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Chapter

Cover Political Ideologies

1. Introduction to ideology  

Contesting the nature of the ‘good society’

Paul Wetherly

This chapter explains what ideology is, why ideology is seen as a ‘contested concept’, and what roles ideology plays in politics and society. In particular, it analyses the basic conception of ideology as a system of ideas involving a vision of the good society, a critique of existing society, and a notion of political action. It examines the relationship between ideology, politics, and policy; negative perceptions of ideology prevalent in political discourse; the idea that we are all ideologists; the components or building blocks of a basic conception of ideology; and the Marxist understanding of ‘ideology’ as false or misleading ideas. The chapter also considers whether there is an independent vantage point from which to assess the claims of rival ideologies. It concludes by reflecting on the problem of relativism and the link between ideology and globalization.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

5. Affirmative Action and Discrimination  

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter argues that affirmative action is sometimes justifiable. ‘Affirmative action’ refers to policies beyond anti-discrimination law that directly regulate selection procedures to enhance the representation of members of various socially salient groups, such as those based on gender, race, and ethnicity. The chapter outlines an argument in support of affirmative action by distinguishing three prominent forms of wrongful discrimination and by showing that affirmative action is the appropriate response to the past and present wrongful discrimination suffered by members of socially salient groups. It also adds a second argument for affirmative action that appeals to the importance of enhancing diversity and social integration. The chapter then tackles several objections and reflects on the implications of these arguments for the design of affirmative action policies.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

18. Political participation  

Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm

This chapter examines four fundamental topics relating to political participation. First, it considers different modes of political participation such as social movements, interest groups, and political parties. Second, it analyses the determinants of political participation, focusing in particular on the paradox of collective action. Third, it explains political participation at the macro level in order to identify which contextual conditions are conducive to participation and the role of economic affluence in political participation. Finally, the chapter discusses political participation at the micro level. It shows that both formal associations and informal social networks, configured around family and friendship ties, supplement individual capacities to engage in political participation or compensate for weak capacities, so as to boost an individual’s probability to become politically active.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

1. Introduction: Approaches and Concepts  

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker

This chapter looks at how we consider the European Union (EU) today. The EU is now regarded as an international actor. In this way, the development of the EU, this chapter shows, as a system of international relations in itself can be related analytically to the place it occupies in the process of international relations, and to its position as a ‘power’ in the global arena. This sort of analysis, the chapter argues, facilitates an understanding of the ways in which the EU produces international action and the ways in which the international dimension enters into EU policymaking. This relates particularly to the many crises that have affected the EU in the last few years, such as the eurozone crisis, the war in Ukraine, Brexit, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

2. The European Union as a Subsystem of International Relations  

Simon Duke and Sophie Vanhoonacker

This chapter focuses on the European Union as a subsystem of international relations. It examines the following questions, taking into account the historical context in which EU foreign policy has developed as well as the theoretical pluralism that has characterized its study. First, how has the EU dealt with its own international relations internally? Second, what are the ideas and principles underlying EU foreign policy? Third, what is the EU's collective action capacity in relation to the rest of the world? The chapter illustrates interstate dynamics as a result of European integration by focusing on the cases of France, Germany, and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). It also considers the EU's international identity and its role as a collective actor.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

18. Political Participation  

Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm

This chapter examines four fundamental questions relating to political participation. First, it considers different modes of political participation such as social movements, interest groups, and political parties. Second, it analyses the determinants of political participation, focusing in particular on the paradox of collective action. Third, it explains political participation at the macro-level in order to identify which contextual conditions are conducive to participation and the role of economic affluence in political participation. Finally, the chapter discusses political participation at the micro-level. It shows that both formal associations and informal social networks, configured around family and friendship ties, supplement individual capacities to engage in political participation or compensate for weak capacities, so as to boost an individual’s probability to become politically active.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

2. Politics  

This chapter discusses the meaning of politics and where it operates at the global level. Using a distinctive approach to theorising global politics, it explores the meaning of politics through everyday uses and understandings, considering ideas of coercion, authority, and legitimacy. The chapter also examines and challenges the myth that only powerful elites engage in politics, showing instead that politics is at work all the time in everyday lives and experience. It then looks at how influential thinkers define politics, studying the theories of political scientist Harold Lasswell and ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Finally, the chapter considers what it means to think theoretically about politics. Thinking critically and theoretically about politics is itself a political act that alters the everyday understanding of the world, and opens up new possibilities for action, challenging the myth that there is a natural way of organising politics.

