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Book

This book provides a broad and accessible introduction to contemporary European politics, covering the fundamental elements of European democracies, institutions, and practices of government. It provides comprehensive coverage of the twenty-seven member states of the European Union, additionally drawing on examples from the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 focuses on democratic representation, examining the core features of electoral democracy in Europe. Part 2 turns to the institutions and practices of government, focusing in particular on how institutional design shapes political outcomes. Part 3 examines a number of contemporary issues and challenges, including migration, economic crises, the threat of international terrorism, and the rise of anti-establishment parties, and examines the effects they have had on politics in European countries. Throughout, up-to-date examples on issues such as Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, and growing instability in Europe are used to help students understand the real-world context of European politics.

Chapter

Daniele Caramani

This chapter examines how competition between political parties gives rise to different party systems. In liberal democracies, competition for power is based on popular votes. The shape and dynamics of party systems are determined by the electoral game, with parties as main actors. A party system is thus essentially the result of competitive interactions between parties. A party system has three main elements: which parties exist, how many parties exist and how big they are, and how parties behave. An obvious but important point is that party systems must be composed of more than one political party. The chapter begins with a discussion of the origins of party systems, followed by an analysis of the format of party systems, such as two-party systems and multiparty systems. It then considers the influence of the electoral system on party systems, before concluding with an assessment of the dynamics of party systems.

Chapter

The Introduction asks: what do we mean when we talk about politics? On one level, politics is about the interactions between people. However, more specifically, it is about how a society is run. The term for this is ‘governance’. Governance involves who makes the decisions, how they make decisions, and how they put those decisions into effect. This first chapter relates this definition to the UK political system as it exists today. It provides a short analysis of the effectiveness of the UK system in terms of how it has evolved and what changes have been made over time. It takes a brief look at how the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has shown up problems in the UK political system.

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This chapter assesses what politicians and members of political parties really care about: getting into office on the back of a successful election campaign. Rather than the general determinants of voting outlined in the previous chapter, this is about the choices voters and parties face within a particular system, so they can organize themselves to win. For that they need to play by the rules of the game, which includes developing strategies within electoral systems. The chapter then discusses the impact of electoral systems on that calculus, and how the number of parties is affected by the electoral system in place. It also looks at the factors that assist the winning of elections, and the extent to which the choices of parties and voters are affected by growing instability in the system. Overall, the chapter provides an overview of British political parties and party systems.

Chapter

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter deals with political parties: why they emerged, how they can be classified, what functions they perform, how they interact, and what challenges they are facing today. One of the paradoxes about democracies is that there is almost a unanimous consensus about the indispensability of political parties. On the other hand, the benefits of being a member of a political party are bound to be minuscule compared to the costs of membership. Thus it is irrational for people to join parties. They should only form (small) interest groups. The chapter first provides a historical background on the development of political parties before discussing their functions, such as legitimation of the political system, structuring the popular vote, and formulation of public policy. It then considers different types of political parties as well as the characteristics of party systems and concludes with an analysis of the problems facing political parties today.

Chapter

Amie Kreppel

This chapter focuses on the political roles and powers of legislatures. It first describes different types of legislatures on the basis of their functions and relationship with the executive branch, before analysing the roles of legislatures within the political system as a whole, as well as several critical aspects of the internal organizational structures of legislatures. It then examines the relationship between the political power and influence of a legislature and the structure of the broader political and party system. The discussion focuses on legislatures within modern democratic political systems, although many points apply to all legislatures, regardless of regime. The chapter also explains how legislature differs from assembly, parliament, and congress.

Chapter

This chapter deals with political parties, focusing on why they emerged, how they can be classified, what functions they perform, and how they interact. It identifies two phases in the development of political parties. The first parties were intended to structure the work of legislatures, and later evolved into mass parties to structure the votes of electors, catch-all parties to win more votes irrespective of ideological appeal, and cartel parties more dominated by party professionals. The chapter also considers seven functions typically carried out by a political party, irrespective of whether they operate in democracies or authoritarian regimes: legitimation of the political system, integration and mobilization of citizens, representation, structuring the popular vote, aggregation of diverse interests, recruitment of leaders for public office, and formulation of public policy. Finally, it discusses various types of party outside the West, party systems, and some of the challenges facing political parties today.

