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Pluralism by Default

Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics

Lucan Way

Focusing on regime trajectories across the former Soviet Union, Pluralism by Default posits that political competition in "new democracies" has often been grounded less in well-designed institutions, democratic leaders, or emerging civil society and more in the failure of authoritarianism. Lucan Way contends that pluralism has persisted in many cases because autocrats lack the organization, authority, or coordination to steal elections, impose censorship, repress opposition, or keep allies in line. Attention to the dynamics of this "pluralism by default" reveals a largely unrecognized contradiction in the transition process: the same factors that facilitate democratic and semi-democratic political competition may also thwart the development of stable, well-functioning democratic institutions. National divisions or weak states and parties—typically seen as impediments to democracy—can also stymie efforts to crack down on political opposition and concentrate control. Way demonstrates that the features that have made Ukraine the most democratic country in the former Soviet Union also contributed to the country’s extreme dysfunction and descent into war in 2014.

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Political Power and Corporate Control

The New Global Politics of Corporate Governance

Peter A. Gourevitch

Why does corporate governance--front page news with the collapse of Enron, WorldCom, and Parmalat--vary so dramatically around the world? This book explains how politics shapes corporate governance--how managers, shareholders, and workers jockey for advantage in setting the rules by which companies are run, and for whom they are run. It combines a clear theoretical model on this political interaction, with statistical evidence from thirty-nine countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America and detailed narratives of country cases.

This book differs sharply from most treatments by explaining differences in minority shareholder protections and ownership concentration among countries in terms of the interaction of economic preferences and political institutions. It explores in particular the crucial role of pension plans and financial intermediaries in shaping political preferences for different rules of corporate governance. The countries examined sort into two distinct groups: diffuse shareholding by external investors who pick a board that monitors the managers, and concentrated blockholding by insiders who monitor managers directly. Examining the political coalitions that form among or across management, owners, and workers, the authors find that certain coalitions encourage policies that promote diffuse shareholding, while other coalitions yield blockholding-oriented policies. Political institutions influence the probability of one coalition defeating another.

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The Politics of State Feminism: Innovation in Comparative Research

The Politics of State Feminism addresses essential questions of women's movement activism and political change in western democracies. The authors—top gender and politics scholars—provide a comparative analysis of the effectiveness of government agencies and women's movements regarding women’s policy issues—if, how, and why they form a kind of state feminism.

The central research questions are examined across five issue areas in thirteen postindustrial democracies in Europe and North America from the 1960s through the early 2000s. The authors explore a range of topics drawn from contemporary theory, interactions between descriptive and substantive representation, and the place of institutions in democratic change.

Using the innovative qualitative and quantitative methods employed by the Research Network on Gender Politics and the State, the authors have developed a new body of theories about the role of state feminism and how it can help further women’s rights.

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Postcolonial Insecurities

India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood

Sankaran Krishna

This ambitious work explores the vexed connections among nation-building, ethnic identity, and regional conflict by focusing on a specific event: Indian political and military intervention in the ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka. Drawing on interviews with leading players in the Indian–Sri Lankan debacle, Sankaran Krishna offers a persuasive analysis of this episode. The intervention serves as a springboard to a broader inquiry into the interworkings of nation building, ethnicity, and “foreign” policy. Krishna argues that the modernist effort to construct nation-states on the basis of singular notions of sovereignty and identity has reached a violent dead end in the postcolonial world of South Asia. Showing how the nationalist agenda that seeks to align territory with identity has unleashed a spiral of regional, statist, and insurgent violence, he makes an eloquent case for reimagining South Asia along postnational lines—as a “confederal” space. Postcolonial Insecurities counters the perception of “ethnicity” as an inferior and subversive principle compared with the progressive ideal of the “nation.” Krishna, in fact, shows ethnicity to be indispensable to the production and reproduction of the nation itself.

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The Poverty Law Canon

Exploring the Major Cases

Marie A. Failinger and Ezra Rosser, Editors

The Poverty Law Canon takes readers into the lives of the clients and lawyers who brought critical poverty law cases in the United States. These cases involved attempts to establish the right to basic necessities, as well as efforts to ensure dignified treatment of welfare recipients and to halt administrative attacks on federal program benefit levels. They also confronted government efforts to constrict access to justice, due process, and rights to counsel in child support and consumer cases, social welfare programs, and public housing. By exploring the personal narratives that gave rise to these lawsuits as well as the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the Supreme Court, the text locates these cases within the social dynamics that shaped the course of litigation.
 
Noted legal scholars explain the legal precedent created by each case and set the case within its historical and political context in a way that will assist students and advocates in poverty-related disciplines in their understanding of the implications of these cases for contemporary public policy decisions in poverty programs. Whether the focus is on the clients, on the lawyers, or on the justices, the stories in The Poverty Law Canon illuminate the central legal themes in federal poverty law of the late 20th century and the role that racial and economic stereotyping plays in shaping American law.
 

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Power and Change in Iran

Politics of Contention and Conciliation

Edited by Daniel Brumberg and Farideh Farhi

This volume provides an unparalleled and timely look at political, social, economic, and ideological dynamics in contemporary Iran. Through chapters on social welfare and privatization, university education, the role and authority of the Supreme Leader, the rule of law, the evolving electoral system, and the intense debate over human rights within and outside the regime, the contributors offer a comprehensive overview of Iranian politics. Their case studies reveal a society whose multiple vectors of contestation, negotiation, and competition are creating possibilities for transformation that are yet to be realized but whose outcome will affect the Islamic Republic, the region, and relations with the United States.

