METSZETEK Vol.3 (2014) No.4

Workfare with a human face?

Ildikó Asztalos Morell

Public work is currently the major national tool for the reintegration of the long-term unemployed into the world of labour in Hungary. As a result of the expansion of resources the government allotted to facilitate public work employment, labour statistics improved substantially. Nonetheless, public labour as an institution is objected to intense criticism. Since employment as public worker is not bound to citizenship rights, local municipalities have a large degree of discretion about selecting whom they hire. Criticism most often focuses on employment discrimination. In contrast, this research takes a progressive municipality, with anti-discriminatory profile as an example, where public work was adapted as a welfare, rather than purely workfare praxis. Uszka, a rural small-sized municipality, is characterized by high ethnified unemployment. Its politicians and administrators adapted varied strategies to help combat poverty and unemployment. The paper explores the place of public work in the context of social policy instruments and poverty reduction strategies applied and the degrees of freedom and limitations municipalities have in adapting state instruments.

Seeking Diamond, But Finding Moissanite: A Case Study On Democratic Political Culture In Contemporary Hungary

Zoltán Berényi

Although since 1990 the indispensable institutional requirements of democracy have been in place in Hungary, studies revealed that Hungarian society in the past 25 years failed to gain sufficiently strong attachment to the norms and values a well functioning democracy requires. Other studies also indicated that these signs, indicating serious shortcomings in democratic political socialization are especially evident in the young generation. In looking for an explanation of this troubling phenomenon political scientists theorised that the low adherence to these values could be the consequence of citizens' low level of activity in voluntary organizations. Could active participation in a voluntary organization reduce the deficits in democratic political socialization?

In order to answer this question, this paper set out to examine to what extent the shortcomings of democratic political socialization could be detected among members of a student association (‘Depolit’) at the University of Debrecen, Hungary.

Social Conflicts in the 21st Century – the Shadows of Global Environmental Change

Karl Bruckmeier

The theme of this symposium, “Cultural Heritage and the Innovations of the Humanities in the 21st Century” includes difficult aspects as that of “Social Conflicts in the 21st Century – the Shadows of Global Environmental Change” for which it is not obvious what they include in terms of cultural heritage and humanities. The question, how to deal with new social conflicts can be answered in this perspective of cultural heritage and the new humanities as one that requires new ways of dealing with cultural heritage and innovativeinter- and transdisciplinary thinking; such thinking is spreading in the humanities, in the social and natural sciences, and in the everyday sphere of lifeworld.

Projects’ Social Effects: The Project Orientated Society

Ibolya Czibere

The new organisational strategy, Project Orientated Management was presented in 1990 in Vienna opening the third developmental stage of project management knowledge. This strategy is based on a fundamental coherence stating that every project functions as a temporary organisation and, therefore, offers strategic options for the usual organisational structures (with the incorporation of projects into the organisational structures, temporary organisations are created that disappear as soon as their individual task is done). This approach dramatically increases the importance of projects regardless of the previously known coherence that states a project created for various aims in public, non-profit and industrial sectors can heavily improve a company’s efficiency and its chances of survival as well. These processes result in power shifts in society and change the forms of knowledge utilization.

Managing the unemployment in Hungary

Judit Csoba

With the transition to market economy and after the economy was rebuilt on new foundations, the unfavourable accompanying symptoms – especially unemployment – also had to be addressed. The restructuring and continuous expansion of the system of institutions and instruments devoted to controlling unemployment followed the Western European model in many ways by this time, which had already amassed decades of experience; however, at the same time it was unable to break with its own traditions. The established system of labour market institutions operates in a very centralized way both with respect to its structure and its procedures, and non-state players either do not appear in the system at all or play only a very small role.

The provision of day care services for the children in need

Vida Gudžinskienė

The main aim of Day care centers (CDC) for children is the reduction of social exclusion of children and prevention of children removal from the families of origin, complex (social, psychological, pedagogical) support for the child and his/her family - these kind of activities are directly related to the needs of the children at risk. Currently, the highest numbers of disadvantaged families in Lithuania come from Kaunas, Vilnius and Klaipeda counties. The social services within day care centers have been provided for 6873 children in 2012, which is 14.2 percent less than in 2011 and even 18.1 percent less than in 2010.

Dynamics of welfare – social work in the ascendant and under pressure

Franz Hamburger

Trying to talk about the dynamics of welfare in 30 minutes is like the flight of Icarus. If you go too high, your words combust on the abstractness of the theories. If you fly too low, you sink in the water of the various forms of welfare. So I will try to stay in the middle. Perhaps Icarus also managed it for at least 30 minutes.

“Welfare” is not a fixed quantity; it is the subject of political debate, and decisions about it are made in a discursive process. The participants do not, of course, have equal chances of influencing the decision. This presentation of a discourse on welfare goes beyond functionalist theories and looks for the normative bases for welfare.

Idiosyncrasies of recent growing inequalities in Hungarian income distribution

Balázs Krémer

During past years of financial crises and “great recession” most of the European countries have experienced widening income inequalities. These growing disparities are multifactorial, not simply affected by earned incomes in labor markets, social transfers or fiscal policies and revenue regimes, but also by indirect consequences of earlier running indebtedness and amortizing loans.

This paper attempts to take into account various factors of growing income inequalities, and Hungarian biases from international trends. As a conclusion, we will argue that relatively high and rapid growths of Hungarian inequalities cannot seen and interpreted as an unlucky consequence of great recession, rather as an outcome of intended politics of ruling government.

Child protection models for mainstreaming child’s rights

Andrea Rácz

Thinking about and dealing with children, it is extremely important to ensure they get everything that is needed to unfold their skills and potential talents. The professionals working with children have to trust them and children living on the border of child protection, or those living in public care have to be supported in a way that their needs – special and unique – are taken into consideration just the same as if they lived with their families. The recognition of the family’s role in children’s life is inevitable; in care provision, it means the necessity to move towards an integrated, family-community based system of provision, which is capable of ensuring effective service packs for the primary and secondary target group of child protection, adjusting to the dual function of child protection. “Child protection is a social institution that was created to support another social institution, the family, in order to help the family in its tasks related to the child’ development and social inclusion, and if it is necessary, to take over the responsibility for the child from the family which is unable to ensure it.” (Domszky 2011: 3-4). First, the study presents Fox Harding’s typology about the system logics of services for children. Then, we deal with the need of strengthening the rights of children in care and illustrate it by two examples: 1) FICE: tender for good practices in child protection and 2) the Children’s Parliament 2014 which had the theme of social integration.

Who is in crisis? ...

Edit Schranz

Is it sexuality or the lack of it, or rather money or the lack of it that defines better the relationship between men and women? Have the position of women really changed a lot regarding sexual hierarchy from the image of the “cheap household manpower” to the self-conscious modern woman possessing an independent income or is that all just an illusion? There are changes that can be traced in the feminist literature from the pre-industrial society through the appearance of the paid labour force of women kept count of the result of the industrial revolution, as well as through the positive changes in the election and heritance rights considered from the women’s point of view to the modern, strengthening feminist fights for female quotes. Can these be really considered as big steps taken forward or rather just very small ones in respect of equality between genders considering the present picture of societies basically described as patriarchal in the literature? Proceeding along the theories we try to give an answer to the above questions in this study by focusing on the results that summarize the empiric study of a present-day female group of a given social position, namely deep poverty. At the same time, we are going to concern the issue of masculinity crisis to a large extent. According to our hypothesis, it is actually not clear whether only “masculinity is undermined” as a result of the general economic difficulties (unemployment) affecting the financial situation of families at a micro level. What happens to women in the meanwhile?