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Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failure and the Struggle for Political Reform testifies to the ability of African states to democratize against the odds. It effectively introduces a framework for understanding how leaders choose to respond to the pressure to liberalise their political systems, covering the recent history of African politics and providing great detail on the return of multiparty politics in Africa since the early 1990s. In this Q&A, Ian Cooper of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Cambridge interviews Professor Nic Cheeseman, Associate Professor of African Politics, Jesus College, University of Oxford, on his recent publication.

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This brief will discuss the current issues affecting UK stakeholders in the cross-border audio-visual services sector. It is written in light of the replies to the public consultation on Directive 2010/13/EU on Audio-visual Media Services (AVMSD), the Commission’s Regulatory Fitness (REFIT) exercise, the public consultation on the EU Satellite and Cable Directive, national consultations and a possible exit of the UK from the EU. The paper also draws on anonymised responses to an online survey run by the author. The paper’s findings are considered in the context of current market trends: the increase in high definition channels, decrease in television watching (e.g. …
Photo credit: Senado Federal (Flickr:CC BY-NC 2.0)

The historical defeat of Dilma Rousseff on 17 April, when more than two-thirds of Brazil’s lower House of Congress voted to oust the country’s first female president, is not the end of the debate about whether she committed a crime that would constitutionally justify her impeachment. The opposition claims that the president, elected with more than fifty-four million votes, used accounting tricks to artificially lower the government’s budget deficit. Her supporters argue that other Brazilian presidents have used the same strategy before. The final word on the impeachment motion will be given shortly by the Senate, but at the end …

Big Data is now a buzzword in the political science field. Some might call this hype. Others see unlocking the power of “Big Data” as the most significant transformation in research this century. In the world of research, Big Data seems to be living up to its promise. And the results include a wave of new and inspiring projects.   What is Big Data? Big data is not simply research that uses a large set of observations. It might be thought of as re-imagining large-n inquiries, dealing with hundreds of thousands, and, in some cases, even millions of observations. Big …
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I traveled to the Calais migrant and refugee camp from March 14 to 16, together with a humanitarian student group from Brasenose College that collected donations and supplies to aid local NGOs with clothing and basic medical supplies. This article is based on my impressions of the camp and interviews with the migrants, refugees and NGO workers.

I’ve recently written an article on referenda for Zeit Online. Here is how it starts. Two leading scholars, Wallace and Smith, once described the European Union as an “enlightened administration on behalf of uninformed publics, in cooperation with affected interests and subject to the approval of national governments.” The EU legitimised its policies through system-efficiency and not citizens’ participation. Nation states were clearly unable to solve certain problems on their own and therefore an effective European policy could count on what Eurocrats used to call a “permissive public consensus.” This common “democratic” wisdom does not hold true any longer. Most …

In an unheralded committee room at the House of Lords on Wednesday a group of politicians from across the political spectrum came together with the participants and organisers of two recent pilot Citizens’ Assemblies on constitutional reform. It was heartening to hear the genuine appetite for new approaches to involving members of the public in politics. Politicians from the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SNP and UKIP all sang the praises of the Citizens’ Assemblies and called for more public participation in politics. Nevertheless, belying this consensus was a little less agreement than apparent at first sight. The …