Towards our common future : comparative assessment of the sustainable development strategies of the European Union, the Mediterranean and Slovenia.
Tomaž Deželan and Alem Maksuti
This paper assesses three sustainable de- velopment strategies – the European Union’s Sustainable Development Strategy in its revised version, the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustain- able Development and Slovenia’s Development Strategy – according to the level of sustainability these strategies provide. Deriving from three di- verse sustainable development regimes, select- ed strategies are scrutinised for the presence of the five general principles of effective sustainable development strategies promoted by the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development. Building on George and Kirkpatrick’s (2006) framework for analysis, we concentrate on principles of strategic planning and sustainable development, and a coordinated set of measures to ensure their implementation. The results reveal that the major differences be- tween the assessed strategies are present in the sophistication of the theoretical bases and the integration of three main pillars of sustainable development (i.e. environmental, economic and social). In general, the assessed strategies re- flect a high degree of inclusiveness of a variety of interests. However, there is a common weak- ness among them in terms of implementation, be it in the provision of adequate resources, the guarantee of adequate implementing capacity of the institutions designated for implementation or the precise definition of the institutional frame- work responsible for the implementation of the strategy.
The potentials of normative sustainability : an analysis of sustainable development strategies on global, supranational and national levels.
Tomaž Deželan, Alem Maksuti and Matjaž Uršič
The paper discusses the degree of normative sustainability achieved by selected regimes according to their sustainable development strategies. Focussing on Agenda 21, the Mediterranean Strategy of Sustainable Development, the European Union’s renewed Sustainable Development Strategy and Slovenia’s Development Strategy, the paper draws on Becker et al.’s cross-disciplinary concept of sustainability and the operationalization of normative sustainability. On the basis of the analysis of objectives and rationales behind the investigated strategies as well as examination of the general context, the paper puts forward the differences between the examined regimes and explores the possible factors inducing them. The paper concludes with a general observation that the analysed regimes reflect a fair degree of normative sustainability.
European quarterly on political attitudes and mentalities, vol. 3, iss. 2, pp. 34-49. 2014. Download full text.
The political science professional project in Slovenia : from communist monism, democratisation and Europeanisation to the financial crisis
Danica Fink-Hafner and Tomaž Deželan
In this article, we assess the effects of democratic transition, the introduction of a capitalist economy, the creation of a newly independent state and international economic and political integrations on the employment potential of political science graduates. While we particularly focus on Slovenia, we will also consider the broader challenges faced by many professions across Europe. The empirical study is based on a series of tracer surveys carried out since 1969, as well as an analysis of political science programme curricula, enrolment and graduation statistics and official data on employability. The statistical and survey data is supplemented by stakeholders’ views. Our main finding is that, paradoxically, under socialism, the pressures on political science supported internal professional integration so that the profession was better able to adapt to the initial democratisation than to market-induced domestic changes and the challenges of global competitiveness (including the Bologna HE reform). The recent international financial and economic crisis has only reinforced these challenges.
Nevarnost sistemske korupcije v Sloveniji : spodbude in ovire [The Risk of Systemic Corruption in Slovenia: Drivers and Barriers]
Alenka Krašovec, Lars Johannsen, Karin Hilmer Pedersen and Tomaž Deželan
This article tackles a salient area of the recent examinations of corruption, that of systemic corruption. While the academic community has extensively studied the existence and extent of corruption in Slovenia, the different research designs that scholars have employed have often yielded conflicting results. These inconsistencies constitute the starting point of the article, where we also attempt to grasp the character of corruption in Slovenia. As a multi-method examination confirmed the risk of systemic corruption in Slovenia, we devote an extensive portion of our study to analysing the institutional and normative drivers and barriers to it. Our study indicates that the spoils system in public administration, amalgamated with systemically built-in (neo)corporatist network patterns among the (governing) politicians and (state) economy, is one of the key drivers of systemic corruption in the state. On the other hand, the barrier to systemic corruption rests in the levers and opportunities of the international environment, as an impressive number of (international) documents putting forward the relevance of fighting systemic corruption have already induced change in the (inter) national discourse on the topic.
