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Transformation of European Politics Podcast

Transformation of European Politics Podcast

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In this podcast series, I talk to other political scientists about one of their publications that can help us better understand the Transformation of European Politics in the past 20 years. We link these academic works to broader debates within political science but also try to show how they relate to current political developments.
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show series
 
With a presidential campaign in the US just around the corner and populist and authoritarian thinkers gaining broader platforms, University of Notre Dame political scientist A. James McAdams shines a light on the terms being used today by the Far Right to undermine liberal democracy. How successful are these thinkers in changing public views? And h…
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In her new book, When Left Moves Right: The Decline of the Left and the Rise of the Populist Right in Postcommunist Europe (Oxford University Press, 2024), Maria Snegovaya argues that, contrary to the view that emphasizes the sociocultural aspects (xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, etc.) of the rise of the populist right, especially in postcomm…
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Today I talked to Traian Sandu about his book Ceausescu: Le dictateur ambigu (Perrin, 2023). Born in January 1918, Nicolae Ceauşescu began his apprenticeship in Bucharest and discovered the social struggle and its repression at the age of fifteen within the Romanian Communist Party. In 1948, the Stalinist Gheorghiu-Dej, his mentor, having taken pow…
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Wojtek Soczewica has led the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation since 2019, near the site of the killing fields. The Foundation aims at the preservation of the remains of the concentration and extermination camp and of all the personal items that belonged to victims and survivors. Today they serve as material witnesses of the tragic history safeguarding…
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Contemporary politics is characterized by the rise (and fall) of many new parties. But what tools do political scientists have to map and measure electoral volatility? How can we best capture this change? And what insights can political scientists draw from other disciplines? Join host Tim Haughton for a discussion with Allan Sikk and Philipp Köker…
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In this episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey interviews Gabriele Mazzini, a lawyer and officer of the European Commission and expert in AI regulation. Mazzini discusses the means through which European countries have found agreement on the definition of AI and how to regulate it. Moreover, Mazzini stresses that the fears of a…
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Anticommunism in French Society and Politics, 1945-1953 (Oxford UP, 2023) evaluates the prevalence of anticommunism among the French population in 1945 to 1953, and examines its causes, character, and consequences through a series of case studies on different segments of French society. These include the scouting movement; family organisations; agr…
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Charles Dallara, managing director of the Institute of International Finance from 1993–2013, talks about his crisis memoir: Euroshock: How the Largest Debt Restructuring in History Helped Save Greece and Preserve the Eurozone (Rodin Books, 2024). Dallara, who co-led a small team who negotiated a €100-billion write-off of Greek debt in 2011-12, disc…
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Ukraine Vis-à-Vis Russia and the EU: Misperceptions of Foreign Challenges in Times of War, 2014-2015 (Ibidem Press, 2023) investigates the making of Ukraine’s foreign policy towards the European Union and Russia between February 2014 and February 2015. To contextualize the events of the first year of the Russian-Ukrainian War, Nychyk lays out the h…
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Governing the Displaced: Race and Ambivalence in Global Capitalism (Cornell UP, 2024) answers a straightforward question: how are refugees governed under capitalism in this moment of heightened global displacement? To answer this question, Ali Bhagat takes a dual case study approach to explore three dimensions of refugee survival in Paris and Nairo…
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The Eastern Orthodox Churches in post-communist Eastern Europe are embroiled in long-running conflicts over ownership of territory, saints, sites, nations, and history. These often violent conflicts reflect political and national rivalries, most explicitly in former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. They are often understood as simplified ethnic-national ten…
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The Picnic: A Dream of Freedom and The Collapse of the Iron Curtain (Norton, 2024) is a truly fascinating narrative—exploring a little-known event that happened in the border area between Hungary and Austria in August of 1989, and ultimately contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. This Pan-European Picnic, attended by Hunga…
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In wake of the Maiden Revolution of 2013-14, the pro-Russian government of Ukraine under Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in place of a regime seeking a more pro-Western orientation. Russia in response occupied the Crimea and helped instigate numerous pro-Russian separatist movements in the eastern regions of the country, leading to the creation of…
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Why do some devout Christians support authoritarian leaders who threaten the very democracies that protect religious freedoms? The resounding support from evangelical and conservative Christians for strident culture hawks like Donald Trump and other far right leaders may appear surprising, but exist within a long and broad history that spans contin…
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In this episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey interviews Daniel Ziblatt, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University and co-author (with Steven Levitsky) of the bestsellers How Democracies Die (Crown, 2019) and The Tyranny of the Minority (Crown, 2023). Ziblatt emphasizes the crucial role played by conse…
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One war, three collisions: Russia with Ukraine, Europe, and the US. On the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion, Michael Kimmage analyses the disparate factors that led to war in Collisions: The Origins of the War in Ukraine and the New Global Instability (OUP Press, 2024). "After a few anomalous years of peace, Europe became in 2022 what …
