Existing explanations for why women do not get elected to parliament in Melanesia emphasize structural barriers to participation, including prohibitive costs and patriarchal norms. They are largely silent, however, on why those women who do conform to the profile of the archetypal candidate, and thus have the best chance of overcoming these barriers, choose not to run. Drawing on an extensive qualitative dataset, including forty in-depth interviews with emerging women leaders from three Melanesian countries, we find that many women are pessimistic about the way electoral politics are conducted. Echoing longstanding critiques of political practice, this cohort conceptualizes their political activity as being conducted in a parallel public sphere, in contexts in which they consider themselves more able to pursue programmatic reform. Rather than focusing on structural barriers, we explore their decision to eschew parliamentary elections as an act of resistance against politics as usual in Melanesia. This new material adds to the literature on why women chose to run from rather than for parliament and therefore has implications for scholars and practitioners interested in improving women's parliamentary representation across the globe.
Agency size is generally assumed to be positively correlated with survival: the bigger an agency, the less likely it is to be terminated. Yet, recent research finds a very small effect of size on survival. The reason, we argue, is that it only addresses size in terms of overall operating budget – what this article calls objective size. By contrast, we use an interpretive historicist approach to show how perceived size – the meanings and beliefs of key actors concerning an agency's size – affects termination. Drawing on a case study of Australia's independent aid agency, AusAID, which endured a tumultuous history of cuts, reorganizations and rebirths, culminating in termination, we show how perceptions of the agency's size mattered. These findings both support and extend recent research showing that adaptation and reputation are critical to the survival of government agencies.
The unequal participation of member states in international organizations (IOs) undermines IOs' legitimacy as global actors. Existing scholarship typically makes this assessment by referencing a combination of inputthe interests IOs serveand outputthe decisions they take. This scholarship does not, however, pay enough attention to how IOs have responded to these concerns. We argue that IOs have used the participation of small stateswhose membership most studies typically ignoreas an important means of generating what Vivian Schmidt calls throughput' legitimacy for their operations. We organize our analysis of throughput' legitimacy in IOs around four institutional mechanisms(1) agenda setting; (2) leadership (s)election; (3) management and operation; and (4) service deliveryin which all states seek to exert influence. What emerges is an account of IOs seeking to balance inputs' and outputs' by way of throughputs'. We conclude by arguing for an expanded focus on the means by which IOs generate throughput' legitimacy in future research.
In response to growing popular dissatisfaction with politics and politicians, several scholars have sought to explain the cause of this malaise and demonstrate what can be done about it. To tease out the significance of four recent additions to this discussion, this article reviews how they diagnose the problem of anti-politicians and what they consider the cure might be. Riddell and Flinders, it is argued, view the problem in terms of an expectations gap', while Kane and Patapan, and Medvic cast it as a leadership paradox' or an expectations trap'. The former two primarily see greater citizen participation, generated via institutional reform or revived civic values, as the solution, whereas the latter two question whether the problem can or should be solved at all. The article concludes that while these books provide important insights, by and large they neglect to take serious or systematic account of the views, experiences and reFLections of political leaders themselves. To take this research agenda forward, this omission warrants further attention. Flinders, M. (2012) Defending Politics: Why Democracy Matters in the Twenty-First Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kane, J. and Patapan, H. (2012) The Democratic Leader: How Democracy Defines, Empowers and Limits its Leaders. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Medvic, S. (2013) In Defense of Politicians. The Expectations Trap and Its Threat to Democracy. New York: Routledge. Riddell, P. (2011) In Defence of Politicians (In spite of Themselves). London: Biteback.
Small states, and those in the Caribbean and Pacific regions in particular, are among the most stubbornly and disproportionally democratic countries in the world. And yet, they are rarely studied comparatively, despite sharing seemingly obvious similarities - aside from being small island states with developing economies they also tend to share a British colonial heritage and Westminster-inspired political institutions. This omission is all the more puzzling if we consider that the group does not conform to the standard battery of explanations developed by democratization theorists. To pave the way for further research across these two regions, this article provides a synoptic comparison of the process of democratization in Caribbean and Pacific small states. We highlight important similarities and differences that stem from the interaction between formal institutions and informal practices. We conclude by reiterating the benefits for scholars of democratization by looking at these significant yet hitherto rarely compared cases.
