How effective will the Austrian People’s Party be in Government?

By Adam Costello

On 16 October 2017, the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (OVP) won a decisive victory in what has been described as a game changer election for Austrian politics (Wesskircher and Bergman, 2017). The OVP secured 31.6% of the seats in the “Nationalrat” (National Council) and its leader, Sebastian Kurz, is now seeking to form a coalition government, likely with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO). With a right-wing party all but certain to become the leading governmental party it is important to ask how effective will the OVP be in pursuing its agenda within Austria’s parliamentary system? This blog post attempts to answer this question by examining ex-ante and ex-post institutional mechanisms that could potentially inhibit the OVP’s ability to pass favourable legislation in parliament. I will conclude by explaining why the OVP’s rise to dominance should be concerning within the context of the growth of right-wing parties across Europe.

Ex-ante mechanisms for controlling the government seem largely ineffective in the Austrian case. These control tools apply before a new government takes office and may include aspects of “contract design” that dictate the conditions upon which it may do so (Saalfeld, 2015). One such element of contract design is the degree of “incentive compatibility”, which refers to how strongly the fates of cabinet ministers and members of parliament (MPs) are linked together by party membership (Saalfeld, 2015). Although in Austria ministers can be recruited from outside parliament, over two-thirds of all cabinet members since 1960 have been legislators (Andeweg and Nijzink, 1995). Therefore, the degree of incentive compatibility within the OVP-led government is likely to be high, meaning that conflicts of interest will be low and enacting the legislation the government prefers will be unproblematic.

Investiture procedures are another example of weak parliamentary control. Some countries have “positive” formation rules involving a formal investiture vote in the parliament that any potential government must win to take office (Saalfeld 2015). However, as Austria has “negative” formation rules, the government does not have to pass such a vote and can remain in office unless a no confidence motion is passed in parliament. The absence of a positive investiture requirement seriously weakens the parliament’s control over policy-making by removing the need for the OVP to negotiate with backbenchers to secure a parliamentary majority.

Coalition agreements could be more instrumental in reigning in OVP’s ambitions. In countries where coalitions are the norm, governing parties often create contracts that specify promises each partner has to keep, such as a specific policy to implement (Saalfeld, 2015). Thus, coalition agreements act as a benchmark against which MPs can judge the government’s performance and criticise publicly any deviations. A major problem for an OVP-FPO government is that their similar ideological stances create “strong incentives” to distinguish themselves by reneging on their agreements and perusing their own policies (Martin and Vanberg, 2014). Consequently, a coalition agreement would be an excellent method for ensuring that both parties’ preferences remain aligned.

In contrast, ex-post mechanisms compensate somewhat for the lack of ex-ante controls. These mechanisms ensure what is called “ongoing oversight” and allow parliaments to monitor and sanction the government’s behaviour (Saalfeld, 2015). The most significant of these control tools is the vote of no confidence, which grants parliament the ultimate power to dismiss the government. As any other parliamentary system, the Austrian legislature does have a no-confidence procedure that allows dissatisfied MPs to force the OVP government resign if its actions contradicted their interests. However, it is important to remember that such a vote is a last resort option that is unlikely to be used unless the government commits serious or repeated offences.

Institutional checks and fire alarms are also quite effective at keeping executive actors in line. In Austria, such checks include “extra-parliamentary” institutions such as a Constitutional Court, which can veto approved government decisions if found to be unconstitutional (Muller, 1993). Related to this are institutionalized “fire alarms” which are used by parliaments when they believe the government has wrongly implemented policies (Saalfeld, 2015). For example, the Audit Court in Austria can investigate any part of the executive but lacks the power to make changes (Muller, 1993). Even if the OVP survives these obstacles it forces them to publicly justify their actions and provides the parliamentary opposition valuable information they can use in future interactions.

Parliamentary committees make up another possible constraint on the government’s dominance over the legislative process. Committees are important mechanisms of control because MPs from both governing and opposition parties can use them to monitor the government by learning about their proposed policies and to also amend them to their liking (Martin and Vanberg, 2014). André et al. (2016) found that Austria’s committee system is very strong meaning that the OVP’s proposals will face scrutiny and revision by parliament. However, as the Austrian executive also has some degree of control over the plenary agenda (Döring, 1995), the government may be able to curtail the committees’ oversight of their proposals as well.

In conclusion, the OVP seems in a good position to push its preferred legislation through parliament. Inglehart and Norris (2016) found that right-wing populist parties are now in coalition governments in eleven different European countries. Furthermore, this trend is unlikely to end anytime soon as changing norms and values result in “culture wars” that are driving the lesser educated and older voters into the arms of the populist and charismatic leaders (Inglehart and Norris, 2016). Clearly the OVP’s rise to power is not an isolated incident but rather a symptom of a growing backlash that the leaders of Europe need to start taking more seriously if they want to stem the tide of increasing right-wing populism in European governments.

 

References 

Andeweg, Rudy B., and Lia Nijzink (1995). “Beyond the Two-Body Image: Relations Between Ministers and MPs”, in Herbert Döring (ed.), Parliaments and Majority Rule in Western Europe. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 152–78.

André, Audrey, Sam Depauw, and Shane Martin (2016). “‘Trust Is Good, Control Is Better’: Multiparty Government and Legislative Organization”, Political Research Quarterly, 69:1, 108–20.

Döring, Herbert (1995). “Time as a Scarce Resource: Government Control of the Agenda”, in Herbert Döring (ed.), Parliaments and Majority Rule in Western Europe. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 223–46.

Inglehart, R. and Norris, P. (2016). Trump, Brexit and Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash. Available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2818659 [Accessed 3/11/2017].

Martin, Lanny W., and Georg Vanberg (2014). “Legislative Institutions and Coalition Government”, in Shane Martin, Thomas Saalfeld, and Kaare W. Strøm (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Legislative Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 436–51.

Müller, Wolfgang C (1993). “Executive-Legislative Relations in Austria: 1945-1992”, Legislative Studies Quarterly, 18:4, 467–94.

Saalfeld, Thomas (2015). “Executive–legislative relations in Europe”, in José M. Magone (ed.), Routledge Handbook of European Politics. London: Routledge, 346–65.

