Recent Book Publications from the Department of Political Science Faculty
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2017
Abstract: Featuring the first in-depth comparison of the judicial politics of five under-studied Central American countries, The Achilles Heel of Democracy offers a novel typology of 'judicial regime types' based on the political independence and societal autonomy of the judiciary. This book highlights the under-theorized influences on the justice system - criminals, activists, and other societal actors, and the ways that they intersect with more overtly political influences. Grounded in interviews with judges, lawyers, and activists, it presents the 'high politics' of constitutional conflicts in the context of national political conflicts as well as the 'low politics' of crime control and the operations of trial-level courts. The book begins in the violent and often authoritarian 1980s in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and spans through the tumultuous 2015 'Guatemalan Spring'; the evolution of Costa Rica's robust liberal judicial regime is traced from the 1950s.
Risk Inequality and Welfare States: Social Policy Preferences, Development, and Dynamics
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2016
Abstract: The transformation of night-watchman states into welfare states is one of the most notable societal developments in recent history. In 1880, not a single country had a nationally compulsory social policy program. A few decades later, every single one of today's rich democracies had adopted programs covering all or almost all of the main risks people face: old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment. These programs rapidly expanded in terms of range, reach, and resources. Today, all rich democracies cover all main risks for a vast majority of citizens, with binding public or mandatory private programs. Three aspects of this remarkable transformation are particularly fascinating: the trend (the transformation to insurance states happened in all rich democracies); differences across countries (the generosity of social policy varies greatly across countries); and the dynamics of the process. This book offers a theory that not only explains this remarkable transition but also explains cross-national differences and the role of crises for social policy development.
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2015
Abstract: Deliberative democrats seek to link political choices more closely to the deliberations of common citizens, rather than consigning them to speak only in the desiccated language of checks on a ballot. Sober thinkers from Plato to today, however, have argued that if we want to make good decisions we cannot entrust them to the deliberations of common citizens. Critics argue that deliberative democracy is wildly unworkable in practice. Deliberative Democracy between Theory and Practice cuts across this debate by clarifying the structure of a deliberative democratic system, and goes on to re-evaluate the main empirical challenges to deliberative democracy in light of this new frame. It simultaneously reclaims the wider theory of deliberative democracy and meets the empirical critics squarely on terms that advance, rather than evade, the debate. Doing so has important implications for institutional design, the normative theory of democracy, and priorities for future research and practice.
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2015
Abstract: There is an underlying assumption in the social sciences that consciousness and social life are ultimately classical physical/material phenomena. In this ground-breaking book, Alexander Wendt challenges this assumption by proposing that consciousness is, in fact, a macroscopic quantum mechanical phenomenon. In the first half of the book, Wendt justifies the insertion of quantum theory into social scientific debates, introduces social scientists to quantum theory and the philosophical controversy about its interpretation, and then defends the quantum consciousness hypothesis against the orthodox, classical approach to the mind-body problem. In the second half, he develops the implications of this metaphysical perspective for the nature of language and the agent-structure problem in social ontology. Wendt's argument is a revolutionary development which raises fundamental questions about the nature of social life and the work of those who study it. -Cambridge University Press Review
The Left Divided: The Development and Transformation of Advanced Welfare States
Published by Oxford University Press, 2015
Abstract: Why do some countries construct strong systems of social protection, while others leave workers exposed to market forces? Among the most robust findings of the comparative political economy literature is the claim that the more political resources controlled by the left, the more likely a country is to have a generous, universal system of social protection. In contrast, The Left Divided argues that the strength and position taken by the far left is an important and overlooked determinant of social protection outcomes. The book presents a framework for distinguishing between different types of left movements, and analyzes how the distribution of resources within the left shapes party strategies for expanding social protection in theoretically unanticipated ways. To demonstrate the counterintuitive effects of having the far-left control significant political resources, Watson combines in-depth case studies of Iberia with cross-national analysis of OECD countries and qualitative comparative analyses of other divided lefts.
