Politikon, Vol. 36

Publication Date: April 2018


Responsible: The IAPSS Academic Department, represented by Jaroslava Barbieri, Editor-in-Chief of Politikon and Max Steuer, Head of the Academic Department.

Copyright © 2018 International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS). All rights reserved.

Full Issue

Front Matter (Table of Contents, Editorial Note)

Call for Papers

Included in this issue

Original Articles

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me. Understanding the Authoritarian Tendencies of the U.S. National Security State

by Elizabeth Wright

Politikon, 36: 5-24


George Orwell’s novel 1984 defined authoritarianism as a consequence of overarching surveillance in the modern state. Nearly 70 years later, the threat of tyranny reemerges in the present surveillance state—the U.S. Beyond the Orwellian concept of Big Brother to examine the U.S. national security state, this research examines the expansion of domestic surveillance in the post-9/11 age. Using a within-case comparative analysis of the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, it argues that institutional manipulation has forged the U.S. national security state into a surveillance heavy Banopticon (Bigo 2006). Though the latter operates to maintain state and citizen security, it undermines citizens’ freedoms through invasive surveillance policies which embolden state repression, despotism, and unconstitutional policy. Such authoritarian tendencies can be seen in the creation of surveillance under Bush and the expansive development of surveillant assemblages, surveillant culture, and surveillance capitalism (Zuboff 2015) during the Obama era.


Authoritarianism; Banopticon; Barack Obama; George Bush; National Security State; Orwell; Surveillance

The International Win-Set: Boundaries for Influence

by Shayna Servillas

Politikon, 36: 25-35


In line with the structural realist school in international relations, this paper argues that while being considerable, the power domestic actors have in the foreign policy sphere is bounded by international constraints. The argument proceeds by extrapolating the concept of a ‘win-set’ constraint from the Robert Putnam’s 1988 two-level model on negotiation onto a decision structure of foreign policy actors. Hence it explains the unusual strength of domestic influence in the U.S., relative to other states. Through the use of applied game theory and the case studies of the Kennedy Administration’s response to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bush Administration’s response to the Israeli ‘Operation Defensive Shield’, this research attempts to demonstrate how domestic groups exercise influence within the boundaries created by the international power structure.


AIPAC; Cuban Missile Crisis; Domestic Actors; International Win-set; Rational Actor Model; Structural Realism; U.S. Privileges

Trust and the Rule of Law. A Multilevel Analysis

by Frederik Gremler

Politikon, 36: 36-65


This study examines the relationship between generalized trust and the rule of law on a national level. Previous research has often neglected this issue, instead focusing on related issues of property rights, economic freedom and corruption. Employing multilevel modelling with cross-sectional data from the World Values Survey, Freedom House and other sources, this paper finds that the quality of the rule of law negatively affects levels of generalized social trust. I argue that this is due to laws crowding out trust in social interactions as a mechanism of guaranteeing fulfillment of expectations. However, severe restrictions caused by possible endogeneity and validity of the rule of law measure utilized apply.


Crowding Out; Generalized Trust; Hierarchical Analysis; Multilevel Analysis; Political Sociology; Rule of Law

The debate on shared parenting in Germany

by Johannes Carl Busse

Politikon, 36: 66-81


Science versus Advocacy looms large in the debate on shared parenting in Germany as it touches a topic widely regarded to be one of the most contentious in the country today. Discourse theory spells out the conditions for a fruitful debate and provides a methodological framework for describing the characteristics of the German discourse on shared parenting. The paper analyses secondary sources of key participants in the debate against the backdrop of the presuppositions of an ideal communicative structure of rationality, reflection, inclusiveness, and truthfulness. Where these communicative structures are missing to a large extent advocacy will dominate science and policy makers, legal professionals and practitioners in family policy will be shielded from the ‘best information available’. Since decisionmakers need scientific expert opinion to guide policy making and the application of law, the paper concludes with a proposal to equip them with the tools to discern science from advocacy.


Communicative Structures; Discourse Theory; Family Policy; Germany; Policy Advice; Science vs. Advocacy; Scientific Standards; Shared Parenting

Uprising’s Dialectic Pedagogy: Gramsci, Scott and Mandela against the 2013 Hefazat-e-Islam Movement in Bangladesh

by Helal Mohammed Khan

Politikon, 36: 82-98


This essay revisits the 2013 Hefazat-e-Islam protests in Bangladesh, a religion-based social movement that infused activism in a people that were rather shying away from activist tendencies, and seeks lessons thereof. The first angle of inquiry looks into the Gramscian counter-elite that acts against the hegemony of the powerful as well as the powers-to-be in Bangladesh during that period and compares analytics with the autobiographical experiences of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The wider lens developed helps to explain why despite initial success—evident in the speedy formation and flare-up of the movement among various social strata in Bangladesh—the Hefazat gave way to the traditional, and the demands for alternative cultures petered out. The second string recognizes the movement as social activism, observing how protests from mundane, Scottian, ‘everyday resistance’, turn into mass revival.


Bangladesh; Hefazat-e-Islam; Hegemony; Mass Activism; Popular Resistance