Unemployment undoubtedly belongs among the most significant phenomena as well as the problems of the modern world. First of all, it has a number of negative socio-economic consequences, both for directly affected individuals, their families, households, and their environment, which is affected, among others, by reduced purchasing power of the unemployed, and for the whole society, which has to bear both the direct and the indirect costs connected with unemployment and with the struggle to overcome it.
Many significant findings were obtained from a number of surveys conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre (Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění – CVVM) of the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in connection with the integration process of the Czech Republic into the European structures . But because even these findings are subject to the general tendency to sink into fast oblivion, I will try to mention especially the attitudes, opinions, and expectations, forming the basis for the relationship of the public towards the European Union, a body whose part we will become next year and in which we are to build our position.
Prior to 1989, the Czechs had only limited opportunities to meet foreigners. Except for tourists, only students and workers from socialist countries came to our country in small numbers and for limited periods of time. After the borders opened, foreigners took advantage of the relatively liberal approach of the Czech Republic towards them. In addition to transiting foreigners, attracted by our border with Western Europe, we were also a lure for work migration.
Left and right – two notions used very frequently by politicians, journalists, and common people. Notions the content of which everybody intuitively knows clearly but which only a few are able to explain without ambiguities. Historians would definitely point out historical connections related to the origin of the notions in the times of the French Revolution and their development in the context of the development of modern societies; political scientist would probably contribute with the aspect of power distribution in fight for power and its development; a politician might manage with simple comparisons of the We and They type; and in daily speech, we would probably most often meet with popular names of political parties and expressions such as social security, etc.
So the SC&C agency has measured, supposedly most accurately, the election preferences. At least that’s what Irena Bártová, the company’s manager, claimed in her letter published in the column „From the editorial post“. In short, there is nothing better than an „exit poll“, that is to say, a mass survey carried out in several hundred districts among people leaving rooms in which they have just voted in a referendum about the Czech Republic’s accession to EU.
On the threshold of the twenty-first century science is becoming more and more a public domain. Times, when scientists researched independently of the social demand, ended already in the middle of the last century with state financing of extensive space and nuclear programs. Subsequent development of science financing aimed at supporting projects, whose results could be put into practice as fast as possible and thus improve the living standard of citizens.
Not so long ago, we could see for ourselves one of the important aspects involved in performing public opinion research – the importance of representativeness of the sample file. The Czech Social Democratic Party (Česká strana sociálně demokratická) organised a party referendum in October 2002. Among other things, it was supposed to indicate preferences of candidates for the President of the Czech Republic.
Low rate of representation of women in politics is closely connected with the status of women, who are regarded rather as a social group than as individuals. At the same time, their social status is lower than that of men. Perception of citizenship as defined by French theoretician Chantal Mouffe in her theory of radical democracy is in direct contrast to this construct. According to Mouffe, citizenship should be perceived as a form of political identity, which is fully compliant with the principles of freedom and equality (Mouffe in Seidman, 1995).
Relations with neighbouring countries are undoubtedly a significant determinant as well as a key indicator of stability of international political embedding of each state. Regional cooperation is therefore logically alpha and omega of the international politics of the Czech Republic. One of the priority objectives of the country is to extend and strengthen central European cooperation with other countries of the so-called Viszegrad Four as well as with the two neighbouring EU countries, that is, with Germany and Austria.