The fall of the Berlin Wall. The collapse of the Iron Curtain. The Orange Revolution. The Arab Spring.
The rush of events in recent decades seems to confirm that Alexis de Tocqueville was right: the future belongs to democracy. But take a closer look. The history of democracy since the 1830s, when Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, reveals a far more complicated picture. And the future, author Chilton Williamson Jr. demonstrates, appears rather unpromising for democratic institutions around the world.
The fall of communism sparked the popular notion that the spread of democracy was inevitable. After Tocqueville challenges this sunny notion. Various aspects of twenty-first-century life that Tocqueville could scarcely have imagined—political, economic, social, religious, intellectual, technological, environmental—militate against democracy, both in developing societies and in the supposedly democratic West.
This piercing, elegantly written book raises crucial questions about the future of democracy, including:
•Just what is democracy? As Williamson shows, definitions and concepts have become so varied that the term is effectively meaningless.
•How does a system whose institutions and habits arose in small-scale societies adapt to a postmodern, globalized world?
•After two centuries of democratization, are Western countries really more free?
•How can democracy endure when people care more about procuring what they want than about securing liberty?
•How does a political system survive when it is beset by problems that cannot be solved by political means?
Two decades ago, Francis Fukuyama famously pronounced the “end of history.” History, it turns out, is still very much with us. Democracy (whatever it is) may not be in the decades and centuries to come.
Between 1949 and 1955, the State Department pushed for an international fisheries policy grounded in maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The concept is based on a confidence that scientists can predict, theoretically, the largest catch that can be taken from a species’ stock over an indefinite period. And while it was modified in 1996 with passage of the Sustained Fisheries Act, MSY is still at the heart of modern American fisheries management. As fish populations continue to crash, however, it is clear that MSY is itself not sustainable. Indeed, the concept has been widely criticized by scientists for ignoring several key factors in fisheries management and has led to the devastating collapse of many fisheries.
Carmel Finley reveals that the fallibility of MSY lies at its very inception—as a tool of government rather than science. The foundational doctrine of MSY emerged at a time when the US government was using science to promote and transfer Western knowledge and technology, and to ensure that American ships and planes would have free passage through the world’s seas and skies. Finley charts the history of US fisheries science using MSY as her focus, and in particular its application to halibut, tuna, and salmon fisheries. Fish populations the world over are threatened, and All the Fish in the Sea helps to sound warnings of the effect of any management policies divested from science itself.
Zachary C. Shirkey argues that the United States is overly reliant on the active use of force and should employ more peaceful foreign policy tools. Force often fails to achieve its desired ends for both tactical and strategic reasons and is relatively infungible, making it an inappropriate tool for many US foreign policy goals. Rather than relying on loose analogies or common sense as many books on US grand strategy do, American Dove bases its argument directly on an eclectic mix of academic literature, including realist, liberal, and constructivist theory as well as psychology. Shirkey also argues against retrenchment strategies, such as offshore balancing and strategic restraint as lacking a moral component that leaves them vulnerable to hawkish policies that employ moral arguments in favor of action. US withdrawal would weaken the existing liberal international security, economic, and legal orders—orders that benefit the United States. Rather, the book argues the United States needs an energetic foreign policy that employs passive uses of force such as deterrence and non-military tools such as economic statecraft, international institutions, international law, and soft power. Such a policy leaves room for a moral component, which is necessary for mobilizing the American public and would uphold the existing international order. Last, Shirkey argues that to be successful, doves must frame their arguments in terms of strategy rather than in terms of costs and must show that dovish policies are consistent with national honor and a broad range of American values. American Dove offers a framework for US grand strategy and a plan for persuading the public to adopt it.
Today's protracted asymmetrical conflicts confuse efforts to measure progress, often inviting politics and wishful thinking to replace objective evaluation.
In Assessing War, military historians, social scientists, and military officers explore how observers have analyzed the trajectory of war in American conflicts from the Seven Years’ War through the war in Afghanistan. Drawing on decades of acquired expertise, the contributors examine wartime assessment in both theory and practice and, through alternative dimensions of assessment such as justice and proportionality, the war of ideas and economics. This group of distinguished authors grapples with both conventional and irregular wars and emerging aspects of conflict—such as cyberwar and nation building—that add to the complexities of the modern threat environment. The volume ends with recommendations for practitioners on best approaches while offering sobering conclusions about the challenges of assessing war without politicization or self-delusion.
Covering conflicts from the eighteenth century to today, Assessing War blends focused advice and a uniquely broad set of case studies to ponder vital questions about warfare's past—and its future. The book includes a foreword by Gen. George W. Casey Jr. (USA, Ret.), former chief of staff of the US Army and former commander, Multi-National Force–Iraq.
