YEAR X. 2004
DILEMMAS OF IDENTITY
and Alliances in an Integrating Europe:
A Challenge to the
Nation State?- 5
Being a breakthrough by examining regional
identities from an anthropological
standpoint, the study pushes for the recognition of these regional identities
their own right, which may not involve ethnicity as such, regional identities
actually being a matter of the majority identity within the nation state in many
Although there is sometimes a tendency to view European regionalisms almost
automatically as basically ethnic, regional identities do not exist entirely
nation state borders, as europeanization is opening up a new path for alliances
to be formed between regions across borders, providing thus an alternative to
The lack of fit between ethnicity and some
regionalisms is also shown by the fact
that not all ethnic minorities compose a region, an entity which obviously requires geographical contiguity.
Regionalism is not only a popular movement — it can also
be a bureaucratic instrument. National governments may regionalize administration, without implying anything about regional identities. Bureaucratically promoted identities
themselves culturally constructed and in principle no less suitable for
In the past, the EU’s official delimitations of regions were clearly
an exclusively economic perspective, often ignoring, and thus potentially conflicting with popular notions of regionalism. Today, it has been recognized
the cultivation of other, more identity-related aspects of regionalism may
actually reinforce the implementation of policies. As a result, the idea of a
regions has now entered the bureaucratic thinking of Brussels itself
Although increased autonomy and responsiveness to local identities and demands
are on the cards for sub-national units, there are no indications that the
states in Europe, who are still first-line members of the EU, are ready to
their sovereignty to them.
Jewish-Hungarian Identity after the Shoah (1945-1956)- 23
The study contends that collective identity is a
historical construction composed
of various elements whose importance vary strongly in time. The process of modernization and the tragic and convoluted history of the 20th century
a gap between the internal and external definitions of Jewish identity in Hungary. They also account for the remarkable changeability of identity as an
existential strategy, a changeability often leading to forms of reversibility for
same groups or individuals during their life cycle.
Paradoxically enough, although the post-Shoah
circumstances had opened up a
way toward upward mobility and modernity for Jewish-Hungarians, in the end they
turned into another trap. Jews could not help being considered as the natural
political supports of the new regime, duly certified antifascists as they were.
Unprecedented new prospects for professional success in the state apparatus proved to
all the more tempting as other, more traditional roads to middle class careers
progressively closed down following the Communist take-over. Consequently, opposite identity choices could find equally satisfactory reasons of legitimacy.
Reactions to the same collective trauma took three utterly different shapes, but
all implying a break-away from the past: communism, Zionism and the remodelling of
earlier assimilationist options. In the early years of the new regime,
and zionism were functionally equivalent as they shared common traits: both options were new, they were conceived as social Utopias, they both resided upon
universalistic principles. On the other hand, communism appeared from the outset
be incompatible with most of the cultural ingredients of Jewishness, such as
religion above all, but also with many other traits of traditional mentality.
movements were suppressed and from 1949 onwards even well established Jewish
cadres could not feel secure, they often being taken as targets of internal
purges as „ bourgeois elements”. Having over invested their commitment to communism, Jewish cadres were among the first to turn against Stalinism and
their hopes in „democratic socialism”. Jewish-Hungarian identity choices were
thus enriched with a new pattern, marked by a renewed nationalist engagement
and – in the 1980s – by the liberation from the taboo of Judaism.
The Dual Identity of an Ethnic Community:
Poles and Slovakians in Bukovina, 1937-1944.
Ethnic Manipulation during International Political Crises- 37
For a long time, the different identity of the Slav
communities in Buko.’ina was
given exclusively by their religion: Catholic or Orthodox, as they had already
influenced each other prior to their settling here, there
Polish and Slovakian roots
being interwined. Their ethnic differentiation took place only under the
the political competition between the respective nation states: Poland and
Chekhoslovakia. The native academics as well as the press, biased by the
changing political circumstances and depending on their ethnic background, contended a Slovakisation of the Poles or a Polisation of the Slovakians by turns.
The third political actor involved in this
struggle, Romania, proved no constancy,
only pragmatism in its pursuit of its own interests. The Romanian state took
according to the rise and fall of Poland and Chekhoslovakia on the
scene, with no regard to the rights or welfare of the minority communities involved. The end of the Second World War and the establishment of the communist
regime put an end to this ethnical dispute by simply eliminating its object:
and Slovakian schools were done away with and most of the minority communities in the region were required to leave for their country of origin.
