Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe: Volume 89

Cover of Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Globalization studies are rapidly filling many a library shelf, and understandably so. The geographical shift in contemporary history towards a more global world is not only significant in its own right, but also interrelates closely with other principal social changes concurrently unfolding, for example, in respect of economy, governance, identity and knowledge. As a result, research built around a theme of globalization offers among the most promising avenues to develop a wide-ranging coherent systemic perspective on societal trends today.

The essays in this book are a study on how globalization, as one of the main driving forces in economics, international relations, and cultures, has affected politics in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. With the contributors paying particular attention to the changing nature of the interactions between various types of domestic institutions and international structures, this book attempts to interpret the process of economic, political, and cultural change in post-Cold War Central and Eastern Europe as it transformed from a relatively isolated corner of the world into a globally interconnected community with a European identity, based on democratic values and liberal markets. While Central and Eastern Europe entered and engaged so clearly, deeply, and rapidly in the multiple channels of globalization, there is a lacunae of reflections on this notable change, and only a few, often very specialized scholarly texts provide an account of how this region fared during this profound and multidimensional transformation. The analyses in this volume bridge this gap in a methodologically novel manner by combining the time-tested area-studies focus of various case-study countries and policies with the cross-disciplinary interpretations of the new theories of globalization.

Does the rise of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Central and Eastern Europe lead to supraterritoriality? The analysis of FDI flows between world investor countries and Central and East European (CEE) hosts between 1989 and 2000 shows that the majority of FDI flows into CEE in this period do not exemplify a trend of undifferentiated transcendence of post-communist borders. Rather, FDI flows continue to be based in territoriality and embedded in existing social relations between investor and host countries: migration and trade flows, historical ties, political alliances, and cultural affinities. Nevertheless, the rhetoric supporting the opening of post-communist countries to FDI is widespread and consistent with the neoliberal credo, which has acquired a supraterritorial character. Ultimately, we see that embeddedness and supraterritoriality co-exist but they manifest themselves for distinct FDI phenomena: the concrete economic practice and the economic rhetoric, respectively.

This essay explores the relationship between neo-liberal transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and globalization in the region. It starts with an overview of the increasing level of globalization activities in the CEE countries. The first section of this essay also shows remarkable cross-country diversity among the CEE countries regarding the extent to which their citizens participate in four aspects of globalization, outbound tourism, citizens working abroad, students studying abroad, and internet use. The second section of the essay identifies three ways in which neo-liberalism could affect citizens’ participation in globalization activities. A direct impact of neo-liberalism on globalization could be expected through the spread of similar neo-liberal economic policies and practices in CEE, which would then create the conditions for making citizens in the region more likely to get involved in globalization. Indirectly, neo-liberalism is expected to (1) increase self-reliance among citizens and (2) reduce the level of government spending on social programs, such as education and health care, thus creating less attractive social conditions in each country. The analysis in section three of this essay shows conflicting evidence about the linkages between neo-liberalism and globalization in Central and Eastern Europe. Increased labor-flexibility, one of the most pronounced aspects of neo-liberalism, is associated with reduced participation in globalization activities. The indirect impact of neo-liberalism, however, is quite pronounced. Neo-liberalism is positively associated with the extent of self-reliance among the CEE citizens, yet it also leads to reduced government spending on healthcare and education. Both reduced reliance on the state and reduced spending for these programs, on the other hand are associated with an increase in globalization activities of CEE citizens.

An aspect of globalization is the creation of macro-regions through integration. A macro-region is a territorial unit created through the process of cooperation, cohesion, and integration. Areas of integration can be political, economic, and social. An example of a macro-region is the European Union (EU). For EU member states and for acceding countries economic integration means accepting EU rules and regulations. The rationale behind these laws and rules is to increase economic, financial, and trade cooperation among partner countries. To increase the viability of this macro-region, the EU, has emphasized the need for social integration, which is the expansion of self-identification by individuals from viewing themselves as citizens of a country to a broader European identity, a citizen of Europe. This paper evaluates the impact of joining the European Union on the labor markets of Central and Eastern Europe countries, an economic integration; and the parallel expansion of the citizens’ identity expanding to include a European self-image, a social integration.

