Posted on 05/01/2012
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.
M. J. 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.
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.
Nick Allen and John Bartle, eds., Britain at the Polls 2010 (Sage, 2010).
Britain at the polls 2010, published by SAGE, tells the story of the extraordinary events leading up to and encompassing the general election of 2010. It aims to provide readers not only the background and story of these remarkable and landmark elections but also informed reflections on the election’s long term significance.
The 2010 general election was one of the most remarkable in recent history. Taking place against the backdrop of enormous economic and political turbulence, it offered, for the first time since 1997, when New Labour ousted the Conservatives, the real possibility of a change in government. With analysis of the major social, economic and political development during the 2005-2010 period, Britain at the polls 2010, assesses the impact of these developments on the election outcome. The title includes chapters that examine, amongst other issues, how David Cameron made his party electable, why Nick Clegg was able to bring his party into a coalition with the Conservatives, and how the new found embrace of the televised election debates impacted the campaigns and final outcome.
‘This book is about the extraordinary story of this election and the no less striking saga of its epilogue’ writes John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, in the foreword. ‘It is in many ways the most valuable of the wonderful Britain at the Polls series precisely because this was not a parliament, an election campaign or a set of results which can be dismissed as wholly predictable. There is an urgent need to discern not merely what happened on polling day but why it happened.’
As the authors state in their preface, ‘General elections are not just stories in their own right. They are also chapters in the unfolding story of British democracy’.
Stephanie Carvin Prisoners of America's Wars (Columbia University Press & Hurst, 2010). 256 pp.
Since the days of the Revolutionary War, the way in which America has taken and treated its prisoners reveals a lot about its democratic principles. How other countries have treated American prisoners also says much about the standing of the United States in the world. Throughout U.S. history, prisoners of war have functioned as symbols of outrage and patriotism, as figures of pity, power, triumph, and fealty, ultimately illustrating the human impact of war.
Retelling the story of America through its prisoners and involvement in international law, Stephanie Carvin explores America's inherent difficulty of being both exceptional and secure. While American diplomats negotiate a treaty at The Hague, for example, American soldiers suppress a bloody insurrection, throwing themselves into a conflict in which no rules apply. Carvin's argument is not that the relationship among America, its prisoners, and international law is founded entirely on exceptional culture and carnage. Rather, she identifies a blend of ideology, national imperative, and historical inevitability that has challenged American presidents from Washington to Obama. Her research shows that, despite the claim that America faces a unique and unprecedented battle in its "war on terror," the roots of this conflict lie in the history of those who have been captured in war. By contextualizing these stories within America's larger historical narrative, Carvin achieves a richer understanding of modern warfare.
'A well-written and thoroghly researched work that makes a valuable contribution to debate on the US military and the development of the politics of the laws of war in relation to the treatment of prisoners of war and prisoners in war.' -- Dr. Ruth Blakeley, University of Kent.
'The laws of war have been much discussed, both criticized and revered but also little understood& mdash;especially in relation to politics. Stephanie Carvin deepens our understanding of this vexing topic, especially concerning prisoners of war in irregular armed conflict. She takes the controversial policies of the Bush administration after 9/11 and puts them in historical perspective, emphasizing the political values that drive legal interpretation. The result is a readable and intriguing analysis of national ideology, policymaking, and international law.' -- David P. Forsythe, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, author of The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross
Ben O'Loughlin and Andrew Hoskins War and Media: The Emergence of Diffused War (Polity Press, 2010)
The trinity of government, military and publics has been drawn together into immediate and unpredictable relationships in a "new media ecology" that has ushered in new asymmetries in the waging of war and terror. To help us understand these new relationships, Andrew Hoskins and Ben O'Loughlin here provide a timely, comprehensive and highly readable survey of the field of war and media.