Ilona Pálné Kovács
Regionalism in Hungary
and in Central-Eastern Europe- 50
Every one of the Central-Eastern European countries in
transition har had to face
its territorial and administrative reform. Once the first steps were taken at
local arrangements level, it became clear that sustainable development policies
could not be drawn up and implemented without there being a reformed intermediary tier. Consistent reforms to this end were hampered by the lack of political
consensus, by the reluctance of the administrative centre to let a series of
competencies to be taken over by a subnational level, but also by professional
The counties, backed up by a millenium of history, have been a matter for
contention in this controversial reform, at a certain point Hungary finding itself in
position of developing a regional policy without regions. Whether the envisaged
regions will simply add one more level of government or they will wipe out of
existence the present counties remains to be seen, but what is more important
a successful reform is the reinforcement of regional identities.
Romania and the Federal Problems in the 20th Century
with a View to its Accession to the European Union- 70
The study is a historical survey of the federalist
projects designed by Romanian thinkers
and politicians and of the federalist bodies Romania was part in. On the whole,
federalism was conceived of only as a union of nations and not at all as domestic
arrangements. In its 1923 Constitution, Greater Romania was defined as a
„unitary national state” as it followed the French
centralist model, the exact opposite of federalism. On the international scene, Romania, Chekhoslovakia and Yugoslavia
the Little Entente in 1921. The Balkan Entente, an alliance formed in 1934 by
Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece, and Turkey, reinforced the Treaty of Versailles.
In the postwar period, Romania remained a unitary
national state, the Hungarian Autonomous Region being a shortlived exception.
The return to Europe is difficult as it presupposes
genuine internal reforms, not
only resounding international decisions. Nowdays federalism is seen by Romanians only as a prelude to state dissolution.
The European Union is still perceived exclusively
as a union of nations, Romanian officials do not realize the importance of internal administrative reform
blind to the Europe of regions. There have been established eight regions for
development, but mainly under the pressure of Romania’s accession to the EU and designed only to benefit from the european structural funds. This gap between
statements and political actions will most likely have a boomerang effect,
chance of reasserting Romania as valuable contributing member to the EU.
Discrimination in the Counties of Mureş and Satu Mare- 85
The case study shows that, although at a first
sight the present situation seems
favourable to national minorities, racial discrimination pervades all the
of social life.
There are special provisions in the education for Roma
that are designed to support the emergence of a Roma elite by facilitating their graduation of higher
forms of education, but Roma children cannot graduate elementary school. Theoretically, mother tongue education is provided for many national minorities,
practically it turns out that there are neither trained teachers nor handbooks
this field. Oh the other hand, the curricula and handbooks, instead of
tolerance, only reinforce the extant negative stereotypes concerning minorities.
The drawbacks in the educational system lead to the diminishing of job opportunities, the persons belonging to minority communities having a poorer education
are bound to be employed in poorly paid positions if they are employed at all.
There are also other deficiencies, inherited from the communist past, when persons belonging to minority communities were not allowed to hold key positions.
Nowadays, even with a similar training, minority persons must get used to putting up with secondary positions. On the whole, a poor professional training
results in social problems. It is especially Roma communities that live in
precarious, conditions and the social assistance provided for by law is given only
partially; this poverty, in its turn, leads to school abandonment.
This vicious circle of discrimination and its
consequnces is passed on by the
negative stereotypes extant both in school and society on the whole,
manifested in limiting the access to public places and collective attribution
guilt grounded on ethnic belonging.
At the same time, negative stereotypes concerning
minorities are coupled with
positive stereotypes concerning majority. Consequently, the majority must display their prevalence also symbolically (the naming of streets and schools, for
The Transylvanian Elites,
between Regional Identity and the Rise of National Feelings- 194
The research deals with the question of the political
integration of Romanian
Transylvanian elites in Greater Romania after 1918. This proved to be a very
difficult process because their aspiration for self-government – justified by
cultural specificities and separate history of the province – clashed with the
centralist and unilateral policy of Bucharest. Comparing the two attempts at
building before and after 1918, similarities are striking: national
were growing stronger while regionalism was diminishing. Within the dominant
nation – Hungarian before 1918, then Romanian – the prospects offered and the
constraints exerted by the ruling nation overcame or strongly diminished any
divergent identity. In the 20th century, identities alternative to the majority
strived to come to life again in a new form, adjusted to modern life.
could have been a valid alternative to the national state, genuine pan-transylvanian
and trans-ethnic alliances remained only unfulfilled projects for fear they
harm the interests of one’s own „side”.