Weisskircher, M. and Bergman, M.E. (2017) Austria’s election: Four things to know about the result. LSE EUROPP – European Politics and Policy Blog. Available at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2017/10/16/austrias-election-four-things-to-know-about-the-result/ [Accessed 4/11/2017]

 

 

Biography

 

Adam Costello is a third-year undergraduate student studying Politics and International Relations in UCD. He is particularly interested in how modern trends, such as the rise of right-wing populism, are affecting European democracies. This blog post was written as part of his coursework for POL30540 Parties in Parliament.

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Effective Mechanisms for the Advancement of Female Representation in National Parliaments

By Sophie Becker

An overwhelming majority of countries across the globe display a disproportionately small number of women represented in their national parliaments. Generally speaking, females make up approximately half the population, yet parliaments rarely reflect these demographics. This is a serious problem, as male dominated institutions are less likely to introduce legislation regarding issues that overwhelmingly impact women. Countries urgently need to increase the representation of women in elected office, and arguably the most effective ways to do that are by implementing quotas and utilizing a proportional representation electoral system. Although quotas and electoral systems display the best overall results, other variables such as political parties also play a significant role.

A gender quota is an institutional mechanism that is implemented in order to combat some of the advantages men are privileged to in the political arena. These quotas determine the percentage of female candidates required to be elected to public office, and many parliamentary systems have implemented these quotas in an attempt to facilitate a pathway to provide women with proper representation. Kang and Tripp (2007) describe three different types of quotas which receive varying levels of compliance: the compulsory party quota, the voluntary party quota, and reserved seats. Compulsory quotas legally require that political parties must nominate a certain number of women. This type of quota is often disrespected as it may be dictated to a party that does not care to promote women’s representation. Noncompliant parties can put women at the bottom of lists or in the running for seats that are impossible to win in order to avoid their obligations, but ensuring enforcement with strict punishments is a strategy to avoid this (Taylor-Robinson 2014). Voluntary quotas typically have a higher compliance rate because the parties choose to carry out the conditions and are therefore more committed to gender equality. Since the result of the reserved seat method is a predetermined percentage of seats in parliament held by women, this technique is generally the most successful in aiding women’s representation (Kang & Tripp 2007). Regardless of their variety in form, quotas are the main institution facilitating the increase of women in legislative bodies and decision-making positions. They allow the bypass of barriers previously insurmountable to female candidates, such as “unequal access to and distribution of party resources” and “inadequate funding of women candidates” (OSCE 2014), leading to sharp increases in representation.

Secondary to gender quotas, it is the proportional representation (PR) electoral system that influences levels of participation by women in the legislature. Table 1 provides evidence for this claim as it displays countries with the top 25 highest percentages of women in parliament in 2016. Upon viewing this table, it is clear the overwhelming majority of states with high percentages of female representation have either PR or Mixed electoral systems.

Source: (Johnson-Myers 2017: 10)

PR systems elect consistently higher numbers of women than their majoritarian counterpart, because in a majoritarian system, “if a male and a female candidate compete for a party’s nomination, a victory for the woman means a loss for the man” (Johnson-Myers 2017: 12). In that situation, it is more likely the male candidate will be supported by both the party and the voters as a ‘safe’ candidate. Furthermore, a closed party list PR system is the ideal way to promote women to parliament because it allows for the ‘zipper system’ in which male and female candidates are alternated throughout the list (Parliamentary Assembly 2005). This zipper system prevents women from being intentionally positioned in the most undesirable places on the list. Past analysis of female representation in parliament pointed to electoral systems as the most significant factor. Although they do undeniably play an influential role, increased study has revealed that the implementation of quotas since the mid-1990s is the largest driver increasing the numbers of women elected to public office (Kang & Tripp 2007). However, it is important to note that political parties can also play a substantial role in the pursuit of representative equality.

Political parties are essential actors in the quest to enhance the representation of women because parties are the ‘gatekeepers’ of elected office. A candidate cannot be elected to parliament without first winning a party nomination. The internal structure of a political party may act as a hurdle obstructing a woman’s trajectory as men often receive preferential treatment in the candidate selection process and are labelled as the superior choice (United Nations, 2005). According to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (2014), regulations must be enforced upon political parties in order to increase fairness and balance the challenges faced by men and women. Without such regulations, female candidates are at a disadvantage for reasons such as “unequal political and socio-economic power” in comparison to male colleagues, and candidate registration restrictions that “disproportionately affect… women candidates” (OSCE 2014: 16) and impede their access to resources. Institutional mechanisms like party quotas have been introduced to help, but not all parties enact quotas due to a genuine desire for gender equality. Some may support female candidates due to inter-party competition in order to avoid seeming behind more progressive parties, or use those women to mobilize female voters in their favour rather than to actually alter the gender makeup of the leadership (Kang & Tripp 2007). Working to eliminate the gender disparity in political parties is not only important for the expansion of equality, it may also widen a party’s support base and spread their popularity. Furthermore, some studies of parliamentary parties have recorded that an increase in female party elites results in more women being elected to the legislature, so it may be a self-reinforcing mechanism (Kang & Tripp 2007).

Until direct and indirect gender discrimination are eradicated from both the political sphere and society in general, institutional mechanisms such as gender quotas and PR electoral systems, as well as the regulation of candidate selection processes in parties, must be in place in order to allow for the growth of female representation in parliaments. Only when the obstacles preventing women from equal participation are removed will male and female candidates face a level playing field.

 

References

Johnson-Myers, T. (2017). The Mixed Member Proportional System: Providing Greater Representation for Women? A Case Study of the New Zealand Experience. Springer International Publishing.

Kang, A. and Tripp, A. (2007). The Global Impact of Quotas: On the Fast Track to Increased Female Legislative Representation. Comparative Political Studies, 41(3): 338 – 361.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. (2005). Mechanisms to ensure women’s participation in decision-making: Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. Council of Europe Publications.

