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A Bridge between Scholarship and Politics
Although democracy is a widely held value, concrete measurement of it is elusive. Gerardo L. Munck’s constructive assessment of the methods used to measure democracies promises to bring order to the debate in academia and in practice. Drawing on his years of academic research on democracy and measurement and his practical experience evaluating democratic practices for the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Munck's discussion bridges the theories of academia with practical applications. In proposing a more open and collaborative relationship between theory and action, he makes the case for reassessing how democracy is measured and encourages fundamental changes in methodology. Munck’s field-tested framework for quantifying and qualifying democracy is built around two instruments he developed: the UN Development Programme’s Electoral Democracy Index and a case-by-case election monitoring tool used by the OAS. Measuring Democracy offers specific, real-world lessons that scholars and practitioners can use to improve the quality and utility of data about democracy.
Strategies for Equitable and Integrated Development
Despite rapid metropolitanization throughout the Americas and widespread interest in “megacities,” few studies have examined the new governance structures needed to address issues of citizen representation and participation and the public service challenges of population expansion and increasing urban inequalities. To fill that void, Peter K. Spink, Peter M. Ward, Robert H. Wilson, and the other contributors to this volume provide original research and analysis of the principal metropolitan areas in six federalist countries of the Americas—Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela. They find that a common feature of metropolitan expansion is the lack of a unified governmental structure. Using a comparative research framework, they examine the forms, functions, legitimacy, and performance of emerging governmental structures. Their cross-national study shows that existing institutional structures and political systems impede collaboration among governments in metropolitan areas. Given both the relatively few successful models at the local level and the disinterest on the part of federal governments, regional governments—states and provinces—seem to provide the most pragmatic bases for constructing metropolitan governments that are capable of efficiently delivering services. Because there is no direct path to achieve such new structures, the authors urge reform at the state and local levels to address the need to work out the politics and management structures that will function best within their own politics.
A Comparative Study of the 2012 Elections
In 2012, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—which had governed Mexico with an iron grip for 71 years before being ousted in 2000—was surprisingly returned to power. In Mexico's Evolving Democracy, a team of distinguished political scientists delivers an exceptional analysis of the remarkable 2012 Mexican elections. Extending the scholarship that the editors generated in their panel studies of the 2000 and 2006 elections, the book assesses all three elections from both traditional and nontraditional vantage points, seeking fuller answers to the lingering question of why this maturing democracy returned the party associated with Mexico’s old regime to office. To evaluate the PRI’s rehabilitation and eventual electoral success, the authors explore Mexico’s electoral institutions, parties, candidates, campaign strategies, public opinion surveys, and media coverage. They also delve into issues of clientelism, corruption, drugs, violence, and the rise of new protest movements in the run-up to and aftermath of the elections. Not only does the book provide rich detail for Latin American electoral and democratization scholars, but its coherent narrative will also appeal to those unfamiliar with Mexican politics. Parts one and two offer an excellent recap of the “state of play” in 2012; part three analyzes why Mexicans voted as they did; and part four considers the election’s implications for Mexico’s political system more broadly.
Military Politics and Democracy in the Andes challenges conventional theories regarding military behavior in post-transition democracies. Through a deeply researched comparative analysis of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian armies, Maiah Jaskoski argues that militaries are concerned more with the predictability of their missions than with sovereignty objectives set by democratically elected leaders. Jaskoski gathers data from interviews with public officials, private sector representatives, journalists, and more than 160 Peruvian and Ecuadorian officers from all branches of the military. The results are surprising. Ecuador’s army, for example, fearing the uncertainty of border defense against insurgent encroachment in the north, neglected this duty, thereby sacrificing the state’s security goals, acting against government orders, and challenging democratic consolidation. Instead of defending the border, the army has opted to carry out policing functions within Ecuador, such as combating the drug trade. Additionally, by ignoring its duty to defend sovereignty, the army is available to contract out its policing services to paying, private companies that, relative to the public, benefit disproportionately from army security. Jaskoski also looks briefly at this theory's implications for military responsiveness to government orders in democratic Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela, and in newly formed democracies more broadly.
Islam and the Theory of Statecraft
In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 it seems as if “Islamic fundamentalists” has emerged as the bête noire of the post-Cold War world. A whole cottage industry has emerged that depicts Islam as nothing more than a sign system (clerics, veils, guns, flag burnings, fist-waving) and subject of traumatic news (terrorists, assassins, hostage takers, etc). The monolithic characterization of Muslims assumes that there is a unitary “Islamic” position on important issues of statecraft and governance. The aim of “Mirror for the Muslim Prince” is to move beyond the fashionable yet cursory understanding of Muslims’ beliefs regarding power and statecraft. By assembling a group of world class scholars, this book challenges a host of exalted assumptions and theories concerning political power in the Muslim world. Contributors to the volume include Charles Butterworth, Serif Mardin, Muzaffar Alam, and Roxanne L. Euben.
