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Past events

2021-2022

Dr. Joris Gijsenbergh - ‘Politieke partijen tussen vrijheid en gebondenheid’


Op dinsdag 28 september 2021 presenteerde dr. Joris Gijsenbergh zijn onderzoeksproject ‘Politieke partijen tussen vrijheid en gebondenheid’. Hij is als postdoc verbonden aan de secties Staatsrecht en Rechtsfilosofie van de Radboud Universiteit.

Abstract: Dit project onderzoekt of een (grond)wettelijke regulering van de vorm, organisatie en het functioneren van politieke partijen wenselijk is. Het Nederlandse recht stelt nauwelijks regels aan partijen, zeker in vergelijking bij veel andere West-Europese landen. Dat is opmerkelijk, want partijen spelen een cruciale rol in onze representatieve democratie. Dit roept de vraag op of de wetgever partijen aan regels zou moeten onderwerpen. Om die hoofdvraag te beantwoorden, analyseert dit project a) hoe de rol van partijen zich heeft ontwikkeld sinds 1917, b) welke functies partijen in de 21e eeuw zouden moeten hebben en c) welke vorm partijregulering zou moeten krijgen. Dit project loopt van 2020 tot 2023 en wordt gefinancierd door het Thorbeckefonds van de KNAW. U kunt meer informatie over het project vinden op deze website.

Prof. Nils Edling - ‘Folkhemmet: The Nation as a Home for the People?’


On Tuesday February 15th 2022, visiting scholar Prof. Nils Edling (Stockholm University) presented his research project ‘Folkhemmet: The Nation as a Home for the People?’.

Abstract: Folkhemmet, the people's home, is usually considered to be a premium concept in modern Swedish history. Since the 1980s, folkhemmet is everywhere and its popularity shows no signs of declining. In this presentation, Professor Nils Edling challenged the centrality of the people’s home. His research focuses on how the keyword actually was used and how that usage has changed over time. Moreover, Edling focuses on how historians and political scientists since the 1980s have established the mythology about the people’s home and its supreme importance.

Dr Betto van Waarden - 'DEMOCRACY (NOT) ON DISPLAY. A Structural Collocation Analysis of the Mother of all Parliaments’ Reluctance to Broadcast Herself'

On Tuesday March 29th, visiting scholar Dr Betto van Waarden (Marie Curie Fellow at Lund University; Guest researcher at Leiden University and Radboud University) presented a paper called: 'DEMOCRACY (NOT) ON DISPLAY. A Structural Collocation Analysis of the Mother of all Parliaments’ Reluctance to Broadcast Herself'.

Abstract: Today we expect parliament to be visible to the public, so that this public can hold its representatives accountable through its gaze in our modern ‘ocular democracy’ (Green). Yet the British parliament was notoriously late in broadcasting its debates. Why was the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’, which had pioneered parliamentary democracy, so reluctant to show this democracy to its people? The literature on the relationship between parliaments and media has described notably press reporting. On broadcasting parliament, scholars have made recommendations for improving parliamentary communication, analysed the effects of parliamentary broadcasting, and described the debates and arguments on whether parliaments should broadcast their proceedings. However, it remains a puzzle who exactly was making these arguments, and what role parliamentarians’ identities played in their debates on broadcasting parliament. Based on literature and reasoning, Betto van Waarden and Mathias Johansson hypothesise that, respectively, Conservative, government, senior, and urban (‘establishment’) MPs opposed broadcasting parliament more than Labour, opposition, junior, and rural (‘outsider’) MPs. As these distinctions between conservatives-progressives, government-opposition, senior-junior, and urban-rural can also be found in other democracies, this study also has a broader relevance. These hypotheses are analysed using both novel sources and methodologies. Thus far, scholars have usually looked at the eleven main parliamentary debates specifically focussed on the question of broadcasting parliament, but using the recently digitised parliamentary proceedings, Van Waarden and Johansson consider all mentions of broadcasting parliament - 3,343 debate interventions in total - for the entire period between 1935 and 2014. To investigate these mentions, Van Waarden en Johansson use the innovative method of ‘structural collocation analysis’. Using this method, this study first shows ‘issue ownership’: which subgroups of MPs spoke most on the topic of broadcasting parliament. Second, it describes the general context in which they spoke on this topic: which discourses they used when they mentioned this broadcasting. Finally, this study analyses how these subgroups of MPs themselves reflected on the relationship between broadcasting parliament and respectively parliamentarians’ partisanship, power, seniority, and geography.

Carl-Filip Smedberg - 'Taxonomical Lives: The Making of Social Divisions in Swedish Press during the Golden Age of Social Democracy, 1945–1976'


On Monday April 11th, visiting scholar Carl-Filip Smedberg (PhD candidate at Uppsala University, visiting scholar at Radboud University) presented a paper called: 'Taxonomical Lives: The Making of Social Divisions in Swedish Press during the Golden Age of Social Democracy, 1945–1976'.

Abstract: Smedberg investigates the usages and afterlives of a particular class taxonomy in Swedish press 1945–1976. Invented by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 1911, the so-called ‘social group division’ was abandoned in the early post-war period. Around the same time however, it gained popularity in Swedish culture and political debate. While earlier research has noted that such bureaucratic class taxonomies – similar in several Western countries – conditioned how actors understood and created new knowledge about the population, this process of wider circulation remains understudied. Using insights from literature on ‘the social life of methods’ which underline that knowledge is transformed by and transforms the contexts it circulates in, Smedberg shows that print media was an arena for circulating and producing new meaning around class taxonomies. Although editorials shunned the social group division for incorrectly representing Swedish society and for creating artificial class boundaries, journalists used the taxonomy to explain social structures. Furthermore, by interviewing ‘typical’ members of the social groups, journalists made it relatable and personal for the readers. Here the social groups were imagined as cultural communities, sharing cultural behaviour and preferences. Lastly, Smedberg analyses usages of the division in letters to the editor as evidence of ‘vernaculars of class’. People felt that they were being classified and wanted to offer their view of society, using the taxonomy beyond the intentions of the experts. The study points towards the mobile, mutable, and productive nature of class taxonomies.