front cover of Addiction
A Disorder of Choice
Gene M. Heyman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In a book sure to inspire controversy, Gene Heyman argues that conventional wisdom about addiction—that it is a disease, a compulsion beyond conscious control—is wrong.

Drawing on psychiatric epidemiology, addicts’ autobiographies, treatment studies, and advances in behavioral economics, Heyman makes a powerful case that addiction is voluntary. He shows that drug use, like all choices, is influenced by preferences and goals. But just as there are successful dieters, there are successful ex-addicts. In fact, addiction is the psychiatric disorder with the highest rate of recovery. But what ends an addiction?

At the heart of Heyman’s analysis is a startling view of choice and motivation that applies to all choices, not just the choice to use drugs. The conditions that promote quitting a drug addiction include new information, cultural values, and, of course, the costs and benefits of further drug use. Most of us avoid becoming drug dependent, not because we are especially rational, but because we loathe the idea of being an addict.

Heyman’s analysis of well-established but frequently ignored research leads to unexpected insights into how we make choices—from obesity to McMansionization—all rooted in our deep-seated tendency to consume too much of whatever we like best. As wealth increases and technology advances, the dilemma posed by addictive drugs spreads to new products. However, this remarkable and radical book points to a solution. If drug addicts typically beat addiction, then non-addicts can learn to control their natural tendency to take too much.


front cover of Agents of Disorder
Agents of Disorder
Inside China’s Cultural Revolution
Andrew G. Walder
Harvard University Press, 2019

Why did the Chinese party state collapse so quickly after the onset of the Cultural Revolution? The award-winning author of China Under Mao offers a surprising answer that holds a powerful implicit warning for today’s governments.

By May 1966, just seventeen years after its founding, the People’s Republic of China had become one of the most powerfully centralized states in modern history. But that summer everything changed. Mao Zedong called for students to attack intellectuals and officials who allegedly lacked commitment to revolutionary principles. Rebels responded by toppling local governments across the country, ushering in nearly two years of conflict that in places came close to civil war and resulted in nearly 1.6 million dead.

How and why did the party state collapse so rapidly? Standard accounts depict a revolution instigated from the top down and escalated from the bottom up. In this pathbreaking reconsideration of the origins and trajectory of the Cultural Revolution, Andrew Walder offers a startling new conclusion: party cadres seized power from their superiors, setting off a chain reaction of violence, intensified by a mishandled army intervention. This inside-out dynamic explains how virulent factions formed, why the conflict escalated, and why the repression that ended the disorder was so much worse than the violence it was meant to contain.

Based on over 2,000 local annals chronicling some 34,000 revolutionary episodes across China, Agents of Disorder offers an original interpretation of familiar but complex events and suggests a broader lesson for our times: forces of order that we count on to stanch violence can instead generate devastating bloodshed.


logo for Harvard University Press
Changing Youth in a Changing Society
Patterns of Adolescent Development and Disorder
Michael Rutter
Harvard University Press, 1980

Changing Youth in a Changing Society begins with a complete survey of the problems of youth, showing which disorders peak during the teenage years. With this background of fact firmly established, Michael Rutter turns to the difficult historical questions about whether adolescent disorders are truly becoming more frequent. Here Rutter shows that the news is not uniformly bad. Some psychosocial problems, such as teenage alcoholism and crime, are still on the rise. But other problems, among them the much heralded generation gap, turn out to be largely mythical. Still others, like the decline in educational achievement, may only reflect historical changes in the population of teenagers being assessed.

Rutter’s historical analysis supports a comprehensive discussion of the causes of adolescent disorder. The effects of heredity, childhood, family, school, peer group, religion, the media, and the urban environment are all assessed in review of research which is a model of clarity and good sense. This review provides the factual framework for informed recommendations for more effective prevention and treatment of adolescent disorders.


front cover of Decisiveness and Fear of Disorder
Decisiveness and Fear of Disorder
Political Decision-Making in Times of Crisis
Julius Maximilian Rogenhofer
University of Michigan Press, 2024
Decisiveness and Fear of Disorder examines how democratic representatives make decisions in crisis situations. By analyzing parliamentary asylum debates from Germany’s Asylum Compromise in 1992-1993 and the 2015-2016 refugee crisis, Julius Rogenhofer identifies representatives’ ability to project decisiveness as a crucial determinant for whether the rights and demands of irregular migrants were adequately considered in democratic decision-making. Both crisis situations showcase an emotive dimension to the parliamentary meaning-making process. As politicians confront fears of social and political disorder, they focus on appearing decisive in the eyes of the public and fellow representatives, even at the expense of human rights considerations and inclusive deliberation processes. 

