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Political science & theory

See below for a selection of the latest books from Political science & theory category. Presented with a red border are the Political science & theory books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Political science & theory books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!

Game of Thrones and the Theories of International Relations

Game of Thrones and the Theories of International Relations

Author: Laura D. Young, Nusta Carranza Ko Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/02/2020

For eight seasons the hit HBO series Game of Thrones painted a picture of a fantasy world filled with images such as white walkers (the undead), a three-eyed raven, and dragons. All these elements set the series visually apart, far distant from our realities. And yet, after each episode and season, viewers were left pondering about the wars, political games, diplomacy, and human rights violations that somehow resonated with the world today. Laura D. Young and Nusta Carranza Ko's groundbreaking book provides the answers to these questions that international relations scholars, historians, and fans have been wanting to know. How does Game of Thrones mirror international politics and how may the series provide a useful tool for better understanding the theories, concepts, and thematic issues in international relations? Game of Thrones and the Theories of International Relations connects the prominent international relations theories-realism, liberalism, constructivism, and critical identity theories-to the series, providing examples from various characters whose actions reflect applied scenarios of decision-making and strategizing.

The Oxford Handbook of Kenyan Politics

The Oxford Handbook of Kenyan Politics

Kenya is one of the most politically dynamic and influential countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, it is known in equal measure as a country that has experienced great highs and tragic lows. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kenya was seen as a ''success story of development in the periphery, and also led the way in terms of democratic breakthroughs in 2010 when a new constitution devolved power and placed new constraints on the president. However, the country has also made international headlines for the kind of political instability that occurs when electoral violence is expressed along ethnic lines, such as during the Kenya crisis of 2007/08 when over 1,000 people lost their lives and almost 700,000 were displaced. The Oxford Handbook of Kenyan Politics explains these developments and many more, drawing together 50 specially commissioned chapters by leading researchers. The chapters they have contributed address a range of essential topics including the legacy of colonial rule, ethnicity, land politics, devolution, the constitution, elections, democracy, foreign aid, the informal economy, civil society, human rights, the International Criminal Court, the growing influence of China, economic policy, electoral violence, and the impact of mobile phone technology. In addition to covering some of the most important debates about Kenyan politics, the volume provides an insightful overview of Kenyan history from 1930 to the present day and features a set of chapters that review the impact of devolution on regional politics in every part of the country.

Rural Democracy Elections and Development in Africa

Rural Democracy Elections and Development in Africa

How have African rulers responded to the introduction of democratic electoral competition? Despite the broadly negative picture painted by the prevailing focus on electoral fraud, clientelism, and ethnic conflict, the book argues that the full story is somewhat more promising. While these unfortunate practices may be widespread, African rulers also seek to win votes through the provision and distribution of public goods and services. The author's central argument is that in predominantly rural countries the introduction of competitive elections leads governments to implement pro-rural policies, in order to win the votes of the rural majority. As a result, across much of Africa the benefits of democratic electoral competition have accrued primarily in terms of rural development. This broad claim is supported by cross-national evidence, both from public opinion surveys and from individual level data on health and education outcomes. The argument's core assumptions about voting behavior are supported with quantitative evidence from Ghana, and qualitative historical evidence from Botswana presents further evidence for the underlying theoretical mechanism. Taken together, this body of evidence provides reasons to be optimistic about the operation of electoral accountability in Africa. African governments are responding to the accountability structures provided by electoral competition; in that sense, democracy in Africa is working. Oxford Studies in African Politics and International Relations is a series for scholars and students working on African politics and International Relations and related disciplines. Volumes concentrate on contemporary developments in African political science, political economy, and International Relations, such as electoral politics, democratization, decentralization, the political impact of natural resources, the dynamics and consequences of conflict, and the nature of the continent's engagement with the East and West. Comparative and mixed methods work is particularly encouraged. Case studies are welcomed but should demonstrate the broader theoretical and empirical implications of the study and its wider relevance to contemporary debates. The series focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, although proposals that explain how the region engages with North Africa and other parts of the world are of interest. Series Editors: Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy and International Development, University of Birmingham; and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Professor of the International Politics of Africa, University of Oxford.

Cinema Pessimism A Political Theory of Representation and Reciprocity

Cinema Pessimism A Political Theory of Representation and Reciprocity

Aesthetic and political representation are often treated separately, but this book argues that film offers a unique perspective through which to understand the dangers to equality and freedom that lurk in representative politics. The potential problems of representative democracy have long been debated: does it cultivate apathy and discourage citizen participation? What does it mean to be faithfully or well represented in a democracy? And how can appropriate, meaningful representation be achieved? Here, these questions are addressed from a new perspective. Representation, Joshua Foa Dienstag argues, can create the illusion of freedom and reciprocity in place of the real thing, and in both cinema and politics, what gives us pleasure is not the same as what secures or supports our existence as free and equal citizens. As this book shows, there are political dangers not visible within the current debates around democratic representation, dangers we can better understand and help to minimize by considering the way that human beings interact, emotionally, with their filmic representations. Dienstag looks at a series of films that directly confront issues of representation (Her, Blade Runner, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Melancholia, and the Up documentary series) to diagnose these hazards and consider how best to respond to them. Each chapter looks at a specific film as emblematic of a different conception or problem of representation often ignored by mainstream political debates (such as reciprocity, happiness, boundaries, evil) to show that the relationship between representation and freedom is fraught with tension. This book continues Dienstag's earlier groundbreaking work on philosophical pessimism, understood not as something despairing, but as a rejection of the idea that these necessary tensions can be cured. Ultimately, Dienstag seeks to defend a kind of pessimistic politics that might produce a better sort of democratic representation than what we have today.

