Do economically vulnerable voters care more than the average voter about politics and elections—or less? Weatherhead Scholars Program Fellow Adrien Abecassis, former political advisor to French President François Hollande, offers three explanations.
One of the key questions in the current debate on the causes of the rise of populism is whether the economic harshness and distrust in traditional political parties increase or decrease election turnout.
This question was debated in a recent roundtable discussion, organized by the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Global Populism, on the economic and cultural causes of populism’s prevalence. Would voters struck by economic shocks—those whose futures seemed to be vulnerable, and who have lost their sense of security about their own lives and that of their children’s—tend to vote to prevent this from happening? Or would their suffering cause them to retreat and withdraw from political elections?
And indeed, the answer is not obvious: Luigi Guiso et al. found that economic security shocks significantly increased the likelihood of abstention, while David Autor et al. showed that economic shocks due to foreign trade competition raised—not lowered—voter turnout.
Without seeking to settle the debate, I would like to offer some hypotheses based on my experience as a political advisor to French President François Hollande. Of course, this question was one of importance for us: What would the most insecure French voters do in elections? Would they turn out or not? If they did, would they vote for the National Front Party? From what I observed, there is no single answer, and many dynamics are at play. But we can make some conjectures.... Read more about Turnout and Voter Insecurity in the French Elections
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.
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.
A new book by Harvard historian David Armitage unearths two millennia of thinking about a most ignoble type of war.
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.
Harvard sociologist Bart Bonikowski explains why Brexit has two important lessons for political analysis on both sides of the Atlantic
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.
Establishing political order in the UK and EU after historic Brexit vote
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
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