Rogenhofer shows how his theoretical approach allows us to reinterpret a range of crisis situations beyond the irregular migration context, including democracies’ initial responses to Covid-19, the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, and United States climate politics. These additional case studies help position concerns with decisiveness amid the challenges that populism and technocracy increasingly pose to representative democracies.

front cover of Disorder
Vanesha Pravin
University of Chicago Press, 2015

Cambridge, MA, 2008
Midsummer. Finally, you are used to disappointment.
A baby touches phlox. Many failures, many botched attempts,
A little success in unexpected forms. This is how the rest will go:
The gravel raked, bricks ashen, bees fattened–honey not for babes.
All at once, a rustling, whole trees in shudder, clouds pulled
Westward. You are neither here nor there, neither right nor
Wrong. The world is indifferent, tired of your insistence.
Garter snakes swallow frogs. The earthworms coil.
On your fingers, the residue of red pistils. What have you made?
What have you kept alive? Green, a secret, occult,
Grass veining the hands. Someone’s baby toddling.
And the phlox white. For now. Midsummer.

A remarkable first book, Disorder tells the story, by turns poignant and outrageous, of a family’s dislocation over four continents during the course of a hundred years. In short lyrics and longer narrative poems, Vanesha Pravin takes readers on a kaleidoscopic trek, from Bombay to Uganda, from England to Massachusetts and North Carolina, tracing the path of familial love, obsession, and the passage of time as filtered through the perceptions of family members and a host of supporting characters, including ubiquitous paparazzi, amorous vicars, and a dubious polygamist. We experience throughout a speaker forged by a deep awareness of intergenerational, multicontinental consciousness. At once global and personal, crossing ethnic, linguistic, and national boundaries in ways that few books of poetry do, Disorder bristles with quiet authority backed by a skeptical intelligence.

front cover of Disorder in the Court
Disorder in the Court
Morality, Myth, and the Insanity Defense
Andrea L. Alden
University of Alabama Press, 2018
The first book-length rhetorical history and analysis of the insanity defense

The insanity defense is considered one of the most controversial, most misunderstood, and least straightforward subjects in the American legal system. Disorder in the Court: Morality, Myth, and the Insanity Defense traces the US legal standards for the insanity defense as they have evolved from 1843, when they were first codified in England, to 1984, when the US government attempted to revise them through the Insanity Defense Reform Act. Throughout this period “insanity” existed primarily as a legal term rather than a medical one; yet the testimony of psychiatric experts is required in cases in which an insanity defense is raised.

The adjudication of such cases by courtroom practice is caught between two different but overlapping discourses, the legal and the medical, both of which have historically sought to assert and maintain firm disciplinary boundaries. Both expert and lay audiences have struggled to understand and apply commonplace definitions of sanity, and the portrayal of the insanity defense in popular culture has only served to further frustrate such understandings.

Andrea L. Alden argues that the problems with understanding the insanity defense are, at their foundation, rhetorical. The legal concept of what constitutes insanity and, therefore, an abdication of responsibility for one’s actions does not map neatly onto the mental health professions’ understandings of mental illness and how that affects an individual’s ability to understand or control his or her actions. Additionally, there are multiple layers of persuasion involved in any effort to convince a judge, jury—or a public, for that matter—that a defendant is or is not responsible for his or her actions at a particular moment in time.

Alden examines landmark court cases such as the trial of Daniel McNaughtan, Durham v. United States, and the trial of John Hinckley Jr. that signal the major shifts in the legal definitions of the insanity defense. Combining archival, textual, and rhetorical analysis, Alden offers a close reading of texts including trial transcripts, appellate court opinions, and relevant medical literature from the time period. She contextualizes these analyses through popular texts—for example, newspaper articles and editorials—showing that while all societies have maintained some version of mental illness as a mitigating factor in their penal systems, the insanity defense has always been fraught with controversy.

front cover of The Disorder of Political Inquiry
The Disorder of Political Inquiry
Keith Topper
Harvard University Press, 2005

In the past several years two academic controversies have migrated from the classrooms and courtyards of college and university campuses to the front pages of national and international newspapers: Alan Sokal’s hoax, published in the journal Social Text, and the self-named movement, “Perestroika,” that recently emerged within the discipline of political science. Representing radically different analytical perspectives, these two incidents provoked wide controversy precisely because they brought into sharp relief a public crisis in the social sciences today, one that raises troubling questions about the relationship between science and political knowledge, and about the nature of objectivity, truth, and meaningful inquiry in the social sciences. In this provocative and timely book, Keith Topper investigates the key questions raised by these and other interventions in the “social science wars” and offers unique solutions to them.