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Power and Military Effectiveness

The Fallacy of Democratic Triumphalism

Michael C. Desch

Since 1815 democratic states have emerged victorious from most wars, leading many scholars to conclude that democracies are better equipped to triumph in armed conflict with autocratic and other non-representative governments. Political scientist Michael C. Desch argues that the evidence and logic of that supposition, which he terms “democratic triumphalism,” are as flawed as the arguments for the long-held and opposite belief that democracies are inherently disadvantaged in international relations. Through comprehensive statistical analysis, a thorough review of two millennia of international relations thought, and in-depth case studies of modern-era military conflicts, Desch finds that the problems that persist in prosecuting wars—from building up and maintaining public support to holding the military and foreign policy elites in check—remain constant regardless of any given state’s form of government. In assessing the record, he finds that military effectiveness is almost wholly reliant on the material assets that a state possesses and is able to mobilize. Power and Military Effectiveness is an instructive reassessment of the increasingly popular belief that military success is one of democracy’s many virtues. International relations scholars, policy makers, and military minds will be well served by its lessons.

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Power Sharing in Deeply Divided Places

Edited by Joanne McEvoy and Brendan O'Leary

Power sharing may be broadly defined as any set of arrangements that prevents one political agency or collective from monopolizing power, whether temporarily or permanently. Ideally, such measures promote inclusiveness or at least the coexistence of divergent cultures within a state. In places deeply divided by national, ethnic, linguistic, or religious conflict, power sharing is the standard prescription for reconciling antagonistic groups, particularly where genocide, expulsion, or coerced assimilation threaten the lives and rights of minority peoples. In recent history, the success record of this measure is mixed.

Power Sharing in Deeply Divided Places features fifteen analytical studies of power-sharing systems, past and present, as well as critical evaluations of the role of electoral systems and courts in their implementation. Interdisciplinary and international in formation and execution, the chapters encompass divided cities such as Belfast, Jerusalem, Kirkuk, and Sarajevo and divided places such as Belgium, Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, as well as the Holy Roman Empire, the Saffavid Empire, Aceh in Indonesia, and the European Union.

Equally suitable for specialists, teachers, and students, Power Sharing in Deeply Divided Places considers the merits and defects of an array of variant systems and provides explanations of their emergence, maintenance, and failings; some essays offer lucid proposals targeted at particular places. While this volume does not presume that power sharing is a panacea for social reconciliation, it does suggest how it can help foster peace and democracy in conflict-torn countries.

Contributors: Liam Anderson, Florian Bieber, Scott A. Bollens, Benjamin Braude, Ed Cairns, Randall Collins, Kris Deschouwer, Bernard Grofman, Colin Irwin, Samuel Issacharoff, Allison McCulloch, Joanne McEvoy, Brendan O'Leary, Philippe van Parijs, Alfred Stepan, Ronald Wintrobe.

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Presidents and Terminal Logic Behavior

Term Limits and Executive Action in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina

Genevieve M. Kehoe

Presidents of nations with constitutionally imposed term limits are often viewed as growing weaker as they approach the end of their time in office. However, in this important new study, political scientist Genevieve M. Kehoe argues that because such chief executives are free from reelection constraint and often still enthusiastic to create a legacy by pursuing bold projects, they may accomplish significant initiatives. Kehoe has developed a concept for this which she calls “Terminal Logic Behavior” (TLB).

Presidents and Terminal Logic Behavior: Term Limits and Executive Action in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina provides both case studies and quantitative evidence to show how US presidents of the last three decades have utilized decrees on foreign, domestic, and environment policy during their final months in office. She finds a systematic pattern of decree use consistent with the mark of TLB in a most unexpected place—presidents’ use of national emergency powers. In a careful comparative analysis, she also finds support for her argument in the Argentinean and Brazilian experience of the same period.

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Privatizing Pensions

The Transnational Campaign for Social Security Reform

Mitchell A. Orenstein

To what extent do international organizations, global policy networks, and transnational policy entrepreneurs influence domestic policy makers? Have we entered a new phase of globalization that, unbeknownst to most citizens, shapes policies that used to be the sole domain of domestic politics? Privatizing Pensions reveals how international institutions--such as the World Bank, USAID, and other transnational policy actors--have played a seminal role in the development, diffusion, and implementation of new pension reforms that are transforming the postwar social contract in more than thirty countries worldwide, including the United States.

Mitchell Orenstein shows how transnational actors have driven change in a policy area once thought to be beyond reform in many countries, and how they have done so by deploying their unique resources and legitimacy to promote new ideas, recruit disciples worldwide, and provide a broad range of technical assistance to government reformers over the long term. He demonstrates that while domestic decision makers may retain veto power over these reforms--which replace traditional social security with individual pension savings accounts--transnational policy makers play the role of "proposal actors," shaping the information, preferences, and resources of their domestic clients.

Privatizing Pensions argues that even the most quintessentially domestic areas of policy have been thoroughly globalized, and that these international influences must be better understood.

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