In this provocative look at one of the most important events of our time, renowned scholar Arjun Appadurai argues that the economic collapse of 2008—while indeed spurred on by greed, ignorance, weak regulation, and irresponsible risk-taking—was, ultimately, a failure of language. To prove this sophisticated point, he takes us into the world of derivative finance, which has become the core of contemporary trading and the primary target of blame for the collapse and all our subsequent woes. With incisive argumentation, he analyzes this challengingly technical world, drawing on thinkers such as J. L. Austin, Marcel Mauss, and Max Weber as theoretical guides to showcase the ways language—and particular failures in it—paved the way for ruin.
Appadurai moves in four steps through his analysis. In the first, he highlights the importance of derivatives in contemporary finance, isolating them as the core technical innovation that markets have produced. In the second, he shows that derivatives are essentially written contracts about the future prices of assets—they are, crucially, a promise. Drawing on Mauss’s The Gift and Austin’s theories on linguistic performatives, Appadurai, in his third step, shows how the derivative exploits the linguistic power of the promise through the special form that money takes in finance as the most abstract form of commodity value. Finally, he pinpoints one crucial feature of derivatives (as seen in the housing market especially): that they can make promises that other promises will be broken. He then details how this feature spread contagiously through the market, snowballing into the systemic liquidity crisis that we are all too familiar with now.
With his characteristic clarity, Appadurai explains one of the most complicated—and yet absolutely central—aspects of our modern economy. He makes the critical link we have long needed to make: between the numerical force of money and the linguistic force of what we say we will do with it.
The 1992 presidential election campaign showed just how deep were the divisions within the Republican party. In Beautiful Losers, Samuel Francis argues that the victory of the Democratic party marks not only the end of the Reagan-Bush era, but the failure of the American conservatism.
The American prison system has grown tenfold since the 1970s, but crime rates in the United States have not decreased. This doesn't surprise Michael J. Lynch, a critical criminologist, who argues that our oversized prison system is a product of our consumer culture, the public's inaccurate beliefs about controlling crime, and the government's criminalizing of the poor.
While deterrence and incapacitation theories suggest that imprisoning more criminals and punishing them leads to a reduction in crime, case studies, such as one focusing on the New York City jail system between 1993 and 2003, show that a reduction in crime is unrelated to the size of jail populations. Although we are locking away more people, Lynch explains that we are not targeting the worst offenders. Prison populations are comprised of the poor, and many are incarcerated for relatively minor robberies and violence. America's prison expansion focused on this group to the exclusion of corporate and white collar offenders who create hazardous workplace and environmental conditions that lead to deaths and injuries, and enormous economic crimes. If America truly wants to reduce crime, Lynch urges readers to rethink cultural values that equate bigger with better.
Historically, Americans of all stripes have concurred that teachers were essential to the success of the public schools and nation. However, they have also concurred that public school teachers were to blame for the failures of the schools and identified professionalization as a panacea.
In Blaming Teachers, Diana D'Amico Pawlewicz reveals that historical professionalization reforms subverted public school teachers’ professional legitimacy. Superficially, professionalism connotes authority, expertise, and status. Professionalization for teachers never unfolded this way; rather, it was a policy process fueled by blame where others identified teachers’ shortcomings. Policymakers, school leaders, and others understood professionalization measures for teachers as efficient ways to bolster the growing bureaucratic order of the public schools through regulation and standardization. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century with the rise of municipal public school systems and reaching into the 1980s, Blaming Teachers traces the history of professionalization policies and the discourses of blame that sustained them.
The recent global economic downturn has affected nearly everyone in every corner of the globe. Its vast reach and lingering effects have made it difficult to pinpoint its exact cause, and while some economists point to the risks inherent in the modern financial system, others blame long-term imbalances in the world economy. Into this debate steps Paul Mattick, who, in Business as Usual, explains the global economic downturn in relation to the development of the world economy since World War II, but also as a fundamental example of the cycle of crisis and recovery that has characterized capitalism since the early nineteenth century.
Mattick explains that today’s recession is not the result of a singular financial event but instead is a manifestation of long-term processes within the world economy. Mattick argues that the economic downturn can best be understood within the context of business cycles, which are unavoidable in a free-market economy. He uses this explanation as a springboard for exploring the nature of our capitalist society and its prospects for the future.
