Two new permanent positions in UCD SPIRe

logoApplications are invited for up to two permanent appointments as Lecturer (above the bar) in the UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe). The person(s) appointed will be expected to contribute significantly to research and teaching within the School.

Note: Appointment will be made for one or two posts, first in the area(s) of conflict resolution/women and security. A second appointment may be made in other areas of primary interest to the School, which include international political economy and political theory. In either case, appointees will be required to work closely with colleagues within the School.

The principal motivation for these posts is to strengthen the School’s profile in international politics, to help in promoting cooperation with other areas of the School (notably the work of colleagues specializing in international relations, human rights, conflict, and development studies), and to develop links with the college, wider university and external bodies.

Note: It is envisaged appointments will commence in January 2015; but earlier start date(s) will be considered.

2013 (2010) Lecturer (ATB) Salary Scale:  €50,807 – €76,936 per annum

2013 (2011) Lecturer (ATB) Salary Scale:  €45,726 – €69,275 per annum *

* Subject to all new entrants to public sector as of 01 January 2011

Appointment will be made on scale and in accordance with the Department of Finance guidelines.

Prior to application, further information (including application procedure) should be obtained from the UCD Job Vacancies website:

Closing date: 17.00hrs on Monday 16th June 2014 (GMT)

Applications must be submitted by the closing date and time specified. Any applications which are still in progress at the closing time of 17:00hrs on the specified closing date will be cancelled automatically by the system. UCD do not accept late applications.

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euandi – A voter advice application for the forthcoming European elections

James CrossWith the European elections fast approaching, informing voters about the politics and policies of the parties running in the election is an important undertaking. Of course, we cannot leave the provision of information to the parties themselves. The euandi project helps citizens make informed choices in their 2014 European Parliament (EP) vote.

Developed by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, with the help of a cross-national team of scholars (including myself), the euandi project provides voters with a clear view of the European electoral campaign and their individual positions within it. Not only does the tool help people identify which political parties represent their views, but it also provides an innovative platform for community building, where people from all over Europe can connect with each other based on their political views. In addition, euandi will also be one of the largest public opinion measurement tools ever built. With the aim of attracting over 10 million users across Europe, it will result into the largest academic set of data available on public opinion in Europe.

The tool’s strong scientific background and its innovative social features make it interesting not only to the general public, but also to academics, experts and policy makers. With the 2014 European Parliamentary elections now on the horizon, the euandi team invites you to use our application to help you make an informed voting decision in the coming election.

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Art of the Troubles: Culture, Conflict and Commemoration

Art of the Troubles: Culture, Conflict and Commemoration
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Friday, 6 June 2014
Registration: 9:00am
Conference: 9:30am – 16:00pm

Speakers include: Garrett Carr, Anne Devlin, Colin Graham, Neil Jarman, Daniel Jewesbury, John Killen, Jimmy McAleavey, Paula McFetridge, Roisin McGlone, Nuala McKeever, Cahal McLaughlin, Malachi O’Doherty, Glenn Patterson

This conference is a collaboration between IBIS and the Ulster Museum to complement the ‘Art of the Troubles’ exhibition currently on show at the museum.
It explores the role of art and artistic interventions in reshaping social relations in Northern Ireland. Conflict and division within Northern Ireland has often been seen to relate to differing modes of belonging: Clashes occur at many levels, from the level of elite political leadership to everyday interactions surrounding visions of legitimacy and constitutional rights, perceptions of historic grievance and images of what constitutes communal allegiance. The recent talks process (chaired by the American diplomat, Dr Richard Haass) aimed at devising a policy framework for moving beyond these clashes ended in relative failure.
Haass proposed that a new ‘civic vision’ should take the place of these divergent perceptions and the conference takes as its point of departure the role that art plays in troubling received imageries, undercutting political tendencies towards polarisation, and providing a fresh lens through which to envisage change. In this way, the conference takes as its inspiration, and starting point, the Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition, which developed in conjunction with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which provides a broad representation of artists’ responses to, and reflections on, the Troubles. Art of the Troubles comprises 60 works, from 48 different artists, including paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and sculpture. Encompassing a range of themes universal to conflict – such as suffering and loss, violence and destruction, imprisonment, sectarianism, traditions, territory, and life in the midst of turmoil – the conflict is responded to through a plethora of mediums and approaches.
In response to the overarching consideration of the role art plays in responding to, address and countering conflict, the conference will address the following questions: How do visual objects shape the perception of division? How do (or even can) they work to reshape perceptions in ways that represent (or undercut) inclusivity and consensus? How do visual symbols work to reveal forms of belonging and sharing that remain obscured and hidden by more mainstream ethnonational imagery? What is the role of popular visual culture in fostering plurality, peace and stability? What interventions are necessary to promote change and transition in the post-Haass era? How do visual arts work to dismember reified memories and reconfigure alternative futures? What lessons can be drawn from other post-conflict and deeply divided societies in promoting reconciliation through visual art?

