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  • Author: Nicola Lacey
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: It is generally agreed that the humanity, fairness and effectiveness with which a governments manages its criminal justice system is a key index of the state of a democracy. But the constraints on realization of democratic values and aspirations in criminal justice are markedly variable. In the last two decades, in the wake of both increases in recorded crime and a cluster of cultural and economic changes, criminal justice policy in both Britain and the U.S. has become increasingly politicized: both the scale and intensity of criminalization, and the salience of criminal justice policy as an index of governments' competence, have developed in new and, to many commentators, worrying ways. These developments have been variously characterized as the birth of a "culture of control" and a tendency to "govern through crime"; as a turn towards the "exclusive society"; and in terms of the emergence of a managerial model which focuses on the risks to security presented by particular groups. In the U.S., we witness in particular the inexorable, and strikingly racially patterned, rise of the prison population, amid a ratcheting up of penal severity which seems unstoppable in the face of popular anxiety about crime. In the context of globalization, the general, and depressing, conclusion seems to be that, notwithstanding significant national differences, contemporary democracies are constrained to tread the same path of penal populism, albeit that their progress along it is variously advanced. A significant scaling down of levels of punishment and criminalization is regarded as politically impossible, the optimism of penal welfarism a thing, decisively, of the past.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Ludger Helms
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent comparative works on the constitutional structures of contemporary liberal democracies, the United States and Germany have been grouped together as examples of democratic systems with an exceptionally high degree of “institutional pluralism”. In other typologies both countries have even been classified as “semisovereign democracies”. Whereas such classifications are of some use, especially in the field of public policy research, they fail to pay reasonable attention to the fundamental difference between parliamentary and presidential government that dominated the older literature on comparative political systems. As the comparative assessments offered in this paper suggest, the difference between parliamentary government and presidential government does not only constitute very different conditions of executive leadership in the core executive territory and at the level of executive-legislative relations, but has also a strong impact on the role and performance of the various “veto players” that characterize the political systems of the United States and Germany, and which are at the center of this paper.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Marcia Meyers, Janet Gornick
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A new model of work and family life is emerging out of contemporary debates on social citizenship and the characteristics of the “woman-friendly” welfare state. The dual-earner/ dual-carer model refers to a social and economic arrangement in which men and women engage symmetrically in both paid work in the labor market and in unpaid work in the home. Parents' ability to balance family and market responsibilities, and to allocate employment and childcare-giving equally between mothers and fathers, could be facilitated by a package of state policies. Three areas of supportive policy – all invarious states of development across Europe – include: (1) family leave schemes that provide job protections and wage replacement for parents of young children; (2) affordable, high quality early childhood education and care, to a limited extent for very young children and to a much larger extent for children aged three to school-age; and (3) labor market regulations aimed at shortening the standard work week and strengthening re-muneration for reduced-hour employment. In this paper, we review European policy provisions, and then turn our attention to the United States case. We suggest that embracing the vision of the dual-earner/ dual-carer society may help to draw diverse but unified support for family policy development in the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Erik Bleich
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Institutional innovation can, paradoxically, be a product of institutional continuity. New institutions often emerge in a bifurcated manner in which formal institutions (such as laws and written rules) are accompanied by informal institutions (such as ideas that motivate and help determine the precise nature of specific policies). When informal institutions include ideas that track policy developments in other spheres or other countries, they can influence innovations in formal institutions. The development of the 1976 British Race Relations Act illustrates this dynamic. When British race institutions were established in the 1960s, they reflected the prevailing idea that British policies should incorporate lessons learned from North America. When Britain revisited its anti-racism provisions in 1976, policy experts looked again to North America and found that much had changed there in the interim. They subsequently altered Britain's formal institutions to include U.S.-inspired “race-conscious” measures.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, North America
  • Author: Mathias Bös
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The argument of this paper is that several empirical puzzles in the citizenship literature are rooted in the failure to distinguish between the mainly legal concept of nationality and the broader, political concept of citizenship. Using this distinction, the paper analysis the evolution of German and American nationality laws over the last 200 years. The historical development of both legal structures shows strong communalities. With the emergence of the modern system of nation states, the attribution of nationality to newborn children is ascribed either via the principle of descent or place of birth. With regard to the naturalization of adults, there is an increasing ethnization of law, which means that the increasing complexities of naturalization criteria are more and more structured along ethnic ideas. Although every nation building process shows some elements of ethnic self-description, it is difficult to use the legal principles of ius sanguinis and ius soli as indicators of ethnic or non-ethnic modes of community building.
  • Topic: Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany