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'The election happened ... And then there was radio silence.'
The morning after Trump was elected president, the people who ran the US Department of Energy - an agency that deals with some of the most powerful risks facing humanity - waited to welcome the incoming administration's transition team. Nobody appeared. Across the US government, the same thing happened: nothing.
People don't notice when stuff goes right. That is the stuff government does. It manages everything that underpins our lives from funding free school meals, to policing rogue nuclear activity, to predicting extreme weather events. It steps in where private investment fears to tread, innovates and creates knowledge, assesses extreme long-term risk.
And now, government is under attack. By its own leaders.
In The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis reveals the combustible cocktail of wilful ignorance and venality that is fuelling the destruction of a country's fabric. All of this, Lewis shows, exposes America and the world to the biggest risk of all. It is what you never learned that might have saved you.
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.
Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics is one of the most influential texts of the 20th-century – an astonishing feat for what is, at heart, a series of deeply technical lectures about the structure of human languages.
What the Course’s vast influence shows, fundamentally, is the power of good interpretative skills. The interpretative tasks of laying down and clarifying definitions are often vital to providing the logical framework for all kinds of critical thinking – whether it be solving problems in business, or esoteric academic research. At the time sat which Saussure gave his lectures, linguistics was a scattered and inconsistent field, without a unified method or rigorous approach. He aimed to change that by setting down and clarifying definitions and distinctions that would provide a coherent methodological framework for the study of language.
The terms laid down in the Course did exactly that – and they still make up the core of linguistic terminology a full century later. More than this, however, Saussure also highlighted the centrality of linguistic interpretation to understanding how we relate to the world, founding “semiotics”, or the study of signs – a field whose influence on academics across the humanities and social sciences is unparalleled.
Thomas Paine’s 1791 Rights of Man is an impassioned political tract showing how the critical thinking skills of evaluation and reasoning can, and must, be applied to contentious issues.
Divided into two parts, Rights of Man is, first, a response to Edmund Burke’s arguments against the French Revolution, put forward in his Reflections on the Revolution in France – also available in the Macat Library – and, second, an argument for how to run a fair and just society. The first part is a sustained performance in evaluation: Paine takes Burke’s arguments, and systematically exposes the ways in which Burke’s reasons against revolution are inadequate compared to the necessity of having a just society run according to a universal notion of people’s rights as individuals. The second part turns to an examination of different political systems, setting out a powerfully-structured argument for universal rights, a clear constitution enshrined in law, and a universal right to vote.
Though Paine is in many ways a stronger rhetorician than he is a clear thinker, his reasons for preferring democracy to hereditary forms of government are compelling, coherent and clear. Rights of Man is a masterclass in how to use good reasoning to present a persuasive argument.
A solution to inequalities wherever we look-in health care, secure retirement, education-is as close as the public library. Or the post office, community pool, or local elementary school. Public options-reasonably priced government-provided services that coexist with private options-are all around us, ready to increase opportunity, expand freedom, and reawaken civic engagement if we will only let them. Whenever you go to your local public library, send mail via the post office, or visit Yosemite, you are taking advantage of a longstanding American tradition: the public option. Some of the most useful and beloved institutions in American life are public options-yet they are seldom celebrated as such. These government-supported opportunities coexist peaceably alongside private options, ensuring equal access and expanding opportunity for all. Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott challenge decades of received wisdom about the proper role of government and consider the vast improvements that could come from the expansion of public options. Far from illustrating the impossibility of effective government services, as their critics claim, public options hold the potential to transform American civic life, offering a wealth of solutions to seemingly intractable problems, from housing shortages to the escalating cost of health care. Imagine a low-cost, high-quality public option for child care. Or an extension of the excellent Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees to all Americans. Or every person having access to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank, with no fees and no minimums. From broadband internet to higher education, The Public Option reveals smart new ways to meet pressing public needs while spurring healthy competition. More effective than vouchers or tax credits, public options could offer us all fairer choices and greater security.
Now with a New Preface and Conclusion: 'Post-Truth: On Donald Trump and the 2016 Election' The United States of America is in the midst of a deepening crisis for their democracy. After the strangest election cycle in modern American history it is important that the grave threats to the American way of life that were glaringly revealed in this campaign are addressed. In The Assault on Reason, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore examines how faith in the power of reason - the idea that citizens can govern themselves through rational debate - is in peril. Democracy depends on a well-informed citizenry and a two-way conversation about ideas, but the public sphere has been degraded by fake news and the politics of fear, partisanship and blind faith. Now updated to investigate the rise of Trump and post-truth politics, The Assault on Reason is a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking, crucial if the vitality of democracy is to be rebuilt and good decisions made once more.
Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign was a beginning, not an end. In his new book, America's most popular political figure speaks about what he's been doing to oppose the Trump agenda and strengthen the progressive movement and how we go forward as a nation.
"Don't Blame Us" traces the reorientation of modern liberalism and the Democratic Party away from their roots in labor union halls of northern cities to white-collar professionals in postindustrial high-tech suburbs, and casts new light on the importance of suburban liberalism in modern American political culture. Focusing on the suburbs along the high-tech corridor of Route 128 around Boston, Lily Geismer challenges conventional scholarly assessments of Massachusetts exceptionalism, the decline of liberalism, and suburban politics in the wake of the rise of the New Right and the Reagan Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s. Although only a small portion of the population, knowledge professionals in Massachusetts and elsewhere have come to wield tremendous political leverage and power. By probing the possibilities and limitations of these suburban liberals, this rich and nuanced account shows that--far from being an exception to national trends--the suburbs of Massachusetts offer a model for understanding national political realignment and suburban politics in the second half of the twentieth century.
John Locke (1632-1704) has a good claim to the title of the greatest ever English philosopher, and was a founding father of both the empiricist tradition in philosophy and the liberal tradition in politics. This new book provides an accessible introduction to Locke's thought. Although its primary focus is on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, it also discusses the Two Treatises on Government, the Essay on Toleration, and the Reasonableness of Christianity, and draws on materials from Locke's correspondence and notebooks to shed light on the contexts of these major works. Locke's arguments for his central claims are subjected to close scrutiny, and his replies to his main critics evaluated. A.J. Pyle takes as his guiding theme Locke's own maxim, that God has given humans enough knowledge for our needs. The philosopher who emerges from these pages is a strikingly modern figure, anti-metaphysical in his attitude both to science and to theology, anti-authoritarian in his politics, and cautiously optimistic about human progress. Locke is indeed one of the founding figures of the Enlightenment, but for Pyle the Lockean Enlightenment is a modest affair of slow and hesitant groping towards the light. As well as serving as an introduction to Locke for students, the book also helps to correct a number of significant errors and misunderstandings that have marred our understanding of Locke and will spark discussion and debate amongst scholars of his work.
What is the relationship between politics and international law? Rather than exploring this question through the lens of the dominant paradigms of international relations theory - realism, liberalism and constructivism - this book proposes a different approach. Based on the premise that the relationship varies depending on the sites where it unfolds, and inspired by comparative politics and socio-legal studies, the book develops a novel framework for comparative analysis of politics and international law at different stages of governance and in different governance systems. Expert contributors apply this analytical framework to diverse fields of law and politics. Part I examines the problems of compliance, effectiveness and the domestic enforcement of international law, and legal institutions including domestic and international courts, national legislatures and regime complexes. Part II covers substantive fields of governance such as global financial regulation, environmental standards, trade, intellectual property and human rights. The final chapters in this Part tackle emerging yet critical issues in international law, including terrorism, cyber conflict and Internet regulation. Together, the chapters represent a significant step forward in the comparative analysis of politics and international law. This Research Handbook will be essential reading for students and academics in political science and law alike.
The best available introduction to the political thought of Augustine, if not to Christian political thought in general. Included are generous selections from City of God , as well as from many lesser-known writings of Augustine.
The persistent failure of public schooling in low-income
communities constitutes one of our nation's most pressing civil
rights and social justice issues. Many school reformers recognize
that poverty, racism, and a lack of power held by these communities
undermine children's education and development, but few know what
to do about it.
Supermajority rules govern many features of our lives in common: from the selection of textbooks for our children's schools to residential covenants, from the policy choices of state and federal legislatures to constitutional amendments. It is usually assumed that these rules are not only normatively unproblematic but necessary to achieve the goals of institutional stability, consensus, and minority protections. In this book, Melissa Schwartzberg challenges the logic underlying the use of supermajority rule as an alternative to majority decision making. She traces the hidden history of supermajority decision making, which originally emerged as an alternative to unanimous rule, and highlights the tensions in the contemporary use of supermajority rules as an alternative to majority rule. Although supermajority rules ostensibly aim to reduce the purported risks associated with majority decision making, they do so at the cost of introducing new liabilities associated with the biased judgments they generate and secure.
