Politics & Society

What lies behind the war in Tigray?

What lies behind the war in Tigray?

“At the core of the current war between the Ethiopian central government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front is the realignment of politics and the contest for political hegemony.”

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The US Election 2020: A Crisis of legitimacy?

The US Election 2020: A Crisis of legitimacy?

Was the 2020 US election conducted properly? Will mail-in ballots be counted and will that count be allowed to stand? Will the US Supreme Court decide the final outcome? And what, in any case, will become of American democracy?

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Has peace come to Nagorno-Karabakh? 🔊

Has peace come to Nagorno-Karabakh? 🔊

On September 27th, 2020, fighting along the so-called line of control between Azerbaijan and the region of Nagorno-Karabakh broke out. Azerbaijani forces advanced throughout the month and Armenian resistance struggled to hold territory. On November 10, the two sides agreed to a peace agreement that has been brokered by Russia.

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Can Trump be prosecuted?

Can Trump be prosecuted?

“President-elect Biden has rightly made bringing Americans together his highest priority. His greatest challenge will be whether he can lead the nation into a reckoning with the Trump years without further inflaming passions.”

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How did the US election look from outside America? 🔊

How did the US election look from outside America? 🔊

The US, when it holds an election ends up attracting more interest around the world than most, if not any other country. It might be because of American power; it might be because of the US’s democratic principles, or it might be because of media sources and the ability to follow it.

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What is the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh war about? 🔊

What is the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh war about? 🔊

On September 27, fighting along the so-called line of control between Azerbaijan and the region of Nagorno-Karabakh erupted. This area of Azerbaijan is majority Armenian and has been de facto-controlled by the local Armenian population since the end of the war between the two populations in 1994. 

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Big Q Podcast: The 2020 New Zealand General Election 🔊

Big Q Podcast: The 2020 New Zealand General Election 🔊

In this special Big Q podcast, Sam Smith is joined by Lara Greaves, Mark Boyd, and Victoria Woodman to look at the 2020 New Zealand general election. They discuss how the two main parties are tracking, the state of the minor parties, and assess the overall election campaign so far.

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Does the Black Lives Matter movement reflect experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Does the Black Lives Matter movement reflect experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand?

In the 1970s African American activism was echoed in New Zealand influencing the creation and activism of both Ngā Tamatoa and the Polynesian Panthers. 50 years later these trends continue with protests across New Zealand sparked by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and Black Lives Matter has become an issue of national political contention.

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Can you trust political polls?

Can you trust political polls?

From now until October 17, Election Day in New Zealand, voters will be getting election poll information from multiple directions. So which ones can be trusted?

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What is behind the political unrest in Belarus? 🔊

What is behind the political unrest in Belarus? 🔊

On August 9, 2020, Belarussian voters went to the polls in a presidential election. Long-time president Alexander Lukashenko who has governed the nation since 1994 and who is often called Europe’s last dictator claimed victory.

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A country in crisis: Where is Lebanon heading? 🔊

A country in crisis: Where is Lebanon heading? 🔊

Last week, on August 4th, an explosion devastated Beirut killing over one hundred people and injuring thousands. This incident shocked the nation amidst a horrible economic crisis and a tremendous lack of faith in the competence of the government.

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A city under siege: What are the legal and political implications of the presence of federal agents in Portland? 🔊

A city under siege: What are the legal and political implications of the presence of federal agents in Portland? 🔊

Ever since the killing of George Floyd, the city of Portland has witnessed consistent protests and civic action demanding police reforms. However, recently, camouflaged federal authorities without identification badges have begun arresting protesters in the city, while the Department of Homeland Security has deployed unmarked SUV’s to detain protesters.

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What dangers do low-yield nuclear weapons pose to the world?

What dangers do low-yield nuclear weapons pose to the world?

“With international treaties focused on regulating higher-yield nuclear weapons, the relatively lighter “tactical” armaments have quietly proliferated in their place, despite being far more destructive than either of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

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Is the United States haunted by its racist past? 🔊

Is the United States haunted by its racist past? 🔊

In recent weeks, the news in the United States has been filled with stories of statues and public spaces being altered or removed. These stories are usually connected with America’s racist past, with a particular eye towards the issue of slavery.

