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In this issue are included several articles that directly relate to the U.S. elections, a timely issue given the contests in November. In particular, several articles directly relate to how representatives present themselves, the nature of the “culture war” in American politics, and the continuing issues of race and voting in the United States. Further, we present articles that ask other important questions such as: Do peacekeepers really make a difference in promoting an end to fighting? How does foreign military presence produce norm changes within a country? Do political entrepreneurs mobilize ethnic and religious cleavages in different ways to attain their political goals? Can humankind form a deliberative, global-scale polity? Taken together, these articles demonstrate that original research in political science can—and frequently does—speak to the important problems confronting the nation and the world.
Shape-shifting representation is common in practice but largely shunned in theoretical and empirical analysis. This article resurrects, defines, and explores shape-shifting and closely linked concepts and practices such as shape-retaining. It generates new concepts of representative positioning and patterning in order to aid our understanding, and makes the case for placing this critical phenomenon front and center in the analysis of political representation. It examines crucial empirical and normative implications for our understanding of representation, including the argument that shape-shifting representation is not intrinsically undesirable. Developing the theory of shape-shifting representation can prompt a new level of analytical purchase on the challenge of explaining and evaluating representation's vitality and complexity.
While United Nations peacekeeping missions were created to keep peace and perform post-conflict activities, since the end of the Cold War peacekeepers are more often deployed to active conflicts. Yet, we know little about their ability to manage ongoing violence. This article provides the first broad empirical examination of UN peacekeeping effectiveness in reducing battlefield violence in civil wars. We analyze how the number of UN peacekeeping personnel deployed influences the amount of battlefield deaths in all civil wars in Africa from 1992 to 2011. The analyses show that increasing numbers of armed military troops are associated with reduced battlefield deaths, while police and observers are not. Considering that the UN is often criticized for ineffectiveness, these results have important implications: if appropriately composed, UN peacekeeping missions reduce violent conflict.
This article examines the “culture war” hypothesis by focusing on American citizens’ choices among a set of core values. A geometric model is developed to represent differences in the ways that individuals rank-order seven important values: freedom, equality, economic security, social order, morality, individualism, and patriotism. The model is fitted to data on value choices from the 2006 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. The empirical results show that there is an enormous amount of heterogeneity among individual value choices; the model estimates contradict any notion that there is a consensus on fundamental principles within the mass public. Further, the differences break down along political lines, providing strong evidence that there is a culture war generating fundamental divisions within twenty-first century American society.
Most scholarship on the moral dimensions of Tocqueville's analysis of democracy focuses on the doctrine of enlightened self-interest. Surprisingly little has been written about his account of the underlying moral shift that makes this doctrine necessary. Drawing principally on Volume II of DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, but also on Tocqueville's letters and notes, I unearth his fascinating and compelling account of why modern democratic man loses his admiration for devotion and embraces self-interest. That account begins from individualism, but also includes democratic man's intellectual and aesthetic tastes, his low estimation of his moral capacities, and weakening religious belief. After examining what Tocqueville saw as the causes of the new moral outlook, I consider what he saw as its most profound implications. Departing from recent trends in Tocqueville scholarship, I argue that is in Tocqueville's account of the modern democratic condition as such that he has the most to offer us today.
Departing from accounts of minority group politics that focus on the role of group identity in advancing group members’ common interests, we investigate political decisions involving tradeoffs between group interests and simple self-interest. Using the case of black Americans, we investigate crystallized group norms about politics, internalized beliefs about group solidarity, and mechanisms for enforcing both through social pressure. Through a series of novel behavioral experiments that offer black subjects individual incentives to defect from the position most favored by black Americans as a group, we test the effects of social pressure to conform. We find that racialized social pressure and internalized beliefs in group solidarity are constraining and depress self-interested behavior. Our results speak to a common conflict—choosing between maximizing group interests and self-interest—and yet also offer specific insight into how blacks remain so homogeneous in partisan politics despite their growing ideological and economic variation.