Chapter

This text provides a comprehensive introduction to comparative politics. Comparative politics is an empirical science that deals primarily with domestic politics. It is one of the three main subfields of political science, alongside international relations and political theory. Comparative politics has three goals: to describe differences and similarities between political systems and their features; to explain these differences; and to predict which factors may cause specific outcomes. This edition compares the most important features of national political systems and contains chapters on integration, globalization, and promotion of democracy in non-Western parts of the world. This introductory chapter explains what comparative politics is, and discusses its substance as well as method.

Chapter

Frank Esser and Barbara Pfetsch

This chapter examines the dimensions of the political communication system. It first explains the rationale for a comparative study of political communication before discussing relevant models of relationship between media and political institutions, as well as differences in political communication cultures among media and political elites. It then reviews findings on country-specific reporting styles in political news coverage and evaluates divergent approaches in government communication and election communication. On the side of the citizens, the chapter explores cross-national differences in the consumption of political news, along with the positive contribution of public service broadcasters for informed and enlightened citizenship. Finally, it looks at political information flows, comparing message production by political actors, political message production by media actors, usage patterns of political information, and effects of political communication.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on citizen attitudes, values, cultures, and behaviours, which underpin the British political system. Particularly important is voting for elected representatives, whether MPs, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), Members of the Senedd (MSs), Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLAs), directly elected mayors, police and crime commissioners (PCCs), local councillors, or even parish councillors. Then there are extensive forms of political participation from citizens and groups, ranging from complaining to public authorities to protesting. Both voting and participation are linked to wider attitudes and beliefs about politics. The chapter also provides an understanding of the different forms of turbulence that have emerged in recent years, in particular since 2014, with the arrival of populist movements, and the more frequent use of referendums.

Chapter

This chapter begins by outlining the importance of poltical culture in structuring, but not determining, the behaviour of actors within individual political systems. It illustrates the persistence of its impact with the failure of Mao Zedong to eliminate traditional Chinese ways of thinking and create a wholly new political culture in the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand it cites fluctuations in Russian political culture over centuries to show that the perceived content of a particular political culture can be fundamentally contested and malleable, so that it does evolve. And it notes the recent claims of political leaders in Russia, China and India, amongst others, that their nations’ historical achievements raise them to the status of ‘civilization states’. One feature of a nation’s political culture is the recurring trends of issues and preoccupations in political thinking there. Then it goes on to examine issues in thinking in non-Western countries, that structure political attitudes and political behaviour differently from the West. It begins by looking at traditional notions of legitimate political authority in other regions of the world, particularly Asia, that preceded the arrival of Western colonialists. These often assumed more ‘organic’ and more segmented communities than would be associated with Western individualist ones influenced by the legacy of the French revolution. Then it considers more recent non-Western political thinking.

Chapter

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the threats to democracy. Although the number of democracies in the world remains at or near historic highs, there are a number of important trends accelerating beneath the surface that threaten to reverse democracy's progress. In particular, democracies are facing mounting challenges from within; autocracies are evolving and adapting their survival strategies in ways that make them a more formidable challenge to democracy; and international developments are creating conditions conducive to the spread of autocracy. Although these developments make it easy to grow pessimistic about democracy's future, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that democratic decline is not inevitable. Authoritarian regimes are evolving and adapting, but it is unlikely in the long term that these political systems will have the flexibility to change to the extent that today's challenges will require.

Book

This book is an introduction to international law for politics and international relations students. It provides a deep understanding of the possibilities and limits of international law as a tool for structuring relations in the world. The case study-driven approach helps students understand the complexities of international law, and illustrates the inextricable interaction between law and politics in the world today. In addition, it encourages students to question assumptions, such as whether international law is fit for purpose, and what that purpose is or ought to be. The book also discusses the potential of rising powers to shift the international system.