First-job educational and skill match : an empirical investigation of political science graduates in Slovenia
Tomaž Deželan, Danica Hafner-Fink and Mateja Melink
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the education-job match of political science graduates from Slovenia, as well as from selected EU countries, in the context of other disciplines. In the frame of contested theoretical approaches, the implications of matching the knowledge that is acquired during education to the skills that are needed on the job are also examined.
Design/methodology/approach: Using the REFlex HEGESCO database, as well as other secondary data, the wider disciplinary and contextual environments are presented. Disciplinary and contextual mapping is followed by binary logistic regression of primary data collected from Slovene political science graduates. Based on the results, the authors determined the validity of certain theoretical premises of human capital, credentialist, and assignment approaches, specifically regarding education-job matching.
Findings: In terms of graduate education-job match, the results indicate that the relevance of the sector of employment relates to educational as well as skill match. The results also indicate that matched candidates utilize the skills acquired during the education process to a greater degree, which adds weight to the assignment theory’s presumption. The effect of formal credentials is relevant, because graduates with Bologna degrees, despite having attended programs with virtually identical curricula at the same institution, are significantly less matched when compared to non-Bologna graduates. Accordingly, the effect of the change to the structure of the system of higher education (HE), which is amplified by the period effect of the economic crisis, implies a serious change to graduates’ opportunity structure.
Practical implications: The study should motivate a re-examination of the teleological purpose of the study by professional associations in the state. It should also motivate the adjustment of the study programs to the new conditions graduates face and strengthen the educator-employer relationship to make the latter cognizant about the study programs and the skills of graduates. In addition, the study should provide grounds for a critical discussion about the implications of governmental austerity measures on the public sector.
Originality/value: The paper provides new insights into the early careers of political scientists and social scientists at large. It also offers early evidence on the effect of the Bologna’s HE reform and indications about the early career achievements in a crisis-struck post-communist country.
International journal of manpower, vol. 35, iss. 4, pp. 553-575. 2014. Link.
Capacity of local development planning in Slovenia : strengths and weaknesses of local sustainable development strategies
Tomaž Deželan, Alem Maksuti and Matjaž Uršič
Despite being coined by international forums and promoted chiefly by international/supranational organisations and clubs, sustainable development is a concept that in essence rests on and is largely determined by the local level. The local level’s primacy in terms of introducing the principles of sustainability is openly stipulated by Agenda 21, thus providing the impetus for local sustainable development strategies – Local Agenda 21. These community-specific, long-term visions of sustainable co-existence serve as an important strategic tool for overcoming challenges communities may face while maintaining the general idea of the future. As prime standardised artifacts, local sustainable development strategies represent an excellent insight into the capacity of an individual community to achieve a sustainable future and deal with potential challenges. In this paper, we analysed four such visions of a sustainable future for two city and two minor Slovenian municipalities in order to examine their capacity to develop into sustainable communities. By employing George and Kirkpatrick’s (2006) framework for assessing sustainable development strategies, we identified useful and problematic aspects of the documents prepared by the city and town municipalities. The analysis showed that the transition period in Slovenia has left a significant impact on development planning and its consequences have yet to be fully resolved.
Slovenian election posters as a medium of political communication: An informative or persuasive campaign tool?
