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Oppositional violence and repression are closely related. In fact, repression often produces an escalation of violence rather than controlling it. Bridging social movement studies and research on violence, the article uses a small-N, most-different research design to analyse the working of a specific mechanism at the onset of different types of political violence: escalating policing. In particular, it indicates specific causal mechanisms, related to interactions between social movements and the state, which create the conditions for some splinter groups to move underground. In order to compare left-wing, right-wing, ethno-national and religious violence, the article presents empirical references to the author's own empirical research on Italy and the Basque Country as well as a secondary analysis of the conflicts that preceded the rise of al-Qaeda.
The articles in this special issue survey comparatively the shape of power and finance. The introduction sketches the history of the study of the political role of financial markets and examines the reasons for the comparative neglect of the subject by the discipline of political science.
This article makes the case for a novel democratic subtype, populist democracy, indicating a situation in which both the party in office and at least the major opposition force(s) in a pluralist system are populist. Based on a minimal definition of populism as ‘democratic illiberalism’, and through the comparative analysis of post-authoritarian Greece and post-communist Hungary, the article reveals the particular stages, as well as the causal mechanisms, that may prompt the emergence of populist democracy in contemporary politics. It also points to the tendency of such systems to produce polarized two-party systems, and it calls for further research on the topic.
There are different area-based bodies of literature on populism, which generally define the concept in slightly different ways. As a result, the term ‘populism’ has been attached to a wide variety of political actors, from Perot in the US to Berlusconi in Italy, and from Perón in Argentina to Le Pen in France. Is it an unfortunate coincidence that the same word has been used for completely different parties and politicians, or is it possible to discern the lowest common denominator that these actors share? By means of a comparison of six cases, based on a most-different systems design, I demonstrate that populists in different times and places have four characteristics in common: (1) they emphasize the central position of the people; (2) they criticize the elite; (3) they perceive the people as a homogeneous entity; and (4) they proclaim a serious crisis. These four characteristics constitute the core elements of populism.
This article extends a recent line of research arguing that the power and capacity of political actors (including states) is not just the product of particular fixed attributes but is also the outcome of political relations between key interlocutors, including ideational relations. State elites, especially government leaders, have persisted with a mindset that still values the economic centrality of a large and complex banking sector. This way of thinking has conditioned the relationship between, on the one hand, the US and UK governments and, on the other, Wall Street and the City of London and has led to a form of ‘dysfunctional embeddedness’. Government leaders may have been able to win high-profile policy victories over the banking sector in the post-crisis period, but in accepting a large, complex and constantly evolving financial system with high levels of systemic risk, they have unwittingly placed themselves at a continuing disadvantage in the regulatory arena.
In the Swedish European Parliamentary Election in 2009 the Swedish Pirate Party took two seats in the parliament and 7.1 per cent of the Swedish voters’ support. The party was absolutely new and the usual concept of populist parties does not seem to fit the Pirate movement very well. It is anti-authoritarian and aims to enhance civic liberties for youngsters, to give open access to culture through the internet and to improve personal integrity and human dignity on the World Wide Web. Transnationalism is one foundation for the party but another is a value foundation of universal human rights and individual freedom, disregarding national borders. This article is an investigation of the Pirate Party as a possible new party family, driven by new sociopolitical cleavages in the modern information society.
The persistence of subnational undemocratic regimes in new democracies has recently revived interest in intra-national patterns of democratization. This article offers new data and a methodological contribution to this literature, emphasizing the measurement of institutional variation across territorial units and levels of government. Developing new measures of the unevenness of democratic institutions within individual countries, and illustrating these measures with an original data set on electoral rules in Mexico at the federal level and across 32 subnational units, we provide tools to enhance the study of democracy, particularly at the subnational level and in federal or decentralized systems. More specifically, we develop measures of institutional characteristics across a country's spatial units and of federal-to-state institutional dissimilarity – what we call system-wide institutional incongruence.