Although Business as Usual engages with many economic theories, both mainstream and left-wing, Mattick’s accessible writing opens the subject up in order for non-specialists to understand the current economic climate not as the effect of a financial crisis, but as a manifestation of a truth about the social and economic system in which we live. As a result the book is ideal for anyone who wants to gain a succinct and jargon-free understanding of recent economic events, and, just as important, the overall dynamics of the capitalist system itself.
During World War I, the Thirty-fifth Division was made up of National Guard units from Missouri and Kansas. Composed of thousands of men from the two states, the Missouri-Kansas Division entered the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne with no battle experience and only a small amount of training, a few weeks of garrisoning in a quiet sector in Alsace. The division fell apart in five days, and the question Robert Ferrell attempts to answer is why.
The Thirty-fifth Division was based at Camp Doniphan on the Fort Sill reservation in Oklahoma and was trained essentially for stationary, or trench, warfare. In March 1918, the German army launched a series of offensives that nearly turned the tide on the Western Front. The tactics were those of open warfare, quick penetrations by massive forces, backed by heavy artillery and machine guns. The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commanded by Gen. John J. Pershing were unprepared for this change in tactics. When the Thirty-fifth Division was placed in the opening attack in the Meuse-Argonne on September 26, 1918, it quickly fell.
In addition to the Thirty-fifth Division’s lack of experience, its problems were compounded by the necessary confusions of turning National Guard units into a modern assemblage of men and machines. Although the U.S. Army utilized observers during the initial years of World War I, their dispatches had piled up in the War College offices in Washington and, unfortunately, were never studied.
The Thirty-fifth Division was also under the command of an incompetent major general and an incompetent artillery brigadier. The result was a debacle in five days, with the division line pushed backward and held only by the 110th Engineer Regiment of twelve hundred men, bolstered by what retreating men could be shoved into the line, some of them at gunpoint.
Although three divisions got into trouble at the outset of the Meuse-Argonne, the Thirty-fifth’s failure was the worst. After the collapse, the Red Cross representative of the division, Henry J. Allen, became governor of Kansas and instigated investigations by both houses of Congress. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker testified in an effort to limit the political damage. But the hullabaloo gradually died down, and the whole sad episode passed into the darker corridors of history.
By focusing on a single event in history, Collapse at Meuse-Argonne offers a unique glimpse into one of the most critical battles of World War I. Historians, as well as the general reader, will find this new perspective on what really happened to the Thirty-fifth Division fascinating.
When the Supreme Court struck down Colorado's Amendment 2—which would have nullified all state and local laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination—it was widely regarded as a victory for gay rights. Yet many gays and lesbians still risk losing their jobs, custody of their children, and even their liberty under the law. Using the Colorado initiative as his focus, Gerstmann untangles the complex standards and subtle rhetoric the Supreme Court uses to apply the equal protection clause.
The Court divides people into legal classes that receive varying levels of protection; gays and lesbians and other groups, such as the elderly and the poor, receive the least. Gerstmann reveals how these standards are used to favor certain groups over others, and also how Amendment 2 advocates used the Court's doctrine to convince voters that gays and lesbians were seeking "special rights" in Colorado.
Concluding with a call for wholesale reform of equal-protection jurisprudence, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in fair, coherent, and truly equal protection under the law.
We live in an era defined by corporate greed and malfeasance—one in which unprecedented accounting frauds and failures of compliance run rampant. In order to calm investor fears, revive perceptions of legitimacy in markets, and demonstrate the resolve of state and federal regulators, a host of reforms, high-profile investigations, and symbolic prosecutions have been conducted in response. But are they enough?
In this timely work, William S. Laufer argues that even with recent legal reforms, corporate criminal law continues to be ineffective. As evidence, Laufer considers the failure of courts and legislatures to fashion liability rules that fairly attribute blame for organizations. He analyzes the games that corporations play to deflect criminal responsibility. And he also demonstrates how the exchange of cooperation for prosecutorial leniency and amnesty belies true law enforcement. But none of these factors, according to Laufer, trumps the fact that there is no single constituency or interest group that strongly and consistently advocates the importance and priority of corporate criminal liability. In the absence of a new standard of corporate liability, the power of regulators to keep corporate abuses in check will remain insufficient.
A necessary corrective to our current climate of graft and greed, Corporate Bodies and Guilty Minds will be essential to policymakers and legal minds alike.
