front cover of Academic Engagement in Public and Political Discourse
Academic Engagement in Public and Political Discourse
Proceedings of the Michigan Meeting, May 2015
Andrew J. Hoffman, Kirsti Ashworth, Chase Dwelle, Peter Goldberg, Andrew Henderson, Louis Merlin, Yulia Muzyrya, Norma-Jean Simon, Veronica Taylor, Corinne Weisheit, and Sarah Wilson
Michigan Publishing Services, 2015
What is the role of the academic scholar within the discussions of the global challenges that are relevant to society, such as sustainability, health care, gun control, fiscal policy, and international affairs? How do scholars engage in a world in which knowledge is becoming democratized through social media and the proliferation of knowledge sources (both credible and biased) clouds public debate? What are the social, professional and institutional obstacles to such engagement? Should junior faculty do this? Should this vary by discipline, and by school? Should all academics do this? Does this redefine the role of the senior scholar? 

To answer these questions and many more, the University of Michigan hosted a Michigan Meeting that involved over 40 speakers, including 4 University Presidents, and 225 registrants.  This report summarizes that three-day meeting with a focus on four key themes. First, what is engagement and should we do it? Second, what are the ground rules for public and political engagement? Third, what are some models that have worked and what can we learn from them? Fourth and finally, what are the obstacles to engagement and how can they be overcome?
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Against Constitutionalism
Martin Loughlin
Harvard University Press, 2022

A New Statesman Book of the Year

A critical analysis of the transformation of constitutionalism from an increasingly irrelevant theory of limited government into the most influential philosophy of governance in the world today.

Constitutionalism is universally commended because it has never been precisely defined. Martin Loughlin argues that it is not some vague amalgam of liberal aspirations but a specific and deeply contentious governing philosophy. An Enlightenment idea that in the nineteenth century became America’s unique contribution to the philosophy of government, constitutionalism was by the mid-twentieth century widely regarded as an anachronism. Advocating separated powers and limited government, it was singularly unsuited to the political challenges of the times. But constitutionalism has since undergone a remarkable transformation, giving the Constitution an unprecedented role in society. Once treated as a practical instrument to regulate government, the Constitution has been raised to the status of civil religion, a symbolic representation of collective unity.

Against Constitutionalism explains why this has happened and its far-reaching consequences. Spearheaded by a “rights revolution” that subjects governmental action to comprehensive review through abstract principles, judges acquire greatly enhanced power as oracles of the regime’s “invisible constitution.” Constitutionalism is refashioned as a theory maintaining that governmental authority rests not on collective will but on adherence to abstract standards of “public reason.” And across the world the variable practices of constitutional government have been reshaped by its precepts.

Constitutionalism, Loughlin argues, now propagates the widespread belief that social progress is advanced not through politics, electoral majorities, and legislative action, but through innovative judicial interpretation. The rise of constitutionalism, commonly conflated with constitutional democracy, actually contributes to its degradation.

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Am I Making Myself Clear?
A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Public
Cornelia Dean
Harvard University Press, 2012

What we don’t know can hurt us—and does so every day. Climate change, health care policy, weapons of mass destruction, an aging infrastructure, stem cell research, endangered species, space exploration—all affect our lives as citizens and human beings in practical and profound ways. But unless we understand the science behind these issues, we cannot make reasonable decisions—and worse, we are susceptible to propaganda cloaked in scientific rhetoric.

To convey the facts, this book suggests, scientists must take a more active role in making their work accessible to the media, and thus to the public. In Am I Making Myself Clear? Cornelia Dean, a distinguished science editor and reporter, urges scientists to overcome their institutional reticence and let their voices be heard beyond the forum of scholarly publication. By offering useful hints for improving their interactions with policymakers, the public, and her fellow journalists, Dean aims to change the attitude of scientists who scorn the mass media as an arena where important work is too often misrepresented or hyped. Even more important, she seeks to convince them of the value and urgency of communicating to the public.

Am I Making Myself Clear? shows scientists how to speak to the public, handle the media, and describe their work to a lay audience on paper, online, and over the airwaves. It is a book that will improve the tone and content of debate over critical issues and will serve the interests of science and society.

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Crossing Boundaries
Traditions and Transformations in Law and Society Research
Austin Sarat
Northwestern University Press, 1998
Perhaps no idea is more emblematic of the field of law and society than crossing boundaries. From the founding of the Law and Society Association in the early 1960s, participating scholars aspired to create a field that crossed boundaries in at least two senses: by undertaking research that questioned and often bridged traditional methodological and disciplinary divisions, and by using nontraditional approaches to explore the interconnections between law and its social context. These essays reflect both aspirations.
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Dealing with Risk
Why the Public and the Experts Disagree on Environmental Issues
Howard Margolis
University of Chicago Press, 1997
For decades, policymakers and analysts have been frustrated by the stubborn and often dramatic disagreement between experts and the public on acceptable levels of environmental risk. Most experts, for instance, see no severe problem in dealing with nuclear waste, given the precautions and safety levels now in place. Yet public opinion vehemently rejects this view, repudiating both the experts' analysis and the evidence.

In Dealing with Risk, Howard Margolis moves beyond the usual "rival rationalities" explanation proffered by risk analysts for the rift between expert and lay opinion. He reveals the conflicts of intuition that undergird those concerns, and proposes a new approach to the psychology of persuasion and belief. Examining the role of intuition, mental habits, and cognitive frameworks in the construction of public opinion, this compelling account bridges the public policy impasse that has plagued controversial environmental issues.
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Democracy at Risk
How Terrorist Threats Affect the Public
Jennifer L. Merolla and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister
University of Chicago Press, 2009

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.

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Forming the Public
A Critical History of Journalism in the United States
Frank D. Durham and Thomas P. Oates
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Throughout United States history, journalists and media workers have mobilized to promote and oppose various movements in public life. But a single meaning of the public remains elusive. Frank D. Durham and Thomas P. Oates provide an eye-opening analysis of the role played by journalism in the ongoing struggle to shape and transform ideas about the public. Using historical episodes and news reports, Durham and Oates offer examples of the influential words and images deployed by not only journalists but by media workers and activists. Their analysis moves from the patriot-inflamed emotions of the revolutionary period to the conventional and creative ways the American Indian Movement confronted the mainstream with their grievances.

Weaving eyewitness history through US history, Forming the Public reveals what understanding the journalism landscape can teach us about the nature of journalism’s own interests in race, gender, and class while tracing the factors that shaped the contours of dominant American culture.