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Can free speech cost lives?

Can free speech cost lives?

“Despite all the debates and discussions, the pandemic continues to ravage humanity and the fake news phenomenon continues to deceive some people.”

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Nobody expects the Spanish … Coronavirus?

Nobody expects the Spanish … Coronavirus?

“Spain was amongst the nations hardest hit by the pandemic and, despite the uneasiness surrounding Sánchez’s late response to the crisis, even by his hardline supporters, Spain is on its way to recovery.”

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Will COVID-19 transform world politics?

Will COVID-19 transform world politics?

The Big Question one must ask today is, Will the current COVID-19 outbreak stimulate further international cooperation as did the infections of the 20th Century, or will it undermine cooperation, weaken regimes and alter geopolitics as did the epidemics of the prior two millennia?

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A death in the family

A death in the family

“I saw my father alive, dead, and buried, the threefold process that’s at once so ordinary and so extraordinary, and tragically has become more ordinary in the UK in these extraordinary times.”

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Is Islamic State back?

Is Islamic State back?

In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic the crises of tomorrow can fester. A resurgence of Islamic State (IS) is likely to be one of them.

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What is decolonisation?

What is decolonisation?

Many writers only loosely define what they mean by it, and others use it as a general black box for addressing the negative impacts of colonisation upon Indigenous peoples.  

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Why are pets at risk during this pandemic?

Why are pets at risk during this pandemic?

In a few short months the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a series of dramatic social, political and environmental changes. Yet the focus remains resolutely on humans, leaving animals largely out of the picture.

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How have faith communities responded to Covid-19?

How have faith communities responded to Covid-19?

In response to the global spread of Covid-19, many faith communities including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and gurdwaras have suspended their meetings and services in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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First in Family: Our University Voyages

First in Family: Our University Voyages

Awarding-winning filmmaker Professor Annie Goldson didn’t have to travel too far from her University of Auckland desk for her latest documentary production, with Dr ‘Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki.

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What is behind the recent oil price crash?

What is behind the recent oil price crash?

Having agreed to restrict production in recent years, it appears that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation have been racing to outdo the other in crashing the price of oil.

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Does far-right extremism still threaten New Zealand?

Does far-right extremism still threaten New Zealand?

“In the hours after the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15 last year, I wrote that I hoped New Zealand would finally stop believing it was immune to far-right extremist violence. A year on, I’m not sure enough has changed.”

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Fossil fuel-free superannuation: What is the deal? 🔊

Fossil fuel-free superannuation: What is the deal? 🔊

Last week an announcement was made by the government surrounding changes to default KiwiSaver funds. In a bid to align with the zero-carbon bill, in 2021 when the terms of default KiwiSaver end, they will no longer be able to invest in fossil fuels or illegal weaponry.

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Why are New Zealand houses so damp and mouldy? 🔊

Why are New Zealand houses so damp and mouldy? 🔊

Is the housing stock to blame? Is it the way houses are constructed? Is it the typology? Lillian Hanley spoke with Philippa Howden-Chapman about the state of New Zealand’s houses and what effect damp and mouldy homes have on people’s health and living standards.

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How legitimate is proxy warfare? 🔊

How legitimate is proxy warfare? 🔊

Global conflicts have become increasingly more complex, and often, external nations choose to intervene. However, interventions can often be indirect in the form of proxy actors.

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What is the future of food?

What is the future of food?

Gilbert Wong looks at the forces shaping the future of food and how research is contributing to what’s likely to be on our plates in 2030.

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Should prisoners be allowed to vote? 🔊

Should prisoners be allowed to vote? 🔊

A few days ago Justice Minister Andrew Little announced plans to change the current law on prisoner voting rights in time for the 2020 election, to allow prisoners serving sentences of three years or under to vote. 

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What institutional reform befits the era of the long climate crisis?

What institutional reform befits the era of the long climate crisis?

On October 22, former MP and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who now leads Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand, delivered the 2019 Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture at the University of Auckland, looking at institutional reform options for dealing with climate change, in light of Parliament’s recent passage of the Zero Carbon Bill.

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Q+A: Could working with gangs help reduce crime?

Q+A: Could working with gangs help reduce crime?

