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In The Gun Gap, Mark R. Joslyn advances gun owners as a new classification for understanding political behavior and attitudes. He demonstrates a "gun gap," which captures the differences between gun owners and non-gun owners, and shows how this gap improves conventional behavioral and attitudinal models. The gap represents an important explanation for voter choice, voter turnout, perceptions of personal and public safety, preferences for gun control policies, and support for the death penalty. Moreover, the 2016 presidential election witnessed the largest recorded gun gap in history. The Gun Gap thus affords a new and compelling vantage point to evaluate modern mass politics.
Each year, tens of thousands of students who are interested in politics go through a rite of passage: they take a course in research methods. Many find the subject to be boring or confusing, and with good reason. Most of the standard books on research methods fail to highlight the most important concepts and questions. Instead, they brim with dry technical definitions and focus heavily on statistical analysis, slighting other valuable methods. This approach not only dulls potential enjoyment of the course, but prevents students from mastering the skills they need to engage more directly and meaningfully with a wide variety of research. With wit and practical wisdom, Christopher Howard draws on more than a decade of experience teaching research methods to transform a typically dreary subject and teach budding political scientists the critical skills they need to read published research more effectively and produce better research of their own. The first part of the book is devoted to asking three fundamental questions in political science: What happened? Why? Who cares? In the second section, Howard demonstrates how to answer these questions by choosing an appropriate research design, selecting cases, and working with numbers and written documents as evidence. Drawing on examples from American and comparative politics, international relations, and public policy, Thinking Like a Political Scientist highlights the most common challenges that political scientists routinely face, and each chapter concludes with exercises so that students can practice dealing with those challenges.
The acclaimed authors of Death by a Thousand Cuts argue that Americans care less about inequality than about their own insecurity. Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro propose realistic policies and strategies to make lives and communities more secure. This is an age of crisis. That much we can agree on. But a crisis of what? And how do we get out of it? Many on the right call for tax cuts and deregulation. Others on the left rage against the top 1 percent and demand wholesale economic change. Voices on both sides line up against globalization: restrict trade to protect jobs. In The Wolf at the Door, two leading political analysts argue that these views are badly mistaken. Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro focus on what really worries people: not what the rich are making but rather their own insecurity and that of people close to them. Americans are concerned about losing what they have, whether jobs, status, or safe communities. They fear the wolf at the door. The solution is not protectionism or class warfare but a return to the hard work of building coalitions around realistic goals and pursuing them doggedly through the political system. This, Graetz and Shapiro explain, is how earlier reformers achieved meaningful changes, from the abolition of the slave trade to civil rights legislation. The authors make substantial recommendations for increasing jobs, improving wages, protecting families suffering from unemployment, and providing better health insurance and child care, and they guide us through the strategies needed to enact change. These are achievable reforms that would make Americans more secure. The Wolf at the Door is one of those rare books that not only diagnose our problems but also show us how we can address them.
The Globalization of International Society re-examines the development of today's society of sovereign states, drawing on a wealth of new scholarship to challenge the landmark account presented in Bull and Watson's classic work, The Expansion of International Society (OUP, 1984). For Bull and Watson, international society originated in Europe, and expanded as successive waves of new states were integrated into a rule-governed order. International society, on their view, was thus a European cultural artefact - a claim that is at odds with recent scholarship in history, politics, and related fields of research. Bringing together leading scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States, this book provides an alternative account: it draws out the diversity of polities that existed at around c1500; it shows how interacting identities, political orders, and economic forces were intensifying within and across regions; it details the tangled dynamics that helped to globalize the European conception of a pluralist international society, through patterns of warfare and between East and West. The Globalization of International Society examines the institutional contours of contemporary international society, with its unique blend of universal sovereignty and global law, and its forms of hierarchy that coexist with commitments to international human rights. The book explores the multiple forms of contestation that challenge international society today: contests over the limits of sovereignty in relation to cosmopolitan conceptions of responsibility, disputes over global governance, concerns about persistent economic, racial, and gender-based patterns of disadvantage, and lastly the threat to the established order opened up by the disruptive power of digital communications.
With an Introduction by Derek Matravers. Rights of Man is a classic statement of the belief in humanity's potential to change the world for the better. Published as a reply to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, it differs from that great work in every relevant respect. Where Burke uses the language of the governing classes, Paine writes with the vigour of a self-taught mast-maker and exciseman. With passionate and rapier wit, Paine challenges Burke's assertion that society cannot be judged by rational standards and found wanting. Rights of Man contains a fully-costed budget, advocating measures such as free education, old age pensions, welfare benefits and child allowance over 100 years before these things were introduced in Britain. It remains a compelling manifesto for social change.
