Recent blog posts from around the School

Saving Humans blog: Confronting legacies of violence after conflict: What is Transitional Justice?

Saving Humans blog: Confronting legacies of violence after conflict: What is Transitional Justice?
Description
Written by Dr Christalla Yakinthou. Transitional justice (TJ) is essentially a field that grew around a single question: how do you address the legacy of conflict-related violence and widespread human rights abuses? The first time that we as an international community really had to think about how to address the mess of war and the impact of genocide and what consequently became known as crimes against humanity was of course at the Nuremburg Trials in relation to the holocaust in the wake of World War Two.
Date:
Thursday 5th June 2014

Saving Humans blog: Consultation, Respect, and Inclusivity: DIY Democracy in Turkey

Saving Humans blog: Consultation, Respect, and Inclusivity: DIY Democracy in Turkey
Description
Written by Dr Christalla Yakinthou. Last week marked the first-year anniversary of the Gezi Park protests in Turkey. The following piece reflects on the protests and their meaning.
Date:
Wednesday 4th June 2014

Saving Humans blog: The concept and realities of post-revolution reform in Tunisia

Saving Humans blog: The concept and realities of post-revolution reform in Tunisia
Description
Written by Dr Christalla Yakinthou. Tunisian society has been engaging with both the concept and realities of post-revolution reform for the last three years. As last week's attack at the Tunisian minister of interior's house shows, the process has been hard going.
Date:
Tuesday 3rd June 2014

Blog: Depoliticisation and the Father's Clause in Parliamentary debates

Blog: Depoliticisation and the Father's Clause in Parliamentary debates
Description
Dr Stephen Bates, Dr Laura Jenkins and Fran Amery, use work on in vitro fertilisation to think through depoliticisation. Our article argues that (de)politicisation may occur outside of formal governmental arenas and should not be regarded simply as a form of statecraft. Specifically, we explore in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and the parliamentary debates surrounding the addition and eventual removal of the Father's Clause of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Acts.
Date:
Thursday 29th May 2014

Blog: Building communities to bridge the gap

Blog: Building communities to bridge the gap
Description
Written by Daniel Goodwin. England around halfway through significant reductions in public expenditure and heading for a 'new normal' at much lower levels, whilst seeing demographic and other pressures rise. Local Government is currently projected to see a £10.5bn funding drop between 2010 and 2020. Pressures on services are projected to rise by around £6bn, resulting in a £16.5bn total gap, under-resourcing services by around 30%. This average masks a wide variation – the LGA predicts that some of the poorest areas are projected only to be around 55% funded by 2020, whilst some shire districts will be 100% funded.
Date:
Tuesday 27th May 2014

Saving Humans blog: 'Face-to-Face Encounters of the Diplomatic Kind'

Saving Humans blog: 'Face-to-Face Encounters of the Diplomatic Kind'
Description
Written by Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler. ). In my final blog today, I want to explore the proposition that I am developing at length in my new book that face-to-face encounters between leaders and top-level diplomats hold out the possibility of building trust across the enemy divide.
Date:
Tuesday 27th May 2014

Blog: The Politics of Broken Relationships? Croatia on the Eve of the European Parliament Elections

Blog: The Politics of Broken Relationships? Croatia on the Eve of the European Parliament Elections
Description
Written by Dr Kevin Deegan-Krause and Dr Tim Haughton. A short walk from the Croatian parliament is the Museum of Broken Relationships. Zagreb's quirkiest museum displays countless artefacts donated by couples from around the world symbolizing the end of their love. The results of Sunday's elections to the European Parliament may make the long-standing political parties in Croatia and their voters suitable for exhibition.
Date:
Tuesday 27th May 2014

Saving Humans blog: Building "A Spiral of Trust" through GRIT

Saving Humans blog: Building "A Spiral of Trust" through GRIT
Description
Written by Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler. Our last blog explored how peaceful/defensive self-images and ideological fundamentalist beliefs can generate security competition, even between states with peaceful motives and intentions. How, then, might a spiral of distrust be substituted for a 'spiral of trust'.
Date:
Friday 23rd May 2014

Saving Humans blog: 'Frame-Breaking Conciliatory Moves between Enemies'

Saving Humans blog: 'Frame-Breaking Conciliatory Moves between Enemies'
Description
Written by Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler. The Red October vignette is the stuff of fiction and Hollywood, and the question is whether it has any relevance to building trust in the contemporary world. Kupchan used the story to argue in his book that it was dramatic, frame-breaking moves of this kind that are necessary for adversaries to begin a process of diplomatic accommodation, but the cases he discussed in the second part of his book (especially the Anglo-American rapprochement in the late 19th Century) provide little evidence for this claim.
Date:
Friday 23rd May 2014

Blog: Notes on the 'Worthless Dowry' of Soviet Industrial Modernity

Blog: Notes on the 'Worthless Dowry' of Soviet Industrial Modernity
Description
Written by Dr Jeremy Morris. The monotown, or 'town-forming enterprise', was, and remains a key organisation of urban space in the former Soviet Union. Bound up with such a specifically socialist-conception of space is a host of social and cultural signifiers relating to class, kinship, social networks, local identity, and more.
Date:
Wednesday 21st May 2014

Saving Humans blog: Psychological Drivers of Distrust Between Adversaries

Saving Humans blog: Psychological Drivers of Distrust Between Adversaries
Description
Written by Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler. I concluded yesterday's blog by suggesting that perhaps our values and beliefs lead us astray when it comes to thinking about the possibilities for building trust in International politics. I want to pursue this theme today by exploring two key beliefs that promote distrust, and hence fuel security competition.
Date:
Tuesday 20th May 2014

Saving Humans blog: Trust as a Path to De-Escalation and Frame-Breaking in International Politics

Saving Humans blog: Trust as a Path to De-Escalation and Frame-Breaking in International Politics
Description
Written by Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler. 'There is little room for trust among states', so wrote the Chicago based professor of International Relations, John Mearsheimer, in his 2001 opus, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. Trust, Mearsheimer argued, is virtually impossible because states coexist in a condition of international anarchy (defined in the field of International Relations as the absence of a global government) that generates a perpetual competition for security.
Date:
Tuesday 20th May 2014

Blog: Could Russia Repeat a Ukraine Scenario in Belarus?

Blog: Could Russia Repeat a Ukraine Scenario in Belarus?
Description
Written by Dr Matthew Frear. Russia's intervention in Ukraine has often been justified in terms of defending the interests of ethnic Russians. According to the 2009 national census, almost 800,000 Russians live in Belarus – 8.3% of the population. As the titular nationality, Belarusians are actually in quite a strong position – ethnic Belarusians make up a larger proportion of the population of Belarus than Ukrainians do in Ukraine or Russians do in the Russian Federation.
Date:
Monday 19th May 2014

Blog: Under what conditions are decisions best made? Football managers and the public sector

Blog: Under what conditions are decisions best made? Football managers and the public sector
Description
Written by Ian Briggs. I am not much of a football follower, but I am becoming increasingly bemused by the fascination for premiership clubs in becoming so closely associated with their managers. You can hardly fail to notice that the headlines stories on the back pages of newspapers concentrate a great deal on the relative merits of the approaches taken by the current crop of managers. Am I alone in thinking that they get more attention now than the players?
Date:
Wednesday 14th May 2014

Blog: Can the CIS Survive the Ukraine Crisis?

Blog: Can the CIS Survive the Ukraine Crisis?
Description
Written by Dr Rilka Dragneva. The death of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has been foretold many times during its history of (now) more than 20 years. Dissatisfaction with its weak and confusing institutional structure and a failure to promote effective regional integration has become an almost permanent background to its existence. Despite the remarkable resilience of the CIS, there are several signs suggesting that the current crisis is more fundamental and extreme than previous shake-ups.
Date:
Monday 12th May 2014

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
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Departmental news

Germanwings crash: the ins and outs of the two-person rule

Germanwings crash: the ins and outs of the two-person rule
Description
Written by Daniel Rio Tinto, Doctoral Researcher in POLSIS. It takes two people to launch a nuclear missile - it's time the same level of safety returned to the cockpit.
Date:
30/03/2015

POLSIS academic interviewed by Turkish Weekly

POLSIS academic interviewed by Turkish Weekly
Description
Dr Marco Vieira shared his views with the Turkish Weekly on Brazil and the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine.
Date:
26/03/2015

Understanding the Post-Crisis Landscape: Assessing Change in Economic Management, Welfare, Work and Democracy

Understanding the Post-Crisis Landscape: Assessing Change in Economic Management, Welfare, Work and Democracy
Description
This seminar introduced a 6-seminar ESRC seminar series: Understanding the Post-Crisis Landscape: Assessing Change in Economic Management, Welfare, Work and Democracy. It highlighted and contested contemporary political economy approaches to macroeconomic management, welfare, work, and democracy, in the light of the global economic crisis - thereby setting the scene for four subsequent seminars to explore each of these themes in more depth.
Date:
20/03/2015

Ghana's democracy is driving great progress in health and education

Ghana's democracy is driving great progress in health and education
Description
Written by Alina Rocha Menocal, a senior research fellow at the Developmental Leadership Program. Despite weaknesses in accountability, Ghana's newly established political system has overseen dramatic improvements in basic services.
Date:
19/03/2015

INLOGOV Informs, Issue 7 - Spring 2015

INLOGOV Informs, Issue 7 - Spring 2015
Description
Research, Advice and support, Executive development and Postgraduate programme news from the Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham.
Date:
19/03/2015