New Zealand National party leader Simon Bridges wants to stop gang members from gaining access to welfare if they cannot prove their income is from legitimate sources. This comes at a time when some gangs are wanting changes in their community.

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Are armed police patrols the solution to gun violence? 🔊

Are armed police patrols the solution to gun violence? 🔊

The debate around the trial of armed police patrols in New Zealand continues since it was announced three weeks ago. The patrols will be rolled out in Manukau, Waikato, and Canterbury and involve heavily armed, specially trained, units roaming the streets in vehicles.

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Q+A: What does a Trumpian foreign policy look like?

Q+A: What does a Trumpian foreign policy look like?

On September 10, 2019, Donald Trump fired his national security advisor John Bolton, significantly changing the dynamic within the Trump Administration’s foreign policy team. So, what does the future of American foreign policy look like under the current president?

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Why do we need journalism?

Why do we need journalism?

Journalism is facing a profound financial crisis. Around the world, news outlets are closing, and journalists are losing their jobs. Should we be worried?

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Why isn’t my professor Pasifika or Māori?

Why isn’t my professor Pasifika or Māori?

The number of Māori and Pasifika students attending New Zealand universities has been increasing steadily, but for many of these students, they will not be taught by Māori or Pasifika throughout their degree.

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Q+A: How do we measure far-right violence?

Q+A: How do we measure far-right violence?

On the heels of mass shootings in New Zealand and the United States, we ask: what are the mindsets, trends, and changes of a globally connected right-wing movement? What are the solutions to the growing animosity between identity groups?

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Q+A: Boom or bust: What is the state of housing in New Zealand?

Q+A: Boom or bust: What is the state of housing in New Zealand?

New Zealand is enduring a housing crisis. The chance of buying a home is out of reach for many, while at the same time rents remain high. Gautami Sithambaram spoke with Dr. Campbell Jones about the state of housing in New Zealand and what initiatives young people can take to get into the property market.

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Q+A: Will voting changes help bring more Kiwis to the ballot box?

Q+A: Will voting changes help bring more Kiwis to the ballot box?

Last month, the government announced proposals for how New Zealanders will go to the polls in 2020. The new legislation will allow voters to enrol on election day, make it easier for New Zealanders to vote from overseas, and could see ballots in public places like supermarkets and malls.

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Q+A: Banning the bomb: Are the days of nuclear weapons numbered?

Q+A: Banning the bomb: Are the days of nuclear weapons numbered?

In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly passed a mandate to negotiate a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons. While the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons passed 122 votes to 1, no nuclear state or NATO member other than the Netherlands voted on the resolution.

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Q+A: Is the age of privacy over?

Q+A: Is the age of privacy over?

Is the age of privacy over? What is at stake when we lose our privacy? How does a lack of privacy effect security, democracy, and society? Maria Armoudian speaks with Helen Nissenbaum, Michael Patrick Lynch, Bruce Schneier, and Joshua Fairfield. 

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Q+A: Getting the message across: What is public diplomacy?

Q+A: Getting the message across: What is public diplomacy?

What is public diplomacy and how effective can it be? While it has a long history, the study of public diplomacy is only becoming more salient in an age of globalisation and increasing digital communication posing both new challenges and opportunities for governments.

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Q+A: Is it time to stop using cars?

Q+A: Is it time to stop using cars?

A recent report from a team of researchers based at the University of Otago has found that our use of cars is harming both our health and our environment. Is it time to give up our cars?

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Q+A: What is going wrong inside New Zealand’s prisons?

Q+A: What is going wrong inside New Zealand’s prisons?

A recent report investigating the state of three New Zealand prisons found that low staffing numbers were straining conditions. Lachlan Balfour spoke with Liam Martin, Lecturer in Criminology at Victoria University, about the report and the state of prisons in New Zealand.

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Q+A: Why is the United States so polarised?

Q+A: Why is the United States so polarised?

What are the fault lines that have fractured politics in America? Julian Zelizer has analysed the historical roots of the present-day political turmoil, divisions, and partisanship in the US for his new book Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974. 

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What is the ‘Alt-Right’?

What is the ‘Alt-Right’?

After the horrendous attacks in Christchurch, many people understandably have questions about the motives and ideology of the alleged attacker. Damon Berry analyses the role the alt-right might have played in the attacks.