Taylor-Robinson, Michelle M. (2014). “Gender and Legislatures”, in Shane Martin, Thomas Saalfeld, and Kaare W. Strøm (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Legislative Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 251–66.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. (2014). Handbook on Promoting Women’s Participation in Political Parties. Warsaw: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [Available at: http://www.osce.org/odihr/120877].

United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. (2005). Equal Participation of Women and Men in Decision-Making Processes, with Particular Emphasis on Political Participation and Leadership. Addis Ababa: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs [Available at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/eql-men/index.html].

Biography

Sophie Becker is a third-year undergraduate student studying Politics & International Relations and Geography. Originally from Boston, Sophie is a full time International Student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at UCD. Sophie is the 2016-17 winner of the Conor Martin Memorial Prize, which is awarded by the UCD School of Politics and International Relations to the student in Stage Two Politics who achieves the highest combined grade point average in the four core Level Two Politics modules.  This blog post was written as part of her coursework for POL30540 Parties in Parliament.

 

 

 

 

 

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Assembly dissolution powers and incumbency advantages in government formation

By Cristina Bucur (Lecturer / Assistant Professor, University College Dublin) and Petra Schleiter (Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Oxford)

Governments in most parliamentary democracies have some influence on assembly dissolution, which enables them to affect parliamentary bargaining. Yet, whether these powers advantage outgoing governing parties in forming the next government remains remarkably poorly understood. To address this gap, we develop a theory of government formation in the shadow of parliamentary dissolution. Incumbents who can control assembly dissolution, we argue, are more likely to return to government than their peers who lack this power because they enjoy advantages in (i) controlling the bargaining process about coalition formation and (ii) in building a reputation as effective and desirable coalition partners. Our tests of these expectations, using data on 625 government formation opportunities and 428,095 potential coalitions, reveal that governing parties with discretion to dissolve parliament have significantly higher coalition inclusion probabilities than incumbents who cannot invoke early elections.

The power to call, or threaten, parliamentary elections has long been viewed as a cabinet’s counterweight to the legislature’s ability to dismiss the government. It confers on governing parties with favourable electoral prospects the opportunity to realize electoral advantages and strengthens their hand in legislative bargaining by enabling them to extract concessions from other parties, particularly those with a desire to avoid elections. These powers may be especially consequential in advanced parliamentary democracies, where government formation is most often the result of negotiations in parliament rather than of elections alone because single party parliamentary majorities are rare. Yet, in the literature on coalition formation, the complete lack of attention to the election timing powers of incumbents remains a striking omission. Our paper addresses the gap and asks whether outgoing incumbents with the power to call early elections enjoy advantages in negotiating their return to office.

Anecdotally, we see numerous instances in which incumbents re-negotiate their coalitions by invoking the possibility of early elections. In November 2016, for instance, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen negotiated an expansion of his parliamentary support, after he had formed Denmark’s smallest minority government in 40 years. Against the background of the prime minister’s discretion to dissolve parliament and his party’s rising popularity since the June 2015 elections, Løkke Rasmussen ended months of policy battles by striking an agreement between his Liberal Party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Alliance to reduce the risk of a snap election.  Broadening his minority government to a three-party coalition provided more solid parliamentary support for his agenda of tax cuts and limited public spending.  Similarly, Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, conjured the spectre of early elections in June 2017, when he ejected the nationalist Finns party from his three-party centre-right coalition, after its popular support plunged and it chose a new anti-immigration leader. Citing differences with the new leader of the Finns in core values, immigration policy and policy regarding the EU, Prime Minister Sipilä, negotiated a replacement of the Finns by bringing the smaller Swedish People’s Party and Christian Democrats into the government.

Assembly dissolution is permitted in almost every parliamentary democracy and, as the examples above suggest, in many countries incumbents have a pivotal role in deciding whether early elections are called. Our study takes the long overdue step of integrating the power to dissolve parliament, which is a fundamental aspect of institutional variation among parliamentary democracies, into our understanding of coalition bargaining. Because all coalitions result from such negotiations and many incumbents have significant power to invoke early elections, the question of how the shadow of elections shapes coalition outcomes is central to a better understanding of political representation in parliamentary democracies.

Governments, we argue, derive from this power an advantage in bargaining about office with other parties via two mechanisms: First, incumbents with extensive dissolution powers are able to use the threat of dissolution to control coalition negotiations by initiating bargaining rounds and extracting concessions from other parties. Second, when in power, they are better able to resolve policy conflicts and coalition tensions, which gives them an advantage in building a reputation as effective and desirable coalition partners compared to their peers who lack dissolution powers.

Our results offer the first evidence of this incumbency advantage in legislative coalition bargaining: Governing parties with extensive discretion to invoke early elections are two-thirds more likely secure their inclusion in government than incumbents with little or no control of assembly dissolution, and three times more likely than non-incumbent parties that lack influence on early election calling. These results are reliable and robust: they are evident in multivariate analysis of the full pooled sample of government formations, and when government formation opportunities that follow elections and non-electoral terminations are disaggregated.

By uncovering this incumbency advantage, our study contributes to a more nuanced and realistic understanding of real-world coalition bargaining. Actual coalition bargaining does not typically take place among all parties in parliament, but is most often confined to a sub-group of parties who can secure a place at the table because they have the institutional power to control and structure the bargaining situation or because they are perceived as particularly desirable partners. Our results suggest that incumbents with assembly dissolution powers are advantaged in both respects, which helps to explain why we see them returning to office with such extraordinary frequency.

Our findings contribute to several literatures of importance in comparative politics. First, they take the long overdue step of integrating into our understanding of coalition bargaining one of the most fundamental aspects of institutional variation among parliamentary democracies: the power to dissolve parliament as a directly elected branch of power. We uncover that in the hands of incumbents, this power gives rise to large bargaining advantages, which help to explain why we see incumbents return to power with such extraordinary frequency. Second, the findings add to the literature on comparative institutions by providing a first account of the previously uncharted political implications of assembly dissolution powers in the arena of government formation. Third, our work has implications for the literature on incumbency advantages. This literature has consistently focussed on incumbency advantages in the electoral arena. By widening the scope of inquiry beyond elections, we show that assembly dissolution powers give rise to incumbency advantages in post-election bargaining, which may be as important as the bonuses that some incumbents realise in elections.