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Getting It, Having It, Keeping It Up
Straight Men’s Sexuality in Public and Private
Beth Montemurro
Rutgers University Press, 2022
Scholars and social critics are looking at gender and sexuality, as well as masculinity, in new ways and with more attention to the way cultural ideologies affect men’s and women’s lives. With the rise of an online “incel” (involuntarily celibate) community and the perpetration of acts of violence in their name, as well as increased awareness about the complexities of sexual interaction brought to the fore by the #metoo movement, it has become critical to discuss how men’s sexuality and masculinity are related, as well as the way men feel about the messages they get about being a man. Prior research on masculinity and masculine sexuality has examined the experiences of adolescent boys. But what happens to boys as they become men and as many move away from homo-social environments into sexual relationships? What happens when they no longer have a crowd of peers to posture or perform for? How do their sexual experiences and sexual selves change? How do they prove their masculinity in a society that demands it when they are no longer surrounded by peers? And how do they cultivate sexual selves and sexual self-confidence in a culture that expects them to always already be knowledgeable, desiring sexual subjects? In Getting It, Having It, Keeping It Up, Beth Montemurro explores the cultivation of heterosexual men’s sexual selves. Based on detailed, in-depth interviews with a large, diverse group of  heterosexual men between the ages of 20 and 68, she investigates how getting sex, having sex, and keeping up their sex lives matters to men. Ultimately, Montemurro uncovers the tension between public, cultural narratives about hetero-masculinity and men’s private, sexual selves and their intimate experiences.
 
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The Health of the Commonwealth
A Brief History of Medicine, Public Health, and Disease in Pennsylvania
James E. Higgins
Temple University Press, 2020

“The history of medicine in Pennsylvania is no less vital to understanding the state’s past than is its political or industrial history,” writes James Higgins in The Health of the Commonwealth, his overview of medicine and public health in the state. Covering the outbreak of yellow fever in 1793 through the 1976 Legionnaire’s Disease epidemic, and the challenges of the present day, he shows how Pennsylvania has played a central role in humanity’s understanding of—and progress against—disease.

Higgins provides close readings of specific medical advances—for instance, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered the polio vaccine—and of disease outbreaks, like AIDS. He examines sanitation and water purification efforts, allopathic medicine and alternative therapies, and the building of the state’s tuberculosis sanitaria. Higgins also describes Native American and pre-modern European folk medicine, the rise of public health in the state, and women’s roles in both folk and scientific medicine. 

The Health of the Commonwealth places Pennsylvania’s unique contribution to the history of public health and medicine in a larger narrative of health and disease throughout the United States and the world.

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Hemingway's Wars
Public and Private Battles
Linda Wagner-Martin
University of Missouri Press, 2017
This is a study of the ways various kinds of injury and trauma affected Ernest Hemingway’s life and writing, from the First World War through his suicide in 1961.

Linda Wagner-Martin has written or edited more than sixty books including Ernest Hemingway, A Literary Life. She is Frank Borden Hanes Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a winner of the Jay B. Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
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Historians in Public
The Practice of American History, 1890-1970
Ian Tyrrell
University of Chicago Press, 2005
From lagging book sales and shrinking job prospects to concerns over the discipline's "narrowness," myriad factors have been cited by historians as evidence that their profession is in decline in America. Ian Tyrrell's Historians in Public shows that this perceived threat to history is recurrent, exaggerated, and often misunderstood. In fact, history has adapted to and influenced the American public more than people—and often historians—realize.

Tyrrell's elegant history of the practice of American history traces debates, beginning shortly after the profession's emergence in American academia, about history's role in school curricula. He also examines the use of historians in and by the government and whether historians should utilize mass media such as film and radio to influence the general public. As Historians in Public shows, the utility of history is a distinctive theme throughout the history of the discipline, as is the attempt to be responsive to public issues among pressure groups.

A superb examination of the practice of American history since the turn of the century, Historians in Public uncovers the often tangled ways history-makers make history-both as artisans and as actors.
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front cover of Imperfect Alternatives
Imperfect Alternatives
Choosing Institutions in Law, Economics, and Public Policy
Neil K. Komesar
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Major approaches to law and public policy, ranging from law and economics to the fundamental rights approach to constitutional law, are based on the belief that the identification of the correct social goals or values is the key to describing or prescribing law and public policy outcomes. In this book, Neil Komesar argues that this emphasis on goal choice ignores an essential element—institutional choice. Indeed, as important as determining our social goals is deciding which institution is best equipped to implement them—the market, the political process, or the adjucative process.

Pointing out that all three institutions are massive, complex, and imperfect, Komesar develops a strategy for comparative institutional analysis that assesses variations in institutional ability. He then powerfully demonstrates the value of this analytical framework by using it to examine important contemporary issues ranging from tort reform to constitution-making.
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The Inman Diary
A Public and Private Confession
Arthur C. Inman
Harvard University Press, 1985

Between 1919 and his death by suicide in 1963, Arthur Crew Inman wrote what is surely one of the fullest diaries ever kept by any American. Convinced that his bid for immortality required complete candor, he held nothing back. This abridgment of the original 155 volumes is at once autobiography, social chronicle, and an apologia addressed to unborn readers.

Into this fascinating record Inman poured memories of a privileged Atlanta childhood, disastrous prep-school years, a nervous collapse in college followed by a bizarre life of self-diagnosed invalidism. Confined to a darkened room in his Boston apartment, he lived vicariously: through newspaper advertisements he hired “talkers” to tell him the stories of their lives, and he wove their strange histories into the diary. Young women in particular fascinated him. He studied their moods, bought them clothes, fondled them, and counseled them on their love affairs. His marriage in 1923 to Evelyn Yates, the heroine of the diary, survived a series of melodramatic episodes. While reflecting on national politics, waifs and revolutions, Inman speaks directly about his fears, compulsions, fantasies, and nightmares, coaxing the reader into intimacy with him. Despite his shocking self-disclosures he emerges as an oddly impressive figure.

This compelling work is many things: a case history of a deeply troubled man; the story of a transplanted and self-conscious southerner; a historical overview of Boston illuminated with striking cityscapes; an odd sort of American social history. But chiefly it is, as Inman himself came to see, a gigantic nonfiction novel, a new literary form. As it moves inexorably toward a powerful denouement, The Inman Diary is an addictive narrative.

