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Democracy’s Blameless Leaders Cover

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Democracy’s Blameless Leaders

From Dresden to Abu Ghraib, How Leaders Evade Accountability for Abuse, Atrocity, and Killing

From the American and British counter-insurgency in Iraq to the bombing of Dresden and the Amristar Massacre in India, civilians are often abused and killed when they are caught in the cross-fire of wars and other conflicts. In Democracy’s Blameless Leaders, Neil Mitchell examines how leaders in democracies manage the blame for the abuse and the killing of civilians, arguing that politicians are likely to react in a self-interested and opportunistic way and seek to deny and evade accountability.
Using empirical evidence from well-known cases of abuse and atrocity committed by the security forces of established, liberal democracies, Mitchell shows that self-interested political leaders will attempt to evade accountability for abuse and atrocity, using a range of well-known techniques including denial, delay, diversion, and delegation to pass blame for abuse and atrocities to the lowest plausible level. Mitchell argues that, despite the conventional wisdom that accountability is a ‘central feature’ of democracies, it is only a rare and courageous leader who acts differently, exposing the limits of accountability in democratic societies. As democracies remain embroiled in armed conflicts, and continue to try to come to grips with past atrocities, Democracy’s Blameless Leaders provides a timely analysis of why these events occur, why leaders behave as they do, and how a more accountable system might be developed.

Democracy's Promise Cover

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Democracy's Promise

Immigrants and American Civic Institutions

Janelle S. Wong

The massive demographic changes in the United States during the past few decades have made understanding the place of immigrants in the public sphere more critical than ever. Democracy's Promise examines both the challenges and opportunities posed to American civic institutions by the presence of increasing numbers of immigrants. "As political parties (perhaps) decline in the United States, as civic organizations (perhaps) move away from direct participatory politics, and as the number of immigrants certainly increases--what will link new Americans to the political realm? Janelle Wong answers this important question clearly, with elegance, nuance, rich description, and galvanizing provocativeness. Her evidence is compelling and her sense of urgency about the need for parties to look beyond short-term interests even more so." --Jennifer L. Hochschild, Harvard University "Wong draws on the Latino and Asian immigrant experience, with specific examples from the Chinese and Mexican communities of New York and Los Angeles, to show how the political parties have largely failed to organize these groups and why labor unions and immigrant advocacy organizations have stepped in to take their place. Far from 'disuniting' America, she clearly shows that bringing these groups into the political fray is central to the project of renewing American democracy." --John Mollenkopf, CUNY Graduate Center "A scathing critique of the role of parties in the mobilization of new immigrants and an invaluable analysis of alternative pathways of mobilization through community organizations." --Michael Jones-Correa, Cornell University "By employing multiple empirical methods, including in-depth interviews and sophisticated survey analyses, Janelle Wong provides a compelling account of the political activities and allegiances of America's Asian and Latino immigrants that challenges much conventional wisdom. Often the political parties are failing to reach out to these groups, and often immigrants remain concerned about their home countries; but they are nonetheless increasingly active in American politics, in ways that may do much to shape the course of American political development in the 21st century. Democracy's Promise is a major contribution to our understanding of this crucial dimension of American politics." --Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania "Democracy's Promise challenges political parties to reexamine their priorities for mobilizing new voters, and identifies the critical role civic institutions play in invigorating participation among immigrant citizens. Wong's analysis is at once precise and expansive; illuminating the contours of Latino and Asian American political incorporation and provoking thoughtful debate on inclusion in democratic theory." --Jane Junn, Rutgers University Janelle S. Wong is Assistant Professor of Political Science and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Democratic Theorizing from the Margins Cover

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Democratic Theorizing from the Margins

Marla Brettschneider

Democratic Theorizing from the Margins lays out the basic parameters of diversity-based politics as a still emerging form of democratic theory. Students, activists, and scholars engage in diversity politics on the ground, but generally remain unable to conceptualize a broad understanding of how "politics from the margins"-that is, political thinking and action that comes from groups often left on the outside of mainstream organizing and action-operates effectively in different contexts and environments. Brettschneider offers concrete lessons from many movements to see what they tell us about a new sort of democratic politics. She also addresses traditional democratic theories and draws on the myriad discerning practices employed by marginalized groups in their political activism to enhance the critical capacities of potential movements committed both to social change and democratic action.

Democratizing or Reconfiguring Predatory Autocracy? Myths and Realities in Africa Today Cover

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Democratizing or Reconfiguring Predatory Autocracy? Myths and Realities in Africa Today

Myths and Realities in Africa Today

The celebrations that heralded democratic change in the 1990s in Africa have gradually faded into muffled cries of anger and attendant violence of despair. Almost everywhere on the continent so-called democratic leaders are openly subverting the people's will and disregarding national constitutions. Ordinary people find themselves removed from the centres of power, marginalized and reduced to helpless and hopeless onlookers as political leaders, their friends and families noisily enjoy the spoils of impunity. From Nigeria to Zimbabwe, Kenya to the Ivory Coast and Uganda to Cameroon, the writing is on the wall. The experiment with democracy has blatantly taken a dangerous nosedive. There is a crisis of honest, committed and democratic leadership, in spite of the advancements in education and intellectualism of the populace, and despite the influences of globalization and new understandings of governance. In this brief volume, Tatah Mentan makes an incisive diagnosis of how the "security forces" brutally crush protests against bids to stay in power through corrupt electoral practices as well as how opposition voices have been hunted down and crushed or intimidated into graveyard silence. This is a clarion call for Africans to embrace the values of People Power in synch with the dictates of the current global imperatives. There is no place for visionless leadership. Africans need to raise their voices to recapture their freedom.

