Passion and emotion run deep in politics, but researchers have only recently begun to study how they influence our political thinking. Contending that the long-standing neglect of such feelings has left unfortunate gaps in our understanding of political behavior, The Affect Effect fills the void by providing a comprehensive overview of current research on emotion in politics and where it is likely to lead.
In sixteen seamlessly integrated essays, thirty top scholars approach this topic from a broad array of angles that address four major themes. The first section outlines the philosophical and neuroscientific foundations of emotion in politics, while the second focuses on how emotions function within and among individuals. The final two sections branch out to explore how politics work at the societal level and suggest the next steps in modeling, research, and political activity itself. Opening up new paths of inquiry in an exciting new field, this volume will appeal not only to scholars of American politics and political behavior, but also to anyone interested in political psychology and sociology.
Although the rational choice approach toward political behavior has been severely criticized, its adherents claim that competing models have failed to offer a more scientific model of political decisionmaking. This measured but provocative book offers precisely that: an alternative way of understanding political behavior based on cognitive research.
The authors draw on research in neuroscience, physiology, and experimental psychology to conceptualize habit and reason as two mental states that interact in a delicate, highly functional balance controlled by emotion. Applying this approach to more than fifteen years of election results, they shed light on a wide range of political behavior, including party identification, symbolic politics, and negative campaigning.
Remarkably accessible, Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment urges social scientists to move beyond the idealistic notion of the purely rational citizen to form a more complete, realistic model that includes the emotional side of human judgment.
In conventional identity politics subjective differences are understood negatively, as gaps to be overcome, as lacks of sameness, as evidence of failed or incomplete unity. In Alterity Politics Jeffrey T. Nealon argues instead for a concrete and ethical understanding of community, one that requires response, action, and performance instead of passive resentment and unproductive mourning for a whole that cannot be attained.
While discussing the work of others who have refused to thematize difference in terms of the possibility or impossibility of sameness—Levinas, Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, Zizek, Jameson, Heidegger, Bakhtin—Nealon argues that ethics is constituted as inexorable affirmative response to different identities, not through an inability to understand or totalize the other. Alterity Politics combines this theoretical itinerary with crucial discussions of specific and diverse sites of literary and cultural production—the work of William S. Burroughs, Amiri Baraka, Andy Warhol, Ishmael Reed, Rush Limbaugh, and Vincent Van Gogh—along with analyses of the social formation of subjects as found in identity politics, and in multicultural and whiteness studies. In the process, Nealon takes on a wide variety of issues including white male anger, the ethical questions raised by drug addiction, the nature of literary meaning, and the concept of “becoming-black.”
In seeking to build an ethical structure around poststructuralist discourse and to revitalize the applied use of theoretical concepts to notions of performative identity, Alterity Politics marks a decisive intervention in literary theory, cultural studies, twentieth-century philosophy, and performance studies.
It is common knowledge that televised political ads are meant to appeal to voters' emotions, yet little is known about how or if these tactics actually work. Ted Brader's innovative book is the first scientific study to examine the effects that these emotional appeals in political advertising have on voter decision-making.
At the heart of this book are ingenious experiments, conducted by Brader during an election, with truly eye-opening results that upset conventional wisdom. They show, for example, that simply changing the music or imagery of ads while retaining the same text provokes completely different responses. He reveals that politically informed citizens are more easily manipulated by emotional appeals than less-involved citizens and that positive "enthusiasm ads" are in fact more polarizing than negative "fear ads." Black-and-white video images are ten times more likely to signal an appeal to fear or anger than one of enthusiasm or pride, and the emotional appeal triumphs over the logical appeal in nearly three-quarters of all political ads.
Brader backs up these surprising findings with an unprecedented survey of emotional appeals in contemporary political campaigns. Politicians do set out to campaign for the hearts and minds of voters, and, for better or for worse, it is primarily through hearts that minds are won. Campaigning for Hearts and Minds will be indispensable for anyone wishing to understand how American politics is influenced by advertising today.