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An Intellectual in Public
Alan Wolfe
University of Michigan Press, 2004
A new collection of essays from one of the most courageous and honest thinkers writing today

". . . proof that the spirit of the free-ranging public intellectual is still very much alive."
-Newsday

"Alan Wolfe is one of liberalism's last and most loyal sons. His mind is naturally decent and diversified; large enough and fair enough to contain both conviction and doubt. His profound respect for real people does not interfere with his profound respect for real thought. The criticism that he practices is, I fear, a dying art, but it is also one of the glories of American democracy."
-Leon Wieseltier, New Republic

"Alan Wolfe is one of America's indispensable essayists. On a broad range of topics-race, religion, politics, the marketplace, the university, and more-he combines a scholar's erudition with a historian's feel for the past and a journalist's keen attunement to the shifting patterns of the current scene. Above all he is a true writer, graceful but fearless, who ponders the deep questions so often ignored in the clamor of our ongoing civic conversation. Anyone who wonders what the term 'public intellectual' really means will find the answer-in fact many answers-in this scintillating collection."
-Sam Tanenhaus, Vanity Fair

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Junctures in Women's Leadership
Health Care and Public Health
Mary E. O'Dowd
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Junctures in Women’s Leadership: Health Care and Public Health offers an eclectic compilation of case studies telling the stories of women leaders in public health and health care, from Katsi Cook, Mohawk midwife, to Virginia Apgar, Katharine Dexter McCormick and Florence Schorske Wald, to Marilyn Tavenner, Suerie Moon, and more. The impact of their work is extraordinarily relevant to the current public discourse including subjects such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, disparities in health outcomes, prevention of disease and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. The leadership lessons gleaned from these chapters can be applied to a broad array of disciplines within government, private business, media, philanthropy, pharmaceutical, environmental and health sectors. Each chapter is authored by a well versed and accomplished woman, demonstrating the book’s theme that there are many paths within health care and public health. The case study format provides an introductory section providing biographical and historical background, setting the stage for a juncture, or decision point, and the resolution. The women are compelling characters and worth knowing.
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Justice in Public Life
Claire Foster-Gilbert, Jane Sinclair, and James Hawkey
Haus Publishing, 2021
An exploration of the concept of justice, focusing on its place in public service.

The three essays in Justice in Public Life, written by Claire Foster-Gilbert, Jane Sinclair, and James Hawkey, examine the meaning of justice in the twenty-first century, asking how justice can be expressed by our public service institutions and in society more widely. They consider whether justice is tied to truth and whether our idea of justice is skewed when we conflate it with fairness. They also explore how justice as a virtue can help us navigate the complexities of life in economics, in wider society, and in righting wrongs. In addition, their essays consider the threats to a just society, including human nature itself, the inheritance of unjust structures, the wide range of views about what constitutes justice, and the difficulty of establishing it globally and between nation-states. Justice in Public Life brings an often abstract concept to life, calling on public servants to nurture justice as a virtue pursued both individually and communally.
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Lacan in Public
Psychoanalysis and the Science of Rhetoric
Christian Lundberg
University of Alabama Press, 2012

Lacan in Public argues that Lacan’s contributions to the theory of rhetoric are substantial and revolutionary and that rhetoric is, in fact, the central concern of Lacan’s entire body of work.

Scholars typically cite Jacques Lacan as a thinker primarily concerned with issues of desire, affect, politics, and pleasure. And though Lacan explicitly contends with some of the pivotal thinkers in the field of rhetoric, rhetoricians have been hesitant to embrace the French thinker both because his writing is difficult and because Lacan’s conception of rhetoric runs counter to the American traditions of rhetoric in composition and communication studies.

Lacan’s conception of rhetoric, Christian Lundberg argues in Lacan in Public, upsets and extends the received wisdom of American rhetorical studies—that rhetoric is a science, rather than an art; that rhetoric is predicated not on the reciprocal exchange of meanings, but rather on the impossibility of such an exchange; and that rhetoric never achieves a correspondence with the real-world circumstances it attempts to describe.

As Lundberg shows, Lacan’s work speaks directly to conversations at the center of current rhetorical scholarship, including debates regarding the nature of the public and public discourses, the materiality of rhetoric and agency, and the contours of a theory of persuasion.
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Law and Happiness
Edited by Eric A. Posner and Cass R. Sunstein
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Since the earliest days of philosophy, thinkers have debated the meaning of the term happiness and the nature of the good life. But it is only in recent years that the study of happiness—or “hedonics”—has developed into a formal field of inquiry, cutting across a broad range of disciplines and offering insights into a variety of crucial questions of law and public policy.

Law and Happiness
brings together the best and most influential thinkers in the field to explore the question of what makes up happiness—and what factors can be demonstrated to increase or decrease it. Martha Nussbaum offers an account of the way that hedonics can productively be applied to psychology, Cass R. Sunstein considers the unexpected relationship between happiness and health problems, Matthew Adler and Eric A. Posner view hedonics through the lens of cost-benefit analysis, David A. Weisbach considers the relationship between happiness and taxation, and Mark A. Cohen examines the role crime—and fear of crime—can play in people’s assessment of their happiness, and much more.

The result is a kaleidoscopic overview of this increasingly prominent field, offering surprising new perspectives and incisive analyses that will have profound implications on public policy.

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Law and Public Choice
A Critical Introduction
Philip P. Frickey and Daniel A. Farber
University of Chicago Press, 1991
In Law and Public Choice, Daniel Farber and Philip Frickey present a remarkably rich and accessible introduction to the driving principles of public choice. In this, the first systematic look at the implications of social choice for legal doctrine, Farber and Frickey carefully review both the empirical and theoretical literature about interest group influence and provide a nonmathematical introduction to formal models of legislative action. Ideal for course use, this volume offers a balanced and perceptive analysis and critique of an approach which, within limits, can illuminate the dynamics of government decision-making.

Law and Public Choice is a most valuable contribution to the burgeoning literature. It
should be of great interest to lawyers, political scientists, and all others interested in issues at the intersection of government and law.”—Cass R. Sunstein, University of Chicago Law
School
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Law Beyond the State
Pasts and Futures
Edited by Rainer Hofmann and Stefan Kadelbach
Campus Verlag, 2016
Law beyond the State brings together contributions by renowned experts on international and European Union law to celebrate the centennial of Goethe‒Universität Frankfurt. The essays explore Frankfurt’s contribution to the development of international law; the historical development of international law; how this form of law can be used as a tool to improve the world and create a better future for all; the essential relevance of the spiritual dimension of legal orders, including the European Union, to ensuring their values will be taken seriously; and the possibility, offered by the Internet, for all persons concerned with global lawmaking to participate effectively in relevant decision-making processes.
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Made Free and Thrown Open to the Public
Community Libraries in Pennsylvania from the Colonial Era through World War II
Bernadette A. Lear
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021

Made Free and Thrown Open to the Public charts the history of public libraries and librarianship in Pennsylvania. Based on archival research at more than fifty libraries and historical societies, it describes a long progression from private, subscription-based associations to publicly funded institutions, highlighting the dramatic period during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when libraries were “thrown open” to women, children, and the poor. Made Free explains how Pennsylvania’s physical and cultural geography, legal codes, and other unique features influenced the spread and development of libraries across the state. It also highlights Pennsylvania libraries’ many contributions to the social fabric, especially during World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. Most importantly of all, Made Free convincingly argues that Pennsylvania libraries have made their greatest strides when community activists and librarians, supported with state and local resources, have worked collaboratively.

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Mastering Boston Harbor
Courts, Dolphins, and Imperiled Waters
Charles M. Haar
Harvard University Press, 2005

Mastering Boston Harbor chronicles how America's most glorious and historically significant harbor was rescued from decades of pollution and neglect by a community of caring citizens who were linked to an environmentally committed judge and his special harbor master. This dynamic public-private team shaped novel legal and political procedures for governing and restoring the harbor.

