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Chapter

Cover Comparative European Politics

7. The Executive Branch  

Petra Schleiter

This chapter offers a clear introduction to the history, constitutional structure, and powers of the modern executive in European countries. It provides an overview of the constitutional position of the political executive in parliamentary and semi-presidential democracies, then charts variations in the powers of key actors (including prime ministers, cabinets, and presidents) and their political implications for conflict within government, cabinet stability, and policy processes. The text complements its coverage of the political executive with an analysis of the civil service and the political challenges of controlling it, and concludes with a comprehensive assessment of the rise in executive autonomy and its political implications in the twenty-first century.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

4. Recreational Drugs and Paternalism  

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

This chapter explores whether it is justifiable for a state to discourage an individual from using recreational drugs. It focuses on paternalist arguments—that is, arguments that appeal to the idea that a state may intervene in an individual’s life for their own good. The chapter argues against the justifiability of these policies, except in some extreme cases. It offers three arguments for the anti-paternalist claim that a state may not intervene in an individual’s life for their own good. These are that there is value in an individual acting autonomously; that it is disrespectful to intervene in an individual’s life for their own good; and that an individual is a better judge of their interests than the state. The chapter also examines whether it is justifiable for a state to intervene in an individual’s life for their own good when that individual is misinformed about the options. In the case of recreational drugs, the appropriate response to misinformation is to educate an individual about the effects of drugs, rather than to discourage their use. Finally, the chapter outlines some implications of this argument for the design of drug policy.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

8. Governments and bureaucracies  

Wolfgang C. Müller

This chapter examines the decision-making modes of governments and their capacities to govern, with particular emphasis on bureaucracies that support governments in their tasks of ruling and administrating the country. It first presents the relevant definitions before discussing different modes of government that reflect the internal balance of power: presidential government, cabinet government, prime ministerial government, and ministerial government. It then considers the autonomy of government, especially from political parties and the permanent bureaucracy, along with the political capacity of governments, the relevance of unified versus divided government, majority versus minority government, and single-party versus coalition government. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the technocratic capacities of government, focusing on issues such as classic bureaucracy, the politicization of bureaucracies, and New Public Management systems.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

20. International organizations in world politics  

Susan Park

This chapter examines the role that international organizations play in world politics. It explains what international organizations are, whether we need international organizations in international relations, and what constraints and opportunities exist for international organizations to achieve their mandates. The chapter also considers the reasons why states create international organizations and how we can analyse the behaviour of such organizations. Two case studies are presented: the first looks at Africa's premier financial institution which is the African Development Bank which was created in 1964 to facilitate regional cooperation and financial autonomy and the second considers ‘non-liberal’ IOs with a specific examination of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

8. Governments and Bureaucracies  

Wolfgang C. Müller

This chapter examines the decision-making modes of governments and their capacities to govern, with particular emphasis on bureaucracies that support governments in their tasks of ruling and administrating the country. It first presents the relevant definitions before discussing different modes of government that reflect the internal balance of power: presidential government, cabinet government, prime ministerial government, and ministerial government. It then considers the autonomy of government, especially from political parties and the permanent bureaucracy, along with the political capacity of governments, the relevance of unified versus divided government, majority versus minority government, and single-party versus coalition government. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the bureaucratic capacities of government, focusing on issues such as classic bureaucracy, the politicization of bureaucracies, and New Public Management systems.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

3. Hate Speech and Freedom of Expression  

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

This chapter assesses when, if ever, a state should restrict hate speech. Political disputes about this topic are part of broader disagreements about the limits of freedom of expression. The chapter makes a case for restricting hate speech when, and on the grounds that, it incites or makes more likely harm to particular members of society. It considers whether some familiar justifications for freedom of expression provide a persuasive case against this view, exploring arguments that appeal to autonomy, individual interests in expression, and the dangers of granting the state regulatory power. None of these justifications supports the protection of hate speech. The chapter then sketches the kinds of hate speech legislation that these arguments justify.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

11. Globalization’s Impact on States  

Colin Hay

This chapter discusses globalization's impact on states. There is no topic more controversial in the field of global political economy than the impact of globalization on the accountability, autonomy, capacity, and sovereignty of the nation state; and the controversy has only intensified since the onset of the global financial crisis. Arguably, the democratic character of governance in contemporary societies is at stake in such debates. The chapter reviews the extensive controversy that surrounds such questions, focusing attention on the principal mechanisms in and through which globalization is seen to impact upon the nation state and the empirical evidence that might either substantiate or question the existence of such mechanisms. It also provides a detailed assessment of the case for and against the globalization thesis, examining the extent to which global economic integration might be seen to restrict the parameters of domestic political autonomy. Moreover, the chapter differentiates between the politics of globalization and the globalization of politics. It concludes by considering the complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship between globalization, democracy, and the nation state.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