Development, as an idea and an industry, is premised on the assumption that all states have the ability to raise the material wellbeing of citizens. For many this appears to be working but the ideal is problematic for a sub-set of the world's smallest countries: the Pacific Island states. These states have sought to develop conventional export trade-based economies but are disadvantaged in this, and in service sector development, by a combination of well-known factors, including resource bases, size and location. By default, migration has become a least-worst development option for many island peoples and governments, involving engagement with the periphery and contributing to income generation and poverty alleviation. This deterritorialisation presents an alternative to mainstream development theory and practice in its current state-centric form, and emphasises the emerging significance of non-state approaches to development.
Disenchantment with politics appears to be proliferating throughout contemporary liberal democracies, as outlined in the growing literature on anti-politics. Overwhelmingly, this literature has focused on the disaffection citizens express towards the policy process. Here, using policy-making on the issue of obesity in Australia and Britain as a case study, we show that disenchantment is not limited to citizen outsiders; the elite policy actors at the core of the process are cynical, too. Indeed, we unveil an elite cast of stoic democrats' who see little reward for their continual efforts. We also point to the limits of stoicism highlighted by this extreme' case, as some elites begin to challenge the legitimacy of formal policy processes, subvert their norms, or ignore them altogether, all in search of more direct impact. We conclude that the literature on anti-politics would benefit from paying greater attention to the potential challenge elite cynicism presents to democratic governance.
Small states are conspicuously absent from mainstream comparative political science. There are a variety of reasons that underpin their marginal position in the established cannon, including their tiny populations, the fact that they are not considered real states, their supposedly insignificant role in international politics, and the absence of data. In this article, we argue that the discipline is much poorer for not seriously utilizing small states as case studies for larger questions. To illustrate this, we consider what the case study literature on politics in small states can offer to debates about democratization and decentralization, and we highlight that the inclusion of small states in various ways augments or challenges the existing literature in these fields. On this basis, we argue that far from being marginal or insignificant, the intellectual payoffs to the discipline of studying small states are potentially enormous, mainly because they have been overlooked for so long.
In contrast to the disadvantage that economists and international donors often see as stemming from smallness, political scientists have a relatively equivocal view of the normative implications of size on democratic performance. Largely, studies interested in the correlation between size and democratization focus on the persistence and quality (or depth) of democratic norms and claim either that small is beautiful or that it is despotic. In this article I take a different approach. Rather than attempting to measure the impact of size on democratic outcomes, I provide a nuanced description of how it shapes political life by drawing on the views, experiences, and reflections of politicians in the Pacific Islands. Based on this "insider view" of politics, I highlight the centrality of family and kin to political dynamics and discuss their relevance to ideas like consensus and oversight, and persistent critiques about ostracism and corruption. I conclude by arguing that smallness provides mixed blessings - it is neither entirely beautiful nor endemically despotic.
Ian Shapiro identifies three traditions of democratic thought: aggregative, deliberative, and minimalist. All three are apparent in the Pacific Islands despite most commentators and donors assuming that the meaning of democracy is fixed. The focus in development studies on institutions and their capacity to deliver pro-poor growth has generated a fourth tradition that revolves around the now pervasive governance concept. Rather than focusing on the general will of a sovereign people, this perspective is predominately concerned with the legitimate use of violence as a precursor to any development-orientated democratic state. Having reviewed the literature on democracy in the Pacific to parse out these four meanings, this article concludes that paying greater attention to this ideational equivocality would extend discussions about the suitability and transferability of this type of regime.
In response to growing popular dissatisfaction with politics and politicians there has been a marked increase in academic work about anti-politics and depoliticization with numerous scholars seeking to defend politics by restating why it matters. However, these efforts have largely glossed over the related question of why politicians also matter. To fill this gap I propose a typology that captures how the different intellectual perspectives in this debate see the role of politicians - identifying six in particular: procedural, legitimacy, values, authority, persuasion and dissimulation. In doing so I review each contribution and highlight synergies and disagreements between them that in-turn reveal important insights and new lines of inquiry.