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Terror in Christchurch: Analysing what happened 🔊

Terror in Christchurch: Analysing what happened 🔊

On Friday, March 15, a fascist-white supremacist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing fifty people. This was the deadliest terror attack in New Zealand since the 19th century and one of the worst mass shootings in modern times. But why did it happen? And what does this mean for New Zealand moving forward?

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How will climate change impact Aotearoa? ▶

How will climate change impact Aotearoa? ▶

How will climate change affect our natural world, our society, and our culture? What can we do to halt the looming catastrophe? A panel of experts discusses how climate change will impact New Zealand.

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Who are the Gilets jaunes?

Who are the Gilets jaunes?

For the past four weeks, the Gilets jaunes protests have dominated the French socio-political landscape and monopolised the media. But who are they exactly?

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Open Letter: Why must New Zealand act now to halt climate change?

Open Letter: Why must New Zealand act now to halt climate change?

Earlier this week, one hundred and fifty academics and experts across various disciplines signed an open letter to the New Zealand government calling for greater and more immediate action on climate change. If we do not act, we face impending catastrophic environmental breakdown.

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Hell on Earth: What is going on in Yemen? 🔊

Hell on Earth: What is going on in Yemen? 🔊

Experts say Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history. Warnings from the UN say the death toll from starvation could reach 18.4 million by the end of the year. Why is this happening and what can be done?

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Q+A: What are the perils of being a war correspondent?

Q+A: What are the perils of being a war correspondent?

The world is as dangerous as it has ever been for journalists and war correspondents. Kidnapping, murder, and torture are the risks facing those trying to get us the information from the front line. How hard is it being a war correspondent? And what are the issues that face the reporters who put their lives on the line to get the story?

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What is free speech? ▶

What is free speech? ▶

Banned books, defamation suits, de-platformed public figures, alt-righters without a venue: is there a crisis of free speech in New Zealand? And what exactly is free speech: a necessary guarantee of democracy or a misused threat to the common good?

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What is at stake in the US midterm elections? 🔊

What is at stake in the US midterm elections? 🔊

This week, Americans will go to the polls to vote in the midterm elections. But what is at stake? What are the factors that will determine the election’s outcome? And what do these midterms mean for the future of the US?

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Debate: Should New Zealand be smokefree?

Debate: Should New Zealand be smokefree?

In March 2011 the Government set a goal that by 2025 less than 5 percent of New Zealanders will be smokers. Chris Bullen, Dr Ilaisaane Fifita, and Martin Wilkinson debate the issue of a smokefree New Zealand. 

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What types of criminal proceedings are possible for a US President? 🔊

What types of criminal proceedings are possible for a US President? 🔊

What types of criminal proceedings are possible for a US president? What types of secrets can they keep? Who can they fire and who can they pardon? Maria Armoudian spoke with Heidi Kitrosser and Eric M. Freedman about the historical context around the current legal situation facing Donald Trump’s presidency. 

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Q+A: Does democracy have a dark side?

Q+A: Does democracy have a dark side?

Democracy the idea of governing of, for and by the people is a long-exhausted principle, particularly in places like the United States and New Zealand. However, Michael Mann suggests that democracy may also have a dark side.

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Is there such a thing as a just war? 🔊

Is there such a thing as a just war? 🔊

When former US President Barack Obama articulated his plan to destroy Islamic State he was invoking what is known in political philosophy circles as just war theory. However, at the same time, he alluded to the idea that a new conception of just war theory was needed. But what exactly is just war theory?

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Q+A: How do we solve incivility in society?

Q+A: How do we solve incivility in society?

Politics in places like the US has become increasingly hostile and uncivil say, scholars. Language often vilifies citizens and lawmakers. But people overwhelmingly dislike the incivility and have expressed shame at its effect on policy debates. What are the effects of incivility and vilification in a democratic society?

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Q+A: A silent epidemic: Why are suicide rates on the rise?

Q+A: A silent epidemic: Why are suicide rates on the rise?

Suicide rates have been steadily rising in the United States. So what explains the increase in the numbers of people taking their own lives, and what can be done to solve what amounts to a crisis in public health? Maria Armoudian speaks with Mark S. Kaplan. 