Inside the European Parliament political groups reveal levels of voting cohesion similar to that we observe in national parliaments. Faced with a conflict of interests between their national party and their European group, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) surprisingly often prioritize the latter principal over the former. In this article, I argue that domestic-level parliamentary scrutiny can have a tremendous impact on MEPs’ loyalties. Using data on the voting behaviour of German and Czech MEPs, I find that, under scrutiny, MEPs from governing parties are significantly more likely to vote against the instructions of their group leadership. The effect of domestic-level scrutiny on MEPs from opposition parties is weaker and depends on the dossier's political salience. These results provide further support for the strategic use of parliamentary scrutiny in European Union politics.
Understanding the role of the American state in the era of neoliberal finance requires a scale of analysis that can identify not only the domestic but also the international role of the informal empire the US established in the middle of the twentieth century for superintending capitalism on a world scale. This article demonstrates that it was not so much neoliberal ideology that broke the old system of financial regulations, as it was the latter’s increasingly dysfunctional effects as finance outgrew the New Deal incubator through the post-war decades. Through the Bretton Woods crisis and the stagflation of the 1970s, institutional reform in the financial sector became a key dimension of broader competitive capitalist strategies for innovation and expansion. While this certainly involved extensive leveraging and speculation, it met the hedging needs not only of financial institutions but also of the many corporations seeking protection from the rapidly evolving vulnerabilities associated with global trade and investment. Yet the financial volatility that inevitably resulted from those very transformations meant that the Federal Reserve’s function as lender of last resort was increasingly called upon, just as the Treasury came to define its role as that of ‘failure containment’ on a global scale. On the basis of this theoretical and historical perspective, the article analyses the causes and consequences of the 2007–8 financial crisis and the ‘old/new practice of failure containment’ that has characterized the American state’s response to it.
The recent electoral performances of the Bulgarian Ataka, Hungarian Jobbik, and the Slovak National Party seem to confirm the pervasive appeal of the populist radical right in Central and Eastern Europe. Unlike their Western counterparts, these parties do not stem from a ‘silent counter-revolution’. Populist radical right parties in the region retain features sui generis, partly in relation to their historical legacies and the idiosyncrasies of the post-communist context. After distinguishing between pre-communist, communist and post-communist issues, this article discerns commonalities and differences in the ideology of the three parties by a content analysis of the party literatures. The analysis shows that populist radical right parties in Central and Eastern Europe are fairly ‘like minded’, yet they do not constitute an entirely homogeneous group. While a minimum combination of ideological features reveals that only clericalism and opposition to ethnic minorities are shared by all three parties, a maximum combination would extend this to irredentism, anti-corruption and Euroscepticism.
External actors engaged in peace building often induce domestic elites to share power. This article explores the effectiveness of external incentives in establishing, maintaining or reforming power-sharing. Adopting a rationalist approach to socialization, the research investigates the strategic interaction between external and internal actors in two cases of contemporary power-sharing: Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina. External incentives will probably be more effective when they uphold a peace agreement that satisfies groups’ structural preferences on constitutional issues. External incentives can, under certain conditions, lead to internalization and the potential ‘habitualization’ of power-sharing as norm-conforming behaviour. The strategy of external actors will be less effective when their socialization efforts are inconsistent and coercive, viewed as threatening to one or more of the contending groups.
This article assesses why Eurosceptic national parties form groups in the European Parliament and examines in what ways two of these groups – the European Conservatives and Reformists and Europe of Freedom and Democracy – operate in the European Parliament. It draws on interviews with politicians and group officials, roll-call votes and expert judgement data. We look at the group formation process with a focus on the British Conservatives and UK Independence Party and find that the European Conservatives and Reformists group was created with a mixture of policy-seeking and party-management aims. The UK Independence Party's interest in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group is largely on the basis of the group's provision of distinct practical advantages, such as resources for political campaigns. We provide evidence that hard Eurosceptic and regionalist niche parties in the European Parliament struggle to agree with each other in roll-call votes on a range of subjects. Finally, we show that the hard and soft Eurosceptic parties studied here go about policy-seeking in different ways in the European Parliament in line with their differing principles on the integration process.