“[This] timely work offers a dispassionate analysis of problems relating to corporate crime.”—Harvard Law Review
Cárdenas Compromised is a political and institutional history of Mexico’s urban and rural labor in the Yucatán region during the regime of Lázaro Cárdenas from 1934 to 1940. Drawing on archival materials, both official and popular, Fallaw combines narrative, individual case studies, and focused political analysis to reexamine and dispel long-cherished beliefs about the Cardenista era. For historical, geographical, and ethnic reasons, Yucatán was the center of large-scale land reform after the Mexican Revolution. A long-standing revolutionary tradition, combined with a harsh division between a powerful white minority and a poor, Maya-speaking majority, made the region the perfect site for Cárdenas to experiment by launching an ambitious top-down project to mobilize the rural poor along ethnic and class lines. The regime encouraged rural peasants to form collectives, hacienda workers to unionize, and urban laborers to strike. It also attempted to mobilize young people and women, to challenge Yucatán’s traditional, patriarchal social structure, to reach out to Mayan communities, and to democratize the political process. Although the project ultimately failed, political dialogue over Cárdenas’s efforts continues. Rejecting both revisionist (anti-Cárdenas) and neopopulist (pro-Cárdenas) interpretations, Fallaw overturns the notion that the state allowed no room for the agency of local actors. By focusing on historical connections across class, political, and regional lines, Fallaw transforms ideas on Cardenismo that have long been accepted not only in Yucatán but throughout Mexico. This book will appeal to scholars of Mexican history and of Latin American state formation, as well as to sociologists and political scientists interested in modern Mexico.
In D. H. Lawrence, Eliseo Vivas examines the aesthetic triumphs and failures of Lawrence’s major works through a literary device that he coins “the constitutive symbol.” Understanding how Lawrence uses the constitutive symbol provides new insight into his world views. Vivas covers a wide range of Lawrence's work, including Aaron’s Rod, Kangaroo, The Plumed Serpent, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, and Women in Love. Vivas was one of the first scholars to use psychological criticism to read Lawrence’s works; Vivas's and his particularly fresh reading of Lawrence’s novels continue to make this a significant literary-critical study.
In an era of polarization, narrow party majorities, and increasing use of supermajority requirements in the Senate, policy entrepreneurs must find ways to reach across the aisle and build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. One such coalition-building strategy is the “politics of efficiency,” or reform that is aimed at eliminating waste from existing policies and programs. After all, reducing inefficiency promises to reduce costs without cutting benefits, which should appeal to members of both political parties, especially given tight budgetary constraints in Washington.
Dust-Up explores the most recent congressional efforts to reform asbestos litigation—a case in which the politics of efficiency played a central role and seemed likely to prevail. Yet, these efforts failed to produce a winning coalition, even though reform could have saved billions of dollars and provided quicker compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases. Why? The answers, as Jeb Barnes deftly illustrates, defy conventional wisdom and force us to rethink the political effects of litigation and the dynamics of institutional change in our fragmented policymaking system.
Set squarely at the intersection of law, politics, and public policy, Dust-Up provides the first in-depth analysis of the political obstacles to Congress in replacing a form of litigation that nearly everyone—Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, presidents, and experts—agrees is woefully inefficient and unfair to both victims and businesses. This concise and accessible case study includes a glossary of terms and study questions, making it a perfect fit for courses in law and public policy, congressional politics, and public health.
Earl Browder, the preeminent 20th-century Communist party leader in the United States, steered the CPUSA through the critical years of the Great Depression and World War II. A Kansas native and veteran of numerous radical movements, he was peculiarly fitted by circumstance and temperament to head the cause during its heyday.
Serving as a bridge between American Communism’s secret and public worlds, Browder did more than anyone to attempt to explain the Soviet Union’s shifting policies to the American people in a way that would serve the interests of the CPUSA. A proud and loyal follower of Joseph Stalin, Browder nevertheless sought to move the party into the U.S. political mainstream. He used his knowledge of domestic politics to persuade the Communist International to modify Popular Front (1935-1939) tactics for the United States.
Despite his rise in the hierarchy, he possessed an independent streak that ultimately proved his undoing. Imprisonment as he neared age 50 left permanent psychological damage. After being released with the approval of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Browder lost his perspective and began entertaining delusions of grandeur about his status in American politics and in the world Communist movement. Still, he could never quite bring legitimacy to the CPUSA because he lacked the vision and moral courage to separate himself totally from the Soviet Union. Ryan concludes that Browder was not so much insincere as deluded. His failure contributed to the demise of the popularity of the Communist party in the United States.
In preparation for this book, the author consulted the Browder Papers at Syracuse University and U.S. Government documents, particularly the F.B.I. files. In addition, he traveled to Russia for research in the Soviet Archives when recently opened to Western scholars, including the records of the former Communist International and a collection of American Communist party files, 1919-1944, shipped secretly to Moscow long ago. Indeed, until 1992, the existence of the CPUSA collection was only rumored.