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What are the solutions to food insecurity? 🔊

What are the solutions to food insecurity? 🔊

Climate change, pesticide contamination, soil-depletion, loss of land, power politics, mass pollinator die-offs, and a host of big business practices threaten the long-term availability of healthy food. In part two of this symposium on the future of food, Maria Armoudian speaks with a panel of experts about the possible solutions to the food crisis the world faces. 

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Do ‘three strikes’ laws work?

Do ‘three strikes’ laws work?

Criminologist James Oleson looks into the controversial three strikes law in New Zealand and whether in fact, it works as a policy in keeping communities safe.

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Q+A: What are the politics of food insecurity?

Q+A: What are the politics of food insecurity?

Climate change, pesticide contamination, soil-depletion, loss of land, power politics, mass pollinator die-offs, and a host of big business practices threaten the long-term availability of healthy food. In part one of this symposium on the future of food, Maria Armoudian speaks with a panel of experts about the problems facing our food and the politics of food insecurity.

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Can crowdfunding help the environment?

Can crowdfunding help the environment?

As the effects of human activity on the environment become more widely felt, people are turning to crowdfunding campaigns to help conserve the Earth’s environment. But are they effective?

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Is the IMF failing?

Is the IMF failing?

Adam Triggs investigates why the world’s economic crisis-fighting mechanisms are dangerously inadequate and whether the IMF is failing.

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Why do human rights campaigns fail in China? ▶

Why do human rights campaigns fail in China? ▶

Why have so many human rights campaigns, such as Free Tibet and the Falun Gong, failed in China? Why have others such as better environmental protection and HIV/Aids care fared better? What have the costs been on political movements with the more successful campaigns? Maria Armoudian speaks with Stephen Noakes. 

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What is the infinite game? ▶

What is the infinite game? ▶

Living life as an infinite game, that is something Niki Harré explores in her new book The Infinite Game. She looks at our society (are people pawns or participants?) and ourselves (what kind of player would you like to be?) to offer a uniquely different vision of how we might live well together. Maria Armoudian explores the concept of the infinite game with Harré.

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Q+A: Can we end homelessness in New Zealand?

Q+A: Can we end homelessness in New Zealand?

New Zealand has some of the worst housing deprivation rates in the developed world per capita and they appear to be getting worse. Reuben McLaren speaks with clinical psychologist and founder of the Housing First model Dr. Sam Tsemberis about housing and ending homelessness.

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Q+A: How did radical movements change in the 21st Century?

Q+A: How did radical movements change in the 21st Century?

The 21st century has already witnessed revolutions in Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, alongside other uprisings and transformational movements that reach all over the world. Maria Armoudian discusses how revolutions have changed this century with Leandro Vergara-Camus, John Foran, and Jack A. Goldstone.

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What should a New Zealand constitution look like?

What should a New Zealand constitution look like?

Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler outline their vision for a Constitution for New Zealand. This Constitution aims to describe in a single, easy-to-read document the bedrock principles by which public power should be exercised, the basic institutions of government and the rights of individuals.

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What is the infinite game? 🔊

What is the infinite game? 🔊

Living life as an infinite game is something Niki Harré explores in her new book “The Infinite Game.” She looks at our society and ourselves to offer a uniquely different vision of how we might live well together. Maria Armoudian explores the concept of the infinite game with Harré.

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What is context?  ▶

What is context? ▶

Associate Professor Mark Amsler from the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “What is context?”

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Why are we killing our rivers?  ▶

Why are we killing our rivers? ▶

In the first video of our new “big question” series Daniel Hikuroa from Māori and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “Why are we killing our rivers?”

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What are the root causes of genocide? 🔊

What are the root causes of genocide? 🔊

What are the root causes of genocide? What do historical genocides have in common? How does small-scale violence against targeted groups become genocidal? And what we can learn from the three forgotten genocides?

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Q+A: Are we living in an age of excess?

Q+A: Are we living in an age of excess?

Driven by a maddening quest for perfection, technology, deregulation, and a superficial and often inaccurate mass media, America’s national psychology has become increasingly narcissistic. Maria Armoudin discusses whether we are living in an age of excess with Jay Slosar. 

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Q+A: How do we solve the global water crisis?

Q+A: How do we solve the global water crisis?

