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What research tells us about the avocado toast controversy

Why do people consume conspicuously even when they cannot afford healthcare, or housing? The recent ‘avocado toast controversy’, started by tycoon Tim Gurner, has re-ignited this debate. Clement Bellet and Eve Sihra explain that, contrary to the Australian businessman’s argument, consuming ‘luxury’ goods plays a key role for deprived individuals.

A status symbol? Toast with mashed avocado and salsa verde, by […]

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    The ‘last chance for social Europe’: The European Pillar of Social Rights can only work if integrated into the EU’s existing policies

The ‘last chance for social Europe’: The European Pillar of Social Rights can only work if integrated into the EU’s existing policies

The European Commission published its proposals for the creation of a European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) at the end of April. Eleanor Brooks writes that it will be crucial to ‘mainstream’ the EPSR by integrating it into the EU’s existing policies, while civil society organisations will need to be afforded a strong role in the Pillar’s implementation if it […]

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Book Review: The Great Regression

How do we make sense of the dramatic political changes of recent months? In The Great Regression, editor Heinrich Geiselberger brings together contributors including Nancy Fraser, Arjun Appadurai and Bruno Latour to grapple with the causes and consequences of this ostensible ‘great regression’. While questioning the tendency to centralise ‘the left’ as the prime site of blame, Elisa Pannini praises this cross-national collection […]

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    The hidden sides of ‘dynamic pricing’ for airline tickets

The hidden sides of ‘dynamic pricing’ for airline tickets

Unlike its planes, easyJet prices go up but don’t come down: The longer you wait, the more you pay, write Marco Alderighi, Alberto A. Gaggero and Claudio A. Piga.

An EasyJet plane interior. Credit: Adrian Pingstone, Public domain.
A standard definition of dynamic pricing in airline markets typically focuses on how fares evolve over the booking period that precedes a flight’s take-off. […]

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    Kosovo’s early elections are reviving its ‘war’ and ‘peace’ camps

Kosovo’s early elections are reviving its ‘war’ and ‘peace’ camps

Kosovo is due to hold early elections on 11 June, following a vote of no confidence in the government. Krenar Gashi writes that the elections have encouraged a recalibration of Kosovo’s party system, with the revival of the division between so called ‘war’ parties and ‘peace’ parties that has its roots in the aftermath of the Kosovo War in […]

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The Brexit referendum question was flawed in its design

The Brexit referendum question was flawed in its design by ignoring Kenneth Arrow’s impossibility theorem, writes Thomas Colignatus. As he explains, referendums can be considered democratically legitimate only if voters can make an informed decision. and it is questionable whether the UK’s referendum on the EU produced a sound choice in the first place.  

Theresa May’s government, with support from […]

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    How has Brexit, and other EU crises, affected party Euroscepticism across Europe?

How has Brexit, and other EU crises, affected party Euroscepticism across Europe?

Analysing the results of a new expert survey, Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart write that Brexit has so far had a very limited impact on national party politics across Europe beyond the UK, particularly compared with the earlier Eurozone and migration crisis. While the longer-term, dynamic effects of Brexit on party Euroscepticism might be greater and there are a […]

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    A Pyrrhic victory in Yerevan? Understanding Armenia’s one party dominance

A Pyrrhic victory in Yerevan? Understanding Armenia’s one party dominance

Only six weeks after parliamentary elections that saw the ruling Republican Party of Armenia retain its power, a municipal election in the Armenian capital Yerevan resulted in an even larger victory for the incumbent party. But as Richard Giragosian writes, the election result did little to obscure serious shortcomings in the voting process, with allegations of vote buying and […]

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    One hundred days of Martin Schulz: The rise and fall of a ‘Gottkanzler’?

One hundred days of Martin Schulz: The rise and fall of a ‘Gottkanzler’?

Angela Merkel’s CDU secured a surprise victory over the SPD in state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on 14 May. Julian Göpffarth assesses where the result leaves the SPD’s leader, Martin Schulz, ahead of the country’s federal elections in September.

Martin Schulz. Credits: Olaf Kosinsky / Skillshare.eu
It has been not much more than a hundred days that Martin Schulz has been the […]

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What will President Macron mean for UK universities?

Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election will have a significant impact on European politics across a wide number of policy areas. Anne Corbett assesses what Macron’s presidency could mean for higher education in the UK and for bilateral relations between the UK and France.

Oxford, Corpus Christi college. Credits: Diliff (CC BY-SA 3.0)
On 21 February this year, the […]

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Why populism is a threat to electoral integrity

Following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, a great deal of political commentary has focused on the rise of populism and its possible impact on Western democracies. Pippa Norris argues that populism heightens the risk of electoral malpractice in three distinct ways: by damaging public trust in democracy, by undermining international standards of electoral integrity, and by […]

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Eurovision 2017 was remarkable for its lack of politics

The build up to the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was overshadowed by a dispute between Russia and Ukraine which resulted in Russia withdrawing from the event. Catherine Baker writes that despite this dispute, the show itself was largely free from the kind of political controversy that has emerged in previous years.

Credit: Федя Кузнецов (CC BY SA 4.0)
Eurovision 2017 was a […]

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    Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind

Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind

Russia has recently been accused of stoking tensions in the Balkans by waging ‘information warfare’ in the region. Jarosław Wiśniewski writes that even if these allegations are true, the West should avoid responding in kind. Rather than engaging in the same tactics, the carrot of European integration should be used to exert greater influence.

Images of Vladimir Putin placed on an […]

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The Long Read: The Working Class Hasn’t Gone Away

Ron Johnston reviews three recent books that, in very different ways, explore the changing nature and politics of the working class in post-industrial societies.
The New Politics of Class: The Political Exclusion of the British Working Class. Geoffrey Evans and James Tilley. Oxford University Press. 2017.
The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality. Justin […]

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    Delusions and meddling: 30 years of Tory Euroscepticism are coming to the fore

Delusions and meddling: 30 years of Tory Euroscepticism are coming to the fore

The Conservative party’s relationship with the EU has come a long way since Edward Heath urged the UK to be ‘inside Europe’. Euroscepticism has a long history in the party, but the drift of public, media and Tory sentiment away from European unity crystallised in 1988 under Margaret Thatcher. The Brexit process is now bringing these tensions to the fore, […]

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    Understanding the campaign dynamics of the French presidential election

Understanding the campaign dynamics of the French presidential election

Now that the dust has settled on Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election, what lessons can be derived from the campaign? Thomas Vitiello assesses both rounds of the election, highlighting the key campaign dynamics that ultimately shaped the result.

Credit: French Embassy in the United States (CC BY SA 2.0)
In French politics, there is a saying that “in […]

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We haven’t heard the last of the Le Pens

Marine Le Pen secured a far higher share of the vote in the second round of the French presidential election than her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, managed in 2002. But as David Lees writes, Marine may soon come under pressure from within her own party, with many of her followers sceptical about the nature of her campaign.

Emmanuel Macron won […]

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    Not getting any easier: EU parliaments may yet get to vote on Brexit terms

Not getting any easier: EU parliaments may yet get to vote on Brexit terms

While the power of national parliaments in the European Union has generally been increased over the last two decades, as means of democratising the EU, their involvement in the Brexit process will further complicate the negotiations and prove difficult for the the next British government to handle, writes Julian M Hörner.

Hungary’s parliament building, Budapest. Credits: Godot 13 (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Amidst the triggering of Article […]

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Is this the end of the populist surge?

Following the UK’s Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. President, 2017 was billed as a year in which mainstream parties in the Netherlands, France and Germany could be overtaken by populist challengers in the shape of Geert Wilders’ PVV, Marine Le Pen’s Front National, and the AfD in Germany. Abel Bojar asks whether the PVV’s failure in […]

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    Macron’s victory: A historic break with the past, or simply the postponement of real change?

Macron’s victory: A historic break with the past, or simply the postponement of real change?

Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! movement will attempt to win a majority in the French legislative elections in June, but if he fails to achieve this, his power to implement substantial policy changes may be limited. Nick Parsons writes that winning the presidency was a relatively easy task in comparison to what he will face in June, and that Marine Le […]

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