Designing Democratic Government Cover

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Designing Democratic Government

Making Institutions Work

What are the essential elements of a democracy? How can nations ensure a political voice for all citizens, and design a government that will respond to those varied voices? These perennial questions resonate strongly in the midst of ongoing struggles to defend democratic institutions around the world and here at home. In Designing Democratic Government, a group of distinguished political scientists provides a landmark cross-national analysis of the institutions that either facilitate or constrain the healthy development of democracy. The contributors to Designing Democratic Government use the democratic ideals of fairness, competitiveness, and accountability as benchmarks to assess a wide variety of institutions and practices. John Leighly and Jonathan Nagler find that in the U.S., the ability to mobilize voters across socioeconomic lines largely hinges on the work of non-party groups such as civic associations and unions, which are far less likely than political parties to engage in class-biased outreach efforts. Michael McDonald assesses congressional redistricting methods and finds that court-ordered plans and close adherence to the Voting Rights Act effectively increase the number of competitive electoral districts, while politically-drawn maps reduce the number of competitive districts. John Carey and John Polga-Hecimovich challenge the widespread belief that primary elections produce inferior candidates. Analyzing three decades worth of comprehensive data on Latin American presidential campaigns, they find that primaries impart a stamp of legitimacy on candidates, helping to engage voters and mitigate distrust in the democratic process. And Kanchan Chandra proposes a paradigm shift in the way we think about ethnic inclusion in democracies: nations should design institutions that actively promote—rather than merely accommodate—diversity. At a moment when democracy seems vulnerable both at home and abroad, Designing Democratic Government sorts through a complex array of practices and institutions to outline what works and what doesn’t in new and established democracies alike. The result is a volume that promises to change the way we look at the ideals of democracy worldwide.

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Designing Democratic Institutions

Nomos XLII

Ian Shapiro, Stephen Macedo

As the principles and practices of democracy continue to spread ever more widely, it is hard to imagine a corner of the globe into which they will not eventually penetrate. But the euphoria of democratic revolutions is typically short-lived, and usually followed by disgruntlement and even cynicism about the actual operation of democratic institutions. It is widely accepted that democracy is a good thing. However democrats have much work to do in improving the performance of democratic institutions.

The essays in this volume focus on this difficult and vital challenge: how can we improve the design of democratic institutions? How can public deliberation in democracies be enhanced? How can elections be reformed so as to dampen the excessive influence of special interests, especially those with money? How can democratic institutions be reformed so they can deal with issues that transcend the boundaries of the nation-state? And finally, how can democratic practices better take account of the internal plurality of societies that are ethnically or otherwise divided?

Contributors: Brooke Ackerly, Ian Ayres, Geoffrey Brennan, John Ferejohn, Alan Hamlin, Russell Hardin, Donald Horowitz, Stephen Macedo, Philip Petit, Philippe C. Schmitter, Ian Shapiro, Philippe Van Parjis, Iris Marion Young.

Detroit's Cold War Cover

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Detroit's Cold War

The Origins of Postwar Conservatism

Colleen Doody

Detroit's Cold War locates the roots of American conservatism in a city that was a nexus of labor and industry in postwar America. Drawing on meticulous archival research focusing on Detroit, Colleen Doody shows how conflict over business values and opposition to labor, anticommunism, racial animosity, and religion led to the development of a conservative ethos in the aftermath of World War II. _x000B__x000B_Using Detroit--with its large population of African-American and Catholic workers, strong union presence, and starkly segregated urban landscape--as a case study, Doody articulates a nuanced understanding of anticommunism during the Red Scare. Looking beyond national politics, she focuses on key debates occurring at the local level among a wide variety of common citizens. In examining this city's social and political fabric, Doody illustrates that domestic anticommunism was a cohesive, multifaceted ideology that arose less from Soviet ideological incursion than from tensions within the American public._x000B_

Dignity and Health Cover

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Dignity and Health

Nora Jacobson

In these hard times of global financial peril and growing social inequality, injuries to dignity are pervasive. "Indignity has many faces," one man told Nora Jacobson as she conducted interviews for this book. Its expressions range from rudeness, indifference, and condescension to objectification, discrimination, and exploitation. Yet dignity can also be promoted. Another man described it as "common respect," suggesting dignity's ordinariness, and the ways we can create and share it through practices like courtesy, leveling, and contribution.


Dignity and Health examines the processes and structures of dignity violation and promotion, traces their consequences for individual and collective health, and uses the model developed to imagine how we might reform our systems of health and social care.


With its focus on the dignity experiences of those often excluded from the mainstream--people who are poor, or homeless, or dealing with mental health problems--as well as on vulnerabilities like age or sickness or unemployment that threaten to make us all feel "less than," Dignity and Health recognizes dignity as a moral matter embedded in the choices we make every day.

Dignity Rights Cover

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Dignity Rights

Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person

Erin Daly

The Dilemmas of American Conservatism Cover

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The Dilemmas of American Conservatism

Kenneth Deutsch

In the second half of the twentieth century, American conservatism emerged from the shadow of New Deal liberalism and developed into a movement exerting considerable influence on the formulation and execution of public policy in the United States. During that period, the political philosophers who provided the intellectual foundations for the American conservative movement were John H. Hallowell, Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, Robert Nisbet, John Courtney Murray, Friedrich Hayek, and Willmoore Kendall. By offering a comprehensive analysis of their thoughts and beliefs, The Dilemmas of American Conservatism both illuminates the American conservative imagination and reveals its most serious contradictions. The contributing authors question whether a core set of conservative principles can be determined based on the frequently diverging perspectives of these key philosophers.

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