The world is facing a water crisis. The World Bank and the United Nations have reported that some forty percent of the world’s population is now affected by water scarcity, two billion people rely on unsafe drinking water, and some 700 million people are at risk of being displaced by water scarcity.

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Q+A: Let them eat cake: How has food shaped the world?

Q+A: Let them eat cake: How has food shaped the world?

Throughout history, food has played many roles in changing the world. Tom Standage is a writer who has documented these roles in his book “The Edible History of Humanity.” Maria Armoudian discusses the role of food throughout history with Standage.

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Q+A: History as battleground: How does memory shape today’s politics?

Q+A: History as battleground: How does memory shape today’s politics?

Historical memory is a battlefield where competing narratives seek to become the official ones, and then they affect the politics and policies of the future. Several scholars have begun to study what they call memory entrepreneurs and how those entrepreneurs use historical memory to forward their political agendas.

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Is settler colonialism still a thing?

Is settler colonialism still a thing?

In an extract from her new book “A Land of Milk & Honey: Making Sense of Aotearoa New Zealand,” Avril Bell discusses whether settler colonialism is still a thing in the twenty-first century.

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What does it mean to be Tūhoe in 2018?

What does it mean to be Tūhoe in 2018?

Last year, Tūhoe leader Tāmati Kruger delivered the annual Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture at the University of Auckland. In this lecture, he talks about the path to the iwi’s 2013 settlement with the Crown, the Tūhoe philosophy of mana motuhake, and what it means to be Tūhoe in 2017.

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How can we stop indigenous oppression?

How can we stop indigenous oppression?

Julianne Evans discusses the various ways in which indigenous oppression can be stopped with Fulbright Scholar Dr. Andrew Erueti. Erueti spent four years working for Amnesty International as an indigenous rights advisor.

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Q+A: Why is Trump shutting America’s doors to the world?

Q+A: Why is Trump shutting America’s doors to the world?

While the world deals with an ongoing and escalating refugee crisis, the United States has shut its doors on seven countries. Maria Armoudian explores the historic, global, and legal context with experts Kevin Johnson, David Kyle, Phil Orchard, and Brad Blitz. 

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Q+A: Will the events of 2018 change the United States forever?

Q+A: Will the events of 2018 change the United States forever?

What happens in 2018 may determine whether or not the United States remains a coherent country. But what will determine this? What might actually happen? And what are the constitutional issues—good and bad—that are contributing to the crisis that the USA seems to find itself in? 

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Is Syria a “Quicksilver” war?

Is Syria a “Quicksilver” war?

In an excerpt from his new book “Quicksilver War: Syria, Iraq and the Spiral of Conflict,” William Harris details the concept of the “Quicksilver War” and why he thinks Syria is an example of such a war.

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Q+A: Is Google dangerous?

Q+A: Is Google dangerous?

How has internet titan Google changed our knowledge, our politics, and our lives over the last two decades? Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that Google affects the information we gather, jeopardises our personal privacy, and hinders public projects.

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Q+A: Does the “Charitable Industrial Complex” help or hinder humanity?

Q+A: Does the “Charitable Industrial Complex” help or hinder humanity?

Between 2001 and 2011 the number of non-profit charities increased by 25 percent. $316 billion was given away in 2012 in the United States alone. Yet inequality has grown, and nations are struggling to deal with a refugee and migration crisis. This is part of what Peter Buffett calls the “charitable-industrial complex.”

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Is the Trump White House corrupting American society?

Is the Trump White House corrupting American society?

The Trump Administration has been dogged by accusations that President Trump, as well as his family members and close associates, are seeking to use the presidency to advance their personal financial interests. Given this, is the Trump White House corrupting American society?

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Q+A: Do free markets camouflage their real cost to our society?

Q+A: Do free markets camouflage their real cost to our society?

Do free markets camouflage their real cost to our society? Blinded by prices and the so-called free market, Raj Patel says market theory has not only failed, but has also acted as a camouflage for activities that are not about markets at all, and that prices have little correspondence with their value or even their cost.

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How has Hollywood influenced American politics? 🔊

How has Hollywood influenced American politics? 🔊

In 1918 the leaders of the FBI expressed deep concern about the power of movie stars to affect politics. As a result, they began a surveillance program to watch over those they thought might be radicals. Since then it has long seemed the Hollywood crowd was ideologically left, however, Steven Ross says that is actually not true.