Investigative journalist Lee Smith uses his unprecedented access to
Welfare States and Immigrant Rights deals with the impact of welfare states on immigrants' social rights, economic well-being and social inclusion, and it offers the first systematic comparison of immigrants' social rights across welfare states. To study immigrants' social rights the author develops an analytical framework that focuses on the interplay between 1) the type of welfare state regime, 2) forms of entry, or entry categories, and 3) the incorporation regime regulating the inclusion or exclusion of immigrants. The book maps out the development of immigrants' social rights from the early postwar period until around 2010 in six countries representing different welfare state regimes: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, and Denmark. Part I addresses three major issues. The first is how inclusive or exclusionary welfare state policies are in relation to immigrants, and especially how the type of welfare state and incorporation regime affect their social rights. The second issue concerns changes in immigrant rights and the direction of the change: rights extension versus rights contraction. The third issue is how immigrants' social rights compare to those of citizens. Part II shifts from policies affecting immigrant rights to the politics of the policies. It examines the politics of inclusion and exclusion in the six countries, focusing on social rights extension and contraction and changes in the policy dimensions of the incorporation regime that impinge on immigrant rights.
W.E.B Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk is a seminal work in the field of sociology, a classic of American literature – and a solid example of carefully-structured reasoning.
One of the most important texts ever written on racism and black identity in America, the work contains powerful arguments that illustrate the problem of the position of black people in the US at the turn of the 20th-century. Du Bois identified three significant issues (‘the color line’; ‘double consciousness’; and ‘the veil’) that acted as roadblocks to true black emancipation, and showed how each of these in turn contributed to the problem of inequality.
Du Bois carefully investigates all three problems, constructing clear explanations of their significance in shaping the consciousness of a community that has been systematically discriminated against, and dealing brilliantly with counter-arguments throughout. The Souls of Black Folk went on to profoundly influence the civil rights movement in the US, inspiring post-colonial thinking worldwide.
How should rulers rule? What is the nature of power? These questions had already been asked when Niccol˛ Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513. But what made his thinking on the topic different was his ability to interpret evidence: to look at old issues and find new meaning within them.
Many of Machiavelli’s contemporaries thought that God would make sure morality was rewarded. To these people, it was inevitable that ethical individuals would enjoy success in this world and attain paradise in the next. Machiavelli was not so sure. He used the evidence of history to prove that people who can lie, cheat and murder tend to succeed.
Machiavelli concluded that three main factors affect a political leader’s success or failure. In doing so, he reached an entirely new understanding of the meaning of his evidence. Machiavelli argued that behaving in a moral way actually hinders a ruler. If everyone acted morally, he reasoned, then morals would not be a disadvantage. But in a world in which leaders are willing to be ruthless, a moral leader would make both themselves and their state vulnerable. Machiavelli’s novel interpretation posits that morals can make a leader hesitate, and this could cost them – and the citizens they are responsible for – everything.
Danish philosopher S°ren Kierkegaard’s 1843 book Fear and Trembling shows precisely why he is regarded as one of the most significant and creative philosophers of the nineteenth century.
Creative thinkers can be many things, but one of their common attributes is an ability to redefine, reframe and reconsider problems from novel angles. In Kierkegaard’s case, he chose to approach the problems of faith and ethics in a deliberately artful and non-systematic way. Writing under the pseudonym “John the Silent,” he declared that he was “nothing of a philosopher,” but an “amateur,” wanting to write poetically and elegantly about the things that fascinated him. While Fear and Trembling is very much the work of a philosopher, Kierkegaard’s protests showed his intent to take a different path, approaching his topic like no one else before him.
The book goes on to ask what the real nature of our personal relationship with God might be, and how faith might interact with ethics. What, Kierkegaard asks, can we make of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and of Abraham obeying? Arguing the unorthodox position that in following God’s incomprehensible will Abraham had acted ethically, Kierkegaard set out the parameters of a moral argument that remains strikingly novel over a 150 years later.
Perhaps no work of history written in the 20th century has done more to undermine an existing consensus and cause its readers to re-evaluate their own preconceptions than has Jonathan Riley-Smith's revisionist account of the motives of the first crusaders.