War is diffused through a complex mesh of our everyday media. Paradoxically, this both facilitates and contains the presence and power of enemies near and far. The conventions of so-called traditional warfare have been splintered by the availability and connectivity of the principal locus of war today: the electronic and digital media. Hoskins and O'Loughlin identify and illuminate the conditions of what they term "diffused war" and the new challenges it raises for the actors who wage and counter warfare, for their agents and mechanisms of the new media and for mass publics.
This book offers an invaluable review of the key literature and presents a fresh approach to the understanding of the dynamic relationships between war and media. It will be welcomed by a broad range of students taking courses on war and media and related modules, especially in media, communication and cultural studies, politics and international relations, sociology, journalism, and security studies.
"The most singular feature of Hoskins and O'Loughlin's' achievement in their comprehensive sweep of scholarship in this multi-disciplinary field of war and media is its critical assessment of existing paradigms and theories, and the development of new ones. The work represents an important and ground-breaking milestone in the development of this relatively new specialism about one of the oldest and most important spheres of human experience."
Joseph Oliver Boyd-Barrett, Bowling Green State University
"Whether we approach the field of contemporary war and communications through preferred optics of 'control', 'chaos' or perhaps 'complexity', this book challenges us all - and rightly so. It invites us to take seriously how today's media ecology not only mediates contemporary wars, but becomes insinuated inside the course and conduct of warfare itself."
Simon Cottle, Cardiff University
"In today's new environment of an apparent never-ending war on terror, governments put together their media strategy with as much care as they construct their military one. This important book helps us understand the fragile relationship between war and media and examine it with a fresh and informed eye."
Phillip Knightley, author of The First Casualty, a history of war correspondents and propaganda
M. J. Williams NATO, Security and Risk Management: From Kosovo to Khandahar (Routledge, 2008). 160pp.
This new volume explores the crisis in transatlantic relations and analyses the role of NATO following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The book offers a unified theory of cooperation in the new security paradigm to explain the current state of transatlantic relations and NATO’s failure to adequately transform itself into a security institution for the 21st century. It argues that a new preoccupation with risk filled the vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and uses the literature of the Risk Society to analyse the strained politics of the North Atlantic community. Using case studies to show how the West has pursued a strategy of risk management, and the effect this has had on NATO’s politics, the book argues that a better understanding of how risk affects Western political cohesion will allow policy makers a way of adapting the structure of NATO to make it more effective as a tool for security. Having analysed NATO’s recent failings, the book offers a theory for the way in which it can become an active risk manager, through the replacement of its established structure by smaller, ad hoc groupings.
Nathan Widder Reflections on Time and Politics (Penn State University Press, 2008). 224pp.
Recent philosophical debates have moved beyond proclamations of the "death of philosophy" and the "death of the subject" to consider more positively how philosophy can be practiced and the human self can be conceptualized today. Inspired by the writings of Nietzsche, Bergson, and Deleuze, rapid changes related to globalization, and advances in evolutionary biology and neuroscience, these debates have generated a renewed focus on time as an active force of change and novelty. Rejecting simple linear models of time, these strands of thought have provided creative alternatives to a traditional reliance on fixed boundaries and stable identities that has proven unable to grapple with the intense speeds and complexities of contemporary life.
In this book, Nathan Widder contributes to these debates, but also goes significantly beyond them. Holding that current writings remain too focused on time's movement, he examines more fundamentally time's structure and its structural ungrounding, releasing time completely from its traditional subordination to movement and space. Doing this enables him to reformulate entirely the terms through which time and change are understood, leading to a radical alteration of our understandings of power, resistance, language, and the unconscious, and taking post-identity political philosophy and ethics in a new direction.
Eighteen independent but interlinked reflections engage with ancient philosophy, mathematical theory, dialectics, psychoanalysis, archaeology, and genealogy. The book's broad coverage and novel rereadings of key figures including Aristotle, Bergson, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Deleuze make this a unique rethinking of the nature of pluralism, multiplicity, and politics.
John Mattausch Chance, Character and Change (Transaction Publishers, 2008). 276pp.
Chance is real. Not only is it a cause of societal change, but we as individuals are chance-given characters who discover and build our character in chancy circumstances. Chance is also expressed as coincidence and contingency, expressions which have episodically been of undeniable historical importance. Mattausch asserts the conventional picture of societal change is incorrect. Societal change is not a linear succession with each phase of change replacing its predecessor. Instead, the process is one of accumulative change in which chance plays various roles. "Chance, Character, and Change" develops the idea of chance, situating it within the history of thought and social change.By focusing strictly on manifestations of chance and of luck that can be seen and explained, Mattausch is able to show how chance acts in the environment of evolution and the social practices that regulate the inheritance of knowledge and technology. This, in turn, steers societal change and how change itself occurs. Chance's role is often characterized as coincidence or contingency, and this automatically is seen as progressive or degenerate. However, Mattausch notes that accumulative change is potentially both progressive as well as decadent. Chance also plays a part in the social aspects of our world - customs, practices, cultures, societies, and politics. When we act, Mattausch argues, we do not distinguish between good and bad, but rather between determinism and chance; the latter is a test of character, not of free will.This theory is general in its assertions and application, and can be related to many areas of study from economic theory, to human behavior, to politics. The rich texture of the writing and vivid use of examples from daily life and the work of other major thinkers draw in the reader.
Chris Rumford Cosmopolitan Spaces: Europe, Globalization, Theory (Routledge, 2008). 190pp.
A highly innovative reading of both globalization theory and contemporary European transformations. Interpreting cosmopolitanism as a politics of space, Rumford positions his analysis at the intersection of two exciting currents in contemporary social science research: the ‘spatial turn’ in the social sciences and the renewed interest in cosmopolitanism. Rumford elaborates a completely new theoretical framework for understanding the contemporary social and political transformation of Europe, and takes issue with many aspects of the globalization-inspired accounts of Europeanization which remain blind to the spatial dimensions of change. In addition to its compelling reading of cosmopolitanism, Cosmopolitan Spaces: Europe, Globalization, Theory, offers a provocative critique for thinking about Europe in terms of Empire, and advances the startling claim that Europe should be considered ‘postwestern’.
Andrew Chadwick and Philip N. Howard (eds) The Handbook of Internet Politics (Routledge, 2008). 512pp.
The internet is now a mainstay of contemporary political life, and captivates researchers from across the social sciences. From debates about its impact on parties and election campaigns following momentous presidential contests in the United States, to concerns over international security, privacy and surveillance in the post-9/11, post-7/7 environment; from the rise of blogging as a threat to the traditional model of journalism, to controversies at the international level over how and if the internet should be governed by an entity such as the United Nations; from the new repertoires of collective action open to citizens, to the massive programs of public management reform taking place in the name of e-government, internet politics and policy are continually in the headlines.
The Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics is a collection of over 30 chapters dealing with the most significant scholarly debates in this rapidly growing field of study. Organized in four broad sections - Institutions, Behavior, Identities, and Law and Policy - the Handbook summarizes and criticizes contemporary debates while pointing out new departures. A comprehensive set of resources, it provides linkages to established theories of media and politics, political communication, governance, deliberative democracy and social movements, all within an interdisciplinary context. The contributors form a strong international cast of established and junior scholars.
This is the first publication of its kind in this field; a helpful companion to students and scholars of politics, international relations, communication studies and sociology.
Felix Berenskoetter and Michael J. Williams (eds) Power in World Politics (Routledge, 2007). 316pp.
This book engages the view that students of International Relations need to break with the habit of defining power in terms of military capabilities of states.
Featuring contributions from both upcoming and distinguished scholars, including Steven Lukes, Joseph Nye, and Stefano Guzzini, it explores the nature and location of ‘power’ in international politics through a variety of conceptual lenses. With a particular focus on the phenomenon of ‘soft’ power and different types of actors in a globalizing world, fifteen chapters assess the meaning of ‘power’ from the perspectives of realism, constructivism, global governance, and development studies, presenting discussions ranging from conceptual to practical oriented analyses.