Charles Haar provides a fascinating study of the convergence of judicial supervision with political, environmental, financial, and technological interests. He challenges those who will instantly decry an "activist" judiciary and pulls back the curtain on the serious problems a court faces when it must grapple with an intractable problem affecting public interest. Haar demonstrates that at times only a resolute judiciary can energize and coordinate the branches of government to achieve essential contemporary social goals--goals that are endorsed and supported by a majority whose voice is often ignored in legislative and executive back rooms.

Because of his experience as special master in the dispute, Haar provides the reader with an insider's view of a modern brand of judicial decision-making that is not anti-majoritarian, and could be applied to similar crises in which the legislative and executive branches of government are impotent. Citizens concerned about the conflict between unbridled economic liberty and environmental protection will gain important insight from this eyewitness account of how the "harbor of shame" became a vibrant focal point for the renewal of Boston as a world-class city.

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The Medical Triangle
Physicians, Politicians, and the Public
Eli Ginzberg
Harvard University Press, 1990

Runaway medical costs, long-term care, market competition, for-profit medicine, nursing shortages—these are but a few of the issues that swirl around in the late twentieth century’s volatile health care scene. How much of the system do we want to change, and how much do we want to keep? Health policy expert Eli Ginzberg examines such crucial questions in his characteristically broad-gauged perspective. Framing the issues in their historical, political, and professional contexts, the author analyzes how we have arrived at the current crisis.

The book focuses on the three sides of the medical triangle that have separate and sometimes conflicting goals: the physicians want to provide the most health care for the most money; the government, which furnishes 40 percent of the system's funding, wants to limit the money it pays out for health care; and the public, with over a billion annual visits to doctors, wants the most health care for the least money.

Ginzberg explains how the core components of our health care system—the community hospital and physicians who have long practiced in a fee-for-service mode—are under attack, and he indicates the factors that make it uncertain whether the destabilization will slow down or accelerate. Moreover, can key health care centers maintain their leadership in a time when new dollars for health are scarce? How will the floundering state of foundations affect medical care in local communities?

In his final chapters the author zeroes in on the special concerns of the public: high-need patients (including those suffering from cancer, catastrophic illness, and the infirmities of old age, or those who are mentally ill or chronically poor), nursing shortages, unsuccessful cost containment, and lack of consensus within the medical triangle about the major issues on our nation's health agenda.

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Medieval Public Justice
Massimo Vallerani
Catholic University of America Press, 2012
In a series of essays based on surviving documents of actual court practices from Perugia and Bologna, as well as laws, statutes, and theoretical works from the 12th and 13th centuries, Massimo Vallerani offers important historical insights into the establishment of a trial-based public justice system.
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The Money Interest and the Public Interest
American Monetary Thought, 1920–1970
Perry G. Mehrling
Harvard University Press, 1998

The years 1920–1970 saw revolutionary change in the character of the monetary system as a consequence of depression, war, and finally prosperity. The same years saw equally revolutionary change in the character of economic ideas as the rise of statistics, Keynesian economics, and then Walrasian economics transformed the style of economic explanation. The two lines of change reinforced one another, as monetary events posed new questions that required new conceptual approaches, and as monetary ideas suggested possible directions for monetary policy.

Against this background of change, Perry Mehrling tells a story of continuity around the crucial question of the role of money in American democracy, a question associated generally with the Progressive tradition and its legacy, and more particularly with the institutionalist tradition in American economic thought. In this story, which he tells through the ideas and lives of three prominent institutionalists—Allyn Young, Alvin Hansen, and Edward Shaw—progress is measured not by the swings of fashion between two polar traditions of monetary thought—quantity theory and anti-quantity theory—but rather by the success with which each succeeding generation finds its footing on the shifting middle ground between the two extremes.

More than a simple history of monetary doctrine, the book makes a case for the continuing influence of a distinctly American tradition on the evolution of economic thought in general. In this tradition, monetary and financial institutions are shaped by historical forces and adapt to the changing needs of the economy.

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New Islamic Urbanism
The Architecture of Public and Private Space in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Stefan Maneval
University College London, 2019
New Islamic Urbanism traces the changing relationship between public and private space in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, over the past seventy years, from the dawn of the oil era to the present, paying particular attention to the role architecture plays in defining public and private spaces.
Combining Michael Warner’s concepts of publics and counterpublics with theories of space and sociological approaches to architecture, Stefan Maneval explores the concept of New Islamic Urbanism in Saudi Arabia, arguing that this architectural trend, which is characterized by an emphasis on privacy protection through high enclosures, gates, blinds, and tinted windows, constitutes for some an important element of piety. At the same time, it enables different conceptions of privacy, banned social practices, as well as the formation of publics and counterpublics.
Based on rich ethnographic data collected by the author, New Islamic Urbanism challenges normative assumptions on gender segregation in Muslim societies and provides a nuanced account of the meaning of publicness and privacy in Muslim contexts in general. It will be of particular interest to an academic readership in Middle East and Islamic studies, as well as in architecture, urban planning and anthropology.
 
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Notions of Privacy at Early Modern European Courts
Reassessing the Public and Private Divide, 1400-1800
Dustin M. Neighbors
Amsterdam University Press, 2024
Grand, extravagant, magnificent, scandalous, corrupt, political, personal, fractious; these are terms often associated with the medieval and early modern courts. Moreover, the court constituted a forceful nexus in the social world, which was central to the legitimacy and authority of rulership. As such, courts shaped European politics and culture: architecture, art, fashion, patronage, and cultural exchanges were integral to the spectacle of European courts. Researchers have convincingly emphasised the public nature of courtly events, procedures, and ceremonies. Nevertheless, court life also involved pockets of privacy, which have yet to be systematically addressed. This edited collection addresses this lacuna and offers interpretations that urge us to reassesses the public nature of European courts. Thus, the proposed publication will fertilise the grounds for a discussion of the past and future of court studies. Indeed, the contributions make us reconsider present-day understandings of privacy as a stable and uncontestable notion.
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Open to the Public
Studies in Japan's Recent Past, Volume 10
Leslie Pincus, ed.
Duke University Press
In modern Japan, where the mechanisms of producing national consensus and social conformity operate with considerable force and efficacy, the democratic credentials of public life are a pressing question. Beginning with the Pacific War and extending through the early 1970s, this issue of positions explores a number of sites in Japan's postwar history where individuals and groups endeavored to reconfigure the social, cultural, and political dimensions of public space and public life. While the collection does not offer comprehensive coverage of all the manifestations of "public" in postwar Japan, it presents a series of "local" studies which, taken together, provide a suggestive map of the contours of the public in postwar Japan.
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Para Power
How Paraprofessional Labor Changed Education
Nick Juravich
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Paraprofessional educators entered US schools amidst the struggles of the late 1960s. Immersed in the crisis of care in public education, paras improved systems of education and social welfare despite low pay and second-rate status.

