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Chapter

Cover Foundations of European Politics

14. European Politics into the Future  

This chapter explores recent changes in European politics and looks to the future for European democracy as it stands now. The chapter explores the ongoing political change that can be seen within European countries and also at the European Union (EU) level. It aims to highlight four important debates about the state of democracy in Europe. These are: the debates about the rise of political fragmentation and its consequences for democracy; democratic backsliding in central and eastern Europe; the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the EU on democracy; and the democratic deficit in EU politics.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

16. Social Movements  

Dieter Rucht

This chapter presents the major theories and approaches in social movement research, highlighting four constitutive elements. Next, in a more descriptive approach, it outlines some general patterns and profiles of contemporary social movements, stressing the need to interpret social movements in relation to their key reference groups of which, besides movements’ opponents, allies, third parties, and bystanders play a crucial role. Another section is devoted to comparative aspects and findings in social movement studies, including the more recent trend towards the transnationalization of some movements. Finally, a typology of the basic functions and effects of social movements is presented. The general theme is that the structural context, the shared perceptions and experiences, as well as the dynamic interactions between social movements and their reference groups are crucial for a better understanding of the functions and effects of social movements as potential creators of social change.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

20. Indonesia  

Dynamics of Regime Change

Gyda Marås Sindre

This chapter examines the dynamics of regime change in Indonesia since 1998, with a particular focus on political mobilization against the backdrop of institutional reform. In the decade since the collapse of the ‘New Order’ — that is, the authoritarian military-based regime that governed Indonesia from 1966 to 1998 — Indonesia has become one of the few success stories in the post-1970s wave of democratization in the Global South. In addition to being considered the most stable and the freest democracy in South East Asia, Indonesia remains the region’s largest and fastest growing economy. The chapter first provides an overview of the legacies of authoritarianism in Indonesia before discussing the government’s radical reform agenda of democratization and decentralization after 1998. It then looks at political mobilization and participation that accompanied regime change in Indonesia and concludes with an assessment of the role of civil society in political mobilization.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

6. Law  

This chapter evaluates how law has come to function as a form of authority in global politics. It examines the myth of how international law provides a form of moral authority justifying rules, institutions, and enforcement mechanisms that will civilise global politics. As global politics is dominated by the struggle for survival between states and their conflicting self-interests, the myth of international law’s impossibility confronts its limitations. The chapter acknowledges the ambiguity of international law’s fundamental feature in the global scene as it simultaneously maintains global order and mediates political change. It references the work of Finnish international lawyer Marti Koskenniemi on questioning how the conflicts within international law are decided.

Chapter

Cover Global Politics

11. Global Politics in the Anthropocene  

This chapter studies how the scope of global politics has been extended over the last half century or so to include the impact of human industrial activity on the environment. The environmental movement and ‘green theory’ have grown out of concerns with the deleterious impact of this activity and the capacity of the planet to carry the burden of ‘business as usual’ in a world driven by the imperatives of endless growth. Many now believe that the impact on the earth’s systems is so significant that the present geological period should be recognized as the ‘Anthropocene’. Climate change is probably the most prominent issue associated with the Anthropocene at present, but it is not the only one. The chapter examines a range of issues in global environment politics, starting with the reconceptualization of the present period. It then moves on to an account of the environmental movement, the emergence of various ‘green’ ideologies and theories, and the politics of science. This is essential background for considering the role of the state and its sovereign powers in the context of global environmental politics.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

16. Social movements  

Dieter Rucht

This chapter presents the major theories and approaches in social movement research, highlighting four constitutive elements. Next, in a more descriptive approach, it outlines some general patterns and profiles of contemporary social movements, stressing the need to interpret social movements in relation to their key reference groups of which, besides movements’ opponents, allies, third parties, and bystanders play a crucial role. Another section is devoted to comparative aspects and findings in social movement studies, including the more recent trend towards the transnationalization of some movements. Finally, a typology of the basic functions and effects of social movements is presented. The general theme is that the structural context, the shared perceptions, and experiences, as well as the dynamic interactions between social movements and their reference groups are crucial for a better understanding of the functions and effects of social movements as potential creators of social change.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

