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Author: Daniel Künzler

There is a growing literature on the legacy of colonial social policies in sub-Saharan Africa. In the UN subregion Middle Africa, the colonial period is marked by concession economies. However, the francophone and especially the iberophone countries of this region are largely ignored in the literature. A literature-based historical sociology approach is used to answer two research questions to address this gap: What were the driving forces of social policies in concession economies? And what is their post-colonial legacy? Case studies of the concession economies of Angola, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé e Príncipe have been made. They reveal three key drivers of social services and schemes in concession economies: the scarcity of labour, domestic pressure and international pressure. The social services and schemes provided varied. They were most extensive in company towns where at the end of the colonial period the social reproduction of the workforce was possible, less extensive in what could be termed company villages, smaller in the scattered plantations and forest camps, and too small to create a permanent workforce in one concession. However, in a context of population growth, labour was no longer scarce and lost its bargaining power. Governmental and especially international pressure supported the reversal of social services through privatisation and informalisation. The quality of these services and schemes generally declined after independence. Therefore, labour scarcity is a key condition for the provision of social services by concession companies.

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The gender-blind ‘workless’ frame has been increasingly prominent in UK welfare discourse in recent decades and has played a significant role in the political justification of Universal Credit – a key plank of UK welfare reform since 2013. Meanwhile, Universal Credit has been highlighted as problematic for gender equality. This article seeks to ‘fill in the middle’ between the use of the ‘workless’ frame in recent welfare discourse, including at the agenda-setting stage of Universal Credit, and the gendered implications of Universal Credit. It does this by analysing how the frame functions in government evaluation frameworks and impact assessments (including equality impact assessments), and in the implementation of Universal Credit (drawing on secondary analysis of interviews with claimants and focus groups with welfare practitioners). The analysis suggests that the ‘workless’ frame is promoting gender rowback by de-gendering welfare, devaluing care – particularly that performed by lone parents – and undermining the sharing of care in couple households.

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Considering gender inequality in time as a resource for political participation and using Wave 5 of the European Social Survey data on 24 European countries, this study examines: (1) the relationship of both long working hours and unsociable work schedules to participation in national elections in Europe before or during 2010; (2) factors that may mediate this association; and (3) gender differences in this relationship and occupation-specific patterns. The findings show that both working more than 45 hours per week and working evenings, nights or weekends are associated with lower national electoral participation in women with both high and low occupational status. Among men with the lowest occupational status, working long hours is also linked to lower participation. These findings are robust against controlling for important confounders. Political interest seems to partially mediate the negative effect of unsociable work schedules on voting in women. Neither health nor social engagement plays a mediation role.

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Using discourse analysis as its methodology, this article demonstrates how the Turkish political elite sought to play a ‘Western nation role’ towards Afghanistan in order to appeal indirectly to the US political elite. In that sense, this article underlines how, under coalition (1999–2002) and the Justice and Development Party (2002–) rule, the Turkish governments used security and humanitarian narratives to underscore Turkey’s contributions to Western security after the 11 September 2001 attacks. Continuing on from those narratives, the article explains how a non-Western Muslim country could consider fellow Muslim nations as ‘others’ in order to present itself as a Western actor. This document also details how queer international relations theory and securitisation theory explain the Turkish elite’s decision-making during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s presence in Afghanistan over the last two decades. To that end, this article highlights how the Justice and Development Party government continued the pro-Western narratives of its predecessor coalition government, which decided to send Turkish military forces into Afghanistan in order to appeal to the US political elite.

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Authors: Roxana Burciu and Swen Hutter

Initial fears of a standstill in political participation during the COVID-19 pandemic have not come true. Nevertheless, the voices heard in politics may have changed in such a radically altered social and political context. Specifically, the current article examines whether the gender gap in political participation has widened during the pandemic, reinforcing the gendered impact of the pandemic and state measures to cope with it. To empirically assess the development and drivers of the gender gap in political participation, we rely on original survey data for Germany collected in autumn 2020 and spring 2021. Based on retrospective questions about pre-pandemic behaviour and a within-pandemic panel, our results indicate three points: (1) the COVID-19 crisis has slightly increased the gender gap in participation; (2) COVID-19-related burdens (such as increasing care obligations) have not restrained, but fostered, participation; and (3) this mobilising effect is, however, stronger among men than women.

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Authors: Simon Mabon and Saloni Kapur

Despite areas of synergy, international relations theory has typically considered South and West Asia as analytically distinct. Following the work of Barry Buzan, whose work on regional security complexes is formative in shaping the intellectual debate, the Gulf is considered a subregion of a larger Middle Eastern regional security complex, while South Asia is regarded as its own regional security complex. This article argues that the analytical distinction between these different (sub)regional security complexes has become blurred, reflecting the emergence of a supercomplex. We contend that strong patterns of amity, enmity and securitisation that link the two regional security complexes suggest a thinning boundary between them, with the potential for them to merge. We distinguish between a supercomplex and a merger using the concepts of amity, enmity and securitisation provided by regional security complex theory. We add the English School’s ideas of order, justice and regional society to enhance our understanding. We focus on three issues in which the two regions interact: the Abraham Accords; the Iran nuclear crisis, and Jammu and Kashmir. We argue that increasing relations between the two regional security complexes have resulted in a supercomplex, with powerful states in both regional security complexes seeking to project their power into the adjacent regional security complex. We further note the strengthening patterns of amity, enmity and securitisation connecting the two regions, leading to a thinning of the boundary separating South and West Asia. We contribute to the literature on regional security complex theory by clarifying the distinction between a supercomplex and a merger through the South-West Asian case.

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By examining all speech in the 18th legislative period (2013–17) of the German Bundestag, including 6,598,831 words in 51,337 text segments, we compare women’s and men’s parliamentary speech. Our approach builds on the agnostic view on representation and follows a bottom-up approach, which avoids pre-set definitions of what is women’s or men’s language use. By analysing the frequencies of the most used words and keywords from semantic networks, we find four notable descriptive patterns. First, female members of parliament tended to talk more about stereotypical ‘feminine’ policy issues like, for instance, contraception. Second, female members of parliament put people more central in their language, while male members of parliament focused more on Germany as a country. Third, women focused more on procedures than men. Lastly, female members of parliament used a politer language style, for instance, by thanking others, more than male members of parliament.

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In the world we live in today, the presence and claims of crisis abound – from climate change, financial and political crisis to depression, livelihoods and personal security crisis. There is a challenge to studying crisis due to the ways in which crisis as a notion, condition and experience refers to and operates at various societal levels. Further, different kinds of crisis can overlap and intersect with each other, and act as precursors or consequences of other crises, in what can be thought of as inter-crisis relations or chains of crises. This article makes an enquiry into how to develop more adequate analytical tools for understanding crisis as a multidimensional phenomenon. We ask how crisis can be conceptualised and what the analytical potentials of a distinct crisis perspective might be? In this article we suggest a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to bridge between traditionally separated realms. Our ambition is to present a case for the development of Interdisciplinary Crisis Studies as a field of scholarly enquiry, which allows for new perspectives on data collection and analysis. Using the cases of, first, crisis and security and, second, crisis and climate, conflict and migration, we illustrate how studying and intervening in crises requires non-linear approaches which connect across disciplines to develop more comprehensive, interdisciplinary understandings of societal problems and better solutions. In concluding the paper, we assert that key features of Interdisciplinary Crisis Studies must include (1) temporality, spatiality and scale; (2) multi-layeredness, processuality and contradictions; and (3) gender, intersectionality and social inequalities.

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