This article discusses the concept of institution by examining the components of an institution and the way in which institutionalization can increase or decrease. It considers the place to be given to organizations and to procedures based on the definition of institutions. It reveals the major differences across the social sciences and in particular political, social, and economic fields. The article is also concerned with institutionalization, and reveals marked differences among the social sciences.
Global assessments have become central to international debates on a range of key policy issues. They attempt to combine “expert assessment” with processes of “stakeholder consultation” in what are presented as global, participatory assessments on key issues of major international importance. This chapter focuses on the IAASTD—the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development—through a detailed analysis of the underlying knowledge politics involved, centered particularly on the controversy over genetically modified crops. Global assessments contribute to a new landscape of governance in the international arena, offering the potential for links between the local and the global and new ways of articulating citizen engagement with global processes of decision making and policy. The chapter argues that in global assessments the politics of knowledge need to be made more explicit and that negotiations around politics and values must be put center stage. The black-boxing of uncertainty, or the eclipsing of more fundamental clashes over interpretation and meaning, must be avoided for processes of participation and engagement in global assessments to become more meaningful, democratic, and accountable. A critique is thus offered of simplistic forms of deliberative democratic practice and the need to “bring politics back in” is affirmed.
Paul Schuler and Edmund J. Malesky
This chapter examines legislatures in authoritarian regimes. It first reviews the history of how scholars of authoritarianism have conceived institutions, along with the theoretical arguments specific to authoritarian legislatures. It then discusses the empirical evidence on the circumstances under which the institutions are created and their downstream effects. More specifically, it considers parliaments in regimes most similar to the authoritarian regimes and the role of assemblies or elections in buttressing regime rule. It also analyzes the power of assemblies with respect to policy-making, access to spoils, and access to information about the performance of dictators and the state.
This article provides a review of the current research on bicameralism. It argues that there is no single model of bicameralism and no single explanatory theory. It shows that contemporary bicameral systems blend ‘inheritance’ and ‘innovation’ to form distinctive legislative arrangements of political representation.
Miriam J. Metzger
This chapter explores the question of the continuing relevance of “mass media” due to recent technological changes in the media landscape. The chapter traces the history of media content production, distribution, and consumption from broadcasting to narrowcasting, and considers recent trends toward “hyperpersonalization” afforded by digital networked media. The chapter examines what these changes mean for politics and for political communication theory, and concludes by posing some questions about the future of mass media that serve as a call for research into the changing nature, circumstances, and effects of mass communication in the contemporary media environment.
Reuven Y. Hazan
Before they can seek re-election, incumbent politicians must be reselected by their own party. Unless they decided not to seek re-election, the behavior of legislators in the legislature will therefore be influenced by their reselection. This chapterexamines the candidate selection method, an extra-parliamentary institution that influences the behavior of its members, and argues that it can encourage or discourage certain legislative behavior. It explains how the democratization of candidate selection—a more inclusive candidate selection method—will have a significant impact on legislators and legislatures. After discussing the relevance of candidate selection for legislative studies, the chapterconsiders different types of candidate selection methods, focusing on inclusive versus exclusive selectorates. It then looks at the legislative unity of political parties and analyzes whether cohesion or discipline is keeping the party united. It also outlines two different approaches to legislative behavior in general, and to party unity in particular: the sociological approach and the institutional approach. Finally, it addresses unanswered questions and offers suggestions for future.
If nation states over the last decades have characteristically reduced the scope of their activities and delegated tasks to other actors, as research has shown, the area of the national security state is one which deviates from that general trend. The chapter traces the structural, organizational, and technological changes that have contributed to the transformation of this state dimension—especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks—and illustrates them with examples from several countries. Both from a theoretical perspective and from empirical evidence it is argued that the national security state has severely impacted on civil rights and the working of the democratic political systems, that its resource requirements have risen substantially, and that problems of controlling executive action in this area have become quite evident, not least by the recent revelations about comprehensive surveillance activities by security services such as the NSA.
Cinema and television have affected Italian politics in different ways. Despite the limited prominence of politics in cinema, with the exception of comedy, political parties have made use of films to promote their agenda. Television extensively shaped the political arena, especially since the 1980s, when the development of commercial broadcasting along with a series of programs increased political coverage, bringing the personal qualities of politicians closer in focus. After the 1990s, television enjoyed unprecedented dominance in national life: it provided the main forum of debate, shaped values, and set the political agenda. As politics and entertainment became entwined, those who could harness television, especially Silvio Berlusconi, were able to thrive in the political arena. However, the emergence of new types of media has undermined the role of television as shown by the recent success of the Five Star Movement, which eschewed the medium.
Legislative committees are internal subunits of the legislature comprised of legislators and enjoying certain delegated authority. As a common form of legislative organization, committees play an important role in the functioning of the legislature, for example by influencing the content of legislation and holding the executive accountable. This article discusses the four most prominent theories that explain why committees are fundamental to the operation and everyday life of the US House of Representatives and the Senate: distributional theory, informational theory, cartel-party theory, and bicameral-conflict theory. It also considers attempts to test empirically theories of committees in legislatures outside the United States and examines comparative theories of legislative organization.
Matthew Søberg Shugart
This article looks at comparative executive-legislative relations, beginning with early theoretical considerations and their modern application. It discusses the forms of constitutional structure and defines parliamentary, presidential, and hybrid systems. The next section pays attention to parliamentary systems, and this is followed by a detailed discussion of presidential and semi-presidential systems.