Central European University Political Science, Annual Doctoral Conference, Session II

Since I talked today about blogging as an academic took, it seems only right that I would do a bit of live-blogging from the session that followed my own. Here are a few thoughts. Apologies to anyone whose ideas I have mischaracterized:

Oana Lup
The Role of Political Talk in Developing Democracies: Evidence from Hungary
Abstract Paper
discussant: Reka Varnagy

Everyday political talk seen as a border case: not quite ordinary talk but not quite political discourse. Evidence is ambiguous and often contradictory.

Being embedded in a larger or more politicized network does not make a significant difference in turnout once the most important part of social interaction is controlled for (relationship status, employment)

Those with more discussants are also more likely to make correct use of left-right heuristic.

Juraj Medzihorsky
Intellectuals, Think Tanks, and Politics in CEE
Abstract Paper
discussant: George Florea

Think tanks occupy the space between politics, academics, business and journalism. In the US, it was within this sphere with strong relationships to academia and business. In Central and Eastern Europe, initial think tanks existed in a realm with the above space but anchored on a fifth side by Western donors. Since then, however, Western donors have shifted their emphasis regionally away from CEE, think tanks have to make a choice between business or politics or to follow the Western donors’ shift in emphasis and begin focusing outside of CEE. In Slovakia, the choice seemed idiosyncratic.

Reka Varnagy (Corvinus University)
The Role of Local Politics in the Carrier Path of Political Elites
Abstract Paper
discussant: Eszter Simon

Supply Side:Governments and parties structured according to differentiated political space and territorially structured hierarchy.

Hypothesis: The movement of political career fueled by progressive ambition is unidirectional.

Local politics can be seen as a springboard or as a base office as part of a process of cumulation. Hypothesis: cumulation seems preferable. Leaders see it as the local level as a base.

Demand Side

Parties are a dominant factor with alternatives unusual.

Hypothesis: political elites with local background will become party members early in in their political career.

Empirical data: using members of parliaments who are also mayors, ladder goes in both direction. Large share of Hungarian mayors were members of parliaments /first/ before funning for mayor.

Mats Ohlen (Orebro University)
Transnational Party Cooperation in Post 1989 Europe: European Christian Democrats and affiliated parties in East Central Europe
Abstract Paper
discussant: Oana Lup
There is a triangular relationship between the European Party, the parliamentary party group and the individual national parties. Because there is a relatively weak coordination between national parties and the parliamentary party group, the European Party plays an important role in disseminating information. The European Parties also play a role in deciding who can join–which in the end means “who ‘exists'”.

In 1989 only three European parties existed: EPP, PES and ELD. Brief History: EUCD created in 1965, quite strict about membership. In 1976 EPP is created but do not admit UK and Denmark. They form EDU (of conservative parties). EPP holds dominant power position. In 1992 EPP and EDU starts to reunite. From 1995-1999, CEE parties transfer to EPP.

Problems for EPP: goal of breadth (broad inclusion) and depth (supporting Christian ideal). Must balance two.

Poland had difficult party landscape: 6 Christian Democratic parties in 1992.

EPP is represented in all EU parties in UK and is the biggest party group in the EP. EUCD served as buffer zone and waiting room. Increasing pragmatism about whom to permit.