RS20_10: Education and Political Participation in Eastern Europe
Tolerance in Russia: Street-Level Bureaucracy and Implementation of Ethnic Policy
University of Oslo, Norway
A common approach to ethnic policy in Russia is top-down focusing on the central decision-makers with only few works considering regional variations. I seek to illustrate the policy bottom-up. This paper deals with work practices of street-level bureaucracy in the domain of diversity management in today’s Russia. The national policy on ethnic issues might be clear-cut and comprehensible, or, conversely, ambiguous and incoherent, whereas a state official at a regional department of ethnic affairs is under pressure to make the personal sense out of whatever decree s/he is bestowed with. The organizational conditions of the state bureaucracy in Russia generating red tape, binding informal networks between co-workers, and daily routines eventually define the policy’s implementation. Bureaucracy rank-and-file in ethnic diversity management in Russia do not share a common understanding of policy’s substantial goals, of basic terms such as tolerance. Instead, they impart their own personal meanings to it. Implementation of ethnic policy in Russia is about pursuing careers, taking the first job available in the prestigious state sector, and pushing papers on time as stipulated by regulations.
The paper in grounded in the qualitative methodology. The empirical basis of this paper is participant observation at one of Russian regional state departments in diversity management and interviews, collected from officials and diaspora activists in various regions of the country in 2013-2018. This paper seeks to contribute to microsociological analysis of the nation-building.
Loosing The Binding Force Of Democratic Norms In Eastern Europe. A Case Study Of The Justice Reform In Poland.
Bielefeld University, Germany
The self-understanding of the European Union as an organisation of democratic states is under attack. Justice reforms in Poland, Hungary and Romania are in conflict with the democratic principle of the independence of justice. In the case of Poland the European Commission eventually reacted by initiating an infringement procedure. This procedure oughts to enforce the obligations of the EU-member state. At least the Polish government gave in and took central points of the justice reform back. But how is the infringement procedure capable of reinstalling the binding force of democratic norms?
For answering this research question the sociological theory on legal procedures has to be considered as theoretical framework. Legal procedures are able to institutionalize and in doing so limiting conflict. The participants create an institutional arrangement by identifying themselves with certain roles like the unreasonable defendant. To take-over their roles the participants have to accept the rules of procedure. This describes the establishment of norms within a procedure.
However this institutional arrangement does not explain how legal procedures are capable of enacting the binding force of democratic norms against states in the aftermath. I propose to analyse the different steps of the infringement procedure. This will light up the way in which the infringement procedure reinstalls the binding force of the norm of the independence of justice within such an institutional arrangement.