Engaging the work of thinkers such as Richard Rorty, Charles Taylor, Pierre Bourdieu, Roy Bhaskar, and Hannah Arendt, as well as recent literature in political science and the history and philosophy of science, Topper proposes a pluralist, normative, and broadly pragmatist conception of political inquiry, one that is analytically rigorous yet alive to the notorious vagaries, idiosyncrasies, and messy uncertainties of political life.


logo for Harvard University Press
The Disorder of Things
Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science
John Dupré
Harvard University Press
The great dream of philosophers and scientists for millennia has been to give us a complete account of the order of things. A powerful articulation of such a dream in this century has been found in the idea of a unity of science. With this manifesto, John Dupré systematically attacks the ideal of scientific unity by showing how its underlying assumptions are at odds with the central conclusions of science itself. In its stead, the author gives us a metaphysics much more in keeping with what science tells us about the world. Elegantly written and compellingly argued, this provocative book will be important reading for all philosophers and scholars of science.

front cover of Firsthand
How I Solved a Literary Mystery and Learned to Play Kickass Tennis while Coming to Grips with the Disorder of Things
Keith Gandal
University of Michigan Press, 2024
Firsthand is an exploration—both suspenseful and comic—of the creative process in research writing. The book takes the reader through the ins and outs of a specific research journey, from combing through libraries and archives to the intellectual challenges involved with processing information that contradicts established ideas. More fundamentally, it addresses the somewhat mysterious portion of the intellectual process: the creative and serendipitous aspects involved in arriving at a fruitful research question in the first place.
Keith Gandal combines this scholarly detective story with a comic personal narrative about how a midlife crisis accidentally sent him on a journey to write a research monograph that many in his profession—including at times himself—were dubious about. While researching how Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner faced their forgotten crises of masculinity, Gandal discovers that his own crisis is instrumental to his creative process. Incorporating stories from Gandal’s comic romp through the hyper-competitive world of middle-aged men’s tennis, adopting pitbulls, and discussing Michel Foucault, Firsthand gives readers an inside look at how to acquire accurate knowledge—about the world, about history, and about oneself.

front cover of Law and Disorder in the Postcolony
Law and Disorder in the Postcolony
Edited by Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff
University of Chicago Press, 2006

Are postcolonies haunted more by criminal violence than other nation-states? The usual answer is yes. In Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, Jean and John Comaroff and a group of respected theorists show that the question is misplaced: that the predicament of postcolonies arises from their place in a world order dominated by new modes of governance, new sorts of empires, new species of wealth—an order that criminalizes poverty and race, entraps the “south” in relations of corruption, and displaces politics into the realms of the market, criminal economies, and the courts. 

As these essays make plain, however, there is another side to postcoloniality: while postcolonies live in states of endemic disorder, many of them fetishize the law, its ways and itsmeans. How is the coincidence of disorder with a fixation on legalities to be explained? Law and Disorder in the Postcolony addresses this question, entering into critical dialogue with such theorists as Benjamin, Agamben, and Bayart. In the process, it also demonstrates how postcolonies have become crucial sites for the production of contemporary theory, not least because they are harbingers of a global future under construction.


logo for Harvard University Press
The Logic of Disorder
The Art and Writing of Abraham Cruzvillegas
Robin Adele Greeley
Harvard University Press

The Logic of Disorder presents for the first time to the English-speaking world the writings of seminal Mexican contemporary artist Abraham Cruzvillegas. Renowned for his sculptures and drawings, Cruzvillegas’s artistic practice ranges from pedagogy to performance. It is through his writings, however, that we can best recognize the impressive depth of knowledge and theoretic clarity of an artist whose work never ceases to impress audiences across the globe.