4. Plato  

C. D. C. Reeve

This chapter examines Plato's main political ideas. It first provides a biography of Plato before discussing the overall argument of the Republic and the philosopher–kings that are its centrepiece. It then considers the Form of the good, knowledge of which is exclusive and essential to the philosopher–kings, along with the structure of the city envisioned by them, known as kallipolis, and its key operating principle. It also analyses the kallipolis from a variety of politically significant perspectives; for example, whether it is based on false ideology, whether it involves a totalitarian intrusion of the political into the private sphere, or whether it treats its least powerful members such as invalids, infants, and slaves in an unjust way. The chapter concludes by exploring how the kallipolis limits freedom of speech, artistic expression, personal freedom, and autonomy.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

10. The European Commission  

Morten Egeberg

This chapter provides a general introduction to the European Commission, the main executive body of the European Union (EU). It argues that it is more productive to compare the Commission to national executives or to a government than to a secretariat of a traditional international organization. It begins with a summary of the Commission’s functions within the EU’s policy process. It then considers the question of Commission influence and autonomy, before moving on to look at the structure, demography, and decision behaviour within the organization—that is, at the role of the President of the Commission and the Commissioners, at the Commissioners’ personal staffs, and at the Commission administration. It then examines the committees and administrative networks that link the Commission to national administrations and interest groups, and the recent growth of EU agencies. The chapter concludes by emphasizing that the Commission is much more of a European(ized) and supranational institution than it was at its inception.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Theories

5. Neoliberalism  

Jennifer Sterling-Folker

This chapter examines the neoliberalist argument that international institutions promote international cooperation. While neoliberalism acknowledges that cooperation can be difficult to achieve in anarchic conditions, it insists that institutions allow states to overcome a variety of collective action impediments. The central concern of neoliberal analysis is how institutions do so, and how they might be redesigned to more efficiently obtain cooperative outcomes. This chapter considers three questions that are relevant for understanding neoliberal contributions: How did neoliberalism emerge? What are the barriers to international cooperation? How does neoliberalism study international institutions? The chapter uses the World Trade Organization as a case study to illustrate the importance of institutional design for international free trade cooperation. Along the way, various concepts such as interdependence, hegemonic stability, hegemon, bargaining, defection, compliance, autonomy, and principal–agent theory are discussed, along with the game known as Prisoner’s Dilemma.

Chapter

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

14. The International Politics of the Gulf  

Matteo Legrenzi

This chapter focuses on the international politics of the Gulf region, which are defined by the interplay of the local states and outside powers. The domestic framework and its interactions with transnational influences and external actors are crucial to understanding the environment within which local states operate — whether revolutionary Iran, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or the Gulf monarchies themselves. Given that regime security drives states in their foreign policies, the need to cope with both internal and external threats is compelling. Outside actors are important in as much as they supply or help to combat such threats. The withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the relative immunity of the Gulf monarchies from the effects of the Arab Spring have afforded these states greater regional influence and autonomy, but events since 2015 also reveal deep divides among them over issues like IS, Iranian foreign policy, and the war in Yemen.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

13. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governance  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter explores the relations between the executive and legislative branches of government, along with their role in formulating government policy. It first describes the general framework of legislature–executive relations before discussing the civil service and its embedded autonomy. It then examines theories of bureaucratic policy-making, with particular emphasis on the problem of facilitating policy innovation, as well as the more recent proliferation of government agencies and the concepts of governance and good governance. It also considers the spread of the domain of policy-making beyond state officials or civil servants to issue networks and policy communities and concludes by analysing the emergence of a ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

13. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governance  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter explores the relations between the executive and legislative branches of government, along with their role in formulating government policy. It first describes the general framework of legislature–executive relations before discussing the civil service and its embedded autonomy. It then examines theories of bureaucratic policy-making, with particular emphasis on the problem of facilitating policy innovation, as well as the more recent proliferation of government agencies and the concepts of governance and good governance. It also considers the spread of the domain of policy-making beyond state officials or civil servants to issue networks and policy communities and concludes by analysing the emergence of a ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

14. The EU’s Security and Defence Policy: A New Leap Forward?  

Jolyon Howorth

This chapter examines the ways in which, since the late 1990s, the European Union (EU) has tried to emerge as an effective security and defence actor, albeit one focused on overseas missions connected not with expeditionary warfare but with crisis management and regional stabilization. It starts off by analysing the theoretical approaches to the emergence of this new policy area. It then addresses the empirical factors which caused the EU to tackle new and significant security challenges. Next, it considers the implications for international relations of the EU’s emergence as a security actor and the significance of the EU’s forty overseas missions. Finally, it analyses the developments since the publication of the 2016 European Global Strategy document in the context of new and serious security threats in its Southern and Eastern neighbourhoods. These developments were given sharper focus by Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, intensifying the debate on the EU’s desire to acquire ‘strategic autonomy’. Finally, the chapter examines the growing debate over the EU’s capacity to defend itself from external aggression without overt US support and suggests the contours of a new transatlantic bargain.