Understanding paras as key players in Black and Latino struggles for jobs and freedom, Nick Juravich details how the first generation of paras in New York City transformed work in public schools and the relationships between schools and the communities they served. Paraprofessional programs created hundreds of thousands of jobs in working-class Black and Latino neighborhoods. These programs became an important pipeline for the training of Black and Latino teachers in the1970s and early 1980s while paras’ organizing helped drive the expansion and integration of public sector unions.

An engaging portrait of an invisible profession, Para Power examines the lives and practices of the first generation of paraprofessional educators against the backdrop of struggles for justice, equality, and self-determination.

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A Place in Public
Women’s Rights in Meiji Japan
Marnie S. Anderson
Harvard University Press, 2010

This book addresses how gender became a defining category in the political and social modernization of Japan. During the early decades of the Meiji period (1868–1912), the Japanese encountered an idea with great currency in the West: that the social position of women reflected a country’s level of civilization. Although elites initiated dialogue out of concern for their country’s reputation internationally, the conversation soon moved to a new public sphere where individuals engaged in a wide-ranging debate about women’s roles and rights.

By examining these debates throughout the 1870s and 1880s, Marnie S. Anderson argues that shifts in the gender system led to contradictory consequences for women. On the one hand, as gender displaced status as the primary system of social and legal classification, women gained access to the language of rights and the chance to represent themselves in public and play a limited political role; on the other, the modern Japanese state permitted women’s political participation only as an expression of their “citizenship through the household” and codified their formal exclusion from the political process through a series of laws enacted in 1890. This book shows how “a woman’s place” in late-nineteenth-century Japan was characterized by contradictions and unexpected consequences, by new opportunities and new constraints.

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Playing Darts with a Rembrandt
Public and Private Rights in Cultural Treasures
Joseph L. Sax
University of Michigan Press, 2001
Some of the world's greatest treasures are hidden away and have not been seen publicly for decades, sometimes for centuries. Others have been destroyed. They are not stolen property. They are simply private property, and no matter their public significance, the public has no claims on them. A capricious owner of Leonardo da Vinci's notebook would be perfectly within his rights to throw it in the fireplace, as James Joyce's grandson did with letters from the author's daughter, or Warren Harding's widow did with her husband's Teapot Dome papers. This is a book about such rights and why they are wrong.
Some incidents are famous. A great artist's mural is demolished because the rich man who commissioned it is offended by its political implications. One of America's most famous collections is closed to virtually every notable person in the art world, whose requests for visits produce only a postcard from the owner saying "go to Blazes." Scholars who seek access to the Dead Sea Scrolls, monopolized and secreted by a handful of individuals for nearly forty years, are dismissed as "slime," "fleas," "gang-snatchers," and "manure," and told, "You will not see these things in your lifetime."
Playing Darts with a Rembrandt explores abuses of ownership of cultural treasures in a wide range of settings, including material of historic and scientific interest, as well as art and antiquities. It examines the claims made on behalf of the public for preservation, protection, and access to important artifacts, balancing those claims against proprietary and privacy interests, and discusses the proper role of institutions such as museums and libraries that act as repositories. Acknowledging the complexities that sometimes arise (such as the claims of history against the desire of a great figure's family to withhold private letters), Playing Darts with a Rembrandt proposes a new species of qualified ownership: to own an object of great public importance is to become a "fortunate, if provisional, trustee, having no right to deprive others who value the objects as much as they do themselves."
The fascinating stories that comprise the bulk of the book, ranging from dinosaur excavations and the Dead Sea Scrolls to the fate of presidential papers and the secrets held by the Library of Congress, will be of interest to a wide range of general readers. The extensive discussion of collectors, and their role, should commend the book to those in the art world, as well as to those professionally associated with museums, libraries, and archives. While written in a readable and untechnical way, it should also be of interest to those in the legal community who are interested in the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of our property system.
"Sax turns his attention from public rights to conserve land and water to protection of cultural treasures. As always, he sees both sides of the argument and comes to reasoned and wise conclusions, balancing private and public interests. His prose is lucid, and his examples are both instructive and entertaining. An invaluable book for anyone interested in the preservation of our cultural resources." --I. Michael Heyman, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution
Joseph L. Sax is Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley. He was formerly the counselor to the Secretary of the Interior and Professor of Law, the University of Michigan Law School.
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The Policy State
An American Predicament
Karen Orren and Stephen Skowronek
Harvard University Press, 2017

The steady accretion of public policies over the decades has fundamentally changed how America is governed. The formulation and delivery of policy have emerged as the government’s entire raison d’être, redefining rights and reconfiguring institutional structures. The Policy State looks closely at this massive unnoticed fact of modern politics and addresses the controversies swirling around it. Government has become more responsive and inclusive, but the shift has also polarized politics and sowed a deep distrust of institutions. These developments demand a thorough reconsideration of historical governance.

“A sterling example of political science at its best: analytically rigorous, historically informed, and targeted at questions of undeniable contemporary significance… Orren and Skowronek uncover a transformation that revolutionized American politics and now threatens to tear it apart.”
—Timothy Shenk, New Republic

“Wherever you start out in our politics, this book will turn your sense of things sideways and make you rethink deeply held assumptions. It’s a model of what political science could be, but so rarely is.”
—Yuval Levin, National Review

“A gripping narrative…opening up new avenues for reflection along methodological, conceptual, and normative lines.”
—Bernardo Zacka, Contemporary Political Theory

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Pompeii
Public and Private Life
Paul Zanker
Harvard University Press, 1999

Pompeii's tragedy is our windfall: an ancient city fully preserved, its urban design and domestic styles speaking across the ages. This richly illustrated book conducts us through the captured wonders of Pompeii, evoking at every turn the life of the city as it was 2,000 years ago.

When Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. its lava preserved not only the Pompeii of that time but a palimpsest of the city's history, visible traces of the different societies of Pompeii's past. Paul Zanker, a noted authority on Roman art and architecture, disentangles these tantalizing traces to show us the urban images that marked Pompeii's development from country town to Roman imperial city. Exploring Pompeii's public buildings, its streets and gathering places, we witness the impact of religious changes, the renovation of theaters and expansion of athletic facilities, and the influence of elite families on the city's appearance. Through these stages, Zanker adeptly conjures a sense of the political and social meanings in urban planning and public architecture.

The private houses of Pompeii prove equally eloquent, their layout, decor, and architectural detail speaking volumes about the life, taste, and desires of their owners. At home or in public, at work or at ease, these Pompeians and their world come alive in Zanker's masterly rendering. A provocative and original reading of material culture, his work is an incomparable introduction to urban life in antiquity.

