Over the last twenty-five years, garbage infrastructure in Dakar, Senegal, has taken center stage in the struggles over government, the value of labor, and the dignity of the working poor. Through strikes and public dumping, Dakar's streets have been periodically inundated with household garbage as the city's trash collectors and ordinary residents protest urban austerity. Often drawing on discourses of Islamic piety, garbage activists have provided a powerful language to critique a neoliberal mode of governing-through-disposability and assert rights to fair labor. In Garbage Citizenship Rosalind Fredericks traces Dakar's volatile trash politics to recalibrate how we understand urban infrastructure by emphasizing its material, social, and affective elements. She shows how labor is a key component of infrastructural systems and how Dakar's residents use infrastructures as a vital tool for forging collective identities and mobilizing political action. Fleshing out the materiality of trash and degraded labor, Fredericks illuminates the myriad ways waste can be a potent tool of urban control and rebellion.
In this era in which more women are running for public office—and when there is increased activism among women—understanding gender differences on political issues has become critical. In her cogent study, Mary-Kate Lizotte argues that assessing the gender gap in public support for policies through a values lens provides insight into American politics today. There is ample evidence that men and women differ in their value endorsements—even when taking into account factors such as education, class, race, income, and party identification.
In Gender Differences in Public Opinion, Lizotte utilizes nationally representative data, mainly from the American National Election Study, to study these gender gaps, the explanatory power of values, and the political consequences of these differences. She examines the gender differences in several policy areas such as equal rights, gun control, the death penalty, and the environment, as well as social welfare issues. The result is an insightful and revealing study of how men and women vary in their policy positions and political attitudes.
Since the 1970s, quotas for female political candidates in elections have proliferated worldwide. Beyond increasing the numbers of women in high-level elected bodies and, thereby, women’s political representation, advocates claim that quotas foster gender-equal participation in democracy and create female role models. According to this reasoning, quotas also overcome barriers to women’s political participation, especially discriminatory practices in the selection of electoral candidates. Though such claims have persuaded policymakers to adopt quotas, little empirical evidence exists to verify their effects.
In Gender Quotas and Democratic Participation, Louise K. Davidson-Schmich employs a pathbreaking research design to assess the effects of gender quotas on all phases of political recruitment. Drawing on interviews with, and an original survey of, potential candidates in Germany, she investigates the extent to which quotas and corresponding increases in women’s descriptive representation have resulted in similar percentages of men and women joining political parties, aspiring to elected office, pursuing ballot nominations, and securing selection as candidates. She also examines the effect of quotas on discriminatory selection procedures.
Ultimately, Davidson-Schmich argues, quotas’ intended benefits have been only partially realized. Quotas give women greater presence in powerful elected bodies not by encouraging female citizens to pursue political office at rates similar to men’s, but by improving the odds that the limited number of politically ambitious women who do join parties will be elected. She concludes with concrete, original policy recommendations for increasing women’s political participation.
Observers often note the glaring contrast between China's economic progress and its stalled political reforms. This volume, written by experienced scholars, explores a range of grassroots efforts--initiated by the state and society alike--to restrain corrupt behavior and enhance the accountability of local authorities. While the authors offer varying views on the larger significance of these developments, their case studies point to a more dynamic Chinese political system than is often acknowledged.