Book Review | War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos

Book Review | War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos

In War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, David Patrikarakos explores how social media is shifting the power balance from governments and institutions towards individuals and networks and the impact this is having on contemporary warfare. Relating the personal stories of individuals caught up in conflict, this book underscores the centrality of narratives and storytelling to understanding the changing face of war today, writes Madeline McSherry.

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The many roles of manifestos at the subnational level in British general elections

The many roles of manifestos at the subnational level in British general elections

Alistair Clark and Lynn Bennie assess the roles of national party manifestos across Britain, Scotland and Wales in UK-wide general elections, and illustrate the multiple functions these documents perform in complex multilevel systems of government.

The Scottish Parliament has rejected the Brexit bill – are we heading for a second independence referendum?

The Scottish Parliament has rejected the Brexit bill – are we heading for a second independence referendum?

The Scottish Parliament has denied consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill. Akash Paun argues that the Prime Minister now faces an unpalatable choice: concede defeat or help the SNP make the case for a second independence referendum.

Taking off the blinkers: authoritarian practices in democratic societies

Taking off the blinkers: authoritarian practices in democratic societies

In an era when there is such concern about threats to democracy from ‘authoritarian’ leaders, it is imperative that political science develops a full understanding of authoritarian practices within democratic systems, writes Marlies Glasius. These go beyond electoral malpractice and at their core are patterns of action designed to sabotage accountability.

Repeal the 8th amendment to allow abortion in Ireland – this constitutional experiment has failed

Repeal the 8th amendment to allow abortion in Ireland – this constitutional experiment has failed

On 25 May, the Republic of Ireland votes in a referendum to decide whether to repeal the 8th amendment of its constitution, which effectively outlaws abortion. Fiona de Londras explains how the 8th amendment works, and what the proposed legal changes are.

The government scuppers Leveson Part 2: is Britain’s press undermining democracy?

The government scuppers Leveson Part 2: is Britain’s press undermining democracy?

Recent amendments to the Data Protection Bill, supported by the House of Lords and then narrowly defeated in the Commons, would have revived Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry into unlawful conduct and corporate cover-ups in national newspapers. Steven Barnett argues that in opposing Leveson Part 2 the government has surrendered to press lobbying, betrayed promises made to the victims of phone-hacking and undermined the public interest.

Book Review | Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

Book Review | Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

In Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France, Jim Wolfreys describes the emergence of a ‘respectable racism’ against Muslims in France since the 1980s, fuelled by the ‘War on Terror’ and rooted in the nation’s colonial history. Praising the book’s candid and incisive writing, Elsa Stéphan welcomes this as a commendably comprehensive and accessible account on Islamophobia in contemporary France. 

Posted in: Book reviews
Why voters in emerging democracies are more reliable than we thought

Why voters in emerging democracies are more reliable than we thought

Elections in new democracies such as those in Central and Eastern Europe are often expected to be volatile affairs, with sizeable shifts in support between parties from one election to another. But is this really a fair characterisation of how citizens of these states choose to use their vote? Presenting findings from a new study, Daniel Bochsler and Miriam Hänni write that the key to understanding voting behaviour in new democracies is to recognise the importance of economic performance. Citizens in younger democracies are more likely to relate the legitimacy of a government to the country’s economic performance, with this effect reducing as a democracy matures.

England’s local elections 2018: the Lib Dems’ performance was underwhelming – but these were not the elections to judge the party on

England’s local elections 2018: the Lib Dems’ performance was underwhelming – but these were not the elections to judge the party on

Despite media headlines to the contrary, the Liberal Democrats’ performance in the recent local elections was pretty underwhelming, explains David Cutts. But it is the 2019 local elections that will tell us more about the long-term viability of the party, since those will concern a larger number of English districts where the Lib Dems will be seeking to reclaim ground lost to the Conservatives since 2010.

The limitations of opinion polls – and why this matters for political decision making

The limitations of opinion polls – and why this matters for political decision making

Recent research by Jennings and Wlezien has demonstrated that political polling has remained as accurate as ever in terms of margin of error in the week prior to an election. However, polls are usually publicly judged on whether they call the result correctly. In this, writes Sean Swan, they have been less accurate over recent UK elections. This has particular consequences for how and when political leaders make decisions about discretionary elections, and so it matters that we understand polls and their limitations correctly.