Episodi

  • In this episode I talk to Daniel Ziblatt who is Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University.We discuss his 2018 book How Democracies Die co-authored with Steven Levitsky. (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562246/how-democracies-die-by-steven-levitsky-and-daniel-ziblatt/)

    The book investigates how authoritarian leaders within democracies erode democratic norms and institutions and how democratic regimes eventually turn into autocratic ones. It argues that political parties play a key role for the stability of democracy as they act as gatekeepers against authoritarians. When political parties fail to do that and authoritarians get elected, they have many opportunities to erode democratic safeguards – even while staying within the law.

    Our conversation also focuses on the role that conservative parties play more generally for the stability of democracy. Historically a party family whose compromising capacity was essential for democratic stability, many of these parties today have allowed radical right rhetoric into the democratic mainstream. Especially the US Republican party has radicalized and currently a real threat exists for the stability of liberal democracy in the US.

    If you are interested in Daniel and his research, you can follow him on Twitter under "at" dziblatt or visit his website https://scholar.harvard.edu/dziblatt/home
    I hope you enjoy the conversation

    Reading recommendation: Paul Starr “Entrechment. Wealth, Power, and the Constitution of Democratic Societies” https://www.degruyter.com/yaleup/view/title/565297?language=en

  • In this episode we are changing the roles and Silja Häuserman, professor of political science at the University of Zurich takes over as the host. I discuss my article “The Electoral Appeal of Party Strategies in Postindustrial Societies: When Can the Mainstream Left Succeed?” which is co-authored with Markus Wagner and came out in the Journal of Politics in 2019.

    The article discusses different policy strategies of social democratic parties and their potential electoral appeal. The main hypothesis is that mainstream left parties need to appeal to educated middle class voters in order to be electorally successful. A combination of investment-oriented economic and liberal-progressive positions are necessary to appeal to this group.

    In addition to the article, we discuss different narratives for the electoral decline of social democratic parties. Neither the economic narrative that focuses on too centrist economic positions of the Third Way, nor the cultural narrative that blames too progressive positions on the second dimension find much empirical support.

    If you are interested in knowing more about my work (beyond this podcast) you can follow me on Twitter under at tabouchadi or visit my website www.tarikabouchadi.net

    I hope you enjoy the conversation

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  • In this episode, I talk to Herbert Kitschelt, who is George V. Allen Distinguished Professor of International Relations at Duke University and without a doubt one of the most influential contemporary scholars of political parties. We discuss his 1994 book “The Transformation of European Social Democracy”.

    In this book, Herbert explains how a second dimension of political preferences has become politicized since the late 1960s and how this has affected party competition but especially social democratic parties. Social democratic parties struggled to integrate the new demands of activists especially surrounding environmental issues. This led to the formation of many new left-libertarian and green parties. This transformed political environment created a fundamental dilemma for social democratic parties about how to attract new socio-demographic groups while not losing their core constituency.

    We discuss how many of the core questions raised in the book have remained fundamentally important for understanding the fate of social democratic parties even 25 years later. While the issues at the core of the social democratic ideal have become the status quo in many countries, social democratic parties face a fundamental electoral crisis. Strategic re-positioning will always come with trade-offs and is in itself unlikely to revive these parties.

    If you want to know more about Herbert and his research you can visit his website https://scholars.duke.edu/person/h3738

    I hope you enjoy the conversation

    Political science recommendation:
    Boix, Carles (2015): Political Order and Inequality. Cambridge University Press. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/political-order-and-inequality/AEA3B0E229E99180CFAF0C534C19FE09

  • In this episode, I talk to Simon Hix who is Harold Laski Professor of Political Science at the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. We discuss his article “Brexit: Where is the EU–UK Relationship Heading?” which came out in 2018.

    In the article, Simon analyzes different scenarios for the medium-term relationship between the UK and the EU. The conversation focuses on what Brexit means for both sides economically and politically and how this affects their bargaining position. While freedom of movement is politically unacceptable for the current UK government, the EU is unlikely to accept breaking up the four freedoms of goods, service, capital and persons. A more basic Free Trade Agreement thus seems like the most likely outcome of the negotiations.

    We additionally discuss how the current crisis will potentially affect the future of the European Union. While moves toward stronger integration often happened during times of crises, such an outcome seems unlikely at the moment.

    If you want to know more about Simon and his research, you can follow him on Twitter under at simonjhix or visit his website http://personal.lse.ac.uk/hix/.

    I hope you enjoy the conversation

    Political science recommendation:
    Catherine de Vries, 2018, Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration, Oxford University Press. https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780198793380.001.0001/oso-9780198793380

  • In this episode, I talk to Tom O’Grady who is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at University College London. We discuss his article “Careerists Versus Coal Miners: Welfare Reforms and the Substantive Representation of Social Groups in the British Labour Party” which was published in 2019 in Comparative Political Studies. https://bit.ly/3dVZ3mE

    In the article, Tom investigates how politicians’ social background matters for their preferences and legislative behavior. He documents how, much like in other countries, the number of MPs with a working class background has declined in the UK over the last decades. Many of them have been replaced with career politicians. The article shows that MPs with a working class background indeed have different policy preferences and behave differently in the context of welfare reform.

    We also discuss how British welfare politics have changed more generally. Tom’s new book project analyses how elite discourse on welfare issues has changed public opinion over the last decades. From this perspective, the frames introduced by New Labour already created the basis of public support for the austerity measures since 2010.

    If you want to know more about Tom and his research you can follow him on Twitter under at DrTomD_OG or visit his website tomogradypolitics.wordpress.com.

    I hope you enjoy the conversation


    Political Science recommendation:
    Srnicek/Williams (2016): "Inventing the Future
    Postcapitalism and a World Without Work"
    https://www.versobooks.com/books/2315-inventing-the-future?fbclid=IwAR1I8Ya9dLdEHvt-FILjAZmaAfDq969mzaLp3kxfVA96B-N0qKd6J5Pf3k0

  • In this episode, I talk to Phillip Ayoub who is Associate Professor at Occidental College. Our conversation focuses on his book “When States Come Out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility” which was published with Cambridge University Press in 2016. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/when-states-come-out/995A1865F9062CE7B263C0C2AAD1A3EA)

    The book analyzes changes in LGBT rights and attitudes towards sexual minorities. It argues that norm brokers play a key role for how international norm pressure for more equality is translated into national discourse and legislation. Local activists and organizations can help frame rights expansion in a way that fits the national discourse. However, national actors in the form of religious/nationalist movements often constitute a strong antagonist to rights expansion.

    We discuss how the politics of queer visibility go beyond the question of same-sex marriage and what challenges lie ahead for equal recognition of sexual minorities. Especially trans rights and intersectional questions of queerness and for example racism remain strongly contested fields. While much progressive change has been achieved, many aspects of queer live remain invisible.

    If you want to know more about Phillip and his research you can follow him on Twitter under “at” pma34 or visit his website. https://www.phillipmayoub.com/

    I hope you enjoy the conversation.

    Political science recommendation: Kristopher Velasco (2020): A Growing Queer Divide: The Divergence between Transnational Advocacy Networks and Foreign Aid in Diffusing LGBT Policies. International Studies Quarterly 64 (1) Pages 120–132. https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqz075

  • In this episode, I talk to Sara Hobolt who is Sutherland Chair in European Institutions at the LSE. The conversation focuses on her 2016 article “The Brexit vote: a divided nation, a divided continent” (https://bit.ly/3dp8JG0)

    In this article, which was published in September 2016, so shortly after the UK decided to leave the European Union, Sara investigates the individual level determinants of the Brexit vote. Next to socio-demographic characteristics such as age and education, national identities and attitudes about immigration played a core role for the decision.

    We then also discuss Brexit in the broader context of referendums on European integration and people’s attitudes toward the European Union more generally. Why do some people favor more integration than others? Can we imagine a similar development in other European countries?

    Sara and I discuss these and other questions in the next 45 minutes. If you want to know more about Sara and her research you can follow her on Twitter under “at” sarahobolt or visit her website www.hobolt.com.

    I hope you enjoy the conversation.


    Political science recommendations: https://www.cambridge.org/ch/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/political-economy/democratic-dilemma-can-citizens-learn-what-they-need-know?format=PB&isbn=9780521585934

  • In this episode, I talk to Markus Wagner, who is Professor of Quantitative Party and Election Research at the University of Vienna. Our conversation will focus on his 2014 article “Left-Authoritarians and Policy Representation in Western Europe: Electoral Choice across Ideological Dimensions” The article (https://bit.ly/3fgtHJ4) is co-authored with Zoe Lefkofridi and Johanna Willmann.

    In the article, the authors investigate the electoral preferences of left-authoritarian voters in Western Europe. Left-authoritarian voters are those that hold left-wing economic preferences and favor for example higher levels of redistribution but combine these preferences with more authoritarian positions on cultural issues. Because there are only very few parties that combine left-wing economic with more authoritarian positions, these voters often do not find direct representation in the party system. So they have to decide if they rather vote with their economic or cultural preferences. In their analysis, the authors find that issue salience plays a key role in determining which parties left-authoritarian voters prefer in the end.

    Later in the podcast, we talk about the role that left-authoritarian voters play for the transformation of European politics more generally. Can their changing electoral preferences explain why mainstream party support has declined and other parties such as the radical right have increased their support? What are other important groups in the electorate that make us understand these changes?

