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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.
Processes of collective decision making are seen throughout modern
society. How does a government decide on an investment strategy
within the health care and educational sectors? Should a government
or a community introduce measures to combat climate change and CO2
emissions, even if others choose not too? Should a country develop
a nuclear capability despite the risk that other countries may
follow their lead?
Saul Bellow is one of the twentieth century's most influential, respected, and honored writers. His novels The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Mr. Sammler's Planet won the National Book Award, and Humboldt's Gift was awarded the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In addition, his plays garnered popular and critical acclaim, and some were produced on Broadway. Known for his insights into life in a post-Holocaust world, Bellow's explorations of modernity, Jewish identity, and the relationship between art and society have resonated with his readers, but because his writing is not overtly political, his politics have largely been ignored.
A Political Companion to Saul Bellow examines the author's novels, essays, short stories, and letters in order to illuminate his evolution from liberal to neoconservative. It investigates Bellow's exploration of the United States as a democratic system, the religious and ideological influences on his work, and his views on race relations, religious identity, and multiculturalism in the academy. Featuring a fascinating conclusion that draws from interviews with Bellow's sons, this accessible companion is an excellent resource for understanding the political thought of one of America's most acclaimed writers.
Can we rebuild trust in a time of increasing conflict and paralysis? Or rather, can we build trust, for the first time, wide and strong enough to bring us together to work on the complex problems of our age? Relations of trust have been weakened over the past century by a historic expansion of communication and cross-cultural interaction, and the advance of complex, fluid relationships. Now the rapid rise of the internet has accelerated the disruption. Many long for the comfort and security of relations in which one knew whom to trust and what to expect; yet at the same time they may embrace the dynamism and creativity that comes from mixing of cultures and perspectives. This book explores current conflicts and confusions of relations and identities, using both general theory and specific cases. It argues that we are at a catalyzing moment in a long transition from a community in which the prime rule was tolerance, to one with a commitment to understanding; from one where it was considered wrong to argue about cultural differences, to one where such arguments are essential. The development of this rich community is essential as well as difficult. Complex societies produce complex challenges, from climate change to inequality to the risk-laden opportunities of bioengineering, that demand collaboration among people with widely varying views. Such brewing crises cannot be worked through without far more deliberate discussion and cooperation, and higher levels of trust, than we have today. This book explores many challenges ahead and suggests some practical directions for resolving them.
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.
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) is the father of modern political thought, but he is also one of the greatest writers of the Renaissance and his wisdom and style extend far beyond politics to encompass a compelling philosophy of life as well. In The Quotable Machiavelli, Maurizio Viroli, one of the world's leading Machiavelli scholars, offers a rich collection of the Florentine's most memorable words on a wide range of subjects, including politics, the human condition, religion, love and happiness, antiquity and history, patriotism, and virtue. Drawing on Machiavelli's entire body of writings, and including little-known quotations as well as famous passages, the book shows the full scope of his thought and belies the cliche that he was a "Machiavellian" cynic. In addition to Machiavelli's own words on dozens of subjects of perennial interest, the book includes some almost unknown texts in which his contemporaries describe him. Complete with a biographical introduction, the book serves as a handy reference and a smart and lively introduction to a masterly thinker and writer. * Includes a rich collection of Machiavelli's most memorable words on a wide range of subjects, from politics to the human condition--almost 700 quotations in all* Edited and introduced by one of the world's leading Machiavelli scholars* Serves as a smart and lively introduction to Machiavelli's life and works* Draws on the complete body of Machiavelli's writings* Features a brief biography of Machiavelli, a chronology of his life, suggestions for further reading, and an index
The centuries-old paradox of voting is that majorities sometimes prefer x to y, y to z, and z to x - a cycle. The discovery of the sources and consequences of such cycles, under majority rule and countless other regimes, constitutes much of the mathematical theory of voting and social choice. This book explores the big questions posed by the paradox of voting: positive questions about how to predict outcomes and explain observed stability, and normative questions about how to hold elections, how to take account of preference intensities, the relevance of social welfare to social choice, and challenges to formal 'rationality', individual and social. The overall lesson is that cycles are facts, ubiquitous, and consequential in non-obvious ways, not puzzles to be solved, much less maladies or misfortunes to be avoided or regretted.
