Politics & Society

Sage Publications, Inc.
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  • The Politics of Innovation Policy: Building Israel’s “Neo-developmental” State

    This article contributes to an emerging literature on the “neo” or “entrepreneurial” developmental state that emphasizes the role of innovation policy in promoting the structural transformation of industry. It finds further evidence that supports this approach and advances it by making two unique contributions. First, it highlights an essential yet underappreciated feature of contemporary innovation policy: the state’s capacity to condition public assistance and discipline private firms that do not adhere to government guidelines. These capacities are necessary to guarantee that the benefits of public investment in innovation—the social and economic spillovers—are not appropriated by private actors but shared more broadly within society. Second, it highlights that politics—reflected in the relations between innovation agencies and key social actors—represents an important causal factor in both the formation and subsequent transformation of these institutional capacities. These points are illustrated through a historical analysis of a crucial case: the state-led development of Israel’s thriving high-tech sector.

  • German Business Mobilization against Right-Wing Populism

    Why do some business associations mobilize, engage in collective action, and take public stands against the populist right while others do not? This article examines business mobilization against the populist right in Germany, which is heavily export-oriented and reliant on the European and global market order. Drawing on interviews with three business associations, the article presents three key findings. First, economic self-interest is a powerful driver of business mobilization: perceived threats and vulnerability spurred two German associations to act collectively against right-wing populism. However, mobilization is driven not by declining revenues or profits but by a mixture of values and material interests. Second, business associations that mobilize stress the need to reform the system, democratize the European Union, and address those who feel “left behind.” Third, medium-size, export-oriented manufacturers are the core business constituency supporting liberal democracy and the European Union. The article shows that some business factions can play a role in defending the liberal international order against right-wing populism.

  • Group-Specific Responses to Retrospective Economic Performance: A Multilevel Analysis of Parliamentary Elections

    What is the relationship between electoral and economic performance? Previous literature posits that poor economic performance hurts the incumbent at the ballot box because overall economic performance serves as a competence signal, which voters can readily access at low costs. Building on an emerging economic voting literature exploring heterogeneity in the electorate, this article argues that social groups are affected differently by various dimensions of economic performance and that their sociotropic sanctioning of incumbents is contingent on the retrospective performance of these dimensions. It theorizes how four social groups—low-skilled workers, pensioners, public sector employees, and high-income individuals—are differently affected by each of four economic dimensions: unemployment, inflation, stock market performance, and public spending; as a result, they penalize the incumbent to varying extents. Results from a multilevel logistic regression analysis from four modules of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems containing around seventy electoral contexts are consistent with the argument.

  • What Have I Learned from Marx and What Still Stands?

    Should one read Marx today? Which of his theories survive the test of time and which should be abandoned? This article reviews four of Marx’s themes: the quest for material abundance, the compatibility of capitalism and democracy, the role of the state, and the theory of the dynamics of capitalism.

  • Making Old People Work: Three False Assumptions Supporting the “Working Longer Consensus”

    Pensions and social insurance—key parts of the welfare state—redistribute income and wealth across class by providing, or not providing, practical and legitimate access to basic income without requiring work for pay. Mistaken attention to generational equity and austerity economics creates a set of beliefs that older people should work more, forming what the article calls an emerging “Working Longer Consensus,” which is supported by three false doctrines. Using OECD data and secondary sources, the article counters each false doctrine by showing that healthy longevity gains are not distributed equally; there is no demonstrated trade-off between public spending for the elderly and children; and a greater supply of elder labor does not necessarily mean economic prosperity. The Working Longer Consensus, like the Washington Consensus, promises that pension austerity will yield economic prosperity.

  • Cold War Undercurrents: The Extreme-Right Variants in East Asia*

    This study examines the mobilization of the Far Right in Korea and Japan in the 2000s and probes how and why the actors and political claims of East Asian extremists differ from their counterparts in Europe and North America. The Far Right forces in Korea and Japan are politically regressive in glorifying the authoritarian or colonial past and cling to unchanging ideological claims from the postwar decades in their current targeting of old-time, internal “others.” This divergence is explained by the United States–led Cold War geopolitics in Asia, under which Far Right elites were fortified in postwar Japan and Korea. The Cold War that has not ended in Asia as opposed to Europe or North America further allows the institutional sustainability of the radical Right and the political resonance of its old ideology of anticommunism and colonial racism. As such, democratic politics in East Asia is predicated on Cold War undercurrents.

  • The Specter of the Past: Reconstructing Conservative Historical Memory in South Korea*

    Through the case of the New Right movement in South Korea in the early 2000s, this article explores how history has become a battleground on which the Right tried to regain its political legitimacy in the postauthoritarian context. Analyzing disputes over historiography in recent decades, this article argues that conservative intellectuals—academics, journalists, and writers—play a pivotal role in constructing conservative historical narratives and building an identity for right-wing movements. By contesting what they viewed as “distorted” leftist views and promoting national pride, New Right intellectuals positioned themselves as the guardians of “liberal democracy” in the Republic of Korea. Existing studies of the Far Right pay little attention to intellectual circles and their engagement in civil society. By examining how right-wing intellectuals appropriated the past and shaped triumphalist national imagery, this study aims to better understand the dynamics of ideational contestation and knowledge production in Far Right activism.

  • The Rise and Fall of Japan’s New Far Right: How Anti-Korean Discourses Went Mainstream*

    Why has right-wing activism in Japan, despite its persistence throughout the postwar era, only gained significant traction recently? Focusing on the Zaitokukai, an anti-Korean movement in Japan, this article demonstrates how the new Far Right were able to popularize formerly stigmatized right-wing ideas. The Zaitokukai represents a political group distinct from the traditional right and reflective of new Far Right movements spreading worldwide. In Japan, concerns about the growing influence of South Korea and China in the 1980s as well as the decline of left-wing norms opened up a discursive opportunity for the new Far Right. By framing Korean postcolonial minorities as undeserving recipients of social welfare benefits, the Zaitokukai mobilized perceptions of threat that has continued to powerfully influence public perceptions of Koreans even following the group’s organizational decline. While past research has focused on the new Far Right’s political influence, this article stresses their roles as ideological entrepreneurs.

  • Introduction to “Right-Wing Activism in Asia: Cold War Legacies, Geopolitics, and Democratic Erosion”*

    This essay introduces four articles that form a special issue of Politics & Society titled “Right-Wing Activism in Asia: Cold War Legacies, Geopolitics, and Democratic Erosion.” The articles focus on Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. These three Asian countries present important cases to generate critical comparative insights about the patterns of Far Right mobilization, for their geopolitical histories provide common ground while institutional variations set distinctive conditions. Most importantly, all of them were shaped by the particularly sharp conflicts of the Cold War in the region, and the articles in this issue demonstrate how this legacy has generated illiberal conditions in these countries today.

  • Under and beyond the Law: Monarchy, Violence, and History in Thailand*

    Since the end of the absolute monarchy in Thailand on June 24, 1932, the rulers and the ruled have been locked into struggle, often violent, over what form the polity and the people’s participation in it should take. This essay examines this struggle, the imagination of justice, and the inability to consolidate democracy, or even a stable government, through the lens of the monarchy, which has remained beyond accountability. Violence committed to preserve the monarchy forecloses democracy and fosters a form of what can be called modern absolutist monarchy, when some lives are visibly placed beyond the law’s protection from violence and others are made dispensable by being made subject to repressive enforcement of the law. The emergence in 2020 of a daring challenge to the position of the monarchy beyond the law refracts both the dangers it poses to democracy and the urgency of imagining a new Thai polity.

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