Chapter

Cover Political Ideologies

5. Anarchism  

David Bates

This chapter examines the key ideas and concepts of ‘classical’ anarchist thinkers. Among the ideas associated with anarchism are: a belief in the potential of human nature, and a corresponding critique of arbitrary authority; a refusal of state authority; a rejection of the institution of private property; militant atheism; and an emphasis on the importance of revolutionary politics. The chapter first considers how anarchist views on human nature, the state, political action, private property, and religion vary, and where possible, what unites them. It then discusses recent critical responses to anarchism, particularly ‘post-anarchism’, and specific historical examples of anarchism. It also analyses the extent to which anarchism can be regarded as a cohesive political ideology.

Chapter

Cover Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Methodological Individualism and Holism  

Suzan Gibril

This chapter discusses methodological individualism and holism, which are often the focus of ontological debate. Methodological individualism (MI) is a paradigm in the social sciences that emerged from sociology and philosophy. The main purpose of MI is not to favour the individual over the collective, but to explain the occurrence of social phenomena by an action-driven rhetoric, which is motivated by intentional states. MI is primarily based on three postulates: the individualistic postulate; the comprehension postulate; and the rationality postulate. Holism, in contrast, is based on the idea that society cannot be reduced solely to its constituent parts — i.e. individuals. Individuals are the product of societies, histories, economic inequalities, social status, and so on. Therefore, they should be treated as objects that can only be perceived and understood from within.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

17. Political culture  

Christian Welzel and Ronald Inglehart

This chapter examines the role that the concept of political culture plays in comparative politics. In particular, it considers how the political culture field increases our understanding of the social roots of democracy and how these roots are transforming through cultural change. In analysing the inspirational forces of democracy, key propositions of the political culture approach are compared with those of the political economy approach. The chapter first provides an overview of cultural differences around the world, before tracing the historical roots of the political culture concept. It then tackles the question of citizens’ democratic maturity and describes the allegiance model of the democratic citizen. It also explores party–voter dealignment, the assertive model of the democratic citizen, and political culture in non-democracies. It concludes with an assessment of how trust, confidence, and social capital increase a society’s capacity for collective action.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

8. Implementation  

Making the European Union’s International Relations Work

Michael E. Smith

This chapter examines the policy instruments used by the European Union to translate its common interests into collective action in the international arena. It first considers the problem of implementation in EU foreign policy before discussing the EU's own resources in external relations/third countries as well as the role of member states' resources in EU's external relations. It then explores the instruments of EU foreign policy, which can be grouped into diplomatic, economic, and military/civilian capabilities. It also analyses the credibility and capability gaps in the EU's policy implementation, noting that there exists a key divide between the ‘low politics’ of economic affairs and the ‘high politics’ of security/defence affairs. The chapter suggests that the EU's unique capacity for policy implementation in the area of international relations can be very erratic.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

17. Political Culture  

Christian Welzel and Ronald Inglehart

This chapter examines the role that the concept of political culture plays in comparative politics. In particular, it considers how the political culture field increases our understanding of the social roots of democracy and how these roots are transforming through cultural change. In analysing the inspirational forces of democracy, key propositions of the political culture approach are compared with those of the political economy approach. The chapter first provides an overview of cultural differences around the world, before tracing the historical roots of the political culture concept. It then tackles the question of citizens’ democratic maturity and describes the allegiance model of the democratic citizen. It also explores party–voter dealignment, the assertive model of the democratic citizen, and political culture in non-democracies. It concludes with an assessment of how trust, confidence, and social capital increase a society’s capacity for collective action.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

29. Arendt  

Justine Lacroix

This chapter examines a number of key concepts in Hannah Arendt's work, with particular emphasis on how they have influenced contemporary thought about the meaning of human rights. It begins with a discussion of Arendt's claim that totalitarianism amounts to a destruction of the political domain and a denial of the human condition itself; this in turn had occurred only because human rights had lost all validity. It then considers Arendt's formula of the ‘right to have rights’ and how it opens the way to a ‘political’ conception of human rights founded on the defence of republican institutions and public-spiritedness. It shows that this ‘political’ interpretation of human rights is itself based on an underlying understanding of the human condition as marked by natality, liberty, plurality and action, The chapter concludes by reflecting on the so-called ‘right to humanity’.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