Emile Durkheim, along with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is one of the three 'founding fathers of sociology'. This is the first book to situate his sociology in the context of his republican politics, freeing his ideas from more conventional studies and allowing the reader to see his ideas afresh. This critical introduction argues that Durkheim's defence of Republican France in the 1890s had a considerable influence on his sociology, which cannot be fully understood when removed from its historical and political context. His dismissal of economic factors in suicide rates, the influence of his anti-feminist position on his findings on marriage rates, and the idealism behind his claim that religion is the key determinant in shaping society are all discussed. Through analysing his writings, including The Division of Labour in Society, Suicide and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, this book provides a fascinating, critical counterpoint to the existing works on this key figure of sociology.
In recent years, international trade in toxic waste and hazardous technologies by firms in rich industrialized countries has emerged as a routine practice. Many poor countries have accepted these deadly imports but are ill equipped to manage the materials safely. For more than a decade, environmentalists and the governments of developing countries have lobbied intensively and generated public outcry in an attempt to halt hazardous transfers from Northern industrialized nations to the Third World, but the practice continues.
In her insightful and important book, Jennifer Clapp addresses this alarming problem. Clapp describes the responses of those engaged in hazard transfer to international regulations, and in particular to the 1989 adoption of the Basel Convention. She pinpoints a key weakness of the regulations because hazard transfer is dynamic, efforts to stop one form of toxic export prompt new forms to emerge. For instance, laws intended to ban the disposal of toxic wastes in the Third World led corporations to ship these byproducts to poor countries for "recycling." And, Clapp warns, current efforts to prohibit this "recycling movement" may accelerate a new business endeavor: the relocation to poor countries of entire industries that generate toxic wastes.
Clapp concludes that the dynamic nature of hazard transfer results from increasingly fluid global trade and investment relations in the context of a highly unequal world, and from the leading role played by multinational corporations and environmental NGOs. Governments, she maintains, have for too long failed to capture the initiative and have instead only reacted to these opposing forces."
Until recently, "continental" philosophy has been tied either to the German tradition of phenomenology or to French post-structuralist concerns with the conditions of language and textuality. Giorgio Agamben draws upon and departs from both these lines of thought by directing his entire corpus to the problem of life - political life, human life, animal life, and the life of art. Influenced by the work of Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, and the broader tradition of critical Marxism, Agamben's work poses the profound question for our time - just how exceptional are human beings? This beautifully written book provides a systematic, engaging overview of Agamben's writings on theology, aesthetics, political theory, and sovereignty. Covering the full range of Agamben's work to date, Claire Colebrook and Jason Maxwell explain Agamben's theology and philosophy by referring the concepts to some of today's most urgent political and ethical problems. They focus on the audacious way in which Agamben reconceptualizes life itself. Assessing the significance of the concepts key to his work, such as biopolitics, sovereignty, the "state of exception," and "bare life," they demonstrate his wide-ranging influence across the humanities.
What sort of entitlements should citizens have in a just society? In this book, Rutger Claassen sets out a theory of what he terms 'navigational agency', whereby citizens should be able to navigate freely between social practices. This shows how individuals can be at the same time free and autonomous in striving for their own goals in life, but also embedded in social practices in which they have to cooperate with others. He argues that for navigational agency, people need three sets of core capabilities: those which allow human empowerment in civil society, a decent level of socio-economic subsistence, and political participation in democratic decision-making procedures. The idea of navigational agency, the book argues, provides an alternative to currently dominant versions of the capability approach to social justice, and strengthens its liberal foundations.
From New York Times bestselling author and economics columnist Robert Frank, a compelling book that explains why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in their success, why that hurts everyone, and what we can do about it How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success--and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy. Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones--and enormous income differences--over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways. But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year--more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps. Compellingly readable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.
