|Shattered Spaces of Political Geography
Political geography is a field located at the frontier between geography and political science. Considering this, one could expect that cross-fertilization occurs across the two fields. Unfortunately, what we see is rather a different picture – that of mutual neglect, or worse implicit antipathy. This paper aims to discuss deeper cleavages that separate the field and to suggest some possible remedies. The key cleavages we analyse are: the broader goals of the social science; epistemological preferences; preferences for nomothetic vs. idiographic knowledge and preferences for description and interpretation vs. explanation; and attitudes towards methodologies. The paper illustrates these cleavages via a short comparative analysis of two papers (one written by a geographer, the other by a political scientist) that have similar research goals and general research designs. Greater attention to counterfactuals on the side of geographers, and greater willingness to consider more ideographic and descriptive pieces on the side of political scientists, are among the suggested ways to overcome this unproductive separation of political geography and political science.
|Politically Active Civil Society in the Liberec Region: Traditional Associations, Independents or Local and Regional Political Groupings in Municipal Elections 2010 and 2014
Based on theories of relations between democracy and civil society and the concept of social capital especially in the version of Robert Putnam (1993) but also regarding his critics (Kwon 2004), this paper applies approaches of political geography to the study of politically active civil society outside traditional political parties in the Liberec Region of Czechia – a relatively small territory comprising many types of social, historical-cultural and natural environments. It tries to find and map differences in geographical (spatial) distribution of several types of such political civil activities and to determine some key geographical or geographically distributed factors with an impact on it. This paper focuses on a relatively untraditional role of civil society organizations (beside classical political parties) – that of direct participation and success in (municipal) elections. It presents predominantly results of the analysis of data from municipal elections in 2010 and 2014, focused on the success of several types of untraditional, local or regional political movements, which had created candidate lists. Employed methods are particularly multiple linear regression and spatial autocorrelation. There is apparent differentiation according to the historical border of the Nazi-occupied and formerly predominantly ethnic German area, while influences of settlement structure or local particularities are also visible.
|Institutionalization of Nationalized Party System: The Czech Case
The concept of party system institutionalization is usually applied as an explanatory framework for the process during which inter-party competition exhibits the recognisable pattern of stabilization over time. Party system institutionalization is measured with indicators based on the patterns of stability in government formation and alternation. The article presents an empirical test of the argument that a high degree of party system nationalization plays a significant role in the process of party system stabilization and routinization. In the cross-temporal comparison, the presented study explains to what extent the Czech party system’s development exhibits patterns of institutionalization. The Czech case has been selected because recent party system changes are interpreted as unprecedented
|Viability of a Secessionist State in Africa: Case Study of South Sudan
South Sudan declared its independence after the long-term civil war in 2011, a move which was welcomed both by its inhabitants and the international community and widely supported by the African Union. However, a new civil war broke out a few years later, bringing old ethnic and power rivalries back to light. This article focuses on the causes behind the failure of the state-building process in South Sudan, power relations of its elites, and the difficulties of nation-building. Its main scope is to analyse the causes of the state failure in South Sudan which have their roots deeper in the Sudanese peace process, and which started in the 1990s and culminated with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. All these phenomena are studied in a broader geopolitical context bearing in mind also relations with neighbouring states, including parent state Sudan, and with international organisations and the African Union in particular. From a methodological point of view, this article is an intrinsic case-study based on the analysis of documents released by the Government of South Sudan, the African Union, and various international organisations, literature, and also partly on the interviews and observations conducted at the African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, in 2011.