Posts In Category

Comparative Government

Bogotá's Business District

Welcome to the OxPol Blogcast, a podcast where we will be sharing research, analysis, and experiences from members of the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. On each, episode we will talk to a guest about a piece they’ve written for the OxPol Blog. Then, we’ll discuss their larger research agenda, their insights on conducting political science, and their time at Oxford. On this episode of the OxPol BlogCast, host Chase Harrison talks to DPhil student Christoph Sponsel about Colombia’s credit rating, the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s, and doing work at the intersection of political science and economics. Read the original blog post here: https://blog.politics.ox.ac.uk/colombian-mass-protests-foretelling-an-emerging-latin-american-debt-crisis/  
"Please Believe These Days Will Pass - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sheffield, UK" by Tim Dennell

Recently, scholars have reflected on how to make political theory more relevant to policy. While most of the ideas around this charge are centered around the debate between ideal and non-ideal theories¹, one might ask whether there are other methodological insights we can advance to make political philosophy more useful to politics and society. In this piece, I suggest that one avenue that should be explored consists of building a bridge between political theory and comparative political economy to theorise varieties of ideal regimes. As vaccination campaigns proceed throughout the globe, policymakers, activists, and scholars are thinking about what the post-Covid world will look like and how to repair their national economy. Many view this moment as a critical juncture …
"Scales of Justice Brisbane Supreme Court" by Sheba

This is a brief reply to the review of my monograph, Transnational Networks and Elite Self-Empowerment: The Making of the Judiciary in Contemporary Europe and Beyond (OUP 2019) by LSE Human Rights Prof. Conor Gearty, Vice-President of the British Academy. I am grateful to Prof. Gearty for reviewing my monograph at such length. I am replying here in hopes that the exchange may advance our understanding of outstanding questions about Judiciary institutional design (and designers)—a topic that receives insufficient attention.  This is a summary of my full reply to Gearty, which is accessible here. Gearty and other critics are invited to rebut my challenges to the legitimacy and desirability of the judicialisation of politics. First, I will try to summarise …
A Farm in Switzerland (Artur Staszewski)

The proverbial thunderclouds are finally dispersing over the fields and farms of Europe. The protracted negotiations over the European Union’s next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget, which began in 2018, finally concluded in June with a provisional agreement between the EU’s Commission, Council, and Parliament. While the storm is not officially over – Parliament must ratify the deal in the coming autumn – the warring factions have retreated to lick their wounds for the time being, with both environmentalists and small farmers frustrated that the final proposals either did not address their demands or did so in a watered-down fashion. Of particular concern to small farmers’ groups is the mandatory implementation of policies designed to redistribute CAP funds and level …
"US Supreme Court" by zacklur

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) is the latest in a series of failed attempts by Republicans to repeal the law. From its passage in 2010, the ACA has been responsible for reducing the uninsured population significantly through its key provisions requiring individuals to purchase health insurance, extending coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and expanding Medicaid for low-income Americans¹. Republican legal challenges to the ACA started within hours of its signing. Filed by states, associations, and individuals, several cases made it to the Supreme Court, which rejected challenges to the ACA in 2012, 2015, and, most recently, June 2021. These legal defeats coincide with other failed attempts by …
Bogotá's Business District

S&P, a global credit rating agency, recently downgraded Colombia’s credit rating to a non-investment grade, implying that Colombian government bonds are now high-risk financial assets. The downgrade hit the country amid a wave of mass unrest. For over a month, Colombians spanning all strata of society protested in large numbers. Sparked initially by opposition to a government-proposed tax reform, which President Ivan Duque soon retracted, protesters expressed diverse demands, including calling for the Duque administration to resign, a series of social and economic reforms, a thorough implementation of Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement, and an end to police brutality. Protesters thus have called for nothing less than a complete overhaul of Colombia’s political and economic system. The protests form part of …
Policía Nacional de los Colombianos

Times are grim for human rights and the rule of law in Colombia. Since the end of April, tens of thousands of Colombians have taken to the streets after President Iván Duque announced a controversial tax reform. While the government has withdrawn the reform proposal, protests are ongoing as citizens express their frustration over structural inequalities. Discontent is high across the country, especially among lower- and middle-class Colombians who have experienced increased hardship while enduring the COVID-19 pandemic. By 22 June, 83 people were killed and over 1,600 wounded, with much of the violence attributed to the Colombian National Police. The police’s anti-riot unit, known as ESMAD, has become a symbol of disproportionate policing based on the excessive use of force. The Constitution …

The storming of the American Capitol building on the 6th of January 2021 during a session to formalize Joe Biden’s presidential victory made headlines around the world. For many Americans, the fact that there was an armed attempt to disrupt a democratic transition of power was a worrying sign of democratic backsliding and the consequence of years of extreme partisanship. The siege suggested a grim vision of America’s political future. However, 40 years ago, the Spanish political system was able to recover from a similar event, in what could be an instructive experience for contemporary America. In February 1981, the Spanish political system, which had rapidly democratised following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, faced its first real …