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The Anxiety of Freedom

Imagination and Individuality in Locke's Political Thought

Uday Singh Mehta

The enduring appeal of liberalism lies in its commitment to the idea that human beings have a "natural" potential to live as free and equal individuals. The realization of this potential, however, is not a matter of nature, but requires that people be molded by a complex constellation of political and educational institutions. In this eloquent and provocative book, Uday Singh Mehta investigates in the major writings of John Locke the implications of this tension between individuals and the institutions that mold them. The process of molding, he demonstrates, involves an external conformity and an internal self-restraint that severely limit the scope of individuality.
Mehta explores the centrality of the human imagination in Locke’s thought, focusing on his obsession with the potential dangers of the cognitive realm. Underlying Locke’s fears regarding the excesses of the imagination is a political anxiety concerning how to limit their potential effects. In light of Locke’s views on education, Mehta concludes that the promise of liberation at the heart of liberalism is vitiated by its constraints on cognitive and political freedom.

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Armed State Building

Confronting State Failure, 1898-2012

by Paul D. Miller

Since 1898, the United States and the United Nations have deployed military force more than three dozen times in attempts to rebuild failed states. Currently there are more state-building campaigns in progress than at any time in the past century—including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Sudan, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Lebanon—and the number of candidate nations for such campaigns in the future is substantial. Even with a broad definition of success, earlier campaigns failed more than half the time. In this book, Paul D. Miller brings his decade in the U.S. military, intelligence community, and policy worlds to bear on the question of what causes armed, international state-building campaigns by liberal powers to succeed or fail.

The United States successfully rebuilt the West German and Japanese states after World War II but failed to build a functioning state in South Vietnam. After the Cold War the United Nations oversaw relatively successful campaigns to restore order, hold elections, and organize post-conflict reconstruction in Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, and elsewhere, but those successes were overshadowed by catastrophes in Angola, Liberia, and Somalia. The recent effort in Iraq and the ongoing one in Afghanistan—where Miller had firsthand military, intelligence, and policymaking experience—are yielding mixed results, despite the high levels of resources dedicated and the long duration of the missions there. Miller outlines different types of state failure, analyzes various levels of intervention that liberal states have tried in the state-building process, and distinguishes among the various failures and successes those efforts have provoked.

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Armee et politique au Niger

Niger's political history has lacked a synthesis on the army's involvement in politics since independence. The country is a fertile ground for such analysis. Between 1964 and 1999, the country witnessed three successful military coups during the democratisation process (April 1974, January 1996, and April 1999) and at least four military coup attempts (1964, 1975, 1976, 1983). In its forty years of independence, Niger has been under military rule for twenty-one years. It has also experienced seven different institutional regimes while four out of the six presidents who headed the country were soldiers. Niger evolved from the Second to the Fifth Republic in less than ten years - from the national conference (November 1991) to the last military coup (April 1999). In statistical terms, Niger has been witnessing a military coup or a military coup attempt every five-years since 1974. In addition to that, the country recorded seven mutinies and various other forms of troop rebellion between December 1963 and August 2000. In terms of institutional instability, Niger's record is unparalleled in Africa. A study on the army is therefore more needed than ever before. The recurrence with which the military appears on the political scene imposes another way of looking at Niger's army. A critical analysis of the military phenomenon, if not an assessment, would help envisage new prospects for Niger's future. This work, which was undertaken by a multi disciplinary team, suggests an analysis, from a historical and sociological perspective, of the long-standing involvement of the army in politics (the apparition of war leaders in the 19th century, the transition from colonial army to national army, the politicisation of the army and the emergence of 'military-politicians', the army sociology.). It aims at providing an answer to a key question: Why is the army so deeply involved in politics in Niger? It reveals how a significant military component has been gradually built up in Niger's political arena to become a highly dynamic political entrepreneur, able to compete with civilian politicians. The work shows, on the one hand, the significance of socio-political and economic contexts that promote the propensity for military interventionism, and on the other hand the transformations within the army that explain its propensity to intervene. It relates two decades of 'military rule', analyses their modes of legitimating, organising and managing power, gives an assessment of their economic policies and sheds light on women's role in that institution, which was thus far a men's business.

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Artifacts of Thinking

Reading Hannah Arendt's Denktagebuch

Edited by Roger Berkowitz, and Ian Storey

Artifacts of Thinking: Reading Arendt’s Denktagebuch offers a path through Hannah Arendt’s recently published Denktagebuch, or “Book of Thoughts.” In this book a number of innovative Arendt scholars come together to ask how we should think about these remarkable writings in the context of Arendt’s published writing and broader political thinking. Unique in its form, the Denktagebuch offers brilliant insights into Arendt’s practice of thinking and writing. Artifacts of Thinking provides an introduction to the Denktagebuch as well as a glimpse of these fascinating but untranslated fragments that reveal not only Arendt’s understanding of “the life of the mind,” but her true lived experience of it.

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As If God Existed

Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy

Maurizio Viroli

Religion and liberty are often thought to be mutual enemies: if religion has a natural ally, it is authoritarianism--not republicanism or democracy. But in this book, Maurizio Viroli, a leading historian of republican political thought, challenges this conventional wisdom. He argues that political emancipation and the defense of political liberty have always required the self-sacrifice of people with religious sentiments and a religious devotion to liberty. This is particularly the case when liberty is threatened by authoritarianism: the staunchest defenders of liberty are those who feel a deeply religious commitment to it.

