Why it’s not just about the outcome: citizens also care about democratic decision-making

Why it’s not just about the outcome: citizens also care about democratic decision-making

 A well-known claim for citizens’ involvement in politics is that, when things are going well, they care little about participating in decision-making processes. Michael A. Strebel, Daniel Kübler and Frank Marcinkowski test this claim, and find that, in fact, democratic participation and transparency matter for citizens too, independently of the specific policy outcome.

Making a 21st century constitution: the rules we have established for democracies are now outdated

Making a 21st century constitution: the rules we have established for democracies are now outdated

Democratic constitutions are unfit for purpose, with governments facing increased pressures from populists and distrust from citizens. The only way to truly solve these problems is through reform, argues Frank Vibert. He draws on his new book on the topic and sets out the ways in which constitutions should be revitalised.

Why does class affect voting?

Why does class affect voting?

Patterns of class voting remain important in many Western European countries, but the drivers of class support for particular parties remains under researched. Peter Egge Langsæther finds that, beyond left-right divides on economic policies, the salience of immigration and environmental policies by class is significant. However, less than half of class allegiance can be explained by these policy congruences, and so it is a subject that requires further research.

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Book Review | Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet by Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson

Book Review | Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet by Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson

In Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet, Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson offer an in-depth examination of two strikes – the Grunwick strike of 1976–78 and the strike at Gate Gourmet in 2005 – to highlight how South Asian migrant women have contributed to the struggle for workers rights in the UK. Praising the book’s incorporation of the wider social and historical context, Amal Shahid finds this an informative and accessible read for those passionate about the history and sociology of labour, gender and migration studies. 

The government’s handling of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s detainee reports reveals worrying tensions between them

The government’s handling of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s detainee reports reveals worrying tensions between them

The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) is due to publish two reports on the UK’s treatment of detainees. Andrew Defty explains how leaks ahead of their publication are part of a concerning breakdown in the relationship between government and the committee, which has implications for the proper democratic oversight of the UK’s intelligence agencies.

How the Treasury Committee has developed since 1997

How the Treasury Committee has developed since 1997

A close analysis of the Treasury Committee’s recent history shows how it has become a successful example of a House of Commons select committee. It has developed a broad remit for scrutinising high-profile figures and institutions in the financial sector beyond the Treasury department, particularly in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, writes Saskia Rombach.

‘Use it or lose it?’ Why the ability to vote shouldn’t depend on actually doing so

‘Use it or lose it?’ Why the ability to vote shouldn’t depend on actually doing so

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Ohio’s controversial plans to remove habitual non-voters from the electoral register is constitutional. Christopher Stafford argues that such a measure has serious consequences for encouraging democratic participation – and there are better ways of ensuring the accuracy of the electoral register.

How the partisan context of parliamentary votes affects MPs’ party loyalty on free votes

How the partisan context of parliamentary votes affects MPs’ party loyalty on free votes

To measure the extent to which MPs make decisions about how to vote out of agreement with a policy or party loyalty, Christopher D. Raymond measured the variation in MPs’ voting behaviour in a series of free votes. He found that the closeness of each parliamentary division affected MPs’ voting behaviour, indicating that loyalty to their party, and the desire for a partisan win, has an effect independently of an MP’s own position and the party whip.

Book Feature: Interview with Nine Dots Prize winner James Williams on new book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Book Feature: Interview with Nine Dots Prize winner James Williams on new book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Are digital technologies making politics impossible? This question launched the Nine Dots Prize in October 2016, a new award for creative thinking in the social sciences that seeks to encourage innovative, interdisciplinary responses to the pressing issues of our time. Chosen from over 700 applicants, James Williams was announced as the inaugural winner last year with his resulting book, Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, published on 31 May 2018 by Cambridge University Press in hard copy and open access formats. We spoke to James about the book and becoming the first recipient of the Nine Dots Prize. 

Posted in: Book reviews
A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

Never before has the British political tradition been more contested, write Matthew Hall, David Marsh and Emma Vines. They explain that British democracy is facing three major challenges – Scottish independence, Brexit, and anti-politics – and these have the potential to force change on an otherwise stale political establishment.