Criminalizing Atrocity The Global Spread of Criminal Laws against International Crimes

Criminalizing Atrocity The Global Spread of Criminal Laws against International Crimes

Why do countries adopt criminal legislation making it possible to prosecute government and military officials for human rights violations? Over the past thirty years, dozens of countries have prosecuted their own or other states' officials for past atrocities. In Criminalizing Atrocity, Mark Berlin tells the story of the global spread of national criminal laws against atrocity crimes - genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity - laws that have helped pave the way for this remarkable trend toward greater accountability. He traces the early 20th-century origins of national atrocity laws to a group of influential European criminal law scholars and explains the global patterns by which these laws have since spread. Berlin shows that understanding why countries criminalize atrocities requires understanding how they do so. In many cases, criminalization has not been the result of concerted government initiative, but of inconspicuous choices made by technocratic legal experts who have been delegated authority to draft large-scale reforms to countries' national criminal codes. Drawing on research in comparative law and norm diffusion, Berlin explains how such reform projects prompt technocratic drafters to select legal ideas, like atrocity laws, that have been endorsed by their professional communities and deemed by drafters to be important features of a ''modern'' criminal code. To test this argument, Berlin draws on original quantitative and qualitative data, including in-depth case studies of Guatemala, Poland, Colombia, and the Maldives, and a new, comprehensive dataset tracking the global spread of atrocity laws since Word War II. The book's findings highlight the importance of professional communities in the modern renaissance of atrocity justice and the domestication of international legal norms.

Cinema Pessimism A Political Theory of Representation and Reciprocity

Cinema Pessimism A Political Theory of Representation and Reciprocity

Author: Joshua Foa (Professor of Political Science, Professor of Political Science, UCLA) Dienstag Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/02/2020

Aesthetic and political representation are often treated separately, but this book argues that film offers a unique perspective through which to understand the dangers to equality and freedom that lurk in representative politics. The potential problems of representative democracy have long been debated: does it cultivate apathy and discourage citizen participation? What does it mean to be faithfully or well represented in a democracy? And how can appropriate, meaningful representation be achieved? Here, these questions are addressed from a new perspective. Representation, Joshua Foa Dienstag argues, can create the illusion of freedom and reciprocity in place of the real thing, and in both cinema and politics, what gives us pleasure is not the same as what secures or supports our existence as free and equal citizens. As this book shows, there are political dangers not visible within the current debates around democratic representation, dangers we can better understand and help to minimize by considering the way that human beings interact, emotionally, with their filmic representations. Dienstag looks at a series of films that directly confront issues of representation (Her, Blade Runner, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Melancholia, and the Up documentary series) to diagnose these hazards and consider how best to respond to them. Each chapter looks at a specific film as emblematic of a different conception or problem of representation often ignored by mainstream political debates (such as reciprocity, happiness, boundaries, evil) to show that the relationship between representation and freedom is fraught with tension. This book continues Dienstag's earlier groundbreaking work on philosophical pessimism, understood not as something despairing, but as a rejection of the idea that these necessary tensions can be cured. Ultimately, Dienstag seeks to defend a kind of pessimistic politics that might produce a better sort of democratic representation than what we have today.

The End of the Myth From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

The End of the Myth From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

Author: Greg Grandin Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/02/2020

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a new and eye-opening interpretation of the meaning of the frontier, from early westward expansion to Trump's border wall. Ever since this nation's inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolizing a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States' belief in itself as an exceptional nation--democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new symbol: the border wall. In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of U.S. history--from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016. For centuries, he shows, America's constant expansion--fighting wars and opening markets--served as a gate of escape, helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the country's problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly. And now, the combined catastrophe of the 2008 financial meltdown and our unwinnable wars in the Middle East have slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed elsewhere back home. It is this new reality, Grandin says, that explains the rise of reactionary populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization that catapulted Trump to the presidency. The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism.

