A world government based on democratic principles would be ideal, but this is unlikely to come about any time soon. However, the mere impossibility of immediately implementing an idea does not make that idea wrong. Meanwhile one can work through existing institutions such as the UN and European Union to improve accountability in the arena of world politics. Adapted from the source document.
International Politics has been characterized as an American social science. This article traces the early development of the discipline in Sweden in the shadow of US hegemony. The advantages & disadvantages of the Swedish decision to keep International Relations (IR) within the broader discipline of Political Science are discussed. Recalling the early tensions between International Politics & Peace & Conflict Research, the author identifies some prominent traits in the development of Swedish IR in recent decades. Finally, broader developments in IR research generally are outlined in terms of consecutive debates, continuously broadening research themes, fashions, reaction to dramatic events in the world, & dialectics between paradigms emphasizing anarchy or order. References. Adapted from the source document.
This thesis depicts the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972), an international law for the protection of natural and cultural heritage sites, as an example of the multiple practices within international policy making. By analysing its transnational constitution, I show how the Convention is constructed in and between locales through bureaucratic and diplomatic procedures characterised by intersecting political and economic interests. Using neo-institutional theory, I argue that organisations such as UNESCO frame problems as global, provide solutions, and organise the actions of states, organizations, and individuals; furthermore, my research not only illustrates how this occurs but also explores the preconditions of international policy making. While adhering to its officially proclaimed aspirations, states, organisations, and individuals also use the Convention for other purposes such as international prestige, career advancement, publicity, identity, development, tourism – even war. Such contending interests raise the question of explaining the success of the Convention and thereby the preconditions of policy making at the international level. A conclusion reached by this study shows that growing interest in the Convention can be regarded to result only partially from the general acceptance of its global rhetoric and morally vested perspective or the need for states to gain legitimacy by engaging in international relations. My thesis proposes that rather than by its official aims and formal procedures, the Convention is constituted primarily through complex informal relations, concurring contexts, and external structures. Data for this ethnographic study consists of field notes from participant observations during UNESCO meetings in France, Morocco, Australia, and at the Convention’s secretariat. A case study of the Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland, a Swedish World Heritage site, is also included, along with interviews, documents, and media.
The emergence of social movements’ global politics Globalization not only transforms capital, media and technology, but also creates conditions for global politics, beyond ”international politics”. New transnational public arenas emerge, where a broad range of actors articulate demands and interests. A globalized political infrastructure arise from the combination of the (1) internal transnational mobilization within two opposing global networks: movements’ World Social Forum and political economy elites’ World Economic Forum; and a global connection with (2) regular dramatic street protests during multilateral regime summits; and (3) a permanent and virtual network of information communication technology that enables new forms of action, organization and mobilization. Together these arenas make participatory and global politics possible for social movements. Regime confrontations are formed by the new global media of ICT in a way that transforms the struggle into a political drama, where activists’ diversity of tactics – The Majority Drama, The Carnival, and The David-Goliath Drama – creates both competition and collaboration. These arenas are only emerging and this new form of global political structure creates both possibilities and problems. Still, a unique potential to democratize politics is created. ; Sociologisk Forsknings digitala arkiv
In international research there is a near consensus that the importance of cities is growing. As the policymakers of contemporary cities redirect their policy orientations away from the goal of redistribution towards achieving economic competitiveness, and as they introduce new structures of governance, they are becoming more and more committed to entrepreneurial city politics. However, both the international and Nordic research communities have shown little interest in studying whether these trends are viable in a Nordic context. Thus, through a case study of the city of Malmö, this doctoral dissertation explores the introduction of entrepreneurial city politics in a Swedish setting. Malmö is a former flagship for the Social Democratic ‘welfare city’ and a city that now is undergoing a process of politico-economic transformation. Theoretically, the author develops a framework for the analysis of policy-making in general and how cities turn towards urban entrepreneurialism in particular. ‘The Lancaster School of Cultural Political Economy’ is applied and redeveloped through interpretative policy analysis, urban regime theory and the politics of scale approach. Taken together, these traditions represent the basis for the conceptualization of politics within the dissertation. The author proposes an understanding of politics as practiced through an interplay of discursive and material processes and beyond the processes traditionally associated with a narrow ‘government-based’ conceptualization of politics. A framework is constructed to analyze how discourses, such as the discourse on the necessity of cities being entrepreneurial, are translated into political practice through three different moments. The moments of ‘selection’, ‘actors mobilizing discourse-coalitions’ and ‘institutionalization’ structure the empirical analysis of city politics in Malmö. The author demonstrates how key actors create, mediate and translate the discourse on urban entrepreneurialism to fit the actual (previously welfare oriented) context of local government. Powerful coalitions of various actors are mobilized around three different ‘micro-discourses’ that materialize into institutional, organizational and political practice. As a result of the analysis, the author reveals six different technologies of institutionalization which actors employ and which are essential for the practice of entrepreneurial city politics in Malmö. The overall aim of the dissertation is to contribute to the on-going re-conceptualization of politics in general and local politics in particular. Political scientists tend to treat local politics as equal to ‘sub-national municipal politics’, i.e. as politics defined in relation to the central state, mainly concerned with service delivery and occurring within the formal decision-making processes of local government. In contrast, the author argues that we need to rethink local politics and that such a task of re-conceptualization is especially urgent in a Nordic context, where the idea of ‘municipal politics’ has functioned as “an iron-grip on political imagination”. In the final section the theoretical framework developed within the dissertation is proposed as one way of rethinking local politics. The author also discusses why the presence of entrepreneurial city politics challenges the traditional organization and orientation of local politics in Sweden. Conclusions are drawn regarding our understanding of politics in general and some remarks on a future research agenda centered on the cultural political economy of contemporary city politics are given.
This article investigates the political efforts to establish ethanol as a national fuel in Sweden in 1924 - 1934. Drawing on official records - the transcripts of parliamentary debates, governmental commission reports, and government bills and legislation - ethanol is considered as a technological and political artefact, with a particular focus on a strongly ideological fuel policy intended to bring about technological change. At the time, considerable political effort went into finding and establishing a national fuel, efficient and abundant enough to support the nation's requirements for essential products. This was by no means a uniquely Swedish undertaking. Nation-states all over the industrialized world sought domestic fuel alternatives, prompted by the expected depletion of oil reserves and the fear of renewed international conflict. In that period, Swedish ethanol was distilled from fermented sulphite lye, a waste product from paper and pulp production. It was therefore presented as a lucrative solution for a waste problem, and, as it was produced within the nation-state's borders, a promising wartime surrogate. However, ethanol was more expensive than petrol, which made it less marketable during peacetime. To cover losses, the ethanol industry requested state support in the form of tax exemptions and legislation to force petrol importers to blend ethanol into all marketed petrol. Those who argued in favour of the ethanol industry's requests were mainly right-wing politicians, who based their arguments on a nationalist ideology that national collective benefit justified state intervention in the free market. Opposition was mainly mounted by a faction in the Social Democrat party. For them, any measure that made products more expensive for consumers was unthinkable. They also argued that the ethanol industry had reached the end of the line; any production without the means and capacity to support itself should make way for its competitors. Concerns about the anticipated international conflict, however, led the Social Democrat minister for finance, Ernst Wigforss, to concede to the demands of the ethanol industry. In 1934, he thus proposed legislation that largely corresponded to claims made by right-wing politicians and the influential forestry industry, of which ethanol production was a part. ; Fuel of the Future