Book

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Natasha Lindstaedt, and Erica Frantz

Book

Edited by Daniele Caramani

Comparative Politics provides an introduction to the field. Comparative politics is an empirical science that deals primarily with domestic politics. It is one of the three main subfields of political science, alongside international relations and political theory. The text provides a comprehensive introduction to comparative politics. It includes three chapters dedicated to familiarizing readers with the comparative approach, discussing substance as well as method. It then guides readers through a thematically organized, comprehensive analysis of the core methods, theories, and concepts in comparative politics. Empirical data is drawn on to demonstrate key similarities and differences of political systems in practice. Increased focus is given to the Global South and its path towards democratization. At the end of each chapter, there are questions designed to encourage critical thinking. The six sections of the work deal with: theories and methods; the historical context; structures and institutions; actors and processes; public policies; and beyond the nation-state.

Chapter

This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the Eurozone, and the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. The chapter then explores the process of European integration and goes on to explain what it means to think of the EU as a political system. It also describes the two basic dimensions of the EU system: the vertical dimension (the EU as a ‘regulatory state’) and the horizontal dimension (the design and operation of EU decision-making). The chapter concludes by analysing the ‘missing link’ in the EU system— the lack of genuine democratic politics.

Chapter

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter provides an overview of the field of Global Political Economy (GPE), also known as International Political Economy (IPE). It begins with a discussion of how GPE/IPE has developed as a major focus of study within the broader field of global politics over the last four decades. It then considers the rise of mercantilism as a theory of GPE, along with its relationship to nationalism and colonialism. It also examines the emergence of liberal political economy, Marxism and critical IPE, and the international economic order after World War II. In particular, it looks at the Bretton Woods system, which emerged after the war as a compromise between liberalism and nationalism. The chapter concludes with an analysis of international political, economic, and social problems associated with the North–South gap, globalization and regionalization in the post-Cold War period, and financial crises that rocked the global economic system.

Chapter

Ian McAllister and Stephen White

This chapter examines the most visible and politically important act of conventional citizen participation: turning out to vote in a national election. Patterns of political participation are influenced by a variety of institutional factors, such as the type of electoral system and the number of political parties in a country, along with individual socioeconomic factors such as a person’s educational attainments or income. A particular problem in many previously authoritarian societies is the absence of a diverse civil society, so that the social trust upon which a healthy democracy depends is often absent. The chapter first considers various dimensions of political participation before discussing voter turnout in democratic countries. It then analyses the effects of institutional arrangements such as election rules, the type of electoral system, and the party system on political participation. Finally, it describes some of the factors that determine whether or not citizens participate in politics.

Chapter

This chapter discusses what is often regarded as the central institution, not only of domestic or national political order but also of current international or global order—the state. Alongside the state, we must also consider the idea of the nation and the ideology of nationalism—perhaps the most powerful political ideology to emerge in the modern world. There is, however, another form of international political order that has actually been far more common throughout history, and that is empire. With the rise of modernity from around the beginning of the seventeenth century, we also encounter the rise of the modern state and state system in Europe along with ideas about sovereignty, citizenship, the nation-state, and democracy. The chapter then looks at the effective globalization of the European state system through modern imperialism and colonialism and the extent to which these have been productive of contemporary global order.

Chapter

This chapter examines the general issue of leadership in the British political system and the stresses and strains of this task, examining the role of the prime minister. As well as being leader of the largest party in the House of Commons, able to command a majority, and potentially able to get government business through Parliament and into law, the prime minister has executive powers, which helps keep this focus. Despite the power of the position and its importance in the British system of government, there are fundamental weaknesses in the role that come from the instabilities of party politics. Overall, the picture of prime ministerial and core executive power and capacity is a mixed one that is changeable over time. In recent years, over Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, the prime minister's fate can change dramatically, even week-by-week.