Power in World Politics attempts to broaden theoretical horizons to enrich our understanding of the distribution of power in world politics, thereby also contributing to the discovery and analysis of new political spaces. This is essential reading for all advanced students and scholars of international relations.
Michael Bacon Richard Rorty: Pragmatism and Political Liberalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). 144pp.
Michael Bacon gives a critical presentation of Rorty's writings on pragmatism and political theory, comparing and contrasting him with pragmatists such as Hilary Putnam and Susan Haack, and liberals such as John Rawls and Brian Barry. The result is an imaginative presentation of one of contemporary philosophy's most innovative and important thinkers.
Gavin Drewry, Louis Blom-Cooper and Charles Blake The Court of Appeal (Hart, 2007). 196pp.
Civil justice has been undergoing a massive transformation. There have been big changes in the management of judicial business; the Human Rights Act 1988 has had a pervasive impact; the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 has effected many changes - notably, the prospective transfer of the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords to a new Supreme Court. Against this backcloth of radical change, this book looks at the recent history and the present-day operation of the civil division of the Court of Appeal - a court that, despite its pivotal position, has attracted surprisingly little scholarly attention.
Yasmin Khan The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan (Yale University Press, 2007). 288pp. Winner of the Royal History Society's Gladstone Prize for 2007.
The Partition of India in 1947 promised its people both political and religious freedom—through the liberation of India from British rule, and the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan. Instead, the geographical divide brought displacement and death, and it benefited the few at the expense of the very many. Thousands of women were raped, at least one million people were killed, and ten to fifteen million were forced to leave their homes as refugees. One of the first events of decolonization in the twentieth century, Partition was also one of the most bloody. In this book Yasmin Khan examines the context, execution, and aftermath of Partition, weaving together local politics and ordinary lives with the larger political forces at play. She exposes the widespread obliviousness to what Partition would entail in practice and how it would affect the populace. Drawing together fresh information from an array of sources, Khan underscores the catastrophic human cost and shows why the repercussions of Partition resound even now, some sixty years later.
Evelyn Goh Developing the Mekong: Regionalism and Regional Security in China-Southeast Asian Relations, Adelphi Paper No. 387 (London: IISS, 2007). 71pp.
In Southeast Asia, China’s growing economic and political strength has been accompanied by adept diplomacy and active promotion of regional cooperation, institutions and integration. Southeast Asian states and China engage in ‘strategic regionalism’: they seek regional membership for regime legitimation and collective bargaining; and regional integration to enhance economic development, regarded as essential for ensuring national and regime security. Sino-Southeast Asian regionalism is exemplified by the development plans for the Mekong River basin, where ambitious projects for building regional infrastructural linkages and trade contribute to mediating the security concerns of the Mekong countries. However, Mekong regionalism also generates new insecurities. Developing the resources of the Mekong has led to serious challenges in terms of governance, distribution and economic externalities. Resource-allocation and exploitation conflicts occur most obviously within the realm of water projects, especially hydropower development programmes. While such disputes are not likely to erupt into armed conflict because of the power asymmetry between China and the lower Mekong states, they exacerbate Southeast Asian concerns about China’s rise and undermine Chinese rhetoric about peaceful development. But the negative security consequences of developing the Mekong are also due to the shared economic imperative, and the Southeast Asian states’ own difficulties with collective action due to existing intramural conflicts.
Alister Miskimmon Germany and the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union: Between Europeanisation and National Adaptation (Palgrave, 2007). 265pp.
Germany has played a leading role in the development of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union. This study assesses the influence of German policy makers on EU policy and the impact of EU membership on foreign policy making at the national level. The book concludes that limitations remain on the Europeanization of German foreign and security policy and Germany's ability to play a leading role in military crisis management.
