Extending human and civic rights

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 […]

Votes at 16: we need a proper conversation about when adulthood begins

Votes at 16: we need a proper conversation about when adulthood begins

The vexed question of whether people should be allowed to vote from the age of 16 has returned to the Commons with Jim McMahon MP’s Private Member’s Bill. Many argue – citing the Scottish independence referendum – that it would provide a democratic stimulus. Yet the evidence for that is lacking, say Andy Mycock (University of […]

Republicans give more to charity – but not because they oppose income redistribution

Republicans give more to charity – but not because they oppose income redistribution

Who gives more to charity – Republicans or Democrats? Michael Sances (University of Memphis) and Michele Margolis (University of Pennsylvania) found that conservative Americans donate more, even when socio-economic differences are taken into account. Could this be because they support a smaller role for the state, or as an effort to signal their philanthropic credentials? […]

Book review | The Violence of Austerity

Book review | The Violence of Austerity

In The Violence of Austerity, editors Vickie Cooper and David Whyte bring together contributors to explore the negative impact of austerity upon citizens in the UK, covering such topics as health, education, homelessness, disability and the environment. This is a powerful description of the consequences of austerity policies for the UK’s most vulnerable people, writes Paul Caruana-Galizia, and should be read widely.  Similar […]