Extending human and civic rights

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Vietnam is a one-party state: it is characterised variously as ‘not free’, ‘developmental’ and ‘responsive-regressive’. Dennis Curry explains how the UN Development Programme and a local think-tank worked together to get an insight into what citizens think of public service delivery and local governance. Their PAPI survey shows a growing concern for the environment, although it […]

Online abuse is driving women out of public life. It’s time to act

Online abuse is driving women out of public life. It’s time to act

Public scrutiny is one thing, but the degree of online abuse now suffered by female political candidates is another. The Independent Committee for Standards in Public Life has recommended that platforms be held liable for hate speech and incitement to violence – but, writes María Rún Bjarnadóttir (University of Sussex), domestic UK law currently does not […]

Book review | Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class, by the Working Class

Book review | Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class, by the Working Class

Inspired by the collection The Good Immigrant, Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class by the Working Class brings together 22 stories reflecting on working-class lives and experiences in the UK today. Edited by Nathan Connolly, this volume offers tales of sadness, struggle, resilience and resistance, all told with warmth and love, that show how class inequality is both personal and […]

The Chinese Communist Party has growing sway in Western universities

The Chinese Communist Party has growing sway in Western universities

In recent years, China has fostered academic links with Western universities by funding Confucius Institutes and sending its students to study abroad. As the recent uproar over the decision of Cambridge University Press to censor a list of journal articles for the Chinese market has highlighted, it also exerts growing influence in academic publishing. Alexander […]

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

In his first year in power, argues Brian Klaas (LSE), Donald Trump has deployed the tactics of despots and begun to corrode the institutions of US democracy. What happens next? Democratic Audit editor Ros Taylor talks to him about his new book, The Despot’s Apprentice. Similar PostsDisgusted by Donald Trump? Turning away from the spectacle […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]