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About this book

Written by a team of leading scholars, this new text focuses on a range of key challenges posed by developments in 21st century politics to provide a state-of-the-art assessment of current thinking and future directions in Political Science and International Relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Political Science in an Age of Acknowledged Interdependence

The aim of this volume is to address a range of key challenges for political science in the twenty-first century and to identify ways in which the discipline – broadly construed to include the study of both domestic and global politics – might respond to these. Such questions about the relationship between what we study, how we study it and the conclusions we draw seem, on the face of it, both crucially important and yet disarmingly simple. But, in practice, they are rarely discussed – not least because they turn out to rather more difficult to answer than they are to pose. How have politics and political science evolved, and what limits do the former place upon the latter? To what extent are ‘real world’ developments drivers of the substantive content and the analytical and theoretical preoccupations of contemporary political science? Or, to put this in a slightly different way, how – and, indeed, how well – has political science, as a discipline, responded to the challenges posed by ‘real world’ developments?
Colin Hay

Chapter 1. Policy-Making in an Interdependent World

‘Interdependence’ poses a serious and novel challenge to policy-makers, and to our understanding of the policy process. This chapter is about understanding the nature of that challenge. We are looking at something new here. But in what does the novelty consist? I will argue in the following pages that novelty lies only partly in the changing objective character of the policy-making world, though there is indeed evidence that we are encountering new kinds of interdependence. For their effective management, these new forms of interdependence do certainly require novel institutional creations; the tools of nineteenth-century bureaucracy are no more appropriate to the twenty-first century than is nineteenth-century technology. But there is another form of novelty involved here: it is not simply that the world has changed; the way the world is discursively constructed has also altered. And at least some of the novelty of interdependence lies in the perception of its novelty. Thus, making sense of policy-making in an interdependent world has to attempt the difficult task of disentangling what is new about interdependence from what policy advocates say is new about it.
Michael Moran

Chapter 2. The Rise of Political Disenchantment

It is interesting that the study of politics has, at its heart, a subject matter that many of our fellow citizens assert they despise. Sociologists do not face large numbers of people claiming to hate society. Economists might find substantial numbers objecting to global capitalism, but are unlikely to find many who say they dislike the basic mechanisms of economics: ‘I wouldn’t touch supply and demand with a barge pole’ is not a common refrain. Yet, political scientists quite regularly come across citizens who tell them they do not like the practice of politics and are very keen to steer clear of it. The big question in political science, as far as I am concerned, is why so many of our fellow citizens appear to be intensely disenchanted with political practice today. The related question is how the nature of our subject matter should influence the way we study it. Politics is, to a substantial degree, an intentional human creation of rules, institutions and symbols – and that dynamic is one in which we, as a profession, shape whether we recognize it or not. Politics is a human construction – an activity created for a purpose – which might, in part, explain its vulnerability to unease about its operation, given the common human experience of failings and unintended consequences from such activities. Its investigation requires a greater appreciation of the ‘science of the artificial’, the design of human activities, than is generally afforded by political scientists.
Gerry Stoker

Chapter 3. The Internet in Political Science

This chapter addresses the challenge to political science arising from widespread use of the Internet – meaning that, in many countries, large tranches of political, economic and social life have now moved online. The Internet has brought changes to people’s information-seeking behaviour and to political communication; facilitates mass mobilization; reconfigures the ‘logic’ of collective action; provides new possibilities for coordination and collaboration; and has necessitated organizational change in government and other political institutions, with implications for institutional design. The chapter examines how political science has responded to this development – and argues that current trends will require a more sophisticated theoretical, empirical and methodological response in the future.
Helen Margetts

Chapter 4. The New Politics of Equality

The politics of equality have changed quite profoundly in recent times, with significant theoretical and practical developments changing the ways in which equality is both conceived and pursued. We have witnessed a paradigm shift in equality thinking, with the ‘old’ politics of equality that focused primarily on the redistribution of material wealth being subject to a sustained period of critique, which has ultimately unsettled the norms of previous equality perspectives and ushered in a ‘new’ politics of equality.
Johanna Kantola, Judith Squires

Chapter 5. Civic Multiculturalism and National Identity

This chapter discusses a new strand in democratic politics: multiculturalism. In Europe, in particular, this is associated with the response to the mass immigration of the early postwar years. Political science – specifically, political theory – has played a key role in articulating and debating the normative claims of this politics. This has not only led to an acknowledgement of the emergence of new political actors, mobilizations, controversies and agendas, as part of a larger recognition of the diminishing role of class politics. It has also, as this chapter explains, been part of the interrogation of liberalism and the efforts to recast liberal egalitarian values in a less individualistic or ethnocentric politics. I focus on the latest group to adopt the cause of multiculturalism – namely, Muslims – who are not only associated with the decline of support for this politics, but who, as a religious group, pose a challenge for the secularist biases of political science. My purpose is to establish the nature of the political and intellectual challenge that multiculturalism poses, and to present an understanding of it that is also a justification for it as a political ideal.
Tariq Modood