The European Union has pursued two contradictory policies over the last decade in response to the challenges of globalization. On the one hand, the EU has loosened borders to facilitate trade and make the EU more competitive globally. On the other hand, the EU has tightened borders to enhance its security, fearing the negative consequences of a globalized world. In this paper, I examine the effects of implementation of the EU's Schengen border regime, a set of rules governing external border control, on the post-communist countries and the difficulties that Schengen has posed for the governments in the region. I also discuss the EU's emerging European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), designed to address many of the concerns voiced by the Central and East European (CEE) officials regarding Schengen. An important element of ENP is to work across the EU external border to facilitate economic relations and develop joint institutions with non-members to create new cooperative borderlands.

Two images are frequently invoked with regard to the evolution of the EU. Certain scholars portray the organization as moving toward a new, post-modern, post-Westphalian entity comprising an increasingly borderless Europe. Other scholars view European integration as a process by which the EU is increasingly taking on the trappings and functions of the state to build a “Fortress Europe.” The discussion of Schengen and the eastern enlargement suggests a more complex reality than either of these two images in which borders are constantly shifting and whose functions are changing in response to the different challenges posed by globalization and internal developments. The EU's external borders will continue to change, both in terms of where they are located and how important these will be. Europe's ENP, with its emphasis on cross-border cooperation, is changing borders into borderlands, zones of cooperation and collaboration across a line on a map. Governance and the shaping of policy are increasingly taking place at multiple sites and with different kinds of actors, further transforming the importance of borders. Perhaps, a new vision of European integration is needed to capture the evolution of the EU.

The fast-developing processes of globalization, with increased political and economic interdependence, along with competition; regionalization dynamics revealing more localized ambitions and either constraining or advancing intentions and policies; and Europeanization as a particular dynamic related to the EU role as a global actor, applied to the Polish post-communist transition, constitute our vectors of analysis. This essay aims to address the simultaneously interconnected and heterogeneous responses of Polish post-communist course of change to global and regional processes, including European integration. In this line of research, we search for answers to how the linkages among globalization, regionalization, and Europeanization work in the case of Polish post-communist transition. This will be pursued through an analysis of the democratization course, mainly regarding political, institutional and social aspects, and economic integration. Despite elements of complementarity and resistance in the working relationships among the three concepts, which are highly debatable, we find they have substantial implications on Polish policy-making. These implications include adjustment and bargaining between demands and concessions, resulting in gains and losses, though despite the negative effects associated and acknowledged, the fact of Poland pursuing the course of integration in the EU reveals an equation of cost–benefit, in favor of the EU.

How do traditional state interests fit into a new Europe in which globalization may seem to render them irrelevant? Globalization is often thought of as undermining the sovereignty of states. States are forced to work through multilateral institutions in a globalizing world, which may seem to render states largely irrelevant. As this chapter will show, though, some countries are able to use multilateral institutions (such as the European Union, EU) as a new arena to advance their national goals. Germany is a classic example of such a state. Since its history of aggression has left the country distrusted by its neighbors, Germany has found that it can best advance its national goals by embedding them in multilateral processes – such as European integration.

The following chapter will examine this process by focusing on one case: the role of German–Polish relations in the 2004 expansion of the EU. After an introductory section, the chapter will first focus on Germany's goals, showing how it hoped that expansion would further German national interests, including its economic and security needs and the historical necessity of atoning for the Second World War. Yet Berlin also was careful to avoid overt unilateral actions, working carefully through the EU to advance its agenda. Next, the chapter will trace Germany's actions, showing how it worked to support the 2004 expansion and Poland's inclusion in it, often over the objections of some of its EU partners. Finally, the chapter will detail the outcome of the process, showing that the results were positive for both Germany and Poland, as well as for the overall cause of European integration. Thus, for the Germans at least, the seeming dichotomy between “doing good and doing well” can be reconciled. This may offer a model for other countries to follow, showing that a careful use of state power can advance national goals even in a globalizing world.

