Secularism as Conversion

Secularism as Conversion

Beyond Church and State: Democracy, Secularism, and Conversion is a very interesting book by Matthew Scherer (George Mason University), published in March 2013 by Cambridge University Press. Rejecting the paradigm that secularism stands simply as a wall between church and state, the author interprets it as an active process of transformation that produces and reshapes key dimensions of political and religious life. He describes the process ...

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Noah Feldman: “The Fall of the Arab Spring”

Noah Feldman: “The Fall of the Arab Spring”

Interesting speech by Noah Feldman on “The Fall of the Arab Spring” as the 6th annual Derry Lecture at Huron University College on October 21, 2013. Feldman is Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard University and the author of Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Princeton UP 2008).

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Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Eric Posner (Chicago Law School) and E. Glen Weyl (Chicago) have posted Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics in SSRN.  Here is the abstract: Democratic institutions aggregate preferences poorly. The norm of one-person-one-vote with majority rule treats people fairly by giving everyone an equal chance to influence outcomes, but fails to give proportional weight to people whose interests in a ...

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A Review of the Resource Curse Literature

A Review of the Resource Curse Literature

Michael L. Ross (UCLA) has posted The Politics of the Resource Curse: A Review on SSRN. Ross has published extensively on the political and economic problems of resource-rich countries, most importantly The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations (Princeton 2012). Here is the abstract: This essay discusses the intellectual roots of the resource curse literature, explains ...

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Justification and Critique

Justification and Critique

Polity Press has released Rainer Forst’s latest book in English, Justification and Critique: Towards a Critical Theory of Politics. It was first published in German in 2011 by Suhrkamp as Kritik der Rechtfertigungsverhältnisse: Perspektiven einer kritischen Theorie der Politik. Description: Rainer Forst develops a critical theory capable of deciphering the deficits and potentials inherent in contemporary political reality. This calls for a perspective ...

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Lessons From Egypt’s Failed Transition

Lessons From Egypt’s Failed Transition

The new issue of Journal of Democracy (October 2013) has an informative article by Nathan Brown on Egypt Failed Transition [PDF]. He examines how things went so wrong, the political actors’ bad behavior and bad choices, and the lessons to be drawn from Egypt’s experience. An excerpt: For those interested in transitions from authoritarian rule, Egypt’s experience provides a stark lesson: ...

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Martha Nussbaum’s New Book on Political Emotions

Martha Nussbaum’s New Book on Political Emotions

Harvard University Press has released this month Martha Nussbaum’s new book, Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice, in 480 pages. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Description: How can we achieve and sustain a “decent” liberal society, one that aspires to justice and equal opportunity for all and inspires individuals ...

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Why Sanctions Fail to Instigate Democratization

Why Sanctions Fail to Instigate Democratization

From German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Julia Grauvogel and Christian von Soest have posted online a new working paper, titled: Claims to Legitimacy Matter: Why Sanctions Fail to Instigate Democratization in Authoritarian Regimes [PDF]. Here is the abstract: International sanctions have been one of the most commonly used tools of Western foreign policy in the post‐Cold War era ...

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Sidney Tarrow’s New Book on Contentious Politics

Sidney Tarrow’s New Book on Contentious Politics

The Language of Contention: Revolutions in Words, 1688–2012 Author: Sidney Tarrow (the Emeritus Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government at Cornell University) published by Cambridge University Press (August 2013) Description: This book examines the relations between the material and political bases of contentious politics and the construction, diffusion, and endurance of contentious language. Beginning with the language of revolution developed ...

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Joseph Raz’s Response to Waldron on Human Rights

Joseph Raz’s Response to Waldron on Human Rights

Joseph Raz has commented on Jeremy Waldron’s recent paper, Human Rights: A Critique of the Raz/Rawls Approach  in a new paper posted in SSRN: On Waldron’s Critique of Raz on Human Rights Here is the abstract: Prof. Waldron has recently published a paper criticising the views of Rawls and Raz on human rights. It is pointed out that some supposed criticism are nothing more ...

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