Nevertheless, there are notable differences between the
periods before and after
the first World War as the Hungarian minority’s elite held a different position
championed a different attitude within Greater Romania than the emergent elite
of the Romanian nationality within the Monarchy.
The Vienna Diktat of the 30th of
August 1940, dividing Transylvania into two
parts and raising nationalisms to paroxism, put a concrete end to the idea of
primacy of the Transylvanian identity over national identities.
European Integration- 140
The Intercultural Centre of the PRO EUROPA League
organised the third edition of
the Transsylvania Summer University at Ilieni between the 22nd and
the 25th of July
2004. Among the participants there were academics, politicians, political
scientists and representatives of the civil society. Considering the
development of the European
political scene, Romania will take part in the process of European integration
matter whether this country will have a genuine political commitment towards
end or not. Still, the genuineness of its commitment can make a real difference
smoothing Romania s accession to EU and, within this context, regionalisation
regionalism are significant coordinates. Then, what is a region? In a necessary
revision of its definition, a region s territorial borders become less important,
idea of regionalism, the existence of a region in the mentality of its
a first-rate position, as regionalisation does, too, namely the political will
to establish a regional institutional framework. The eight regions for development were
created by the Romanian decision makers under the pressure of EU policies and
in the process, the various regionalisms extant in Romania were not taken into
consideration, the country was deprived by an important instrument – the regional
of government – on its way to accession. At present, regionalism should no
belong to a bureaucratic sphere that distributes EU structural funds, but it
shift to reasserting large local communities.
The present administration is expensive, instead of being
cheap; it lacks transparency, it controls society instead of being controlled by it. In order to
this state of affairs, a reform is necessary because the present structures
established during the communist regime and were meant to serve a centralist
ideology and the communist elite.
At the request of the DAHR, a series of legal proposals
(The Framework Bill on
Regions, the Bill on Establishing the Special Legal Status Region, the Szeklar
the Autonomy Statute of the Szeklar Land as a Special Status Region) were drawn
by experts in order to initiate a debate on the issue, but they were rejected
in present day Romania any regionalist discourse being perceived as a threat to
state. In spite of the mythologisation of history according to which Romania
always been a unitary national state, historical facts show the contrary.
Contrary to the widespread opinion that Romania is still a
statist country, one
can see that this country lacks a depoliticised, well-functioning state
the governing structure being a „partycracy”. On
the other hand, regionalism
cannot find a political actor to champion it because the law on parties
the establishment of regional parties, thus making wider the gap existing now
between parties and society.
By rejecting diversity and regionalism, the political
elite is jeopardising Romania’s
accession to EU, the regionalist discourse of the political party now in power
used only abroad and boils down to a mere communication technique.
As a conclusion, there are two possible solutions to Romania’s current
a wide civical movement (but considering the inertia of the population, it is
unlikely) or a”foreign rule”, namely EU.
Church in Democratic Transition
between the State and the Civil Society- 170
The paper shows how turbulent social processes in
societies influence religion and how religion responds to these new challenges.
The claims of the authors presented in this paper have shown that religion
sometimes finds many obstacles on it’s way to re-establish new relations with the
on one hand, and the newborn civil society, on the other hand, and, at the same
time, to remain adherent to democratic principles, sometimes incoherent with
hierarchical and rigid structures. It has been shown that many years of
suppression by communist regimes and liberation connected with strong ethnoreligious
identifications did much damage to religious communities.
Today, one can see that they have few tasks to complete in order to
nave a clear
starting point and a foundation for dialogue with other social actors.
Disentanglement of church from state and all sorts of political behavior; respect for
human rights and participating in the building of civil society are the most
important among them. Nevertheless, turbulent social circumstances that follow
transition do not work on behalf of neutralizing the close links of religion to
And this is one of the possible directions in which religion might go, warn
the authors. However, religion still can contribute to society, under the
that it has dealt with satisfactorily with all the challenges of modernity.
But, „tensions between tradition and memory on the one hand, and modernity on the other,
are not sufficient to deny the continuing need for referring to tradition,”
in the case of some transitional countries, still an everyday reality.
Nastasă, Levente Salat (editori):
din Romania şi etica minoritară. 1920-1940
(Lucian Nastasă, Levente Salat:
in Romania and Minority Ethics. 1920-1940)- 188