Richard Gunther, Paul A. Beck, Pedro C. Magalhães, and Alejandro Moreno
Published by Routledge, 2016
Abstract: Unlike most studies that focus their attention on established democracies or countries exclusively within one world region, this book presents a rigorous and innovative analysis of voting in elections in both old and new democracies in 18 countries on five continents between 1992 and 2007. Including new factors that have been neglected in previous studies of electoral politics, such as sociopolitical values and the influence of media, personal discussion, and organizational intermediaries, this book goes beyond voting to examine reactions to elections and their role in democratic politics.
Randall L. Schweller
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014
Abstract: Just what exactly will follow the American century? This is the question Randall L. Schweller explores in his provocative assessment of international politics in the twenty-first century. Schweller considers the future of world politics, correlating our reliance on technology and our multitasking, distracted, disorganized lives with a fragmenting world order. He combines the Greek myth of the Golden Apple of Discord, which explains the start of the Trojan War, with a look at the second law of thermodynamics, or entropy. "In the coming age,” Schweller writes, “disorder will reign supreme as the world succumbs to entropy, an irreversible process of disorganization that governs the direction of all physical changes taking place in the universe.” Interweaving his theory of global disorder with issues on the world stage—coupled with a disquisition on board games and the cell phone app Angry Birds—Schweller’s thesis yields astonishing insights. Maxwell’s Demon and the Golden Apple will appeal to leaders of multinational corporations and government programs as well as instructors of undergraduate courses in international relations. "Schweller is one of the brightest international relations scholars of his generation, and his insights are genuinely controversial. Maxwell’s Demon and the Golden Apple is a must-read text."—Daniel Drezner, Tufts University, author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies
Published by University of Chicago Press, 2013
Abstract: How states cooperate in the absence of a sovereign power is a perennial question in international relations. With Power in Concert, Jennifer Mitzen argues that global governance is more than just the cooperation of states under anarchy: it is the formation and maintenance of collective intentions, or joint commitments among states to address problems together. The key mechanism through which these intentions are sustained is face-to-face diplomacy, which keeps states’ obligations to one another salient and helps them solve problems on a day-to-day basis. Mitzen argues that the origins of this practice lie in the Concert of Europe, an informal agreement among five European states in the wake of the Napoleonic wars to reduce the possibility of recurrence. The Concert first institutionalized the practice of states jointly managing the balance of power, and Mitzen shows that the words and actions of state leaders in public forums contributed to collective self-restraint and a shared commitment to problem-solving – and at a time when communication was considerably more difficult than it is today. Despite the Concert’s eventual breakdown, the practice it introduced – of face-to-face diplomacy as a mode of joint problem-solving – survived and is the basis of global governance today.
Bear F. Braumoeller
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2012
Abstract: Do great leaders make history? Or are they compelled to act by historical circumstance? This debate has remained unresolved since Thomas Carlyle and Karl Marx framed it in the mid-nineteenth century, yet implicit answers inform our policies and our views of history. In this book, Professor Bear F. Braumoeller argues persuasively that both perspectives are correct: leaders shape the main material and ideological forces of history that subsequently constrain and compel them. His studies of the Congress of Vienna, the interwar period, and the end of the Cold War illustrate this dynamic, and the data he marshals provide systematic evidence that leaders both shape and are constrained by the structure of the international system.
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2012
Abstract: How did the value of freedom become so closely associated with the institution of the market? Why did the idea of market freedom hold so little appeal before the modern period, and how can we explain its rise to dominance? In The Invention of Market Freedom, Eric MacGilvray addresses these questions by contrasting the market conception of freedom with the republican view that it displaced. After analyzing the ethical core and exploring the conceptual complexity of republican freedom, MacGilvray shows how this way of thinking was confronted with, altered in response to, and finally overcome by the rise of modern market societies. By learning to see market freedom as something that was invented, we can become more alert to the ways in which the appeal to freedom shapes and distorts our thinking about politics today.
Anthony Mughan and Robert Hislope
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2012
Abstract: This stimulating and accessible introduction to comparative politics offers a fresh perspective on the fundamentals of political science. Its central theme is the enduring political significance of the modern state despite severe challenges to its sovereignty. There are three main sections to the book. The first traces the origins and meaning of the state and proceeds to explore its relationship to the practice of politics. The second examines how states are governed and compares patterns of governance found in the two major regime types in the world today, democracy and authoritarianism. The last section discusses several contemporary challenges - globalization, ethnic nationalism, terrorism, and organized crime - to state sovereignty. Designed to appeal to students and professors alike, this lively text engages readers as it traces states' struggles against the mutually reinforcing pressures of global economic and political interdependence, fragmented identities and secessionism, transnational criminal networks, and terrorism.
