Thursday, September 2, 2010

Enviromental NGOs in World Politics

Enviromental NGOs in World Politics

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Routledge 277 pages

Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania

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Lavinia Stan, Lucian Turcescu
Oxford University Press US, 2007 - 270 pages

In the post-communist era it has become evident that the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe will be determined by many factors, only some of them political. Throughout the region, the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Greek Catholic churches have tried to impose their views on democracy through direct political engagement. Moreover, surveys show that the churches (and the army) enjoy more popular confidence than elected political bodies such as parliaments. These results reflect widespread disenchantment with a democratization process that has allowed politicians to advance their own agendas rather than work to solve the urgent socio-economic problems these countries face. In this penetrating study, Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu investigate the interaction of religion and politics in one such country, Romania. Facing internal challenges and external competitions from other religions old and new, the Orthodox Church in Romania has sought to consolidate its position and ensure Romania's version of democracy recognizes its privileged position of "national Church", enforcing the Church's stances on issues such as homosexuality and abortion. The post-communist state and political elite in turn rely on the Church for compliance with educational and cultural policies and to quell the insistent demands of the Hungarian minority for autonomy.

Stan and Turcescu examine the complex relationship between church and state in this new Romania, providing analysis in key areas: church collaboration with communist authorities, post-communist electoral politics, nationalism and ethno-politics, restitution of Greek Catholic property, religious education, and sexual behavior and reproduction. As the first scholars to be given access to confidential materials from the archives of the communist political police, the notorious Securitate, Stan and Turcescu also examine church archives, legislation, news reports, and interviews with politicians and church leaders. This study will move the debate from common analyses of nationalism in isolation to more comprehensive investigations which consider the impact of religious actors on a multitude of other issues relevant to the political and social life of the country.

Russion Politics and Society

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Richard Sakwa
Routledge, 2008 - 585 pages

Having been fully revised and updated to reflect the considerable changes in Russia, the fourth edition of this classic introduction to Russian politics and society builds on the strengths of the previous editions to provide a comprehensive and sophisticated analysis. New to this edition: updating of all statistical data including the 2002 census, regional and national election results and the composition of parliament more analysis of the executive and the legislative discussion of the development of civil society and the problems of democratic consolidation fuller examination of the policy-making process and policy problems details on economic performance under Putin, including more discussion of the energy sector and pipeline politics latest developments in the Chechnya conflict more on foreign policy issues such as Russiaa??s relationship with NATO and the EU afterenlargement, Russiaa??s relations with other post-Soviet states and the problem of competing a??near abroadsa?? for Russia and the West. Russian Politics and Society will be essential reading for students of Russian and Soviet politics, sociology, Eastern European politics, and politics and international relations in general.

Religion in American Politics: a Short History

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Frank Lambert
Princeton University Press, 2008 - 294 pages

The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention blocked the establishment of Christianity as a national religion. But they could not keep religion out of American politics. From the election of 1800, when Federalist clergymen charged that deist Thomas Jefferson was unfit to lead a "Christian nation," to today, when some Democrats want to embrace the so-called Religious Left in order to compete with the Republicans and the Religious Right, religion has always been part of American politics. In Religion in American Politics, Frank Lambert tells the fascinating story of the uneasy relations between religion and politics from the founding to the twenty-first century. Lambert examines how antebellum Protestant unity was challenged by sectionalism as both North and South invoked religious justification; how Andrew Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" competed with the anticapitalist "Social Gospel" during postwar industrialization; how the civil rights movement was perhaps the most effective religious intervention in politics in American history; and how the alliance between the Republican Party and the Religious Right has, in many ways, realized the founders' fears of religious-political electoral coalitions. In these and other cases, Lambert shows that religion became sectarian and partisan whenever it entered the political fray, and that religious agendas have always mixed with nonreligious ones.Religion in American Politics brings rare historical perspective and insight to a subject that was just as important--and controversial--in 1776 as it is today.

Risk Taking in International Politics: Prospect Theory in American Foreign Policy

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Rose McDermott
University of Michigan Press, 2001 - 256 pages

Risk plays a dramatic role in international relations as leaders make decisions about such issues as war and peace, disarmament, and about lowering economic barriers to trade and investment. How a country's leaders think about risk in making foreign policy decisions is important in understanding why and how they make decisions.

Rose McDermott applies prospect theory, a theory developed by psychologists to understand decisionmaking under conditions of risk, to four cases in American foreign policy. Prospect theory suggests that decisionmakers who are confronting losses are more likely to take risks than are those decisionmakers who are satisfied with the status quo. The cases used to demonstrate this dynamic include: the Suez

Crisis, the U-2 affair, the decisions surrounding the admission of the Shah of Iran to the United States in 1979, and the attempted rescue of the American hostages in Iran in 1980. McDermott shows how prospect theory enables us to understand cases that are otherwise inexplicable.