When used in conjunction with corporations, the term “public” is misleading. Anyone can purchase shares of stock, but public corporations themselves are uninhibited by a sense of societal obligation or strict public oversight. In fact, managers of most large firms are prohibited by law from taking into account the interests of the public in decision making, if doing so hurts shareholders. But this has not always been the case, as until the beginning of the twentieth century, public corporations were deemed to have important civic responsibilities.
With The Failure of Corporate Law, Kent Greenfield hopes to return corporate law to a system in which the public has a greater say in how firms are governed. Greenfield maintains that the laws controlling firms should be much more protective of the public interest and of the corporation’s various stakeholders, such as employees. Only when the law of corporations is evaluated as a branch of public law—as with constitutional law or environmental law—will it be clear what types of changes can be made in corporate governance to improve the common good. Greenfield proposes changes in corporate governance that would enable corporations to meet the progressive goal of creating wealth for society as a whole rather than merely for shareholders and executives.
The Failure of Latin Americais a collection of John Beverley’s previously published essays and pairs them with new material that reflects on questions of postcolonialism and equality within the context of receding continental socialism. Beverley sees an impasse within both the academic postcolonial project and the Bolivarian idea of Latin America. The Pink Tide may have failed to permanently reshape Latin America, but in its failure there remains the possibility of an alternative modernity not bound to global capitalism. Beverley proposes that equality, modified by the postcolonial legacy, is a particularly Latin American possibility that can break the impasse and redefine Latinamericanism.
Modern farm policy emerged in the United States in 1862, leading to an industrialized agriculture that made the farm sector collectively more successful even as many individual farmers failed. Ever since, a healthy farm economy has been seen as the key to flourishing rural communities, and the problems of rural nonfarmers, former farmers, nonfarm residents, and unfarmed regions were ignored by policymakers.
In The Failure of National Rural Policy, William P. Browne blends history, politics, and economics to show that federal government emphasis on farm productivity has failed to meet broader rural needs and actually has increased rural poverty. He explains how strong public institutions, which developed agrarianism, led to narrowed concepts of the public interest. Reviewing past efforts to expand farm policy benefits to other rural residents, Browne documents the fragmentation of farm policy within the agricultural establishment as farm services grew, the evolution of political turf protection, and the resultant difficulties of rural advocacy. Arguing for an integrated theory of governing institutions and related political interests, he maintains that nonfarm rural society can make a realistic claim for public policy assistance.
Written informally, each chapter is followed by comments on the implications of its topics and summaries of key points. The book will serve as a stimulating text for students of public policy, national affairs, rural sociology, and community development—as well as anyone concerned with the future of agrarian America.
Based on seven years of archival research, the book describes previously unknown aspects of the electoral college crisis of 1800, presenting a revised understanding of the early days of two great institutions that continue to have a major impact on American history: the plebiscitarian presidency and a Supreme Court that struggles to put the presidency's claims of a popular mandate into constitutional perspective. Through close studies of two Supreme Court cases, Ackerman shows how the court integrated Federalist and Republican themes into the living Constitution of the early republic.
From Herman Melville’s claim that “failure is the true test of greatness” to Henry Adams’s self-identification with the “mortifying failure in [his] long education” and William Faulkner’s eagerness to be judged by his “splendid failure to do the impossible,” the rhetoric of failure has served as a master trope of modernist American literary expression. David Ball’s magisterial study addresses the fundamental questions of language, meaning, and authority that run counter to well-rehearsed claims of American innocence and positivity, beginning with the American Renaissance and extending into modernist and contemporary literature. The rhetoric of failure was used at various times to engage artistic ambition, the arrival of advanced capitalism, and a rapidly changing culture, not to mention sheer exhaustion. False Starts locates a lively narrative running through American literature that consequently queries assumptions about the development of modernism in the United States.
Situated along the line that divides the rich ecologies of Asia and Australia, the Indonesian archipelago is a hotbed for scientific exploration, and scientists from around the world have made key discoveries there. But why do the names of Indonesia’s own scientists rarely appear in the annals of scientific history? In The Floracrats Andrew Goss examines the professional lives of Indonesian naturalists and biologists, to show what happens to science when a powerful state becomes its greatest, and indeed only, patron.