Thanks to the ready availability of political news today, informed citizens can protect and promote their own interests and the public interest more effectively. Or can they? Murray Edelman argues against this conventional interpretation of politics, one that takes for granted that we live in a world of facts and that people react rationally to the facts they know. In doing so, he explores in detail the ways in which the conspicuous aspects of the political scene are interpretations that systematically buttress established inequalities and interpretations already dominant political ideologies.
In addition to their obvious roles in American politics, race and gender also work in hidden ways to profoundly influence the way we think—and vote—about a vast array of issues that don’t seem related to either category. As Nicholas Winter reveals in Dangerous Frames, politicians and leaders often frame these seemingly unrelated issues in ways that prime audiences to respond not to the policy at hand but instead to the way its presentation resonates with their deeply held beliefs about race and gender. Winter shows, for example, how official rhetoric about welfare and Social Security has tapped into white Americans’ racial biases to shape their opinions on both issues for the past two decades. Similarly, the way politicians presented health care reform in the 1990s divided Americans along the lines of their attitudes toward gender. Combining cognitive and political psychology with innovative empirical research, Dangerous Frames ultimatelyilluminates the emotional underpinnings of American politics.
"Davis writes with fervor, vision, and keen moral appreciation of our condition. He encourages us to see what we fear to see, to say what we fear to say. This book is illuminating, challenging, fierce." Michael Eigen, author of The Sensitive Self, Rage, Ecstasy, Toxic Nourishment, Damaged Bonds andThe Psychoanalytic Mystic
Why is fear a dominant emotion in contemporary society? Why are politicians using words like 'terror', 'evil' and 'fundamentalism', and what effect is it having on public consciousness?
Answering these questions, Walter A. Davis taps into the cultural psyche to explore the link between ideology and emotional and psychological manipulation. Starting with the three topics that have preoccupied social discourse since 9-11 -- terror, evil and fundamentalism -- he shows that the Bush administration has been hugely successful in controlling and developing a new political climate through the creation of an almost hypnotic mass consciousness.
Davis's findings take us to the heart of the ideological paralysis of the Left, while offering an innovative approach to understanding contemporary history.
Davis fuses a psychoanalytic and philosophical framework to explain the relation between culture and political events, from the sado-masochist hysteria of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ' to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison; and from the genocidal use of depleted uranium in Iraq to the apocalyptic language driving the Christian Right's assault on basic human rights.
He exposes the motives and belief-systems of this new American psyche and shows how it sustains the Bush administration's agenda. Illuminating how psychological needs govern political action, Davis reveals why the relationship between politics and public consciousness has massive implications for all of us beyond America's borders.
Walter A. Davis is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Ohio State University. He is the author of six previous books, including Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud (University of Wisconsin Press, 1989) and Deracination: Historicity, Hiroshima, and the Tragic Imperative (SUNY Press, 2001).
How do threats of terrorism affect the opinions of citizens? Speculation abounds, but until now no one had marshaled hard evidence to explain the complexities of this relationship. Drawing on data from surveys and original experiments they conducted in the United States and Mexico, Jennifer Merolla and Elizabeth Zechmeister demonstrate how our strategies for coping with terrorist threats significantly influence our attitudes toward fellow citizens, political leaders, and foreign nations.
The authors reveal, for example, that some people try to restore a sense of order and control through increased wariness of others—especially of those who exist outside the societal mainstream. Additionally, voters under threat tend to prize “strong leadership” more highly than partisan affiliation, making some politicians seem more charismatic than they otherwise would. The authors show that a wary public will sometimes continue to empower such leaders after they have been elected, giving them greater authority even at the expense of institutional checks and balances. Having demonstrated that a climate of terrorist threat also increases support for restrictive laws at home and engagement against terrorists abroad, Merolla and Zechmeister conclude that our responses to such threats can put democracy at risk.
Dissent in Dangerous Times
Austin Sarat, Editor University of Michigan Press, 2004 Library of Congress JK275.D57 2005 | Dewey Decimal 303.484
Dissent in Dangerous Times presents essays by six distinguished scholars, who provide their own unique views on the interplay of loyalty, patriotism, and dissent.