SPIRe Seminar Series

This blog was written to accompany a seminar in the SPIRe seminar series.  Dr Bucur’s seminar “Assembly dissolution powers and incumbency advantages in government formation” (Discussant: Dr Caroline McEvoy) will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 29th, 14:00-15:15 in Room G316, Newman Building.

Cristina Bucur is Lecturer / Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin. Her research interests focus on executive-legislative relations and party politics in parliamentary and semi-presidential democracies. Before joining UCD, Cristina was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Oslo (2014-2017). Her recent work has been published in journals such as Party Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Comparative European Politics, and French Politics. Full profile.

 

Petra Schleiter is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. Petra’s research focuses on the consequences of comparative political institutions. She has developed a strong research profile in this area with work that explores the effects of semi-presidentialism, presidentialism, party systems, fixed parliamentary terms and flexible election timing, caretaker conventions and recognition rules on a variety of political outcomes. Her work has been published in leading journals in the discipline including the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the British Journal of Political Science, Party Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Parliamentary Affairs and elsewhere. Full profile.

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From Devolution to Brexit: Lessons from the Citizens’ Assembly Experiments in the UK

By Prof. Graham Smith, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster.

Over two weekends in September 2017, the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit brought together 50 randomly selected citizens who reflected the diversity of the UK electorate. The Assembly aimed to, first, provide much needed robust public input into the Brexit process and, second, show the value of deliberative public engagement on controversial areas of public policy.

The Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit was an opportunity for this diverse group of UK voters to learn about the issues of trade and migration from a variety of experts and politicians, deliberate with each other and come to recommendations on the form that Brexit should take. The Assembly reflected the socio-demographic characteristics of the broader population and their vote in the Brexit referendum in 2016, so included more Leave than Remain supporters.

The main recommendations of the Assembly are:

  • On trade, it preferred a bespoke UK/EU trade deal and a customs union that would allow the UK to conduct its own international trade policy while maintaining a frictionless UK/EU border.
  • On migration, it voted to retain free movement of labour, but with the UK government exercising all available controls to prevent abuse of the system.
  • If a deal cannot be reached in negotiations on trade, the Assembly prefered to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union to no deal at all.

The Assembly was organised by an independent group of academics and civil society organisations and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its UK in a Changing Europe programme.

This is the second time that members of this consortium have been involved in running and promoting citizens’ assemblies in the UK. In 2015, the Democracy Matters project organised two-pilot assemblies on English devolution. One of the aims of the project was to investigate the effect of including politicians as members of the assembly, inspired by the practice of the Irish Constitutional Convention. As such the assembly in Sheffield was constituted by randomly selected citizens only; the assembly in Southampton had politicians working alongside the citizens as members. Analysis of survey results suggests that politicians were particularly influential in shaping the thinking of citizens in the mixed assembly, raising questions about the value of this approach to assembly design.

The Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit and Democracy Matters projects can be seen as part of the wider movement aimed at promoting more deliberative forms of public engagement in the UK: unlike Ireland and Canada, there is little high level political support for establishing Citizens’ Assemblies in the UK. Both projects have also generated important insights into the processes of organizing citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ perspectives on two significant areas of public policy.

Further details of both assemblies can be found at http://citizensassembly.co.uk/

Biography

Graham Smith is Professor of Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster. His main research interests are in democratic theory and practice (particularly participatory democratic institutions), climate politics and the third sector/social economy. Graham is currently involved in a number of research projects, including Scholio, Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit and Participedia.

SPIRe Seminar Series

This blog was written to accompany a seminar in the SPIRe seminar series.  Prof Smith’s seminar “From Devolution to Brexit: Lessons from the Citizens’ Assembly Experiments in the UK” (Discussant: Prof. David Farrell) will take place Wednesday, Nov. 8th, 14:00-15:15 in Room G316, Newman Building.

The full schedule for the SPIRe seminar series semester 1 can be found on our website.

 

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What it is really to secure a right to someone? Understanding how Rights-Based Approaches to Development can be operationalised

by Nita Mishra, PhD Candidate at Food Business and Development, UCC

In this paper, I examine the major aspects of the concepts of rights and development, separately, and then how the two concepts are linked in the discourse on rights and development. Through my examination of selected concepts of key political philosophers, I aim to provide a theoretical basis to the idea of a rights-based approach to development. Theoretical linkages between the concepts of rights and development are explored along with their links with other important ideas such as capabilities, empowerment, and agency.

I have framed my analysis of the linkages between rights and development using Martha Nussbaum’s query on “what it is really to secure a right to someone” (2003:38). Through Nussbaum’s query, I have deliberated upon the goal of rights, the types of rights, the duty-bearers of rights, and the different elements of the concept of rights, and through this examination, I have highlighted arguments of key scholars, with examples from NGOs in India.

The paper is divided into two sections. The first section examines the concept of rights, and the second section, discusses development, and its links with rights. It begins with a historical overview of the concept of rights followed by an examination of what constitutes human rights. I have alluded to various aspects of rights debated upon centuries instead of an in-depth analysis of each aspect with an aim to situate the idea of rights-based approaches to development within the discourse of rights historically. My contention is that the current discourse on RBAs did not arise in a vacuum, and it is important to draw upon this vast discourse, and give due recognition to its antecedents. I have, then, focused on the main goal of the human rights’ agenda which, as delineated by eminent political philosophers, is poverty eradication.


Bio:

Nita Mishra has recently submitted her PhD thesis on “Operationalising Rights-Based Approaches to Development: a study of state and non-state duty-bearers in Odisha, India” to the Department of Food Business and Development, at UCC. Her main interests lie in rights-based approaches to development, governance, poverty, and women’s rights. She is currently the Convenor for Academics Stand Against Poverty- Irish Network, and has had been a Steering Committee member for Development Studies Association Ireland, and on the Board of Directors for Comhlamh NGO. She has extensive work experience with funding organisations, research organisations, and NGOs in India, and has been a volunteer in various development activities in the Global North. She has published in peer reviewed journals, and is actively engaged in academic and development activities. Her poetry speaks of women’s lives across continents, and has been categorised under the future of Irish feminism.

