Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Book Review: Party patronage and party government in European democracies

The eurozone debt crisis and subsequent economic reforms introduced across Europe have helped to expose endemic levels of corruption and party patronage in countries such as Greece. Party patronage and party government in European democracies uses more than 600 expert interviews to explore the nature of party patronage across fifteen European democracies. For Sofia Vasilopoulou, one of this timely book’s main strengths is in its investigation of patronage as an organisational resource for parties that are facing falling grass root support.  She finds that while the book does not explore the reasons behind cross-country variation in the scale and depth of patronage, it does open up a number of potentially fruitful areas for future research.

Read the full piece on the LSE blog.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Audra Mitchell secures funding for project 'Posthuman Security'

Audra Mitchell has been awarded a series of grants to support her new research and collaborative projects on the subject of ‘Posthuman Security’. 

"This project starts from the premise that harm does not happen to humans alone, but rather to complex ‘worlds’ composed of heterogeneous kinds of beings. From this perspective, it asks how, and in what way, these worlds and their nonhuman constituents can be subjects of ‘security’. In particular, it explores the kinds of ethical orientations humans should adopt towards nonhumans – including what protection they are owed, and how we can respond ethically to the threats they raise. This issue already poses significant challenges in international affairs. For instance, robots or ‘drones’ are involved in killing combatants and in humanitarian work such as mine-clearing; ecosystems such as forests can shelter refugees or combatant groups; historical and religious buildings are protected under international law; and climate change is contributing to conflict and refugee flows. New research within posthumanist philosophy, and ‘new materialist’ discourses in particular, suggests that attention to nonhumans can help to explain the sources of contemporary security threats. Yet ethics has not caught up, and important questions have yet to be answered. In particular, to what extent do we owe nonhumans protection? and, if we do owe them protection, then how should we respond to the threats they raise? For more information, please see Audra’s previous post on this blog.

To support this work, Audra has received an Early Career Fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation (£46892) which will allow her to pursue the project in 2014-15. She has also received a visiting fellowship for research collaboration at the University of Queensland Department of Political Science and International Studies ($5000 AUD). In spring 2014, she will take up this fellowship in order to develop the theoretical framework and empirical applications of the project in collaboration with Professor Roland Bleiker and other members of POLSIS. Finally, she has received a grant from University of York’s Research Priming Fund (£4657) to hold an international workshop which will explore the potential for collaborative research on this subject in and outside of the academic community".