Simon Green, Dan Hough, Alister Miskimmon and Graham Timmins The Politics of the New Germany (Routledge, 2007). 208pp.
The Politics of the New Germany takes a new approach to understanding politics in the post-unification Federal Republic. Assuming only elementary knowledge, it focuses on debates and issues in order to help students understand both the workings of Germany's key institutions and some of the key policy challenges facing German politicians. Written in a straightforward style by four experts, each of the chapters draws on a rich variety of real-world examples. Packed with boxed summaries of key points, a guide to further reading and a range of seminar questions for discussion at the end of each chapter, this book highlights both the challenges and opportunities facing policy-makers in such areas as foreign affairs, economic policy, immigration, identity politics and institutional reforms.The book also takes a bird's-eye view of the big debates that define German politics over time, regardless of which party happens to be in power. It pinpoints three key themes that have characterised German politics over the last sixty years; reconciliation, consensus and transformation.
Andrew Hoskins and Ben O'Loughlin Television and Terror: Conflicting Times and the Crisis of News Discourse (Palgrave, 2007). 228pp.
The advent of the twenty-first century was marked by a succession of conflicts and catastrophes that demanded unrestrained journalism. Yet, the principle mass news medium of television has become torn between strategies of containment and the amplification of security threats. Hoskins and O'Loughlin demonstrate that television, tarnished by its economy of liveness and its default impositions of immediacy, brevity and simultaneity, fails to deliver a critical and consistent exposition adequate to our conflicting times.
Chris Rumford (ed) Cosmopolitanism and Europe (Liverpool University Press, 2007). 272pp.
Of late, cosmopolitanism has emerged as an important concept in relation to the transformation of Europe and rethinking Europe's place in the world. Moreover, cosmopolitanism is seen to be particularly relevant to a European Union in which member states are increasingly occupied with developing responsibilities that extend beyond their narrow national interests. The book advances the case that cosmopolitan perspectives can add an important new dimension to the study of contemporary Europe. At the same time, the transformation of Europe provides the context for the development of a range of new cosmopolitan ideas. The book has an excellent range of contributors from the UK and elsewhere in Europe including Daniele Archibugi, Ulrich Beck, Gerard Delanty, Robert Fine and Kate Nash.
Niall Scott and Jonathan Seglow Altruism (Open University Press, 2007). 192pp.
What motivates us to be altruistic? How did an altruistic trait evolve in humans, given that evolutionary theory assumes we are self-interested? What sorts of people are altruistic and in what circumstances? Is the welfare state a channel for altruism or does it crowd out people's altruistic motivations? This accessible book is the first introduction to the idea of altruism. It explores how we have come to be altruistic, and considers why it is important to remain altruistic, not just for the sake of others, but in order maintain the fragile fabric of human society. The book surveys the history of the concept of altruism and examines it from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including moral philosophy, evolutionary biology, psychology, economics and political science. It then attempts to bring together the distinct issues and concerns of these disciplines to arrive at a unified understanding of altruism. Scott and Seglow argue that altruism is easily extinguished and hard to nourish, but vital for a fundamentally human future.
Andrew Chadwick Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies (Oxford University Press, 2006). 400pp. Winner of the American Sociological Association Communication and Information Technologies Section Outstanding Book Award, 2007.
In the developed world, there is no longer an issue of whether the Internet affects politics--but rather how, why, and with what consequences. With the Internet now spreading at a breathtaking rate in the developing world, the new medium is fraught with tensions, paradoxes, and contradictions. How do we make sense of these? In this major new work, Andrew Chadwick addresses such concerns, providing the first comprehensive overview of Internet politics. Internet Politics examines the impact of new communication technologies on political parties and elections, pressure groups, social movements, local democracy, public bureaucracies, and global governance. It also analyzes persistent and controversial policy problems, including the digital divide; the governance of the Internet itself; the tensions between surveillance, privacy, and security; and the political economy of the Internet media sector. The approach is explicitly comparative, providing numerous examples from the U.S., Britain, and many other countries. Written in a clear and accessible style, this theoretically sophisticated and up-to-date text reveals the key difference the Internet makes in how we "do" politics and how we think about political life.
