Books

Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States
Cohen, Dara Kay, and Danielle F. Jung. 2020. Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States. Cambridge University Press. Learn more on the publisher's site Abstract

Dara Kay Cohen, Danielle F. Jung; September 2020 

What are the social and political consequences of poor state governance and low state legitimacy? Under what conditions does lynching – lethal, extralegal group violence to punish offenses to the community – become an acceptable practice? We argue lynching emerges when neither the state nor its challengers have a monopoly over legitimate authority. When authority is contested or ambiguous, mass punishment for transgressions can emerge that is public, brutal, and requires broad participation. Using new cross-national data, we demonstrate lynching is a persistent problem in dozens of countries over the last four decades. Drawing on original survey and interview data from Haiti and South Africa, we show how lynching emerges and becomes accepted. Specifically, support for lynching most likely occurs in one of three conditions: when states fail to provide governance, when non-state actors provide social services, or when neighbors must rely on self-help.

 Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?

Alexander Keyssar, July 2020

With every presidential election, Americans puzzle over the peculiar mechanism of the Electoral College. The author of the Pulitzer finalist The Right to Vote explains the enduring problem of this controversial institution.

Every four years, millions of Americans wonder why they choose their presidents through the Electoral College, an arcane institution that permits the loser of the popular vote to become president and narrows campaigns to swing states. Most Americans have long preferred a national popular vote, and Congress has attempted on many occasions to alter or scuttle the Electoral College. Several of these efforts—one as recently as 1970—came very close to winning approval. Yet this controversial system remains.

Finding Allies and Making Revolution

Tony Saich, Brill, February 2020 

What does a Dutchman have to do with the rise of the Chinese Communist Party? Finding Allies and Making Revolution by Tony Saich reveals how Henk Sneevliet (alias Maring), arriving as Lenin’s choice for China work, provided the communists with two of their most enduring legacies: the idea of a Leninist party and the tactic of the united front. Sneevliet strived to instill discipline and structure for the left-leaning intellectuals searching for a solution to China’s humiliation. He was not an easy man and clashed with the Chinese comrades and his masters in Moscow. This new analysis is based on Sneevliet’s diaries and reports, together with contemporary materials from key Chinese figures, and important documents held in the Comintern’s China archive.

Watch a video introduction to the book 

The Hidden Face of Rights

Kathryn Sikkink, January 2020 

When we debate questions in international law, politics, and justice, we often use the language of rights—and far less often the language of responsibilities. Human rights scholars and activists talk about state responsibility for rights, but they do not articulate clear norms about other actors’ obligations. In this book, Kathryn Sikkink argues that we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize and practice the corresponding human responsibilities.
 
Focusing on five areas—climate change, voting, digital privacy, freedom of speech, and sexual assault—and providing many examples of on-the-ground initiatives where people choose to embrace a close relationship between rights and responsibilities, Sikkink argues for the importance of responsibilities to any comprehensive understanding of political ethics and human rights.

Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World
Applbaum, Arthur Isak. 2019. Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World. Harvard University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Arthur Applbaum, Harvard University Press, November 2019 

What makes a government legitimate? The dominant view is that public officials have the right to rule us, even if they are unfair or unfit, as long as they gain power through procedures traceable to the consent of the governed. In this rigorous and timely study, Arthur Isak Applbaum argues that adherence to procedure is not enough: even a properly chosen government does not rule legitimately if it fails to protect basic rights, to treat its citizens as political equals, or to act coherently.

Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism
Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart. 2019. Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. Cambridge University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Cambridge University Press, February 2019

Authoritarian populist parties have advanced in many countries, and entered government in states as diverse as Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland. Even small parties can still shift the policy agenda, as demonstrated by UKIP's role in catalyzing Brexit. Drawing on new evidence, this book advances a general theory why the silent revolution in values triggered a backlash fuelling support for Authoritarian-Populist parties and leaders in the US and Europe. The conclusion highlights the dangers of this development and what could be done to mitigate the risks to liberal democracy.

Public Value: Deepening, Enriching, and Broadening the Theory and Practice
Lindgreen, Adam, Nicole Koenig-Lewis, Martin Kitchener, John D. Brewer, Mark H. Moore, and Timo Meynhardt. 2019. Public Value: Deepening, Enriching, and Broadening the Theory and Practice. Routledge. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Adam Lindgreen, Nicole Koenig-Lewis, Martin Kitchener, John D. Brewer, Mark H. Moore, and Timo Meynhardt, Routledge, 2019 

Over the last 10 years, the concept of value has emerged in both business and public life as part of an important process of measuring, benchmarking, and assuring the resources we invest and the outcomes we generate from our activities. In the context of public life, value is an important measure on the contribution to business and social good of activities for which strict financial measures are either inappropriate or fundamentally unsound.

Alan Brinkley: A Life in History
Greenberg, David, Moshik Temkin, and Mason B. Williams. 2019. Alan Brinkley: A Life in History. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

David Greenberg, Moshik Temkin, and Mason B. Williams; Columbia University Press; January 2019

Few American historians of his generation have had as much influence in both the academic and popular realms as Alan Brinkley. His debut work, the National Book Award–winning Voices of Protest, launched a storied career that considered the full spectrum of American political life. His books give serious and original treatments of populist dissent, the role of mass media, the struggles of liberalism and conservatism, and the powers and limits of the presidency. A longtime professor at Harvard University and Columbia University, Brinkley has shaped the field of U.S. history for generations of students through his textbooks and his mentorship of some of today’s foremost historians. Alan Brinkley: A Life in History brings together essays on his major works and ideas, as well as personal reminiscences from leading historians and thinkers beyond the academy whom Brinkley collaborated with, befriended, and influenced. 

