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  • Author: Douglas A. Chalmers
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Even well-established democracies need reform, and any successful effort to reform democracies must look beyond conventional institutions--elections, political parties, special interests, legislatures and their relations with chief executives--to do so. Expanding a traditional vision of the institutions of representative democracy, Douglas A. Chalmers examines six aspects of political practice relating to the people being represented, the structure of those who make law and policy, and the links between those structures and the people. Chalmers concludes with a discussion of where successful reform needs to take place: we must pay attention to a democratic ordering of the constant reconfiguration of decision making patterns; we must recognize the crucial role of information in deliberation; and we must incorporate noncitizens and foreigners into the political system, even when they are not the principal beneficiaries.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231162951
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Jonathan Lyons
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East-West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford. In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse's corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations. Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers--Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women--and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.
  • Topic: Islam, Post Colonialism, Political Theory, Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231158954
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Laura Sjoberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Laura Sjoberg positions gender and gender subordination as key factors in the making and fighting of global conflict. Through the lens of gender, she examines the meaning, causes, practices, and experiences of war, building a more inclusive approach to the analysis of violent conflict between states. Considering war at the international, state, substate, and individual levels, Sjoberg's feminist perspective elevates a number of causal variables in war decision-making. These include structural gender inequality, cycles of gendered violence, state masculine posturing, the often overlooked role of emotion in political interactions, gendered understandings of power, and states' mistaken perception of their own autonomy and unitary nature. Gendering Global Conflict also calls attention to understudied spaces that can be sites of war, such as the workplace, the household, and even the bedroom. Her findings show gender to be a linchpin of even the most tedious and seemingly bland tactical and logistical decisions in violent conflict. Armed with that information, Sjoberg undertakes the task of redefining and reintroducing critical readings of war's political, economic, and humanitarian dimensions, developing the beginnings of a feminist theory of war.
  • Topic: International Relations, Gender Issues, War, International Security, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231520003
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Nicolas Guilhot
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: The 1954 conference on theory, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, featured a who’s who of scholars and practitioners debating the foundations of international relations theory. Assembling his own team of experts, all of whom have struggled with this legacy, Nicolas Guilhot revisits a seminal event and its odd rejection of scientific rationalism. Far from being a spontaneous development, these essays argue, the emergence of a “realist” approach to international politics, later codified at the conference, was deliberately triggered by the Rockefeller Foundation. The organization was an early advocate of scholars who opposed the idea of a “science” of politics, pursuing, for the sake of disciplinary autonomy, a vision of politics as a prerational and existential dimension that could not be “solved” by scientific means. As a result, this nascent theory was more a rejection of behavioral social science than the birth of one of its specialized branches. The archived conversations reproduced here, along with unpublished papers by Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Paul Nitze, speak to this defensive stance. International relations theory is critically linked to the context of postwar liberalism, and the contributors explore how these origins have played out in political thought and American foreign policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, History
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231526449
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Thomas Risse
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Governance discourse centers on an “ideal type” of modern statehood that exhibits full internal and external sovereignty and a legitimate monopoly on the use of force. Yet modern statehood is an anomaly, both historically and within the contemporary international system, while the condition of “limited statehood,” wherein countries lack the capacity to implement central decisions and monopolize force, is the norm. Limited statehood, argue the authors in this provocative collection, is in fact a fundamental form of governance, immune to the forces of economic and political modernization. Challenging common assumptions about sovereign states and the evolution of modern statehood, particularly the dominant paradigms supported by international relations theorists, development agencies, and international organizations, this volume explores strategies for effective and legitimate governance within a framework of weak and ineffective state institutions. Approaching the problem from the perspectives of political science, history, and law, contributors explore the factors that contribute to successful governance under conditions of limited statehood. These include the involvement of nonstate actors and nonhierarchical modes of political influence. Empirical chapters analyze security governance by nonstate actors, the contribution of publicprivate partnerships to promote the United Nations Millennium Goals, the role of business in environmental governance, and the problems of Western state-building efforts, among other issues. Recognizing these forms of governance as legitimate, the contributors clarify the complexities of a system the developed world must negotiate in the coming century.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, History
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231521871
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Richard K. Betts
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: While American national security policy has grown more interventionist since the Cold War, Washington has also hoped to shape the world on the cheap. Misled by the stunning success against Iraq in 1991, administrations of both parties have pursued ambitious aims with limited force, committing the country's military frequently yet often hesitantly, with inconsistent justification. These ventures have produced strategic confusion, unplanned entanglements, and indecisive results. This collection of essays by Richard K. Betts, a leading international politics scholar, investigates the use of American force since the end of the Cold War, suggesting guidelines for making it more selective and successful. Betts brings his extensive knowledge of twentieth century American diplomatic and military history to bear on the full range of theory and practice in national security, surveying the Cold War roots of recent initiatives and arguing that U.S. policy has always been more unilateral than liberal theorists claim. He exposes mistakes made by humanitarian interventions and peace operations; reviews the issues raised by terrorism and the use of modern nuclear, biological, and cyber weapons; evaluates the case for preventive war, which almost always proves wrong; weighs the lessons learned from campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam; assesses the rise of China and the resurgence of Russia; quells concerns about civil-military relations; exposes anomalies within recent defense budgets; and confronts the practical barriers to effective strategy. Betts ultimately argues for greater caution and restraint, while encouraging more decisive action when force is required, and he recommends a more dispassionate assessment of national security interests, even in the face of global instability and unfamiliar threats.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231521888
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Yuan-kang Wang
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Confucianism has shaped a certain perception of Chinese security strategy, symbolized by the defensive, nonaggressive Great Wall. Many believe China is antimilitary and reluctant to use force against its enemies. It practices pacifism and refrains from expanding its boundaries, even when nationally strong. In a path-breaking study traversing six centuries of Chinese history, Yuan-kang Wang resoundingly discredits this notion, recasting China as a practitioner of realpolitik and a ruthless purveyor of expansive grand strategies. Leaders of the Song Dynasty (960–1279) and Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) prized military force and shrewdly assessed the capabilities of China’s adversaries. They adopted defensive strategies when their country was weak and pursued expansive goals, such as territorial acquisition, destruction of their enemies, and total military victory, when their country was strong. Despite the dominance of an antimilitarist Confucian culture, warfare was not uncommon in the bulk of Chinese history. Grounding his research in primary Chinese sources, Wang outlines a politics of power crucial to understanding China’s strategies today, especially its policy of “peaceful development,” which, he argues, the nation has adopted mainly because of its military, economic, and technological weakness in relation to the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, History
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231522403
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN