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    Slurs like ‘letter box’ are more problematic than we think: How discriminatory language travels

Slurs like ‘letter box’ are more problematic than we think: How discriminatory language travels

Former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson generated controversy in August when he used the terms ‘letter boxes’ and ‘bank robbers’ to describe Muslim women in burkas. Anna Gawlewicz and Kasia Narkowicz argue that while Johnson received a great deal of criticism in the UK for his comments, the use of such language also has the potential to travel internationally […]

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How interest groups influence public opinion

Interest groups have a role in shaping public opinion across Europe, but does an interest group’s reputation affect its ability to influence the views of the public? Drawing on evidence from two survey experiments, Andreas Dür explains that interest groups only appear to matter due to the arguments they put forward, with the reputations of particular groups having a surprisingly […]

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Book Review: For a Left Populism by Chantal Mouffe

In For a Left Populism, Chantal Mouffe argues that our contemporary ‘populist moment’ represents an opportunity for democratic reinvigoration through the formation of a left populism in the name of radical democracy. The book marks an important intervention, most especially in its work on the political role of affect, finds Matthew Longo, but he remains unconvinced as to whether Mouffe’s vision of agonistic contestation will […]

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    Generation wars over Brexit and beyond: How young and old are divided over social values

Generation wars over Brexit and beyond: How young and old are divided over social values

Pippa Norris explains how generation gaps divide the British electorate and mainstream parties. She writes that while the EU referendum was a prime example of how these divisions play out in the UK, the changing nature of electoral cleavages raises important questions about politics and party competition in western democracies more generally.

The Brexit decision shocked Britain’s image of itself, […]

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    Distorted perceptions: How Leavers and Remainers view the economy

Distorted perceptions: How Leavers and Remainers view the economy

There is a divide between how Remainers and Leavers perceive the UK’s economic performance and other policy developments, explain Miriam Sorace and Sara B. Hobolt. A major consequence of this lack of agreement about basic facts is that reaching a consensus on how to navigate Brexit becomes even more complicated.

On the 23 June 2016, UK citizens voted to leave […]

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What will happen to Ireland’s abortion rate after repeal?

In May, Irish voters backed a proposal to amend a constitutional provision which placed a ban on abortion in most cases. But what impact is the referendum result likely to have on the Irish abortion rate in the coming years? Eoin Flaherty explains that the circumstances which drive marriage, divorce, and abortion rates are complex and are not susceptible […]

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Book Review: The Market by Matthew Watson

In The Market, Matthew Watson offers a critical enquiry into what we mean when we refer to ‘the market’ and explores the consequences of allowing one particular interpretation to prevail. Delving into the history of economics, this is a valuable excavation of the emergence and triumph of the market concept as we know it, writes David Dodds, and a call to action to imagine […]

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    Defining British identity: Is it about “values” or “proper behaviour”?

Defining British identity: Is it about “values” or “proper behaviour”?

What constitutes British identity? In this blog, Ulrike G. Theuerkauf explains the relevance of “British values” in discussions about the further political, economic and social development of the UK after Brexit, and the manner in which “Britishness” is invoked as a concept of inclusion or exclusion in society.

Brexit is something of a boom industry. Even before it has officially happened, […]

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    How Europe’s deteriorating peace is facilitating the rise of populism

How Europe’s deteriorating peace is facilitating the rise of populism

Results from the 2018 Global Peace Index, a quantitative measure of peace across 163 countries, show that Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world. But as José Luengo-Cabrera notes, Europe’s peacefulness has been deteriorating in recent years. He argues that this deterioration has provided fertile ground for the rise of populist parties.