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Constitutions and Culture Wars: Northern Ireland, the Irish State and the North-South Dimension

Constitutions and Culture Wars: Northern Ireland, the Irish State and the North-South Dimension
John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies, UCD
Monday, 16 June 2014

Speakers: John Coakley, Yvonne Galligan, John Garry, Melanie Hoewer, Brendan O’Leary, Joseph Ruane, Jennifer Todd, Jon Tonge

Sixteen years after the Good Friday Agreement, and after a period of stabilisation of the institutions and completion of implementation, we appear to be re-entering a phase of instability and uncertainty. There has been much discussion of the British role in Northern Ireland and the increasingly positive East-West linkages, in the context of uncertain Scottish and EU relations. This conference focuses on a less-studied aspect of the situation: the North-South linkages and their impact on changing popular politics in NOrthern Ireland. It marks the retirement of Professor John Coakley, founding director of IBIS, and follows up on some of his important work on the institutional aspects of these linkages.

The conference looks at the North-South relationship in three aspects:

Public opinion: the continuing salience of the South in the North?
Changing public opinion in Northern Ireland and the role of veto players.
Speakers include John Garry and Jon Tonge.

Institutional linkages and networks
Gendered linkages, harmonisation of rights and the impact of gender politics on a North-South basis.
Speakers include Yvonne Galligan and Melanie Hoewer

Constitutional and cultural divisions: contextualising the current conjecture
Speakers include John Coakley, Brendan O’Leary and Joseph Ruane/Jennifer Todd

The conference ends with a roundtable discussion on ‘the past’ and the purposes of commemoration

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Europe Needs to Address Its Deficit in Voter Trust

Regan_Aidan HDThe financial-cum-sovereign-debt crisis in the euro zone and the emergence of the troika have led to the perception that Europe is failing to deliver. There is no narrative beyond cuts, bailouts and fiscal austerity. Unemployment in the euro zone is at an all-time high. Growth is stagnant. In some countries such as Spain and Italy, youth unemployment has reached a staggering 50 per cent….

The recent turbulence is reflected in Eurobarometer data. The percentage of citizens dissatisfied with how the EU works has grown substantially. Distrust in European institutions is at an all-time historic high. Citizens are losing trust in both the function and democratic nature of institutions. If history teaches us anything, this does not bode well for social cohesion or economic stability. It is not unreasonable to suggest therefore that European democracy is in crisis. It is increasingly perceived as being neither effective nor democratic.

SPIRes Dr. Aidan Regan writes in the Irish Times on the impact of the Eurozone crisis on democratic trust in the European Union: here.

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New paper on the state of our system of representative democracy

Professor David Farrell, UCD School of Politics and International RelationsThe latest issue of West European Politics is dedicated to the late Peter Mair, including a paper by SPIRe’s David Farrell. This paper addresses Mair’s lament about the state of party politics and the future of representative politics itself. Farrell’s paper uses Mair’s thesis to frame a discussion about the state of our representative system of democracy. It starts by setting out his arguments on party and democratic failure. It then considers the question of whether the evidence supports such a perspective, or whether in fact there are signs of adaptability and change. This in turn leads to a discussion about the reform agenda in established representative democracies, with particular attention to the potential of ‘mini-publics’ in enabling a role for ordinary citizens in debates over constitutional reform. The paper concludes by arguing that this reform agenda provides evidence of democracies being reconfigured rather than stripped down.