While dissent has played a central role in our national history and in the American cultural imagination, it is usually dangerous to those who practice it, and always unpalatable to its targets. War does not encourage the tolerance of opposition at home any more than it does on the front: if the War on Terror is to be a permanent war, then the consequences for American political freedoms cannot be overestimated.
"Dissent in Dangerous Times examines the nature of political repression in liberal societies, and the political and legal implications of living in an environment of fear. This profound, incisive, at times even moving volume calls upon readers to think about, and beyond, September 11, reminding us of both the fragility and enduring power of freedom."
--Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union, and Professor of Law, New York Law School.
An incisive look at how America’s continued demographic explosion has spurred the development of a new identity as people of color.
For decades now, pundits and political scientists have been pointing to a major demographic change that’s underway in the United States. Demographers project that whites will become a minority of the US population and that minority groups will jointly comprise a majority before 2050.
Diversity’s Child appraises the political ramifications of this change. Efrén O. Pérez deftly argues that America’s changing demographics are forging a new identity for many as people of color—that unifies the political outlook of assorted minority groups. Drawing on opinion surveys of multiple minority groups, social science experiments with minority adults, content analyses of newspapers and congressional archives, and in-depth interviews with minority individuals, Pérez makes two key points. First, a person of color's identity does exist, and we can reliably measure it, as well as distinguish it from other identities that minorities hold. Second, across a wide swath of circumstances, identifying as a person of color profoundly shapes how minorities view themselves and their political system. Diversity’s Child is a vital and engaging look at America’s identity politics as well as at how people of color think about racial disparities and how politics can best solve them.
What do dreams manage to say—or indeed, show—about human experience that is not legible otherwise? Can the disclosure of our dream-life be understood as a form of political avowal? To what does a dream attest? And to whom?
Blending psychoanalytic theory with the work of such political thinkers as Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, Sharon Sliwinski explores how the disclosure of dream-life represents a special kind of communicative gesture—a form of unconscious thinking that can serve as a potent brand of political intervention and a means for resisting sovereign power. Each chapter centers on a specific dream plucked from the historical record, slowly unwinding the significance of this extraordinary disclosure. From Wilfred Owen and Lee Miller to Frantz Fanon and Nelson Mandela, Sliwinski shows how each of these figures grappled with dream-life as a means to conjure up the courage to speak about dark times. Here dreaming is defined as an integral political exercise—a vehicle for otherwise unthinkable thoughts and a wellspring for the freedom of expression.
Dreaming in Dark Times defends the idea that dream-life matters—that attending to this thought-landscape is vital to the life of the individual but also vital to our shared social and political worlds.
The Emotions of Protest
James M. Jasper University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress BF576.J387 2018 | Dewey Decimal 152.4
In Donald Trump’s America, protesting has roared back into fashion. The Women’s March, held the day after Trump’s inauguration, may have been the largest in American history, and resonated around the world. Between Trump’s tweets and the march’s popularity, it is clear that displays of anger dominate American politics once again.
There is an extensive body of research on protest, but the focus has mostly been on the calculating brain—a byproduct of structuralism and cognitive studies—and less on the feeling brain. James M. Jasper’s work changes that, as he pushes the boundaries of our present understanding of the social world. In The Emotions of Protest, Jasper lays out his argument, showing that it is impossible to separate cognition and emotion. At a minimum, he says, we cannot understand the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street or pro- and anti-Trump rallies without first studying the fears and anger, moral outrage, and patterns of hate and love that their members feel.
This is a book centered on protest, but Jasper also points toward broader paths of inquiry that have the power to transform the way social scientists picture social life and action. Through emotions, he says, we are embedded in a variety of environmental, bodily, social, moral, and temporal contexts, as we feel our way both consciously and unconsciously toward some things and away from others. Politics and collective action have always been a kind of laboratory for working out models of human action more generally, and emotions are no exception. Both hearts and minds rely on the same feelings racing through our central nervous systems. Protestors have emotions, like everyone else, but theirs are thinking hearts, not bleeding hearts. Brains can feel, and hearts can think.
Mapping the territory where political science and psychology intersect, Explorations in Political Psychology offers a broad overview of the the field of political psychology—from its historical evolution as an area of inquiry to the rich and eclectic array of theories, concepts, and methods that mark it as an emerging discipline. In introductory essays, editors Shanto Iyengar and William J. McGuire identify the points of exchange between the disciplines represented and discuss the issues that make up the subfields of political psychology. Bringing together leading scholars from social psychology and political science, the following sections discuss attitude research (the study of political attitudes and opinions); cognition and information-processing (the relationship between the structures of human information-processing and political and policy preferences); and decision making (how people make decisions about political preferences). As a comprehensive introduction to a growing field of interdisciplinary concern, Explorations in Political Psychology will prove a useful guide for historians, social psychologists, and political scientists with an interest in individual political behavior.
Contributors. Stephen Ansolabehere, Donald Granberg, Shanto Iyengar, Robert Jervis, Milton Lodge, Roger D. Masters, William J. McGuire, Victor C. Ottati, Samuel L. Popkin, William M. Runyan, David O. Sears, Patrick Stroh, Denis G. Sullivan, Philip E. Tetlock, Robert S. Wyer, Jr.
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.
In Hegel on Political Identity, Lydia Moland provocatively draws on Hegel's political philosophy to engage sometimes contentious contemporary issues such as patriotism, national identity, and cosmopolitanism. Moland argues that patriotism for Hegel indicates an attitude toward the state, whereas national identity is a response to culture. The two combine, Hegel claims, to enable citizens to develop concrete freedom. Moland argues that Hegel's account of political identity extends to his notorious theory of world history; she also proposes that his resistance to cosmopolitanism be reassessed in response to our globalized world. By focusing on Hegel's depiction of political identity as a central part of modern life, Moland shows the potential of Hegel's philosophy to address issues that lie at the heart of ethical and political philosophy.
In a campaign for state or local office these days, you’re as likely today to hear accusations that an opponent advanced Obamacare or supported Donald Trump as you are to hear about issues affecting the state or local community. This is because American political behavior has become substantially more nationalized. American voters are far more engaged with and knowledgeable about what’s happening in Washington, DC, than in similar messages whether they are in the South, the Northeast, or the Midwest. Gone are the days when all politics was local.
With The Increasingly United States, Daniel J. Hopkins explores this trend and its implications for the American political system. The change is significant in part because it works against a key rationale of America’s federalist system, which was built on the assumption that citizens would be more strongly attached to their states and localities. It also has profound implications for how voters are represented. If voters are well informed about state politics, for example, the governor has an incentive to deliver what voters—or at least a pivotal segment of them—want. But if voters are likely to back the same party in gubernatorial as in presidential elections irrespective of the governor’s actions in office, governors may instead come to see their ambitions as tethered more closely to their status in the national party.
The Minor Gesture
Erin Manning Duke University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B828.45.M366 2016
In this wide-ranging and probing book Erin Manning extends her previous inquiries into the politics of movement to the concept of the minor gesture. The minor gesture, although it may pass almost unperceived, transforms the field of relations. More than a chance variation, less than a volition, it requires rethinking common assumptions about human agency and political action. To embrace the minor gesture's power to fashion relations, its capacity to open new modes of experience and manners of expression, is to challenge the ways in which the neurotypical image of the human devalues alternative ways of being moved by and moving through the world—in particular what Manning terms "autistic perception." Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari's schizoanalysis and Whitehead's speculative pragmatism, Manning's far-reaching analyses range from fashion to depression to the writings of autistics, in each case affirming the neurodiversity of the minor and the alternative politics it gestures toward.
Using a unique data set comparing mothers and daughters who attended Douglass College—the women's college of Rutgers University—twenty-five years apart, Krista Jenkins perceptively observes the changes in how women acquire their attitudes toward gender roles and behaviors in the post-women's movement years.