    Markus and I will talk about these and other questions in the next 45 minutes. For more information about Markus and his research you can follow him on twitter under “at” markuswagnerat or visit his website markuswagner.net
    I hope you enjoy the conversation

    Political science recommendation:
    Thau, Mads. 2019. How Political Parties Use Group-Based Appeals: Evidence from Britain 1964–2015. Political Studies: 67(1). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0032321717744495

  • In this episode, I talk to Cas Mudde who is Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia. The conversation will focus on his 2007 book “Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe” but we will also talk about his new book “The Far Right Today” which is not only written for an academic but also a broader audience. https://politybooks.com/bookdetail/?isbn=9781509536832

    Cas Mudde’s work has played a crucial role for defining and conceptually delineating the populist radical right. He defines the radical right as an ideological group that combines nativism and authoritarianism and distinguishes it from the extreme right, which is more decidedly anti-democratic. His definition of populism as a thin-centered ideology that pitches the pure people against the corrupt elite has become the reference point for much political science work on populism.

    The conversation focuses on how the far right has changed over the past decades – not only as an actor but more importantly in the perception of mainstream society. While they used to be parties and movements at the fringes of society, they have now become mainstream.

    If you are interested in knowing more about Cas and his work, you can follow him on Twitter under “at” CasMudde or visit his website https://spia.uga.edu/faculty-member/cas-mudde/

    Cas also writes a regular column for the Guardian.

    I hope you enjoy the conversation


    Political science recommendation:
    Canovan, Margaret. 1999. Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy. https://bit.ly/3eZaBa7

  • In this episode, I talk to Jane Gingrich who is Associate Professor of Comparative Political Economy at the University of Oxford. Our conversation is about the changing support coalition of social democratic parties, their current electoral crisis and what all of this means for the welfare state. First, we focus on Jane’s 2015 article titled “The decline of the working-class vote, the reconfiguration of the welfare support coalition and consequences for the welfare state” which is co-authored with Silja Häusermann. (https://bit.ly/3bFfX8o)

    In this article, the authors show that the electoral support coalition for parties of the Left increasingly consists of educated middle class voters and how this affects the politics of the welfare state. The changing preferences of supporters of the Left, however, do not simply mean less redistribution but instead a different type of welfare state.

    Jane and I will talk about these and other questions in the next 45 minutes. For more information about Jane and her research you can follow her on twitter under at jrgingrich or visit her website https://www.magd.ox.ac.uk/member-of-staff/jane-gingrich/.

    I hope you enjoy the conversation

    Political science reading recommendation: Stephanie Mudge. 2018. Leftism Reinvented. https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674971813

  • In this episode, I talk to Catherine de Vries who is Professor of Political Science at Bocconi University. Our conversation will focus on her forthcoming book “Political Entrepreneurs: The Rise of Challenger Parties in Europe.” which is co-authored with Sara Hobolt. The book will come out this summer but you can already pre-order it with Princeton University Press. https://press.princeton.edu/books/ebook/9780691206547/political-entrepreneurs

    In the book Catherine de Vries and Sara Hobolt analyze how challenger parties use different strategies to change existing patterns of political competition. Successful challenger parties work as issue entrepreneurs – that means they politicize new issues that drive wedges through existing political coalitions. Think of the radical right and the issue of immigration. But challenger parties do not only politicize new issues, they equally make use of anti-establishment rhetoric in order to mobilize voters – and it is that combination that makes them successful. While much political science literature has focused on challenger parties such as Green or radical right parties, the book also points to the resilience and continuing market dominance of mainstream parties.

    In the remainder of the episode Catherine and I talk more generally about how parties can influence structures of political conflicts. For more information about Catherine and her research you can follow her on twitter under “at” CatherineDVries or visit her website catherinedevries.eu

    I hope you enjoy the conversation

    Political science recommendation: Peter Mair: Ruling the Void. https://www.versobooks.com/books/1447-ruling-the-void

  • In this episode, I talk to Silja Häusermann who is Professor of Swiss Politics and Comparative Political Economy at the University of Zurich. We talk about the 2015 book “The Politics of Advanced Capitalism”, which is co-edited with Pablo Beramendi, Herbert Kitschelt and Hanspeter Kriesi. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/politics-of-advanced-capitalism/7DDFD56C784EEB3C284098D05BACF104)

    In the introduction of this edited volume the 4 authors provide an analytic framework on how the transformations of post-industrial societies such as globalization, automation or changing gender roles have affected political outcomes. In order to understand the politics of advanced capitalist societies, it is crucial to take into account the preferences of socio-economic groups such as socio-cultural professionals or the petty bourgeoisie. In this changing environment, political parties can forge different alliances over these groups. These alliances in turn are essential to understand political outcomes.

    The conversation provides an insight into many developments in European politics in the past 30 years such as the changing support coalitions for social democratic and conservative parties or the changes in welfare and social policies. For more information about Silja and her research you can follow her on Twitter under "at" siljahausermann or visit her website siljahaeusermann.org

    I hope you enjoy the conversation


    Political science reading recommendation:
    Kitschelt/Lange/Marks/Stephens 1999: "Continuity and Change in Contemporary Capitalism"
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/continuity-and-change-in-contemporary-capitalism/8E8895255449917A61655A7B182BEAAC