13. Social constructivism  

Michael Barnett

This chapter examines constructivist approaches to international relations theory. It explores whether there is a possibility of moral progress in world politics, whether some cultures and countries are more (or less) inherently violent, and whether states are motivated by power or by ideas. The chapter also discusses the rise of constructivism and some key concepts of constructivism, including the agent–structure problem, holism, idealism, individualism, materialism, and rational choice. It concludes with an analysis of constructivist assumptions about global change. Two case studies are presented, one relating to social construction of refugees and the 2015 European migration crisis, and the other considers what it means to be a ‘victim’.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

20. Australia and global climate change  

Matt McDonald

This chapter examines Australia’s engagement with the international politics of global climate change. It first provides an overview of the problem of global climate change and its likely effects, focusing on key complexities and dilemmas regarding climate change, and the evolution of the climate change regime through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. It then considers key drivers of climate diplomacy, from the ideology and foreign policy perspectives of different governments to the role of public opinion and the ebb and flow of international cooperation. It shows that Australia’s changing approach to climate change cooperation underscores the profound challenges for the climate change regime.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

11. Social Capital and Civil Society  

Natalia Letki

This chapter examines the role of civil society and social capital in democratization processes. It begins by reconstructing the definitions of civil society and social capital in the context of political change, followed by an analysis of the ways in which civil society and social capital are functional for the initiation and consolidation of democracies. It then considers the relationship between civil society and attitudes of trust and reciprocity, the function of networks and associations in democratization, paradoxes of civil society and social capital in new democracies, and the main arguments cast against the idea that civic activism and attitudes are a necessary precondition for a modern democracy. The chapter argues that civil society and social capital and their relation to political and economic institutions are context specific.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

9. Political Culture, Mass Beliefs, and Value Change  

This chapter examines the role of mass beliefs and value change in democratization processes. Building on one of the central assumptions of political culture theory—the congruence thesis—it argues that mass beliefs are of critical importance for a country’s chances to become and remain democratic. Mass beliefs determine whether a political system is accepted as legitimate or not, which has a major impact on a regime’s likelihood of surviving. The chapter first considers how the role of mass beliefs in democratization is addressed in the literature before discussing mass demands for democracy vs popular preferences for democracy. It then discusses regime legitimacy and its relation to economic performance and asks whether emancipative values are caused by democracy. It also explains changes in many countries’ level of democracy and concludes with an analysis of the influence of religion on democratization.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

12. The European Parliament  

Charlotte Burns

This chapter focuses on the European Parliament (EP), an institution that has been transformed from being a relatively powerless institution into one that is able to have a genuine say in the legislative process and hold the European Union’s executive bodies to account. However, increases in the Parliament’s formal powers have not been matched by an increase in popular legitimacy: decreasing turnout in European elections up to 2014 turned around in 2019, but an increasing share of the vote is now going to populist Eurosceptic parties. The EP’s legislative power is comparable to that of many national parliaments, but it has struggled to connect with the wider European public. The chapter explores these issues: the EP’s evolution from talking shop to co-legislator; its powers and influence; its internal structure and organization, with a focus on the role and behaviour of the political groups. Finally, the EP’s representative function as the EU’s only directly elected institution is discussed.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to Political Philosophy

6. Justice for Everyone, Everywhere?  

This chapter examines some issues that have come to greater attention in more recent decades, with particular emphasis on what it calls ‘oversights’ of justice. It begins by arguing that some of the greatest political philosophers had suffered from ‘oversights’, notably Karl Marx, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill. It then considers some of these oversights of justice, first by looking at issues of gender equality, then at racial justice, followed by issues of disability and sexual orientation, each from the standpoint of what is known as ‘domestic justice’: justice as it operates within a single state. It also explores questions of global justice, including immigration, and global inequalities of wealth, along with justice to future generations, especially in relation to climate change. These discussions reflect areas of great contemporary concern, both in political philosophy and in real life.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

