Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Let your soul escape: send a postcard this summer

‘The politics of postcards’ is not a common topic of conversation or academic study but as the summer approaches, my mind is turning to how I can continue to write about politics from the seaside, campsite, or dreary ‘Bed & Breakfast’ hotel. Could the humble postcard possibly offer a yet under recognized outlet for political expression?

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Puerto Rico in crisis

The US territory of Puerto Rico is currently experiencing its most severe and pro­longed economic downturn since the Great Depression (1929–33). Between 2006 and 2016, the island’s economy (measured as Gross National Product in constant 1954 prices) shrank by 15.2%, while total employment fell by 28.6%. The elimination of federal tax exemptions under Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code in 2006 dealt a serious blow to the island’s manufacturing industry.

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The Nixon tapes and Donald Trump

Since President Trump’s inauguration, and even before, there have been countless comparisons between the 37th and 45th presidents of the United States. Some of the comparisons make sense, while others do not. For this reason, when I was called upon to ask a question at the 16 May, 2017 CNN town hall debate between Governor John Kasich and Senator Bernie Sanders, and I chose to ask a question about Richard Nixon and Donald Trump.

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The long history of political social media

One of the key stories of the last US presidential election was the battle of words and images fought by supporters of the candidates on social media, or what one journalist has called “The Great Meme War” of 2016. From hashtag slogans like #FeelTheBern and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain to jokey internet memes like “Nasty Women”, public participation in political advocacy and promotion has reached a fever pitch in the age of networked digital technologies.

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Corruption: are you an expert? [quiz]

Headlines regularly focus on political scandals and corruption. From public officials embezzling government monies, selling public offices, and trading bribes for favors to private companies generate public indignation and calls for reform—corruption, it seems, is inevitable. But what really is corruption, and who is responsible for its continuation?

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The global challenges Brexit won’t fix

23 June marks the first anniversary of the UK’s Brexit referendum. One year ago, the European Union was reeling. There were fears that the EU would start to unravel, with other countries being pushed by populism and euroscepticism into following Britain towards the exit door. A year on, that fearful mood has evaporated. But the EU is far from resolving its accumulating problems.

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Climate change: are you an expert? [Quiz]

Climate change is one of the most significant and far-reaching problems of the twenty-first century and it is a frequent topic of discussion everywhere from scientific journals to the Senate floor. Because climate change is often the subject of heated debate, it’s easy to mistake political stands for scientific facts. Inspired by The Death of Expertise, in which Tom Nichols explores the dangers of the public rejection of expertise, we’ve created a series of quizzes to test your knowledge.

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How can we measure political leadership?

Understanding and measuring political leadership is a complex business. Though we all have ideals of what makes a ‘good’ leader, they are often complex, contradictory and more than a little partisan. Is it about their skills, their morality or just ‘getting things done’? And how can we know if they succeed or fail (and why?). From Machiavelli onwards we have wrestled with our idea of what a perfect leader should look like.

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Understanding the Democratic Unionist Party

Theresa May’s desperate search for an ally after a calamitous 2017 General Election saw the Democratic Unionist Party come under scrutiny like never before. The DUP is a party which has moved from its fundamentalist Protestant Paisleyite past – but not at a pace always noticeable to outsiders. The DUP is comfortable in its own skin. So, who are the DUP’s members and what do they think?

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Did branding predict Brexit?

Branding predicted Brexit. This bald assertion points to a fascinating truth about the art of branding. Because branding feeds on, and feeds into, popular culture, it’s often a leading indicator of bigger, political phenomena. Where branding leads, the rest of us follow. Let me explain. 2016 was the year of populism. Among other things, the phenomenon of Brexit and Trump was a popular backlash against the globalisation.

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Has war been declining?

Is the world becoming less belligerent and more peaceful? This proposition encounters widespread disbelief, as most people are very surprised by the claim that we live in the most peaceful period in history. Are we not flooded with reports and images in the media of conflicts around the world today?

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How does climate change impact global peace and security?

Climate change is one of the most pervasive global threats to peace and security in the 21st century. But how many people would list this as a key factor in international relations and domestic welfare? In reality, climate change touches all areas of security, peace building, and development. The impacts of climate change are already adversely affecting vulnerable communities, as well as stretching the capacities of societies and governments.

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Loving and before

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court Case that ruled prohibitions on interracial marriages unconstitutional. The decision and the brave couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who challenged the Virginia statute denying their union because he was deemed a white man and she, a black woman, deserve celebration. The couple had grown up […]

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Presidential pensions as broken windows

The complex (and often tragic) saga of post-presidential retirements is well-known. Some presidents, such as Herbert Hoover, were independently-wealthy and thus spent their years after the White House in economic security. Other presidents, such as Woodrow Wilson, lived only briefly after their service in the Oval Office. Yet other former presidents experienced great financial difficulties in retirement.

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An economist views the UK’s snap general election

There is something unusual about the 2017 UK general election. It is the way in which all the manifestos clearly make their promises conditional on the ‘good Brexit deal’ that they claim to be able to secure. They are not the only ones. On 11 May the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney reassured the markets that the ‘good Brexit deal’ would stabilise our economy after 2019, and the markets were duly sedated.

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