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Report: Community Relations in Northern Ireland after the Flags Protests (27/2/14)

The Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) hosted a discussion at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin on Thursday, Feb 27th titled Community Relations in Northern Ireland after the Flags Protests. The discussion was focused around the findings of a report commissioned by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, ‘The Long View of Community Relations in Northern Ireland: 1989-2012’, written by Duncan Morrow, Gillian Robinson and Lizanne Dowds.

For details on the seminar, a summary of the Community Relations report and a response to that report by Prof Jennifer Todd (IBIS) follow the link below

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The West Awaits – Why the EU cannot Respond to Russian Aggression

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea has been identified by several European foreign ministers in the last 36 hours as the gravest threat to European security in 20 years, certainly since the dramatic collapse of the Soviet Union. That was a collapse, it should be noted, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously called a ‘tragedy’. The question now facing those self-same European ministers is precisely how to deal with this threat.

Overall, European policy towards Russia has been one of accommodation, dialogue and partnership. While Russian’s have fretted about being treated as if they were just another country – instead of the global superpower they once were and aspire to become again – the process was well bedded down. Europeans tempered their delicate feelings on the quality of Russia’s ‘sovereign’ democracy, on human rights abuses and on obnoxious anti-gay legislation while at the same time ridiculing the behaviour of Russian oligarchs and Putin’s hyper-macho posturing. For their part, Russians demanded special treatment (and sometimes got it), criticised European decadence and parlayed resource wealth into an effective, if blunt, foreign policy tool. On the face of it, the bones of an evolving relationship could be identified – even echoing Mikhail Gorbachev’s late 20th century call for a common European home. That ambition is now dead in the water.

What European governments now have to face is a powerful military actor with the capacity and the will to disregard any and every norm of 21st century diplomacy in pursuit of its own geostrategic interest. The government of Vladimir Putin sees the world only in a binary context: there is ‘us and those we control’ against ‘them and those that we seek to control’. ‘Partnership’ is clearly not within this lexicon. European governments are poorly equipped to deal with such an actor. Immersed in a culture of rules, norms and law they have created for themselves a neo-Kantian island of perpetual peace. Moreover, while the European Union and its member states excel at the use of soft power – with the Euromaidan in Kiev’s independence square a pre-eminent case study – they largely fumble (collectively) when deploying hard power, either economic or military.

The EU ministerial meeting of 3 March 2014 exemplifies the point. Meeting 36 hours (!) after the event (the UN, OSCE and NATO had all managed to meet in the interim), EU ministers offered stout condemnations, time for Putin to reconsider and demands for ‘de-escalation’ and a return to the status quo ante. In the absence of de-escalation, ministers insisted that consideration would then be given to considering implications for bilateral relations, mentioning,en passant, the long-demanded visa-free travel regime sought by Moscow.

Simultaneously, the President of the European Council scheduled an emergency meeting of EU Heads of State and Government for three days later, March 6. The battle-plan, such as it was, assumed either that Putin responded in the face of (vague) European resolve or that the situation was stalemated or deteriorated, thus demanding political decisions at the highest level of the Union.

On the positive side, the Union’s policy quiver has plenty of arrows; from cancelling defence contracts (painful to France), hitting Russia’s access to financial services/banking (painful to UK) and hitting Russia’s energy deals with Europe (painful to Germany). Doubtless, a menu can be constructed in archetypal EU style which spreads the pain as widely and as precisely as possible.

What is not at all clear is whether the Union will have the stomach to follow through. Member states span a spectrum between those that advocate a strong and resolved opposition to Russian adventurism and those that insist that a more accommodating diplomatic approach will deliver results. Doubtless the arguments of the former are ringing more loudly that those of the latter but consensus is the name of the European game and consensus tends to deliver lowest common denominator politics. Meanwhile the OSCE, NATO and UN are centre-stage – even as the US marshals its own ambivalence towards Russia. The EU has a critical role to play, but the fear has to be that with a weak script and a poor performance the Union’s failure will contribute to a tragedy – again.


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