Tomaž Deželan and Alem Maksuti
Election posters are a visual means of communicating political messages to a large audience, and they are an important print medium for political communication that is directly controlled by political actors. Posters have played a large role in election campaigns for the past two centuries, and as a result, this trend continues in many countries today. The legacy of socialism and the rule of the Communist Party made posters even more important in Slovenia, due to the medium’s significant function in the propaganda machinery. By employing the informative-persuasive framework, we analysed the nature of electoral competition in Slovenian poster campaigning as well as the extent of its (dis)continuity with posters from the period of communist monism. Based on the content analysis of posters from the communist and non-communist periods, we observed that Slovenian posters in the post-1991 democratic era reflect patterns of poster campaigning characteristic of liberal democracies and demonstrate a clear break with posters from the communist regime. Those patterns confirm the general assumption that dominant political actors employ more persuasive poster campaigning, while the less established devote more attention to informative activities.
Communication, Politics & Culture , Vol. 45, pp. 140-159. Link.
Slovenia has been widely portrayed as a ‘success story’ of the transition to modern liberal democracy. This paper attempts to revise that somewhat distorted image by explaining how different political visions, and their clashes and coalitions over two decades of independent statehood, influenced the Slovenian citizenship regime, which is rife with undemocratic practices. Drawing on the ‘nationalizing state’ approach, the paper illuminates two dominant political agendas: the nationalizing state agenda and the Europeanizing state agenda. However, both agendas are frequently intertwined and provide legitimacy to political actors across the ideological spectrum depending on the circumstances. These circumstances are external or internal to the political system and determine the relevance of either of the two agendas. As such, they also play an important role in shaping the outcome of the political bargaining that has left its mark on the Slovenian citizenship regime. The periods of consensus between political elites regarding the overarching goals of national independence and accession to the European Union were accompanied by external pressures to introduce liberal democratic principles. Consequently, these facilitated the civic agenda. On the other hand, the absence of international pressures, in combination with internal factors, allowed serious malpractice in the field. Nevertheless, citizenship has proved to be an extremely important aspect of both agendas.
Citizenship Studies, 16(3-4), p. 413–429. 2012. Link.
The article deliberates the relevance of T. H. Marshall in the field of the theory of citizenship. On the basis of his work on citizenship and social class, it highlights several relevant features for studying citizenship. With the trinity of citizenship rights as the point of departure, the author re-evaluates the field of citizenship rights with reference to the relevant literature. By intersecting the dichotomies of public-private and active-passive, the category of participation rights is introduced. The typology of citizenship rights thus formed is then empirically tested on a sample of thirty selected states. By differentiating between de iure and de facto citizenship rights, the author demonstrates clear links with relevant theoretical assumptions in the field and points out the need for continuous empirical examination of theories which are rarely tested (either case-by-case or using coherent international comparisons). He concludes with a reflection on the mark T. H. Marshall left on contemporary scholars in the field.
Časopis za kritiko znanosti, 39 (246), p. 149-168. 2011. Download full text (in Slovene).
Parliamentary Cohesion Patterns Analysis of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia in the 1994-2008 Period
Tomaž Deželan, Maja Sever, Aleks Jakulin
For the first time on the treaty level, the Lisbon Treaty mentions the role of national parliaments in Article 12 (OJ C 306, 207). The dynamics of strengthening the parliamentary dimension in the European Union (EU) were thereby accentuated, which also relates somewhat to the field of the Slovenian Presidency. Namely, accompanied by the annexed Protocol on the role of National Parliaments in the EU, the Lisbon Treaty enhances the position of national parliaments in the EU policy-making process. Further, if we emphasize the specific role of the Slovenian National Assembly during the EU negotiation process, Slovenian parliamentary experience with the EU Presidency may emerge as being pivotal in terms of a stronger degree of national parliamentary involvement in the EU policy process. Results of a deputy cohesion analysis for the National Assembly in the 1994-2008 period indicate false hopes since the deputies voted in a very strategic manner and in line with the structural power of their corresponding political parties. Consequently, the perception of the impact of Europe on patterns of deputy cohesion can be attributed to the broad consensus of political elites regarding strategic goals since cohesion levels following the country’s accession are returning to their usual paths seen in the early 1990’s, where they also stayed for the period of the Slovenian Presidency. The lack of high levels of consensus from the era before accession and the perception of the Presidency as being a ‘party project’ may serve as a clear warning for intended processes of further (national) parliamentarianism of the Union and consequent attempts to resolve democratic legitimacy problems.
