PSIR publications

Find out about recent major publications from staff in the Political Science and International Relations programme.

Emily Beausoleil

Staging Democracy: The Political Work of Live Performance (De Gruyter, 2023)

This book launches the new book series, 'Critical Thinking and Contemporary Politics' edited by Prof. Nancy Love.

“From apartheid South Africa to Canada and New Zealand, Beausoleil shows the power of theatrical encounter to open new possibilities yet to be fully owned by democratic theory. Beausoleil brilliantly opens the way with this humane, intelligent work of theory oriented by practice. A must-read." – Bonnie Honig, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science, Brown University (US).

Staging Democracy responds to compelling calls in democratic theory for communication and coalition across social difference by asking how we realize these ideals in concrete terms. It shifts the focus from if and why marginalized difference should find entry into politics, to the practical question of how this is to be done. What explains those rare moments when marginalized voices break through in contemporary politics? And how might a closer look at the strategies and resources at play within such moments enhance how we understand and enact civic engagement?

Political theory and practice have traditionally overlooked the performing arts as a site of civic politics, and yet marginalized communities continually turn to them to communicate, challenge, and catalyze change. This book brings vivid moments of creative practice from three continents together with performance studies and political scholarship to argue that artistic performance offers a potent form of democratic voice for claims from the margins. Across political contexts, democratic aims, and artistic genres, Staging Democracy shows how the very qualities that lead some to think of the arts as unclear, irrational, and irresponsible – and thus politically suspect – shape artistic performance’s distinct capacity to enact democratic engagement in conditions of deep difference and inequality.

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Aeron Davis

Bankruptcy, Bubbles and Bailouts (Manchester University Press, 2022)

The Treasury is one of Britain’s oldest, most powerful and secretive institutions, one that has played a central role in shaping the country’s economic system. But all too often it has escaped public scrutiny when it comes to investigating the ups and downs of the UK economy.

Its public image is one of stability in times of crisis, repeatedly rescuing the nation’s finances from the hands of posturing politicians and the combustions of world financial markets. However, there is another side to the story. In between the highs there have been many lows, from botched privatisations to dubious private finance initiatives, from failing to spot the great financial crisis to facilitating austerity and ever-growing inequalities.

Davis takes the reader behind the scenes to offer an inside history of the Treasury, in the words of the chancellors, advisors and civil servants themselves. Bankruptcy, bubbles and bailouts shows the shortcomings as well as the successes, the personalities, ideas and conflicts that have shaped Britain’s economy since the mid-1970s. Based on interviews with over fifty key figures, it offers a fascinating, alternative insight on how and why the UK economy came to function as it does today, and why reform is long overdue.

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The book cover for Julija Sardelic's book titled The Fringes of Citizenship portraying two officers watching an adult cross a street with children, the people are painted in a stenciled spray paint style.

Julija Sardelić

The Fringes of Citizenship: Romani Minorities in Europe and Civic Marginalisation (Manchester University Press, 2022)

This book presents a socio-legal enquiry into the civic marginalisation of Roma in Europe. Instead of looking only at Roma's position as migrants, an ethnic minority or a socio-economically disadvantage group, it considers them as European citizens, questioning why they are typically used to describe exceptionalities of citizenship in developed liberal democracies rather than as evidence for how problematic the conceptualisation of citizenship is at its core. Developing novel theoretical concepts, such as the fringes of citizenship and the invisible edges of citizenship, the book investigates a variety of topics around citizenship, including migration and free movement, statelessness and school segregation, as well as how marginalised minorities respond to such predicaments. It argues that while Roma are unique as a minority, the treatment that marginalises them is not. This is demonstrated by comparing their position to that of other marginalised minorities around the globe.

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Book cover for Political Order in Modern East Asian Studies by Xiaoming Huang

Xiaoming Huang

Political Order in Modern East Asian States (Routledge, 2022)

This book uses a theory of political order to explain modern political change in Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam; how the traditional East Asian forms of state organization and national politics evolved in the 20th century; and why different types of political order emerged in the 21st century Japan, PRC, ROC, ROK, DPRK and SRV.
A political order arises in a polity under an effective, legitimate state authority capable of enforcing specific authority relations among contending political forces in society. Structural, institutional and normative forces grew to scope the people, territory and authority structure for the new states in modern East Asia. Institutional setups and normative influences allowed a particular set of political forces to influence the exercise of state authority, determined a distinct set of relations among active political forces,  and forged a polity-wide national identity and political culture. The book offers an innovative account of the grand historical process of modern state formation in East Asia.

