Politics

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Howard Dean recently made some interesting comments about young people and U.S. politics: “They’re very independent-minded. They don’t like politics. And they mistrust institutions,” Dean said in his characteristically matter-of-fact style. “I think our problem as Democrats is, we’re the head of the oldest party in the West, and this party is an institution that […]

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I have written before about Norway’s awkward tension between wanting to be a responsible global citizen and wanting to continue to sell oil. Their ongoing election demonstrates the tension starkly. The Green Party, which may end up holding the balance of power in a divided legislature, opposes further hydrocarbon development. By contrast, a slogan of […]

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One mechanism of control used by the Chinese government is censorship of the media and the internet. Reportedly, this has been so comprehensive and successful that young people in China are unlikely to know about the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. This is an important example of how governments are often the biggest threat to […]

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George Monbiot’s career advice for aspiring journalists may apply at least as much to civil servants and academics: You want to be free? Then first you must learn to be captive. The advisers say that a career path like this is essential if you don’t want to fall into the “trap” of specialisation: that is […]

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For analyzing climate change activism, the contentious politics theoretical framework associated with Doug McAdam (a sociology professor at Stanford), Sidney Tarrow (a professor of government and sociology at Cornell), and Charles Tilly (formerly a social science professor at Columbia) has much to recommend it. In particular, it incorporates many explanatory factors used in the related […]

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In Argentina and the European Union, people can assert a “right to be forgotten“, in which internet companies are obligated to delete content which those complaining are unhappy to have online. There is also a Canadian connection: In June Canada’s Supreme Court ordered Google to stop its search engine returning a result advertising a product […]

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In many ways, the treatment of ethanol in societies like Canada is exceptional. It’s the only powerfully psychoactive drug top-end hotels and restaurants will provide you in unlimited quantities as long as you can pay. It’s the only drug that large groups of strangers routinely use to the point of inebriation together, in contexts ranging […]

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On the Washington Post website, there is an article about my aunt Mirka’s new book: Making the Mark: Gender, Identity, and Genital Cutting.

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I find the debate about Canadian arms companies selling weapons and vehicles to Saudi Arabia a little perplexing. The media coverage seems to turn on the question of whether the arms and equipment are being used to oppress the civilian population of Saudi Arabia. I find this perplexing because there seems to be ample evidence […]

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