Chapter 6. The Character of the State

The global financial crisis has posed important questions about what states are and what they do in modern politics. Most immediately, it appears to have produced a world in which states do rather more in the economic sphere than they have been doing for the past thirty years. But, just as significantly, it has exposed some fundamental questions about the political problems that define states as entities, both in themselves and in relation to each other in an interdependent world. In so doing, the crisis has thrown up some serious challenges to scholarly analysis of the state, so much of which, over the past two decades, has been shaped by the discourse of globalization.
Helen Thompson

Chapter 7. Economic Interdependence and the Global Economic Crisis

At the time of writing (mid-2009), the global economy is embroiled in its most severe downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Overall global production is expected to fall in 2009, the first time this has happened since the 1930s. The World Trade Organization (2009) predicts that global trade will fall by 9 per cent, the largest contraction since 1945. Developing economies face shrinking export markets, lower prices for their commodity exports (a drop of more than 40 per cent), and a halt to inflows of public and private capital. The World Bank (2009a; 2009b) warns that the global recession will increase the number of people living in poverty by 65 million in 2009, and further delay realization of the Millennium Development Goals. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2009) estimates that the crisis-induced write-downs of bad loans by financial institutions will total around US$4 trillion – imposing a potentially massive burden on the public purse for the re-capitalization of these institutions.
John Ravenhill

Chapter 8. The Challenge of Territorial Politics: Beyond Methodological Nationalism

Political community, political institutions and public policies all lie at the heart of the study and practice of politics. A founding member of the Political Studies Association, looking back from 1950, might reasonably have detected a long-run trend over the previous two hundred years of European history as these three elements – political community (that is, how citizens claim identity, participate politically and express solidarity), institutions and policies – became increasingly integrated and consolidated on a single spatial scale; that of the nation-state. This trend is the subject of compelling narratives about the political modernization of Europe (Marshall 1992 [1950]; Tilly 1975; Rokkan 1999; Zürn and Leibfried 2005). These tell a largely common story about the intertwined processes of state formation and national integration culminating, after the Second World War, in mass-democratic, national welfare states. Sixty years on, the world looks rather different. Oceans of ink have been spilt on the challenges that globalization and European integration pose to Europe’s nation-states, which can appear fragile and threatened. Many scholars declare that territoriality and borders are now defunct; some suggest that modernization has simply ‘jumped’ to a more cosmopolitan ‘scale’, shifting from the nation-state to the European or global level (Beck 2000). Our focus here, however, is on a second set of changes: the (re)assertion of the sub-state territorial politics of stateless nations and ‘regions’.
Charlie Jeffery, Daniel Wincott

Chapter 9. New Security Challenges in an Interdependent World

‘New Security Challenges’ and ‘global interdependence’ are frequent themes in security analyses since the collapse of the Soviet Union some twenty or so years ago. They are important issues: what is security without globalized ideological and military threats? How might a range of security issues be managed collectively, recognizing that issues such as HIV/AIDS or climate change are issues that affect all communities? Around such questions, the sub-field of international security has revolved. But, whilst accepting that these questions are important, it is also the case that two important issues can become masked. First, that much that occurs in the contemporary security context is far less novel than is often proclaimed. Second, perhaps even more importantly, the claims that security is a field of interdependence hides the important dynamic of power relations; issues might be shared ones in security terms, but the stakes might affect parties very differently indeed.
Stuart Croft

Chapter 10. Global Challenges: Accountability and Effectiveness

The paradox of our times can be stated simply: the collective issues with which we must grapple are of growing cross-border extensity and intensity and, yet, the means for addressing these are weak and incomplete. Three pressing global issues highlight the urgency of finding a way forward.
David Held

Chapter 11. Global Justice

In the 1970s and 1980s, in the context of neoliberal challenges to redistributive welfare states, theoretical debates about justice were largely taken up by arguments about principles of distributive justice appropriate for liberal political communities (Rawls 1971; Nozick 1974). In the 1990s, feminist and multiculturalist politics challenged the assumptions of mainstream theories of justice, and issues of difference and identity, as well as distribution, became the focus of attention in both theory and practice (Young 1990; Kymlicka 1995; Mulhall and Swift 1996; Parekh 2000; see also Kantola and Squires in this volume). Across all of these debates, two matters were taken for granted: first, the assumption that the nation-state was the site within which claims of justice could be articulated and satisfied; and, second, a particular understanding of the disciplinary role of the political theorist, in relation to that of the political scientist, the policy-maker or the activist. In this chapter, I will suggest that disrupting the first of these assumptions has implications for the second. Once discussions about theories of justice shift to the global arena, it becomes harder to sustain the myth of the political theorist as a monological source of authority on the meaning of justice. And it becomes apparent that much closer collaboration between political theorists, scientists and activists is required if principles of global justice are to make sense to a global audience, as opposed to the select company of liberal political theorists and their critics within the western academy.
Kimberly Hutchings
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