For both the Czech Republic and Poland, globalization is intricately linked to European integration and Europeanization. Globalization and European integration have strongly influenced the policies of these countries over the last 17 years. The Czech policy of accommodation and the Polish policy of initiation toward the European Union (EU) show two different ways how the individual Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries can react to the process of Europeanization. The Czech and Polish policies within CEE area are illustrative examples of reactions to the supraterritorializing effects of globalization. These two CEE countries have answered some of the challenges of globalization through sub-regional cooperation in the Central European Initiative (CEI), Visegrad Group (VG), and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), followed by accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and later joining the EU. The Czech Republic and Poland are gradually entering the area of supra-territoriality. But concurrently both, as EU member states, participate in building and strengthening external territorial borders of the EU through the Schengen Agreement. Despite sharing the experience of disappearing of the EU internal borders, the Czech Republic and Poland have not completely relinquished their existing territorial identity. In the context of the break-up of the Czechoslovak federation it is also useful to examine the issues of deterritorialization and reterritorialization.

The international women's movement has always focused on discrimination against women, but only in the past few decades have activists been focusing on violence against women, and within this framework, domestic violence. Global feminist activism found common ground in protecting women from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. This framework traveled to Eastern Europe with the advent of regime changes there. In post-communist Europe, it took only a decade and a half for the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Slovene governments to react to domestic and global pressures and establish new definitions and policies regarding domestic violence. However, the feminist NGOs’ definitions and policy recommendations met with limited success. Feminist-inspired norms, such as specific domestic violence courts and distancing ordinances, diffused to a mediocre level of half-hearted official responses in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This middle-of-the-road approach attempted to de-gender and thus to de-politicize feminists’ fundamental gender-sensitive claims. A norm diffusion to reach the middle ground took place through a complex set of interactions that involved various types of political actors ranging from international governmental organizations, such as the UN and the EU, governments, international and local NGOs. Analyzing the process of these multiple-level and manifold interactions sheds light on the partially deterritorialized nature of globalization. The development of norms and their difffnousion regarding domestic violence policy also inform us about how democratic processes, efforts to achieve gender equality, and the global context interact in CEE.

This chapter explores the Slovenian equal opportunities policy in the context of globalization debates. Focusing mainly on the equal opportunities legislation in Slovenia and the other recent European Union (EU) member states, the aim of the chapter is to reflect upon globalization as Europeanization and as supraterritorialization. Supraterritorial processes, such as the second wave of Western feminist movement established a mutual relationship with feminists in the former Yugoslavia during the 1980s. Feminism and the feminist movement in Yugoslavia and in Slovenia in the 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s, in particular, represent an important basis for gender equality politics and legislation in Slovenia. Another significant element that contributes to the introduction of gender equality legislation is EU integration. In Slovenia and also in other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries that recently joined the European Union, the accession played a considerable role in adopting gender equality legislation. Europeanization in the context of equal opportunities policy leads to the homogenization process of standards for gender equality in the EU member states. In terms of legislation in member countries, the Europeanization of gender equality policy is performed as top-down politics particularly in recent member states, such as CEE. Using the example of gender equality policy in Slovenia, this chapter analyzes equal opportunities policy as a concept and as a legal mechanism emerging from the Western tradition, which was directly applied to CEE countries, such as Slovenia, when they joined the EU.

Much potential has been ascribed to the emergence and possibilities of a “global civil society,” one that takes the concept of civil society and civic activism and involvement beyond the traditional confines of the nation-state, and moves it instead into a globalized and increasingly politically integrated context. In general, the concept of global civil society has been treated as a positive development, with considerable attention being paid to the emancipatory and participatory opportunities that it presents. This essay explores the other side of the equation, i.e., the marginalization of national and European-level civil society and these participatory and emancipatory benefits in Central and Eastern Europe during a process of globalization and EU integration. Drawing from the emerging literatures on global civil society, this paper compares the normative and empirical emphases of that literature with the experiences and opinions of Central and Eastern European environmental NGOs. It examines how Central and Eastern European environmental movements have moved toward becoming more interconnected both in Europe and worldwide, yet are marginalized in favor of a style of environmental policy-making emerging from Brussels that emphasizes technocracy, scientific over public knowledge, and a top-down approach to the policy-making process. As a result, many of the democratic elements of civil society found at the national level have became neglected at the European and the global levels, replacing democratic politics (at least in the form of social movements) with the emergence of supranational technocratic institutions.

Cover of Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe
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Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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