‘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

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

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Ongoing UCL Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. The choice of location would have major practical implications, as well as being of high symbolic importance. Jack Sheldon (UCL Constitution Unit) sets out the factors that would need to be considered. He suggests that while a ‘dual mandate’ English Parliament would almost certainly meet […]

We need to understand why states object to the presence of foreign-funded NGOs

We need to understand why states object to the presence of foreign-funded NGOs

More and more countries restrict how NGOs operate, often by limiting their funding. The response is frequently to argue that these restrictions flout international law or amount to crackdowns on the opposition. Annika E Poppe and Jonas Wolff (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) argue that the objections to NGO activity need to be taken seriously. In […]

Elections without democracy: how Singapore and Malaysia pre-empt dissent from the ground up

Elections without democracy: how Singapore and Malaysia pre-empt dissent from the ground up

Elections are not the only barometer of a country’s democratisation. In a number of hybrid regimes, forms of authoritarian strategies hinder the ability of opposition parties to cut through and challenge the existing order. Meredith L Weiss (University at Albany) explains how this works on the ground in Singapore and Malaysia. Similar PostsNow Indonesia has […]

Book review | The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation

Book review | The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation

In The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation, Benjamin Moffitt approaches populism as a political style that is mediated through symbols, disseminated through the mass media and performed through verbal and non-verbal modes of communication. While suggesting Moffitt’s work is more an extension of the discourse school than a radical break from it, Ben Margulies welcomes this […]

Posted in: Book reviews, Populism
Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Some predicted the internet would be the silver bullet that could deal with the deficits of representative democracy. Others were less optimistic about its potential to foster democracy. Hartwig Pautz (University of the West of Scotland) looks at whether the e-democracy tool WriteToThem allows for meaningful communication between citizens and their elected representatives. Similar PostsEveryone loves select committees […]

Form a party or start a pressure group? The choice facing nascent political movements

Form a party or start a pressure group? The choice facing nascent political movements

When you’re an under-represented group, changing policy is hard. Do you form a party or start a pressure group? Disagreements about the best way forward have historically riven the Green movement in both France and the UK. Ben Farrer (Knox College) explains why activists need to think about how national institutions in their country work […]

Corbyn’s rent controls: radical new housing policy, or just rhetoric?

Corbyn’s rent controls: radical new housing policy, or just rhetoric?

If there is one thing that Labour and Conservatives currently have in common, it is that both appear ready to embark on a step change in housing policy. But are Jeremy Corbyn’s recent announcements on rent controls a sign of change, or just another new political language for ‘masterly inactivity’? Ben Pattison (Sheffield Hallam University) reviews Labour’s […]

Why has Turkmenistan’s despotic president created the characteristics of a democracy?

Why has Turkmenistan’s despotic president created the characteristics of a democracy?

The incumbent President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, was duly elected in February with almost 98% of the vote. But why did a man with such a firm grip on power – he has ruled since 2007 – bother to hold elections at all? Why take the risky step of allowing other candidates to run and […]

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

In Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy, Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille examine how Western democracies are shaped by educational inequalities that lead to gaps in political participation and governments being dominated by academic elites. While some of the authors’ solutions for these ‘diploma democracies’ are less convincing, this is a very useful account of the influence of education on […]

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