Riley-Smith's thesis – based on extensive original research and firmly rooted in his refusal to uncritically accept the evidence or reasoning of earlier historians – is that the majority of the men who travelled to the east on crusade in the years 1098-1100 were primarily motivated by faith. This finding, which ran directly counter to at least four centuries of consensus that other motives, not least greed for land, were more important, has helped to stimulate exciting reappraisals of the whole crusading movement. Riley-Smith backed it up with forensic examination of the key crusader-inspiring speech delivered by Pope Urban II, looking to clarify the meanings of five competing contemporary accounts in order to understand how an initially simple, and rather confused, appeal for help became a sophisticated rationale for the concept of ‘just war.’
Few works of history have succeeded so completely in forcing their readers to take a fresh look at the evidence as Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down – and that achievement is rooted firmly in Hill's exceptional problem-solving skills.
Traditional interpretations of the English Civil War concentrated heavily on a top-down analysis of the doings of king and parliament. Hill looked at ‘history from below,’ focusing instead on the ways in which the people of Britain saw the society they lived in and nurtured hopes for a better future. Failing to understand these factors – and the impact they had on the origins and outcomes of the wars of the 1640s – means failing to understand the historical period. In this sense, Hill's influential work is a great example of the problem-solving skills of asking productive questions and generating alternative possibilities. It forced a generation of historians to re-evaluate the things they thought they knew about a key pivot point in British history – and went on to influence the generations that came after them.
David C. Kang’s China Rising is a fine example of an author making use of creative thinking skills to reach a conclusion that flies in the face of traditional thinking.
The conventional view that the book opposed, known in international relations as ‘realism,’ was that the rise of any new global power results in global or regional instability. As such, China’s development as a world economic powerhouse worried mainstream western geopolitical scholars, whose concerns were based on the realist assumption that individual countries will inevitably compete for dominance. Evaluating these arguments, and finding both their relevance and adequacy wanting, Kang instead turned traditional thinking on its head by looking at Asian history without preconceptions, and with analytical open-mindedness.
Producing several novel explanations for existing evidence, Kang concludes that China’s neighbors do not want to compete with it in the way that realist interpretations predict. Rather than creating instability by jockeying for position, he argues, surrounding countries are happy for China to be acknowledged as a leader, believing that its dominant position will stabilize Asia, and give the whole region more of a hand in international relations. ÂThough critics have taken issue with Kang’s conclusions, his paradigm-shifting approach is nevertheless an excellent example of developing fresh new conclusions through creative thinking.
"Will Rogers once said that the problem in America isn't so much what people don't know; the problem is what people think they know that just ain't so." -Professor Thomas E. Woods Most Americans trust that their history professors and high school teachers will give students honest and accurate information. In a shocking new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, historian Professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr. makes it quite clear that liberal professors have misinformed our children for generations. Woods takes on the most controversial moments of American history and exposes how history books are merely a series of cliches drafted by academics who are heavily biased against God, democracy, patriotism, capitalism and most American family values. Woods takes aim at the high school and college textbooks that promote morally neutral, politically correct, multi-cultural distortions of our nation's past and provides the real history of our country's origins, founders, principles, successes, and failures. Woods reveals the truth behind gross misinterpretations including: MYTH: The First Amendment prohibits school prayer FACT: When federal courts strike down religious expression in the states, they are willfully perverting the policy of what the Framers of the First Amendment intended: complete federal nonintervention in religious issues MYTH: The New Deal created great prosperity FACT: Public-sector jobs "created" by New Deal spending programs either simply displaced or actually destroyed private-sector jobs. MYTH: What the Supreme Court says, goes FACT: Neither Thomas Jefferson nor the drafters of the Constitution envisioned the power the federal courts routinely exercise over the states and the people. From the real American "revolutionaries" to the reality of labor unions, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, is all you need for the truth about America-objective and unvarnished.
Hans Baron, Karl Popper, Leo Strauss and Erich Auerbach were among the many German-speaking Jewish intellectuals who fled Continental Europe with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Their scholarship, though not normally considered together, is studied here to demonstrate how, despite their different disciplines and distinctive modes of working, they responded polemically in the guise of traditional scholarship to their shared trauma. For each, the political calamity of European fascism was a profound intellectual crisis, requiring an intellectual response which Weinstein and Zakai now contextualize, ideologically and politically. They exemplify just how extensively, and sometimes how subtly, 1930s and 1940s scholarship was used not only to explain, but to fight the political evils that had infected modernity, victimizing so many. An original perspective on a popular area of research, this book draws upon a mass of secondary literature to provide an innovative and valuable contribution to twentieth-century intellectual history.
