Politikon, Vol. 37

Publication Date: July 2018


Responsible: The IAPSS Academic Department, represented by Max Steuer, Editor-in-Chief of Politikon and Mihai Sebastian Chihaia, 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

The Impact of Country Characteristics on Civic Knowledge and Political Participation

by Benjamin Tyler Leigh

Politikon, 37: 6-18


Political participation scholars have argued for years over whether or not civic education has any effect on political participation, with no clear conclusion being drawn, despite a variety of analyses. These analyses tend to ignore the country characteristics and structural factors that influence the relationship between civic education and political participation. This article seeks to address the gap in the literature by using data from the International Civic and Citizen Study and other sources to show through quantitative analysis that country characteristics such as low economic development, stable state authority structures, and high inequality play a clear role in how effective civic education is in encouraging political participation. The article concludes by discussing limitations of the research and suggestions for future research.


Civic Education; Economic Inequality; Education; Governance; Political Participation

Global Feminism and undecidabilities: Beijing’ 95 and beyond

by Tarsis Daylan Brito

Politikon, 37: 19-38


This paper engages with the philosophical underpinnings of the Beijing Conference on women’s rights that took place in 1995. Drawing on Derrida’s concept of undecidability – which becomes here both a method of analysis and a political strategy – it critiques the universalising aspects of Beijing’ 95’s. In so doing, it aims to provide a remodelled strategy for a feminist global politics, one that be able to maintain feminism on the undecidable terrain of the binaries ‘Woman/Man’, and ‘Woman/women’. This strategy, it is argued, allows the project to be at once open to difference/particularism and always prepared to universalise its aims, offering women the possibility of fighting as ‘humans or women’, and as a ‘universal woman or particular women’. Bearing this in mind, I try to show how Beijing’ 95 de-politicises the binaries I have referred to by ‘closing’ their undecidabilities, rendering any attempt to politically engage with them impossible a priori.


Beijing’ 95; Deconstruction; Global Feminism; Humanism; Undecidability; Universalism

Rainwater Harvesting to Reduce Water and Economic Poverty in Coastal Bangladesh

by M. Rafiqul Islam

Politikon, 37: 39-59


The economic condition of coastal communities in Bangladesh is adversely affected by the freshwater crisis arising from salinity intrusion in ground and surface water. Even though the country receives 2400mm (average) rainfall per year, the use of rainwater is undermined by the water governance system and by the increasing dependence on contaminated groundwater. Based on this argument, this paper explores how can rainwater be used to reduce the freshwater crisis problem in coastal Bangladesh. It focuses on the climate-induced water poverty approach based on fieldwork experiences in Chilla, coastal Bangladesh. The findings indicate that the majority of the population living in Chilla, like many other coastal communities, has been facing severe freshwater poverty which, in turn, makes them economically poorer. It also argues that the promotion of a Rainwater Harvesting System (RHS) alongside a strong governmental financial and technical assistance can reduce water and economic poverty.


Climate-induced Water Poverty; Coastal Communities; Freshwater Crisis/poverty; Rainwater Harvesting System; Salinity Intrusion; Water Governance

Imperfect Good and Evil: Savonarola, Soderini, and Machiavelli’s Excusing of Failure

by Zachary E. Shufro

Politikon, 37: 60-73


In his Discourses on the First Decade of Livy, Machiavelli relies upon the example of his Tuscan contemporaries to tease out an understanding of the role of evil intentions in the founding of a political state. Through the examples of the Perugino Giovampagolo Baglioni and the Florentines Girolamo Savonarola and Piero Soderini, Machiavelli implicitly defines good and evil intentions for founding a state, as well as the corresponding ‘good’ and ‘bad’ means through which such a state is founded. When Machiavelli examines the failings of these men considering their respective motivations and means, he advocates in favor of excusing the failures of those who failed to be ‘perfectly evil’ through willingness to act over those of one who failed to be ‘wholly good’ through passive acceptance. This advocacy, in turn, reveals Machiavelli’s belief in the expedient nature of deception in the foundation of a durable political order.


Deception; Excusing Failure; Livy; Machiavelli; Political Philosophy; Political Theory