Mothers, Daughters, and Political Socialization examines the role of intergenerational transmission—the maternal influences on younger women—while also looking at differences among women in attitudes and behaviors relative to gender roles that might be attributed to the nature of the times during their formative years. How do daughters coming of age in an era when the women's movement is far less visible deal with gendered expectations compared to their mothers? Do they accept the contemporary status quo their feminist mothers fought so hard to achieve? Or, do they press forward with new goals?
Jenkins shows how contemporary women are socialized to accept or reject traditional gender roles that serve to undermine their equality.
Martha C. Nussbaum Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress JA71.N88 2013 | Dewey Decimal 320.019
Martha Nussbaum asks: How can we sustain a decent society that aspires to justice and inspires sacrifice for the common good? Amid negative emotions endemic even to good societies, public emotions rooted in love--intense attachments outside our control--can foster commitment to shared goals and keep at bay the forces of disgust and envy.
This collection of essays draws on writings from mythologists, sociologists, philosophers, historians, and political activists, to present perspectives on the techniques, philosophies, and theories of political leadership throughout history. The forty-three selections offer a broad range of thought and provide a uniquely comprehensive reference.
For more than three decades, Rogers M. Smith has been one of the leading scholars of the role of ideas in American politics, policies, and history. Over time, he has developed the concept of “political peoples,” a category that is much broader and more fluid than legal citizenship, enabling Smith to offer rich new analyses of political communities, governing institutions, public policies, and moral debates.
This book gathers Smith’s most important writings on peoplehood to build a coherent theoretical and historical account of what peoplehood has meant in American political life, informed by frequent comparisons to other political societies. From the revolutionary-era adoption of individual rights rhetoric to today’s battles over the place of immigrants in a rapidly diversifying American society, Smith shows how modern America’s growing embrace of overlapping identities is in tension with the providentialism and exceptionalism that continue to make up so much of what many believe it means to be an American.
A major work that brings a lifetime of thought to bear on questions that are as urgent now as they have ever been, Political Peoplehood will be essential reading for social scientists, political philosophers, policy analysts, and historians alike.
This outstanding book is the first to decisively define the relationship between political psychology and international relations. Written in a style accessible to undergraduates as well as specialists, McDermott's book makes an eloquent case for the importance of psychology to our understanding of global politics.
In the wake of September 11, the American public has been besieged with claims that politics is driven by personality. Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Kim Chong-Il, Ayatollah Khameinei-America's political rogues' gallery is populated by individuals whose need for recognition supposedly drives their actions on the world stage. How does personality actually drive politics? And how is personality, in turn, formed by political environment? Political Psychology in International Relations provides students and scholars with the analytical tools they need to answer these pressing questions, and to assess their implications for policy in a real and sometimes dangerous world.
This work presents a new, alternative approach to studying the formation of political ideologies and attitudes, addressing a concern in political science that research in this area is at a crossroads. The authors provide an epistemologically grounded critique on the literature of belief systems, explaining why traditional approaches have reached the limits of usefulness. Following the lead of such continental theorists such as Jurgen Habermas and Anthony Giddens, who stress the importance of Jean Piaget to the development of a strong theoretical perspective in political psychology, the authors develop a different epistemology, theory,and research strategy based on Piaget, then apply it in two emperical studies of belief systems, and finally present a third theoretical study of political culture and political development.
This path-breaking book reconceptualizes our understanding of political tolerance as well as of its foundations. Previous studies, the authors contend, overemphasized the role of education in explaining the presence of tolerance, while giving insufficient weight to personality and ideological factors. With an innovative methodology for measuring levels of tolerance more accurately, the authors are able to explain why particular groups are targeted and why tolerance is an inherently political concept. Far from abating, the degree of intolerance in America today is probably as great as it ever was; it is the targets of intolerance that have changed.
Why are some discourses more politically efficacious than others? Seeking answers to this question, Ty Solomon develops a new theoretical approach to the study of affect, identity, and discourse—core phenomena whose mutual interweaving have yet to be fully analyzed in International Relations. Drawing upon Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory and Ernesto Laclau’s approach to hegemonic politics, Solomon argues that prevailing discourses offer subtle but powerfully appealing opportunities for affective investment on the part of audiences.
