Recent blog posts from around the School

Blog: Gerrymandering in Northern Ireland local government? Surely not.

Description
Written by Chris Game. It seemed obvious from the outset that Gerry Adams' arrest in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville was a momentous event with potentially massive implications: long-term, short-term, north and south of the border. So I was slightly surprised the following morning to hear a Sinn Fein spokesperson, protesting about the timing of the arrest, highlight its impact specifically on the Northern Ireland local elections.
Date:
Thursday 8th May 2014

Blog: Public data: saleable asset or national resource?

Blog: Public data: saleable asset or national resource?
Description
Written by Tom Barrance. Recent announcements by two government agencies, the HMRC and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), regarding the sale of information has thrown a spotlight upon government information and the attendant debates of privacy verses exploitation. What is the ownership of information collected by the state? Held in trust for the citizen, or seen as assets like 3/4G mobile phone licences to be sold by government to the highest bidder? Or should all government data be treated as open data that is made freely available to all?
Date:
Wednesday 30th April 2014

Blog: The 2014 local elections – a preview

Blog: The 2014 local elections – a preview
Description
Written by Chris Game. Two EU countries this May will hold local elections that coincide with their European parliamentary elections: Greece and ourselves. On Sunday 25 May Greeks vote in the second, 'run-off' round of elections to all their 13 regions and 325 municipalities. England, though nearly five times as populous as Greece, also has 325 lower-tier and unitary authorities. We, however, will elect mostly only fractions of fewer than half of our councils, yet still it takes seven lines of a table to summarise the 161 authorities whose voters on Thursday 22 May will probably have both a local and Euro vote. We bemoan our disappointing local turnouts, but we don't make the system exactly voter-friendly.
Date:
Tuesday 29th April 2014

Saving Humans Blog: When facing down Putin, don't let him choose your ground

Saving Humans Blog: When facing down Putin, don't let him choose your ground
Description
Written by Dr Adam Quinn. American presidents often grow to enjoy foreign-policymaking more than the domestic kind as their time in office goes on. One reason is that they find that the comparative lack of interest it holds for both Congress and the general public allows them scope to make decisions with less need to bend to short-term political pressure. Sometimes, however, events come together in such a way as to thrust foreign policy into the spotlight of the 24-hour news cameras, as they did in Ukraine in February with the overthrow by popular uprising of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Date:
Monday 28th April 2014

Blog: Should I stay or should I go? Why the UK should stay out of the Crimea issue

Blog: Should I stay or should I go? Why the UK should stay out of the Crimea issue
Description
Iván Farías, Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Political Science and International Studies argues why the UK should stay out of the Crimea issue.
Date:
Thursday 24th April 2014

Blog: Déjà Vu? Regionalism and Separatism in Ukraine in a Longer Term Perspective

Blog: Déjà Vu? Regionalism and Separatism in Ukraine in a Longer Term Perspective
Description
Written by Dr Kataryna Wolczuk. In 1991 Ukraine emerged as an independent country with strong regional differences. The reconciling of these differences has since represented one of the most profound challenges that Ukraine has faced and failed to address. A lack of effective and systematic efforts to tackle regional diversity has repeatedly presented grave ramifications for Ukraine's political cohesion and territorial integrity.
Date:
Monday 21st April 2014

New Centre for Russian and East Eurpean Studies Blog

New Centre for Russian and East Eurpean Studies Blog
Description
This blog will provide its readers with short articles aimed at stimulating thought and debate on current events, emerging research, and broader issues related to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, written by members of the CREES community, including current and former academics, researchers, PhD students and alumni. Aiming to both provide 'advice to the prince' and 'speak truth to power' from within the social sciences and humanities, it will allow its contributors greater leeway than formal academic writing in expressing their opinions on subjects of acute concern to a wider audience.
Date:
Tuesday 15th April 2014