Four faces of power are summarized, based on the established literature in political science and the work of Foucault: they are power over decision, the power of agenda control, hegemonic power and capillary power. The four faces correspond also to four strategies used by City elites in the UK to protect markets from democratic control. Strategies have developed out of conjunctural crises. The most recent strategy, which involved a form of capillary power, was greatly damaged in the financial crisis of 2007–8. Since then the City has been obliged to retreat to a reliance on the exercise of power over decision, which involves open lobbying.
Slovenia stands out as the only post-communist country to have established a corporatist system and centralized wage bargaining at the national level in the 1990s. This article analyses the emergence and sustainability of Slovenian corporatism as well as the ways in which it has shaped policymaking during the economic crisis. Drawing on recent advances in institutional analysis, this article develops a coalitional argument to account for the emergence of centralized wage bargaining in the 1990s and for decentralization in more recent years.
This article analyses the impact of government prospects and government participation on party policy preferences. Comparing the content of manifestos of governing and opposition parties in Belgium during three decades, I observed that the relationship of a party to the act of governing influences the content of its manifesto. In that sense, party preferences are not only driven by ideology and vote-seeking arguments but are part of a larger party strategy: parties adapt their electoral platform when they are in government or are willing to enter into it. The conclusion of the article also discusses the literature on government formation. Such literature hypothesizes that parties that are ideologically similar would form a coalition. However, results for the Belgian case demonstrate that parties strategically adapt their electoral platform when wanting to enter the government. Coalitions are made up of parties with similar policy preferences, not because they ‘are’ alike but because parties strategically ‘make’ them alike.
This article aims to provide an understanding of the dynamics of pension politics in South Korea with a particular focus on the role of bureaucrats. In order to explain the reforms, this research will closely examine how the expertise and legitimacy of civil servants, together with their institutional positioning, have affected their power and role in the policy-making process. This article will argue that bureaucrats, particularly the welfare bureaucracy, attained their major reform goals by associating and competing with other political actors in two major reforms.
This article examines how party competition has led to electoral reforms in Taiwan. Dissatisfied with the existing system, political parties in Taiwan promoted electoral reforms. The Democratic Progressive Party led the reform process and the Kuomintang collaborated with it to change the electoral system from a single non-transferable vote and multi-member district system to a first-past-the-post mixed system. Despite opposition to the changes, these two parties successfully formed a coalition and passed reform bills with the support of the public. Using a theoretical framework of actors’ rational choices, this article argues that the parties’ goals of maximizing the number of seats and strategic interaction led to electoral reforms, and that during the reforms, the provision that the first-past-the-post system would provide more seats in the Legislative Yuan was crucial for the two parties. The article supports this argument with evidence from interviews, biographies and documents.
While the literature on directly elected mayors has largely neglected the relationship between mayors and their parties, studies of party transformation have generally ignored how changes in local democratic rules and practices affect parties. This article addresses these questions using a qualitative case study of the relationship between mayors and the three faces of their parties (in local public office, local central office and on the ground) in Genoa and Lausanne. Based on interviews with the mayors, elected representatives and party members, it finds in the two cases that, as long as these mayors can count on high levels of popularity and are not nearing the end of their term, they are ‘party detached’. When these factors do not apply and/or party institutionalization increases, the relationship with the party in local central office (although not with the party in local public office or on the ground) becomes more significant.
Comparing bank rescue schemes in France and Germany during the banking crisis of 2008–9, this article argues that collective inaction is a little-studied aspect in the exercise of power in business–government relations. Contrary to studies that focus on lobbying, structural power or the influence of beliefs, the comparison highlights that governments depend on contributions from the financial industry during crisis management. In the negotiations to design bank support schemes, some countries, such as France, succeeded in engaging their financial sector collectively. Such public–private burden-sharing arrangements alleviate the public budget and increase mutual surveillance between banks during government support. In other countries, such as Germany, a collectively organized industry response failed, which forced the government to design an entirely public support scheme. The German government reacted to this perceived imbalance by imposing tighter banking regulation to avoid a repetition of the impotence it experienced in 2008.