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Social Sciences > Political Science > Political Theory
Oral History, Analysis, Debates
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.
Political Imagination and Community
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?
Racial Coalitions and Political Power in Oakland
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.
Economy, Ecology, and Political Theology
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.
Agent-Based Models of Competition and Collaboration
Robert Axelrod is widely known for his groundbreaking work in game theory and complexity theory. He is a leader in applying computer modeling to social science problems. His book The Evolution of Cooperation has been hailed as a seminal contribution and has been translated into eight languages since its initial publication. The Complexity of Cooperation is a sequel to that landmark book. It collects seven essays, originally published in a broad range of journals, and adds an extensive new introduction to the collection, along with new prefaces to each essay and a useful new appendix of additional resources. Written in Axelrod's acclaimed, accessible style, this collection serves as an introductory text on complexity theory and computer modeling in the social sciences and as an overview of the current state of the art in the field.
The articles move beyond the basic paradigm of the Prisoner's Dilemma to study a rich set of issues, including how to cope with errors in perception or implementation, how norms emerge, and how new political actors and regions of shared culture can develop. They use the shared methodology of agent-based modeling, a powerful technique that specifies the rules of interaction between individuals and uses computer simulation to discover emergent properties of the social system. The Complexity of Cooperation is essential reading for all social scientists who are interested in issues of cooperation and complexity
With 150 accessible articles written by more than 130 leading experts, this essential reference provides authoritative introductions to some of the most important and talked-about topics in American history and politics, from the founding to today. Abridged from the acclaimed Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History, this is the only single-volume encyclopedia that provides comprehensive coverage of both the traditional topics of U.S. political history and the broader forces that shape American politics--including economics, religion, social movements, race, class, and gender. Fully indexed and cross-referenced, each entry provides crucial context, expert analysis, informed perspectives, and suggestions for further reading.
Contributors include Dean Baker, Lewis Gould, Alex Keyssar, James Kloppenberg, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Lisa McGirr, Jack Rakove, Nick Salvatore, Stephen Skowronek, Jeremi Suri, Julian Zelizer, and many more.
- Key political periods, from the founding to today
- Political institutions, major parties, and founding documents
- The broader forces that shape U.S. politics, from economics, religion, and social movements to race, class, and gender
- Ideas, philosophies, and movements
- The political history and influence of geographic regions
The Catholic Church and Political Parties in Europe
Following World War II, the Catholic Church in Europe faced the challenge of establishing political influence with newly emerging democratic governments. The Church became, as Carolyn Warner pointedly argues, an interest group like any other, seeking to attain and solidify its influence by forming alliances with political parties. The author analyzes the Church's differing strategies in Italy, France, and Germany using microeconomic theories of the firm and historical institutionalism. She demonstrates how only a strategic perspective can explain the choice and longevity of the alliances in each case. In so doing, the author challenges earlier work that ignores the costs to interest groups and parties of sustaining or breaking their reciprocal links.
Confessions of an Interest Group challenges the view of the Catholic Church as solely a moral force whose interests are seamlessly represented by the Christian Democratic parties. Blending theory, cultural narrative, and archival research, Warner demonstrates that the French Church's superficial and brief connection with a political party was directly related to its loss of political influence during the War. The Italian Church's power, on the other hand, remained stable through the War, so the Church and the Christian Democrats more easily found multiple grounds for long-term cooperation. The German Church chose yet another path, reluctantly aligning itself with a new Catholic-Protestant party. This book is an important work that expands the growing literature on the economics of religion, interest group behavior, and the politics of the Catholic Church.
The Peace Treaty of Münster (1648) and the Political Culture of the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Monarchy
The Peace of Münster, signed between the Catholic Monarchy and the United Provinces in 1648, went against the political culture of both polities. The fact that the Spanish Monarchy definitively accepted the independence of its former subjects clearly negated the policy put forward by the Monarchy during the ‘eighty' years that the war lasted and to the Monarchy's declared main goals. For the United Provinces, signing a peace with the archenemy without having brought liberty and religious freedom to ten of the seventeen provinces that formed part of the ancient Burgundian circle was also considered by important groups in the ‘rebel' provinces as a defection. Portraying the political culture of both the Catholic Monarchy and the United Provinces, this work analyses the views held in both territories concerning the points which were discussed in pamphlets and treatises published during the peace negotiations. It also traces the origin of the arguments presented, showing how they were transformed during the period under study, and discusses their influence, or presence, in the diplomatic negotiations among the ambassadors of the United Provinces and the Catholic Monarchy in the German town of Münster. These discussions are inserted in the wider framework of a Christian realm that had to reassess its own values as a consequence of the confessionalisation process and the Thirty Years' War, which affected not only the Empire but, in one way or another, all Central and Western Europe.
Six Lessons from the West's Past
How should the Western world today respond to the challenges of political Islam? Taking an original approach to answer this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism’s struggle with secularism to other prolonged ideological clashes in Western history. By examining the past conflicts that have torn Europe and the Americas—and how they have been supported by underground networks, fomented radicalism and revolution, and triggered foreign interventions and international conflicts—John Owen draws six major lessons to demonstrate that much of what we think about political Islam is wrong.
Owen focuses on the origins and dynamics of twentieth-century struggles among Communism, Fascism, and liberal democracy; the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contests between monarchism and republicanism; and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of religion between Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and others. Owen then applies principles learned from the successes and mistakes of governments during these conflicts to the contemporary debates embroiling the Middle East. He concludes that ideological struggles last longer than most people presume; ideologies are not monolithic; foreign interventions are the norm; a state may be both rational and ideological; an ideology wins when states that exemplify it outperform other states across a range of measures; and the ideology that wins may be a surprise.
Looking at the history of the Western world itself and the fraught questions over how societies should be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends some of the conventional wisdom about the current upheavals in the Muslim world.