Each of the texts included in this volume is fully annotated and is accompanied by a number of critical studies by leading curators and scholars, including Claudio Lomnitz of Columbia University and Mark Godfrey from Tate Modern.


front cover of Meltdown Expected
Meltdown Expected
Crisis, Disorder, and Upheaval at the end of the 1970s
Aaron J. Leonard
Rutgers University Press, 2024
In January 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that “There is all across our land a growing sense of peace and a sense of common purpose.” Yet in the ensuing months, a series of crises disturbed that fragile sense of peace, ultimately setting the stage for Reagan’s decisive victory in 1980 and ushering in the final phase of the Cold War. 
Meltdown Expected tells the story of the power shifts from late 1978 through 1979 whose repercussions are still being felt. Iran’s revolution led to a hostage crisis while neighbouring Afghanistan became the site of a proxy war between the USSR and the US, who supplied aid to Islamic mujahideen fighters that would later form the Taliban. Meanwhile, as tragedies like the Jonestown mass suicide and the assassination of Harvey Milk captured the nation’s attention, the government quietly reasserted and expanded the FBI’s intelligence powers. Drawing from recently declassified government documents and covering everything from Three Mile Island to the rise of punk rock, Aaron J. Leonard paints a vivid portrait of a tumultuous yet pivotal time in American history. 

front cover of Order in Disorder
Order in Disorder
Intratextual Symmetry in Montaigne's “Essais”
Randolph Paul Runyon
The Ohio State University Press, 2013
Montaigne’s Essays are treasured for their philosophical and moral insights and the fascinating portrait they give us of the man who wrote them, but another of their undoubted delights is that they tantalize the reader, offering beneath an apparent disorder some hints of a hidden plan. After all, though the essayist kept adding new pages, except when he added the third and final book he never added a new chapter, but worked within the structure already in place.
Order in Disorder: Intratextual Symmetry in Montaigne’s “Essais,” by Randolph Paul Runyon, offers a new answer to the question of how ordered the Essays may be. Following up on Montaigne’s likening them to a painter’s “grotesques” surrounding a central image, and seeing in this an allusion to the ancient Roman decorative style, rediscovered in the Renaissance, of symmetrical motifs on either side of a central image, Runyon uncovers an extensive network of symmetrical verbal echoes linking every chapter with another. Often two chapters of greatly different length and apparent importance (one on thumbs, for instance, balanced against one on the limits of human understanding) will in this way be brought together—not without, Runyon finds, an intended irony. The Essays emerge as even more self-reflexive than we thought, an amazingly intratextual work.

front cover of Panic Diaries
Panic Diaries
A Genealogy of Panic Disorder
Jackie Orr
Duke University Press, 2006
Part cultural history, part sociological critique, and part literary performance, Panic Diaries explores the technological and social construction of individual and collective panic. Jackie Orr looks at instances of panic and its “cures” in the twentieth-century United States: from the mass hysteria following the 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to an individual woman swallowing a pill to control the “panic disorder” officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. Against a backdrop of Cold War anxieties over atomic attack, Orr highlights the entanglements of knowledge and power in efforts to reconceive panic and its prevention as problems in communication and information feedback. Throughout, she reveals the shifting techniques of power and social engineering underlying the ways that scientific and social scientific discourses—including crowd psychology, Cold War cybernetics, and contemporary psychiatry—have rendered panic an object of technoscientific management.

Orr, who has experienced panic attacks herself, kept a diary of her participation as a research subject in clinical trials for the Upjohn Company’s anti-anxiety drug Xanax. This “panic diary” grounds her study and suggests the complexity of her desire to track the diffusion and regulation of panic in U.S. society. Orr’s historical research, theoretical reflections, and biographical narrative combine in this remarkable and compelling genealogy, which documents the manipulation of panic by the media, the social sciences and psychiatry, the U.S. military and government, and transnational drug companies.


front cover of Reading and Disorder in Antebellum America
Reading and Disorder in Antebellum America
David M. Stewart
The Ohio State University Press, 2011
Historians of workingmen in the antebellum United States have long been preoccupied with labor politics and with the racism, nativism, and misogyny of their public culture. Reading and Disorder in Antebellum America expands our account of such men by asking questions about their social and bodily lives that are more discrete, yet still engaged with the economic forces that radically altered working life as the market revolution transformed a rural, agricultural nation into one that was commercial, industrial, and urban.
To advance a more capacious view of workingmen, David M. Stewart turns to reading, which is where many first encountered antebellum change as a material fact. Tapping sources from serial fiction, reform tracts, and children’s books, to diet, land use policy, and personal correspondence, Stewart contends that in helping retool a workforce of farmers and artisans to meet the disciplinary needs of capital, the period’s burgeoning new print culture industry developed rhetoric that used emotional coercion to affect conduct. This rhetoric also became the basis for recreational idioms that compensated for the pain of both coercive reading itself and the world such reading produced. In the space between the disciplinary and recreational lives of workingmen, Reading and Disorder revises how we understand them as performative subjects, which is to say, as cause and effect of changing antebellum times.

