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Tamás, Pál

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Kritika - Hungary | 18/03/2010

Pál Tamás on the development of social democracy in Eastern Europe

Sociologist Pál Tamás reflects on the state of social democracy in Central and Eastern Europe in the weekly cultural magazine Kritika: "In most cases Central Eastern European social democratic movements were successors to the communist state parties. After the fall of communism they were forced again and again to prove their democratic allegiance and adherence to the Western free market system, particularly that of the US. They had to be stalwart advocates of the market economy. They had to welcome the growth of international capital and keep talk of social solidarity to a minimum. ... In addition in the last 20 years they also had to commit to reforms, at least verbally. ... I don't want to say that the 'Eastern' social democrats rejected market reform or the modernisation of the state. But it is true that they have satisfied expectations on a verbal level and internalised at least in appearance the 'forced liberalism' imposed by West. And in some countries of Central Eastern Europe this has hindered a true renewal of social democracy."

Kritika - Hungary | 01/10/2008

Russia under Medvedev and Putin

In the monthly magazine Kritika, sociologist Pál Tamás reflects on the new Russian duo Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin and on Russian power structures: "What we know for sure is that the Medvedev's election as president has brought no changes to Russia's political system. There are no indications whatsoever that Medvedev has renewed the country's power mechanisms. The centralised power that Putin established during his second term in office remains unchanged, and will probably continue to do so for a long time to come. Firstly, Medvedev as a person is a 'Putin project'. Secondly, the current president doesn't possess the instruments to revamp the system even if he wanted to. In this respect it is important to underline that Putin is not just the erstwhile controller of the current system but also its main designer and in a sense the coordinator of its all-encompassing 'central computer system'. Medvedev's role is confined to that of formal representative of the system. And it looks like this is how things will remain for a while to come."

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 26/05/2008

"Neo-populism" in Central Europe

Sociologist Pál Tamás reflects on current political trends in Central Europe: "In contrast to developments in Western Europe, populism and neo-liberalism have yet to constitute a synthesis in Central Europe. If anything, they run counter to each other. Because neo-liberal programmes arrived on the scene first, it was these programmes that gave rise to 'neo-populism'. Enacting neo-liberal reforms requires a strong state that is able to put the political opponents of the market in their place. ... Over the years to come Central European politics - whether left-wing or right-wing, reform-oriented or neo-populist - will focus on the modernisation and streamlining of the welfare state. The challenge for political elites will be to accomplish this without alienating the countless people who are staunch defenders of the welfare state."

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 08/01/2008

Pál Tamás on the EU's loss of popularity among Hungarians

Surveys show that the EU has lost popularity in Hungary in 2007. That's because the EU is seen as an elitist theme, suggests sociologist Pál Tamás. "Gradually, the relationship between Hungary and the EU has changed. True, the EU is still seen as connected with Brussels, officials and regulations – though in day to day talk the term EU is increasingly used to mean just that - all of the Union. ... At the same time, however, there is a widely accepted view that we are second-class EU citizens. In other words, EU acceptance was their decision, not ours. This notion can only be overcome through demonstrations of our own interests, perhaps through independent decisions on specific issues."

Magyar Hírlap - Hungary | 06/11/2006

Pál Tamás on a way out of the crisis in Eastern Europe

In the countries of Central Eastern Europe, politics is increasingly becoming a game in which individuals with strong personalities stop at nothing to achieve their goals, writes Hungarian sociologist Pál Tamás. He advises the elites of Central Eastern Europe to learn the rules of balancing interests and democracy based on consensus. "Many have wrongly come to believe that the people of the new member states are disappointed with the EU. Yet even before the current crisis took hold, the relationship between Brussels and the people of Central Eastern Europe was seen as a marriage of convenience, not a romance. This attitude is still widely accepted. But neither Brussels nor the nation states can protect the middle classes of the new EU member states from the negative consequences of globalisation. An alliance between the frustrated middle classes and the frustrated politicians of these countries could create a mood similar to that of the 1930s in the entire region."

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