Risk Taking in International Relations offers a unique application of a sophisticated psychological model to international relations theory. The book will be of interest to political scientists and psychologists interested in decision making, in international relations and in American foreign policy.

Rose McDermott is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Cornell University.

Religion and Politics in Europe, The Middle East and North Africa

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Jeffrey Haynes
Routledge, 2009 - 240 pages

In the early twenty-first century, it is now clear that religion is increasingly influential in the political realm in ways which call into question the principles and practices of secularism. The Iranian revolution of 1978-9 marked the decisive 'reappearance' of political religion in global politics, highlighting a major development which is the subject of this edited volume.

Addressing a highly salient and timely topic, this book examines the consequences of political interactions involving the state and religious actors in Christian, Muslim and Judaist contexts.

Building on research, the basic premise of this text is that religious actors - including Islamist groups, the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches - pose various challenges for citizenship, democracy, and secularisation in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The key questions on which the book focuses are: Why, how, and when do religious actors seek to influence political outcomes in these regions?

Providing a survey of what is happening in relation to the interaction of religion and politics, both domestically and internationally, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of politics, religion, European and Middle East studies.

The Politics of China: The Eras of Mao and Deng

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Roderick MacFarquhar
Cambridge University Press, 1997 - 608 pages

Bringing together substantial essays by leading scholars, this volume offers a comprehensive introduction to, and analysis of, the politics of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to the mid-1990s. The first four chapters are drawn from The Cambridge History of China, Volumes 14 and 15. 

The last two chapters have been written specifically for this paperback edition. Richard Baum's chapter covers the events of the 1980s, and Joseph Fewsmith's concluding essay extends the second edition's coverage into the 1990s. The particular strength of the volume is the depth of expert knowledge provided for each extraordinary political era; each period is covered by a specialist on the events of that time.

The volume should serve equally well for the general reader with an interest in China and for students, as well as acting as a valuable reference for specialists.

The Politics of Healthcare in Britain

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Stephen Harrison, Ruth McDonald
SAGE, 2008 - 206pages

Written by leading academics in their field this book provides a clear and considered overview of the politics of health care in Britain. Bringing together a wide range of material on both past events and recent developments, the chapters cover issues such as the politics of health professionalism, clinical knowledge, and organization and management.

Social Theory of International Politics

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Alexander Wendt
Cambridge University Press, 1999 - 429 pages

Drawing on philosophy and social theory, Social Theory of International Politics develops a cultural theory of international politics that contrasts with the realist mainstream. Wendt argues that states can view each other as enemies, rivals, or friends. He characterizes these roles as "cultures of anarchy," which are shared ideas that help shape states' interests and capabilities. These cultures can change over time as ideas change. Wendt thus argues that the nature of international politics is not fixed, and that the international system is not condemned to conflict and war.

Terrorism and The Politics of Fear

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David L. Altheide
Rowman Altamira, 2006 - 247 pages

Terrorism and the Politics of Fear shows how the mass media and propaganda about fear of crime and terrorism contribute to social policies that promote social control and threaten civil liberties. This excellent treatment of a timely subject will be indispensable to teachers and students of sociology, media, politics, and criminology studies

France and Germany at Maastricht: Politics and Negotiations to Create the European

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Colette Mazzucelli
Taylor and Francis, 1999 - 374 pages

Review from Reader
"France and Germany at Maastricht is simply political science at its best. Its analytical narrative of Franco-German negotiations on political and monetary union is the most thorough and balanced account of the pivotal episode in the current project of European unity. It combines a comprehensive understanding of the national and sectoral interests at stake in the Maastricht negotiations with a firm grasp of the institutional and electoral environment in which negotiations proceeded. The depth and breadth of the research material required by a study of this variety alone is impressive, but Mazzucelli's lucid explanation of its meaning makes the book a valuable addition to the fields of European studies, comparative politics and international relations." -Carl C. Hodge, Okanagan University College

Africa in World Politics: Reforming Political Order

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John Willis Harbeson, Donald S. Rothchild
Westview Press, 2008 - 408 pages

In this fully revised edition top scholars in African politics address the effects that major currents in Africa and world politics have upon each other and explore the ramifications of this interconnection for contemporary theories of international and comparative politics.

The fourth edition focuses on issues of reforming and strengthening states and their economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The nation-state as we know it is a legacy of European rule in Africa, and the primacy of the nation-state remains a bedrock of most contemporary theories of international relations.