Gerard Delanty and Chris Rumford Rethinking Europe: Social Theory and the Implications of Europeanization (Routledge, 2005). 240pp.
Dominant approaches to the transformation of Europe ignore contemporary social theory interpretations of the nature and dynamics of social change. Here, Delanty and Rumford argue that we need a theory of society in order to understand Europeanization, and this book advances the case that Europeanization should be theorized in terms of: globalization, major social transformations that are not exclusively spear-headed by the EU, and the wider context of the transformation of modernity. This fascinating book broadens the terms of the debate on Europeanization, conventionally limited to the supersession of the nation-state by a supra-national authority and the changes within member states consequent upon EU membership. Demonstrating the relevance of social theory to contemporary issues, and with a focus on European transformation rather than simplistic notions of Europe-building, this truly multidisciplinary volume will appeal to readers from a range of social science disciplines, including sociology, geography, political science and European studies.
Dan Hough, James Sloam and William E. Paterson (eds) Learning from the West?: Policy Transfer and Programmatic Change in the Communist Successor Parties of East Central Europe (Palgrave, 2005). 176pp.
After the collapse of communism and the fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s, for Communist parties and their successors (CSPs), the challenge was perhaps the greatest - to redefine themselves within new, 'westernised' political systems. As these parties sought to adapt their programmatic appeals to their new environments, they searched for policies from abroad that could fit these new political structures. The political parties of Western Europe provided a rich range of programmes from which policies could be drawn. This book analyses how, to what extent and under what conditions external influences came to bear on the programmatic development of CSPs. It argues that while some parties remain neo-communist in orientation, growling about the evils of capitalism on the far-left of their respective political systems, others have developed into social democratic actors, embracing programmatic ideals that often bear a strong resemblance to those of centre-left actors in Western Europe.
Evelyn Goh Constructing the US Rapprochement with China, 1961-1974: From Red Menace to Tacit Ally (Cambridge University Press, 2004). 299pp.
With Nixon’s historic reconciliation with China in 1972, Sino-American relations were restored, and China moved from being regarded as America’s most implacable enemy, to a friend and tacit ally. Existing accounts of the rapprochement focus on the shifting balance of power between the US, China and the Soviet Union, but in this book, Goh argues that they cannot adequately explain the timing and policy choices related to Washington’s decisions for reconciliation with Beijing. Instead, she applies a more historically sensitive approach that privileges contending official American constructions of China’s identity and character. This book demonstrates that ideas of reconciliation with China were already being propagated and debated within official circles in the US during the 1960s. It traces the related policy discourse and imagery, and examines their continuities and evolution into the early 1970s that facilitated Nixon’s new policy.
Sandra Halperin, War and Social Change in Modern Europe: the great transformation revisited (Cambridge University Press, 2004). 536pp.
Halperin traces the persistence of traditional class structures during the development of industrial capitalism in Europe, and the way in which these structures shaped states and state behavior and generated conflict. She documents European conflicts between 1789 and 1914, including small and medium scale conflicts often ignored by researchers and links these conflicts to structures characteristic of industrial capitalist development in Europe before 1945. This book revisits the historical terrain of Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation (1944), however, it argues that Polanyi's analysis is, in important ways, inaccurate and misleading. Ultimately, the book shows how and why the conflicts both culminated in the world wars and brought about a 'great transformation' in Europe. Its account of this period challenges not only Polanyi's analysis, but a variety of influential perspectives on nationalism, development, conflict, international systems change, and globalization.
Jonathan Seglow (ed) The Ethics of Altruism (Frank Cass, 2004). 256pp.