Since the inception of the Global […]

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    Book Review: Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements by Rafal Soborski

Book Review: Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements by Rafal Soborski

In Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements, Rafal Soborski provides a punchy and passionate critique of the post-ideology approach of progressive social movements from an anti-neoliberal perspective. While questioning whether all grassroots protest movements have abandoned ideology to the extent described in the book, Luke Martell finds this a distinctive and stimulating contribution recommended to all those interested in social change. 
Ideology and the […]

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    Italian women face dramatic earnings losses after the birth of a child

Italian women face dramatic earnings losses after the birth of a child

Child birth can disrupt the careers of women if adequate safeguards are not put in place by policymakers. Enrica Maria Martino presents findings from new research on the effect child birth has on women in Italy. She finds that having a child dramatically decreases the earnings of Italian women. The key driver for this effect is women leaving the […]

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    Book Review: Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity by Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando

Book Review: Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity by Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando

In Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity, Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando explore how debates and discourses surrounding poverty and welfare have been shaped by the mainstream press in the UK. The granular content analysis offered by the book gives great insight into the normalisation of social inequality across the British media landscape, writes Matthew Hacke, and will be of interest to those looking to […]

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The gap between wages and productivity

In many EU states, wage growth has been lagging behind productivity growth over recent decades. Bela Galgoczi examines why wages and productivity – essential for a fair distribution of the spoils of economic growth – have increasingly decoupled from each other across European countries.

The decoupling of wages from productivity – a widespread phenomenon with wage growth having been lagging […]

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    Boycotts are more likely to be effective in industries which are highly competitive

Boycotts are more likely to be effective in industries which are highly competitive

One of the most fundamental aspects of our market society is that consumers should have the ability to vote with their feet and to not buy certain products if they do not wish to. But when are these boycotts effective in causing corporations to change their ways? In new research, Georgy Egorov and Bard Harstad find that boycotts should […]

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    Why public sector outsourcing is less efficient than Soviet central planning

Why public sector outsourcing is less efficient than Soviet central planning

Since the 1990s, public sector outsourcing has evolved through competitive tendering, partnership working (particularly via Public Finance Initiatives), strategic-commissioning and prime-contracting. Each of these iterations has promised better public goods and services for less cost. Their practice, however, has frequently been marked by rising costs and lower service quality. Abby Innes explains why.

The logic of outsourcing is that market-based […]

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    Understanding populism: What role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Understanding populism: What role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Three distinct crises have hit the European Union in the last decade: the Great Recession, the migration crisis, and Brexit. As Andrea L. P. Pirro explains, there has been a widespread assumption that populist parties with Eurosceptic profiles have been the main political beneficiaries from these crises. But there still remains much to be understood about what populists make […]

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    Book Review: News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World edited by An Nguyen

Book Review: News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World edited by An Nguyen

In News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World, An Nguyen brings together contributors to showcase international research on the integration of statistical reasoning in journalistic education, production and consumption. In a data-driven context marked by concerns about fake news, ‘post-truth’ and the spread of disinformation, this is a thoughtful and accessible contribution to understanding the role of numeracy in contemporary […]

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    The Five Star Movement and the rise of ‘techno-populist’ parties

The Five Star Movement and the rise of ‘techno-populist’ parties

The Five Star Movement and Lega’s nomination of Italian law professor Giuseppe Conte as the next Prime Minister of Italy presents a puzzle: why would an apparently ‘populist’ government nominate a Prime Minister who fits the mould of a technocrat? Chris Bickerton writes that given the Five Star Movement’s history, we should not be surprised at the nomination of […]

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    Skilled migrants have higher earning potential in countries with more inequality

Skilled migrants have higher earning potential in countries with more inequality

Why do skilled migrants choose to travel to particular countries and what motivates them to stay there or leave once they have employment? Drawing on new research, Matthias Parey, Jens Ruhose, Fabian Waldinger and Nicolai Netz illustrate that skilled migrants enjoy higher earning potential when they move to countries that have greater levels of inequality. Meanwhile, less qualified migrants benefit from the compressed […]

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    The legacy of World War II on social spending in the western world

The legacy of World War II on social spending in the western world

The Second World War had a major impact on almost every aspect of European society, but one area that has been relatively under-researched is the influence the war had on social spending. Presenting results from a new study, Herbert Obinger and Carina Schmitt illustrate that World War II not only created new welfare constituencies such as disabled war veterans, […]

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