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.
This article discusses comparative federalism. It first considers the changing global environment that favors federalism, and then discusses more familiar structures of country-specific federal systems. It also examines the changing international environment and historical setting of federalism, and how it fits within the changing global order. The article includes discussions on the robustness and flexibility of federalism, which is a result of its particular blend of institutions, and its dependency on a highly developed civic and constitutional culture.
Eric M. Uslaner and Thomas Zittel
This article talks about the increase in polarization and heightened partisanship in the United Sates Congress. This is where party leaders firmly control the agenda and where voters in congressional elections are more likely to divide along party lines. It also looks at the constituency demands in parliamentary systems before focusing on the changing role of political parties in legislative institutions, both parliamentary and congressional. One section examines the structural and behavioral roots of legislative behavior, along with the impact of different institutions. The article also includes a discussion of the varying relations between legislators and constituents and the varying informal rules of the game.
Raymond M. Duch
This article looks at comparative studies of the economy and the vote and is divided into three major parts. The first portion provides a summary of the four important contributions of economic voting research. This is where the work on the American economic vote and economic voting are reviewed. The second portion suggests one methodological approach for analyzing the numerous existing surveys, modeling cross-national variation, and measuring the magnitude of the economic vote. The third and final portion provides a brief summary of the contextual theory of the economic vote from Duch and Stevenson, which builds the assumption of instrumentally rational voters.
This article discusses compliance, consent, and legitimacy, which can all be used as strictly descriptive and positive terms. The last two, however, tend to be given a normative slant. Most of the discussion is on legitimacy. The first section provides the conceptual background of these three terms, particularly legitimacy. The next three sections discuss in detail consequentialist legitimacy, contractarian legitimacy, and theocratic legitimacy. Max Weber's definition of authority is studied in the last section.
The Compromesso Storico denotes the strategy pursued by the Communist Party during most of the 1970s. The Left’s failure to capitalize on the social upheaval of the late 1960s, the 1973 coup in Chile, and the escalating political tension in Italy led party leader Enrico Berlinguer to adopt a strategy of long-term co-operation with the ruling Christian Democrats. Berlinguer also acknowledged the necessity of steps to confront the deepening economic crisis, and tried to bring the unions to heel in exchange for policies to favor the poor and institutional reforms. The Compromesso was never implemented as intended. However, between 1976 and 1979, although denied formal participation in government, the Communists gave external backing to single party DC cabinets. The Communists returned to the opposition. With the Socialists again open to governing with the DC, the Communists were marginalized for the remainder of the First Republic.
Evelyne Huber, Matthew Lange, Stephan Leibfried, Jonah D. Levy, Frank Nullmeier, and John D. Stephens
States and the state system have changed in major ways. The international system has moved away from the classical state system of “absolute sovereignty” to a twenty-first century one of “relative sovereignty.” The contemporary state is an internationally “embedded state” with admittedly very different levels of integration and dependence. In the future we expect a de facto—not a de jure—diminished capacity of the state to regulate and tax corporate actors, with democracy running increasingly dry and empty, if global or international compensation does not occur or if they, like at the EU level, were to fail. We expect the world of states in the advanced capitalist societies to adapt better to the changing environment than can many of the states in Asia and Africa, with the gulf between the Global North and the Global South widening.
Communication technology has increased availability of public affairs information, but many citizens ignore it. How do greater availability and less widespread consumption of news affect political accountability? Not all citizens have to follow the news for media coverage to improve accountability. Under some conditions, higher levels of news exposure and political knowledge in a relatively small subset of the population could strengthen accountability, even when other citizens follow the news less than in the past. For this to work, news junkies must effectively represent the interests of those who are tuning out. If news junkies have different interests than the rest of the population, their efforts to monitor officials and raise concerns may lead to less representative government and lower accountability. As a result of more media choice, the task of holding elected officials accountable rests increasingly on a small segment of the population.
The current Italian Constitution was drafted by the Constitutional Assembly elected at the end of World War II. The constitution reflects a compromise between Christian Democrats, Communists, Socialists, and Liberals. Compromise was made possible by widespread dislike of the previous constitutional architecture, by Catholic social doctrine and by the fact that all parties wanted to keep options open in view of an uncertain future. The influence of Catholic social doctrine is most evident in those parts of the Constitution dealing with fundamental principles, rights and duties of citizens. Those sections dealing with the economy reflect compromise between different parties: there is no mention of the free market, leaving the door open to socialism. The legacy of Fascism and uncertainty over the future led parties to prefer a weak executive with a multi-layered system of governance, two characteristics which have gradually emerged as key weaknesses of the Constitution.
In one sense, Sweden follows the general pattern of constitution-making. The major shifts in the constitutional history have occurred in the aftermath of great crises. Constitutions have been important as descriptions and justifications of the prevailing forces of power. On the other hand, the constitutions of Sweden have been relatively insignificant as norms regulating political and public life. Constitutions have been important as history writing but relatively unimportant as normative principles shaping society, and, indeed, profound changes such as the introduction of parliamentary government have taken place without constitutional reform. The Swedish welfare state was built upon negotiations and practical trade-offs rather than constitutional arguments.
This article provides a summary of the distinctiveness of constructivist institutionalism and tries to identify the nature of the challenge that it poses. It considers the origins of constructivist institutionalism and the ontological and analytical distinctiveness of constructivist institutionalism's turn to ideas. This includes a discussion of the associated nature of the challenge that it poses on existing neoinstitutionalist perspectives. The article concludes with a section on the contribution to the analysis of complex institutional change made by constructivist institutionalism.