Yet in the fifth decade of Africa’s independence, this colonial inheritance has been challenged as never before by state weakness, internal and inter-state conflict, and internal and external demands for economic and political reform, with potentially far-reaching implications. Including new readings on the AIDS crisis in Africa and the regional war on terrorism, this text remains an invaluable resource for students of African and world politics.

God and Race in American Politics: a Short History

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Mark A. Noll
Princeton University Press, 2008 - 209 pages

Religion has been a powerful political force throughout American history. When race enters the mix the results have been some of our greatest triumphs as a nation--and some of our most shameful failures. In this important book, Mark Noll, one of the most influential historians of American religion writing today, traces the explosive political effects of the religious intermingling with race. Noll demonstrates how supporters and opponents of slavery and segregation drew equally on the Bible to justify the morality of their positions. He shows how a common evangelical heritage supported Jim Crow discrimination and contributed powerfully to the black theology of liberation preached by Martin Luther King Jr. In probing such connections, Noll takes readers from the 1830 slave revolt of Nat Turner through Reconstruction and the long Jim Crow era, from the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s to "values" voting in recent presidential elections. He argues that the greatest transformations in American political history, from the Civil War through the civil rights revolution and beyond, constitute an interconnected narrative in which opposing appeals to Biblical truth gave rise to often-contradictory religious and moral complexities. And he shows how this heritage remains alive today in controversies surrounding stem-cell research and abortion as well as civil rights reform.God and Race in American Politics is a panoramic history that reveals the profound role of religion in American political history and in American discourse on race and social justice.

Hezbollah: A Short History

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Augustus Richard Norton
Princeton University Press, 2009 - 199 pages

Most policymakers in the United States and Israel have it wrong: Hezbollah isn't a simple terrorist organization--nor is it likely to disappear any time soon. Following Israel's war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, the Shi'i group--a hybrid of militia, political party, and social services and public works provider--remains very popular in the Middle East. After Lebanon tottered close to disaster, Hezbollah and its allies gained renewed political power in Beirut. The most lucid, informed, and balanced analysis of the group yet written, Hezbollah is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the Middle East. A new afterword brings readers up to date on Hezbollah's most recent actions.

Scandal: How Gotcha Politics is Destroying America

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Lanny Davis
Palgrave Macmillan, 2007 - 304 pages

Scandal ¬' traces the colorful and fascinating history of scandals throughout U.S. History and offers an eye-opening perspective on how the scandals of today are taking a toll on our entire culture. Davis speaks¬' frankly about the culture of scandal as it is used by both¬' the left and right¬' and urges both parties to leave partisan politics behind for the good of the country. His calls¬' to pursue a middle ground during the midterm elections found a ready audience making his a vital voice as¬' we move into the 2008 Presidential campaign.

In The Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States

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MarĂ­a de los Angeles Torres
University of Michigan Press, 2001 - 256 pages

In the Land of Mirrors is a journey through the politics of Cuban exiles since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

It explores the development of Cuban exile politics and identity within a context of U.S. and Cuban realities, as well as within the broader inquiry of the changing nature of nation-states and its impact on the politics and identity of diaspora communities. Topics covered include: the origins of the post-revolution exile enclave of the 1960s; the evolution of the Cuban community over the 1960s; the pluralization of exile politics in the 1970s, particularly regarding the relationship with the island; the emergence of Cuban-American political action committees in the 1980s; post-Cold War developments; and the transition of Miami by the coming of age of a second generation of Cuban-Americans and the arrival of a new wave of exiles.

Interspersed with vignettes from the author's own experiences and political activism, In the Land of Mirrors explores the meanings and ramifications of exile, of belonging, and of seeing the self in the other. It will appeal to political scientists, Latin Americanists, and those studying the politics of  exile.

Mara de los Angeles Torres was born in Cuba and came to the United States as a young child. She is Associate Professor of Political Science, DePaul University.

The Great Awakeing: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America

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Jim Wallis
Harperluxe, 2008 - 560 pages

What will it take to solve the biggest issues of our time: extreme and needless poverty, global warming and environmental degradation, terrorism and the endless cycle of violence, racism, human trafficking, health care and education, and other pressing problems? While Washington offers only the politics of blame and fear, Jim Wallis, the man who changed the conversation about faith and politics, has traveled the country and found a nation hungry for a politics of solutions and hope. He shows us that a revival is happening, as people of faith and moral conviction seek common ground for change.

Wallis also reminds us that religious faith was a driving force behind our greatest national reforms, such as the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement. These "great awakenings" happened periodically at crucial times in our nation's history to propel us toward the common good. The time is ripe for another movement that will transform this country. With The Great Awakening, Wallis helps us rediscover our moral center and provides both the needed inspiration and a concrete plan to hold politics accountable and find solutions to our greatest challenges.