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Chapter

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán

This chapter examines the key features of modern democracy, as well as its origins. It first explains what democracy means in the field of comparative politics, before discussing different models of democracy, including presidential democracy, parliamentary democracy, and democracies oriented towards consensus or majoritarian rule. It then describes the conditions—economic and political, domestic, and international—that allow some countries to become democratic but preserve others under the rule of dictatorships. In particular, it analyses the variables that facilitate the democratization of dictatorships and the factors that place democracies at risk of becoming authoritarian regimes. Finally, it reflects on the future of democracy and looks at the challenges that lie ahead for new generations of citizens.

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This chapter discusses the nature of politics and political analysis. It first defines the nature of politics and explains what constitutes ‘the political’ before asking whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It then considers the boundary problems inherent in analysing the political and whether politics should be defined in narrow terms, in the context of the state, or whether it is better defined more broadly by encompassing other social institutions. It also addresses the question of whether politics involves consensus among communities, rather than violent conflict and war. The chapter goes on to describe empirical, normative, and semantic forms of political analysis as well as the deductive and inductive methods of the study of politics. Finally, it examines whether politics can be a science.

Chapter

The development of European integration has meant that member states have experienced Europeanization and as a consequence the EU has become a more politicized issue in domestic politics. Politicization has come over time and as a consequence of the decline of a permissive consensus and takes some very different forms. The chapter considers the place of the domestic politicization of European integration in theories of European integration and then reviews different periods of the history of European integration, highlighting the growing phenomena of Europeanization and politicization. The chapter then looks at Euroscepticism and its meaning and different forms and identifying which parties can currently be identified as Eurosceptic and what issues Euroscepticism blends with in different member states. The chapter then offers a typology for understanding the different ways in which the politicization of European integration plays out in the party systems of member states.

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This chapter discusses the extent to which decision-making in the European Union can be considered democratic and legitimate. The chapter clarifies the concepts ‘democracy’ and ‘legitimacy’, and describes how, although initially the legitimacy of the European polity was not perceived as a problem, it became more problematic as the EU gained more competences. The European democratic deficit became an important issue of debate only during the 1990s after the Maastricht Treaty had transferred considerable powers to the EU. The main solution to the democratic deficit has been inspired by the parliamentary model of democracy and involves strengthening the European Parliament (EP), while also paying attention to the role of national parliaments and regional and local authorities. The chapter also shows how the governance debate at the start of the twenty-first century broadened the conceptual understanding of democracy in the EU by addressing the complexity of European governance (see also Chapter 7). By looking at different stages of policy-making and different modes of governance, while dealing with issues such as transparency and the role of civil society, the chapter discusses a wider range of issues associated with the democracy and legitimacy of the Union. It assesses the impact on EU democracy of the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty. The chapter concludes by warning that three main crises, namely the economic, migration, and security crises, have revived nationalist and populist movements exacerbating the challenges to the EU’s legitimacy.

Chapter

6. The European Parliament:  

powerful but fragmented

Ariadna Ripoll Servent and Olivier Costa

The European Parliament (EP) symbolizes many of the struggles that characterize the process of European integration and is at the core of many theoretical and empirical debates about representation, accountability, and legitimacy. This chapter draws on a variety of theoretical approaches to explain the complex role the EP plays in the political system of the European Union (EU). It starts with a brief overview of the history and functions of the assembly, followed by a theoretical explanation of its empowerment over time. Then, it determines the extent to which the EP is capable of influencing policymaking, both in legislative and non-legislative domains, as well as for the appointment of the Commission. It presents the political structure of the assembly and underlines the role of parliamentary groups and committees. It discusses the representativeness of the EP and the democratic quality of its internal functioning. Finally, it addresses current and future challenges for the EP.

Chapter

This chapter examines the historical evolution of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. It begins with a discussion of the Monroe Doctrine and manifest destiny, which sought to contain European expansion and to justify that of the United States under an ethos of hemispherism. It then considers the projection of U.S. power beyond its frontiers in the early twentieth century, along with the effect of the Cold War on U.S. policy towards Latin America. It also explores American policy towards the left in Central America, where armed conflict prevailed in the 1980s, and that for South America, where the Washington Consensus brought an end to the anti-European aspects of the Monroe Doctrine by promoting globalization.