Teorija in praksa, 46 (1-2), p. 161-178. 2009. Download full text (in Slovene).
Citizen Comprehension of the Left-Right Ideological Continuum in Central and Eastern European Post-Communist Countries
Tomaž Deželan and Maja Sever
The paper analyses the common one-dimensional simplification of the complex socio-political reality conventionally recognised as the left-right continuum in Central and Eastern European post-communist countries. Due to the intense European integrating processes of this post-communist region the investigation of the potentially distinct general understanding of one of the most universally applied tools for distinguishing political actors holds even greater importance. According to Kitschelt’s five-dimensional theoretical framework of the post-communist context and by employing data mining techniques, the paper examines core standpoints that define one’s position on the left-right axis in the investigated region. The paper lends additional weight to the intuitive initial assumption of our research that has been frequently discussed in the relevant literature and somewhat confirms a person’s attitude to the previous regime as the most important divide in the political space of Central and Eastern European post-communist countries.
Acta Fakulty filozofické Západočeské univerzity v Plzni, 2009 (3), p. 15-36. Download full text.
Slovenian regulatory dilemmas in the illicit drugs policy field. The relevance of public funding for civil society organizations
Slovenian illicit drugs policy reflects several key characteristics of Central and Eastern European welfare systems. Due to the marginal character of illicit drugs policy in virtually every democratic society, regu- lation of the field has proven to be even more challeng- ing since it reflects certain core ideological preferences of decision-makers. Being somewhat determined by the path taken for resolving similar issues in the previous regime, the relatively new policy field of illicit drugs has collided with certain supranational initiatives regard- ing the resolution of drug (ab)use on one hand, and local community initiatives responding to community needs on the other. We investigate the latter by focusing on Local Action Groups and identify their amphibious nature which derives from the urge to secure funding and stability. Namely, their greater institutionalisation and dependence on public funds may compromise their responsiveness, introduce another gatekeeper for other civil society actors and eventually leave them to the mercy of local public authorities.
Teorija in praksa, 46 (3), p. 294-315. 2009. Download full text.
Danica Fink-Hafner, Tomaž Deželan and Simona Topolinjak
In 2004 female candidates won a relatively large proportion of Slovenian MEP seats due to effective institutional engineering and despite the: a)persistent dominating political culture (unfavourable to women in politics);b)predominant party-centric electoral system and election campaign; and c) further marginalisation of female candidates compared to male candidates in the printed media during the party-centric election campaign. Research findings support the thesis found in political party literature asserting political parties adapt to new electoral rules without radically changing how they function and without them struggling to change the dominant political culture and media reporting that is unfriendly to gender equality.
Politics in Central Europe, 5 (2), p. 32-54. 2009. Download full text.
The paper deals with granting foreign citizens the right to vote and it seeks arguments for and against the enforcement of such a practice. The decision on granting political rights to the individuals outside the citizen population requires extensive argumentation according to international law and an internationally comparable typologisation. By analysing the dominating discourses in the country during the period of an active discussion on expanding the right to vote, this paper tries to offer an insight into the previous political climate that explains the present regime characteristics: from exclusive trends to external pressures from international integrations as a consequence of various commitments. A broader theoretical definition of the phenomenon and a synthesis of various empirical findings nevertheless provide a deeper insight into the necessary system improvements or into the continuity of the development of democratic standards that primarily call for a friendlier structure of political opportunities for non-citizens with the right to vote. Their impact on political decision-making is negligible, which partially results from their low share in the electoral body.
Lex localis, 5 (1), p. 65-86. 2007. Download full text (in Slovene).
