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Choices Women Make Cover

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Choices Women Make

Agency in Domestic Violence, Assisted Reproduction, and Sex Work

Carisa R. Showden

Women’s agency: Is it a matter of an individual’s capacity for autonomy? Or of the social conditions that facilitate freedom? Combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, Carisa R. Showden investigates what exactly makes an agent and how that agency influences the ways women make inherently sensitive and difficult choices—specifically in instances of domestic violence, assisted reproduction, and sex work.

In Showden’s analysis, women’s agency emerges as an individual and social construct, rooted in concrete experience, complex and changing over time. She traces the development and deployment of agency, illustrating how it plays out in the messy workings of imperfect lives. In a series of case studies, she considers women within situations of intimate partner violence, reproductive decision making, and sex work such as prostitution and pornography. Each narrative offers insight into how women articulate their self-understanding and political needs in relation to the pressures they confront.

Showden’s understanding of women’s agency ultimately leads her to review possible policy and legal interventions that could improve the conditions within which agency develops and that could positively enhance women’s ability to increase and exercise their political and personal options.

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Christianity in Southeast Asia

Robbie B. H. Goh

This book briefly recounts the history of the establishment and expansion of Christianity in Southeast Asia from the colonial times onwards. With the exception of the Philippines, Christianity has been a minor religion in much of Southeast Asia, albeit one whose followers have sometimes had a disproportionate impact on education and other sectors of society. The author focuses on the current expansion of aggressive evangelical Christian groups in particular, and their prospects for increasing their following in various countries in the region and what the possible implications could be.

Circles of Exclusion Cover

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Circles of Exclusion

The Politics of Health Care in Israel

In its early years, Israel's dominant ideology led to public provision of health care for all Jewish citizens-regardless of their age, income, or ability to pay. However, the system has shifted in recent decades, becoming increasingly privatized and market-based. In a familiar paradox, the wealthy, the young, and the healthy have relatively easy access to health care, and the poor, the old, and the very sick confront increasing obstacles to medical treatment.

In Circles of Exclusion, Dani Filc, both a physician and a human rights activist, forcefully argues that in present-day Israel, equal access to health care is constantly and systematically thwarted by a regime that does not extend an equal level of commitment to the well-being of all residents of Israel, whether Jewish, Israeli Palestinians, migrant workers, or Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Filc explores how Israel's adoption of a neoliberal model has pushed the system in a direction that gives priority to the strongest and richest individuals and groups over the needs of society as a whole, and to profit and competition over care.

Filc pays special attention to the repercussions of policies that define citizenship in a way that has serious consequences for the health of groups of Palestinians who are Israeli citizens-particularly the Bedouins in the unrecognized villages-and to the ways in which this structure of citizenship affects the health of migrant workers. The health care situation is even more dire in the Occupied Territories, where the Occupation, especially in the last two decades, has negatively affected access to medical care and the health of Palestinians. Filc concludes his book with a discussion of how human rights, public health, and economic imperatives can be combined to produce a truly equal health care system that provides high-quality services to all Israelis.

Cities and Sovereignty Cover

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Cities and Sovereignty

Identity Politics in Urban Spaces

Edited by Diane E. Davis and Nora Libertun de Duren

Cities have long been associated with diversity and tolerance, but from Jerusalem to Belfast to the Basque Country, many of the most intractable conflicts of the past century have played out in urban spaces. The contributors to this interdisciplinary volume examine the interrelationships of ethnic, racial, religious, or other identity conflicts and larger battles over sovereignty and governance. Under what conditions do identity conflicts undermine the legitimacy and power of nation-states, empires, or urban authorities? Does the urban built environment play a role in remedying or exacerbating such conflicts? Employing comparative analysis, these case studies from the Middle East, Europe, and South and Southeast Asia advance our understanding of the origins and nature of urban conflict.

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Cities and the Health of the Public

Edited by Nicholas Freudenberg, Sandro Galea, and David Vlahov

The essays commissioned for this book analyze the impact of city living on health, focusing primarily on conditions in the United States. With 16 chapters by 24 internationally recognized experts, the book introduces an ecological approach to the study of the health of urban populations. This book assesses the primary determinants of well-being in cities, including the social and physical environments, diet, and health care and social services. The book includes chapters on the history of public health in cities, the impact of urban sprawl and urban renewal on health, and the challenges facing cities in the developing world. It also examines conditions such as infectious diseases, violence and disasters, and mental illness.

Cities for Sale Cover

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Cities for Sale

Municipalities as Public Relations and Marketing Firms

Examines how US cities have adopted the tactics of public relations and marketing firms to “brand” themselves.