When elites mobilize supporters according to different cleavages, or when individuals realign themselves along new identity lines, do their political preferences change? Scholars have focused predominantly on the size of potential coalitions that leaders construct, to the exclusion of other changes that might occur when one or another identity type is made salient. In this article, I argue that changes in the salience of ethnicity and religion in Africa are associated with variation in policy preferences at the individual level. I test this claim empirically using data from a framing experiment in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. By randomly assigning participants to either a religious or an ethno-linguistic context, I show that group members primed to ethnicity prioritize club goods, the access to which is a function of where they live. Otherwise identical individuals primed to religion prioritize behavioral policies and moral probity. These findings are explained by the geographic boundedness of ethnic groups and the geographic expansiveness of (world) religions in the study area.
Recent years have seen an increasing interest among international relations scholars in applications of pragmatist thought. Few works, however, have gone beyond discussing the epistemological and methodological implications of pragmatism. This article draws on a pragmatist understanding of human action to develop a novel explanation of norm change in contexts not amenable to more common analytical approaches. Specifically, concepts derived from pragmatism help explain how the creative recombination of practices by actors in response to changes in the material and social context of action can transform largely tacit notions of appropriate behavior. The article demonstrates the value of the approach by explaining the origin of a common contemporary security practice unknown prior to the Second World War and incompatible with the then-prevailing norms of sovereignty: the long-term, peacetime presence of one state's military on the territory of another equally sovereign state.
Alfarabi treats the question of global governance more thoroughly than any of his Greek predecessors. The key to understanding his view of the matter lies with his highly selective use of the term “inhabited world” across several works. Citing the inhabited world's enormous size, immeasurable diversity, and frequently inhospitable terrain, Alfarabi rejects the possibility that its entirety will ever be governed politically. Furthermore, Alfarabi omits the term “inhabited world” from his most important accounts of deliberation and legislation. The implication is that in Alfarabi's view no statesman or prophet can ever deliberate about, or legislate for, the whole of the inhabited world. The scope and multiplicity of the political accidents occurring within this vast domain are too great for any deliberator or group of deliberators to adequately grasp. The consequence is that any given political action or piece of legislation concerns at most several nations. Alfarabi's discussion helps to reveal the limited scope of most political decisions today, which often appear to be global but in fact do not involve more than several nations.
Political knowledge is a central concept in the study of public opinion and political behavior. Yet what the field collectively believes about this construct is based on dozens of studies using different indicators of knowledge. We identify two theoretically relevant dimensions: a temporal dimension that corresponds to the time when a fact was established and a topical dimension that relates to whether the fact is policy-specific or general. The resulting typology yields four types of knowledge questions. In an analysis of more than 300 knowledge items from late in the first decade of the 2000s, we examine whether classic findings regarding the predictors of knowledge withstand differences across types of questions. In the case of education and the mass media, the mechanisms for becoming informed operate differently across question types. However, differences in the levels of knowledge between men and women are robust, reinforcing the importance of including gender-relevant items in knowledge batteries.
What is the significance of the welfare state and struggles over social and economic needs for democratic politics? This article turns to Hannah Arendt's thought to articulate new possibilities for relating democratic agency and the welfare state, possibilities neglected by currently dominant deliberative and radical democratic approaches. Against critics who claim that Arendt seeks to purify politics of economic and social problems, I argue that she presents a sophisticated account of the vital importance of economic matters for public life. For Arendt, the danger is not the invasion of politics by economics, but rather the loss of the worldly, mediating institutions that allow economic matters to appear as objects of public concern. Reconstructing her account of these mediating institutions, I show that Arendt's analysis opens up novel insights into the relationship between democratic action and welfare institutions, drawing attention to how such institutions transform material necessity into shared objects of attachment, judgment, and action.
Parties in pluralist democracies face numerous contentious issues, but most models of electoral competition assume a simple, often one-dimensional structure. We develop a new, inherently multidimensional model of party strategy in which parties compete by emphasizing policy issues. Issue emphasis is informed by two distinct goals: mobilizing the party's core voters and broadening the support base. Accommodating these goals dissolves the position-valence dichotomy through a focus on policies that unite the party internally while also attracting support from the electorate at large. We define issue yield as the capacity of an issue to reconcile these criteria, and then operationalize it as a simple index. Results of multilevel regressions combining population survey data and party manifesto scores from the 2009 European Election Study demonstrate that issue yield governs party strategy across different political contexts.
The American Political Science Review peer review process relies on the professionalism and generosity of those who contribute their time to read and evaluate the work of others. The Co-editors thank these scholars for serving as manuscript reviewers between September 1, 2012, and August 31, 2013.