Almost twenty-five years ago, Shanto Iyengar and Donald R. Kinder first documented a series of sophisticated and innovative experiments that unobtrusively altered the order and emphasis of news stories in selected television broadcasts. Their resulting book "News That Matters, "now hailed as a classic by scholars of political science and public opinion alike, is here updated for the twenty-first century, with a new preface and epilogue by the authors. Backed by careful analysis of public opinion surveys, the authors show how, despite changing American politics, those issues that receive extended coverage in the national news become more important to viewers, while those that are ignored lose credibility. Moreover, those issues that are prominent in the news stream continue to loom more heavily as criteria for evaluating the president and for choosing between political candidates.
""News That Matters" does matter, because it demonstrates conclusively that television newscasts powerfully affect opinion. . . . All that follows, whether it supports, modifies, or challenges their conclusions, will have to begin here."--"The Public Interest"
Louisiana had the Longs, Virginia had the Byrds, Georgia had the Talmadges, and North Carolina had the Scotts. In this history of North Carolina's most influential political family, Rob Christensen tells the story of the Scotts and when they dominated Tar Heel politics. Three generations of Scotts-W. Kerr Scott, Robert Scott, and Meg Scott Phipps-held statewide office. Despite stereotypes about rural white southerners, the Scotts led a populist and progressive movement strongly supported by rural North Carolinians-the so-called Branchhead Boys, the rural grassroots voters who lived at the heads of tributaries throughout the heart of North Carolina. Though the Scotts held power in various government positions in North Carolina for generations, they were instrumental in their own downfall. From Kerr Scott's regression into reactionary race politics to Meg Scott Phipps's corruption trial and subsequent prison sentence, the Scott family lost favor in their home state, their influence dimming and their legacy in question. Weaving together interviews from dozens of political luminaries and deep archival research, Christensen offers an engaging and definitive historical account of not only the Scott family's legacy but also how race and populism informed North Carolina politics during the twentieth century.
How popular democracy has paradoxically eroded trust in political systems worldwide, and how to restore confidence in democratic politics Democracies across the world are adopting reforms to bring politics closer to the people. Parties have turned to primaries and local caucuses to select candidates. Ballot initiatives and referenda allow citizens to enact laws directly. Many democracies now use proportional representation, encouraging smaller, more specific parties rather than two dominant ones. Yet voters keep getting angrier. There is a steady erosion of trust in politicians, parties, and democratic institutions, culminating most recently in major populist victories in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Frances Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro argue that devolving power to the grass roots is part of the problem, not the solution. Efforts to decentralize political decision-making make governments and especially political parties less effective and less able to address constituents' long-term interests. To revive confidence in governance, we must restructure our political systems to restore power to the core institution of representative democracy: the political party.
This book is the first translation into English of the Reflections which Kant wrote whilst formulating his ideas in political philosophy: the preparatory drafts for Theory and Practice, Toward Perpetual Peace, the Doctrine of Right, and Conflict of the Faculties; and the only surviving student transcription of his course on Natural Right. Through these texts one can trace the development of his political thought, from his first exposure to Rousseau in the mid 1760s through to his last musings in the late 1790s after his final system of Right was published. The material covers such topics as the central role of freedom, the social contract, the nature of sovereignty, the means for achieving international peace, property rights in relation to the very possibility of human agency, the general prohibition of rebellion, and Kant's philosophical defense of the French Revolution.
Ever since the Second World War, a new constitutional model has emerged worldwide that gives a pivotal role to judges. Against the New Constitutionalism challenges this reigning paradigm and develops a distinctively liberal defence of political constitutionalism. The author concludes that, in consolidated democracies, strong constitutional review cannot be justified and argues for the primacy of the legislature primarily on epistemic - as opposed to procedural - grounds. The author also considers whether the minimalist judicial review of Nordic countries is more in line with the best justification of the institution than the Commonwealth model that occupies a central place in contemporary constitutional scholarship. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of constitutional law. It will also be of use to constitutional and political theorists, as well as comparative and public lawyers, looking for a solution to the issues surrounding constitutional review.