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“Serbia is a country that has inspired exceptional intellectual interest,” writes Marko Marko Attila Hoare in Serbia: A Modern History (Hurst/Oxford UP, 2024). “It was centrally involved in the crises marking both the start and end of Europe’s 20th century: the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and the Wars of Yugoslav Succession beginning in 1991. Y…
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In this episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey interviews Marla Stone, a historian of Italian fascism at Occidental College, on the resurgence of the far right in Italy. The conversation delves into the origins of this resurgence and how Italy, a fairly homogeneous society, became a recipient of hundreds of thousand migrants, a…
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What happens if the geoeconomic risks of great power rivalry materialise? What can be done to prevent these potential dangers from unfolding in small open economies, such as Finland and Sweden? More specifically, how can small state preparedness be enhanced to tackle the risks of foreign ownership, supply disruptions and high tech dependencies? How…
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization regularly appears in newspapers and political science scholarship. Surprisingly, historians have yet to devote the attention that the organization’s history merits. Timothy A. Sayle, an Assistant Professor of history at the University of Toronto, attempts to correct this. His fascinating new book, Enduring All…
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"An air of finality pervades today’s world." That is the opening sentence of Jonathan White’s book In the Long Run: The Future as a Political Idea (Profile, 2024). What role, the book asks, has the idea of "the future" played in past politics? What role does it play in contemporary politics? Listen to White in discussion with Owen Bennett-Jones. Ow…
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The Republic of Turkey was founded a hundred years ago on 29 October 1923. Turkey holds a unique position between Europe and the Middle East. It continues to captivate international attention, evoking hopes and fears in the hearts and minds of contemporary observers. As a critical commemoration of its centenary, A Hundred Years of Republican Turkey…
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For better or worse, democracy and epistemology are intertwined. For one thing, politics is partly a matter of gathering, assessing, and applying information. And this can be done responsibly or incompetently. At least since Plato, a leading critique of democracy has focused on the ignorance of ordinary citizens. Historically, this kind of critique…
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In a world shaken by ecological, economic and political crises, the forces of authoritarianism and reaction seem to have the upper hand. How should we name, map and respond to this state of affairs? The rich archive of twentieth-century debates on fascism can steer a path through an increasingly authoritarian present. Developing anti-fascist theory…
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Why do some countries do better than others in advancing women as political leaders and in promoting women’s rights? And what difference does this make to women’s everyday lives? In this episode CEDAR’s Nic Cheeseman talks to Aili Mari Tripp, a world leading researcher of women’s movements, who explains why there are more women in parliament than e…
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On 1 January 2006, soldiers from across Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered to mark the official formation of a unified army; and yet, little over a decade before, these men had been each other's adversaries during the vicious conflict which left the Balkan state divided and impoverished. Building a Multi-Ethnic Military in Post-Yugoslav Bosnia and Her…
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Since Simon Shuster's November 2023 Time cover story ("Nobody believes in our victory like I do - Nobody"), anyone with an interest in the war in Ukraine has been waiting for his fly-on-the-wall study of command. Finally, The Showman: The Inside Story of the Invasion That Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelensky (William Morrow, 2024…
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Adriana Helbig's book ReSounding Poverty: Romani Music and Development Aid (Oxford University Press, 2023) offers a micro ethnography of economic networks that impact the daily lives of Romani musicians on the borders of the former Soviet Union and the European Union. It argues that the development aid allotted to provide economic assistance to Rom…
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How helpful is the democracy-authoritarianism binary when it comes to our understanding of contemporary conflict? What is the state of the Russia-Ukraine war? And how has it affected the great power rivalry between the United States and China? Listen to Stefan Wolff and Petra Alderman talk about the global struggle between democracy and authoritari…
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In A United Ireland: Why Unification in Inevitable and How It Will Come About (Biteback Publishing, 2017), Kevin Meagher argues that a reasoned, pragmatic discussion about the most basic questions regarding Britain's relationship with its nearest neighbour is now long overdue, and questions that have remained unasked, and perhaps unthought, must no…
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In The Queer Art of History: Queer Kinship After Fascism (Duke UP, 2023), Jennifer V. Evans examines postwar and contemporary German history to broadly argue for a practice of queer history that moves beyond bounded concepts and narratives of identity. Drawing on Black feminism, queer of color critique, and trans studies, Evans points out that alth…
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Since February 2022, a string of books have been published about the war in Ukraine but, for the most part, these have been histories and political studies. Only now are the “first drafts of history” from war reporters starting to emerge. Christopher Miller and Andrew Harding published last summer and they will be followed, in late January, by Simo…
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In her new book Yellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance after Communism (Cornell University Press, 2019) Jelena Subotić asks why Holocaust memory continues to be so deeply troubled―ignored, appropriated, and obfuscated―throughout Eastern Europe, even though it was in those lands that most of the extermination campaign occurred. As part of acce…
