In the current issue of Governance, Sharon Gilad, Saar Alon-Barkat, and Alexandr Braverman say that “public administration scholarship has devoted limited attention to the responses of public organizations” to social protests. They examine how Israeli public agencies and businesses responded to social protests in 2011. They find that public organizations were “more likely to perceive social upheaval as an opportunity for reputation enhancement and for expansion of resources and jurisdiction,” and increased their spending on public communications in response to the protests. Businesses, by contrast, “perceive social activism as costly” and were “inclined to keep a low profile to avoid being targeted.” Read the article.
By Joleen Steyn Kotze. The story of Brexit and its shock victory brings the possibility of using African conceptual tools to analyze complex European cosmopolitanism and citizenship.
Peter Ekeh, a renowned African thinker on African civic citizenship, conceptualized his notion of ‘two publics’ to explain Africa’s socio-political division. For Ekeh, post-colonial states were not one civic public like in Western nation- states. Rather, African polities comprised two publics with different rights and citizenship obligations. Read the rest of this entry »
By Vivien Schmidt. Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, all the attention has been focused on how it will go about leaving, or even whether it will leave in the end. But equally important is how the EU responds to Brexit: whether as an isolated case to be quarantined in order to avoid contagion to other member-states, or as the symptom of a wider disease. Only by seeing the Brexit vote as a wake-up call to reinvent the EU may the EU itself actually overcome the many challenges it faces. What the EU must do is to generate a ‘new deal’ for the EU as a whole, not to treat the UK in isolation.
The EU will probably treat the UK as exceptional, as the result of populist Euroskepticism gone mad in a country ill-served by a conservative party trying to solve its internal divisions via referendum, drip-fed anti-EU rhetoric by the tabloids, where the EU has been the scapegoat for the UK’s many home-grown problems. The EU is therefore likely to hunker down, to protect all the acquis so valiantly fought for over the years—including the freedom of movement of EU citizens that has been a major focus of the Leave campaign. Read the rest of this entry »
By Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash. What do the Brexit vote, the rise of Trump and Sanders, and apathy towards climate change mitigation have in common? The perils of relying on technocratism to justify policy choices.
Much will be written on why the British have voted for Brexit. There are already dire predictions about the future of the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the world economy. Mainstream newspapers are puzzled as to why the British voted for the exit even though it might hurt them. They blame populism, the rise of the far right, fears about immigration, economic globalization and so on.
While this is true, the mainstream media has not seriously engaged with the source of voter dissatisfaction with the EU. More broadly, we ought to ask: why are voters less willing to take marching orders from the economic and scientific elites? Why are they willing to follow the populist leaders who peddle simplistic solutions for complex problems instead? Read the rest of this entry »