388 episodes

Interviews with scholars of modern European politics about their new books

New Books in European Politics New Books Network

    • Government
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Interviews with scholars of modern European politics about their new books

    Maria Snegovaya, "When Left Moves Right: The Decline of the Left and the Rise of the Populist Right in Postcommunist Europe" (Oxford UP, 2024)

    Maria Snegovaya, "When Left Moves Right: The Decline of the Left and the Rise of the Populist Right in Postcommunist Europe" (Oxford UP, 2024)

    In her new book, When Left Moves Right: The Decline of the Left and the Rise of the Populist Right in Postcommunist Europe (Oxford University Press, 2024), Maria Snegovaya argues that, contrary to the view that emphasizes the sociocultural aspects (xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, etc.) of the rise of the populist right, especially in postcommunist Europe, the rise of the populist right is inextricably linked to the pro-market, Neoliberal reforms of the left, which had the effect of disenfranchising working-class and other voters, and providing an natural opportunity for the right to gain power.
    Jeff Adler is an ex-linguist and occasional contributor to New Books Network!
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Traian Sandu, "Ceausescu: The Ambiguous Dictator" (Perrin, 2023)

    Traian Sandu, "Ceausescu: The Ambiguous Dictator" (Perrin, 2023)

    Today I talked to Traian Sandu about his book Ceausescu: Le dictateur ambigu (Perrin, 2023). 
    Born in January 1918, Nicolae Ceauşescu began his apprenticeship in Bucharest and discovered the social struggle and its repression at the age of fifteen within the Romanian Communist Party. In 1948, the Stalinist Gheorghiu-Dej, his mentor, having taken power, he took the opportunity to quickly climb the ranks of the party and the state. Installed in power in March 1965, Ceauşescu inherited the policy of his predecessor: avoiding de-Stalinization by playing the nationalist card. Its beginnings were popular thanks to a certain cultural liberalization, the beginning of a consumer society and an opening towards the West. However, the oil shocks and the détente between the United States and the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s deprived him of the resources needed to pursue his policy. 
    His role as a bridge between East and West, his industrialization policy based on Western capital and technologies and his popularity within Romanian society collapsed at the turn of the 1980s. The beginning of social and political opposition (strikes and dissidence), the decision to repay the debt to Western institutions (IMF and World Bank) which led to cruel shortages and the end of the Cold War with the arrival of Gorbachev sounded the death knell for his regime which collapsed in three days in December 1989. The one who called himself the "genius of the Carpathians", or even the "Danube of thought", was executed with his wife, Elena, at the end of a particularly hasty trial, ending a strange revolution in which many saw the hand of the Soviet "big brother". Between autocratic drift and reformist desires, nationalism and submission to the USSR, growing paranoia and all-consuming megalomania, the man remained a mystery.
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    • 1 hr 20 min
    Why Should We Preserve Memory of the Holocaust?

    Why Should We Preserve Memory of the Holocaust?

    Wojtek Soczewica has led the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation since 2019, near the site of the killing fields. The Foundation aims at the preservation of the remains of the concentration and extermination camp and of all the personal items that belonged to victims and survivors. Today they serve as material witnesses of the tragic history safeguarding “the place of Auschwitz in human memory.” In this episode of International Horizons, he speaks with John Torpey, director of the Ralph Bunche Institute, about the work of the Foundation and its role not only in contemporary Poland but in today’s turmoil. He reflects on the role of memorials and museums and how they serve as mirrors to help us to ask ourselves the difficult questions. Additionally, Soczewica attempts an answer concerning the relationship between politics and history.
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    • 44 min
    Party People: Candidates and Party Evolution

    Party People: Candidates and Party Evolution

    Contemporary politics is characterized by the rise (and fall) of many new parties. But what tools do political scientists have to map and measure electoral volatility? How can we best capture this change? And what insights can political scientists draw from other disciplines? Join host Tim Haughton for a discussion with Allan Sikk and Philipp Köker, the authors of a new book, Party People: Candidates and Party Evolution (Oxford University Press, 2023). Their book draws on a database of 200 000 electoral candidates from over 60 elections across nine democracies.


    Allan Sikk is Associate Professor at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies.


    Philipp Köker is Lecturer and Research Fellow at Leibniz University in Hannover.


    Tim Haughton is Professor of Comparative and European Politics and a founding co-director of CEDAR at the University of Birmingham.


    The People, Power, Politics podcast brings you the latest insights into the factors that are shaping and re-shaping our political world. It is brought to you by the Centre for Elections, Democracy, Accountability and Representation (CEDAR) based at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Join us to better understand the factors that promote and undermine democratic government around the world and follow us on Twitter at @CEDAR_Bham!
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    • 32 min
    Aaron Clift, "Anticommunism in French Society and Politics, 1945-1953" (Oxford UP, 2023)

    Aaron Clift, "Anticommunism in French Society and Politics, 1945-1953" (Oxford UP, 2023)

    Anticommunism in French Society and Politics, 1945-1953 (Oxford UP, 2023) evaluates the prevalence of anticommunism among the French population in 1945 to 1953, and examines its causes, character, and consequences through a series of case studies on different segments of French society. These include the scouting movement; family organisations; agricultural associations; middle-class groups; and trade unions and other working-class organisations. Aaron Clift contends that anticommunism was more widespread and deeply rooted than previously believed, and had a substantial impact on national politics and on these social groups and organisations. 
    Furthermore, he argues that the study of anticommunism allows us a deeper understanding of the values they regarded as the most important to defend. Although anticommunism was a diverse phenomenon, this work identifies common discourses, including portrayals of communism as a threat to the nation; the colonial empire; the traditional family; private property; religion; the rural world; and Western civilisation. It also highlights common aims (such as the rehabilitation of wartime collaborators) and tactics (such as the invocation of apoliticism). While acknowledging the importance of the Cold War, it rejects the assumption that anticommunism was an American import or foreign to French society and demonstrates links between anticommunism and anti-Americanism. It concludes that anticommunism drew its strength from the connection or even conflation of communism with perceived negative social changes that were seen to threaten traditional French civilisation, interacting with the postwar international and domestic environment and the personal experiences of individual anticommunists.
    Aaron Clift received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2022, following a Master's at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor's at the University of Victoria. After a stint as a Postdoctoral History Scholar at the University of Calgary, Dr. Clift is now a Fellow at the London School of Economics where he teaches and researches on the Cold War period.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    How Can We Reach International Consensus on AI Regulation?

    How Can We Reach International Consensus on AI Regulation?

    In this episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey interviews Gabriele Mazzini, a lawyer and officer of the European Commission and expert in AI regulation. Mazzini discusses the means through which European countries have found agreement on the definition of AI and how to regulate it. Moreover, Mazzini stresses that the fears of an apocalyptic AI revolution taking over humankind are not well-grounded. He also comments on the United States case and how it differs from Europe when it comes to regulating AI, acknowledging that there's been big progress in legislation in this area.
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    • 43 min

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