14. Democratization and Regime Change  

Lise Rakner

This chapter explores the link between democratization and regime change in the developing world. It begins with a discussion of theories of democratization, along with recent trends and understandings of democratic consolidation. It then considers variations within democratic and autocratic regimes and the different ways of measuring democracy. It also examines how domestic and international factors interact to affect politics in developing countries in general and processes of democratization in particular. Finally, it evaluates international dimensions of democratization, focusing on the significance of democratization for international development. It reflects on how the global good governance regime is adopting to a world that is no longer bipolar and in which U.S. (Western) hegemonic power is reduced.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

24. Sub-Saharan Africa  

Michael Bratton

This chapter examines efforts to introduce multi-party politics into Sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s. It first considers regime changes in the region and shows that they result from the ‘conjuncture’ of various forces. Some of these forces are structural—such as the decline of African economies, the end of the Cold War—but political actors produce others, like incumbents’ concessions, opposition protests, and military withdrawals from politics. With reference to various African examples, the chapter emphasizes the important role played by certain structural conditions in transitions to democracy during the 1990s, but suggests that outcomes more often hinged on purposive political action. It also analyses the quality of resultant African regimes and concludes by identifying several fundamental constraints on further democratization including endemic poverty and weak states.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

24. The future of US foreign policy  

Anatol Lieven

This chapter considers future prospects for US foreign policy on the basis of long-established patterns and other factors such as the interests and ideology of elites, the structures of political life, the country’s real or perceived national interests, and the increasingly troubled domestic scene. It first examines the ideological roots of US foreign policy before discussing some of the major contemporary challenges for US foreign policy, including relations with China, US military power, and the US political order. It then describes the basic contours of US foreign policy over the next generation with respect to the Middle East, the Far East, Russia, Europe and the transatlantic relationship, climate change, and international trade. It also presents catastrophic scenarios for American foreign policy and argues that there will no fundamental change in US global strategy whichever of the two dominant political parties is in power.

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 The Globalization of World Politics

12. Social constructivism  

Michael Barnett

This chapter examines constructivist approaches to international relations theory. It explores whether there is a possibility of moral progress in world politics, whether some cultures and countries are more (or less) inherently violent, and whether states are motivated by power or by ideas. The chapter also discusses the rise of constructivism and some key concepts of constructivism, including the agent–structure problem, holism, idealism, individualism, materialism, and rational choice. It concludes with an analysis of constructivist assumptions about global change. Two case studies are presented, one relating to social construction of refugees and the 2015 European migration crisis, and the other to the ‘human rights revolution’ and torture. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the laws of war have made war less horrific.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

22. NGOs in world politics  

Jutta Joachim

This chapter examines the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in world politics. It considers what distinguishes NGOs from other actors in international politics, what types of influence NGOs exert in international relations, and whether NGOs contribute to more democratic policy-making at the international level. The chapter also discusses the growing importance of NGOs and presents two case studies that illustrate how they have contributed to the emergence of new norms through their engagement with international governmental organizations (IGOs). The first case study pitches Friends of the Earth against Royal Dutch Shell to show how NGOs have impacted on climate change law. The second case study focuses on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Theories

14. Green Theory  

Robyn Eckersley

This chapter examines how environmental concerns have influenced International Relations theory. It first provides a brief overview of the ecological crisis and the emergence of green theorizing in the social sciences and humanities in general, along with the status and impact of environmental issues and green thinking in IR theory. It then investigates green theory’s transnational turn and how it has become more global, while critical IR theory has become increasingly green. It also considers the different ways in which environmental issues have influenced the evolution of traditional IR theory. It concludes with a case study of climate change to illustrate the diversity of theoretical approaches, including the distinctiveness of green theories.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

24. Environmental issues  

John Vogler

This chapter examines how environmental issues have become increasingly prominent on the international agenda over the last five decades. It considers whether globalization and development must come at the expense of the physical environment, whether state governments can cooperate to protect the planet, and whether climate justice is possible. The chapter first provides a brief history of the development of an international environmental agenda before discussing the functions of international environmental cooperation. It then explores efforts to addres the problem of climate change through the establishment of an international climate regime and highlights the neglect of environmental issues in traditional and realist international relations theory. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the concept of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and the other with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and its influence on international climate politics.