Classification Struggles in Post-socialist Serbia: Elite Discourse on Personal Socio-economic Success
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Relying on Bourdieu's concept of classification struggles (Bourdieu, 1984; 1989), in this paper I explore elite discourse on personal socio-economic success during the post-socialist transformation of Serbia. Classification struggles involve efforts by social agents to impose their own criteria of evaluation and ranking of people and practices. The stake in these struggles is the monopoly on legitimate social classifications, which are the basis of representation of social groups and ultimately of their mobilization and demobilization. Critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2003) is conducted on the corpus based on the weekly newspaper Vreme’s 2006-2009 survey in which 324 representatives of the political and economic elite (CEOs, high-position advisers, economic experts, political officials, etc.) were asked to define “winners and losers of the Serbian transition”. Analysis sheds light on the attempt of members of the higher strata to anchor their status achievement to socially legitimate values and merit principle (individual initiative, courage, ambition, etc). Many instances of the analyzed discourse exemplify how the winners were represented as young, educated, hardworking people, full of initiative, ready to take risks and adapt to new circumstances. Losers, on the other hand, were described as static, confused, impractical people who have “failed to take their fate in their own hands”, coddled by the paternalism of socialism. This shows how transformation of social order in Serbia was accelerated by discursive work on translating social inequalities into the matter of personal (in)competence, taken up by members of the elite in their struggle to impose the legitimate principle of vision and division in society.
Theorizing Justifications in Political Rhetoric in the EU and beyond
Tampere University, Finland
Epistemic Governance meets Ethnomethodology:
Theorizing justifications in political rhetoric in the EU and beyond
In the world of nation states with parliamentary systems and subsequent practices, political governance predominantly operates through the logic of political persuasion (Alasuutari & Qadir 2014). In decision-making, the policymakers have to gain sufficient support for their suggestions by appealing to the conceptions, aspirations and ideals of fellow policymakers, stakeholders and citizens. This persuasion acts upon three aspects of the social world: (1) ontology (2) identifications and (3) norms and ideals (ibid.). My postdoctoral research project (European solidarities in turmoil, Academy of Finland, 2018-2021) concentrates on investigating and theorizing the relevance of the latter two. The value of rationality is all but one striving asset in political rhetoric. What matters in the world of modern imaginaries are also the identifications among actors: the questions of who we are and how we relate to each other in the course of our actions. This is what I call the relational scaffolding of epistemic work in political persuasion. Identities are multifold and they are deployed reflexively and strategically in political rhetoric. To elaborate the details of epistemic governance processes I apply the insights from ethnomethodological theory on social interaction. I mobilize the concepts of recipient design, membership categorization, positioning and reciprocal relations to explicate how discourse, agency, identification and power function in the game of political justifications. My empirical case is policymaking discourse in the EU but my claims about the constitution of modernity extend well beyond Europe theoretically.
World Politics on Migration and Inequalities in the EU
Bielefeld University, Germany
Migration has been associated on diverse societal levels with the (re)production of inequalities. This paper addresses world politics on migration as a process that might (re)produce inequalities among migrants. Although world politics emerge beyond the nation-state it reflects existing power constellations and might have next to manifest also latent functions, potential producing paradoxes and inequalities on lower societal levels linked to the following question: what are the latent functions of current world policies on migration and in which ways are these politics producing inequality-related in the EU?
From international political sociology viewpoint, I focus on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and argue that the framework has the potential to produce global governance paradoxes‘ especially in the interaction with member state policies in the EU which has also unfavourable inequality-related effects on migrants.
Drawing on 40 qualitative expert interviews from diverse civil society organisations in sending and receiving countries, it is contended that although the GCM represents the first comprehensive legal framework for the protection of migrant rights, it has also important limitations. This has to do with several latent functions linked to economic and security rationales of more powerful actors within the GCM community. The results indicate that these latent rationales and functions contribute to inequalities among migrants with certain characteristics in the EU. Certain migrants obtain more rights due to the GCM framework, which is occurring at the cost of many others. The findings indicate that social mechanisms such as social exclusion, exploitation, increasing discrimination, political categorisation and hierarchisation of migrants are propelled which contributes to increasing inequalities in the EU.
Coalition Building And Distortion: New Evidence About Legislative Networks In Ukraine, 1993-2018
1Kyiv School of Economics, Ukraine; 2Pittsburgh University; 3DataRobot; 4VoxUkraine
Most recent studies in political science have recognized that legislative outcomes are often influenced by social networks. Legislators are influenced by their social ties, reciprocal relationships, information flow in the networks, peer pressure, and homophily effects (i.e. preferential attachment – to behave similarly to those legislators that share relevant social traits). Most of the existing studies, however, are focused on Western democracies. Surprisingly, little is known about legislative networks in other parts of the world. We analyze a novel dataset covering co-authorship and voting of Ukrainian legislators from 1993 till present. First, our data suggest that in Ukraine, in contrast to Western democracies, co-authorship and voting are not aligned. Second, we show that homophily effects and centrality measures are more important for voting but not for co-authorship. Third, we analyze specific cases of distortions when legislators flip and do not vote for those bills which they co-authored. We argue that these cases are indicative of coalition distortions. Our contribution to the literature is twofold. While previous literature tends to analyze voting or co-sponsorship in isolation, we analyze them together. Second, we shift empirical analysis from the success of a given bill to the success of a coalition.