The role of the European Commission in the EU’s policy process is often cited by Eurosceptic actors as one of the main problems with EU democracy. But how responsive is the Commission to the views of European citizens? Presenting findings from a new study, Christopher J. Williams and Shaun Bevan find evidence that the Commission is likely to increase […]
Populist parties across Europe often support direct democracy, for example through frequent referendums. Do their voters support these initiatives too and why? Tina Freyburg, Robert Huber and Steffen Mohrenberg distinguish between citizens who support direct democracy as a way of giving power to ‘the people’ and those, known as stealth democrats, who do so out of scepticism that politicians can be effective. They find that […]
The success of populist parties is often viewed as an act of protest against ‘the establishment’. Drawing on new research, Bram Geurkink, Andrej Zaslove, Roderick Sluiter and Kristof Jacobs illustrate that this may not always be the case. Voters for populist parties are not just protest voters: when they have the opportunity, they vote for an alternative.
Populist parties are ever […]
David Judge writes that, while much of the discussion around Brexit and Parliament is about procedure and conventions, it should also be about the bigger picture: what does Brexit tell us about the fundamental principles of the UK’s parliamentary state and representative democracy?
Politicians and the punditocracy have become consumed with the minutiae of parliamentary procedure and constitutional conventions – […]
Are societies with high levels of gender equality more likely to be happier? Drawing on new research, Andre P. Audette explains that greater gender equality in a country is associated with an increase in life satisfaction. Importantly, this pattern is not only seen among women, but holds true for men as well.
Over the past several decades, countries around the […]
Book Review: …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year by Michael Hudson
In …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, Michael Hudson offers a historical account of the role that debt played in ancient societies. In focusing on how such societies dealt with the proliferation of debts that cannot be paid, this book sheds informative light on the significance of debt today, writes Alfredo Hernandez […]
While much attention has focused on when or if Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will succeed in taking the UK out of the EU, the longer-term agenda of a Johnson-led Conservative administration has been pushed into the background. This is unfortunate. Johnson’s dream, should his premiership survive, is of a post-Brexit Britain akin to a European ‘Singapore of […]
In recent years there have been several attempts by Western European governments to reform second chambers, though the majority of proposals have failed to pass. Michelangelo Vercesi assesses the conditions when such reforms are proposed, and finds that they are often instigated during times of democratic strain when the governing party wishes to reduce the number of veto players. However, the […]
It has long been believed that judges at the lower echelons of the judiciary are the drivers of legal integration in Europe. Yet, drawing on a new study, Arthur Dyevre and Monika Glavina show that this is not what the data says. Analysing the entirety of preliminary references submitted by domestic courts from 1961 to 2017, they demonstrate that […]
Popular populists: Do anti-establishment voters stick with populist parties after they enter the mainstream?
Self-proclaimed populist challengers to the ‘establishment’ have taken hold in many European countries, but what lies behind the success of these parties? Werner Krause and Aiko Wagner show the reasons for voting for populist parties vary systematically with the degree of establishment of these parties. If citizens distrust national parliaments and believe the political mainstream is not responsive to […]
The management of the Eurozone crisis reflected the beliefs held by Europe’s political leaders. Drawing on a new study, Marij Swinkels assesses how these beliefs shifted throughout the crisis. Spanish, Italian and French leaders moved away from their Keynesian core beliefs and adopted a more ‘ordoliberal’ orientation as the crisis progressed, while Dutch, UK, and Irish leaders held more […]
In The Politics of Land, editor Tim Bartley brings together contributors to highlight the significance of the neglected issue of land to political sociology. This is a highly informative volume that explores a range of issues related to the land-politics nexus beyond the top-down understanding of its role in capitalist accumulation with much potential for future sociological research, writes Alexander Dobeson.
The Politics of […]
Interest groups provide policymakers with policy relevant information such as technical expertise and legal information. However, an important question is whether interest groups also inform policymakers about what the public wants, given that they are often seen as transmission belts of public preferences. Drawing on a new study, Linda Flöthe presents a detailed analysis of whether and when interest […]
Looking at the case of the Catalonia independence debate, Joan Balcells and Albert Padró-Solanet find that the popular perception of social media as creating polarised echo-chambers of extreme political opinions is far from the full picture. They find evidence that Twitter can foster engaged, substantive conversations across partisan lines. This picture demonstrates how social media has the capacity to genuinely improve democratic discussions, […]
When the Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009, many observers anticipated the newly established High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, together with the European External Action Service, might facilitate greater unity and coherence in EU foreign policy. Drawing on evidence from the EU’s role in the Middle East Peace Process, Federica Bicchi and Lisbeth Aggestam illustrate […]
Brexit provides an opportunity to agree new Economic Partnership Agreements with the world’s largest economies such as the US, China, and India. These cannot make up for the trade it will lose through leaving the Single Market, according to Swati Dhingra and Josh De Lyon. Nevertheless, the UK has an opportunity to forge a new generation of trade deals that […]
New Democracy, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, won the Greek legislative elections on 7 July. Zoe Lefkofridi and Sevasti Chatzopoulou write that although it is still too early to judge the new Greek government, there are already some clear indications of the trajectory it is likely to take in the coming years.
On 7 July, Greeks went to the polls for […]
Book Review: Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese and their Frontier Zones by Jorge Flores
In Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese and their Frontier Zones, Jorge Flores explores the ways in which the Portuguese Estado da India—situated on the coastal peripheries of the Mughal empire—dealt with their Timurid neighbours from c. 1570 to c. 1640. Unwanted Neighbours is a book that is extremely rich in thematic concerns, empirical details and includes a varied cast of characters. It also […]
One of the key roles of transport planners in large cities is to ensure that high levels of mobility are maintained while traffic congestion is kept to a minimum. Sarah Colenbrander and Catarina Heeckt write that accessibility within cities hasn’t become better despite urban planners’ best efforts. Creative solutions are needed to create better interconnected and concentrated cities.
Over the […]
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who remains the favourite to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor, became the new German Defence Minister on 17 July. Marcus Walsh-Führing examines what her appointment means for the CDU and Merkel’s political legacy.
Ever since Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) took over as chair of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party has had to deal with […]