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Tag Archives: Latest Research

Indebted societies: How private borrowing has become a substitute for social policy in rich democracies

When citizens encounter financial difficulties, they often turn to private borrowing on credit markets. As Andreas Wiedemann explains, this form of borrowing now increasingly acts as a support mechanism that complements the welfare state in rich democracies. But while credit markets and welfare states appear to fulfil similar functions, they follow different underlying logics, each with their own socio-economic and political consequences that shape and amplify insecurities,...

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How the size of a city’s immigrant population influences feelings of trust and safety in urban Europe

Does immigration affect the way that residents of a city perceive their social environment? Drawing on new research, Kevin T. Smiley and Yulin Yang explain that the size of the immigrant population in a city has an impact on feelings of trust and safety among residents, but this effect depends crucially on the population size of the city. Close your eyes and picture taking a walk in your city or town: what do you see? Or, more precisely, who do you see? Our social environments provide...

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A theory of just, reasonable multiculturalism

Is multiculturalism incompatible with the protection of liberal values? Drawing on a new book, Raphael Cohen-Almagor presents a theory of just, reasonable multiculturalism that is capable of reconciling these two apparently competing strands. I have been thinking and writing about religion and culture since the 1990s. However, I did not think about writing a book. I was more preoccupied with questions pertaining to media ethics and medical ethics. The turning point was 2011. Then,...

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What capitalism needs: Forgotten lessons of great economists

Have the financial crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change exposed fundamental weaknesses in capitalism? John L. Campbell and John A. Hall write that while contemporary economists and policymakers tend to ignore the political and social dimensions of capitalism, some of the great economists of the past did not make the same mistake. Drawing on these insights, they lay out what capitalism needs to meet the challenges of the future. One of the strangest, even thrilling...

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Principals, agents, and passing the buck: How delegation is used by leaders to manage blame

Delegation can improve the efficiency of policymaking and generate a sense of shared responsibility. Yet when it goes wrong, it can undermine accountability, create conflicts, and aid corruption. Drawing on a new book, Neil Mitchell explains how delegation can be used to manage blame, and why accepted accounts of the principal-agent relationship are incomplete. Dominic Raab, the now former UK Foreign Secretary, was surprised while holidaying in Crete by events in Afghanistan. He...

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Book Review: Dark Academia: How Universities Die by Peter Fleming

In Dark Academia: How Universities Die, Peter Fleming explores the destructive impact of the bureaucratic and neoliberal structures of academia, which have turned universities into toxic workplaces. The book powerfully evokes despair and despondency at the loss of the intellectual environment promised of academics, writes Chelsea Guo, yet she questions whether the traditional academic institution has ever truly been a sanctuary for everyone.  Dark Academia: How Universities Die. Peter...

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Book Review: The Power of Narrative: Climate Skepticism and the Deconstruction of Science by Raul P. Lejano and Shondel J. Nero

In The Power of Narrative: Climate Skepticism and the Deconstruction of Science, Raul P. Lejano and Shondel J. Nero offer a narrative analysis of climate skepticism, exploring its emergence and transformations as well as its position in the ‘post-truth’ era. This book will help readers to critically understand the social and political construction of public narratives surrounding climate change as well as other contemporary issues, writes Sneha Biswas.  The Power of Narrative: Climate...

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Evidence from East Germany: How young people’s education plans are shaped by their environment

The decision to go to university can have a major impact on an individual’s financial future and quality of life. Yet we know relatively little about how these decisions are made and adapted within different contexts. Drawing on a new study of East German students following German reunification, Ghazala Azmat and Katja M. Kaufmann show how the education plans of young people are shaped by their environment. Whether to go to university or not is an important decision with fundamental...

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Opportunity or threat? How discourses on digitalisation vary across European countries

Digitalisation has profound implications for employment, but are there meaningful differences in how European countries view the process? Drawing on a new study, Matteo Marenco and Timo Seidl show how discourses on digitalisation vary across Europe. From the precarity of platform work to the rise of robots, digitalisation is fundamentally changing the nature of work. But as social scientists have been quick and correct to point out, digitalisation is not a force of nature that just...

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Why are people with lower levels of education less likely to participate in citizens’ initiatives?

Previous research suggests that people with lower levels of education are underrepresented in citizens’ initiatives. Drawing on new research in the Netherlands, Vivian Visser, Willem de Koster and Jeroen van der Waal show that ‘feelings of entitlement’ and a ‘taste for politics’ are crucial for understanding the non-participation of these citizens. In recent decades, governments across Europe have experimented with increasing opportunities for citizen participation, deliberation and...

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