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This introductory chapter examines the nature of politics and the political, and more specifically whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It begins by addressing questions useful when asking about ‘who gets what, when, how?’; for example, why those taking decisions are able to enforce them. The discussion proceeds by focusing on the boundary problems inherent in an analysis of the nature of the political. One such problem is whether politics is equivalent to consensus and cooperation, so that it does not exist in the event of conflict and war. The chapter then explores different forms of political analysis — the empirical, the normative, and the semantic—as well as deductive and inductive methods of studying politics. Finally, it asks whether politics can ever be a science to rival subjects in the natural sciences.

Chapter

12. Global Growth, Inequality, and Poverty:  

Power and Evidence in Global ‘Best Practice’ Economic Policy

Robert Hunter Wade

This chapter argues that economists have oversold the virtues of globalization, displaying confidence in derived policy prescriptions well beyond the evidence. The most spectacular recent demonstration of hubris is the failure of almost the whole of the mainstream economics profession in the few years before 2007–8 to forecast a major recession. The chapter then outlines the neo-liberal world view and its application in the form of the development recipe known as the Washington Consensus. Since the 1980s, the Western economic policy ‘establishment’ has espoused a doctrine of ‘best economic policy’ for the world which says, put too simply, that ‘more market and less state’ should be the direction of travel for developed and developing countries. This overarching neo-liberal ideology embraces globalization as a major component, relating to the nature of integration into the international economy. The chapter then looks at trends in world income distribution and poverty, bearing in mind the optimistic claims of the globalization argument.

Chapter

This chapter examines how the power of the democratic idea drives change in the European Parliament’s (EP) powers. The EP, the only directly elected institution of the European Union, derives its authority from national electorates rather than national governments and is therefore a transnational institution. Since the first direct elections in 1979, the EP’s powers and status have grown dramatically, culminating in the changes agreed under the 2007 Lisbon Treaty. Nevertheless, the EU is perceived to be suffering from a ‘democratic deficit’. This chapter first traces the historical evolution of the EP before discussing its decision-making. It then considers how the EP aggregates interests, what influence it exercises, and what kind of body it is becoming. It concludes by assessing various perspectives about the EU’s democratic deficit. The chapter stresses the importance of consensus mechanisms within the EP as well as those that link it to other EU institutions.

Chapter

This chapter examines US foreign policy in Latin America and the historical evolution of US relations with the region. It first considers the Monroe Doctrine and manifest destiny, which sought to contain European expansion and to justify that of the United States under an ethos of hemispherism, before discussing the projection of US power beyond its frontiers in the early twentieth century. It then explores the United States’ adoption of a less unilateral approach during the depression of the 1930s and an aggressively ideological approach in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. It also analyzes US policy towards the left in Central America, where armed conflict prevailed in the 1980s, and in South America, where the Washington Consensus brought an end to the anti-European aspects of the Monroe Doctrine by promoting globalization. Finally, it looks at the impact of the Cold War on US policy towards Latin America.

Chapter

Richard Corbett, John Peterson, and Daniel Kenealy

This chapter examines five of the European Union’s key institutions: the European Commission; the Council of ministers; the European Council; the European Parliament; and the European Court of Justice. It draws analogies to these institutions’ counterparts at the national level while also highlighting their distinct and unique features. It discusses the structures and formal powers of the five EU institutions and how they ‘squeeze’ influence out of their limited Treaty prerogatives. It concludes by explaining why these institutions matter in determining EU politics and policy more generally, focusing on three central themes: the extent to which the EU is an experiment in motion; the importance of power sharing and consensus; and the capacity of the EU structures to cope with the Union’s expanding size and scope.

Chapter

Rex Martin

This chapter examines the main arguments for John Rawls's ideas about justice. Rawls identified two principles as central to political liberalism: the principle of equal basic rights and liberties, and a principle of economic justice, which stresses equality of opportunity, mutual benefit, and egalitarianism. In Rawls's interpretation, these two principles take place ultimately in an ideal arena for decision-making, which he calls the ‘original position’. In time, Rawls became dissatisfied with this approach and began to reconfigure his theory, moving the focus towards a ‘family’ of liberal principles. The chapter begins by discussing Rawls's first and second principles before considering his concept of ‘original position’ as well as his views on overlapping consensus. It concludes with an analysis of the main ideas contained in Rawls's 1999 book, The Law of Peoples.