This thesis looks at how the long-standing battle between liberalism and populism in
Argentina manifested in the 1990s in the struggles between neoliberalism and
populism to hegemonise the discourse on civil society in national poverty reduction
policy. It traces how, through their struggles to remain or become hegemonic,
neoliberalism and the concrete form that populism took in the country – henceforth
Argentinean populism – each incorporated some of the other’s views, made the other
change, and transformed.
Neoliberalism and Argentinean populism are considered antagonistic political projects
that struggle to become hegemonic. Each project has normative viewpoints at its core,
but also includes contingent characteristics acquired in specific historical contexts.
For example, the package of market-liberalisation measures and the model of inward
economic development are contingent characteristics of neoliberalism and
Argentinean populism respectively.
Civil society is seen as both a discourse emerging from struggles to hegemonise its
meaning and the arena where struggles for political hegemony take place and, thus,
where hegemony and counter-hegemony are manufactured (Gramsci, 1998 :
12, 13, 15, 204). Defining a discourse on civil society is...
International meetings such as the G8 Summit have evolved from the
sequestered gatherings of the economic elite to full-scale political media events.
Using the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit as a case study, and focusing on one
specific ‘autonomous’ activist network – Dissent! – this thesis investigates how
the process of mediation is articulated in activists’ practices in preparing and
enacting acts of contention. Dominant approaches to such events in the field of
media and communications are often text-centred, focussing on the media’s
framing of protest, overlooking the actions against and interactions with the
media at such sites. This oversight is significant given that contemporary political
struggle occurs on the ground, as well as with and through the media.
The theoretical framework applies past media/movement scholarship to
emerging discourses on mediation which view media – its content, producers,
users, technologies, culture and rituals – as an ongoing and reflexive process,
actualised through analysing activists’ media-oriented practices (Couldry, 2004,
Silverstone, 2005). The methodological approach follows Burawoy’s (1998)
“extended method” drawing on a year of participant observation and 32 in-depth
Analysis is undertaken on an activist...
Through a historical account of the Pro-Canada/Action Canada Network (PCN/ACN), this dissertation examines coalition formation among social movements. It argues that the complex process of cross-sectoral coalition formation and thus the
potential for convergence of social movements can best be understood by combining elements of different analytical frameworks. This dissertation draws on elements of the two dominant paradigms for the study of social movements, resource mobilization theory and new social movement
theory. Specifically, it utilizes the formers' attention to the specifics of organization and structure and the latter's focus on the discursive formation of identities. Both are
then combined with the uniquely Canadian but theoretically underdeveloped concept of the popular sector and a neo-gramscian perspective on social formation and mobilization that draws on political economy and class-analytical traditions. With its formation in 1988 around opposition to the Canada - U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the PCN/ACN was an early example of a broader trend for trade and investment to become key arenas for social and political contention at the turn of the century. This dissertation challenges the assumptions of most analytical frameworks concerning the limits to coalition formation and argues that the nature of the unifying issue is an important determinant of the potential for the growth and deepening of social alliances.
After reviewing the historical conjuncture in which the PCN/ACN emerged...
This work measures whether MPs are held individually accountable for their actions through a novel
analysis of the 1997 and 2010 UK general elections. Previous research suggests that MPs’ behaviour
has little effect on their careers; however, developments in the media’s aggressive reporting style, the
rise of personality politics and decline in traditional voting patterns indicate that this is an opportune
time to examine the effect of political controversies (including scandals) on MPs’ careers. This
analysis focuses on three crucial stages that form a chain of accountability: (1) exposure: the media
publicises the controversy and a perception is formed; (2) internal sanction: an MP retires before an
election; (3) electoral sanction: voters punish MPs at the polls. Data on MP-specific controversies
between the 1992 and 1997 and the 2005 and 2010 elections was sourced from The Times, The
Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and their respective Sunday editions. This work also contains an
original analysis of the 2009–2010 MP expenses scandal that utilises British Election Study panel
survey data to examine how information on MP malfeasance affects voters’ perceptions of MPs. The
findings indicate that political controversy is linked to whether an MP retires...