Tomaž Deželan and Maja Sever
The paper presents an initial attempt to analyse party group cohesion in the Slovenian National Assembly based on an analysis of roll-call voting using the Rice cohesion index for a period of approximately one year commencing with the inauguration of the third parliamentary term. The study analyses the type of voting behaviour, which predominantly reflects the government-opposition conflict and occasionally the left-right axis. The pattern of opposition in the Slovenian parliament is also addressed and reveals a co-operative and competitive pattern of parliamentary opposition. The main features of parliamentary activities are the high levels of cohesion of all deputy groups, mainly government and undersized party groups. In addition, agreement levels are high for the government and, surprisingly, also for the chamber as a group. Finally, the research results are revisited in an international context which provides glimpses of a path forward involving further investigations sharing a common methodological basis.
Balkanistica, 2007 (20), p. 29-54. 2007. Download full text.
Does Europeanisation matter? The Case of Slovenian Political Party Electoral Campaign for the European Union
This article is based on a comparative analysis of five major_ Slovenian parliamentary political parties at the time of the elections of deputies to the European Parliament (EP). The electoral campaigns of individual national political parties were scrutinized, with a special consideration of organizational features and strategic activities linked to the dynamics of the European Union (EU). The essence of the study lies in the detection of changes in political party election activities brought about by the impact of EU processes. The EU’s political, social and economic influence on the national political discourse through analysis of the EP electoral campaign structures and identities complements the more conventional approach to investigating the Europeanization of national political parties, with a conceptual framework based on Ladrech’s (200_) attempt to embrace the Europeanization phenomenon. Consequently, the emphasis is on identifying programmatic and organizational changes, patterns of party competition and relations beyond the national party system. Party references to transnational interactions and networks, cooperation with foreign national and supra- national party structures or representatives, the organizational and power relations of electoral campaign teams, the relevance of EU issues and institutions’ assessments and the perception of the pro and contra EU dimension therefore make up the core elements of this paper.
Politics in Central Europe, 3 (1/2), p. 11-25. 2007. Download full text.
The paper analyses the increasingly acute problem of low voter turnout for the elections for the European Parliament. The author identifies the key determinants of electoral participation, and focuses on how election campaigns affect the electorates’ mobilization. By analyzing the results of various polls and by applying Sinnott’s model of voter participation to the Slovenian institutional context, the author outlines the key circumstances leading to the disturbingly low voter turnout. The author points out the weaknesses of the institutional preconditions – in the form of certain awkward electoral institutions, primarily regarding the institutional mobilization marked by half-baked electoral strategies of political parties and the unremarkable and dull campaigns – that are supposed to increase voter participation. The low level of institutional mobilization has evidently affected the electorate’s perceptions of power and trust in political institutions. This is why the institutional incentives for taking a vote have not been sufficient. By way of conclusion the author offers some recommendations concerning how to alter and improve the electoral institutions and the practice of the EU political parties, states and institutions.
Politička misao, 44 (3), p. 23-43. 2007. Download full text (in Croatian).
Tomaž Deželan and Manca Drobne
Policies on illicit drugs generally reflect the variety of diverse theoretical beliefs. More often than not, they can be classed between the repressive model at one end and the common-sense model based on the salutogenetic approach at the other. Our survey of the Slovenian institutional framework in the field of the use of illicit drugs, its prevention and the treatment of their consumers reaffirms frequently made observations on the domination of the public health paradigm in the field. The advanced and complex level of the public health sector coincides with the clear deficiencies of social and non-governmental sectors. In addition, the modifications of the Slovenian policy on illicit drugs towards pathological models have amplified the already existing imbalance in favour of public health institutions and increased the subordination of the non-governmental sector. These conclusions are confirmed by an analysis of public spending on drugs, or the “drugs budget”, which reveals the dominant position of the public health sector and the stability of its funding, something which the non-governmental sector lacks.
Socialno delo, 46 (6), p. 295-302. 2007. Download full text (in Slovene).