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Two Stories of Liberal Society
Western liberal societies are characterized by two stories: a positive story of freedom of conscience and the recognition of community and human rights, and a negative story of unrestrained freedom that leads to self-centeredness, vacuity, and the destructive compromise of human values. Can the Catholic Church play a more meaningful role in assisting liberal societies in telling their better story? Australian ethicist Robert Gascoigne thinks it can. In The Church and Secularity he considers the meaning of secularity as a shared space for all citizens and asks how the Church can contribute to a sensitivity toùand respect forùhuman dignity and human rights. Drawing on AugustineÆs City of God and Vatican IIÆs Gaudium et spes, Gascoigne interprets the meaning of freedom in liberal societies through the lens of AugustineÆs ôtwo loves,ö the love of God and neighbor and the love of self, and reveals how the two are connected to our contemporary experience. The Church and Secularity argues that the Church can serve liberal societies in a positive way and that its own social identity, rooted in Eucharistic communities, must be bound up with the struggle for human rights and resistance to the commodification of the human in all its forms.
Promises Made, Promises Kept?
Although a frequently discussed reform, campaigns to merge a major municipality and county to form a unified government fail to win voter approval eighty per cent of the time. One cause for the low success rate may be that little systematic analysis of consolidated governments has been done.
In City--County Consolidation, Suzanne Leland and Kurt Thurmaier compare nine city--county consolidations -- incorporating data from 10 years before and after each consolidation -- to similar cities and counties that did not consolidate. Their groundbreaking study offers valuable insight into whether consolidation meets those promises made to voters to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these governments.
The book will appeal to those with an interest in urban affairs, economic development, local government management, general public administration, and scholars of policy, political science, sociology, and geography.
New Strategies for Local Governments
Local governments do not stand alone—they find themselves in new relationships not only with state and federal government, but often with a widening spectrum of other public and private organizations as well. The result of this re-forming of local governments calls for new collaborations and managerial responses that occur in addition to governmental and bureaucratic processes-as-usual, bringing locally generated strategies or what the authors call "jurisdiction-based management" into play. Based on an extensive study of 237 cities within five states, Collaborative Public Management provides an in-depth look at how city officials work with other governments and organizations to develop their city economies and what makes these collaborations work. Exploring the more complex nature of collaboration across jurisdictions, governments, and sectors, Agranoff and McGuire illustrate how public managers address complex problems through strategic partnerships, networks, contractual relationships, alliances, committees, coalitions, consortia, and councils as they function together to meet public demands through other government agencies, nonprofit associations, for-profit entities, and many other types of nongovernmental organizations. Beyond the "how" and "why," Collaborative Public Management identifies the importance of different managerial approaches by breaking them down into parts and sequences, and describing the many kinds of collaborative activities and processes that allow local governments to function in new ways to address the most nettlesome public challenges.
New Ideas for the Twenty-first Century
Today’s public managers not only have to function as leaders within their agencies, they must also establish and coordinate multi-organizational networks of other public agencies, private contractors, and the public. This important transformation has been
Islam, Christianity, and Religious Pluralism
Christian-Muslim interaction is a reality today in all corners of the globe, but while many celebrate the commonality of these traditions, significant differences remain. If these religions cannot be easily reconciled, can we perhaps view them through a single albeit refractive lens? This is the approach Paul Heck takes in Common Ground: To undertake a study of religious pluralism as a theological and social reality, and to approach the two religions in tandem as part of a broader discussion on the nature of the good society. Rather than compare Christianity and Islam as two species of faith, religious pluralism offers a prism through which a society as a wholeùsecular and religious alikeùcan consider its core beliefs and values. Christianity and Islam are not merely identities that designate particular communities, but reference points that all can comprehend and discuss knowledgeably. This analysis of how Islam and Christianity understand theology, ethics, and politicsùspecifically democracy and human rightsùoffers a way for that discussion to move forward.
Revelation, Translation, and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam
Communicating the Word is a record of the 2008 Building Bridges seminar, an annual dialogue between leading Christian and Muslim scholars convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Featuring the insights of internationally known Christian and Muslim scholars, the essays collected here focus attention on key scriptural texts but also engage with both classical and contemporary Islamic and Christian thought. Issues addressed include, among others, the different ways in which Christians and Muslims think of their scriptures as the “Word of God,” the possibilities and challenges of translating scripture, and the methods—and conflicts—involved in interpreting scripture in the past and today.
In his concluding reflections, Archbishop Rowan Williams draws attention to a fundamental point emerging from these fascinating contributions: “Islam and Christianity alike give a high valuation to the conviction that God speaks to us. Grasping what that does and does not mean . . . is challenging theological work.”
A Comprehensive Approach for International Security
More than ever, international security and economic prosperity depend upon safe access to the shared domains that make up the global commons: maritime, air, space, and cyberspace. Together these domains serve as essential conduits through which international commerce, communication, and governance prosper. However, the global commons are congested, contested, and competitive. In the January 2012 defense strategic guidance, the United States confirmed its commitment “to continue to lead global efforts with capable allies and partners to assure access to and use of the global commons, both by strengthening international norms of responsible behavior and by maintaining relevant and interoperable military capabilities.”
In the face of persistent threats, some hybrid in nature, and their consequences, Conflict and Cooperation in the Global Commons provides a forum where contributors identify ways to strengthen and maintain responsible use of the global commons. The result is a comprehensive approach that will enhance, align, and unify commercial industry, civil agency, and military perspectives and actions.
Honest Numbers, Power, and Policymaking
Created in 1974, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has become one of the most influential forces in national policymaking. A critical component of our system of checks and balances, the CBO has given Congress the analytical capacity to challenge the president on budget issues while it protects the public interest, providing honest numbers about Congress's own budget proposals. The book discusses the CBO's role in larger budget policy and the more narrow "scoring" of individual legislation, such as its role in the 2009--2010 Obama health care reform. It also describes how the first director, Alice Rivlin, and seven successors managed to create and sustain a nonpartisan, highly credible agency in the middle of one of the most partisan institutions imaginable.
The Congressional Budget Office: Honest Numbers, Power, and Policy draws on interviews with high-level participants in the budget debates of the last 35 years to tell the story of the CBO. A combination of political history, economic history, and organizational development, The Congressional Budget Office offers an important, first book-length history of this influential agency.
The Feminist Politics of U.S. Catholic and Iranian Shi'i Women
Much feminist scholarship has viewed Catholicism and Shi'i Islam as two religious traditions that, historically, have greeted feminist claims with skepticism or outright hostility. Creative Conformity demonstrates how certain liberal secular assumptions about these religious traditions are only partly correct and, more importantly, misleading. In this highly original study, Elizabeth Bucar compares the feminist politics of eleven U.S. Catholic and Iranian Shi'i women and explores how these women contest and affirm clerical mandates in order to expand their roles within their religious communities and national politics.
Using scriptural analysis and personal interviews, Creative Conformity demonstrates how women contribute to the production of ethical knowledge within both religious communities in order to expand what counts as feminist action, and to explain how religious authority creates an unintended diversity of moral belief and action. Bucar finds that the practices of Catholic and Shi'a women are not only determined by but also contribute to the ethical and political landscape in their respective religious communities. She challenges the orthodoxies of liberal feminist politics and, ultimately, strengthens feminism as a scholarly endeavor.
When Richard A. McCormick's The Critical Calling was first published, Andrew M. Greeley commented that in years to come scholars will look back on Father McCormick's work and say, 'This was a man who knew what he was talking about!' In this reissue, with