Not exercising as much as you should? Counting your calories in your sleep? Feeling ashamed for not being happier? You may be a victim of the wellness syndrome. In this ground-breaking new book, Carl Cederstroem and Andre Spicer argue that the ever-present pressure to maximize our wellness has started to work against us, making us feel worse and provoking us to withdraw into ourselves. The Wellness Syndrome follows health freaks who go to extremes to find the perfect diet, corporate athletes who start the day with a dance party, and the self-trackers who monitor everything, including their own toilet habits. This is a world where feeling good has become indistinguishable from being good. Visions of social change have been reduced to dreams of individual transformation, political debate has been replaced by insipid moralising, and scientific evidence has been traded for new-age delusions. A lively and humorous diagnosis of the cult of wellness, this book is an indispensable guide for everyone suspicious of our relentless quest to be happier and healthier.
Interest in citizenship has never been higher. Politicians of all
stripes stress its importance, as do church leaders, captains of
industry and every kind of campaigning group--from those supporting
global causes, such as tackling world poverty, to others with a
largely local focus, such as combating neighborhood crime. In this
brilliant, compact introduction, Richard Bellamy offers an
eye-opening look at an idea that is as important as it is rare--the
prospect of influencing government policy according to reasonably
fair rules and on a more or less equal basis with others. Bringing
together the most recent scholarship, the book sheds light on how
ideas of citizenship have changed through time from ancient Greece
to the present, looks at concepts such as membership and belonging,
and highlights the relation between citizenship, rights, and
democracy. Bellamy also examines the challenges confronting the
very possibility of citizenship today, the impact of globalization,
the desirability of "global citizenship," the teaching of
citizenship in schools, citizenship tests for immigrants, and the
many different definitions and types of citizenship in modern
How envy, spite, and the pursuit of admiration influence politics Why do governments underspend on policies that would make their constituents better off? Why do people participate in contentious politics when they could reap benefits if they were to abstain? In Envy in Politics, Gwyneth McClendon contends that if we want to understand these and other forms of puzzling political behavior, we should pay attention to envy, spite, and the pursuit of admiration--all manifestations of our desire to maintain or enhance our status within groups. Drawing together insights from political philosophy, behavioral economics, psychology, and anthropology, McClendon explores how and under what conditions status motivations influence politics. Through surveys, case studies, interviews, and an experiment, McClendon argues that when concerns about in-group status are unmanaged by social conventions or are explicitly primed by elites, status motivations can become drivers of public opinion and political participation. McClendon focuses on the United States and South Africa--two countries that provide tough tests for her arguments while also demonstrating that the arguments apply in different contexts. From debates over redistribution to the mobilization of collective action, Envy in Politics presents the first theoretical and empirical investigation of the connection between status motivations and political behavior.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, ""Father of the Constitution,"" were two of the most important Founders of the United States as well as the closest of political allies. Yet historians have often seen a tension between the idealistic rhetoric of the Declaration and the more pedestrian language of the Constitution. Moreover, to some, the adoption of the Constitution represented a repudiation of the democratic values of the Revolution. In this book, Jeff Broadwater explores the evolution of the constitutional thought of these two seminal American figures, from the beginning of the American Revolution through the adoption of the Bill of Rights. In explaining how the two political compatriots could have produced such seemingly dissimilar documents but then come to a common constitutional ground, Broadwater reveals how their collaboration-and their disagreements-influenced the full range of constitutional questions during this early period of the American republic.