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February 2024 will mark the tenth anniversary of Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territory in Crimea and the Donbas and two years since its full-scale invasion. While military assistance from Ukraine’s allies has been gradual and cautious, retaliatory sanctions have been impressive. "The sanctions imposed against Russia beginning in late winter 2022 …
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In this episode of International Horizons, RBI's Director John Torpey interviews Grzegorz Ekiert, Chair of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, a propós of the recent election in Poland that installed a centrist government led by former prime minister and president of the European Council Donald Tusk. Ekiert starts by discussing t…
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European governments are emerging from 15 years of on-again, off-again crises that upended their budgetary positions. From close to balance in 2008, the aggregate budget deficit for governments using the euro is now 3% of output while public debt is up from 66% to 90%. These "processes happened more forcefully", writes Alice Cavalieri in Italian Bu…
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Michael W. Doyle's book Cold Peace: Avoiding the New Cold War (Liveright, 2023) offers an urgent examination of the world barreling toward a new Cold War. By 1990, the first Cold War was ending. The Berlin Wall had fallen and the Warsaw Pact was crumbling; following Russia’s lead, cries for democracy were being embraced by a young Chinese populace.…
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A century ago, journalist H. L. Mencken provocatively stated in Notes On Democracy (new edition by Warbler Press, 2023) that anti-democratic behavior is not only not shocking but that we should in fact expect democracies to give rise to un- and even anti-democratic forces. Mencken doubted that such the evils of democracy will be cured by more democ…
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Despite theories to the contrary, religious nationalism, and the use of religion to determine membership in the national community, has continued to play a role in processes of identification in societies all around the globe ... and such processes seems likely to continue to structure the ways in which communities view themselves even in today’s g…
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The Reagan-Thatcher neoliberal era started the retreat of the state. Privatisation and deregulation meant power was handed over to corporations and markets. Now that neoliberalism has run its course, will there be a return of the state? Listen to Owen Bennett Jones in conversation Graeme Garrard. Garrard is the author of The Return of the State: An…
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In Sacred Foundations: The Religious and Medieval Roots of the European State (Princeton University Press, 2023), political scientist Anna Grzymała-Busse corrects a long-standing distortion in the study of state formation in Europe, writing religion back into the story and examining, at once pithily and methodically, the multiple contributions of t…
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We thought we knew the story of the twentieth century. For many in the West, after the two world conflicts and the long cold war, the verdict was clear: democratic values had prevailed over dictatorship. But if the twentieth century meant the triumph of liberalism, as many intellectuals proclaimed, why have the era’s darker impulses—ethnic national…
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Russia and Ukraine have alternative histories and alternative destinies. After the Soviet Union collapsed - depending on who you spoke to – they were either a single people artificially divided and destined for reunification, or one nation with a distinct history, culture, and language serially repressed by a dominant neighbour. In Russia and Ukrai…
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The Greek Junta and the International System: A Case Study of Southern European Dictatorships, 1967-74 (Routledge, 2020) examines the international dimensions of the Greek military dictatorship of 1967 to 1974 and uses it as a case study to evaluate the major shifts occurring in the international system during a period of rapid change. The policies…
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Old friends--one a Jew, the other a Christian--Leonard (Lenny) Grob and John K. Roth are philosophers who have long studied the Holocaust. That experience makes us anxious about democracy, because we are also Americans living in perilous times. The 2020s remind us of the 1930s when Nazis destroyed democracy in Germany. Carnage followed. In the 2020…
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What is political polarisation? How different is it from ‘normal’ democratic conflict? And why have we been getting it wrong? Listen to Andreas Schedler and Petra Alderman talk about the meaning of political polarisation, its actors and drivers, and the effects it has on contemporary democracy. Andreas Schedler is a Senior Research Fellow at the De…
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Do confusions in the West threaten a new world disorder? It’s a question asked by Professor Peter R. Neumann of Kings College, London. He is the author of The New World Disorder: How the West is Destroying Itself (Scribe, 2024). Listen to him in conversation with Owen Bennett Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former …
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What is the work ethic? Does it justify policies that promote the wealth and power of the One Percent at workers' expense? Or does it advance policies that promote workers' dignity and standing? Hijacked: How Neoliberalism Turned the Work Ethic against Workers and How Workers Can Take It Back (Cambridge UP, 2023) explores how the history of politic…
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In Unlocking Scots: The Secret Life of the Scots Language (Luath, 2023), Dr. Clive Young sets out to uncover the secret life of Scots – the centuries of vibrant debate and unconscious bilingualism hidden beneath slang and touristy tea-towels. From 19th-century dictionaries to Twitter rammies, Dr. Young explores the evolution, suppression, and poten…
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Natasha Wheatley is an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University. Her bold and riveting debut monograph, The Life and Death of States: Central Europe and the Transformation of Modern Sovereignty (Princeton University Press, 2023), narrates the transition from empire to nation-states in the heartlands of Europe once governed by the Habs…
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