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Rights to Recognition

Minority/Indigenous Politics in the Emerging Taiwanese Nationalism

Kun-hui Ku

The demand for rights to recognition among the indigenous activists in Taiwan was part of a larger movement for democratization before the lifting of martial law and was supported by international concurrence. The transfer of power from the Nationalist Party (KMT) regime to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) marks a rising consciousness of Taiwanese nationalism. By examining public discourses/rituals and the debates about the organizational reforms, I show how the changing perceptions and status of the indigenous population within the state are used to legitimize the new national identity. By examining the political processes involved in the politics of recognition, on the other hand, I also explore how the indigenous activists exploit to their advantage opportunities that have arisen during the national restructuring.

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What Should the Citizen Know about Politics?

Two Approaches to the Measurement of Political Knowledge

Lauri Rapeli

The aim of this study is to provide an empirical example of how an election-related empirical indicator of political knowledge can be constructed. Studies of political knowledge have shown that most citizens fall short of the democratic ideal in terms of their knowledge about politics. But according to critics it is unclear what the reference point for such conclusions has been. The critics say that indicators of political knowledge lack a transparent logic and connection to concrete political behavior. In this study two measures of political knowledge are compared: one is a general measure of political knowledge; the other is based on a specific analytical framework by Kuklinski and Quirk (2001). Both the aggregate distribution and the individual-level determinants of political knowledge are compared. The differences between the two measures are found to be minor. The findings suggest that although specific and theory-driven measures offer a nuanced view into the public's knowledge levels, general measures of political knowledge also provide a reliable understanding of what the public knows.

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James Furner

'Tacit consent' has long interested historians of political thought and political philosophers, but its nuances nevertheless remain unappreciated. It has its roots in the Roman law concept of a 'tacit declaration of will'. Explicating this concept allows a new conception of tacit consent to be proposed, which I term the 'tacit declaration of consent'. The tacit declaration of consent avoids both the triviality of common sense views and a weakness in Hobbes' account. Unlike other contemporary philosophical accounts, it avoids fictions and meets the condition of intentionality. Furthermore, it also advances understanding of the sorts of claim offered by proponents of a tacit consent-based theory of political obligation, whilst facilitating a more radical critique. The tacit consent-based theory of political obligation is not simply limited in application, but indefensible. It unwarrantedly transposes onto tacit consent the potentially fictional character of declarations of will.

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Caterina Paolucci

The success of the Five Star Movement, with its anti-political and populist challenge to the establishment, did not lead to multipolar competition. Rather, it furthered a moderate bipolar party system dynamic between the center-left and center-right. Although it lost millions of votes, the center-right fared relatively well, allowing Silvio Berlusconi to regain a relevant position in the party-political game. Although stripped of his seat and expelled from the Chamber following a tax fraud conviction, Berlusconi realized, thanks also to the election of centrist Matteo Renzi as the new secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), that it would suit him better to moderate his claims. This new development may lead to an unexpected alliance between the PD and Berlusconi's revived personal party, Forza Italia, and may perhaps result in regaining the electorate lost to the M5S.

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Blake Ewing

Political theorists, especially in the subfield of ideology studies, continue to draw insights from Begriffsgeschichte (conceptual history) to help them better analyze the morphology of political concepts over time. However, other aspects of Reinhart Koselleck’s work remain underutilized. This is especially true of the connections between Begriffsgeschichte and his development of a theory of history (Historik), dealing with the broader intersection of language, structure, and the experience of time. This article focuses on just one aspect of this intersection: on the potential relevance of Koselleck’s use of the concept of horizon to theorize a particular “horizonal mode” of the politics of time. After discussing some relevant features of the horizon metaphor, the article moves to reappraise Koselleck’s use of the concept before elaborating and expanding on it to claim that Koselleck helps to showcase the contestation of different temporal horizons as a core feature of political thinking.

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Alexander Wohnig

Since the 1990s, political apathy among young people has been a recurrent issue in political science. This article examines, on the basis of a survey of the current debate about political apathy in Germany and an analysis of civic education textbooks for the lower secondary level in Baden-Württemberg, how contemporary German textbooks reflect young people’s interest in politics. This article will show that, while political apathy in textbooks can be explained as the result of either an individual deficit on the part of the reader or a structuralist deficit of the political system, the latter explanation is more likely to encourage critical political thinking among young people in Germany.

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Les Ambivalences de la Rationalisation

À propos du rôle joué par les médias dans la présidentielle 2012

Eric Lagneau and Cyril Lemieux

By comparison with 2002 and 2007, does the 2012 presidential election reveal significant changes in French media functioning and their relations with the political sphere? To answer this question, this article challenges four statements heard during the campaign. They deal with the contribution of the media to François Hollande's victory, the way journalists reported on the campaign, the role played by the polls and finally, the candidates' strategies in media agenda setting. Even if the features traditionally ascribed to the French media (social proximity between journalists and politicians, importance of state regulation and public service, orientation toward the intellectual viewpoint in the patterns of media coverage) have not completely vanished, they describe reality less and less. Indeed, as shown in the article, both the media and the political sphere are today subjected to a converging process of rationalization that transforms their practices and mutual relations.

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George Ross

“French studies” were much easier to do thirty years ago when French Politics, Culture & Society was founded. France then seemed, and largely was, synonymous with Paris, which appeared knowable. It also seemed possible to scan French intellectual and cultural life across disciplines, in part because the Parisian French media loudly announced where the action was. French politics also looked distinctive internationally and French leaders projected themselves around the planet. It was understandable that FPCS would have holistic goals and attempt to cover as much of what was happening as possible while eagerly embracing inter-disciplinarity. Since then there have been massive changes, however. France's intellectual, cultural, social, and political biographies have been decentralized, Europeanized, globalized, and internationalized. French academic disciplines, like those in other countries, have been subdivided, often in difficult-to-follow ways. France itself, in the 1980s a formerly colonial great power that still spoke stridently in world affairs, is now a medium-sized member of the EU under very great economic and social strains. It is vastly harder to do holistic “French studies” now. All the more reason to try!

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The Politics of Time

Zeitgeist in Early Nineteenth-Century Political Discourse

Theo Jung

This article traces the uses of zeitgeist in early nineteenth-century European political discourse. To explain the concept's explosive takeoff in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, two perspectives are combined. On the one hand, the concept is shown to be a key element in the new, “temporalized” discourses of cultural reflection emerging during this time. On the other, its pragmatic value as a linguistic tool in concrete political constellations is outlined on the basis of case studies from French, British, and German political discourse. Developing this two-sided perspective, the article sheds light on an important aspect of early nineteenth-century political discourse while also pointing to some general considerations concerning the relationship between the semantic and pragmatic analysis of historical language use.

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Jeremy Valentine

This article attempts to show how the conventional opposition between art and culture, on the one hand, and administration and organization, on the other, has been displaced. The main reason given for this phenomenon is the convergence of the collapse of notions of the political and aesthetic causality of art and culture with the destabilizing effects of postmodernism on organizational and administrative stability. After a discussion of the emergence of political regimes of audit within relations between culture and administration, the article locates the causes of the dominance of 'cultural governance' within the dynamics of modernist aesthetic values such as autonomy. The article concludes with a discussion of some optimistic possibilities that may arise from this scenario.