Dalit Feminist Theory: A Reader radically redefines feminism by introducing the category of Dalit into the core of feminist thought. It supplements feminism by adding caste to its study and praxis; it also re-examines and rethinks Indian feminism by replacing it with a new paradigm, namely, that caste-based feminist inquiry offers the only theoretical vantage point for comprehensively addressing gender-based injustices. Drawing on a variety of disciplines, the chapters in the volume discuss key themes such as Indian feminism versus Dalit feminism; the emerging concept of Dalit patriarchy; the predecessors of Dalit feminism, such as Phule and Ambedkar; the meaning and value of lived experience; the concept of Difference; the analogical relationship between Black feminism and Dalit feminism; the intersectionality debate; and the theory-versus-experience debate. They also provide a conceptual, historical, empirical and philosophical understanding of feminism in India today. Accessible, essential and ingenious in its approach, this book is for students, teachers and specialist scholars, as well as activists and the interested general reader. It will be indispensable for those engaged in gender studies, women's studies, sociology of caste, political science and political theory, philosophy and feminism, Ambedkar studies, and for anyone working in the areas of caste, class or gender-based discrimination, exclusion and inequality.
This interdisciplinary text takes into account the impact of the Cold War on various locales, groups, societies, organizations, and technology. Included in this work are chapters on education, political groups, cultural challenges and rivalries, nuclear technology and weaponry, the impact of nuclear exposure, and the new global order in a post-nuclear age. Edited by an historian, each chapter is written from multiple disciplinary perspectives a a political science, history, social science, science, and medicine a a making this work exceptionally unique with broad sweeping conceptual frameworks, methods, and points of analysis, all the while focused upon a four- decade era of fear. The work of Stivachtis and Manning offer an engaging look into the organization of the international community, world affairs, and inter-cultural challenges during the Cold War to understand the impact on global society through the lens of the English School of International Relations. Cimbala's chapter delves into the challenges to controlling and understanding nuclear warfare throughout the Cold War and how the knowledge of control or preventing catastrophic nuclear war in the historic period is significantly different from the current nuclear age, from the perspectives of what nations have weapons, of what magnitude, and the potential for warfare. The impact of nuclear exposure well after the Cold War is examined in Osono's work, which analyzes the physiological and neurological impact of nuclear waste on workers in China who unknowingly unearthed barrels of nuclear waste. Nekola offers readers a view into the role of the exiled Czech political parties that operated in outside of the regulations of the Iron Curtain, after the 1948 Communist Coup, maintaining party publications and organization throughout the 1950s. The work of Bar-Noi analyzes the relationship between the Israeli and Soviet governments as the nation of Israel was founded and ultimately placed in the political cross-hairs of world leaders from 1945 to 1967. Palmadessa's works on U.S. education a a k-12 compulsory and higher education a a considers the ways in which education responded to the call for patriotic support of the U.S. in opposition to the communist regime in Russia and the understanding of the global role education was to play. The Cold War shook the world, its institutions, cultural groups, and scientific communities to their core. The Cold War: Global Impacts and Lessons Learned offers readers insight into the immediate challenges, the continued obstacles, and the knowledge gained from this tumultuous period riddled with fear that dominates the narrative of 20th century world history.
In this book, legal scholar Randy Barnett elaborates and defends the fundamental premise of the Declaration of Independence: that all persons have a natural right to pursue happiness so long as they respect the equal rights of others, and that governments are only justly established to secure these rights. Drawing upon insights from philosophy, economics, political theory, and law, Barnett explains why, when people pursue happiness while living in society with each other, they confront the pervasive social problems of knowledge, interest and power. These problems are best dealt with by ensuring the liberty of the people to pursue their own ends, but this liberty is distinguished from "license" by certain fundamental rights and procedures associated with the classical liberal conception of "justice" and "the rule of law." He then outlines the constitutional framework that is needed to put these principles into practice. In a new Afterword to this second edition, Barnett elaborates on this thesis by responding to several important criticisms of the original work. He then explains how this "libertarian" approach is more modest than either the "social justice" theories of the left or the "legal moralism" of the right.
Benedict Anderson’s 1983 masterpiece Imagined Communities is a ground-breaking analysis of the origins and meanings of “nations” and “nationalism”.
A book that helped reshape the field of nationalism studies, Imagined Communities also shows the critical thinking skills of interpretation and analysis working at their highest levels. One crucial aspect of Anderson’s work involves the apparently simple act of defining precisely what we mean when we say ‘nation’ or ‘nationalism’ – an interpretative step that is vital to the analysis he proceeds to carry out. For Anderson, it is clear that nations are not ‘natural;’ as historians and anthropologists are well aware, nations as we understand them are a relatively modern phenomenon, dating back only as far as around 1500. But if this is the case, how can we agree what a ‘nation’ is? Anderson’s proposed definition is that they are “imagined communities” – comprising groups of people who regard themselves as belonging to the same community, even if they have never met, and have nothing in common otherwise.
