Political Studies

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Corrigendum: Child-rearing With Minimal Domination: A Republican Account
  • Between Utopianism and Realism: The Limits of Partisanship as an Academic Methodology

    Taking debates about democracy in the EU as an example, Fabio Wolkenstein proposes that normative theorists should adopt a ‘partisan’ approach that engages with ‘formative agents’ to advocate for transformative political and societal change, such as the creation of a transnational democracy at the EU level. He criticises those he calls ‘democratic intergovernmentalists’ for adopting a ‘first principles’ approach that forecloses both contestation and political agency by treating the principles underlying the status quo as universal. This comment disputes both the validity of his criticisms of the work of myself and others, and the coherence of the particular partisan approach motivating them. At its heart lies a dispute as to the relationship between facts and principles, and the possibility of a utopian realism of the Rawlsean kind. It is argued that Rawls’ position proves more democratic and plausible and possesses greater critical and political leverage than Wolkenstein’s partisanship alternative.

  • Child-rearing With Minimal Domination: A Republican Account

    Parenting involves an extraordinary degree of power over children. Republicans are concerned about domination, which, on one view, is the holding of power that fails to track the interests of those over whom it is exercised. On this account, parenting as we know it is dominating due to the low standards necessary for acquiring and retaining parental rights and the extent of parental power. Domination cannot be fully eliminated from child-rearing without unacceptable loss of value. Most likely, republicanism requires that we minimise children’s domination. I examine alternative models of child-rearing that are immune to republican criticism.

  • Connecting Contextual and Individual Drivers of Anti-Americanism in Arab Countries

    Existing studies propose that anti-Americanism in the Arab region is fueled by American interventions, citizens’ religion, and relative deprivation. However, these three have not been addressed simultaneously or integrated into one framework. This study does so by developing and testing a context-dependent framework. Empirically, we apply multilevel regression to 32 Global Attitudes Project and 34 Arab Barometer surveys that cover more than 58,000 respondents. Contrasting dominant understandings, we find that American interventions fuel both political and societal anti-Americanism and that relatively deprived citizens are not more anti-American. Moreover, our results show (highly religious) Muslims are more politically and societally anti-American than (less religious) non-Muslims, particularly in Arab countries with fewer (highly religious) Muslims and American interventions. Altogether, anti-Americanism is context-dependent and shaped by different but interconnected mechanisms.

  • Undermining a Rival Party’s Issue Competence through Negative Campaigning: Experimental Evidence from the USA, Denmark, and Australia

    Much party communication encourages voters to lower issue-related evaluations of rival parties. Yet, studies of such influence are rare. Drawing on research on political parties’ negative campaigning, this article starts to fill this gap. We triangulate evidence from four survey experiments across six issues in Denmark, the US, and Australia, and show that a party’s negative campaigning decreases voters’ evaluations of the target party’s issue-handling competence (i.e. issue ownership), but does not backlash on voters’ evaluations of the sponsor. Such attack on the target party does not have to be tied to a negative policy development like the crime rate to undermine the target party’s competence evaluations. At the same time, a negative policy development only undermines a party’s evaluations when it is accompanied by a rival party’s negative campaigning attack. The implications for party competition and the mass-elite linkage are important.

  • ‘A Life of Their Own’? Traditions, Power and ‘As If Realism’ in Political Analysis

    This article explores the role of tradition in the social world and offers a theory of why some traditions ‘stick’. Building on the ontological insight of ‘as if realism’, I argue that traditions are constitutive both of an actor’s beliefs and of their institutional context, and so critical to political analysis. The relative resonance of traditions can be understood as contingent upon power relations and ideational maintenance of traditions by groups of upholders – what could be termed ‘socially contingent’. Traditions help us understand why a person believes what they believe and how a person’s strategic calculations are affected by perceptions of what others believe. They exert a powerful pull to political actors as orientation tools in complex social settings and through the symbols and argumentation attached by those who uphold them. While traditions are contingent upon people’s beliefs, it is ‘as if’ they have a life of their own.

  • IMF = I’M Fired! IMF Program Participation, Political Systems, and Workers’ Rights

    How do International Monetary Fund programs and conditions affect labor rights? Recognizing the diversity of International Monetary Fund conditionality, we argue that the more stringent International Monetary Fund labor market conditionality is, the worse labor rights become. However, this negative effect can be mitigated if there exist domestic political institutions that have incentives and abilities to provide protections over workers: one such case is a closed-list proportional representation system; another case is a leftist government that relies on political supports of workers. Our empirical analysis demonstrates that the more labor conditionality a program includes, the worse labor rights the country sustains. In addition, we report that the negative effect is partially mitigated when domestic political circumstances are favorable to the political representation of workers under a proportional representation system or under a leftist government.

  • Do Populist Parties Increase Voter Turnout? Evidence From Over 40 Years of Electoral History in 31 European Democracies

    While some consider populist parties to be a threat to liberal democracy, others have argued that populist parties may positively affect the quality of democracy by increasing political participation of citizens. This supposition, however, has hitherto not been subjected to rigorous empirical tests. The voter turnout literature, moreover, has primarily focused on stable institutional and party system characteristics – ignoring more dynamic determinants of voter turnout related to party competition. To fill this double gap in the literature, we examine the effect of populist parties, both left and right, on aggregate-level turnout in Western and Eastern European parliamentary elections. Based on a dataset on 315 elections in 31 European democracies since 1970s, we find that turnout is higher when populist parties are represented in parliament prior to an election in Eastern Europe, but not in Western Europe. These findings further our understanding of the relationship between populism, political participation and democracy.

  • Shaping Public Opinion about Regional Integration: The Rhetoric of Justification and Party Cues

    The article investigates how justifications used by politicians to explain their positions on policies of regional integration shape public opinion about these policies. I argue that support for a policy position increases when politicians tailor their justifications to the expectations of their audience, and I suggest that this happens even when party cues offer a less effortful way of forming opinions. I test my theoretical expectations in laboratory experiments with diverse samples, which manipulate party cues and justifications for a policy of European integration. I find that citizens use justifications and cues to form opinions. The relative importance of the two factors depends on individual dispositions and political context. In a non-competitive context (study 1), politically invested citizens use cues, while uninvested citizens use justifications. In a competitive context (study 2), the opinions of politically invested citizens are shaped by both factors, while the opinions of uninvested citizens become erratic.

  • Second-Order Political Thinking: Compromise versus Populism

    The literature often mentions that populism is in conflict with the politics of compromise. However, the opposition remains vague and undertheorized. This article confronts populism and compromise in a novel way by analyzing them as types of second-order political thinking and ideologies of democracy. Second-order political thinking provides a set of ideas and concepts that frames and regulates how we relate to others in politics, and how we make political decisions for, with, or against them. By contrasting populism and compromise as types of second-order political thinking, we will better be able to understand each and normatively compare them. Thus, we see that (1) compromise is inherently most attractive as second-order political thinking, and (2) populism fails as an ideology of democracy, because it cannot explain the meaning and value of the democratic system as a set of authoritative institutions and procedures.

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