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Presenting the Past
Essays on History and the Public
Roy Rosenzweig
Temple University Press, 1986

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Private, the Public, and the Published
Reconciling Private Lives and Public Rhetoric
edited by Barbara Couture & Thomas Kent
Utah State University Press, 2004

At the 2003 "Rock the Vote" debate, one of the questions posed by a student to the eight Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination was "have you ever used marijuana?" Amazingly, all but one of the candidates voluntarily answered the question. Add to this example the multiple ways in which we now see public intrusion into private lives (security cameras, electronic access to personal data, scanning and "wanding" at the airport) or private self-exposure in public forums (cell phones, web cams, confessional talk shows, voyeuristic "reality" TV). That matters so private could be treated as legitimate--in some cases even vital--for public discourse indicates how intertwined the realms of private and public have become in our era. Reverse examples exist as well. Around the world, public authorities look the other way while individual rights are abused--calling it a private matter--or officials appeal to sectarian morés to justify discrimination in public policies.

The authors of The Private, the Public, and the Published feel that scholarship needs to explore and understand this phenomenon, and needs to address it in the college classroom. There are consequences of conflating public and private, they argue--consequences that have implications especially for what is known as the public good. The changing distinctions between "private" and "public," and the various practices of private and public expression, are explored in these essays with an eye toward what they teach us about those consequences and implications.

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Property and Values
Alternatives To Public And Private Ownership
Edited by Charles Geisler and Gail Daneker
Island Press, 2000

Property and Values offers a fresh look at property rights issues, bringing together scholars, attorneys, government officials, community development practitioners, and environmental advocates to consider new and more socially equitable forms of ownership. Based on a Harvard Law School conference organized by the Equity Trust, Inc., in cooperation with the American Bar Association's Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, the book:

  • explains ownership as an evolving concept, determined by social processes and changing social relations
  • challenges conventional public-private ownership categories
  • surveys recent studies on the implications of public policy on property values
  • offers examples from other cultures of ownership realities unfamiliar or forgotten in the United States
  • compares experiments in ownership/equity allocation affecting social welfare and environmental conservation
The book synthesizes much innovative thinking on ownership in land and housing, and signals how that thinking might be used across America. Contributors – including David Abromowitz, Darby Bradley, Teresa Duclos, Sally Fairfax, Margaret Grossman, C. Ford Runge, William Singer and others – call for balance between property rights and responsibilities, between private and public rights in property, and between individual and societal interests in land.

Property and Values is a thought-provoking contribution to the literature on property for planners, lawyers, government officials, resource economists, environmental managers, and social scientists as well as for students of planning, environmental law, geography, or public policy.

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Prophetic and Public
The Social Witness of U.S. Catholicism
Kristin E. Heyer
Georgetown University Press, 2006

The United States was founded on a commitment to religious tolerance. Based on this commitment, it has become one of the most religiously diverse and religiously observant liberal democracies in the world. Inherent in this political reality is the question, "What is the appropriate relationship between religious beliefs and public life?" This is not a new question, but in contemporary US politics it has become a particularly insistent one. In this intelligent, wide-ranging book, Kristin Heyer provides new and nuanced answers.

Prophetic and Public employs the discourse of public theology to consider what constitutes appropriate religio-political engagement. According to Heyer, public theology connects religious faith, concepts, and practices to their public relevance for the wider society. Her use of public theology concepts to address the appropriate possibilities and limits for religio-political engagement in the United States is both useful and enlightening.

Heyer approaches the relationship between public morality and religious commitment through the example of the Catholic Church. She looks at two prominent Catholics—Michael Baxter and Bryan Hehir—as a way of discussing norms for practice of public theology. Heyer also analyzes case studies of three US Catholic advocacy groups: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, NETWORK, and Pax Christi USA. Through her analysis she shows the various ways that the organizations' Catholic identity impacts their social and political efforts. From her investigations come norms that define possibilities and limits for political actions based on religious conviction.

This deeply thoughtful book examines what is truly fundamental and inescapable about public life and private religious belief in the United States. In doing so, it makes skillful use of the tools of theology, philosophy, law, and advocacy to demonstrate that the Catholic Church reveals great diversity in its public theology, providing legitimate options for a faithful response to urgent political issues.

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The Public and Its Possibilities
Triumphs and Tragedies in the American City
John D. Fairfield
Temple University Press, 2012

In his compelling reinterpretation of American history, The Public and Its Possibilities, John Fairfieldargues that our unrealized civic aspirations provide the essential counterpoint to an excessive focus on private interests. Inspired by the revolutionary generation, nineteenth-century Americans struggled to build an economy and a culture to complement their republican institutions. But over the course of the twentieth century, a corporate economy and consumer culture undercut civic values, conflating consumer and citizen.

Fairfield places the city at the center of American experience, describing how a resilient demand for an urban participatory democracy has bumped up against the fog of war, the allure of the marketplace, and persistent prejudices of race, class, and gender.  In chronicling and synthesizing centuries of U.S. history—including the struggles of the antislavery, labor, women’s rights movements—Fairfield explores the ebb and flow of civic participation, activism, and democracy. He revisits what the public has done for civic activism, and the possibility of taking a greater role.

In this age where there has been a move towards greater participation in America's public life from its citizens, Fairfield’s book—written in an accessible, jargon-free style and addressed to general readers—is especially topical.

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The Public and Its Problems
An Essay in Political Inquiry
John Dewey
Ohio University Press, 2016

More than six decades after John Dewey’s death, his political philosophy is undergoing a revival. With renewed interest in pragmatism and its implications for democracy in an age of mass communication, bureaucracy, and ever-increasing social complexities, Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, first published in 1927, remains vital to any discussion of today’s political issues.

This edition of The Public and Its Problems, meticulously annotated and interpreted with fresh insight by Melvin L. Rogers, radically updates the previous version published by Swallow Press. Rogers’s introduction locates Dewey’s work within its philosophical and historical context and explains its key ideas for a contemporary readership. Biographical information and a detailed bibliography round out this definitive edition, which will be essential to students and scholars both.

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Public and Private
Gender, Class, and the British Novel (1764-1878)
Patricia McKee
University of Minnesota Press, 1997

Public and Private was first published in 1997. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This groundbreaking work examines the emergent and fluctuating relationship between the public and private social spheres of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By assessing novels such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Jane Austen's Emma through the lens of the social theories of Jürgen Habermas and Michel Foucault, Patricia McKee presents a fresh and highly original contribution to literary studies.

McKee explores the themes of production and consumption as they relate to gender and class throughout the works of many of the most influential novels of the age including Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker, Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Emma, Frankenstein, Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers, Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit and The Old Curiosity Shop, Mrs. Henry Wood's East Lynne, and Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native.