Blog: The Great NHS Robbery - and the great fraud headline con

Blog: The Great NHS Robbery - and the great fraud headline con
Description
Written by Chris Game. Some social phenomena are exceptionally tricky to measure: the black economy, white-collar crime, illegal immigration. So when someone claims to have done so, no matter how flaky their findings, they attract huge, and largely uncritical, media attention. Like last week's excitement about the scale of NHS fraud.
Date:
Tuesday 1st April 2014

Blog: Why do some PPPs fail to meet objectives? Evidence from Ireland

Blog: Why do some PPPs fail to meet objectives? Evidence from Ireland
Description
Written by Eoin Reeves. Governments around the world are seeking new ways of meeting the challenges of renewing and providing new infrastructure. Factors such as disenchantment with traditional procurement methods and increasing pressures on public finances (intensified by the global economics crisis) have encouraged governments to look to public-private partnerships (PPP) for the purpose of meeting these challenges.
Date:
Monday 31st March 2014

Blog: Special CREES/POLSIS Seminar - The production of Migrants in Contemporary Capitalism

Blog: Special CREES/POLSIS Seminar - The production of Migrants in Contemporary Capitalism
Description
The special CREES/POLSIS Seminar on The Production of Migrants in Contemporary Capitalism presented the work of two young scholars: Dr Nikolaos Xypolytas (University of Cyprus) and Dr Bahar Baser (University of Warwick).
Date:
Monday 31st March 2014

Blog: Councillors and their disappearing pensions

Blog: Councillors and their disappearing pensions
Description
Written by Chris Game. There's no doubt about the domestic conversation topic of the past week: pension pots. Which for many councillors, following a budget with little good news for local government – unless you're a pothole hoping for a makeover under the Chancellor's 'potholes challenge fund' – must have felt like being kicked when already down.
Date:
Thursday 27th March 2014

Blog: Rebalancing Britain

Blog: Rebalancing Britain
Description
The Scottish referendum campaign is having an interesting knock-on impact on English political debate. The position and dominance of London – the place Scots most dislike about the United Kingdom in its present form – is being looked at more critically. There have been a couple of think tank reports recently, but the debate has moved quite a way beyond the narrow audiences that these reports usually attract. That in itself is a reflection of the way the ground is shifting.
Date:
Monday 24th March 2014

Blog: The impact agenda and political agency

Blog: The impact agenda and political agency
Description
Written by Matthew Wood. Why should we, as political scientists, 'bother' with impact? My answer is that as social actors we cannot avoid 'impacting' on society in one way or another, just like any other profession. The question is how we should choose to influence society. As British political scientists our choices are, thankfully, quite broad.
Date:
Friday 21st March 2014

Blog: Reclaiming the impact agenda: making impact work for you

Blog: Reclaiming the impact agenda: making impact work for you
Description
Written by Helen Louise Turton. When encountering the 'impact agenda' the ease of engagement is often dependent upon your discipline and/or the type of research being conducted. Certain forms of research don't lend themselves to be easily compatible with the requirements of the impact agenda as it is currently defined.
Date:
Thursday 20th March 2014

Blog: The French local elections – and a quiet revolution?

Blog: The French local elections – and a quiet revolution?
Description
Written by Chris Game. This Sunday, March 23, the French will be voting in their local / municipal elections, an occasion about as different from our forthcoming local elections on May 22 as it's possible to be.
Date:
Thursday 20th March 2014

Blog: Three problems with the impact agenda

Blog: Three problems with the impact agenda
Description
Written by Katherine Tonkiss. In a recent post for the LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog, I argued with Catherine Durose that while the idea of delivering policy relevant research is positive, too often our claims to relevance do not deliver genuine impact.
Date:
Wednesday 19th March 2014

Blog: Embarking on impact: why do it and what to consider

Blog: Embarking on impact: why do it and what to consider
Description
Written by Katharine Dommett. The impact agenda has emerged as a prominent component of academic life. Over the last few years alongside the pressures of writing, teaching and administration scholars have been encouraged (if not expected) to conduct impact and public engagement activities.
Date:
Tuesday 18th March 2014

Blog: Sustainable construction and local authorities: a failed experiment

Blog: Sustainable construction and local authorities: a failed experiment
Description
Written by Max Lempriere. Sustainable housing policy is a hot-topic at the minute. The autonomy that local authorities have had from central government since 2007 to require local energy efficiency and sustainable construction that supersede those in national building regulations is set to be revoked.
Date:
Monday 17th March 2014

Blog: Public service motivation: Love or money?