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What needs to be done about Guantanamo Bay? 🔊

What needs to be done about Guantanamo Bay? 🔊

Closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility was one of former US President Barack Obama’s campaign promises. In 2009 he decreed that Guantanamo Bay would be closed within a year. It never was and now President Donald Trump intends to keep it open. What are the obstacles to closure?

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How can we help alleviate the water crisis? 🔊

How can we help alleviate the water crisis? 🔊

The world is fast running out of freshwater according to experts and the results could be very grim in the form of wildfires, droughts, rationing, less food, and more hunger. Thomas Kostigen says we can reverse the trend and he has quantified how much each of us contributes to continuing the water crisis or averting it.

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What are the realities facing our water? 🔊

What are the realities facing our water? 🔊

While water is a basic human right, some three billion people face water scarcity and some countries are running out of water. Maria Armoudian explores the realities of water with Barbara Cosens and Rick Hogeboom.

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What are the effects of war on society? 🔊

What are the effects of war on society? 🔊

When will the wars be over and lives returned to normal? Those times seem elusive as the lines between wartime and peacetime become increasingly blurred. The so-called time of war affects every aspect of life. It changes laws, civil liberties, and the public’s relationship to the law. But what about when war seems to go on endlessly?

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What does it mean to have political power? 🔊

What does it mean to have political power? 🔊

New global developments are changing the structures and holders of power. With new technology and greater interconnectedness, states are losing power and non-state actors are gaining power. But what exactly does it mean to have power? Where does power come from?

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What next for American politics? 🔊

What next for American politics? 🔊

What might be next in American politics in light of the latest developments? Where is the US heading under the Trump Presidency? Will it begin to resemble an authoritarian state? What will the consequences be if Robert Mueller’s investigation comes to a head?

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How is the truth gated and gagged?

How is the truth gated and gagged?

In an extract from his new book Complacent Nation, former New Zealand Herald editor-in-chief Gavin Ellis looks into how restrictions are applied when it comes to printing the truth in the news media.

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Will the events of 2018 change the US forever? 🔊

Will the events of 2018 change the US forever? 🔊

Constitutional law professor Michael Simon argues that what happens in 2018 may determine whether or not the United States remains a coherent country. What are those determinants and what might actually happen? And what are the constitutional issues that are contributing to the crisis America finds itself in?

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What have we learned from past genocides? 🔊

What have we learned from past genocides? 🔊

Scholars of genocide have identified nearly three-dozen situations around the world that could be considered pre-genocidal. These are states that could attempt to annihilate their ethnic and religious minorities. What have we learned from past genocides, including the one that occurred in Rwanda in 1994?

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What does the future hold for universities? 🔊

What does the future hold for universities? 🔊

What does the future hold for universities and why does this matter for the rest of society? Cris Shore is co-editor of a new book entitled Death of the Public University? Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy. In this episode of What IF? He discusses his hopes and fears for universities and their role in society over the coming decades.

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What is terrorism? 🔊

What is terrorism? 🔊

In 2001 there were over 40 groups, operating in 28 countries, who were challenging state authority and often using targeted violence to make political change. The terrorism label has been affixed to these groups but what exactly is terrorism and where does it fall on the continuum of political violence?

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In whose interests? Global patriarchy and the re-criminalisation of abortion ▶

In whose interests? Global patriarchy and the re-criminalisation of abortion ▶

The policing of women’s sexuality and, particularly, their reproductive capacity is arguably a centrepiece of patriarchy.  Feminist criminology provides a unique site from which to explore the increasing political pressure in the United States to police girls’ and women’s bodies through the restriction of contraceptive and abortion services.

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Q+A: What’s really going on with North Korea?

Q+A: What’s really going on with North Korea?

Tensions have once again escalated between North Korea and the United States. What are the realities of the politics of North Korea and what is the proper response of the US and the international community?

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Which faces of feminism appear acceptable to teens? ▶

Which faces of feminism appear acceptable to teens? ▶

In the past five years, there has been a remarkable surge in the visibility of feminism in a context previously understood as hostile to feminist politics and analyses of gendered power. As a host of public figures ‘come out’ as feminist, questions remain regarding the political implications of this phenomenon and its imbrication with postfeminist, neoliberal discourses.

