British Journal of Politics and International Relations

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Who’s in charge? The impact of delivery and perception of risk on the willingness to voting online

    What makes voters more or less willing to vote online? This article uses a unique survey experiment to assess the effect of information about who delivers the online ballot; and which groups of voters are more likely to take up the option of online voting. Voters are much more favourable if it is associated with a public body than a well-regarded private sector company. We also find a clear relationship between online activity in the personal world and a willingness to vote online. Those that expose themselves to greater potential online risk in their personal lives are likely to favour having the option to cast their ballot online, but those who perceive more risk are only likely to do so if they receive additional information about the purported advantages of online voting. Who delivers, and perception of online risk are key to understanding when voters are more willing to cast their ballot online.

  • Towards increasing regime complexity? Why member states drive overlaps between international organisations

    Multilateral cooperation in international organisations is characterised by regime complexity. The literature usually adopts a policy-focused perspective studying the properties, effects, and dynamics within given regime complexes for different policy areas. Yet few accounts of why states drive regime complexity have been provided in the literature. Therefore, we adopt a state-focused perspective and observe how states differ in the extent to which they foster complexity through overlapping memberships and policy competencies in international organisations. In order to explain this variation, we extract state motivations from the regime complexity literature, but also incorporate the role of geopolitical opportunity structures for complexity as well as interactions between both elements. The empirical analysis reveals that the power to pursue self-interests leads to duplicated policy competencies, whereas duplicating international organisation memberships by creating new international organisations or joining existing ones is costly and a less favoured route towards pursuing substantive gains. The motivation to gain external reputation also positively influences the overlap in membership and policy competencies. Moreover, the number of neighbouring states and the disappearance of deep-rooted ideological cleavages are important opportunity structures for states furthering complexity. Opportunity structures also reinforce the positive effect of power to pursue self-interests and external reputation motivations on complexity. Thus, we contribute to regime complexity research in showing that not all states equally foster regime complexity and this relationship is dependent on a specific context.

  • Gender-age gaps in Euroscepticism and vote choice at the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum on EU membership

    The result of the Brexit referendum and its effect on subsequent UK elections have attracted a large amount of media and scholarly interest, but there has been minimal research into gender and voting behaviour at the referendum. Similarly, gendered differences in Euroscepticism have had little attention. This article seeks to understand how attitudes towards the European Union vary by age and gender and whether such gender-age gaps are associated with gender differences in attributes known to predict European Union attitudes and support for Leave/Remain. The article finds a gender gap in Euroscepticism in under-45s and in Brexit vote choice in under-25s. It demonstrates that socioeconomic and value differences by gender are associated with the gender gap in younger age groups, but not older. As such differences seem likely to persist, this article suggests that gender divides will continue to have electoral and democratic consequences in the United Kingdom and across Europe.

  • Personalisation at the top of civil societies? Legitimation claims on civil society elites in Europe

    Top civil society organisations (CSOs) face a particular legitimacy dilemma as they need to have leaders who are seen as legitimate by the elite groups they interact with, and by those they represent. This article investigates how they handle this dilemma by studying legitimation practices of newly appointed leaders. Based on Weber’s theory of authority and Pitkin’s theory of representation, the article investigates 114 public announcements of governance leaders in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the EU. The article finds a common model of civil society elite legitimation beyond national differences. The observed model draws on two types of claims: promoting leaders as excellent and astounding professional leaders (charismatic authority) and as able spokespersons (substantive representation). Major European CSOs hence legitimate their leaders as being ‘on par with’ other top leaders, as an elite among other elite groups, similar to trends of personalisation in politics and business.

  • Race, capital and the British migration–development nexus

    Over the past 20 years, migration and development policy have been connected in British politics in two overlapping ways – one argument is centred on migration being used for development, the other using aid to reduce migration. In this article, I argue that two seemingly contradictory policy configurations – development and migration – and the different articulations of their relationship – migration for development and aid to stop migration – stem from the same framework of racialised capitalism. I show how these relationships are in flux; related to the demands of capital and to the different ideological approaches towards migration. In different ways, the nexus helps to produce varying forms of exploitable subjects and enacts control over surplus populations across the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ world.

  • Strategic partnerships and China’s diplomacy in Europe: Insights from Italy

    As discussions of a ‘new cold war’ between China and the West intensify, it has never been more important to understand how China engages internationally. Crucially, as of 2022, China has established 110 ‘strategic partnerships’, without stipulating any formal treaty of alliance, but we know little about strategic partnerships and how China uses them, despite their centrality as a foreign policy tool. Departing from the assumption of the state as a unitary and monolithic actor in international affairs, this article proposes a new framework of strategic partnerships which incorporates sub-state entities as well as an ideational component, highlighting the image-building purpose that these partnerships serve. Empirically, the analysis focuses on the evolution of the Sino-Italian strategic partnership, drawing on a critical discourse analysis of 1294 news articles published as part of the agreement between the Chinese and Italian news agencies Xinhua and ANSA.

  • Pride and prejudice: Chinese citizens’ evaluations of democracy in the United States, India and Taiwan

    How citizens in authoritarian regimes evaluate the practice of democracy in both new and established democracies has important implications on the prospect of democratisation in their own country. As an authoritarian country with the largest population around the world, China has resisted waves of democratisation and maintains the one-party rule. This study examined the Chinese case and explored how Chinese citizens evaluated democracy in the United States, India and Taiwan. It theorised that the tendency towards ingroup favouritism and attitudes towards democracy are the factors that primarily influence citizens’ evaluations of democracy in other countries. The results show that Chinese citizens perceive the democratic level of China as being as high as that of the United States and Taiwan, whereas they gave lower evaluations in the case of India’s democracy. The effects of the aforementioned factors varied between the three countries. After presenting the findings, the theoretical implications are also discussed.

  • Rethinking China’s ‘economic coercion’: The case of the UK leaders’ meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2012

    In 2012, David Cameron met the Dalai Lama. In retaliation for the meeting, China froze bilateral relations for 18 months. Subsequently, Cameron pledged to have no more meetings with the Dalai Lama and reiterated British recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. For some, China used economic punishment to extract the UK’s concession. For others, China used only diplomatic punishment. This article argues that both sides have underestimated the complexity of the case and need to integrate their insights for a better explanation. While China did not impose or threaten economic sanctions on the UK, its diplomatic sanctions put both political and economic pressure on the UK to concede. This article contributes to the studies of China–UK relations and China’s ‘economic coercion’.

  • Ministerial stability during presidential approval crises: The moderating effect of ministers’ attributes on dismissals in Brazil and Chile
  • The case for methodological naturalisation: Between political theory and political science

    Contemporary political theory demonstrates a turn towards data-sensitive research. Waldron, Shapiro, Carens, Blau and Floyd emphasise the importance of grounding political theory in empirical data. Political scientists developed methods aimed at improving the ways in which political institutions are studied. What can empirical political theory borrow from this literature, that would advance its aim to precisely evaluate political institutions? It is suggested to naturalise within political theory political-science methods. We point to three methods: the usage of case studies, avoiding sampling by the dependent variable and process tracing. In order to demonstrate their relevance, we re-read three studies in contemporary political theory (by Walzer, Spinner-Halev and Wenar), in light of the noted methods. If empirical political theory aims to fulfil its own stated goals and evaluate the desirability of political institutions according to reliable data regarding their functionality, it would greatly benefit from naturalising the methods of political science.

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