The analysis that follows from this insight is all about examining and breaking down the historical processes that helped foster these communities – above all the birth of printing, and the development of capitalism. Brilliantly incisive, Anderson’s analysis shows how good interpretative skills can form the foundations for compelling and original insight.
A Room of One's Own is a very clear example of how creative thinkers connect and present things in novel ways.
Based on the text of a talk given by Virginia Woolf at an all-female Cambridge college, Room considers the subject of 'women and fiction.' Woolf’s approach is to ask why, in the early 20th century, literary history presented so few examples of canonically 'great' women writers. The common prejudices of the time suggested this was caused by (and proof of) women's creative and intellectual inferiority to men. Woolf argued instead that it was to do with a very simple fact: across the centuries, male-dominated society had systematically prevented women from having the educational opportunities, private spaces and economic independence to produce great art. At a time when 'art' was commonly considered to be a province of the mind that had no relation to economic circumstances, this was a novel proposal. More novel, though, was Woolf's manner of arguing and proving her contentions: through a fictional account of the limits placed on even the most privileged women in everyday existence. An impressive early example of cultural materialism, A Room of One's Own is an exemplary encapsulation of creative thinking.
John Lewis Gaddis had written four previous books on the Cold War by the time he published We Now Know – so the main thrust of his new work was not so much to present new arguments as to re-examine old ones in the light of new evidence that began emerging from behind the Iron Curtain after 1990. In this respect, We Now Know can be seen as an important exercise in evaluation; Gaddis not only undertook to reassess his own positions – arguing that this was the only intellectually honest course open to him in such changing circumstances – but also took the opportunity to address criticisms of his early works, not least by post-revisionist historians.
The straightforwardness and flexibility that Gaddis exhibited in consequence enhanced his book's authority. He also deployed interpretative skills to help him revise his methodology and reinterpret key historical arguments, integrating new, comparative histories of the Cold War era into his broader argument.
How was it possible for opponents of slavery to be so vocal in opposing the practice, when they were so accepting of the economic exploitation of workers in western factories – many of which were owned by prominent abolitionists? David Brion Davis's The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823, uses the critical thinking skill of analysis to break down the various arguments that were used to condemn one set of controversial practices, and examine those that were used to defend another. His study allows us to see clear differences in reasoning and to test the assumptions made by each argument in turn. The result is an eye-opening explanation that makes it clear exactly how contemporaries resolved this apparent dichotomy – one that allows us to judge whether the opponents of slavery were clear-eyed idealists, or simply deployers of arguments that pandered to their own base economic interests.
Aristotle remains one of the most celebrated thinkers of all time in large part thanks to his incisive critical thinking skills. In Politics, which can be considered one of the foundational books of the western political tradition, the focus is on problem-solving, and particularly on the generation and evaluation of alternative possibilities.
Aristotle’s aim, in Politics, is to determine how best to organize a society. He looks in turn at several different type of organization – kingship, oligarchy and the polity, or rule in the hands of many – and evaluates the arguments for each in turn. But he takes the exercise further than his predecessors had done. Having concluded that rule by the aristocracy would be preferable, since it would mean rule by citizens capable of taking decisions on behalf of the society as a whole, Aristotle subjects his solution to a further checking process, asking productive questions in order to make a sound decision between alternatives.
Politics was ground-breaking in its approach. Unlike previous thinkers, Aristotle based all his ideas on a practical assessment of how they would play out in the real world. Ultimately, Aristotle argues, the problem of self-interest means that the adoption of a mixed constitution – one based on carefully considered laws which aims at a balance of power between the people and the elite – is most likely to bring eudaemonia (happiness). It’s a conclusion firmly based on careful evaluation (not least the process of judging the adequacy of arguments) and the product of outstanding problem-solving skills.
Few stories are more captivating than the one told by Natalie Zemon Davis in The Return of Martin Guerre. Basing her research on records of a bizarre court case that occurred in 16th-century France, she uses the tale of a missing soldier – whose disappearance threatens the livelihood of his peasant wife – to explore complex social issues. Davis takes rich material – dramatic enough to have been the basis of two major films – and uses it to explore issues of identity, women's role in peasant society, the interior lives of the poor, and the structure of village society, all of them topics that had previously proved difficult for historians to grapple with.
Davis displays fine qualities of reasoning throughout – not only in constructing her own narrative, but also in persuading her readers of her point of view. Her work is also a fine example of good interpretation – practically every document in the case needs to be assessed for issues of meaning.
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