Playing by the Informal Rules
Li, Yao. 2018. Playing by the Informal Rules. Cambridge University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Yao Li, Cambridge University Press, November 2018  

Growing protests in non-democratic countries are often seen as signals of regime decline. China, however, has remained stable amid surging protests. Playing by the Informal Rules highlights the importance of informal norms in structuring state-protester interactions, mitigating conflict, and explaining regime resilience. Drawing on a nationwide dataset of protest and multi-sited ethnographic research, this book presents a bird's-eye view of Chinese contentious politics and illustrates the uneven application of informal norms across regions, social groups, and time. Through examinations of protests and their distinct implications for regime stability, Li offers a novel theoretical framework suitable for monitoring the trajectory of political contention in China and beyond. Overall, this study sheds new light on political mobilization and authoritarian resilience and provides fresh perspectives on power, rules, legitimacy, and resistance in modern societies.

 

Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics
Acharya, Avidit, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen. 2018. Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics. Princeton University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell & Maya Sen, Princeton University Press, 2018 

Despite dramatic social transformations in the United States during the last 150 years, the South has remained staunchly conservative. Southerners are more likely to support Republican candidates, gun rights, and the death penalty, and southern whites harbor higher levels of racial resentment than whites in other parts of the country. Why haven't these sentiments evolved or changed? Deep Roots shows that the entrenched political and racial views of contemporary white southerners are a direct consequence of the region's slaveholding history, which continues to shape economic, political, and social spheres. Today, southern whites who live in areas once reliant on slavery—compared to areas that were not—are more racially hostile and less amenable to policies that could promote black progress. 

Highlighting the connection between historical institutions and contemporary political attitudes, the authors explore the period following the Civil War when elite whites in former bastions of slavery had political and economic incentives to encourage the development of anti-black laws and practices. Deep Roots shows that these forces created a local political culture steeped in racial prejudice, and that these viewpoints have been passed down over generations, from parents to children and via communities, through a process called behavioral path dependence. While legislation such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act made huge strides in increasing economic opportunity and reducing educational disparities, southern slavery has had a profound, lasting, and self-reinforcing influence on regional and national politics that can still be felt today.

A groundbreaking look at the ways institutions of the past continue to sway attitudes of the present, Deep Roots demonstrates how social beliefs persist long after the formal policies that created those beliefs have been eradicated.

Party Systems in Latin America: Institutionalization, Decay, and Collapse

Scott Mainwaring, Cambridge University Press, February 2018

Based on contributions from leading scholars, this study generates a wealth of new empirical information about Latin American party systems. It also contributes richly to major theoretical and comparative debates about the effects of party systems on democratic politics, and about why some party systems are much more stable and predictable than others. Party Systems in Latin America builds on, challenges, and updates Mainwaring and Timothy Scully's seminal Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America (1995), which re-oriented the study of democratic party systems in the developing world. It is essential reading for scholars and students of comparative party systems, democracy, and Latin American politics. It shows that a stable and predictable party system facilitates important democratic processes and outcomes, but that building and maintaining such a party system has been the exception rather than the norm in contemporary Latin America.

A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative, and Distributed Governance
Goldsmith, Stephen, and Neil Kleiman. 2017. A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative, and Distributed Governance. Brookings Institution Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Stephen Goldsmith and Neil Kleiman, Brookings, November 2017

At a time when trust is dropping precipitously and American government at the national level has fallen into a state of long-term, partisan-based gridlock, local government can still be effective—indeed more effective and even more responsive to the needs of its citizens. Based on decades of direct experience and years studying successful models around the world, the authors of this intriguing book propose a new operating system (O/S) for cities. Former mayor and Harvard professor Stephen Goldsmith and New York University professor Neil Kleiman suggest building on the giant leaps that have been made in technology, social engagement, and big data.

Calling their approach “distributed governance,” Goldsmith and Kleiman offer a model that allows public officials to mobilize new resources, surface ideas from unconventional sources, and arm employees with the information they need to become pre-emptive problem solvers. This book highlights lessons from the many innovations taking place in today’s cities to show how a new O/S can create systemic transformation.

The Cold War: A World History
Westad, Odd Arne. 2017. The Cold War: A World History. Basic Books, 720. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

Odd Arne Westad, Basic Books, September 2017

In this major new work, Bancroft Prize-winning scholar Odd Arne Westad argues that the Cold War must be understood as a global ideological confrontation, with early roots in the Industrial Revolution and ongoing repercussions around the world.

In The Cold War, Westad offers a new perspective on a century when great power rivalry and ideological battle transformed every corner of our globe. From Soweto to Hollywood, Hanoi, and Hamburg, young men and women felt they were fighting for the future of the world. The Cold War may have begun on the perimeters of Europe, but it had its deepest reverberations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where nearly every community had to choose sides. And these choices continue to define economies and regimes across the world.

 

 

3-in-1: Governing a Global Financial Centre
Woo, Jun Jie. 2017. 3-in-1: Governing a Global Financial Centre. World Scientific Publishing, 128. Publisher's Version Abstract

Jun Jie Woo, World Scientific Publishing, August 2017

3-in-1: Governing a Global Financial Centre provides a comprehensive understanding of Singapore's past development and future success as a global financial centre. It focuses on three transformational processes that have determined the city-state's financial sector development and governance — globalisation, financialisation, and centralisation — and their impacts across three areas: the economy, governance, and technology. More importantly, this book takes a multidimensional approach by considering the inter-related and interdependent nature of these three transformational processes. Just like the 3-in-1 coffee mix that is such an ubiquitous feature of everyday life in Singapore, the individual ingredients of Singapore's success as a global financial centre do not act alone, but as an integrated whole that manifests itself in one final product: the global financial centre.

Pages