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The City on the Hill From Below

The Crisis of Prophetic Black Politics

Authored by Stephen Marshall

Within the discipline of American political science and the field of political theory, African American prophetic political critique as a form of political theorizing has been largely neglected. Stephen Marshall, in The City on the Hill from Below, interrogates the political thought of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison to reveal a vital tradition of American political theorizing and engagement with an American political imaginary forged by the City on the Hill.

Originally articulated to describe colonial settlement, state formation, and national consolidation, the image of the City on the Hill has been transformed into one richly suited to assessing and transforming American political evil. The City on the Hill from Below shows how African American political thinkers appropriated and revised languages of biblical prophecy and American republicanism.

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The Clash of Ideas in World Politics

Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010

John M. Owen IV

Some blame the violence and unrest in the Muslim world on Islam itself, arguing that the religion and its history is inherently bloody. Others blame the United States, arguing that American attempts to spread democracy by force have destabilized the region, and that these efforts are somehow radical or unique. Challenging these views, The Clash of Ideas in World Politics reveals how the Muslim world is in the throes of an ideological struggle that extends far beyond the Middle East, and how struggles like it have been a recurring feature of international relations since the dawn of the modern European state.

John Owen examines more than two hundred cases of forcible regime promotion over the past five centuries, offering the first systematic study of this common state practice. He looks at conflicts between Catholicism and Protestantism between 1520 and the 1680s; republicanism and monarchy between 1770 and 1850; and communism, fascism, and liberal democracy from 1917 until the late 1980s. He shows how regime promotion can follow regime unrest in the eventual target state or a war involving a great power, and how this can provoke elites across states to polarize according to ideology. Owen traces how conflicts arise and ultimately fade as one ideology wins favor with more elites in more countries, and he demonstrates how the struggle between secularism and Islamism in Muslim countries today reflects broader transnational trends in world history.

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Classical Greek Oligarchy

A Political History

Matthew Simonton

Classical Greek Oligarchy thoroughly reassesses an important but neglected form of ancient Greek government, the "rule of the few." Matthew Simonton challenges scholarly orthodoxy by showing that oligarchy was not the default mode of politics from time immemorial, but instead emerged alongside, and in reaction to, democracy. He establishes for the first time how oligarchies maintained power in the face of potential citizen resistance. The book argues that oligarchs designed distinctive political institutions—such as intra-oligarchic power sharing, targeted repression, and rewards for informants—to prevent collective action among the majority population while sustaining cooperation within their own ranks.

To clarify the workings of oligarchic institutions, Simonton draws on recent social science research on authoritarianism. Like modern authoritarian regimes, ancient Greek oligarchies had to balance coercion with co-optation in order to keep their subjects disorganized and powerless. The book investigates topics such as control of public space, the manipulation of information, and the establishment of patron-client relations, frequently citing parallels with contemporary nondemocratic regimes. Simonton also traces changes over time in antiquity, revealing the processes through which oligarchy lost the ideological battle with democracy for legitimacy.

Classical Greek Oligarchy represents a major new development in the study of ancient politics. It fills a longstanding gap in our knowledge of nondemocratic government while greatly improving our understanding of forms of power that continue to affect us today.

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The Clinton Wars

The Constitution, Congress, and War Powers

Ryan C. Hendrickson

"The Clinton Wars is a timely and significant examination of the war powers issue. I know of no other work that treats the major uses of force in the Clinton administration so thoroughly from the vantage point of legislative-executive interaction. Moreover, because there is a growing body of literature on congressional assertiveness of late, this book makes an important contribution to this debate." --James M. Scott, author of Deciding to Intervene: The Reagan Doctrine and American Foreign Policy Today the United States is fighting a "war" against terrorism, a military action whose definition will be a matter of controversy, particularly, if history is any guide, between Congress and the president. Throughout its history, the United States has grappled with the constitutional tension built into the conduct of its foreign affairs and the interpretation of the power to make war and use force abroad. Since the Cold War's end, the United States has had to navigate through a period of strategic ambiguity, where American national security interests are much less certain.  Ryan Hendrickson examines the behavior of the Clinton administration and Congress in dealing with the range of American military operations that occurred during the Clinton presidency. He uses a case-study approach, laying out the foreign background and domestic political controversies in separate chapters on Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. Of special interest after the World Trade Center attacks is the chapter "Terrorism: Usama Bin Laden." The author analyzes a number of factors that influence the domestic decision-making process. We see the president relying on congressional consultation and approval during periods of political or personal weakness, and, conversely, in better times we see a president with a freer hand. Also influential is the ability of the public to comprehend and support the reasons for a particular action, with troops in Bosnia requiring more explanation than cruise missiles over Baghdad. Consideration is given to the relevance and effectiveness of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a Watergate-era attempt by Congress to restore what it perceived to be its legitimate constitutional role in the decision to use force abroad.

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The Closed Commercial State

Perpetual Peace and Commercial Society from Rousseau to Fichte

Isaac Nakhimovsky

This book presents an important new account of Johann Gottlieb Fichte's Closed Commercial State, a major early nineteenth-century development of Rousseau and Kant's political thought. Isaac Nakhimovsky shows how Fichte reformulated Rousseau's constitutional politics and radicalized the economic implications of Kant's social contract theory with his defense of the right to work. Nakhimovsky argues that Fichte's sequel to Rousseau and Kant's writings on perpetual peace represents a pivotal moment in the intellectual history of the pacification of the West. Fichte claimed that Europe could not transform itself into a peaceful federation of constitutional republics unless economic life could be disentangled from the competitive dynamics of relations between states, and he asserted that this disentanglement required transitioning to a planned and largely self-sufficient national economy, made possible by a radical monetary policy. Fichte's ideas have resurfaced with nearly every crisis of globalization from the Napoleonic wars to the present, and his book remains a uniquely systematic and complete discussion of what John Maynard Keynes later termed "national self-sufficiency." Fichte's provocative contribution to the social contract tradition reminds us, Nakhimovsky concludes, that the combination of a liberal theory of the state with an open economy and international system is a much more contingent and precarious outcome than many recent theorists have tended to assume.

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Cold War Endgame

Oral History, Analysis, Debates

Edited by William C. Wohlforth

Cold War Endgame is the product of an unusual collaborative effort by policymakers and scholars to promote better understanding of how the Cold War ended. It includes the transcript of a conference, hosted by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh, in which high-level veterans of the Bush and Gorbachev governments shared their recollections and interpretations of the crucial events of 1989-91: the revolutions in Eastern Europe; the reuni¹cation of Germany; the Persian Gulf War; the August 1991 coup; and the collapse of the USSR. Taking this testimony as a common reference and drawing on the most recent evidence available, six chapters follow in which historians and political scientists explore the historical and theoretical puzzles presented by this extraordinary transition. This discussion features a debate over the relative importance of ideas, personality, and economic pressures in explaining the Cold War's end.

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Collective Dreams

Political Imagination and Community

Keally D. McBride

How do we go about imagining different and better worlds for ourselves? Collective Dreams looks at ideals of community, frequently embraced as the basis for reform across the political spectrum, as the predominant form of political imagination in America today. Examining how these ideals circulate without having much real impact on social change provides an opportunity to explore the difficulties of practicing critical theory in a capitalist society. Different chapters investigate how ideals of community intersect with conceptions of self and identity, family, the public sphere and civil society, and the state, situating community at the core of the most contested political and social arenas of our time. Ideals of community also influence how we evaluate, choose, and build the spaces in which we live, as the author’s investigations of Celebration, Florida, and of West Philadelphia show. Following in the tradition of Walter Benjamin, Keally McBride reveals how consumer culture affects our collective experience of community as well as our ability to imagine alternative political and social orders. Taking ideals of community as a case study, Collective Dreams also explores the structure and function of political imagination to answer the following questions: What do these oppositional ideals reveal about our current political and social experiences? How is the way we imagine alternative communities nonetheless influenced by capitalism, liberalism, and individualism? How can these ideals of community be used more effectively to create social change?

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The Color of Power

Racial Coalitions and Political Power in Oakland

Frédérick Douzet. Translated by George Holoch

The Color of Power is a fascinating examination of the changing politics of race in Oakland, California. Oakland has been at the forefront of California’s multicultural changes for decades. Since the 1960s, the city has been a shining example of a fruitful liberal black-and-white political partnership and the successful incorporation of black politicians into the political landscape. But over the past forty years, the balance of power has changed as a consequence of dramatic demographic trends and economic circumstances. The city’s formerly dominant biracial political machine has been challenged by the demands of new multiracial interests.

The city, once governed by a succession of black mayors and majority black city councils, must now accommodate rapidly growing Asian and Latino communities. While the black-led coalition still relies on white progressive support, this alliance has weakened due to a shift in the progressives’ agenda and the voting habits of the black community, the rise of a Hispanic-Asian coalition, and a strong demographic decline of the African-American population. With similar demographic changes taking place across the nation, Oakland’s experience provides insight into the multiracial future of other American cities.

The Color of Power investigates Oakland’s contemporary racial politics with a detailed study of conflicts over issues like education, elections and political representation, and crime. Trained as a journalist, a political scientist, and a geographer, the author provides a unique perspective supported by numerous maps and extensive interviews.

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Common Goods

Economy, Ecology, and Political Theology

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre

In the face of globalized ecological and economic crises, how do religion, the postsecular, and political theology reconfigure political theory and practice? As the planet warms and the chasm widens between the 1 percent and the global 99, what thinking may yet energize new alliances between religious and irreligious constituencies? This book brings together political theorists, philosophers, theologians, and scholars of religion to open discursive and material spaces in which to shape a vibrant planetary commons. Attentive to the universalizing tendencies of "the common," the contributors seek to reappropriate the term in response to the corporate logic that asserts itself as a universal solvent. In the resulting conversation, the common returns as an interlinked manifold, under the ethos of its multitudes and the ecology of its multiplicity. Beginning from what William Connolly calls the palpable "fragility of things," Common Goods assembles a transdisciplinary political theology of the Earth. With a nuance missing from both atheist and orthodox religious approaches, the contributors engage in a multivocal conversation about sovereignty, capital, ecology, and civil society. The result is an unprecedented thematic assemblage of cosmopolitics and religious diversity; of utopian space and the time of insurrection; of Christian socialism, radical democracy, and disability theory; of quantum entanglement and planetarity; of theology fleshly and political.

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Communism for Kids

Bini Adamczak

Once upon a time, people yearned to be free of the misery of capitalism. How could their dreams come true? This little book proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism. Offering relief for many who have been numbed by Marxist exegesis and given headaches by the earnest pompousness of socialist politics, it presents political theory in the simple terms of a children's story, accompanied by illustrations of lovable little revolutionaries experiencing their political awakening.It all unfolds like a story, with jealous princesses, fancy swords, displaced peasants, mean bosses, and tired workers--not to mention a Ouija board, a talking chair, and a big pot called "the state." Before they know it, readers are learning about the economic history of feudalism, class struggles in capitalism, different ideas of communism, and more. Finally, competition between two factories leads to a crisis that the workers attempt to solve in six different ways (most of them borrowed from historic models of communist or socialist change). Each attempt fails, since true communism is not so easy after all. But it's also not that hard. At last, the people take everything into their own hands and decide for themselves how to continue. Happy ending? Only the future will tell. With an epilogue that goes deeper into the theoretical issues behind the story, this book is perfect for all ages and all who desire a better world.

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