Dublin Political Theory Workshop
This blog was written to accompany a workshop by Nita Mishra for The Dublin Political Theory Workshop. This is hosted by UCD School of Politics and International Relations and brings together political theorists located in or visiting Dublin. We discuss work in progress in the area of political theory widely understood including debates on applied ethics and social and legal philosophy.

Nita Mishra’s workshop is on Friday, 3. November 2017, 12:30 – 14:00, on the topic ‘What is it really to secure a right to someone?’ in G316, Newman Building.

Full schedule for Dublin Political Theory Workshop series.

 

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The Garrison State Project: Tracking the Growth of Consensus on National Security

by David Sylvan

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

In the three years since Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA, it has become clear in one country after another that such surveillance is carried out by each country’s own agencies, that the surveillance has been going on for some time, and that it is on a wider scale than had previously been suspected. In spite of this realization, the majority reaction among political elites has been that although some correctives may be needed, the world is simply too dangerous to forgo these tools. Thus, in the after-Snowden period, surveillance powers have been maintained or expanded in the US, France, the UK, Germany, Japan, and even Switzerland.

Moreover, in spite of the numerous controversies raised about the NSA’s activities in other countries, cooperation between the agency and its foreign counterparts has ended up being either resumed or strengthened. That cooperation was extensive, covering some 38 states with whom the NSA had ongoing relationships. Although comparable data for the present day are of course unavailable, country-specific news stories suggest that the political fracas did not seriously interrupt either bilateral or multilateral forms of signals intelligence cooperation. Of course, this persistence of cooperation in the face of condemnation—to be specific, the apparent surprise at the extent of surveillance, the carefully worded condemnations, the eventual return to the status quo ante, and the legislative thumbs-up to even more extensive and intrusive actions—extends well beyond surveillance to myriad forms of security-related activities. A case in point is drone strikes, which have been acquiesced in by numerous countries, regardless of who is in the White House.

The short-lived controversies over surveillance and drone strikes suggest two things: that security-related activities of this sort are becoming increasingly ubiquitous by states acting both unilaterally and multilaterally; and that those activities are strongly backed by the majority of legislative elites in the countries carrying them out. Indeed, there is a close tie between these two points since it is the support of those elites which makes it possible for legislation to be passed, budgets to grow, and controversies to be avoided or short-circuited. Thus, counterterrorism budgets in Western countries have increased massively over the past 15 years with very little political opposition, and even earlier domestic security agency scandals such as the discovery of COINTELPRO (the FBI), the Finucane affair (MI5), and the Canard Enchaîné bugging (DST) failed to stop the upward trajectory in funding and activity. Arguably, there is a long-term trend toward larger and more active national security apparatuses in a number of democratic countries, with this trend being enabled and strengthened by a growing consensus among legislative elites. This claim is the starting point for the presentation and the research project on which it serves as a progress report.

The structure of the talk is as follows. I begin with a discussion of the central claim, situating the part of that claim about a long-term trend within the scholarly literature, articulating mechanisms which conduce to the trend, and elaborating its theoretical and substantive significance. Since that literature arguably began with Harold Lasswell’s seminal 1941 article, “The Garrison State,” about the way in which democratic countries can gradually come to be marked by an ever greater political role played by “specialists on violence,” the project is thus named after Lasswell’s evocative term. In this regard, it is striking that the creation, growth, and expansion in the scope of activities of security-related agencies is something which considerably antedates the 9/11 attacks. Already the early years of the cold war were marked by such growth, growth which was accelerated by other factors such as decolonization and membership in alliances, and which was only slowed to a slight degree during the post-cold war/pre-9/11 period.

I then turn to the second half of the claim (about growing legislative elite consensus in democratic countries), discussing not only its theoretical import but the way in which it points to a concrete research design through which the trend part of the claim can be assessed (since of course many actions of security-related agencies are secret as are, notoriously, their budgets). The remaining sections of the paper concern a specific methodological issue: how to use speeches in parliamentary debates as indicators of elite consensus. Speeches are arguments of various sorts, and so I address precisely how speeches can be coded in order to abduce those arguments. I then briefly discuss the issue of analyzing arguments in order to determine consensus, and conclude with some preliminary results from earlier debates. Those results, and a less systematic account of other debates in other countries, suggest that, unfortunately, Lasswell was indeed correct, and that Western democracies have for decades gradually been transforming into garrison states.

NB: The Garrison State Project website URL is https://www.garrisonstateproject.com/

David Sylvan is professor of international relations / political science, and director of research, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He obtained his Ph.D. at Yale University and before coming to Geneva, taught at Syracuse University and the University of Minnesota. Among his other works, he is the coauthor of U.S. Foreign Policy in Perspective: Clients, Enemies and Empire; and of A Rationalist Methodology for the Social Sciences. In addition to the Garrison State Project, his current research revolves around the development of formal methods for the study of diplomatic conversations and elite interpretations of news items; social relationships, such as conflict, deference, and subordination, between states; and “buddy” relationships between civilian cadres and military officers in authoritarian regimes.

SPIRe Seminar Series
This blog was written to accompany a seminar in the SPIRe seminar series. Dr. David Sylvan (The Graduate Institute, Geneva) on The Garrison State Project: Tracking the Growth of Consensus on National Security (Discussant  Prof. Ben Tonra): Wednesday, Nov. 1st, 14:00-15:15

The full schedule for the SPIRe seminar series semester 1 can be found on our website.

 

 

 

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Situationism Now – Understanding Guy Debord in a Contemporary Political Context

‘to help create a non-dogmatic, non-religious, non-bullshit Marxism’ (Tariq Ali on Daniel Bensaid, 2013)

by Dr Jones Irwin, Institute of Education, Drumcondra, Dublin City University.

to accompany workshop, details below

1967. 50 years ago this year and it was the year that Guy Debord published his infamous text Society of the Spectacle. This wasn’t exactly the beginning of the Situationist philosophy. Rather, the latter had emerged in disorderly fashion some ten years earlier in a remote north Italian tavern. This wouldn’t be the last time this vision would relocate from France to Italy and back again. Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s ‘The Real Report on the Last Chance to Save Capitalism’, an incendiary satire on Italian politics (influenced by Machiavelli) would see him deported from an unstable and Red Brigade Italy in the 1970s – to where? France of course.

Should we still be reading Guy Debord or encouraging others to read him politically for the first time in a contemporary context?  In popular culture parlance, Debord’s name will always be associated with the political moment of May ’68, the general strike and the student riots which spread from the campus of Nanterre (led by philosophy and sociology lecturers Jean Francois Lyotard and Henri Lefebvre).  And rightfully so. Whereas the much vaunted Marxism of Louis Althusser (alongside his soon to be famous students Rancière, Badiou and Balibar) is left completely behind by the explosion of ’68, Situationism and Debord are right at the heart of it, there at the beginning of its genealogy from 1965 onwards and present in its most acute and radical manifestation in May.

So the Situationism of Debord has at least this advantage over a lot of other so-called radical political and cultural theory. It was influential on and participant in an actual extraordinary moment of political and social upheaval, although the sustainability of this moment did not last long. For this reason, it should be at least of historic value and interest.

But I would like to claim some more interest too. Since 1968, the terrain of political thinking both on the Left and the Right have been irrevocably marked by the failure of ’68. Therefore, alongside the role of Debord in the lead-in to ’68, there is also the question of the role of Situationism in what Kristin Ross has referred to as the ‘afterlives’ of ’68. For example, there is the emergence of a specific kind of right-wing philosophising in Luc Ferry and Alain Renault which takes as its target precisely the anti-humanism of Debord and others. This strain of thought is very influential on French political life, for example through the influence of the educational policies of the Raffarin government (2002-2004), where Ferry served as Minister of Education. One of the most influential policies introduced at this time was the law on secularity and public rules around religious symbolism and expression, which continues to be highly contentious in 2017.

There is also the converse influence – from Rancière, to Badiou and Balibar, the ideological turning away from Althusser’s Marxism towards a political and educational vision that is far more radically democratic and anti-vanguard elite. This political-philosophical vision owes a significant amount to Debord’s earlier iconoclastic vision of the Left and a renewed Marxism for the times, expressed vehemently in Society of the Spectacle.  Moreover, it is arguable that the current political crisis of meaning, whether it is the post-truth discourse of the Trumpist Right or the sense of internal schism on the Left (most especially concerning questions of religion and multi-culturalism) is one in which Situationism may have also something interesting and unique to contribute. Whither in such a schismatic context the critique of ideology today? It is my sense that Debord’s work as well as the wider Situationist vision (Vaneigem, Lefebvre etc.) has something contemporary to say to us in this debate. To quote a ’68 graffiti adapted (as many of the slogans were) from Debord’s and Situationist texts: ‘the blue in the sky will remain grey as long as it is not reinvented’.

This presentation will focus on Debord’s role in the ’68 events through a reading his Society of the Spectacle text. It will also explore the after-effects of ’68, the seismic fall-out of the so-called ‘failure of May’ and here Debord’s own retrospective understandings will be invoked, for example in his 1988 text Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. In this context, the influential volte-face of Jacques Rancière’s later political and educational thinking post-68 will also be significant.  Rancière’s unequivocal denunciation of Althusserianism and dogmatic Marxism in Althusser’s Lesson (1974) and his later The Ignorant Schoolmaster (1984) are important milestones in Leftist rethinking of the terms of reference of a contemporary Marxism.

Finally, I will look to contemporary examples of Situationist possibility. Here, my own recent work in Irish education (for example, developing a Multi-Belief Values Education curriculum with Community National Schools) will be cited as an example of a kind of Situationist intervention in an overarchingly hegemonic system of dominance by Church and conservative power interests in Ireland.

Nonetheless, and in keeping with Debord’s radically self-questioning spirit, we should also be wary of educational and political complacency in our supposedly ‘liberatory’ projects. As another ’68 graffiti has it, ‘Participation, all the better to eat you with my children’ [‘La Participation, c’est pour mieux vous croquer mes enfants’]. There is always the danger lurking, Debord reminds us incessantly, of complicity with traditionalist forces and the commodification of supposed resistance or revolutionary zeal by the Spectacle.

Bio

Jones Irwin is Associate Professor in Philosophy and Education at the Institute of Education, Drumcondra, Dublin City University. Since late 2014, he has also been seconded as Project Officer to develop the first state multi-denominational curriculum, with NCCA. He has written several books in philosophy, including Derrida and the Writing of the Body (Ashgate, 2010), Paulo Freire’s Philosophy of Education (Continuum, 2012) and (with Helena Motoh) Žižek and his Contemporaries (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is currently completing a monograph entitled The Pursuit of Existentialism (Acumen/Taylor Francis 2018).

Dublin Political Theory Workshop
This blog was written to accompany a workshop by Dr Irwin for The Dublin Political Theory Workshop. This is hosted by UCD School of Politics and International Relations and brings together political theorists located in or visiting Dublin. We discuss work in progress in the area of political theory widely understood including debates on applied ethics and social and legal philosophy.

Dr Irwin’s workshop  is on Friday, 27. October, 12:30 – 14:00
Title: Situationist Possibles: Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle Then and Now

Full schedule for Dublin Political Theory Workshop series.

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Islam, Oil and the Middle East: What Explains Religious Intolerance?

by Dr Indra de Soysa, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

to accompany workshop, details below

Popular and academic discourse, prompted by Islamist violence and terrorism, debates the true nature of Islam in politics. By an accident of history and geology, a large portion of the oil-producing states are also largely Muslim. Could it be that the oil-curse can explain much of the political phenomena we assign to religion? We examine the effects of oil, Islam, and the Middle Eastern (MENA) region on religious repression. Rather than the cultural effects of religion, we argue that oil-wealthy rulers use religious monopoly to control dissent. Rulers with access to oil wealth entertain a small selectorate, and religious organization can be a useful source of regime legitimacy and social control. Our results show that oil wealth increases religious repression above the effects of Muslim dominance and sundry controls, regardless of geographic location. However, Muslim dominance also shows some independent effects, except that the MENA region seems to matter more than Islam per se. We suggest that religious repression in the MENA region is driven by the fear of Islamism and the influence of geopolitical factors, although some salience of Ottoman legacies may also matter. Interestingly, the conditional effect of oil and the MENA region is positive on religious freedom. The data suggest that several Gulf monarchies have more religious freedoms than other Muslim dominant states, such as Saudi and Iran, or even Israel. The worst oil producers are elsewhere, such as in Central Asia. Oil, however, trumps Islam in many alternative tests, including cultural and academic freedom, ethnic group exclusion from state power, and discrimination of ethnic minorities. Our results suggest that contingent factors might be important when assessing how oil and Islam affect political outcomes. The results are robust to a host of intervening variables, different measures of oil wealth, alternative data on religious freedom, and estimating method.

