Problems involving minorities still constitute a significant challenge for public policies in countries such as the ones on the territories of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Unassimilated, facing the cultural "non-transparency" of their lifeworlds, and usually without autonomy, their problems are quite different from those in Western Europe and North America.
This book presents a study of public policies concerning the national, ethnic, and religious minorities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It explores the opportunities available for applying the model of deliberative democracy to the domain of designing and realizing minority policies. It examines the possibility that minority groups can influence – and ideally even pre-decide – minority policies by legitimizing claims concerning their needs and rights in a way that leaves democratic public opinion no choice but to support them. Adopting a novel approach to the public legitimization of minority claims, it proposes that the general public’s evaluation of the credibility of minority claims should focus on the procedural qualities of the intra-group (ethical-political) discourses through which these claims are articulated and substantiated.
This text will be of key interest to students and scholars of public policy, minority politics, the politics of Eastern Europe, political theory and comparative politics.
Why Communicative Empowerment of Minorities?
Demographic Data about the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe
Part I: Identities and Policies
1. Minority Identities
Identity and Culture
Identity: Essence or Construct?
Identity: an End, or a Means?
2. The Complexity of Minority Issues
Social and Political Factors
3. Political Power and Minority Policies
The Politics of Presence
Identity Relations and Political Power
Part II: Identities and Communicative Power
4. Communicative Power
Public Legitimization within the Framework of the Habermasian Model of the Public Sphere
The Plurality of the Public Sphere
Genuine and Fictitious Legitimacy
5.Legitimacy and Public Deliberation
What Is "Public Deliberation"?
Differentia Specifica of Deliberative Decision-Making
The Unforced Force of the Better Argument
Procedure as a Safeguard against the Manipulation of Public Communication
6.The Internet as a Medium for Public Deliberation
How Does "Communicative Power" Work?
The Public Sphere and the Internet
Public Deliberation and the Internet
7.Is Intercultural Public Deliberation Possible?
The Challenges of Communication across Cultural Barriers
8. The Communicative Empowerment of Minority Groups
Ethical-Political Discourses as Instances of Public Deliberation
Ethical-Political Discourses as Enclave Deliberations
The Dual Identity of Minority Group Members