Blog: Public service motivation: Love or money?
Description
Written by Sumedh Rao, Research Fellow in the GSDRC, working on governance in situations of conflict and fragility, statebuilding and state fragility, political economy analysis, aid architecture, anti-corruption reforms, and civil service reform.
Date:
Monday 17th March 2014

Blog: The Political Colour of an English Parliament

Blog: The Political Colour of an English Parliament
Description
Written by Chris Game. One of the closing questions put to Professor Eastwood following his recent Distinguished Lecture on The British State: Past, Present and Future concerned the place, if any, of an English Parliament in the kind of future federal or quasi-federal Britain about which the lecture had speculated.
Date:
Friday 7th March 2014

Blog: Migration, citizenship and diversity: questioning the boundaries

Blog: Migration, citizenship and diversity: questioning the boundaries
Description
Written by Dr Katherine Tonkiss and Dr Nando Sigona. In recent decades, a significant transformation in the meanings, practices and experiences of membership in contemporary Western democracies has taken place. These transformations have challenged traditional conceptions of state membership which have typically assumed the existence of a nation-state, with a burgeoning line of scholarship challenging the significance of the nation-state in determining membership and endowing rights. This literature argues that recent trends in globalisation, human rights and multiculturalism have made state borders less important.
Date:
Thursday 6th March 2014

Saving Humans Blog: What is to be done?

Saving Humans Blog: What is to be done?
Description
Written by Jonna Nyman. The blog posts this week have raised a series of questions about energy security. Conventional political thinking on energy security has a narrow focus which emphasises the need to secure state energy supplies. Sustainability is largely ignored, as short-term economic benefit is continually prioritised. The political and military survival of states is prioritised over environmental or climate stability, and human security. So what is to be done?
Date:
Friday 28th February 2014

Saving Humans Blog: Energy security as human security

Saving Humans Blog: Energy security as human security
Description
Written by Jonna Nyman. Not only are current patterns of energy exploitation a key contributor to climate instability, they also affect human security directly.
Date:
Thursday 27th February 2014

Saving Humans Blog: Energy security vs climate security

Saving Humans Blog: Energy security vs climate security
Description
Written by Jonna Nyman. It is clear that energy security opens up some difficult questions about what or whose security should be prioritised. At the centre of this is the growing conflict between the focus of much energy security policy and discussion on fossil fuels, and the human need for a stable climate and environment. Energy security as currently understood by most policymakers is incompatible with a stable climate. We see perhaps the biggest conflict between energy and climate security today in China.
Date:
Wednesday 26th February 2014

Blog: Body / State in An Age of Austerity

Blog: Body / State in An Age of Austerity
Description
On Saturday 22nd February, the University of Birmingham's Gender and Feminist Theory Research Group were delighted to co-sponsor and host the PSA Women in Politics Specialist Group 's bi-annual conference. The conference was oriented around feminist scholarship that has sought to illuminate the ways in which states and bodies are intertwined both in general and in an age of austerity in particular.
Date:
Tuesday 25th February 2014

Blog: Policing the journey along the low road

Blog: Policing the journey along the low road
Description
Written by Alan Doig. Up to the 1980s, crime control in the UK was widely seen as virtually the sole domain and responsibility of law enforcement. Nearly all police forces had, for example, a fraud squad whose purpose was laid out in a 1970 Home Office circular (apparently 115/1970 since you ask) and who traditionally dealt with criminalised aspects of local government misconduct.
Date:
Tuesday 25th February 2014

Saving Humans Blog: Energy security and saving humans

Saving Humans Blog: Energy security and saving humans
Description
Written by Jonna Nyman. Energy security is increasingly the subject of headlines around the world. Most states rely heavily on fossil fuels to serve their energy needs, and as these fuels are finite they will eventually run out. There is an ongoing debate over whether or not we already have or will hit 'peak oil' in the near future, but either way there is increasing worry over the availability of, and access to, energy in years to come.
Date:
Tuesday 25th February 2014

Saving Humans Blog: Saving humans or saving states?