Biography

Indra de Soysa (PhD) obtained his PhD in political science and international relations from the University of Alabama, USA. He is a Professor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He teaches international political economy, international relations, and development. He is particularly interested in the political, economic and social outcomes of economic liberalization, the effects of institutions, and the causes of peace and prosperity. He has published widely on the subject of Foreign Direct Investment, the causes of civil and political violence, the natural resource curse, globalization, and environmental politics. His various publications appear in the American Sociological Review, World Development, Social Science and Medicine, International Organization, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly among others. He is a member of the Royal Norwegian Academy.

SPIRe Seminar Series
This blog was written to accompany a seminar in the SPIRe seminar series. Prof. de Soysa’s seminar ‘Islam, Oil and the Middle East: What Explains Religious Intolerance?’ (discussant: Dr. Jos Elkink) will take place on Thursday, Oct. 26th, 14:00-15:15.

The full schedule for the SPIRe seminar series semester 1 can be found on our website.

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Brexit and the constitution

By Prof Michael Keating

In the last twenty years, the United Kingdom has undertaken a massive programme of constitutional change. It has transformed form a formally unitary state into a plurinational, quasi-federal union associated in complex ways with the neighbouring state of Ireland. This is an evolutionary process, leaving many issues in abeyance and evolving over time. It has happened entirely during UK membership of the European Union and the two constitutional transformations have been deeply entwined.

It is often thought that the European Union, with its principles of supranationality, underpinned by its own system of law and courts, is at odds with the UK constitution, based as it is on unitary authority and parliamentary sovereignty and supremacy. That is perhaps so if we take the ‘Westminster view’ of the constitution, as expounded by Dicey and Blackstone. Certainly, a driving motive of the Leave campaign was to restore parliamentary sovereignty. After the referendum, of course, some Brexiters shifted to a defence of popular sovereignty, if need be against Parliament but this is not germane to the present argument. Popular sovereignty was still based upon the notion of a unitary people.

Taking a different view of our emerging constitution, however, the United Kingdom and the EU are rather a good fit. Both are plurinational unions, lacking both a single and unitary people or demos, and a shared telos, or end point in their development. Both can be understood as being based on post-sovereign principles of shared authority, which cannot be reduced to a single principle that over-rides all others. Neither is a federation in the traditional sense, but both have federal elements.

This is most clearly seen in the Northern Ireland settlement, which suspends Westminster understandings of the state. It introduces creative ideas about sovereignty, multiple identities, borders and citizenship and brings in a neighbouring state into the politics of part of the United Kingdom. There is also an effect in Scotland, where a shared commitment to Europe has opened up a discursive space for post-sovereigntist ideas and attenuated the effects of a possible move to independence. Wales, too, has recognized a European element in its constitutional development towards self-government.

Brexit puts this emerging constitutionalism at risk. Let us look at three examples.

The first is the Supreme Court judgment in the Miller case. Certainly, the Court did stipulate that Parliamentary approval was needed to trigger Article 50, but it summarily dismissed the argument that the devolved legislatures should have a role. That claim was based on the Sewel Convention, to which the UK Government had recommitted after the Scottish independence referendum, to the point of writing it into the Scotland Act (2016) and the Wales Act (2017). In its narrower sense, the Sewel Convention stipulates that Westminster will not normally legislate in devolved matters without the consent of the relevant devolved legislature; its broader sense extends this to changing the powers of the devolved bodies. The Court might have rejected the application of Sewel on narrow grounds, either that the matter concerned foreign affairs or that the circumstances were not ‘normal’. Instead it chose to pronounce an orbiter dictum to the effect that Sewel was only a ‘political’ understanding and not binding in any circumstances. In fact, nobody really expected it to say that Sewel was enforceable by the courts as a matter of hard law, but their dismissal of its relevance betrays a misunderstanding of the role of conventions in general and the spirit and purpose of Sewel in particular. In the absence of written constitution, conventions are really all we have.  The contrast with the sophisticated jurisprudence of the Canadian Supreme Court is glaring.

A second issue concerns the possibility of a differentiated settlement for Scotland. Within the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have highly differentiated settlements. The Scottish Government proposed that this kind of differentiation and flexibility be applied to Brexit. There is no space here to discuss how far these proposals were practical. The point is that they were rejected on principle and not even negotiated politically (although there appear to have been discussions at political level). There is a shared commitment among the UK, Ireland and the EU to avoid creating a hard border across the island of Ireland but, without some differentiation similar to that proposed for Scotland, it difficult to see what this could mean.

The third issue is the repatriation of competences. The EU framework allowed for a more expansive devolution settlement than might otherwise have been possible, by assuring a single market within the UK itself. After Brexit, there is a case for saying that some common frameworks will be needed to deal with externalities, competition, overspills and links between devolved competences and foreign affairs, including trade policy. The issue is not about whether but about how this is done.

The UK Government claims that, were those powers now shared between the devolved governments and the EU to come back to Westminster, this would not represent a loss of decision-making power, as the devolved bodies not make policy in these fields but only administer European policy; indeed any policy-making power they may get would represent an enhancement of devolution. The devolved governments do not agree. They further argue that, as these matters (notably agriculture, fisheries and the environment) are not reserved, they will default to the devolved territories unless the settlement is changed. The Welsh Government has argued for common frameworks negotiated among four nations. The Withdrawal Bill takes the opposite tack, reserving all ‘retained EU competences’, but allowing selective ‘release’ of powers back to the devolveds. There is an issue of constitutional principle at stake here and the Scottish and Welsh Government have stated that they will not recommend legislative consent to the relevant clauses.