1. Interconnections between science and politics  

This chapter discusses the complex and multifaceted relationship between science and politics. Although science and politics each follow a distinct logic and pursue distinct objectives, they are inextricably connected to one another. On the one hand, science influences political debates, by drawing attention to certain problems and providing necessary justifications for political action. On the other hand, political dynamics, including political values and power relations, structure the conduct of science. The chapter highlights the different aspects of the co-production of science and politics, in the framework of international environmental debates. An increasing number of studies on global environmental governance suggest that science and politics are co-produced. As they shape each other, it is impossible to understand one without considering the other. Political interactions are partly based on available knowledge, and scientific production is a social practice that is conditioned by its political context.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

Introduction  

This introductory chapter presents global environmental politics as an important area of international and transnational cooperation and as a distinct field of study. First, as an area of cooperation, global environmental politics emerged out of the need to work together internationally and transnationally to address some pressing environmental problems, such as biodiversity loss, climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the rapid reduction of global fish stocks. Independent state action at the local and national levels is not sufficient to address global environmental issues: these issues require cooperation through global governance. Second, as a field of study, global environmental politics investigates the various dimensions of emerging actions on global environmental issues. It is a diverse field of study from both theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

29. Immanuel Kant  

Stella Sandford

This chapter focuses on Immanuel Kant’s political writings and their influence on the history of Western philosophy. It critically examines the major problems in Kant’s political thought, such as its relation to Eurocentrism and the racial theory of development. But also, this chapter explains the main tenets of Kant’s philosophy including the practical and theoretical parts, transcendental idealism, and the categorical imperative. The theoretical part of Kant’s philosophy explains the metaphysical and deals with the natural world, while the practical part addresses human action. It further examines, his political philosophy, including universal history and the metaphysical foundations of political theory. The chapter then turns considers the impact of Kant’s philosophy as well as its problems, notably in relation to ideal and non-ideal theory.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

13. The institutions of the Common Foreign and Security Policy:  

between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism

Ana E. Juncos

This chapter examines the institutional arrangements in the European Union’s (EU’s) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The chapter first charts the historical development of this policy, with foreign policy cooperation being one of the last policy areas to emerge at the EU level. Thus, many of the institutions operating in this area have only been recently established, including the High Representative, the European External Action Service, and many of the administrative bodies supporting the implementation of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, which comprises the EU’s civilian and military operations. The chapter then analyses the main institutional actors involved in the CFSP, focusing on their ability to shape the decision-making and implementation of this policy. The following sections also examine the five dimensions of EU institutional politics and how these play out in this particular area, highlighting the key challenges the EU faces in becoming a fully fledged international actor.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights

Treaties, Monitoring, and Enforcement  

Emily Hencken Ritter

This chapter explores the monitoring and enforcement of treaties, which is the foundation of international human rights law. The international nature of human rights treaties (HRT) makes it difficult to monitor and enforce states' compliance with treaty obligations. The chapter looks at how international organizations, domestic institutions, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and civilians monitor state compliance and invoke enforcement when necessary. It then explains the difficulty of constraining a state with the power to harm while demonstrating the power of collective action to change government practices. The process of compliance with international law involves standard setting, state compliance behaviour, monitoring, and enforcement. The chapter also highlights the difference between de jure and de facto rights protections. It looks into the social movements, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement, monitoring and enforcing state accountability to international HRT obligations.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

31. Habermas  

Kenneth Baynes

This chapter examines Jürgen Habermas's major contributions to social and political thought. Habermas is regarded as one of the most influential figures in contemporary political theory. In his later work Habermas has begun to expand the normative political implications of his work in social theory and philosophy, culminating in Between Facts and Norms. This chapter first provides an overview of Habermas's earlier work, especially his study on the transformation of the liberal or bourgeois public sphere, before discussing his theory of communicative action (or action based on mutually supposed validity claims). It then considers Habermas's attempt, in Between Facts and Norms, to develop an account of deliberative politics anchored on the idea of political legitimacy and concludes with an analysis of cosmopolitanism as well as his views on discourse theory, democracy, the system of rights, and ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ publics.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

24. Environmental Policy  

Viviane Gravey, Andrew Jordan, and David Benson

Despite its very strong economic roots, the European Union has nonetheless become an international leader in environmental protection and sustainable development policy. Environmental concerns have consequently shifted from being a marginal aspect of the European integration process to one that routinely grabs news headlines and, unlike many other EU policy areas, generates relatively strong political support from EU citizens. In the past, these policies, which now impinge on most sectors and areas of the economy, have proven resilient to economic and deregulatory pressures. This chapter documents and explores the reasons behind the relatively rapid transformation in the EU’s governing capabilities in this policy area, explores the main dynamics of policy-making from different analytical perspectives, and explores the impact of challenges such as climate change, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic.