News in the departments

Keep up to date with the latest news and events from around the school and the wide-ranging projects our staff and students get involved with.

Ban pre-election opinion polls at your peril

Ban pre-election opinion polls at your peril
Description
Written by Chris Game. I really thought we might make it. We'd got past the publication of YouGov's potentially constitution-changing poll showing a minuscule lead for the Yes campaign without anyone grabbing for an easy headline by calling for opinion polls to be banned in the run-up to elections and referendums.
Date:
Thursday 18th September 2014

Scotland vote appears to be defying usual referendum swing

Scotland vote appears to be defying usual referendum swing
Description
Written by Chris Game. It seems Scottish voters are warming to the whole independence idea, then – bucking the trend that the experts have been telling us for months they're almost bound to follow.
Date:
Monday 15th September 2014

New students 2014/15
Description
The staff at the School of Government and Society look forward to meeting all new students for the start of the 2014/15 academic year. All the information you'll need for starting at the University of Birmingham can be found on our Welcome homepage.
Date:
Friday 12th September 2014

Podcast: The Security Impact of Drone Warfare

Podcast: The Security Impact of Drone Warfare
Description
From counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, to Amazon delivery services, the use (and ownership) of drone technology has major implications for domestic and international security. But what are the legal and ethical implications of this technology, and can drones ever be fully autonomous? Join leading experts for a topical and timely debate on the civilian and military use of drones.
Date:
Thursday 11th September 2014

POLSIS Seminar Series 2014-15

POLSIS Seminar Series 2014-15
Description
POLSIS hosts a number of seminars throughout the year which focuses on a number of different topics. Listen to the latest podcasts from our recent events.
Date:
Wednesday 10th September 2014

Student Exchange and Year Abroad

Student Exchange and Year Abroad
Description
Dr Huw Macartney talks about why you should do a year abroad degree with the Department of Political Science and International Studies. All programmes offered in the POLSIS provide students with the opportunity to develop a broad disciplinary knowledge base and a range of analytical and transferable skills, as well as allowing them to build up expertise in specific areas of political life.
Date:
Wednesday 10th September 2014

Recent publications and conference presentations demonstrate the strength of research in POLSIS

Recent publications and conference presentations demonstrate the strength of research in POLSIS
Description
Several publications and conference presentations by academics in the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) demonstrate the quality and vibrancy of research in the department
Date:
Tuesday 9th September 2014

BRICS keep supporting Russia in bid to rebalance world power

BRICS keep supporting Russia in bid to rebalance world power
Description
Written by Dr Marco Vieira. While Western nations beef up economic sanctions and Nato discusses what stance to take toward Russia, the BRICS are maintaining tacit support for Moscow despite the Ukraine crisis.
Date:
Tuesday 9th September 2014

Blog: In case you missed it: the Local Government (Independence) Bill

Blog: In case you missed it: the Local Government (Independence) Bill
Description
Written by Chris Game. It was partly the timing. In combination, the suddenly increased likelihood of both Scottish independence and a Coalition break-up were bound to eclipse last Friday's scheduled Second Reading of the Local Government (Independence) Bill. It was unfortunate, though. After all, local government independence would be a pretty big deal too, wouldn't it?
Date:
Tuesday 9th September 2014

Why 'fools rush in' is Obama's watchword in Iraq and Syria

Why 'fools rush in' is Obama's watchword in Iraq and Syria
Description
Written by Dr Adam Quinn. US president Barack Obama has yet to work out exactly what America's strategy is in confronting Islamic State (IS), and has been foolish enough to say so in public. Cue the foreseeable torrent of point-scoring from opponents.
Date:
Friday 5th September 2014

Student Enhancement Fund profiles 2014

Student Enhancement Fund profiles 2014
Description
Find out how our undergraduate and postgraduate students have used the School of Government and Society student enhancement fund throughout 2013/14 and read about their experiences.
Date:
Thursday 4th September 2014

Patrick Pitts, Internship at the US Congress, Washington, D.C. (Summer 2014)

Patrick Pitts, Internship at the US Congress, Washington, D.C. (Summer 2014)
Description
My internship was by far the hardest experience I've ever underwent; when you're working for someone whose schedule frequently includes "meeting with POTUS" (President of the United States), you know that a lot is expected of you.
Date:
Thursday 4th September 2014

Tomislav Korman, SIPRI International Development Conference, Stockholm (March 2014)

Tomislav Korman, SIPRI International Development Conference, Stockholm (March 2014)
Description
Tomislav Korman, a Masters student in Public Administration in the International Development Department of the School of Government and Society, attended the 2014 Stockholm Forum on Security and Development, organized by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation.
Date:
Thursday 4th September 2014

NATO Must Look Forward to the Past

NATO Must Look Forward to the Past
Description
Written by Professor Mark Webber and Heidi Reisinger (Senior Analyst at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy). NATO's intent to follow America's lead and pivot towards Asia is illogical and unrealistic. The Ukraine crisis has served to bang their heads together and remind them that although the connection to the US is crucial, NATO business is in Europe.
Date:
Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Forgotten South Sudan tangled in factionalism and failed politics

Forgotten South Sudan tangled in factionalism and failed politics
Description
Written by Dr Jonathan Fisher. Largely knocked out of the news by the crises in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and Gaza (to name a few), a civil war has nonetheless devastated South Sudan since December 2013. It has left thousands dead, and more than a million have been internally displaced or forced into refugee camps.
Date:
Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Blog: Councils should have the power NOT to tax supermarkets

Blog: Councils should have the power NOT to tax supermarkets
Description
Written by Chris Game. There's no shortage of reasons to dislike supermarkets generally and Tesco in particular – their flimsy carrier bags, their irritating BOGOFs and BOGOHOs (Buy One, Get One Half Off), their unpoliced disabled parking bays, their Everyday Value instant coffee granules. Then there are all the economic, environmental and social reasons – the ones understandably more emphasised in Derby City Council's recent proposal that local authorities be given the power to introduce a levy of 8.5% of rateable value on large retail outlets: a supermarket or Tesco tax, as it was instantly labelled by the media.
Date:
Monday 1st September 2014

Douglas Carswell by-election is a rare and honourable event

Douglas Carswell by-election is a rare and honourable event
Description
Written by Chris Game. The least surprising part of Douglas Carswell's defection to UKIP was surely his decision to resign his Clacton seat and seek re-election in a by-election.
Date:
Friday 29th August 2014

Nationalism sparks a summer of deadly violence in the Caucasus

Nationalism sparks a summer of deadly violence in the Caucasus
Description
Written by Kevork Oskanian. The world has been brutally reminded of the unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in the South Caucasus which Armenia and Azerbaijan have locked horns over for more than 25 years. While the situation is clearly at a low ebb, the facts of what is happening are far from clear.
Date:
Thursday 28th August 2014

If lauding Thatcher was cause to recall parliament, why not Iraq?

If lauding Thatcher was cause to recall parliament, why not Iraq?
Description
Written by Chris Game. MPs from all parties have called in recent weeks for parliament to be reconvened to enable them to debate the ongoing crisis in Iraq. They have met with unbending opposition. But David Cameron's decision to bring everyone back last year to eulogise Margaret Thatcher might make it difficult for him to resist indefinitely.
Date:
Thursday 21st August 2014

Creating Change, Expanding Opportunity - IDD Annual Report 2013-14

Creating Change, Expanding Opportunity - IDD Annual Report 2013-14
Description
Welcome to a special anniversary Annual Report. Browse an overview of IDD's recent research, teaching, consultancy and publications.
Date:
Thursday 21st August 2014
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Blog: The journey to the common: what is the role of the voluntary sector?

Blog: The journey to the common: what is the role of the voluntary sector?
Description
Written by Anna Coleman and Julia Segar. A recent publication by the New Local Government Network (NLGN) looked at how local councils are preparing for the future and suggests depressingly that "there is simply no way that local government can reach 2018 let alone 2020 while still delivering the full range and quality of services currently on offer"(p6). Simply put, we have an ageing population, with associated increasing demand for care services and draconian cuts in council budgets.
Date:
12/12/2014

Blog: The LGC100: what it does and doesn't measure

Blog: The LGC100: what it does and doesn't measure
Description
Written by Chris Game. I used, years ago, to have a whole Pol Sci 1 lecture about power and influence, their similarities and differences. By one of life's synchronicities, I've been reminded of it twice in the past week. Don't go – I'm not about to disinter it, although I will share the six-word summary that I could, if really pushed, get it down to: Power's a tool, Influence a skill.
Date:
05/12/2014

Blog: The future is Intercommunality – yes, but with whom?

Blog: The future is Intercommunality – yes, but with whom?
Description
Written by Chris Game. Rom com/date movies aren't really my thing, so my excuse for watching the recent Words and Pictures was that I was a captive plane passenger – and that the ever-watchable Juliette Binoche was playing a rheumatoid arthritic abstract painter and prep school art teacher. The title refers to the silly challenge she charily accepts from alcoholic poet turned plagiarising English teacher, Clive Owen, to 'prove' whether Words or Pictures are more meaningful.
Date:
01/12/2014

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?
Description
Written by Dr Andrew Nickson. The terrible Ebola tragedy has spawned massive coverage in the world's media of Sierra Leone and Liberia – with harrowing images of victims, relatives, health workers, doctors, and aid agency staff. Yet one key 'stakeholder' in the fight against Ebola has been notably missing from this coverage – the government of both countries. Most of us would be hard pressed to name the presidents of either country* as they have been almost invisible, and the same goes for their respective health ministers.
Date:
21/11/2014