sixties. In fact, every solution was in favour of Flanders: either the bilinguism would increase the number of Flemish civil servants (due to the ignorance of Dutch language by the Frenchspeakings), either the unilinguism would create the bases for Flemish own civil services.

Pascal Delfosse

    This contribution deals with the consequences of European integration for the relation between civil servants and policians. Data of Belgian senior servants who are not involved in European policy networks are compared with data of Belgian officals who are in charge of European negotiations. This comparison shows firstly that officials are more central in European policy networks than in national policy networks. Politicians have only a limited and indirect access to these European networks. Secondly, the more civil servants are involved in these European policy networks, the less their political alienation. Furthermore, the organisational self-esteem do not affect the communication networks among civil servants and politicians. Finally, alienation and self-esteem do not affect the communication networks among civil servants and politicians. The exposure to politics and anciennity seem to be more important predictors.

Jan Beyers

Les adhérents d'Ecolo et le rapport au catholicisme

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1997
Authors Pascal Delwit and Jean-Michel De Waele

    Presumed catholic or christian influence inside the french speaking green party of Belgium is a very strong stereotype since 1981. Nevertheless no scientific work has ever proved that supposition. Starting from a large survey among the 2 500 Ecolo's members, the authors examine and analyze the inventory of fixtures. They present the main features of the members and distinguish the outlines of catholic and non-catholic's members.

Pascal Delwit

Jean-Michel De Waele

'Maatschappelijk draagvlak' als alibi

macht en tegenmacht inzake milieubeleid op het middenveld

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1997
Authors Stefaan Walgrave

    Social, political and commercial organisations are stakeholders in the environmental policy decision making. Their mobilised power and counter power determine to a large extent the content of the decisions taken. Lately, the environmental movement in Flanders has grown stronger in members, professionals, financially,... but it remains relatively weak in comparison with the traditional, strong and aften pillarised intermediary organisations like unions, farmers and employers organisations. Especially its limited informal access tothe policy makers is incomparable with the exclusive and privileged access of those big organisations. Nevertheless the environmental movement is becoming a policy insider instead of an outsider, but this threatens the movements independence and its movement functions.

Stefaan Walgrave

Reimagining the Nation

Mass Media and Collective Identities in Europe

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1997
Authors Jan Servaes

    The interrelationschip of culture, nation and communication is one of the key themes in the study of collective identities and nationalism. In this opening article to this special issue this interrelationship is being assessed. The article aims to contribute to a discussion ofthe assumptions on which the above interrelationship is built. It is argued that nationhood is at the point of intersection with a plurality of discourses related to geography, history, culture, polities, ideology, ethnicity, religion, matriality, economics, and the social. The discourse of nationhood can best be understood in relation to boundedness, continuities and discontinuities, unnity and plurality, the authority of the past, and the imperative of the present. Contributions of a number of contemporary thinkers (Benedict Anderson, Wimal Dissanayake, Ernest Gellner, Sutart Hall, Eric Hosbawm, anthony Giddens, among others) are incorporated in this article in order to underline the complex and contested discursive terrain that nationhood undoubtedly is. It is concluded that various cultures also manifest different and fragmented identities.

Jan Servaes

The Role of News Media in European Integration

A Framework of Analysis for Political Science

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1997
Authors Robin B. Hodess

    The pbenomenon of European integration has received a great deal ofattention from political scientists in the wake of the mid-1980s 'relaunch' ofthe European Union (EU). However, political science's theoretical consideration of West European integration has from the outset failed to include news media as a factor in EU politics. This oversight is linked to the general dismissal of the public and public debate as irrelevant to the integration project. Yet because media have several critical functions in politics - as an information-source, agendasetter, and legitimator - political science treatment of the EU now needs to account for the role of news media. Turning to concepts in normative media theory, the article proposes a framework within which to consider media and suggests empirical analysis of media coverage of the European Union. Such analysis would complement political science study of the democratisation and legitimation of the EU, while acknowledging public discourse as an element crucial to the future course of European integration.

Robin B. Hodess

    This article assesses the relationship between propaganda and nationalism as an ideology in the Serbian massmedia. Serious analysis of contemporary propaganda is a complex discipline, primarily because of the use of the mass media. The issue is further complicated by the fact that the introduction of ever new technologies results in new channels of public media, which demand specific and new methods of propaganda and manipulation. In the study of propaganda in Serbian media as it affects the war in Bosnia Herzegovina, the following elements were found to be of particular interest: propaganda and ideology (propaganda and nationalism, propaganda and religion, propaganda and reinterpretation of history); the use of language for propaganda purposes; the context of propaganda; propaganda organization and propagandists; the public; the level of source criticism; and the iconography.

Marjan Malesic

Mass Communications and Nationalism

The Polities of Belonging and Exclusion in Contemporary Greece

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1997
Authors Roza Tsagarousianou

    This article focuses on the ways in which the prevalence of nationalist discourse in the communication process has affected political and cultural life in Greece after the end of the Cold War. It is argued that through the emergence of scientific nationalism, the enactment of public rituals, and the creation of moral panics based on media representations of ethnic/religious difference, the 'political' is simplified allowing no room for diversity and difference within the framework of national politics. The Greek mass media have been sustaining 'official' representations of 'Greece' as a nation under threat which have been crucial in the formation and maintenance of public attitudes regarding both ethno-religious minorities within Greece, and ethnic and religious groups in neighbouring countries and have undermined the formation and maintenance of public spaces (including the mass media) for representation and identity negotiation, independent from state institutions or the party system.

Roza Tsagarousianou

La "Citoyenneté" au niveau de l'Union Européenne

prolégomènes d'une problématique

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1997
Authors Julian Thomas Hottinger

    Citizenship is a multiform concept that still needs to be cleared. This is necessary because various authors try to understand this concept so that they can define the future model of European citizenship. If there exist different forms of citizenship, one of the tasks of investigation is to determine reasons for these differences. This article redraws the history of this current thoughts in a comparative perspective to be able to deal with its meaning in the context of the European construction. This attitude obliges us to mark out the different contextual models white showing consideration for the real historical and political situations.

Julian Thomas Hottinger

The Flemish Identity

Nascent or Existent?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1997
Authors Bart Kerremans

    The existence of a Flemish identity is a much debated issue in the Flanders. Some deny its existence on the basis of a rejection of national identities all together. Others perceive it as just one variant of a Western European identity. Still others consider it, not as a identity on its own but as part of the Belgian identity. Whatever the outcome, the discussion itself seems to be restricted to a small elite. The general public in the Flanders is not interested in the issue and doesn't seem to identify itself with a Flemish identity. A small empirical research indicates however, that part of the Flemish politicians and journalists use this identity as a perspective on politics and society. For that reason, the Flemish identity seems to be a condition which is quite similar to the one attributed by Gellner to national identities in the nineteenth century. Isn't it better therefore, to talk about a nascent instead of an existent Flemish identity?

Bart Kerremans

    The relationship between media, nationalism and identity is increasingly problematic, even in the most politically stable countries. In Canada, media policy has been an integral part of political strategies for preserving the coherence of the Canadian state, with respect to external pressures towards North American continental integration, and internal pressures towards fragmentation and, most recently, disintegration. The alternative project of political indepéndence for Quebec, which nearly achieved a majority in a referendum held in October 1995, represents a threat to the Canadian state that media policy has sought to contain. But media practices reflect the real tensions in Canadian society and can not be held to account for the more or less failed agendas of politicians. The article explores some aspects of the relationship between media and the complexities of national identity in the framework of a political culture where different visions of nationhood must inevitably coexist.

Marc Raboy
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