'The chief problem of human life', wrote Auguste Comte, is 'the subordination of egoism to altruism'. This collection xamines the nature and value of altruism as a moral virtue, restoring it to its proper place at the centre of our moral and political thinking. The first five essays in the collection explore the relationship between altruism and other moral concepts such as self-interest, autonomy, community and impartiality. The five essays in the second part show how altruism is invoked in practical moral problems, including aid to developing countries, the market for human body parts, multiculturalism and the politics of recognition, and medical ethics. Through these discussions, the central role of altruism in moral thinking is brought into sharper focus.
James Sloam The European Policy of the German Social Democrats: Interpreting a Changing World (Palgrave, 2004). 280pp.
This book examines the EU policy of the German Social Democrats (SPD) after German unification, following their rise to power in 1998 and their record in office under Chancellor Schroder. The study deals with policy formation in the SPD through an analysis of the opportunity structures for policy-making in the EU, Germany and the party itself. Across this time period, the SPD recalibrated its European policy to absorb the impact of German unification, deeper European integration and globalization, seeking to interpret a changing world.
Andrew Chadwick and Richard Heffernan (eds) The New Labour Reader (Polity, 2003). 351pp.
The New Labour Reader draws together in one accessible volume a set of authoritative interpretations and accounts of New Labour in government, including key commentaries on the contemporary Labour Party and the Blair government. Using a variety of primary and secondary sources, the book maps out and explains New Labour's political trajectory, the policy agenda it has pursued and the process by which it governs. It uses excerpts from the best and most interesting material, including the writings and speeches of the Labour government's most influential figures. There are chapters on the New Labour debate, economic policy, the public services, constitutional reform, European policy and Labour's Whitehall style, as well as a critical introduction by the editors. This Reader will provide an initial point of access to the varied literature on this subject and prove an essential reference for understanding the wide-ranging implications of the New Labour 'project'.
Gordon Laxer and Sandra Halperin (eds) Global Civil Society and Its Limits (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003). 296pp.
This volume critically examines the promise of a global civil society. Exploring issues in cases of diverse social justice movements, the contributors show that a global civil society is still far from emerging and its promotion may even harm the realization of grassroots democracy. The Internet is an exciting new means for activists to communicate internationally, and citizens' movements increasingly co-ordinate campaigns through transnational advocacy networks, but most effective civic action still takes place at national and local levels.
Chris Rumford The European Union: A Political Sociology (Blackwell, 2002). 320pp.
The first full-length treatment of European integration from a sociological perspective. It redirects the core concerns of political sociology away from nationally bounded societies towards a 'sociology beyond societies', capable of making a valuable contribution to thinking about the nature and problems of the European Union. Within this broad objective, the book concerns itself with such key issues as the relation between the EU and globalization, the nature of the EU state, and the question of whether a European society can be said to exist. The book also addresses crucial policy areas such as unemployment, citizenship, social exclusion, cohesion, core-periphery relations, the "democratic deficit", and enlargement. Students, scholars, and sociologists interested in the history, development, and legacies of the European Union will find this to be a unique and informative text.
Nathan Widder Genealogies of Difference (University of Illinois Press, 2002). 204pp.
Genealogies of Difference combines critical engagements with modern and postmodern theories of identity, difference, contingency, and time with strategic forays into ancient, early Christian, and medieval philosophy. Without losing sight of complex contributions from the past, Nathan Widder provides the philosophical underpinnings for a politics and ethics of difference crucial to our present day. Lucid and distinctive, this volume is an important, in-depth contribution to contemporary debates on pluralism, multiplicity, and community. Widder addresses the substantial body of theoretical discourse on difference without neglecting the history of political thought or the contemporary criticisms of the tradition. His genealogical endeavor develops a concept of difference indispensable to a postmodern world of blurred boundaries and hybrid forms that exceed our traditional categories of understanding.