Recent blog posts from around the School

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

Saving humans Blog: Democracy, Rights and European Hopes in Turkey

Saving humans Blog: Democracy, Rights and European Hopes in Turkey
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. Today I want to shift the focus from India and the Dalit (former untouchables) human rights struggle to Turkey. The two may not be obvious cases to treat in the same book or blog series, but in fact, some important issues intersect in both. In the Dalit human rights case, activists struggling on behalf of a category of persons within a country assert that those persons' rights are being systematically violated.
Date:
Thursday 20th February 2014

Saving humans Blog: Applying Global Pressure to Domestic Justice Issues: India's National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights

Saving humans Blog: Applying Global Pressure to Domestic Justice Issues: India's National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. Yesterday I wrote about field research I had conducted among unauthorized immigrants in the US and Europe, as well as with immigration authorities and activists. I thought it could be appropriate to follow that up with a brief discussion of some current field research which intersects in some significant ways with the concerns of the Saving Humans initiative.
Date:
Wednesday 19th February 2014

Saving humans Blog: Studying Global Ethics in its Lived Contexts: Unauthorized Migration and Global Citizenship

Saving humans Blog: Studying Global Ethics in its Lived Contexts: Unauthorized Migration and Global Citizenship
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. I started my professional (post-university) career as a journalist in Seattle for The Associated Press, the global newswire service. Wire service work has a reputation in the trade as a bit of grind, and there were indeed plenty of overnight shifts spent rewriting local newspaper copy for the wire.
Date:
Wednesday 19th February 2014

Blog: Devolution's biggest hurdle: Whitehall's culture of comtempt

Blog: Devolution's biggest hurdle: Whitehall's culture of comtempt
Description
Written by Chris Game. Labour published its draft 2015 local government manifesto recently. Entitled Labour and localism: perspectives on a new English deal, the core of the deal is a radical new approach to the financing of local government.
Date:
Monday 17th February 2014

Blog: It wouldn't be honest! Will closing the high road lead to congestion on the low road?

Blog: It wouldn't be honest! Will closing the high road lead to congestion on the low road?
Description
Written by Alan Doig. Only a few weeks after my recent article on addressing fraud, corruption and conflict-of-interest in local government from the enforcement and public ethics perspectives – the low road and high road approaches – the EU produced an overview report on corruption.
Date:
Thursday 13th February 2014

Blog: Directly elected mayors in England: leading local government?

Blog: Directly elected mayors in England: leading local government?
Description
Written by John Fenwick and Howard Elcock. The first directly-elected executive mayors in England took office more than a decade ago. Drawing inspiration from European and American experience, the directly elected mayor appealed to New Labour and Conservative policy-makers alike, offering an apparent solution to perceived problems of weak local leadership and bureaucratic stagnation.
Date:
Thursday 13th February 2014

Blog: Partnerships and service integration - is it all just hot air?

Blog: Partnerships and service integration - is it all just hot air?
Description
Written by Axel Kaehne. Since the 1990s, policy makers and academics have had a pet project in public service reform. Over time, they have called it differently but always meant essentially the same: public services collaborating with each other to improve service quality. At some point, it was called partnerships (remember the Partnership Agenda under Tony Blair's government?), then it was service integration, a term particularly popular amongst health care professionals.
Date:
Tuesday 11th February 2014

Blog: The 21st century public servant - drivers of change

Blog: The 21st century public servant - drivers of change
Description
Written by Maria Katsonis and Helen Sullivan. In 2013 the Melbourne School of Government and the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet began collaborating on a project to explore the roles, skills and characteristics of the 21st century public servant. This blog piece describes some of the key drivers of change we identified, most of which are relevant across a range of contexts, though their impact will be shaped by local political and economic contexts.
Date:
Thursday 6th February 2014

Blog: The Big Society lasted 1000 days. Will we ever see ideas of its like again?

Blog: The Big Society lasted 1000 days. Will we ever see ideas of its like again?
Description
Written by Dr Stephen Jeffares. "This is not the first time in the last year we have heard reports of "big ideas" "biting the dust". The same has been levelled at Cameron's purported big idea in politics: The Big Society."
Date:
Wednesday 5th February 2014

Blog: Who is in control of the sandbags?

Blog: Who is in control of the sandbags?
Description
Written by Philip Whiteman and Ian Briggs. "The recent news that the Minister for the Environment, Owen Patterson, has visited flood torn Somerset and the Environment Agency, has had a bit of a tough time in the media. It has started to open up a few interesting questions and issues around who is actually accountable and who is responsible for flood response."
Date:
Tuesday 4th February 2014

Blog: When will they ever learn?

Blog: When will they ever learn?
Description
Written by Catherine Staite. The news of the death of Pete Seeger has reminded me again of his old song 'Where have all the flowers gone?' The line 'oh when will they ever learn?' has been running through my head since I saw an item on the local news about police officers and mental health professionals working together to prevent people with mental health problems ending up in police cells for want of the right support. 'Good stuff!' you might think. Indeed it is - but it is also profoundly depressing to hear such a venture being reported as 'new'.
Date:
Monday 3rd February 2014

Blog: The prospects for a dramatically more representative Parliament post 2015 are bleak

Blog: The prospects for a dramatically more representative Parliament post 2015 are bleak
Description
Written by Catherine Durose, Liz Richardson, Ryan Combs, Francesca Gains and Christina Eason. Whilst the likely outcome of the next election maybe still far too close to call, one feature of the next Parliament is very predictable. The 2015 Parliament is likely to remain as deeply unrepresentative of the make-up of the UK population as the current legislature.
Date:
Friday 31st January 2014
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Departmental news

Tower Hamlets residents must be wondering why they bothered to vote

Tower Hamlets residents must be wondering why they bothered to vote
Description
Written by Chris Game. With a forced smile and through gritted teeth, Tower Hamlets' elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has announced himself willing to accept – and even "welcome" – the intervention package set out for his borough by Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government.
Date:
21/11/2014

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. The attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in which four Jewish worshippers were killed and eight were injured has sparked new fears that fighting between Israel and Palestinian could flare up once more. The attack, by two Palestinians carrying meat cleavers and a gun, has the potential to kick off fresh religious confrontation and a third intifada.
Date:
20/11/2014

Podcast: Russia and the West since 1991: a tale of growing distrust

Podcast: Russia and the West since 1991: a tale of growing distrust
Description
The high level of trust that had been constructed between western and Soviet leaders in the late 1980s and early 1990s was not sustained when western leaders had to face an independent Russia, even though the new Russia began with every intention of transforming itself into a full participating member of the international institutions set up after 1945 to keep the peace. However, Russians – not just their government – had come to view international institutions with profound distrust as having deceived them in both the economic and diplomatic spheres.
Date:
20/11/2014

Abe can win Japan's snap election but he needs to win big

Abe can win Japan's snap election but he needs to win big
Description
Written by Dr Julie Gilson. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to call a snap election for December 14 comes after what has been a rather bad week for him. Japan has slipped back into recession for the first time since 2012 and Abe has seen his popularity ratings drop below 50% for the first time.
Date:
19/11/2014