The articles, insights, musings and analyses posted here shine a light on how relationships between parliaments, politicians and people are configured in different places and spaces, across a range of contexts and cultures.

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The pretend guns of realism – Dr Zoë Marriage

The pretend guns of realism and the reality of resistance

Dr Zoë Marriage | 30/10/2018

Dr Zoë Marriage argues that Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil’s recent elections  hinges on a political rhetoric that legitimises anger and violence. This is symbolised in the fatal stabbing of a leading capoeirista on the first night of the election, an event which brought together the diverse global capoeira community, whose origins are firmly rooted in the discourse of struggle and resistance against precisely the nationalist and fascist propaganda of Brazil’s new President.

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Kirk Humphrey and ‘People over Politics’ – Shalinder Carter

Kirk Humphrey and ‘People over Politics’: Winds of Change in Barbadian Politics

Shalinder Carter | 18/09/2018

Shalinder Carter reflects on a pivotal moment in Barbadian political history – the May 2018 general election. Granted unrivalled access to the campaign of political newcomer Kirk Humphrey, Carter charts his success in revitalising political engagement amongst an electorate suffering from a surfeit of neglect by their politicians and disillusionment with parliamentary democracy. Humphrey defeated the sitting Prime Minister, and in doing so, argues Carter, he has become a symbol of hope not just for people in Barbados, but for positive and inclusive democratic political engagement everywhere.

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Reflecting on leadership and Dagu in Ethiopia – Emma Crewe

Reflecting on leadership and Dagu in Ethiopia

Professor Emma Crewe | SOAS

The new PM Dr Abiy Ahmed, the first Oromo to lead Ethiopia, talked about leadership a few days ago. His Chief of Staff reported these words on Twitter: ‘Leadership is not about welding authority. It is about mobilizing talent, capacity and creativity of all to foster collective action.’ What a relief that he doesn’t believe the kind of nonsense taught on most MBAs – where apparently leaders need to create visions, be decisive and crush resistance to change (in the crudest versions).

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Rethinking Representative Democracy – Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal

Rethinking Representative Democracy in the 21st Century

Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Till only a couple of years ago, the energies of democrats were focused on the strengthening or deepening of democracy in the Global South, including the BRICS countries. Now, suddenly, a series of events have turned the world upside down, and brought into question many of our settled, even complacent, assumptions about the triumphs of democracy in the Global North. The assumption, above all, that Anglo-American liberal-democracy stood on the firm foundations of a fine pedigree, philosophical and political, and time-tested historical practice.

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