Just as Donald Trump's victorious campaign for the US presidency shocked liberal Americans, the seemingly sudden national prominence of white supremacists, xenophobes, militia leaders, and mysterious Alt-Right leaders mystifies many. But the extreme Right has been growing steadily in the US since the 1990s, with the rise of Patriot militias; following 9/11, when conspiracy theorists found fresh life; and in virulent reaction to the first black president of the country. Nurtured by a powerful right-wing media sector in radio, TV, and online, the Far Right, Tea Party movement conservatives, and Republican activists found common ground in Producerist ideology and constitutionalist interpretations of US law an alternative America that is resurgent, even as it has been ignored by the political establishment and mainstream media. Investigative reporter David Neiwert has been tracking extremists for more than two decades, and here he provides a deeply reported and authoritative report on the background, mindset, and growth on the ground of Far Right movements across the country. The product of years of reportage, and including the most in-depth investigation of Trump's ties to Far Right figures, this is a crucial book about one of the most disturbing sides of the US.
The migration and settlement of 11 million unauthorized immigrants is among the leading political challenges facing the United States today. The majority of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. have been here for more than five years, and are settling into American communities, working, forming families, and serving in the military, even though they may be detained and deported if they are discovered. An open question remains as to what to do about unauthorized immigrants who are already living in the United States. On one hand it is important that the government sends a message that future violations of immigration law will not be tolerated. On the other sits a deeper ethical dilemma that is the focus of this book: what do the state and citizens owe to unauthorized immigrants who have served their adopted country? Earned Citizenship argues that long-term unauthorized immigrant residents should be able to earn legalization and a pathway to citizenship through service in their adopted communities. Their service would act as restitution for immigration law violations. Military service in particular would merit naturalization in countries with a strong citizen-soldier tradition, including the United States. The book also considers the civic value of caregiving as a service to citizens and the country, contending that family immigration policies should be expanded to recognize the importance of caregiving duties for dependents. This argument is part of a broader project in political theory and public policy aimed at reconciling civic republicanism with a feminist ethic of care, and its emphasis on dependency work. As a whole, Earned Citizenship provides a non-humanitarian justification for legalizing unauthorized immigrants based on their contributions to citizens and institutions in their adopted nation.
America is in civic chaos, its politics rife with conspiracy theories and false information. Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the rise, while scientists, universities, and news organizations are viewed with increasing mistrust. Its citizens reject scientific evidence on climate change and vaccinations while embracing myths of impending apocalypse. And then there is Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who won the support of millions of conservative Christians despite having no moral or political convictions. What is going on? The answer, according to J. Eric Oliver and Thomas J. Wood, can be found in the most important force shaping American politics today: human intuition. Much of what seems to be irrational in American politics arises from the growing divide in how its citizens make sense of the world. On one side are rationalists. They use science and reason to understand reality. On the other side are intuitionists. They rely on gut feelings and instincts as their guide to the world. Intuitionists believe in ghosts and End Times prophecies. They embrace conspiracy theories, disbelieve experts, and distrust the media. They are stridently nationalistic and deeply authoritarian in their outlook. And they are the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. The primary reason why Trump captured the presidency was that he spoke about politics in a way that resonated with how Intuitionists perceive the world. The Intuitionist divide has also become a threat to the American way of life. A generation ago, intuitionists were dispersed across the political spectrum, when most Americans believed in both God and science. Today, intuitionism is ideologically tilted toward the political right. Modern conservatism has become an Intuitionist movement, defined by conspiracy theories, strident nationalism, and hostility to basic civic norms. Enchanted America is a clarion call to rationalists of all political persuasions to reach beyond the minority and speak to intuitionists in a way they understand. The values and principles that define American democracy are at stake.
Realism and constructivism, two key contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of international relations, are commonly taught as mutually exclusive ways of understanding the subject. Realist Constructivism explores the common ground between the two, and demonstrates that, rather than being in simple opposition, they have areas of both tension and overlap. There is indeed space to engage in a realist constructivism. But at the same time, there are important distinctions between them, and there remains a need for a constructivism that is not realist, and a realism that is not constructivist. Samuel Barkin argues more broadly for a different way of thinking about theories of international relations, that focuses on the corresponding elements within various approaches rather than on a small set of mutually exclusive paradigms. Realist Constructivism provides an interesting new way for scholars and students to think about international relations theory.
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