Saving Humans Blog: Saving humans or saving states?
Description
Written by Jonna Nyman. For some states, growing concern over energy security is turning them inwards as they attempt to maximise their own energy supplies. Much of the US energy security debate is centred around the desire for energy 'independence', an enticing dream of a United States which does not need to depend on anyone else. A key part of the solution presented by policy makers is to maximise domestic fossil fuel production...
Date:
Tuesday 25th February 2014

Blog: The Coalition's mishandling of recall: worse than Baldrick's war poem

Blog: The Coalition's mishandling of recall: worse than Baldrick's war poem
Description
Written by Chris Game. Seeking an arresting phrase to convey the protracted abjectness of the events described in this blog, my first thought was Education Secretary Michael Gove's 'misbegotten shambles' – his accusatory summary of how certain historians and popular TV programmes like Blackadder have depicted the First World War.
Date:
Monday 24th February 2014

Saving humans Blog: World Government: Not Quite an Idea Whose Time has Come, but No Longer So Far from the Academic Mainstream

Saving humans Blog: World Government: Not Quite an Idea Whose Time has Come, but No Longer So Far from the Academic Mainstream
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. I can say without much reservation that I am one of the most avid students of world government alive today. Of course, I'm careful when and where I say that…
Date:
Friday 21st February 2014
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Departmental news

The Conversation: Inside Donetsk, a city at war, while the jaw-jaw over Ukraine continues

The Conversation: Inside Donetsk, a city at war, while the jaw-jaw over Ukraine continues
Description
Written by Professor Tatyana Malyarenko (Professor of Public Administration at Donetsk State Management University) and Professor Stefan Wolff. The past few days have seen another round of the seemingly endless cycle of escalation and de-escalation that has characterised the crisis in Ukraine for several months.
Date:
19/08/2014

Undergraduate Open Days - Saturday 13 September 2014 and Saturday 18 October 2014

Undergraduate Open Days - Saturday 13 September 2014 and Saturday 18 October 2014
Description
Our Undergraduate Open Days offer you the perfect opportunity to hear first-hand from our current undergraduates and teaching staff about living and learning at Birmingham.
Date:
19/08/2014

Sino-Indian Relations in the 21st Century: Economic and Security Implications and Responses

Sino-Indian Relations in the 21st Century: Economic and Security Implications and Responses
Description
This conference hosted by the University of Birmingham took place on Thursday 10 July 2014. The conference brought together leading scholars from China, India and the UK to address the following questions: what are the key drivers of Sino-Indian relations, particularly their economic and security relations? What are the cooperative and competitive elements in their economic and security strategies towards their Asian neighbours and beyond? What kind of regional and extra-regional responses are provoked by the increasing capabilities and expanding ambitions and activities of these rising powers?
Date:
18/08/2014

Masters taught module: Theories of Global Cooperation - Professor Nicholas Wheeler

Masters taught module: Theories of Global Cooperation - Professor Nicholas Wheeler
Description
This exciting taught module is offered as part of our new Global Cooperation and Security MSc. Taught by Professor Nicholas Wheeler this module provides advanced theoretical training in how to think about the challenges of building security in an uncertain world characterised by multi-level interactions and unprecedented levels of global interconnectedness.
Date:
18/08/2014

Masters taught module: Global Cooperation in Practice - Professor Mark Webber

Masters taught module: Global Cooperation in Practice - Professor Mark Webber
Description
This exciting taught module is offered as part of our new Global Cooperation and Security MSc. Taught by Professor Mark Webber Global Cooperation in Practice examines how academic debates on cooperation and policy-making stand up against the actual experience of implementation.
Date:
18/08/2014