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Friday Seminar Series: Political Polarisation and Intergovernmental Relations


Friday Seminar Series

Start Date

7 Aug 2015 1:00 pm

End Date

7 Aug 2015 2:00 pm


Room 346, Level 3 (ground level) Humanities Building, Sandy Bay Campus

Institute for the Study of Social Change logo

The School of Social Sciences and the Institute for the Study of Social Change present

The Emergence of Variable Speed Federalism in the United States

Presented by Professor Timothy Conlan, George Mason University

About the presentation
This presentation will examine the impact of political change in the United States on public policy and federal-state relations. Political parties in the United States have become increasingly polarised, both nationally and regionally. The impact on national policy making is widely recognized - more conflict, more stalemate, and more brinksmanship. But polarisation has important implications for the federal system as well. Not only are conservative and liberal states moving in different directions over policies they control - taxes, welfare, education, and drug enforcement, among others - but they are forcing changes in the many national policies that require state assistance in implementation. The result is an emerging system of intergovernmental relations that increasingly undermines uniform national policies with an array of tools for accommodating state differences: opt outs, opt-ins, partial preemptions, negotiated waivers, hybridized programs, and more. Drawing upon concepts of differential integration in the European Union suggests that a new pattern of 'variable speed federalism' is emerging in the US to accommodate the country's growing political divisiveness and diversity.

About the presenter
Professor Conlan is a University Professor of Government at George Mason University in Virginia, and is recognised as one the leading federalism scholars in the United States. He holds a PhD in Government from Harvard University and has been a Senior Research Analyst with the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations. His major books include Pathways of Power: The Dynamics of National Policymaking and From New Federalism to Devolution: Twenty-five Years of Intergovernmental Reform. Professor Conlan is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He received the Daniel J. Elazar Distinguished Federalism Scholar Award from the American Political Science Association and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

Event details
When | Friday 7 August 2015, 1.00pm to 2.00pm
Where | Room 346 Humanities Building

All welcome. Contact us on 6226 2350 if you need further information or directions to the venue.

Seminar flyer (PDF 131.8KB)


Institute for Social Change
University of Tasmania
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