McKee analyzes portrayals of a society in which abstract idealism belonged to knowledgeable, productive men and the realm of ignorance was left to emotional, consuming women and the uneducated. She traces the various ways British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries worked to reform this social experience. Topics include Dickens's attack on the bureaucratic use of knowledge to maintain the status quo; the function of antiprogressive depictions of knowledge in Trollope, Shelley, and Hardy; and Austen's characterization of the protagonist Emma as an exception in a society that denied women's productive use of knowledge.

Offering a sharp challenge to theorists who have charted a linear division of public and private experience, McKee highlights the unexpected configurations of the emergence of the public and private spheres and the effect of knowledge distribution across class and gender lines.

Patricia McKee is professor of English at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Heroic Commitment in Richardson, Eliot, and James (1986).

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Public and Private in Thought and Practice
Perspectives on a Grand Dichotomy
Edited by Jeff Weintraub and Krishan Kumar
University of Chicago Press, 1997
These essays, by widely respected scholars in fields ranging from social and political theory to historical sociology and cultural studies, illuminate the significance of the public/private distinction for an increasingly wide range of debates. Commenting on controversies surrounding such issues as abortion rights, identity politics, and the requirements of democratization, many of these essays clarify crucial processes that have shaped the culture and institutions of modern societies.

In contexts ranging from friendship, the family, and personal life to nationalism, democratic citizenship, the role of women in social and political life, and the contrasts between western and (post-)Communist societies, this book brings out the ways the various uses of the public/private distinction are simultaneously distinct and interconnected. Public and Private in Thought and Practice will be of interest to students and scholars in disciplines including politics, law, philosophy, history, sociology, and women's studies.

Contributors include Jeff Weintraub, Allan Silver, Craig Calhoun, Daniela Gobetti, Jean L. Cohen, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Alan Wolfe, Krishan Kumar, David Brain, Karen Hansen, Marc Garcelon, and Oleg Kharkhordin.


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Public in Name Only
The 1939 Alexandria Library Sit-In Demonstration
Brenda Mitchell-Powell
University of Massachusetts Press, 2022

Library History Round Table Reads Selection, March 2024
Alexandria Historical Society Special Merit Award, 2023

When Alexandria, Virginia’s first public library was constructed just a few blocks from his home, Samuel Wilbert Tucker, a young, Black attorney, was appalled to learn that he could not use the library because of his race. Inspired by the legal successes of the NAACP in discrimination cases, he organized a grassroots protest to desegregate the library that his tax dollars supported.

Public in Name Only tells the important, but largely forgotten, story of Tucker and a group of Black citizens who agitated for change in the terms and conditions of their lives. Employing the combined strategies of direct-action public protest, nonviolent civil disobedience, and municipal litigation, Tucker’s initiative dovetailed with the national priorities and tactics of larger civil rights organizations. While Tucker’s campaign did not end with the desegregation of the Alexandria Library, but instead resulted in the creation of a “separate-and-unequal” Jim Crow Black branch, the sit-in demonstration represents a momentous early struggle for racial equity waged through civil rights activism.

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The Public in the Picture
Involving the Beholder in Antique, Islamic, Byzantine, Western Medieval and Renaissance Art
Edited by Beate Fricke and Urte Krass
Diaphanes, 2015
The act of including bystanders within the scene of an artwork has marked an important shift in the ways artists addressed the beholder, as well as a significant transformation of the relationship between images and their viewership. In such works, the “public” in the picture could be seen as a mediating between different times, people, and contents.

With The Public in the Picture, contributors describe this shift, with each essay focusing on a specific group of works created at a different moment in history. Together, the contributions explore the political, religious, and social contexts of the publics depicted and relate this shift to the rise of perspectival representation. Contributors to The Public in the Picture include Andrew Griebler, Annette Haug, Henrike Haug, Christiane Hille, Christopher Lakey, Andrea Lermer, Cornelia Logemann, Anja Rathmann-Lutz, Alberto Saviello, and Daniela Wagner.
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The Pursuit of Absolute Integrity
How Corruption Control Makes Government Ineffective
Frank Anechiarico and James B. Jacobs
University of Chicago Press, 1996
In this comprehensive and controversial case study of anticorruption efforts, Frank Anechiarico and James B. Jacobs show how the proliferating regulations and oversight mechanisms designed to prevent or root out corruption seriously undermine our ability to govern. By constraining decision makers' discretion, shaping priorities, and causing delays, corruption control—no less than corruption itself—has contributed to the contemporary crisis in public administration.

"Anechiarico and Jacobs . . . have pushed aside the claims and posturing by officials and reformers and revealed a critical need to reevaluate just what we have and are doing to public servants, and to the public, in the name of anti-corruption."—Citylaw

"A timely and very useful addition to the new debate over corruption and reform."—Michael Johnston, American Political Science Review
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The Right to Do Wrong
Morality and the Limits of Law
Mark Osiel
Harvard University Press, 2019

Common morality—in the form of shame, outrage, and stigma—has always been society’s first line of defense against ethical transgressions. Social mores crucially complement the law, Mark Osiel shows, sparing us from oppressive formal regulation.

Much of what we could do, we shouldn’t—and we don’t. We have a free-speech right to be offensive, but we know we will face outrage in response. We may declare bankruptcy, but not without stigma. Moral norms constantly demand more of us than the law requires, sustaining promises we can legally break and preventing disrespectful behavior the law allows.

Mark Osiel takes up this curious interplay between lenient law and restrictive morality, showing that law permits much wrongdoing because we assume that rights are paired with informal but enforceable duties. People will exercise their rights responsibly or else face social shaming. For the most part, this system has worked. Social order persists despite ample opportunity for reprehensible conduct, testifying to the decisive constraints common morality imposes on the way we exercise our legal prerogatives. The Right to Do Wrong collects vivid case studies and social scientific research to explore how resistance to the exercise of rights picks up where law leaves off and shapes the legal system in turn. Building on recent evidence that declining social trust leads to increasing reliance on law, Osiel contends that as social changes produce stronger assertions of individual rights, it becomes more difficult to depend on informal tempering of our unfettered freedoms.

Social norms can be indefensible, Osiel recognizes. But the alternative—more repressive law—is often far worse. This empirically informed study leaves little doubt that robust forms of common morality persist and are essential to the vitality of liberal societies.

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School Principal
Managing in Public
Dan C. Lortie
University of Chicago Press, 2009

When we think about school principals, most of us imagine a figure of vague, yet intimidating authority—for an elementary school student, being sent to the principal’s office is roughly on par with a trip to Orwell’s Room 101. But with School Principal, Dan C. Lortie aims to change that. Much as he did for teachers with his groundbreaking book Schoolteacher, Lortie offers here an intensive and detailed look at principals, painting a compelling portrait of what they do, how they do it, and why.

Lortie begins with a brief history of the job before turning to the daily work of a principal. These men and women, he finds, stand at the center of a constellation of competing interests around and within the school. School district officials, teachers, parents, and students all have needs and demands that frequently clash, and it is the principal’s job to manage these conflicting expectations to best serve the public. Unsurprisingly then, Lortie records his subjects’ professional dissatisfactions, but he also vividly depicts the pleasures of their work and the pride they take in their accomplishments. Finally, School Principal offers a glimpse of the future with an analysis of current issues and trends in education, including the increasing presence of women in the role and the effects of widespread testing mandated by the government.

Lortie’s scope is both broad and deep, offering an eminently useful range of perspectives on his subject. From the day-to-day toil to the long-term course of an entire career, from finding out just what goes on inside that office to mapping out the larger social and organizational context of the job, School Principal is a truly comprehensive account of a little-understood profession.

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Scrambling for Protection
The New Media and the First Amendment
Patrick M. Garry
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994
In our age of media revolutions, Patrick M. Garry offers guidelines for constitutionally redefining the press, and maintains that the First Amendment press clause must broaden the scope of its freedoms to include the communication activities of a much larger public.
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Trams or Tailfins?
Public and Private Prosperity in Postwar West Germany and the United States
Jan L. Logemann
University of Chicago Press, 2012
In the years that followed World War II, both the United States and the newly formed West German republic had an opportunity to remake their economies. Since then, much has been made of a supposed “Americanization” of European consumer societies—in Germany and elsewhere. Arguing against these foggy notions, Jan L. Logemann takes a comparative look at the development of postwar mass consumption in West Germany and the United States and the emergence of discrete consumer modernities.
 
In Trams or Tailfins?, Logemann explains how the decisions made at this crucial time helped to define both of these economic superpowers in the second half of the twentieth century. While Americans splurged on private cars and bought goods on credit in suburban shopping malls, Germans rebuilt public transit and developed pedestrian shopping streets in their city centers—choices that continue to shape the quality and character of life decades later. Outlining the abundant differences in the structures of consumer society, consumer habits, and the role of public consumption in these countries, Logemann reveals the many subtle ways that the spheres of government, society, and physical space define how we live.
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What Are Freedoms For?
John H. Garvey
Harvard University Press, 1996

We generally suppose that it is our right to freedom which allows us to make the choices that shape our lives. The right to have an abortion is called "freedom of choice" because, it is said, a woman should be free to choose between giving birth and not doing so. Freedom of speech protects us whether we want to salute the flag or burn it. There is a correlative principle: one choice is as good as another. Freedom is not a right that makes moral judgments. It lets us do what we want.

John Garvey disputes both propositions. We should understand freedom, he maintains, as a right to act, not a right to choose; and furthermore, we should view freedom as a right to engage in actions that are good and valuable. This may seem obvious, but it inverts a central principle of liberalism--the idea that the right is prior to the good. Thus friendship is a good thing; and one reason the Constitution protects freedom of association is that it gives us the space to form friendships.

This book casts doubt on the idea that freedoms are bilateral rights that allow us to make contradictory choices: to speak or remain silent, to believe in God or to disbelieve, to abort or to give birth to a child. Garvey argues that the goodness of childbearing does not entail the goodness of abortion; and if freedom follows from the good, then freedom to do the first does not entail the freedom to do the second. Each action must have its own justification. Garvey holds that if the law is to protect freedoms, it is permissible--indeed it is necessary--to make judgments about the goodness and badness of actions.

The author's keen insights into important rights issues, communicated with verve and a variety of both real and hypothetical cases, will be of interest to all who care about the meaning of freedoms.

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Who Leads Whom?
Presidents, Policy, and the Public
Brandice Canes-Wrone
University of Chicago Press, 2005
Who Leads Whom? is an ambitious study that addresses some of the most important questions in contemporary American politics: Do presidents pander to public opinion by backing popular policy measures that they believe would actually harm the country? Why do presidents "go public" with policy appeals? And do those appeals affect legislative outcomes?

Analyzing the actions of modern presidents ranging from Eisenhower to Clinton, Brandice Canes-Wrone demonstrates that presidents' involvement of the mass public, by putting pressure on Congress, shifts policy in the direction of majority opinion. More important, she also shows that presidents rarely cater to the mass citizenry unless they already agree with the public's preferred course of action. With contemporary politics so connected to the pulse of the American people, Who Leads Whom? offers much-needed insight into how public opinion actually works in our democratic process. Integrating perspectives from presidential studies, legislative politics, public opinion, and rational choice theory, this theoretical and empirical inquiry will appeal to a wide range of scholars of American political processes.
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Who Should Pay?
Higher Education, Responsibility, and the Public
Natasha Quadlin
Russell Sage Foundation, 2022
Americans now obtain college degrees at a higher rate than at any time in recent decades in the hopes of improving their career prospects. At the same time, the rising costs of an undergraduate education have increased dramatically, forcing students and families to take out often unmanageable levels of student debt. The cumulative amount of student debt reached nearly $1.5 trillion in 2017, and calls for student loan forgiveness have gained momentum. Yet public policy to address college affordability has been mixed. While some policymakers support  more public funding to broaden educational access, others oppose this expansion. Noting that public opinion often shapes public policy, sociologists Natasha Quadlin and Brian Powell examine public opinion on who should shoulder the increasing costs of higher education and why.
 
Who Should Pay? draws on a decade’s worth of public opinion surveys analyzing public attitudes about whether parents, students, or the government should be primarily responsible for funding higher education. Quadlin and Powell find that between 2010 and 2019, public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of more government funding. In 2010, Americans overwhelming believed that parents and students were responsible for the costs of higher education. Less than a decade later, the percentage of Americans who believed that federal or state/local government should be the primary financial contributor has more than doubled. The authors contend that the rapidity of this change may be due to the effects of the 2008 financial crisis and the growing awareness of the social and economic costs of high levels of student debt. Quadlin and Powell also find increased public endorsement of shared responsibility between individuals and the government in paying for higher education. The authors additionally examine attitudes on the accessibility of college for all, whether higher education at public universities should be free, and whether college is worth the costs. 
 
Quadlin and Powell also explore why Americans hold these beliefs. They identify individualistic and collectivist world views that shape public perspectives on the questions of funding, accessibility, and worthiness of college. Those with more individualistic orientations believed parents and students should pay for college, and that if students want to attend college, then they should work hard and find ways to achieve their goals. Those with collectivist orientations believed in a model of shared responsibility – one in which the government takes a greater level of responsibility for funding education while acknowledging the social and economic barriers to obtaining a college degree for many students. The authors find that these belief systems differ among socio-demographic groups and that bias – sometimes unconscious and sometimes deliberate – regarding race and class affects responses from both individualistic and collectivist-oriented participants. 
 
Public opinion is typically very slow to change. Yet Who Should Pay? provides an illuminating account of just how quickly public opinion has shifted regarding the responsibility of paying for a college education and its implications for future generations of students.
 
 

 
 
 
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