Through empirical case studies of the affective resonances of the war on terror and the rise and fall of neoconservative influence in American foreign policy, Solomon offers a unique way to think about the politics of identity as the construction of “common sense” powerfully underpinned by affective investments. He provides both a fuller understanding of the emotional appeal of political rhetoric in general and, specifically, a provocative explanation of the reasons for the reception of particular U.S. foreign policy rhetoric that shifted Americans’ attitudes toward neoconservative foreign policy in the 1990s and shaped the post-9/11 “war on terror.”
The Politics of Survival
Marc Abélès Duke University Press, 2010 Library of Congress JN2594.2.A3513 2010 | Dewey Decimal 320.01
In this provocative analysis of global politics, the anthropologist Marc Abélès argues that the meaning and aims of political action have radically changed in the era of globalization. As dangers such as terrorism and global warming have moved to the fore of global consciousness, foreboding has replaced the belief that tomorrow will be better than today. Survival, outlasting the uncertainties and threats of a precarious future, has supplanted harmonious coexistence as the primary goal of politics. Abélès contends that this political reorientation has changed our priorities and modes of political action, and generated new debates and initiatives. The proliferation of supranational and transnational organizations—from the European Union to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to Oxfam—is the visible effect of this radical transformation in our relationship to the political realm. Areas of governance as diverse as the economy, the environment, and human rights have been partially taken over by such agencies. Non-governmental organizations in particular have become linked with the mindset of risk and uncertainty; they both reflect and help produce the politics of survival.
Abélès examines the new global politics, which assumes many forms and is enacted by diverse figures with varied sympathies: the officials at meetings of the WTO and the demonstrators outside them, celebrity activists, and online contributors to international charities. He makes an impassioned case that our accounts of globalization need to reckon with the preoccupations and affiliations now driving global politics. The Politics of Survival was first published in France in 2006. This English-language edition has been revised and includes a new preface.
Harold Lasswell is one of America's most distinguished political scientists, a man whose work has had enormous impact both in the United States and abroad upon not only his own field but also those of sociology, psychology and psychiatry, economics, law, anthropology, and communications.
This collection of essays is the first full-scale effort to deal with the voluminous writings of Lasswell and explore his at once charming and baffling personality which is perhaps inseparable from the inventiveness, unconventionality, and unusual scope of his work.
The authors of these essays, many of whom are former students or collaborators, view their subject from a variety of perspectives. What emerges is a full assessment of Lasswell's many-faceted contribution to the social scholarship of his time.
For thousands of years, political leaders have unified communities by aligning them against common enemies. However, today more than ever, the search for “common” enemies results in anything but unanimity. Scapegoats like Saddam Hussein, for example, led to a stark polarization in the United States. Renowned neuropsychiatrist and psychologist Jean-Michel Oughourlian proposes that the only authentic enemy is the one responsible for both everyday frustrations and global dangers, such as climate change—ourselves. Oughourlian, who pioneered an “interdividual” psychology with René Girard, reveals how all people are bound together in a dynamic, contingent process of imitation, and shows that the same patterns of irrational mimetic desire that bring individuals together and push them apart also explain the behavior of nations.
Those who study value conflicts have resisted rational choice approaches in the social sciences, contending that political conflict over cultural values is best explained by group loyalties, symbolic motives, and other "nonrational" factors. However, Chong shows that a single model can explain how people make decisions across both social and economic realms. He argues that our preferences result from a combination of psychological dispositions, which are shaped by social influences and developed over the life span.
Chong's book yields insights about the circumstances under which preferences, beliefs, values, norms and group identifications are formed. It offers a provocative explanation of how ingrained social norms and values can change over time despite the forces maintaining the status quo.