Vladimir Koagn, Steven Erie, and Scott MacKenzie
Published by Stanford University Press, 2011
Abstract: The early 21st century has not been kind to California's reputation for good government. But the Golden State's governance flaws reflect worrisome national trends with origins in the 1970s and 1980s. Growing voter distrust with government, a demand for services but not taxes to pay for them, a sharp decline in enlightened leadership and effective civic watchdogs, and dysfunctional political institutions have all contributed to the current governance malaise. Until recently, San Diego, California—America's 8th largest city—seemed immune to such systematic governance disorders. This sunny beach town entered the 1990s proclaiming to be "America's Finest City," but in a few short years its reputation went from "Futureville" to "Enron-by-the-Sea." In this eye-opening and telling narrative, Steven P. Erie, Vladimir Kogan, and Scott A. MacKenzie mix policy analysis, political theory, and history to explore and explain the unintended but largely predictable failures of governance in San Diego. Using untapped primary sources—interviews with key decision makers and public documents—and benchmarking San Diego with other leading California cities, Paradise Plundered examines critical dimensions of San Diego's governance failure: a multi-billion dollar pension deficit; a chronic budget deficit; inadequate city services and infrastructure; grandiose planning initiatives divorced from dire fiscal realities; an insulated downtown redevelopment program plagued by poorly-crafted public-private partnerships; and, for the metropolitan region, inadequate airport and port facilities, a severe underinvestment in firefighting capacity despite destructive wildfires, and heightened Mexican border security concerns. Far from a sunny story of paradise and prosperity, this account takes stock of an important but understudied city, its failed civic leadership, and poorly performing institutions, policy making, and planning. Though the extent of these failures may place San Diego in a league of its own, other cities are experiencing similar challenges and political changes. As such, this tale of civic woe offers valuable lessons for urban scholars, practitioners, and general readers concerned about the future of their own cities.
John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart
Published by Oxford University Press, 2011
Abstract: In seeking to evaluate the efficacy of post-9/11 homeland security expenses--which have risen by more than a trillion dollars, not including war costs--the common query has been, "Are we safer?" This, however, is the wrong question. Of course we are "safer"--the posting of a single security guard at one building's entrance enhances safety. The correct question is, "Are any gains in security worth the funds expended?"
In this engaging, readable book, John Mueller and Mark Stewart apply risk and cost-benefit evaluation techniques to answer this very question. This analytical approach has been used throughout the world for decades by regulators, academics, and businesses--but, as a recent National Academy of Science study suggests, it has never been capably applied by the people administering homeland security funds. Given the limited risk terrorism presents, expenses meant to lower it have for the most part simply not been worth it. For example, to be considered cost-effective, increased American homeland security expenditures would have had each year to have foiled up to 1,667 attacks roughly like the one intended on Times Square in 2010--more than four a day. Cataloging the mistakes that the US has made--and continues to make--in managing homeland security programs, Terror, Security, and Money has the potential to redirect our efforts toward a more productive and far more cost-effective course.
Published by Cambridge University Press, 2009
Abstract: Social security institutions have been among the most stable post-war social programs around the world. Increasingly, however, these institutions have undergone profound transformation from public risk-pooling systems to individual market-based designs. Why has this 'privatization' occurred? Why, moreover, do some governments enact more radical pension privatizations than others? This book provides a theoretical and empirical account of when and to what degree governments privatize national old-age pension systems. Quantitative cross-national analysis simulates the degree of pension privatization around the world and tests competing hypotheses to explain reform outcomes. In addition, comparative analysis of pension reforms in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay evaluate a causal theory of institutional change. The central argument is that pension privatization emerges from political conflict, rather than from exogenous pressures. The argument is developed around three dimensions: the double bind of globalization, contingent path-dependent processes, and the legislative politics of loss imposition.