With only one purse to pay for research, Indonesia’s scientists followed a state agenda focused mainly on exploiting the country’s most valuable natural resources—above all its major export crops: quinine, sugar, coffee, tea, rubber, and indigo. The result was a class of botanic bureaucrats that Goss dubs the “floracrats.” Drawing on archives and oral histories, he shows how these scientists strove for the Enlightenment ideal of objective, universal, and useful knowledge, even as they betrayed that ideal by failing to share scientific knowledge with the general public. With each chapter, Goss details the phases of power and the personalities in Indonesia that have struggled with this dilemma, from the early colonial era, through independence, to the modern Indonesian state. Goss shows just how limiting dependence on an all-powerful state can be for a scientific community, no matter how idealistic its individual scientists may be.
From Thomas Jefferson to John Rawls, justice has been at the center of America’s self-image and national creed. At the same time, for many of its peoples-from African slaves and European immigrants to women and the poor-the American experience has been defined by injustice: oppression, disenfranchisement, violence, and prejudice.
In Identity and the Failure of America, John Michael explores the contradictions between a mythic national identity promising justice to all and the realities of a divided, hierarchical, and frequently iniquitous history and social order. Through a series of insightful readings, Michael analyzes such cultural moments as the epic dramatization of the tension between individual ambition and communal complicity in Moby-Dick, attempts to effect social change through sympathy in the novels of Lydia Marie Child and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s antislavery activism and Frederick Douglass’s long fight for racial equity, and the divisive figures of John Brown and Nat Turner in American letters and memory.
Focusing on exemplary instances when the nature of the United States as an essentially conflicted nation turned to force, Michael ultimately posits the development of a more cosmopolitan American identity, one that is more fully and justly imagined in response to the nation’s ethical failings at home and abroad.
John Michael is professor of English and of visual and cultural studies at the University of Rochester. He is the author of Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values and Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World.
One of the most significant political philosophers of the twentieth century, Carl Schmitt is a deeply controversial figure who has been labeled both Nazi sympathizer and modern-day Thomas Hobbes. First published in 1938, The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes used the Enlightenment philosopher’s enduring symbol of the protective Leviathan to address the nature of modern statehood. A work that predicted the demise of the Third Reich and that still holds relevance in today’s security-obsessed society, this volume will be essential reading for students and scholars of political science.
“Carl Schmitt is surely the most controversial German political and legal philosopher of this century. . . . We deal with Schmitt, against all odds, because history stubbornly persists in proving many of his tenets right.”—Perspectives on Political Science
“[A] significant contribution. . . . The relation between Hobbes and Schmitt is one of the most important questions surrounding Schmitt: it includes a distinct, though occasionally vacillating, personal identification as well as an association of ideas.”—Telos
North Lawndale, a neighborhood that lies in the shadows of Chicago’s Loop, is surrounded by some of the city’s finest medical facilities, Yet, it is one of the sickest, most medically underserved communities in the country.
Mama Might Be Better Off Dead immerses readers in the lives of four generations of a poor, African-American family in the neighborhood, who are beset with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America’s inner-cities. Headed by Jackie Banes, who oversees the care of a diabetic grandmother, a husband on kidney dialysis, an ailing father, and three children, the Banes family contends with countless medical crises. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Laurie Kaye Abraham chronicles their access—or more often, lack thereof—to medical care. Told sympathetically but without sentimentality, their story reveals an inadequate health care system that is further undermined by the direct and indirect effects of poverty.
Both disturbing and illuminating, Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care in America. Published to great acclaim in 1993, the book in this new edition includes an incisive foreword by David Ansell, a physician who worked at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where much of the Banes family’s narrative unfolds.
Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it immerses readers in the lives of four generations of a poor, African-American family beset with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner-cities.
The story takes place in North Lawndale, a neighborhood that lies in the shadows of Chicago's Loop. Although surrounded by some of the city's finest medical facilities, North Lawndale is one of the sickest, most medically underserved communities in the country. Headed by Jackie Banes, who oversees the care of a diabetic grandmother, a husband on kidney dialysis, an ailing father, and three children, the Banes family contends with countless medical crises. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Abraham chronicles their access (or lack of access) to medical care.
Told sympathetically but without sentimentality, their story reveals an inadequate health care system that is further undermined by the direct and indirect effects of poverty. When people are poor, they become sick easily. When people are sick, their families quickly become poorer.
Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconsistencies, and inequalities the poor face when they seek health care. This book reveals what health care policies crafted in Washington, D. C. or state capitals look like when they hit the street. It shows how Medicaid and Medicare work and don't work, the Catch-22s of hospital financing in the inner city, the racial politics of organ transplants, the failure of childhood immunization programs, the vexed issues of individual responsibility and institutional paternalism. One observer puts it this way: "Show me the poor woman who finds a way to get everything she's entitled to in the system, and I'll show you a woman who could run General Motors."
