Catherine Moury “”Mind the (submission) gap: EPSR gender data and female authors publishing perceptions”

Catherine Moury,  from UNova, presented a paper about the gender gap in political science publishing.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“The EPSR defines itself as a generalist journal devoted to the most important debates in
political science. that seeks to publish articles with the highest possible standards in conceptualisation, theorisation and methodology. It sounds like a truism, that the gender of the authors and, more generally, gender as a topic should not represent a priori a significant obstacle for publication. Yet, as students of gender in neighbouring disciplines have shown, research often contains an implicit (and unconscious) bias (Clains 2018).”

Annette Bongardt and Francisco Torres “Brexit: Explaining UK dithering and drawing lessons for EU sustainability”

On the eve of Brexit, Annette Bongardt from University of Évora and Francisco Torres from Lisbon Católica School of Business and Economics made a presentation based on their forthcoming book: The Politics and Economics of Brexit, London: Edward Elgar.

Here’s the abstact:

Brexit can be viewed as a logical consequence and culmination of the UK harbouring ever more divergent preferences from the EU. Such divergence became incompatible and arguably unsustainable when EU integration deepened to EMU and the UK was not prepared to go along with the requirements to make it function. The clear result of the December 2019 UK election meant that Brexit could go ahead at last on 31 January 2020 (next Friday), putting and end to the many political attempts to reverse the UK’s democratic decision. Those attempts were mainly channelled through a series of procedural challenges through the courts and through a British parliament seemingly disconnected from the non-binding referendum mandate to exit the EU that it had promised to honour and from the decision to leave the EU at the end of March 2019, which it had also voted by an overwhelming majority. Arguably, the EU was putting its future at risk by contributing (with permanent whisperings of a possible reversal and with the insistence on conditions attached to the withdrawal agreement) to delaying Brexit and also to accommodating successive extensions of Article 50 TEU. That concerted strategy among anti-Brexiteers (not necessarily Europeanists) in the UK, the EU and elsewhere eventually backfired, not without strong reputational costs for the EU, and led, after the December 2019 elections, to a clear strengthening of the UK government’s position. It has also encouraged anti-EU sentiments in various political forces across the EU, notably in Italy. And yet, EU negotiators seem still more reoccupied than UK negotiators about the costs for the latter of not reaching a trade deal. Brexit has put in sharp focus the limits of differentiated integration in the EU. On the other hand there are a variety of options that are available to countries that intend to stay in the EU’s orbit, with differing benefits and sovereignty costs. In our view, variable geometry ought to imply ‘variably geometry Europe’, as variable geometry or differentiated integration in the EU has reached its limits. Accommodating member states’ preferences that are too divergent from the Union’s by means of more institutional flexibility at the expense of the Euro area and the objective of ever-closer union would mean transforming the EU into a mere intergovernmental organization without a common currency and without political ambitions. Therefore, all EU countries should be in all main EU (treaty-based) institutions, most notably EMU and Schengen, or leave the Union and opt for membership of the European Economic Area only or for a lesser preferential trade agreement like a Free Trade Agreement.

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Margarida Matos “Rage against the machine: who you are or where you’re born?”

Margarida Matos did a presentation on the drivers of anxiety of the European population about automation and possible job replacement.

Here’s the abstract:

“​​​Are robots stealing jobs? Most Europeans think they do. This paper sheds light on the drivers of anxiety of the European population about automation and possible job replacement. We find that fears of automation are linked to individual characteristics – “who you are” – but also macro ones – “where you’re born”. Our results show that women, less educated individuals, blue-collar workers and those that are not skilled in ICT are more concerned with robotization, but younger individuals fear for their own jobs the most. At the country-level, economies with higher shares of employment in manufacturing industry and agriculture, higher GDP growth and higher unemployment rates are more likely to fear the impact of new technologies, hinting at a role of both structural and cyclical factors.”

Gustavo Gouvea Maciel “The building blocks of tolerance towards corruption in democratic Europe”

Gustavo Gouvea Maciel presented his doctoral research on how European countries deal with corruption tolerance.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“Efforts to curb corruption have been made during the last decades, albeit they have fallen short of the expectations (de Sousa, 2010; Grødeland, 2013, p. 537; Persson, Rothstein, & Teorell, 2013). Political scandals and misappropriations of public resources have become recurrently exposed, fueling distrust in institutions. Citizens have been encouraged by international organizations, specialized agencies, and the media to denounce and condemn the corrupts”

Jonathan Bright “Echo chambers exist! (but they’re full of opposing views)”.

Jonathan Bright of the Oxford University Internet Institute presented a paper on how individuals in a radical ‘echo chamber’ react when exposed to opposing viewpoints.

Here’s the abstract

The theory of echo chambers, which suggests that online political discussions take place in conditions of ideological homogeneity, has recently gained popularity as an explanation for patterns of political polarization and radicalisation observed in many democratic countries. However, while micro level experimental work has shown evidence that individuals might tend to create echo chambers, recent macro level studies have cast doubt on whether they exist in practice. Indeed, research has demonstrated that individuals (especially those who are politically engaged) are frequently exposed to ‘cross cutting’ information and opinion online, with vitriolic exchanges with those holding opposing views a relatively common feature of digital political discussion.
In this article, we seek to explain these diverging results. Building on cognitive dissonance theory, and making use of observational trace data taken from an online radical right website, we explore how individuals in a radical ‘echo chamber’ react when exposed to opposing viewpoints. We show that this type of exposure, far from being detrimental to radical online discussions, is in fact a core feature and encourages people to stay engaged. We argue that the ability to repeat and practice counter-arguments to opposing (mainstream) viewpoints is the most important feature of radical echo chambers, and indeed probably what makes them so politically powerful. We conclude with reflections on policy implications for those seeking to promote a more ‘moderate’ political internet.
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Luca Manucci “Populism and Collective Memory- Comparing Fascist Legacies in Western Europe”

Luca Manucci, presented a book about populism and collective memory in western Europe which is about to be published with Routledge

Here’s a description of the book:

Right-wing populism is a global phenomenon that challenges several pillars of liberal democracy, and it is often described as a dangerous political ideology because it resonates with the fascist idea of power in terms of anti-pluralism and lack of minorities’ protection. In Western Europe, many political actors are exploiting the fears and insecurities linked to globalization, economic crisis, and mass migrations to attract voters. However, while right-wing populist discourses are mainstream in certain countries, they are almost completely taboo in others. Why in Italy, Austria, and France right-wing populism is so successful while in Germany it is marginal and socially unacceptable? It is because each country developed a certain collective memory of the fascist past, which stigmatizes that past to different levels. For this reason, right-wing populism can find favorable conditions to thrive in certain countries while in others it is considered as an illegitimate and dangerous idea of power. Through a comparative study of eight European countries, this book shows that short-term factors linked to levels of corruption, economic situation, and quality of democracy, interact with long-term cultural elements and collective memories in determining the social acceptability of right-wing populist discourses.

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