In Policy without Politicians a leading expert on public policy has devoted four years to interviewing middle-ranking civil servants in three languages over six jurisdictions to construct a comparative survey of bureaucratic influence on secondary legislation. The venture may sound worthy at best, but Patricia Hogwood finds that Edward C. Page has produced a little gem: an intellectually honest, well-constructed, […]
Local elections in Italy this week saw reduced results for Beppe Grillo’s Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) party, when compared to its stunning national election performance in February. In the aftermath, the Italian media has been quick to write off the party’s fortunes. Duncan McDonnell writes that these sentiments are fuelled by an unhelpful comparison of local and national elections, and the media’s […]
The European Parliament is often accused of being distant from EU citizens, both geographically, and in its decision making. Many have also accused it of lacking newsworthiness, but is this actually the case? Katjana Gattermann has closely examined broadsheet news coverage of the European Parliament. She finds that, while not independent from the domestic arena, there is a steady and […]
Political communication in the age of austerity: Unless you can claim genuine authenticity – like UKIP’s Nigel Farage – then you will struggle to convince
Charlie Beckett explores the lessons in political communication illustrated by Nigel Farage and UKIP in the UK. In an age of scepticism, one value that the voters want – authenticity – is rendered undeliverable by a professional political class that seek to secure their power with risk-averse, non-interactive communication. Farage has been able to appeal to voters precisely because he is genuine and […]
Young people in Europe increasingly tend to blend the ‘public’ and ‘private’ in their political participation
Britta Busse, Alexandra Hashem-Wangler and Jochen Tholen describe their ethnographic research into the social and political engagement of a football fan group in Germany, explaining how the manner in which this group blend the ‘private’ matter of football support with the ‘public’ matter of anti-racist activism is indicative of a much broader change in how youth in Europe engage in political life. Responding to […]
Europe has paid close attention to Italy in recent months, in the wake of an inconclusive election that created much uncertainty. In Modern Italy in Historical Perspective, Nick Carter takes a close look at Italy’s troubled history, tracing the roots of current problems such as corruption and organized crime. Kate Saffin finds the book to be a detailed history of […]
Larger parties at the centre of the political spectrum are more likely to be representative of their voters than smaller, more extreme parties.
What factors influence how closely the positions of political parties match the positions of their voters? Based on a study of 189 parties across Europe, Ana Belchior identifies some of the key variables that explain congruence between the positions of politicians and voters. Her primary conclusion is that parties in the centre of the political spectrum are more likely to […]
The pursuit of integration requires that citizens have a sense of belonging to the whole, as well as to their own ‘little platoon’
Tariq Modood discusses the historical relationship between political multiculturalism and national identity, arguing that what some have construed as the ‘death’ of multiculturalism can better be understood as a change of focus. Any attempt to cultivate conditions conducive to integration necessitates that national identity be taken seriously, but in a manner which enlarges and pluralises conceptions of what it means to be […]
The new Czech President might bring about a change of rhetoric on Europe but a policy shift towards the EU appears unlikely
In the weekend’s presidential election in the Czech Republic, voters chose Miloš Zeman to succeed Václav Havel and Václav Klaus as the first directly elected President in the country’s history. A former prime minister for the left, he defeated the current foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg (centre-right) in the second round of the elections on Saturday. David Cadier considers the potential […]
Unless the fractured opposition left can unite, the political hegemony of the right will continue in Hungary.
In Hungary, political opinion has polarised, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz party enjoying considerable support as they continue to attack the EU. Erin Marie Saltman writes that only time will tell if Hungary’s divided left opposition will be able to put aside their differences and unite to overpower the radical right. Those less intimate with Hungarian political […]
A study of the various social mobilisations and collective activities in Europe that we chose to describe as ‘subterranean politics’ reveals a general frustration with current political practices
Mary Kaldor presents research into the new political phenomena occurring across the political spectrum, both right and left, around the world. Those who have engaged in the activities studied cite concern with the failures of democracy as the reason for engagement. The ‘bubbling up’ of political forces into the mainstream can have both negative and positive consequences: There is a real risk of […]
How do precarious workers employed in call-centres, universities, and the fashion industry organise to become influential political subjects? Media Practices and Protest Politics reveals the process by which individuals at the margins of the labour market communicate outside the realm of institutional politics to gain recognition in the political sphere. Nick Anstead values Alice Mattoni’s original examples from precarious workers’ mobilizations in […]
Opinion Polls and the Media provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between the media, opinion polls, and public opinion. The contributors explore how the media use opinion polls in a range of countries across the world, and analyses the effects and uses of opinion polls by the public as well as political actors. Reviewed by Anthony Wells. Opinion Polls and the […]
The question of how a policy is made or why things simply stay the same in politics has long occupied the minds of political observers. This book explores the way in which very particular political actors made a difference to policy and politics. The analytical focus is on think-tanks: hybrid creatures which exist somewhere in the spaces between government, business […]
The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics argues that throughout its history most international theory has been embedded within various forms of Eurocentrism. Kent Deng finds the book launches a devastating critique of the Western approach to world politics, one that should be noted by student and scholar alike. The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760–2010. John Hobson. […]
Theofanis Exadaktylos argues that it remains to be seen whether Greece’s new government will manage to keep up with the rest of Europe’s expectations and show that it is credit-worthy, and that their proposed changes to the memorandum will yield concrete results, or if it will continue its entanglement in Greek politics’ never-ending spiral and succumb to social, economic and political […]
What is the relationship between sport and the state? Richard Holt finds that Simon Martin’s history of sport and society in Italy is an engaging, enlightening and scholarly addition to Italian history, and will be of particular value to those working in the history of sport. Sport Italia: the Italian Love Affair With Sport. Simon Martin. I.B.Tauris July 2011. Find this book: One thing needs to […]
Despite Norway’s stable economy, a resurgent Conservative party may mean its ruling red-green coalition is no longer assured a third term in office.
It will prove difficult for Norway’s red-green coalition to win a historical third term, argues Sten Inge Jørgensen. Following its sister-party in Sweden, the Norwegian Conservative Party is now successfully portraying itself as a new Labour Party in an attempt to chip away votes from the governing coalition. “Human beings, not billions”. The favourite slogan of the Conservative party (Høyre) […]
More than a week after Greece’s elections, a political stalemate still stands, with no party able to form a stable government. Nikitas Konstantinidis argues that the demands placed on Greece from international organisations such as the IMF and the EU have strained its political system to a near breaking point. The solutions to Greece’s crisis now rest with Paris, Berlin […]
The parties of the European left need to move beyond the politics of denouncement and prove to voters that they can deliver the solutions needed to address the crisis.
Since the beginning of the crisis the European left has denounced the politics of austerity, which has often led to accusations from the right that it is ‘in denial’ of high deficits and public debts. Andrew Watt argues that the European left now needs to change its tone, to convince disaffected voters that they can offer solutions to the financial […]