Despite having no formal training in urban planning, Jane Jacobs deftly explores the strengths and weaknesses of policy arguments put forward by American urban planners in the era after World War II. They believed that the efficient movement of cars was of more value in the development of US cities than the everyday lives of the people living there. By carefully examining their relevance in her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs dismantles these arguments by highlighting their shortsightedness. She evaluates the information to hand and comes to a very different conclusion, that urban planners ruin great cities, because they don’t understand that it is a city’s social interaction that makes it great. Proposals and policies that are drawn from planning theory do not consider the social dynamics of city life. They are in thrall to futuristic fantasies of a modern way of living that bears no relation to reality, or to the desires of real people living in real spaces. Professionals lobby for separation and standardization, splitting commercial, residential, industrial, and cultural spaces. But a truly visionary approach to urban planning should incorporate spaces with mixed uses, together with short, walkable blocks, large concentrations of people, and a mix of new and old buildings. This creates true urban vitality.
Neoliberalism's war against democracy and how to resist it How do we explain the strange survival of the forces responsible for the 2008 economic crisis, one of the worst since 1929? How do we explain the fact that neoliberalism has emerged from the crisis strengthened? When it broke, a number of the most prominent economists hastened to announce the 'death' of neoliberalism. They regarded the pursuit of neoliberal policy as the fruit of dogmatism. For Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, neoliberalism is no mere dogma. Supported by powerful oligarchies, it is a veritable politico-institutional system that obeys a logic of self-reinforcement. Far from representing a break, crisis has become a formidably effective mode of government. In showing how this system crystallized and solidified, the book explains that the neoliberal straitjacket has succeeded in preventing any course correction by progressively deactivating democracy. Increasing the disarray and demobilization, the so-called 'governmental' Left has actively helped strengthen this oligarchical logic. The latter could lead to a definitive exit from democracy in favour of expertocratic governance, free of any control. However, nothing has been decided yet. The revival of democratic activity, which we see emerging in the political movements and experiments of recent years, is a sign that the political confrontation with the neoliberal system and the oligarchical bloc has already begun.
Politics continues to evolve in the digital era, spurred in part by the accelerating pace of technological development. This cutting-edge Handbook includes the very latest research on the relationship between digital information, communication technologies and politics. Written by leading scholars in the field, the chapters explore in seven parts: theories of digital politics, government and policy, collective action and civic engagement, political talk, journalism, internet governance and new frontiers in digital politics research. The contributors focus on the politics behind the implementation of digital technologies in society today. All students in the fields of politics, media and communication studies, journalism, science and sociology will find this book to be a useful resource in their studies. Political practitioners seeking digital strategies, as well as web and other digital practitioners wanting to know more about political applications for their work will also find this book to be of interest.
International Relations emerged as a distinct academic discipline in the early twentieth century, but its philosophic foundations draw on centuries of thinking about human nature, power and authority, justice and injustice, and their implications for relations within and between political communities. In this fully revised and updated third edition of her popular text, Stephanie Lawson retains a broad historical and contextual approach in introducing readers to the central themes and theoretical perspectives in IR while also addressing key issues and challenges in the contemporary period. These include the emergence of states and empires, theories ranging from classical realism and liberalism to postcolonial and green theory, twentieth-century international history, security and insecurity, global governance and world order, international political economy, globalization, the future of the sovereign state and the prospects for a post-international world. Written in an accessible narrative style, this book is an ideal primer for students at undergraduate level and beyond, including those undertaking postgraduate study in IR with little or no previous academic training in the field.
What is politics? Is it a universal feature of all human societies,
past and present? Is it tied to specific institutional arenas? Or
is it found in all groups and organizations, large or small, formal
This new textbook seeks to provide answers to these important
questions. Starting with what it means to 'think politically', the
book goes on to explore a wide range of meanings attributed to the
concept of politics from a variety of perspectives and theoretical
traditions. It offers succinct and coherent overviews by some of
the foremost scholars in the field, and each invites the reader to
see the activity of politics in a distinctive way. Topics covered
include politics as a form of rule, feminist approaches to
politics, Marxism and politics, the politics of human behaviour,
environmental politics, politics as collective choice, and Islam
Written with the new student in mind, this concise introduction to the study and activity of politics is essential reading for all those coming to the discipline for the first time.
Hobbes' Leviathan is arguably the greatest piece of political philosophy written in the English language. Since its first publication, Richard Tuck's edition of Leviathan has been recognized as the single most accurate and authoritative text, and for this revised edition Professor Tuck has provided a much-amplified and expanded introduction. Other vital study aids include an extensive guide to further reading, a note on textual matters, a chronology of important events and brief biographies of important persons mentioned in Hobbes' text.
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