Democracy and culture

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    Why redistricting should not be left to a mathematical formula alone

Why redistricting should not be left to a mathematical formula alone

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With Wisconsin’s Gill v. Whitford case now before the Supreme Court, gerrymandering and its effects are now back in the public consciousness. One response to state legislature’s gerrymandering of Congressional districts has been to promote a redistricting formula based on the idea of wasted votes. In new research, Micah Altman and Michael P. McDonald find that there are limitations […]

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    “Gay” or “Homosexual”: the words we use can divide public opinion on civil rights

“Gay” or “Homosexual”: the words we use can divide public opinion on civil rights

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Words matter; different terms and phrases can be a huge influence on how the public things about important issues. For example, the term “homosexual” is more likely to be used to identify a group who some feel are outside of society, while “gay and lesbian” are much more inclusive terms. In new research, Brianna A. Smith and colleagues examines […]

Why we need to change the way we think about federalism

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The US federal system of government historically allowed America’s political parties and governance to be decentralized at the state and often local levels. Timothy Conlan writes that several trends in recent decades have worked to undermine that decentralization. Now, he argues that the rise of nationalization and polarization, and the declining perceived legitimacy of the federal government, means that […]

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    Trump is not the first president to play fast and loose with the truth – but he may be the biggest fabulist.

Trump is not the first president to play fast and loose with the truth – but he may be the biggest fabulist.

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The term “trumped up” has become ironically relevant to the behavior of the 45th US president, as evidence of brazen dishonesty continues to mount.  Ron Pruessen considers how Donald Trump has utilized a mold inherited from predecessors – and how he is on the way to spectacularly breaking it.

“Lord, Lord, how the world is given to lying”: so says […]

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    Book Review: The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism by Whitney Chadwick

Book Review: The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism by Whitney Chadwick

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In The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism, Whitney Chadwick explores how a number of women within the Surrealist movement fought to move beyond the confining role of muse to establish themselves as groundbreaking artists in their own right. Covering the lives of figures including Frida Kahlo, Claude Cahun and Valentine Penrose, this immersive and captivating account challenges […]

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    Book Review: Open Data and the Knowledge Society by Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir

Book Review: Open Data and the Knowledge Society by Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir

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In Open Data and the Knowledge Society, authors Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir place the management of open data ecosystems at the heart of the transformation into a ‘knowledge society’, presenting five case studies through which to consider various ways of dealing with different types of data.  Miranda Nell welcomes this book for showing how open […]

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    Strong partisans trust the political system, but not other people

Strong partisans trust the political system, but not other people

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Do we trust other people just like we trust the political system? For strong party supporters in the US, the answer is a resounding “no”. Drawing on General Social Survey data from between 1972 and 2014, new research by Marc Hooghe and Jennifer Oser shows that strong party supporters have high trust in the political system, but low trust […]

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    New big data platforms are more efficient, but pose a serious threat to privacy

New big data platforms are more efficient, but pose a serious threat to privacy

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Most new systems offer only basic enforcement, whereas traditional ones have various protection frameworks, write Pietro Colombo and Elena Ferrari.

The past few years have seen changes in the organisation of business models and work styles, caused by the rapid evolution of data analysis and data management systems. Business strategies are more and more driven by the integrated analysis of huge […]

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    Canvassers tend to seek out supporters who are like themselves, and that’s not good for political participation.

Canvassers tend to seek out supporters who are like themselves, and that’s not good for political participation.

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Petition canvassers play an important role as political recruiters by introducing citizens to political issues and seeking their support. But not much is known about how these canvassers decide whom to recruit or about their methods. Research by Clayton Nall, Benjamin Schneer, and Daniel Carpenter sets forth a model of political recruiting that changes depending on canvassers’ experiences, is […]

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    How Obama’s welfare legacy helps explain the roots of Trump supporters’ rage

How Obama’s welfare legacy helps explain the roots of Trump supporters’ rage

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In the lead up to the 2016 election, for many, that Hillary Clinton would ride President Obama’s popularity into the Oval Office was a foregone conclusion. Why then, did America end up with President Trump? Anne Daguerre argues that despite Obama’s somewhat successful efforts to save the US economy during the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, Donald Trump […]

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