Europe

A Life in the Margins: Understanding the Roma Experience

In recognition of International Roma Day, Weatherhead Faculty Associates Jacqueline Bhabha and Jennifer Leaning, and their colleague, Roma Program Director Margareta Matache, discuss the annual conference and their team’s research on a disenfranchised people.

Image of Roma painting

In one of the popular Madeline children’s stories, the well-known redheaded French schoolgirl runs away with her friend Pepito to join a caravan of Gypsies who train them to perform in their traveling circus. At first they are thrilled not to have to go to school or brush their teeth. But when they become homesick, the Gypsy mother sews them into a lion costume, effectively kidnapping them.

Of course it ends well, with a rescued Madeline exchanging farewells with the affectionate Gypsy mother and children and returning to boarding school.

Is this a harmless children’s adventure story or does it perpetuate an enduring stereotype of criminality and indifference among a little-understood ethnic group? The educational crisis of Romani children (pejoratively referenced as “Gypsies”) is just one of many research topics spearheaded by a faculty team from the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center on Health and Human Rights at Harvard.

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From Rome to Rwanda: The Centuries-Long Effort to Define Civil War

A new book by Harvard historian David Armitage unearths two millennia of thinking about a most ignoble type of war.

Image of Romulus and Remus on a coin

If you live in a developed country, you are among those enjoying the “Long Peace,” a period marked by the absence of large scale interstate war since the end of 1945. It is the longest period of such calm in modern history. During this same time period, however, the world’s pockets of conflict have moved away from the frontiers and turned, instead, inward. 

“The Long Peace stands under a dark shadow—the shadow of civil war,” writes Harvard historian and Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate David Armitage, whose new book, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas tracks the evolution of human understanding of civil war over two millennia.

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Background to Brexit: Populism, Nationalism, and the Politics of Resentment

Harvard sociologist Bart Bonikowski explains why Brexit has two important lessons for political analysis on both sides of the Atlantic

Image of raised fist made of people

Third in a series on what Weatherhead Center scholars think about the unfolding institutional, political, and economic consequences of the June 23 United Kingdom referendum on European Union membership.

In the weeks following the UK’s historic referendum on EU membership, pundits have been weighing the implications of the vote for the U.S. presidential election. The more alarmist analyses have claimed that if the unthinkable happened in the United Kingdom, it could also happen in the United States: Donald Trump could ride the wave of populism to the presidency.... Read more about Background to Brexit: Populism, Nationalism, and the Politics of Resentment

Background to Brexit: How to Leave the EU

Establishing political order in the UK and EU after historic Brexit vote

EU flag missing one star

Second in a series on what Weatherhead Center scholars think about the unfolding institutional, political, and economic consequences of the June 23 United Kingdom referendum on European Union membership.

Disbelief from last month’s vote for Brexit lingers. Proponents of Britain’s continued EU membership want to revisit the decision. Some hope the British parliament will vote against implementing the referendum, or that the next prime minister will decide not to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. Others suggest Scotland could refuse to consent to Brexit. There is also an online petition urging a second referendum, and there are calls for a general election.... Read more about Background to Brexit: How to Leave the EU

Banners, Barricades, and Bombs: How Social Movements Affect Public Opinion

Protest, Plaza del Sol, Madrid

It’s an argument we’ve heard before: governments should not negotiate with terrorist organizations that engage in violent activity. This idea is pervasive throughout the academic and policy worlds, but what about public opinion? Do citizens think the government should shun social movements that adopt extreme tactics often associated with terrorist organizations?

Social protest takes various forms, and organized social movements have various intentions—from benign disruption to purposeful violence. In their forthcoming paper for Comparative Political Studies, Connor Huff and Dominika Kruszewska look at how the tactical choices of social movements affect public opinion about whether or not—and to what degree—governments should negotiate with social movements.1... Read more about Banners, Barricades, and Bombs: How Social Movements Affect Public Opinion

Neoliberal Policy Implementation Goes Hand in Hand with Stronger Symbolic Boundaries

Image of Figure 1

Jonathan Mijs and Michèle Lamont

Citizens in countries that implemented more rigorous neoliberal policies over the last two decades (1990 to 2010) draw stronger symbolic boundaries between themselves and unwanted others. Based on publicly available data from the European Values Study, our research suggests that neoliberal policy implementation is intricately related to the ways in which citizens define worthiness.... Read more about Neoliberal Policy Implementation Goes Hand in Hand with Stronger Symbolic Boundaries

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