Viroli makes his case by reconstructing, for the first time, the history of the Italian "religion of liberty," covering its entire span but focusing on three key examples of political emancipation: the free republics of the late Middle Ages, the Risorgimento of the nineteenth century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the twentieth century. In each example, Viroli shows, a religious spirit that regarded moral and political liberty as the highest goods of human life was fundamental to establishing and preserving liberty. He also shows that when this religious sentiment has been corrupted or suffocated, Italians have lost their liberty.

This book makes a powerful and provocative contribution to today's debates about the compatibility of religion and republicanism.

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Austin-Boston Connection

Five Decades of House Democratic Leadership, 1937–1989

By Anthony Champagne, Douglas B. Harris, James W. Riddlesperger Jr. and Garrison Nelson

For the more than fifty years that Democrats controlled the U.S. House of Representatives, leadership was divided between Massachusetts and Texas. When the Speaker was from Texas (or nearby Oklahoma), the Majority Leader was from the Boston area, and when the Speaker was from Boston, the Majority Leader was from Texas.  The Austin-Boston Connection analyzes the importance of the friendships (especially mentor-protégé relationships) and enmities within congressional delegations, regional affinities, and the lynchpin practice of appointing the Democratic Whip.

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Avoiding War with China

Two Nations, One World

Amitai Etzioni

Are the United States and China on a collision course? In response to remarks made by Donald Trump’s secretary of state, China’s state-run newspaper Global Times asserted, "Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the [disputed] islands will be foolish." Some experts contend that conflict is inevitable when an established power does not make sufficient room for a rising power. In this timely new work, renowned professor of international relations Amitai Etzioni explains why this would be disastrous and points to the ways the two nations can avoid war.

The United States is already preparing for a war with China, Etzioni reveals. However, major differences of opinion exist among experts on the extent of military commitment required, and no plan has been formally reviewed by either Congress or the White House, nor has any been subjected to a public debate. Etzioni seeks here to provide a context for this long overdue discussion and to explore the most urgent questions: How aggressive is China? How powerful is it? Does it seek merely regional influence, or regional dominance, or to replace the United States as the global superpower?

The most effective means of avoiding war, several experts argue, requires integrating China into the prevailing rule-based, liberal, international order. Etzioni spells out how this might be achieved and considers what can be done to improve the odds such an integration will take place. Others call for containing or balancing China, and Etzioni examines the risk posed by our alliances with various countries in the region, particularly India and Pakistan.

With insight and clarity Etzioni presents our best strategy to reduce tension between the two powers, mapping out how the United States can accommodate China’s regional rise without undermining its core interests, its allies, and the international order.

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Ayn Rand

The Russian Radical

By Chris Matthew Sciabarra

Author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of over thirty million copies of her works, there have been few serious scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides a comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker. It has been nearly twenty years since the original publication of Chris Sciabarra’s Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. Those years have witnessed an explosive increase in Rand sightings across the social landscape: in books on philosophy, politics, and culture; in film and literature; and in contemporary American politics, from the rise of the Tea Party to recent presidential campaigns. During this time Sciabarra continued to work toward the reclamation of the dialectical method in the service of a radical libertarian politics, culminating in his book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Penn State, 2000). In this new edition of Ayn Rand, Chris Sciabarra adds two chapters that present in-depth analysis of the most complete transcripts to date documenting Rand’s education at Petrograd State University. A new preface places the book in the context of Sciabarra’s own research and the recent expansion of interest in Rand’s philosophy. Finally, this edition includes a postscript that answers a recent critic of Sciabarra’s historical work on Rand. Shoshana Milgram, Rand’s biographer, has tried to cast doubt on Rand’s own recollections of having studied with the famous Russian philosopher N. O. Lossky. Sciabarra shows that Milgram’s analysis fails to cast doubt on Rand’s recollections—or on Sciabarra’s historical thesis.

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The Banality of Heidegger

Jean-Luc Nancy

Heidegger and Nazism: Ever since the philosopher’s public involvement in state politics in 1933, his name has necessarily been a part of this unsavory couple. After the publication in 2014 of the private Black Notebooks, it is now unambiguously part of another: Heidegger and anti-Semitism. What do we learn from analyzing the anti-Semitism of these private writings, together with its sources and grounds, not only for Heidegger’s thought, but for the history of the West in which this thought is embedded? Jean-Luc Nancy poses these questions with the depth and rigor we would expect from him. In doing so, he does not go lightly on Heidegger, in whom he finds a philosophical and “historial” anti-Semitism, outlining a clash of “peoples” that must at all costs arrive at “another beginning.” If Heidegger’s uncritical acceptance of prejudices and long-debunked myths about “world Jewry” shares in the “banality” evoked by Hannah Arendt, this does nothing to lessen the charge. Nancy’s purpose, however, is not simply to condemn Heidegger but rather to invite us to think something to which the thinker of being remained blind: anti-Semitism as a self-hatred haunting the history of the West—and of Christianity in its drive toward an auto-foundation that would leave behind its origins in Judaism.

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Banished to the Great Northern Wilderness

Political Exile and Re-education in Mao’s China

Ning Wang

After Mao Zedong’s Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957–58, Chinese intellectuals were subjected to "re-education" by the state. In Banished to the Great Northern Wilderness, Ning Wang draws on labor farm archives, interviews, and memoirs to provide a remarkable look at the suffering and complex psychological world of these banished Beijing intellectuals. Wang’s use of newly uncovered Chinese-language sources challenges the concept of the intellectual as renegade martyr, showing how exiles often declared allegiance to the state for self-preservation. While Mao’s campaign victimized the banished, many of those same people also turned against their comrades. Wang describes the ways in which the state sought to remold the intellectuals, and he illuminates the strategies the exiles used to deal with camp officials and improve their chances of survival.

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