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Citizen Lawmakers

"[B]oth an engrossing history and a guide showing how citizens can make their own laws directly, at the ballot box, when elected officials are unresponsive." —Ralph Nader After decades of disuse, a startling upsurge in the use of the Initiative and Referendum—law-making by citizen petition and popular vote—occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. In Citizen Lawmakers, David Schmidt tells the stories of the individual activists, such as Howard Jarvis and Ed Koupal, and the political groups that made this happen. While other studies have analyzed the statistics of the ballot initiative revolution, this book provides the personal, political, and historical contexts vital to understanding the causes and the tremendous impact of the trend toward ballot-box lawmaking over the last two decades. Schmidt demonstrates how "ordinary individuals, even in this age of monstrous bureaucracies and larger-than-life celebrities, can, and do, change this nation’s laws to make government more accountable." Although still neglected in contemporary political science texts, the initiative process has become the most dynamic, innovative arena of American politics. Between 1968 and 1982, the number of voter-initiated propositions on state ballots increased from 10 to 60, with issues moving from purely local to national movements, such as the Tax Revolt (heralded by California’s Proposition 13 in 1978), "Motor Voter" initiatives started in Arizona and Colorado, Bottle Bills and non-smoking ordinances, and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze votes of 1982. As the editor of a nationwide newsletter on the subject and a participant in some of the initiative and referendum campaigns he describes, David Schmidt brings to the writing a wealth of first-hand detail. After tracing the historical origins of the Initiative and Referendum, the book focuses on case studies of the most widespread ballot issues and the most prominent initiative campaign promoters in the 1970s and 1980s. Discussing recent efforts to put national initiative lawmaking rights into the federal Constitution, Schmidt makes a case for the ballot initiative process as an essential complement and corrective to the American system of lawmaking by elected representatives. Citizen Lawmakers is also a handbook for activists. From his experiences in many states, Schmidt provides advice on gathering signatures, complying with state regulations, gaining media coverage, combating opponents’ tactics, and raising money. This book concludes with appendixes that give a state-by-state capsule history of initiative use and voting results for each of the fifty states and include the results of the votes on propositions from the November 1988 election. "As one of the nation's leading authorities on the referendum and initiative processes, David Schmidt has prepared a thoughtful, positive overview of one of the most significant electoral phenomena of our time." —Edmund G. Brown, Jr., former Governor of California "The definitive work on citizens and ballot initiatives.... This study offers citizen activists a manual on how to run a citizen campaign during the ballot initiative revolution and presents, in the appendixes, a comprehensive data on initiative voting in each of the states. The contribution to citizen activism and participatory democracy is the most significant characteristic of Schmidt's volume. The book is well written, well researched, and important. Strongly recommended for citizens interested in being counted once again in the American political system." —Choice "An important work that addresses a wide audience.... Unlike much of the work written on the subject, this book provides the reader with both the historical perspective and empirical data.... This work should be read by those interested in the political process." —Perspectives on Political Science "The book may convince some readers that ordinary people make better policy than politicians do." —California Lawyer "Important reading for those who aspire to influence public policy.... [Schmidt] is at his absolute best and the book is at its most invaluable when it focuses on how to effectively us I&R." —Chicago Enterprise

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Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City

Somerville, MA

Overcoming a past of deteriorating homes, empty storefronts, and corrupt city administrations, Somerville, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, today proudly defines itself as a longtime immigrant city, a historically blue collar town, and a hip new urban center with a progressive city government.

In Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City, Susan Ostrander shows how beneath current high levels of engagement by Somerville residents lies a struggle about who should be the city's elected leaders and how they should conduct the city's affairs. It is a struggle waged between diverse residents--relatively new immigrants and a new middle class-trying to gain a foothold in democratic participation, and the city's political "old guard." 

Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City informs current debates about the place of immigrants in civic and political life, and the role of voluntary associations in local politics and government. In the process, Ostrander provides useful lessons for many midsize urban communities.
 

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The City After Abandonment

Edited by Margaret Dewar and June Manning Thomas

A number of U.S. cities, former manufacturing centers of the Northeast and Midwest, have suffered such dramatic losses in population and employment that urban experts have put them in a class by themselves, calling them "rustbelt cities," "shrinking cities," and more recently "legacy cities." This decline has led to property disinvestment, extensive demolition, and abandonment. While much policy and planning have focused on growth and redevelopment, little research has investigated the conditions of disinvested places and why some improvement efforts have greater impact than others.

The City After Abandonment brings together essays from top urban planning experts to focus on policy and planning issues related to three questions. What are cities becoming after abandonment? The rise of community gardens and artists' installations in Detroit and St. Louis reveal numerous unexamined impacts of population decline on the development of these cities. Why these outcomes? By analyzing post-hurricane policy in New Orleans, the acceptance of becoming a smaller city in Youngstown, Ohio, and targeted assistance to small areas of Baltimore, Cleveland, and Detroit, this book assesses how varied institutions and policies affect the process of change in cities where demand for property is very weak. What should abandoned areas of cities become? Assuming growth is not a choice, this book assesses widely cited formulas for addressing vacancy; analyzes the sustainability plans of Cleveland, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Baltimore; suggests an urban design scheme for shrinking cities; and lays out ways policymakers and planners can approach the future through processes and ideas that differ from those in growing cities.

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