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Doing Our Bit? Refugees in a time of politicised migration 🔊

Doing Our Bit? Refugees in a time of politicised migration 🔊

Murdoch Stephens started the ‘Doing Our Bit’ campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota in June 2013. In this lecture, he discusses the issue of refugees, resettlement, and campaigning, looking at the projection of refugees as a ‘burden without end’ on the hosting country, and untangling some of the psychological determinants that will always see refugees as a cost.

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Is NZ at the head of the EU and UK queue again? ▶

Is NZ at the head of the EU and UK queue again? ▶

In this lecture, Steve Hoadley presents material from his recent book, “New Zealand Trade Negotiations”, touching on past trade access breakthroughs, current geopolitical-economic uncertainties, and future hopes with regard to free trade agreements between the EU and the UK post-Brexit. 

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What is the political ethos of anonymous? 🔊

What is the political ethos of anonymous? 🔊

After the Islamic State attacked French civilians in Paris, the hacktivist group Anonymous decided to turn its weapons against the extremist group. Previous targets have included the Church of Scientology and the consultant group Stratford. What is the driving political ethos of Anonymous?

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What drove the Charlottesville protests? 🔊

What drove the Charlottesville protests? 🔊

What drove the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville? Maria Armoudian talks to Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, where part of the protest took place.

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How is art used to counter oppression? 🔊

How is art used to counter oppression? 🔊

Throughout history, art has been used as an act of resistance and as a weapon to counter oppression and violence. Maria Armoudian talks to professor Mark LeVine about the role of art in resistance movements.

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Are we living in a post-truth era? 🔊

Are we living in a post-truth era? 🔊

While many argue that we are in a post-truth era, fuelled by US President Donald Trump and the phenomenon of fake news, some scholars argue that deception has always been ubiquitous. What is the truth about lying?

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What lies behind the sex trafficking of Yazidi women?

What lies behind the sex trafficking of Yazidi women?

For decades the most effective weapon of war and conflict has been rape. The strategic use of female sexual violation has manifested itself into sex trafficking and sex slavery in the 21st century. This terrible outcome of war has affected many groups around the world, but few as severely as the Yazidi people.

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How does propaganda work in democratic societies? 🔊

How does propaganda work in democratic societies? 🔊

Democracy today is dominated by election campaigns, lobbyists, media, and political commentators, all using language to influence the way the public thinks about and interprets public issues. Despite this, many believe that propaganda and manipulation aren’t problems for society. 

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What are the politics of climate change, energy, and disasters? ▶

What are the politics of climate change, energy, and disasters? ▶

With unprecedented global warming, wealth disparities and peak everything, there is no question that we need to act now to meet the power, heating and transportation needs of growing populations, and to do so sustainably, equitably and democratically. What are the obstacles? What are the possible solutions?

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How is Latin America fighting neoliberalism?

How is Latin America fighting neoliberalism?

As critical media consumers, the next time we see protests against a government in Latin America, we may be observing the necessary exercise of democratic rights. Because the real catastrophe may be that things ‘just go on’.

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Are obesity-reducing policies effective? ▶

Are obesity-reducing policies effective? ▶

Sugar and fat taxes, controlling density of fast food outlets, and mandatory portion sizes are examples of policies that aim to reduce obesity by raising costs. While they typically raise ethical questions about whether they promote welfare at too high a price in autonomy, will the policies promote welfare?

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What is happiness?

What is happiness?

The recently-published World Happiness Report shows New Zealand ranks eighth in the world for happiness. Helen Borne asked two University of Auckland academics for their response to the report.

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Is Trumpism the end of globalism? 🔊

Is Trumpism the end of globalism? 🔊

From Brexit to the rise of the right in Europe and the triumph of Trump in the United States, citizens of the very regions of the world that have benefited from globalisation now feel abandoned and imperiled by its consequences.

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What are the implications of Brexit? 🔊

What are the implications of Brexit? 🔊

What are the implications of Brexit for the UK and Europe?  After more than 40 years of membership, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union presents unprecedented legislative and constitutional challenges as Paul Craig explains.

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