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Political Science in Great Britain and Germany: The Roles of LSE (The London School of Economics) and DHfP (The German Political Studies Institute)

Abstract

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik (DHfP, German Political Studies Institute) in Berlin both emerged extramurally. LSE was founded in 1895 by Fabian socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webb; DHfP was established in 1920 by liberal-national publicists Ernst Jäckh and Theodor Heuss. However, superficial resemblances ended there, as shown in the paper’s first part. The founders’ aims differed markedly; incorporation into London and Berlin universities occurred at different times and in different ways.

The chair of political science set up at LSE in 1914 was held, until 1950, by two reform-minded Fabians, Graham Wallas and Harold Laski. DHfP, which did not win academic recognition during the 1920s, split into nationalist, “functionalist”, and democratic “schools”. Against this backdrop, the paper’s second part discusses Harold Laski’s magnum opus (1925) A Grammar of Politics as an attempt at offering a vision of the “good society”, and Theodor Heuss’ 1932 study Hitler’s Course as an example of the divided Hochschule’s inability to provide adequate analytical assessments of the Nazi movement and of the gradual infringement, by established elites, of the Weimar constitution. Laski’s work and intellectual legacy reinforced the tendency towards the predominance, in British political science, of normative political theory. West German political science, initially pursued “from a Weimar perspective”, was also conceived as a highly normative enterprise emphasising classical political theory, the institutions and processes of representative government, and the problematic ideological and institutional predispositions peculiar to German political history. Against this background, the paper’s third part looks, on the one hand, at the contribution to “New Left” thinking (1961 ff.) by Ralph Miliband, who studied under Laski and taught at LSE until 1972, and at Paul Hirst’s 1990s theory of associative democracy, which builds on Laski’s pluralism. On the other hand, the paper considers Karl Dietrich Bracher’s seminal work The Failure of the Weimar Republic (1955) and Ernst Fraenkel’s 1964 collection Germany and the Western Democracies, which originated, respectively, from the (Research) Institute for Political Science – added to Berlin’s Free University in 1950 – and DHfP, re-launched in the same year.

In a brief concluding fourth part, the paper touches on the reception, both in Great Britain and West Germany, of the approaches of “modern” American political science since the mid-1960s.

Open access
The Selection of Party Leaders in Poland: Democratisation of Rules and Predictability of Results

Abstract

The objective of this analysis is to examine political party leadership with reference to the rules and results of its selection process in post-communist Poland. The exploration of these matters is based on qualitative and quantitative data concerning 16 different political parties and 80 selections they conducted in the years 1990-2013. The comprehensive research methods employed for this study ranged from in-depth analysis of particular election results to analysis of constitutional and structural party variations. This extensive investigation enables the reader to draw conclusions about Polish intra-party politics and to understand the vetting processes that Polish politicians must undergo. The findings indicate that political parties tend to address wider selectorates; and that the rules of selection are transparent, democratic, and empirically predictable.

Open access
Trust in Political Institutions: The Effect of Corruption, Electoral Winners, and the Post-Communist Legacy

Abstract

Trust in political institutions is an important issue in contemporary democracies, as it contributes to democratic regimes’ legitimacy and sustainability. This paper investigates what effects corruption, political allegiance, and the post-communist history of a country have on political trust. Political trust is measured as trust towards parliament, political parties, and politicians. Both individual-and country-level factors are included in the analytical model in order to account for the personal and contextual characteristics that might shape political trust. This research employs the multilevel modelling for empirical analysis. The results show that the winner effect and corruption perception impact are relatively strongly affecting political trust. Surprisingly, the post-communist history of a country seems to play no significant role in driving political trust. The concluding part links the findings of this study back to the theory and draws several implications not only for the future research but also the real world of policies and politics.

Open access
Congruent Representation: Election Cycle in Poland 2009-2011

Abstract

The article presents the results of research on the congruence of the political representation formed in elections held in the years 2009-2011 in Poland. The election cycle included the European Parliamentary elections in 2009, the Polish presidential election, elections to local government in 2010, and the parliamentary elections in 2011. The median citizen, median voter, and their positions on the left-right scale were used as tools for examining congruence. Studies have proven that in Poland, the median citizen and the median voter are positioned on the right side of the left-right scale. The legislature and executive authorities chosen in the elections are located left of the median citizen and the median voter. Studies have not demonstrated the existence of any impact of the electoral system on the positioning of the median citizen and the median voter.

Open access
Entrepreneurial Universities and Regional Development: Policy Origins, Progress, and the Future, with a Focus on Poland

Abstract

University entrepreneurship is an idea that has gained a significant amount of support globally in the last 30 years and is seen as promoting reinvention, revitalisation, and simply remuneration for the universities themselves and their regions at large. But as universities begin to ramp up their technology transfer activities and start to commercialise their research, it is important to consider the regional context and the regional impacts that this can have. Technology transfer is important, but to truly transform economic “catch-up” regions to future leading regions, it cannot be the only goal of university entrepreneurship. As a result, larger perspective and more government, business, and university collaboration is needed. Using Poland as a focus area, this paper will summarise the concept and development of the entrepreneurial university and the policies needed for success, and show that the technology transfer activity of the university should be considered just one element of regional development strategies. It concludes with policy recommendations that may be useful for Poland and other regions.

Open access