Abstract: In May 2016, two events epitomized the complexities of working for global transgender youth rights. First, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) hosted a ministerial event in which education ministers from around the world released a call to action for protection of students on the basis of their gender identity and expression in schools. Second, the United Nations (UN) hosted an event celebrating the family, attended by conservative ministers and activists who mobilized family protectionist discourse against transgender students. This article contemplates, in light of transgender activist Raewyn Connell’s Southern Theory contributions, the complexity of global research and work for transgender youth. It considers key informant interviews with 50 stakeholders in the global push for transgender student rights in education, including members of government and non-government organisations, and academics from Northern and Southern countries. Problems in aiding transgender youth at the global level included safety concerns, the impacts of conservative advocates and media backlash (within family and national protectionist discourses), cultural complexities hampering engagement and translation, dissemination hindrances pertaining to established publishing biases, and financial and collaboration barriers. Solutions including virtual work; multi-level leadership; alliance-building; representation; visibility of transgender youth citizenship and family membership; and legal, financial and capacity-building aid are considered.
Abstract: At the time of writing, the United Kingdom is grabbling with its decision to abandon its European Union membership. As the country is divided and hate incidents are increased by almost 50%, this think-piece presents a critical analysis of Europe’s missed opportunity for social justice. The paper presents evidence by analysing the civil and political rights jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in order to explore the potential of what it calls the “human rights project” for a regional democracy. The paper shows that a key objective of the European Convention of Human Rights was the development of case law that would construct a regional democracy for bringing consistency in the enjoyment of civil and political rights across the continent. This “human rights project” was well underway, but is now hampered by contemporary forces of power and control that are ridiculing the work and status of the Council of Europe. The paper identifies three levers that move these forces, namely: financial and security terror as well as nationalism. The paper warns that if these forces are not managed, the backlash in social justice will continue while the human rights project for a regional democracy will come to its demise.
Abstract: Public participation is a mainstay of democracy. However, the ways in which it can be understood inevitably influence the achievement of the goals that preside over any public policy. Literature argues that the drawbacks of citizen participation are directly related to the level of trust in governmental institutions and in politicians. The present study was carried out on a sample of 250 individuals and aimed to (1) describe citizens’ opinions and trust in politicians and government institutions; and (2) demonstrate that healthy levels of citizen engagement in politics may be upheld as long as citizens trust their political institutions and leaders, through a case study of Portugal’s democratic system. The current study found no statistically significant association between political participation and the study participant’s perception that government representatives heard (p = 0.769) or considered (p = 0.810) their opinions. Similarities were found between the participants’ assessments of the quality of life brought about by the decisions of those in power and the levels of citizen participation around land planning and land management (p = 0.011). Also, citizen assessments of life quality were influenced by their understanding of political decisions (p = 0.014). Effective communication between citizens and politicians will allow both to better understand the aims of political policy. When citizens believe that politicians are honest, show moral leadership and demonstrate integrity, and that these values are upheld by public institutions, a common aspiration can be realized: improving the quality of life.
Abstract: Since the 1990s, the understanding of how and where politics are made has changed radically. Scholars such as Ulrich Beck and Maria Bakardjieva have discussed how political agency is enacted outside of conventional party organizations, and political struggles increasingly focus on single issues. Over the past two decades, this transformation of politics has become common knowledge, not only in academic research but also in the general political discourse. Recently, the proliferation of digital activism and the political use of social media are often understood to enforce these tendencies. This article analyzes the Pirate Party in relation to these theories, relying on almost 30 interviews with active Pirate Party members from different parts of the world. The Pirate Party was initially formed in 2006, focusing on copyright, piracy, and digital privacy. Over the years, it has developed into a more general democracy movement, with an interest in a wider range of issues. This article analyzes how the party’s initial focus on information politics and social media connects to a wider range of political issues and to other social movements, such as Arab Spring protests and Occupy Wall Street. Finally, it discusses how this challenges the understanding of information politics as a single issue agenda.
Abstract: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced the formation of the “Islamic Caliphate” as an alternative to modern states, on 29 June 2014 (the first day of Ramadan). The ISIS vision shared by other global jihadist organizations such as al-Qaeda is an apocalyptic post-state. Many authors very quickly evolve from the idea of the potential threat to either the U.S. or its allies to a requisite necessity of strong military action by the U.S. to defeat ISIS. Something frequently absent in analyses of U.S. reactions to ISIS is the capabilities, responsibilities, and opinions and desires of neighboring Gulf countries. This paper will incorporate attitudes and opinions of Gulf countries to imply responsibilities to deal with ISIS prior to considering potential U.S. actions.