Abraham deftly weaves these themes together to make a persuasive case for health care reform while unflinchingly presenting the complexities that will make true reform as difficult as it is necessary. Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is a book with the power to change the way health care is understood in America. For those seeking to learn what our current system of health care promises and what it delivers, it offers a place for the debate to begin.
The News Untold offers an important new perspective on media narratives about poverty in Appalachia. It focuses on how small-town reporters and editors in some of the region’s poorest communities decide what aspects of poverty are news, how their audiences interpret those decisions, and how those two related processes help shape broader understandings of economic need and local social responsibility. Focusing on patterns of both media creation and consumption, The News Untold shows how a lack of constructive news coverage of economic need can make it harder for the poor to voice their concerns.
Critical and inclusive news coverage of poverty at the local level, Michael Clay Carey writes, can help communities start to look past old stereotypes and attitudes and encourage solutions that incorporate broader sets of community voices. Such an effort will require journalists and community leaders to reexamine some of the professional traditions and social views that often shape what news looks like in small towns.
As the initial US observer, David Rawson participated in the 1993 Rwandan peace talks at Arusha, Tanzania. Later, he served as US ambassador to Rwanda during the last months of the doomed effort to make them hold. Despite the intervention of concerned states in establishing a peace process and the presence of an international mission, UNAMIR, the promise of the Arusha Peace Accords could not be realized. Instead, the downing of Rwandan president Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994 rekindled the civil war and opened the door to genocide.
In Prelude to Genocide, Rawson draws on declassified documents and his own experiences to seek out what went wrong. How did the course of political negotiations in Arusha and party wrangling in Kigali, Rwanda, bring to naught a concentrated international effort to establish peace? And what lessons are there for other international humanitarian interventions? The result is a commanding blend of diplomatic history and analysis that is a milestone read on the Rwandan crisis and on what happens when conflict resolution and diplomacy fall short.
Published in partnership with the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series.
The Promise of Failure is part memoir of the writing life, part advice book, and part craft book; sometimes funny, sometimes wrenching, but always honest. McNally uses his own life as a blueprint for the writer’s daily struggles as well as the existential ones, tackling subjects such as when to quit and when to keep going, how to deal with depression, what risking something of yourself means, and ways to reenergize your writing through reinvention.
What McNally illuminates is how rejection, in its best light, is another element of craft, a necessary stage to move the writer from one project to the next, and that it’s best to see rejection and failure on a life-long continuum so that you can see the interconnectedness between failure and success, rather than focusing on failure as a measure of self-worth. As brutally candid as McNally can sometimes be, The Promise of Failure is ultimately an inspiring book—never in a Pollyannaish self-help way. McNally approaches the reader as a sympathetic companion with cautionary tales to tell. Written by an author who has as many unpublished books under his belt as published ones, The Promise of Failure is as much for the newcomer as it is for the established writer.
The Queer Art of Failure
Jack Halberstam Duke University Press, 2011 Library of Congress BD175.H33 2011 | Dewey Decimal 121
The Queer Art of Failure is about finding alternatives—to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives. Judith Halberstam proposes “low theory” as a mode of thinking and writing that operates at many different levels at once. Low theory is derived from eccentric archives. It runs the risk of not being taken seriously. It entails a willingness to fail and to lose one’s way, to pursue difficult questions about complicity, and to find counterintuitive forms of resistance. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children’s films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.
Why is it so much harder for American same-sex couples to get married than it is for them to adopt children? And why does our military prevent gays from serving openly even though jurisdictions nationwide continue to render such discrimination illegal? Illuminating the conditions that engender these contradictory policies, Same Sex, Different Politics explains why gay rights advocates have achieved dramatically different levels of success from one policy area to another.
The first book to compare results across a wide range of gay rights struggles, this volume explores debates over laws governing military service, homosexual conduct, adoption, marriage and partner recognition, hate crimes, and civil rights. It reveals that in each area, the gay rights movement’s achievements depend both on Americans’ perceptions of its demands and on the political venue in which the conflict plays out. Adoption policy, for example, generally takes shape in a decentralized system of courts that enables couples to target sympathetic judges, while fights for gay marriage generally culminate in legislation or ballot referenda against which it is easier to mount opposition. Brilliantly synthesizing all the factors that contribute to each kind of outcome, Same Sex, Different Politics establishes a new framework for understanding the trajectory of a movement.
The problems commonly associated with inner-city schools were not nearly as pervasive a century ago, when black children in most northern cities attended school alongside white children. In Schools Betrayed, her innovative history of race and urban education, Kathryn M. Neckerman tells the story of how and why these schools came to serve black children so much worse than their white counterparts.
