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By analysing the policy process leading to the introduction of interest registers in France and Sweden, this article argues that their use as a policy instrument was crucial for acknowledging and defining conflict of interest as a problem. It challenges rationalist approaches to public policy that focus on how the adoption of policy solutions follows the identification of policy problems, instead, favouring the acknowledgement of how problems and solutions can exist independently. To identify how interest registers became a preferred policy solution, the article traces how policies from the UK and US were integrated in the global anti-corruption toolkit in the 1990s and subsequently adopted in France and Sweden in the 2010s. It uncovers the sequencing of events, and, specifically, the evolution of public discourse on conflicts of interest around the adoption of public interest registers. It shows that interest registers contribute to (re)define the problem of conflict of interest in new contexts of adoption. The sequencing of events suggests that the problem of conflict of interest was rarely used before the instrument’s adoption and, what is important, did not have a clear ‘stabilised’ shared meaning. Interest registers thus give reality to the problem and modify its definition. By establishing which interests are to be declared in standardised forms, interest registers define new ‘risk areas’ for corruption. They also convey the idea that the problem relates to an asymmetry of information between elected officials and voters that can be corrected through transparency measures, shifting the locus of problem-solving responsibility to the public.
This article explores the development and resistance dynamics of capital in the neoliberal era of capitalist development. The context for this exploration is Latin America, the region that has been most severely impacted by the globalising dynamics of the world capitalist system, which is in the throes of a multidimensional crisis that has assumed global proportions. The region has also seen the most powerful forces of resistance to this development, a resistance led by the Indigenous and farming communities on the extractive frontier. It is argued that each advance of capital in the development process, that is, each phase in the capitalist development of the forces of production – from the colonial era of mercantilism and extractive imperialism to the era of neoliberal globalisation – has generated corresponding forces of resistance, leading to a succession of development–resistance cycles in the evolution of capitalism as a world system.
In this article we identify the ways in which Leon Trotsky’s ideas constitute a powerful resource to understand the contemporary crisis of international relations and its historical roots in the 20th century. Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development has already been highlighted as a signal contribution by an established scholarship in and around the discipline of International Relations. While this is a welcome development, we contend that it has come at a significant cost, detaching Trotsky’s theoretical insights from his revolutionary politics. We employ a different mode of engagement with Trotsky’s ideas, focusing on the theory of Permanent Revolution as an expression of an original analysis of the dialectic between the national and the international. Far from being a theoretically detachable and politically erroneous appendage to the more fundamental and applicable concept of uneven and combined development, we argue that Permanent Revolution constitutes its necessary culmination, as well as Trotsky’s most significant contribution to classical Marxism. We then elucidate how, writing in the first half of the 20th century and applying his theory of Permanent Revolution, Trotsky was able to diagnose certain essential lines of political development – the rise and ongoing breakdown of American hegemony, the political degeneration and collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence and failure of the postcolonial independent nation states – tracing the long and crisis-ridden trajectory of international relations from the second half of the 20th century down to today.
Buchanan and Wagner pointed to an asymmetry in the political rewards of deficits and surpluses, with the former being preferable to the latter. They assigned the rise of this asymmetry to the popularization of Keynesian ideas. We test both claims by relying on the historical reputation surveys of US presidents since 1948. Historical reputations have long been something presidents have cared about, and they constitute a reliable way to assess whether their reputations suffer or gain from having run deficits. We find evidence that the size of deficits tends to be associated with greater presidential scores and that this effect is stronger in more recent surveys, when Keynesian ideas were more popular.
Femonationalism, that is, the use of women’s rights rhetorics to further racial stigmatisation and promote nationalism, has been of growing interest to social scientists on European contexts. While previous studies have provided insights on the racialisation of sexism in gender equality policymaking, there is still a limited understanding of how policy frames in particular national contexts can either exacerbate or mitigate femonationalism in the making of anti-gender-based violence policy. In particular, how do frames on race and racism impact the framing of anti-street harassment policies and, by extension, the ability to prevent femonationalism?
The article explores this issue by comparing the cases of France and Britain through empirical data with policymakers and activists intervening in policymaking against street harassment in France and Britain. Findings suggest that, even though French state actors claim their colour-blindness allows them to avoid a racist framing of the problem, it actually enables it. This in turn favours a racialised framing of street harassment and leads to an inability to address the potential risk of racial targeting in the criminalisation of street harassment. Conversely, the acknowledgment of racism in Britain favours an intersectional framing of street harassment and leads to greater consideration of the risk of racial targeting. By analysing how race repertoires unfold in policy pre-adoption phases, the article therefore suggests that nationally embedded assumptions about race have a significant impact on the framing of anti-gender-based violence policy and, in turn, on femonationalism.
This article investigates the way in which disadvantaged minority social workers’ professional excellence is encouraged, drawing data from an analysis of primary documents and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 21 Palestinian welfare bureau managers in Israel. It finds that the Jewish voluntary sector is the sole player encouraging Palestinian minority social workers’ excellence, but its encouragement maintains the status quo regime, politicisation and alienation, and pushes towards neoliberalism. Most of the Palestinian welfare bureaus consciously prefer to avoid encouraging social workers’ excellence to avoid confrontation with the central government in the form of the Israeli Welfare Ministry. A small group of welfare bureaus sufficed with indirect encouragement, enlisting non-governmental organisations for the task because of the paucity of resources. A small number of bureaus that granted excellence certificates and a token gift applied three considerations. Excellence awards constituted a method for coping with the challenges facing Palestinian minority social work.
The article discusses the emergency placement of children by the Norwegian Child Welfare Services. Nine mothers were interviewed about their experiences of the transfer of care of their children. Several of the mothers had their children removed due to an emergency decision. The article focuses on one of these stories and analyses the way in which emergency placement can be seen as a form of communication and practice. The purpose of this article is to generate knowledge about how the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ is used to legitimise emergency placements and how this practice might cause more harm than benefits for individual children. The article’s analytical perspective is grounded in the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann.
How and why do civil society actors change their modes of activism and strategies under the condition of shrinking civil society space in authoritarian states? Previous studies have tended to juxtapose participatory activism, associated with broader mobilisation, and transactional activism, based on coalition building and professionalised civil society organisations. Using the illustrative example of the environmental social movement organisation RazDel’niy Sbor (‘Separate Collection’) in Saint Petersburg, we demonstrate how the strategic repertoire of civil society organisations changes from participatory to transactional activism over time. The study takes a dynamic outlook on strategies and explores how transactional activism and professionalisation are built on the previous successful participatory phase. Furthermore, the study expands our understanding of the participatory mode of activism that is interpreted in an innovative and safe way to avoid repression in the authoritarian political context of modern Russia.
This article introduces the concept of dialectic icons: public figures who feature in contentious and polarising political discourse. The inflammatory quality of dialectic icons and their role as highly mediated symbols of conflict creates long-lasting emotional energy among audiences, who cluster in ideological camps as a response. However, these audiences can also actively and directly engage in and shape these discourses, particularly through social media. Examples of the public discourse about quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests illustrate how the controversiality, newsworthiness, interactivity and visibility of dialectic icons ultimately contribute to social polarisation. By focusing on dialectic icons as proxy battlegrounds for public audiences, this article establishes a useful concept for gaining fresh insights into collective meaning- and truth-making processes.