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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.
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.
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.
The Origins of Postwar Conservatism
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_
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.
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.
Books on Trial from "Madame Bovary" to "Lolita"
In Dirt for Art's Sake, Elisabeth Ladenson recounts the most visible of modern obscenity trials involving scandalous books and their authors. What, she asks, do these often-colorful legal histories have to tell us about the works themselves and about a changing cultural climate that first treated them as filth and later celebrated them as masterpieces?
Ladenson's narrative starts with Madame Bovary (Flaubert was tried in France in 1857) and finishes with Fanny Hill (written in the eighteenth century, put on trial in the United States in 1966); she considers, along the way, Les Fleurs du Mal, Ulysses, The Well of Loneliness, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Lolita, and the works of the Marquis de Sade. Over the course of roughly a century, Ladenson finds, two ideas that had been circulating in the form of avant-garde heresy gradually became accepted as truisms, and eventually as grounds for legal defense. The first is captured in the formula "art for art's sake"-the notion that a work of art exists in a realm independent of conventional morality. The second is realism, vilified by its critics as "dirt for dirt's sake." In Ladenson's view, the truth of the matter is closer to -dirt for art's sake-"the idea that the work of art may legitimately include the representation of all aspects of life, including the unpleasant and the sordid.
Ladenson also considers cinematic adaptations of these novels, among them Vincente Minnelli's Madame Bovary, Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and the 1997 remake directed by Adrian Lyne, and various attempts to translate de Sade's works and life into film, which faced similar censorship travails. Written with a keen awareness of ongoing debates about free speech, Dirt for Art's Sake traces the legal and social acceptance of controversial works with critical acumen and delightful wit.
Contentious Politics, 1970-1999
Part and parcel to the civil rights movements of the past 30 years has been a sustained, coordinated effort among disabled Americans to secure equal rights and equal access to that of non-disabled people. Beyond merely providing a history of this movement, Sharon Barnartt and Richard Scotch’s Disability Protests: Contentious Politics, 1970–1999 offers an incisive, sociological analysis of 30 years of protests, organization, and legislative victories within the deaf and disabled populations. The authors begin with a thoughtful consideration of what constitutes “contentious” politics and what distinguishes a sustained social movement from isolated acts of protest. The numbers of disability rights protests are meticulously catalogued over the course of 30 years, revealing significant increases in both cross-disability actions as well as disability-specific actions. Political rancor within disability communities is addressed as well. Chapter four, “A Profile of Contentious Actions” confronts the thorny question of who is “deaf enough” or “disabled enough” to adequately represent their constituencies. Barnartt and Scotch conclude by giving special attention to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the 1988 Deaf President Now protest, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, focusing on how these landmark events affected their proponents. Disability Protests offers an entirely original sociological perspective on the emerging movement for deaf and disability rights.
From Charity to Confrontation
In this updated edition, Doris Zames Fleischer and Frieda Zames expand their encyclopedic history of the struggle for disability rights in the United States, to include the past ten years of disability rights activism.The book includes a new chapter on the evolving impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the continuing struggle for cross-disability civil and human rights, and the changing perceptions of disability.
The authors provide a probing analysis of such topics as deinstitutionalization, housing, health care, assisted suicide, employment, education, new technologies, disabled veterans, and disability culture.
Based on interviews with over one hundred activists, The Disability Rights Movement tells a complex and compelling story of an ongoing movement that seeks to create an equitable and diverse society, inclusive of people with disabilities.