Focusing on Chicago public schools between 1900 and 1960, Neckerman compares the circumstances of blacks and white immigrants, groups that had similarly little wealth and status yet came to gain vastly different benefits from their education. Their divergent educational outcomes, she contends, stemmed from Chicago officials’ decision to deal with rising African American migration by segregating schools and denying black students equal resources. And it deepened, she shows, because of techniques for managing academic failure that only reinforced inequality. Ultimately, these tactics eroded the legitimacy of the schools in Chicago’s black community, leaving educators unable to help their most disadvantaged students.
Schools Betrayed will be required reading for anyone who cares about urban education.
In this hermeneutic analysis of seven literary texts, Stephanie Barbé Hammer studies the roles of criminal protagonists in the dramas of George Lillo (The London Merchant) and Friedrich Schiller (The Robbers) and in the narratives of Abbé de Prévost (Manon Lescaut), Henry Fielding (Jonathan Wild), Marquis de Sade (Justine), William Godwin (Caleb Williams), and Heinrich von Kleist (Michael Kohlhaas).
Hammer reflects the current interest in cultural critique by utilizing the social theories of Michel Foucault and the feminist approaches of Hélène Cixous and Eve Sedgwick to redefine the Enlightenment as a movement of thought rather than as a strictly defined period synonymous with the eighteenth century. In addition, through the examination of the works of three post–World War II authors (Jean Genet, Anthony Burgess, and Peter Handke), Hammer suggests that the Enlightenment’s artistic representations of criminality are unparalleled by subsequent modern literature.
Hammer explains that the seven works she focuses on have been dismissed as failures by readers who have misunderstood the texts’ aesthetic elements. While claiming that the form of these works breaks down under the pressure of their criminal protagonists, she asserts that this formal failure actually contributes to the success of the works as art. The works "fail" because, like the criminal characters themselves, they break laws. The criminal protagonist effectively sabotages the official story that the text seeks to tell by deflecting the plot, style, and formal requirements in question, subverting its message—be it moral, sentimental, or libertine— through a kind of structural undermining, forcing the text beyond its own formal boundaries. For example, Hammer maintains that the presence of the criminal figure, Millwood, in Lillo’s bourgeois tragedy actually makes the play covertly antibourgeois.
Hammer insists that the criminal’s subversive presence in these seven works inaugurates new insight, and her analysis thereby challenges late twentieth-century readers to continue the investigation that the works themselves have begun.
This book will prove indispensable to scholars of comparative literature, especially eighteenth-century specialists, as well as to all individuals interested in cultural critique.
Common and destructive, limited wars are significant international events that pose a number of challenges to the states involved beyond simple victory or defeat. Chief among these challenges is the risk of escalation—be it in the scale, scope, cost, or duration of the conflict. In this book, Spencer D. Bakich investigates a crucial and heretofore ignored factor in determining the nature and direction of limited war: information institutions.
Traditional assessments of wartime strategy focus on the relationship between the military and civilians, but Bakich argues that we must take into account the information flow patterns among top policy makers and all national security organizations. By examining the fate of American military and diplomatic strategy in four limited wars, Bakich demonstrates how not only the availability and quality of information, but also the ways in which information is gathered, managed, analyzed, and used, shape a state’s ability to wield power effectively in dynamic and complex international systems.
Utilizing a range of primary and secondary source materials, Success and Failure in Limited War makes a timely case for the power of information in war, with crucial implications for international relations theory and statecraft.
A theoretical and exegetical exploration of trauma in the Hebrew Bible
David Janzen discusses the concepts of history and trauma and contrasts the ways historians and trauma survivors grapple with traumatic events, a contrast embodied in the very different ways the books of Kings and Lamentations react to the destruction of Jerusalem. Janzen’s study warns that explanations in histories will tend to silence the voices of trauma survivors, and it challenges traditional approaches that sometimes portray the explanations of traumatic events in biblical literature as therapeutic for victims.
Exploration of history as a narrative explanation that creates a past readers can recognize to be true
Examination of how trauma results in a failure of victims to fully experience or remember traumatic events.
A case for why the past is a construction of cultures and historians
Underdeveloping the Amazon shows how different extractive economies have periodically enriched various dominant classes but progressively impoverished the entire region by disrupting both the Amazon Basin's ecology and human communities. Contending that traditional models of development based almost exclusively on the European and American experience of industrial production cannot apply to a regional economy founded on extraction, Stephen G. Bunker proposes a new model based on the use and depletion of energy values in natural resources as the key to understanding the disruptive forces at work in the Basin.