Twenty-First Century Socialism

Twenty-First Century Socialism

Author: Jeremy Gilbert Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/02/2020

What causes climate change, social breakdown, rampant inequality and the creeping spread of ubiquitous surveillance? Capitalism. What is the only alternative to capitalism? Socialism. Socialism cannot, however, remain static if it is going to save civilisation from these catastrophes. In this urgent manifesto for a 21st century left, Jeremy Gilbert shows that we need a revitalised socialist politics that learns from the past to adapt to contemporary challenges. He argues that socialism must overcome its industrial origins and give priority to an environmental agenda. In an age of global networks, digital technology and instant communication, central government diktat and restrictions on free speech and movement must be jettisoned. We need to control the economy rather than let it control us - but we must do this by empowering workers, citizens and communities to run their world their way. It's time to take back the wealth, the services and the platforms that our own energy has built. In the digital age, it's time for a new socialism.

Twenty-First Century Socialism

Twenty-First Century Socialism

Author: Jeremy Gilbert Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2020

What causes climate change, social breakdown, rampant inequality and the creeping spread of ubiquitous surveillance? Capitalism. What is the only alternative to capitalism? Socialism. Socialism cannot, however, remain static if it is going to save civilisation from these catastrophes. In this urgent manifesto for a 21st century left, Jeremy Gilbert shows that we need a revitalised socialist politics that learns from the past to adapt to contemporary challenges. He argues that socialism must overcome its industrial origins and give priority to an environmental agenda. In an age of global networks, digital technology and instant communication, central government diktat and restrictions on free speech and movement must be jettisoned. We need to control the economy rather than let it control us - but we must do this by empowering workers, citizens and communities to run their world their way. It's time to take back the wealth, the services and the platforms that our own energy has built. In the digital age, it's time for a new socialism.

End of an Era How China's Authoritarian Revival is Undermining Its Rise

End of an Era How China's Authoritarian Revival is Undermining Its Rise

Author: Carl (Professor of Law, Fordham University) Minzner Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2020

China's reform era is ending. Core factors that characterized it-political stability, ideological openness, and rapid economic growth-are unraveling. Since the 1990s, Beijing's leaders have firmly rejected any fundamental reform of their authoritarian one-party political system, and on the surface, their efforts have been a success. But as Carl Minzner shows, a closer look at China's reform era reveals a different truth. Over the past three decades, a frozen political system has fueled both the rise of entrenched interests within the Communist Party itself, and the systematic underdevelopment of institutions of governance among state and society at large. Economic cleavages have widened. Social unrest has worsened. Ideological polarization has deepened. Now, to address these looming problems, China's leaders are progressively cannibalizing institutional norms and practices that have formed the bedrock of the regime's stability in the reform era. End of an Era explains how China arrived at this dangerous turning point, and outlines the potential outcomes that could result.

Resident Foreigners A Philosophy of Migration

Resident Foreigners A Philosophy of Migration

Author: Donatella Di Cesare Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2020

From the shores of Europe to the Mexican-US border, mass migration is one of the most pressing issues we face today. Yet at the same time, calls to defend national sovereignty are becoming ever more vitriolic, with those fleeing war, persecution, and famine vilified as a threat to our security as well as our social and economic order. In this book, written amidst the dark resurgence of appeals to defend 'blood and soil', Donatella Di Cesare challenges the idea of the exclusionary state, arguing that migration is a fundamental human right. She develops an original philosophy of migration that places the migrants themselves, rather than states and their borders, at the centre. Through an analysis of three historic cities, Athens, Rome and Jerusalem, Di Cesare shows how we should conceive of migrants not as an other but rather as resident foreigners. This means recognising that citizenship cannot be based on any supposed connection to the land or an exclusive claim to ownership that would deny the rights of those who arrive as migrants. Instead, citizenship must be disconnected from the possession of territory altogether and founded on the principle of cohabitation - and on the ultimate reality that we are all temporary guests and tenants of the earth. Di Cesare's argument for a new ethics of hospitality will be of great interest to all those concerned with the challenges posed by migration and with the increasingly hostile attitudes towards migrants, as well as students and scholars of philosophy and political theory.

Is Racial Equality Unconstitutional?

Is Racial Equality Unconstitutional?

Author: Mark (Associate Professor of Politics, Associate Professor of Politics, Scripps College) Golub Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2020

More than just a legal doctrine, color-blind constitutionalism has emerged as the defining metaphor of the post-Civil Rights era. Even for those challenging its constitutional authority, the language of color-blindness sets the terms of debate. Critics of color-blind constitutionalism are in this sense captured by the object of their critique. And yet, paradoxically, to enact a color-blind rule actually requires a heightened awareness of race. As such, color-blind constitutionalism represents a particular form of racial consciousness rather than an alternative to it. Challenging familiar understandings of race, rights, and American law, Is Racial Equality Unconstitutional? explores how current equal protection law renders the pursuit of racial equality constitutionally suspect. Identifying hierarchy rather than equality as an enduring constitutional norm, the book demonstrates how the pursuit of racial equality, historically, has been viewed as a violation of white rights. Arguing against conservative and liberal redemption narratives, both of which imagine racial equality as the perfection of American democracy, Is Racial Equality Unconstitutional? calls instead for a break from the current constitutional order, that it may be re-founded upon principles of racial democracy.