Civil-Military Relations and the United Nations
The Myth of the Democratic Peacekeeper reevaluates how United Nations peacekeeping missions reform (or fail to reform) their participating members. It investigates how such missions affect military organizations and civil-military relations as countries transition to a more democratic system. Two-thirds of the UN’s peacekeepers come from developing nations, many of which are transitioning to democracy as well. The assumption is that these “blue helmet” peacekeepers learn not only to appreciate democratic principles through their mission work but also to develop an international outlook and new ideas about conflict prevention. Arturo C. Sotomayor debunks this myth, arguing that democratic practices don’t just “rub off” on UN peacekeepers. So what, if any, benefit accrues to these troops from emerging democracies? In this richly detailed study of a decade’s worth of research (2001–2010) on Argentine, Brazilian, and Uruguayan peacekeeping participation, Sotomayor draws upon international socialization theory and civil-military relations to understand how peacekeeping efforts impact participating armed forces. He asks three questions: Does peacekeeping reform military organizations? Can peacekeeping socialize soldiers to become more liberalized and civilianized? Does peacekeeping improve defense and foreign policy integration? His evaluation of the three countries’ involvement in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti reinforces his final analysis—that successful democratic transitions must include a military organization open to change and a civilian leadership that exercises its oversight responsibilities. The Myth of the Democratic Peacekeeper contributes to international relations theory and to substantive issues in civil-military relations and comparative politics. It provides a novel argument about how peacekeeping works and further insight into how international factors affect domestic politics as well as how international institutions affect democratizing efforts.
Stephen J. King considers the reasons that international and domestic efforts toward democratization have failed to take hold in the Arab world. Focusing on Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Algeria, he suggests that a complex set of variables characterizes authoritarian rule and helps to explain both its dynamism and its persistence. King addresses, but moves beyond, how religion and the strongly patriarchal culture influence state structure, policy configuration, ruling coalitions, and legitimization and privatization strategies. He shows how the transformation of authoritarianism has taken place amid shifting social relations and political institutions and how these changes have affected the lives of millions. Ultimately, King's forward-thinking analysis offers a way to enhance the prospects for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.
Between Decentralization and Centralization in the Activation Era
Detailed examination of the territorial and governance dimensions of contemporary welfare reforms in the United States and Europe.
The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories
A critical examination of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Israel in cases relating to the Occupied Territories. The Occupation of Justice presents the first comprehensive discussion of the Supreme Court of Israel’s decisions on petitions challenging policies and actions of the authorities in the West Bank and Gaza since their occupation during the 1967 Six-Day War. Kretzmer addresses issues including: the basis for the Court’s jurisdiction; application and interpretation of the international law of belligerent occupation; the legality of civilian settlements and highway construction; and security measures such as curfews, deportations and housing demolitions. While pertaining to a specific political and legal context, this case study has broader implications regarding how courts in democratic countries act in times of conflict and crisis. It shows that at such times domestic courts tend to close ranks with the executive branch against those elements that are perceived as external threats to society.
The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation, and Accountability
Decisions about "who gets what, when, and how" are perhaps the most important that any government must make. So it should not be remarkable that around the world, public officials responsible for public budgeting are facing demands from their own citizenry, other government officials, economic actors, and increasingly from international sources to make their patterns of spending more transparent and their processes more participatory.
Surprisingly, rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of fiscal transparency is thin at best. Open Budgets seeks to fill this gap in existing knowledge by answering a few broad questions: How and why do improvements in fiscal transparency and participation come about? How are they sustained over time? When and how do increased fiscal transparency and participation lead to improved government responsiveness and accountability?
Contributors: Steven Friedman (Rhodes University/University of Johannesburg); Jorge Antonio Alves (Queens College, CUNY) and Patrick Heller (Brown University); Jong-sung You (University of California San Diego) and Wonhee Lee (Hankyung National University); John M. Ackerman (National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexican Law Review); Aaron Schneider (University of Denver) and Annabella España-Najéra (California State UniversityFresno); Barak D. Hoffman (Georgetown University); Jonathan Warren and Huong Nguyen (University of Washington); Linda Beck (University of MaineFarmington and Columbia University), E. H. Seydou Nourou Toure (Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire), and Aliou Faye (Senegal Ministry of the Economy and Finance).