In the absence of a written and codified constitution, the politics of Brexit has been marked by claim and counter-claim. This will continue but there will be critical moments at which some claims will prevail and be incorporated into future constitutional understandings. The evidence from the first year is that this will not play to the advantage of the devolved authorities.

 

Michael Keating is Professor of Politics at the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh and Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change. He is currently visiting professor at UCD.

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From George W Bush to Donald Trump: The Exceptional Resilience of Democracy Promotion in US Political Discourse

John Ikenberry recently wrote: “the relationship between American grand strategy, democracy promotion and international security has been debated with great intensity ever since the unexpected collapse of Soviet power between 1989 and 1991.” According to Ikenberry, this is “a debate that shows no sign of vanishing off the political agenda any time soon.” Oz Hassan and Jason Ralph went even further arguing that the concept of democracy promotion and its place in US foreign policy have “been the subject of fierce debate since the founding fathers based the United States on principles that they believed to be universal and therefore exportable.”

In this context, Tony Smith’s book, America’s Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century, represents a seminal work. In America’s Mission Smith significantly broke with the traditional research on US foreign policy. While authors like Hans Morgenthau, Kenneth Waltz, William Appleman Williams, and Noam Chomsky had based their explanations of US international behavior on either power or profit (or both), Smith identified the idea of democracy promotion as an indispensable variable to understanding US foreign policy. Within the more recent literature, two books reflect the current state of the art in the academic debate on the relationship between democracy promotion and US foreign policy. Both are collections of essays and include the work of some of the major experts in the field.

One book is The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-First Century by John Ikenberry, Tony Smith, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Thomas Knock. The Crisis of American Foreign Policy tackles questions of enduring importance. First, is US foreign policy really about the spread of freedom and democracy? Or is democracy promotion a sort of fig leaf used to cover more pragmatic geopolitical ambitions? Second, what role does democracy promotion play in the broader tradition of US liberal internationalism, also known as Wilsonianism? Third, what can we make of the complex dynamics existing among the concepts of democracy promotion, humanitarian intervention, state sovereignty, and liberal imperialism? Finally, is the Wilsonian tradition still relevant in the twenty-first century?

One of the many strengths of The Crisis of American Foreign Policy is that it does not put forward a single answer to these critical questions but instead each essay offers different, and sometimes diametrically opposed, views on the issue.

The other book is US Foreign Policy and Democracy Promotion: From Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama edited by Michael Cox, Timothy Lynch, and Nicholas Bouchet. US Foreign Policy and Democracy Promotion provides an up-to-date overview of the evolution of the US policy of promoting democracy abroad from the early twentieth century to present day. The authors especially explore the difficult foreign policy decisions US leaders must face when national material interests conflict with their country’s ideal values. Since each chapter discusses the democracy promotion record of a specific US administration, the book also advances the “fairly self-evident fact that American presidents matter a great deal when it comes to determining the country’s foreign policy.”

This article contributes to this consequential debate in at least two significant ways. First, it explores an important aspect of the relationship between democracy promotion and US foreign policy that the existent literature has not sufficiently analyzed –namely the rhetoric of democracy promotion. As noted by Guy Emerson and others, the rhetorical aspect of democracy promotion has been generally dismissed as merely a “cover for maintaining US control and the continuation of its long history of intervention.” However, I contend that the role of the rhetoric of democracy promotion in US politics is much more complex than its critics have been ready to acknowledge. In this article, I specifically investigate the causes behind democracy promotion’s enduring presence in US political discourse in the face of repeated announcements of its imminent demise. Proclamations of the end of democracy promotion in US foreign policy have been frequent in recent US history. Tellingly, they accompanied the election of all the last three presidents: George W. Bush in 2000, Barack Obama in 2008, and Donald Trump in 2016. In the cases of Bush and Obama concerns about the demise of democracy promotion were eventually proved wrong. As for Trump, I argue that there is reason to believe that the rhetoric of democracy promotion will outlast also his presidency. I maintain that the especially resilient nature of US democracy promotion can be explained by the fact that the rhetoric of championing democracy has an instrumental value even for those US leaders who do not share the Wilsonian belief that promoting liberal democratic values abroad increases US national security and improves the chances for a more peaceful world. The second contribution of this article is a study of the possibility of change in the place occupied by democracy promotion in US political discourse. Without dismissing the importance of the agency of distinct US presidents in defining US foreign policies, I suggest that the election of a new leadership alone is insufficient to significantly alter the status of democracy promotion within US political discourse. Instead, structural change in the values associated with US national identity and/or in the international distribution of power is more likely to do so.

 

Speaker bio 
I am Lecturer and Coordinator of the Masters Program in American Politics and Foreign Policy, at the Clinton Institute, University College Dublin. My research has primarily focused on issues of US foreign policy, the Middle East, terrorism, and democracy promotion.

Previously, I lectured at King’s College London, UK, (2015-16), at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, part of the UK Defence Academy (2011-13), and at John Cabot University in Rome (2016). I was also Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at City University London (2015-16).

From 2014 to 2016 I was the founding chairperson of King’s College London’s US Foreign Policy Research Group. Moreover, I contribute to media outlets such as Al-Jazeera and The Telegraph. I also peer review book proposals on US foreign policy and international affairs for Routledge and SAGE.

Twitter @EugenioLilli

Personal Blog “Web Agora”
Check out my new book New Beginning in US-Muslim Relations: President Obama and the Arab Awakening Palgrave Macmillan.

 

SPIRe Seminar Series
This blog was written to accompany a seminar in the SPIRe seminar series. Eugenio’s seminar ‘Investigating the Resilience of Democracy Promotion in U.S. Political Discourse’, discussant Dr. Vincent Duracm will be on Wednesday, Oct. 4th, 14:00-15:15.

The full schedule for the SPIRe seminar series semester 1 can be found on our website.

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