"Going beyond the tired polemics on both sides, [Chong] constructs a new interpretation of human behavior in which culture and individual rationality both matter. The synthesis is a more comprehensive and powerful explanatory framework than either side could have produced, and Chong's creativity should influence subsequent interpretations of our social life in fundamental ways."—Christopher H. Achen, University of Michigan
In today's increasingly polarized political landscape it seems that fewer and fewer citizens hold out hope of persuading one another. Even among those who have not given up on persuasion, few will admit to practicing the art of persuasion known as rhetoric. To describe political speech as "rhetoric" today is to accuse it of being superficial or manipulative. In Saving Persuasion, Bryan Garsten uncovers the early modern origins of this suspicious attitude toward rhetoric and seeks to loosen its grip on contemporary political theory. Revealing how deeply concerns about rhetorical speech shaped both ancient and modern political thought, he argues that the artful practice of persuasion ought to be viewed as a crucial part of democratic politics. He provocatively suggests that the aspects of rhetoric that seem most dangerous--the appeals to emotion, religious values, and the concrete commitments and identities of particular communities--are also those which can draw out citizens' capacity for good judgment. Against theorists who advocate a rationalized ideal of deliberation aimed at consensus, Garsten argues that a controversial politics of partiality and passion can produce a more engaged and more deliberative kind of democratic discourse.
Shared Land/Conflicting Identity: Trajectories of Israeli and Palestinian Symbol Use argues that rhetoric, ideology, and myth have played key roles in influencing the development of the 100-year conflict between first the Zionist settlers and the current Israeli people and the Palestinian residents in what is now Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is usually treated as an issue of land and water. While these elements are the core of the conflict, they are heavily influenced by the symbols used by both peoples to describe, understand, and persuade each other. The authors argue that symbolic practices deeply influenced the Oslo Accords, and that the breakthrough in the peace process that led to Oslo could not have occurred without a breakthrough in communication styles.
Rowland and Frank develop four crucial ideas on social development: the roles of rhetoric, ideology, and myth; the influence of symbolic factors; specific symbolic factors that played a key role in peace negotiations; and the identification and value of criteria for evaluating symbolic practices in any society.
During Stalin's Great Terror, accusations of treason struck fear in the hearts of Soviet citizens-and lengthy imprisonment or firing squads often followed. Many of the accused sealed their fates by agreeing to confessions after torture or interrogation by the NKVD. Some, however, gave up without a fight.
In Stalinist Confessions, Igal Halfin investigates the phenomenon of a mass surrender to the will of the state. He deciphers the skillfully rendered discourse through which Stalin defined his cult of personality and consolidated his power by building a grassroots base of support and instilling a collective psyche in every citizen. By rooting out evil (opposition) wherever it hid, good communists could realize purity, morality, and their place in the greatest society in history. Confessing to trumped-up charges, comrades made willing sacrifices to their belief in socialism and the necessity of finding and making examples of its enemies.
Halfin focuses his study on Leningrad Communist University as a microcosm of Soviet society. Here, eager students proved their loyalty to the new socialism by uncovering opposition within the University. Through their meetings and self-reports, students sought to become Stalin's New Man.
Using his exhaustive research in Soviet archives including NKVD records, party materials, student and instructor journals, letters, and newspapers, Halfin examines the transformation in the language of Stalinist socialism. From an initial attitude that dismissed dissent as an error in judgment and redeemable through contrition to a doctrine where members of the opposition became innately wicked and their reform impossible, Stalin's socialism now defined loyalty in strictly black and white terms. Collusion or allegiance (real or contrived, now or in the past) with “enemies of the people” (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Germans, capitalists) was unforgivable. The party now took to the task of purging itself with ever-increasing zeal.
Why do politicians frequently heed the preferences of small groups of citizens over those of the majority? Breaking new theoretical ground, Benjamin Bishin explains how the desires of small groups, which he calls “subconstituencies,” often trump the preferences of much larger groups.
Demonstrating the wide applicability of his “unified theory of representation,” Bishin traces politicians' behavior in connection with a wide range of issues, including the Cuban trade embargo, the extension of hate-crimes legislation to protect gay men and lesbians, the renewal of the assault-weapons ban, and abortion politics. In the process, he offers a unique explanation of when, why, and how special interests dominate American national politics.