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Stephen Levine (ED)

Politics in a Pandemic, Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand's 2020 Election (VUP, 2021)

2020 was a year unlike any other. Still in her first term as prime minister, Jacinda Ardern found herself facing her biggest challenge yet – protecting New Zealanders against a worldwide pandemic. By year’s end New Zealand had kept its nerve, protected its borders, and for the most part kept its residents alive and well. In the midst of all this an election was held. 

Politics in a Pandemic provides a deeper understanding of what happened during the election, which was held in the most difficult circumstances facing New Zealand since the Second World War.

It includes contributions from the New Zealander of the Year, Jacinda Ardern, and the Wellingtonian of the Year, epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker, as well as the National Party’s Judith Collins, Greens’ co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson, ACT’s leader David Seymour, the Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins, and award-winning journalists Tova O’Brien and Henry Cooke, along with many other reporters, pollsters and academics, together providing 35 perspectives on the election. Personal reflections are complemented by UMR survey results, first-hand campaign accounts, the perspectives of overseas observers, and analysis of everything from political cartoons and billboards to leaders debates, political party funding, policy and populism. It covers the departure of New Zealand First, the return of the Māori Party, nationwide referendums on euthanasia and the legalisation of cannabis, and the Christchurch mosque attacks. But ultimately, the 2020 election was a referendum on Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in a time of pandemic. This book explains why she won and what this might mean for the country’s future.

Politics in a Pandemic is the twelfth in a series of election books going back to 1987 – including The Baubles of Office (2007), Kicking the Tyres (2012), and Stardust and Substance (2018) – essential for anyone interested in New Zealand’s government and politics.

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A Populist Exception?

Jack Vowles

A Populist Exception? The 2017 New Zealand General Election (ANU Press, 2020)

The “spectre of populism” might be an apt description for what is happening in different parts of the world, but does it apply to New Zealand? Immediately after New Zealand’s 2017 general election, populist party New Zealand First gained a pivotal role in a coalition with the Labour Party, leading some international observers to suggest it represented a populist capture of the government. The leader of New Zealand First, Winston Peters, justified his support for Labour as necessary to allow capitalism to “regain… its human face”. The new prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, spoke of a kinder, more inclusive politics.

This book draws on the 2017 New Zealand Election Study to uncover New Zealanders’ political attitudes and preferences post-election. Its authors ask: is New Zealand now a populist exception? Through detailed empirical analyses of how populism and authoritarianism affected vote choice, opinions about immigration, satisfaction with democracy, and the relevance of gender and indigeneity to these issues, this book finds that New Zealand politics today does not reflect the international trend toward ideological polarisation and electoral volatility.

The authors argue that inclusive forms of populism can be pluralist if a leader’s rhetorical approach recognises “the people” as diverse and encompassing. A Populist Exception? concludes that although populism has long been a strong current in New Zealand history, contemporary New Zealand exhibits a moderate form of populism, with liberal and pluralist values in balance with a strong commitment to majoritarian democracy.

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South Korean Identity and Global Foreign Policy : Dream of Autonomy book cover

Patrick Flamm

South Korean Identity and Global Foreign Policy—Dream of Autonomy (Routledge, 2019)

In the 20th century, South Korea was usually seen as a “shrimp amongst whales”, a minor player with limited agency in regional and global affairs. Korea’s risen status as a “middle power” today, however, raises the question about related changes in the South Korean identity or “sense of self” in the world.

In this book, Patrick Flamm presents the first comprehensive and agency oriented empirical account of South Korean international state identity and Seoul’s global foreign policy in the 21st century. Advancing a performative and narrative understanding of identity in International Relations, Flamm uses South Korea’s global engagement in peacekeeping and climate diplomacy to offer much-needed insight into the various identity narratives and role conceptions at play.

In the case of peacekeeping and climate diplomacy, South Korea’s identity as an international actor has been dominated by practices of self-identification that position the country at the brink of advanced countries, aspiring to lead the rest of the world but with the overall objective to maintain national autonomy in a changing regional and global context.

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International Relations of East Asia

Xiaoming Huang

International Relations of East Asia: Structures, Institutions, and International Order (Red Globe Press, 2019)

East Asia’s rapidly changing role in international security, the global economy, development, and global governance are expertly accounted for in this much-needed, state-of-the-art text. Xiaoming Huang offers an engaging and informed account of the key concepts, issues, and actors working in this area. Ranging from the region’s history to culture and a comparative assessment of the region’s states, this text is informed throughout by a compelling theoretical framework.

In so doing, it unpicks the often complex relationships both at the domestic level and externally. Only with this understanding is it possible to make sense of the region’s complex relationships both internally and externally. Structured around key concepts in international relations of war and peace, economic development, and increased contemporary security threats, this text offers an empirically-rich, engaging account of the changing fortunes of East Asia.

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