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New Books

Posted on 23/05/2011

New Books by PIR Staff

Julia Gallagher, Britain and Africa under Blair: In Pursuit of the Good State (Manchester University Press and Palgrave, 2011)

Africa was a key focus of Britain’s foreign policy under Tony Blair. Military intervention in Sierra Leone, increases in aid and debt relief, and grand initiatives such as the Commission for Africa established the continent as a place in which Britain could "do good."

Britain and Africa Under Blair explores Britain’s fascination with Africa. It argues that, under New Labour, Africa represented an area of policy that appeared to transcend politics. Gradually, it came to embody an ideal state activity around which politicians, officials and the wider public could coalesce, leaving behind more contentious domestic and international issues.
Building on the story of Britain and Africa under Blair, the book draws wider conclusions about the role of "good" and idealism in foreign policy. In particular, it discusses how international relationships provide opportunities to create and pursue ideals, and why they are essential for the wellbeing of political communities. It argues that state actors project the idea of "good" onto idealized, distant objects, in order to restore a sense of the "good state."

The book makes a distinctive and original contribution to debates about the role of ethics in international relations and will be of particular interest to academics, policy-makers and students of international relations, Africa and British foreign policy, and to anyone interested in ethics in international affairs.

US link

UK link

Akil N. Awan, Andrew Hoskins, and Ben O'Loughlin, Radicalisation and the Media: Connectivity and Terrorism in the New Media Ecology (Routledge, 2011)

This book examines the circulation and effects of radical discourse by analysing the role of mass media coverage in promoting or hindering radicalisation and acts of political violence.

There is a new environment of conflict in the post-9/11 age, in which there appears to be emerging threats to security and stability in the shape of individuals and groups holding or espousing radical views about religion, ideology, often represented in the media as oppositional to Western values. This book asks what, if anything is new about these radicalising discourses, how and why they relate to political acts of violence and terror, and what the role of the mass media is in promoting or hindering them.

This includes exploring how the acts themselves and explanations for them on the web are picked up and represented in mainstream television news media or Big Media, through the journalistic and editorial uses of words, phrases, graphics, images, and videos. It analyses how interpretations of the term 'radicalisation' are shaped by news representations through investigating audience responses, understandings and misunderstandings. Transnational in scope, this book seeks to contribute to an understanding of the connectivity and relationships that make up the new media ecology, especially those that appear to transcend the local and the global, accelerate the dissemination of radicalising discourses, and amplify media/public fears of political violence.

This book will be of interest to students of security studies, media studies, terrorism studies, political science and sociology.


Mike Williams, The Good War: NATO and the Liberal Conscience in Afghanistan (Palgrave, 2011)

The Good War tackles the issue of NATO in Afghanistan, exploring NATO's evolution in the 1990s and blending NATO's transformation from a reactive defense organization into a pro-active risk manager with the ethic of liberalism. It raises questions, such as why an alliance built upon the territorial defense of Europe ended up in Afghanistan.

"At a time when innumerable newspaper articles, journal essays and political speeches have added more heat than light to the NATO intervention in Afghanistan, M.J. Williams gives answers with real expertise, the right historical perspective and a sound political judgement. Based on extensive research and interviews with key players on both sides of the Atlantic, this book is essential reading for anyone, layman or strategist, who wants to understand what is really at stake for the Western democracies in Afghanistan." -- Dr. Jamie Shea, Director of Policy Planning, NATO HQ.
"Engaging and illuminating, Williams offers an original and stimulating take on NATO's evolution and the liberal conscience, while at the same time delivering a serious reality check to advocates of democratic imperialism." -- Professor Christopher Coker, London School of Economics.

"An excellent and comprehensive treatment of the topic." -- Conor Foley, author of The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War.




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