logo for University of Illinois Press
Roots of Disorder
Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817-80
Christopher Waldrep
University of Illinois Press, 1998
Every white southerner understoodwhat keeping African Americans "down" meant and what it did not mean. It did not mean going to court; it did not mean relying on the law. It meant vigilante violence and lynching. Looking at Vicksburg, Mississippi,Roots of Disorder traces the origins of these terrible attitudes to the day-to-day operations of local courts. In Vicksburg, white exploitation of black labor through slavery evolved into efforts to use the law todefine blacks' place in society, setting the stage for widespread tolerance of brutal vigilantism. Fed by racism and economics, whites' violence grew in a hothouse of more general hostility toward law and courts. Roots of Disorder shows how the criminal justice system itself plays a role in shaping the attitudes that encourage vigilantism.

"Delivers what no other study has yet attempted. . . . Waldrep's book is one of the first systematically to use local trial data to explore questions of society and culture." -- Vernon Burton, author of "A Gentleman and an Officer": A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War

front cover of Sentient Flesh
Sentient Flesh
Thinking in Disorder, Poiesis in Black
R. A. Judy
Duke University Press, 2020
 In Sentient Flesh R. A. Judy takes up freedman Tom Windham’s 1937 remark “we should have our liberty 'cause . . . us is human flesh" as a point of departure for an extended meditation on questions of the human, epistemology, and the historical ways in which the black being is understood. Drawing on numerous fields, from literary theory and musicology, to political theory and phenomenology, as well as Greek and Arabic philosophy, Judy engages literary texts and performative practices such as music and dance that express knowledge and conceptions of humanity appositional to those grounding modern racialized capitalism. Operating as critiques of Western humanism, these practices and modes of being-in-the-world—which he theorizes as “thinking in disorder,” or “poiēsis in black”—foreground the irreducible concomitance of flesh, thinking, and personhood. As Judy demonstrates, recognizing this concomitance is central to finding a way past the destructive force of ontology that still holds us in thrall. Erudite and capacious, Sentient Flesh offers a major intervention in the black study of life. 

front cover of Terms of Disorder
Terms of Disorder
Keywords for an Interregnum
Alberto Toscano
Seagull Books, 2023
A timely book addressing the burning concerns of our times, from the excesses of capitalism to the global crisis of leadership.
There is widespread agreement, across a voluble political spectrum and around the planet, that we live in times of intensifying insecurity and turmoil. If ours is an age of transition, its direction is anything but certain. Momentous transformations in ecology, geopolitics, and everyday life are shadowed by a suffocating sense of stasis. The limits to capital and the limits of nature are entangled in frightful ways, while the profoundly obsolete form of leadership, domination, and conflict exacerbate an already baleful situation. And yet struggles for liberation have not been quelled. Terms of Disorder confronts this moment by probing some of the defining terms in the modern vocabulary of emancipation, with the aim of testing their capacity to name and orient collective action set on abolishing the present state of things. Ranging from communism to leadership, the eleven keywords addressed in this book provide a set of interlocking points of entry into the common task of forging a political language capable of navigating our disorientation. If, as Gramsci famously noted, the interregnum is a time when the new struggles to be born while the old order is moribund, we may wish to heed Cedric Robinson’s call to “choose wisely among the dying.”

front cover of Wild Things
Wild Things
The Disorder of Desire
Jack Halberstam
Duke University Press, 2020
In Wild Things Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the twentieth century. Halberstam theorizes the wild as an unbounded and unpredictable space that offers sources of opposition to modernity's orderly impulses. Wildness illuminates the normative taxonomies of sexuality against which radical queer practice and politics operate. Throughout, Halberstam engages with a wide variety of texts, practices, and cultural imaginaries—from zombies, falconry, and M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong! to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and the career of Irish anticolonial revolutionary Roger Casement—to demonstrate how wildness provides the means to know and to be in ways that transgress Euro-American notions of the modern liberal subject. With Wild Things, Halberstam opens new possibilities for queer theory and for wild thinking more broadly.

Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter