September 22, 2005
New from Princeton University Press
Technology and Public Sector Performance
Darrell M. West
| Cloth | July 2005 | $29.95 | ISBN: 0-691-12182-6 | 256 pp.
Excerpts from Chapter 1: This book looks at the phenomenon of electronic government, that is, public sector use of the Internet and other digital devices to deliver services, information, and democracy itself. Although personal computers have been around for several decades, recent advances in networking, video imaging, and graphics interfacing have allowed governments to develop websites that contain a variety of online materials. As more and more people take advantage of these features, digital government is supplanting traditional means of access based on personal visits, phone calls, and mail delivery.
Governments around the world have created websites that facilitate tourism, citizen complaints, and business investment. Tourists can book hotels through the government websites of many Caribbean and Pacific island countries. In Australia, citizens can register government complaints through agency websites. Nations such as Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic are attracting overseas investors through their websites.
But despite the prevalence of these online options, there are three unanswered questions that form the heart of this research. First, how much are the Internet and other digital delivery systems transforming the public sector? Second, what determines the speed and breadth of e-government adoption? Third, what are the consequences of digital technology for public sector performance, the political process, and democracy?
See also posts published yesterday for evaluations of US and Global e-government efforts.
Mercy on Trial:
What It Means to Stop an Execution
Cloth | 2005 | $29.95 | ISBN: 0-691-12140-0
352 pp. | 6 x 9 | 2 tables.
Publisher's Description: In this compelling and timely work, Austin Sarat provides the first book-length work on executive clemency. He turns our focus from questions of guilt and innocence to the very meaning of mercy. Starting from Ryan's controversial decision, Mercy on Trial uses the lens of executive clemency in capital cases to discuss the fraught condition of mercy in American political life. Most pointedly, Sarat argues that mercy itself is on trial. Although it has always had a problematic position as a form of "lawful lawlessness," it has come under much more intense popular pressure and criticism in recent decades. This has yielded a radical decline in the use of the power of chief executives to stop executions.
A Theory of Foreign Policy Change
David A. Welch
Cloth | 2005 | $35.00 | ISBN: 0-691-12340-3
312 pp. | 6 x 9 | 15 line illus. 7 tables.
Publisher's Description: Under what conditions should we expect states to do things radically differently all of a sudden? In this book, David Welch seeks to answer this question, constructing a theory of foreign policy change inspired by organization theory, cognitive and motivational psychology, and prospect theory. He then "test drives" the theory in a series of comparative case studies in the security and trade domains: Argentina's decision to go to war over the Falklands/Malvinas vs. Japan's endless patience with diplomacy in its conflict with Russia over the Northern Territories; America's decision to commit large-scale military force to Vietnam vs. its ultimate decision to withdraw; and Canada's two abortive flirtations with free trade with the United States in 1911 and 1948 vs. its embrace of free trade in the late 1980s.
Painful Choices has three main objectives: to determine whether the general theory project in the field of international relations can be redeemed, given disappointment with previous attempts; to reflect on what this reveals about the possibilities and limits of general theory; and to inform policy. Welch argues that earlier efforts at general theory erred by aiming to explain state behavior, which is an intractable problem. Instead, since inertia is the default expectation in international politics, all we need do is to explain changes in behavior. Painful Choices shows that this is a tractable problem with clear implications for intelligence analysts and negotiators.
Political Power and Corporate Control:
The New Global Politics of Corporate Governance
Peter A. Gourevitch & James Shinn
Cloth | 2005 | $35.00 | ISBN: 0-691-12291-1
384 pp. | 6 x 9 | 23 line illus. 53 tables
Publisher's Description: Why does corporate governance--front page news with the collapse of Enron, WorldCom, and Parmalat--vary so dramatically around the world? This book explains how politics shapes corporate governance--how managers, shareholders, and workers jockey for advantage in setting the rules by which companies are run, and for whom they are run. It combines a clear theoretical model on this political interaction, with statistical evidence from thirty-nine countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America and detailed narratives of country cases.
This book differs from most treatments by explaining differences in minority shareholder protections and ownership concentration among countries in terms of the interaction of economic preferences and political institutions. It explores in particular the crucial role of pension plans and financial intermediaries in shaping political preferences for different rules of corporate governance. The countries examined sort into two distinct groups: diffuse shareholding by external investors who pick a board that monitors the managers, and concentrated blockholding by insiders who monitor managers directly. Examining the political coalitions that form among or across management, owners, and workers, the authors find that certain coalitions encourage policies that promote diffuse shareholding, while other coalitions yield blockholding-oriented policies. Political institutions influence the probability of one coalition defeating another.
Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum:
How Humans Took Control of Climate
William F. Ruddiman
Cloth | 2005 | $24.95 | ISBN: 0-691-12164-8
272 pp. | 6 x 9 | 16 halftones. 14 line illus. 4 tables. 7 maps
Publisher's Description:The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? William Ruddiman's provocative new book argues that humans have actually been changing the climate for some 8,000 years--as a result of the earlier discovery of agriculture.
The "Ruddiman Hypothesis" will spark intense debate. We learn that the impact of farming on greenhouse-gas levels, thousands of years before the industrial revolution, kept our planet notably warmer than if natural climate cycles had prevailed--quite possibly forestalling a new ice age.
Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum is the first book to trace the full historical sweep of human interaction with Earth's climate. Ruddiman takes us through three broad stages of human history: when nature was in control; when humans began to take control, discovering agriculture and affecting climate through carbon dioxide and methane emissions; and, finally, the more recent human impact on climate change. Along the way he raises the fascinating possibility that plagues, by depleting human populations, also affected reforestation and thus climate--as suggested by dips in greenhouse gases when major pandemics have occurred. The book concludes by looking to the future and critiquing the impact of special interest money on the global warming debate.
Eminently readable and far-reaching in argument, Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum shows us that even as civilization developed, we were already changing the climate in which we live
Harry G. Frankfurt
Cloth | 2005 | $9.95 / £6.50 | ISBN: 0-691-12294-6
80 pp. | 4 x 6
Publisher's Description:One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory."
Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.
Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
Now in Paperback
The Dark Sides of Virtue:
Reassessing International Humanitarianism
Paper | 2005 | $18.95 | ISBN: 0-691-12394-2
Cloth | 2004 | $45.00 | ISBN: 0-691-11686-5
400 pp. | 6 x 9 | 13 halftones.
Publisher's Description: In this provocative and timely book, David Kennedy explores what can go awry when we put our humanitarian yearnings into action on a global scale--and what we can do in response.
Rooted in Kennedy's own experience in numerous humanitarian efforts, the book examines campaigns for human rights, refugee protection, economic development, and for humanitarian limits to the conduct of war. It takes us from the jails of Uruguay to the corridors of the United Nations, from the founding of a non-governmental organization dedicated to the liberation of East Timor to work aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Kennedy shares the satisfactions of international humanitarian engagement--but also the disappointments of a faith betrayed. With humanitarianism's new power comes knowledge that even the most well-intentioned projects can create as many problems as they solve. Kennedy develops a checklist of the unforeseen consequences, blind spots, and biases of humanitarian work--from focusing too much on rules and too little on results to the ambiguities of waging war in the name of human rights. He explores the mix of altruism, self-doubt, self-congratulation, and simple disorientation that accompany efforts to bring humanitarian commitments to foreign settings.
Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America
Mae M. Ngai
Paper | 2005 | $19.95 / £12.95 | ISBN: 0-691-12429-9
Cloth | 2003 | $49.95 / £32.50 | ISBN: 0-691-07471-2
400 pp. | 6 x 9 | 14 halftones. 3 line illus. 6 tables.
Publisher's Description: This book traces the origins of the "illegal alien" in American law and society, explaining why and how illegal migration became the central problem in U.S. immigration policy--a process that profoundly shaped ideas and practices about citizenship, race, and state authority in the twentieth century.
Mae Ngai offers a close reading of the legal regime of restriction that commenced in the 1920s--its statutory architecture, judicial genealogies, administrative enforcement, differential treatment of European and non-European migrants, and long-term effects. In well-drawn historical portraits, Ngai peoples her study with the Filipinos, Mexicans, Japanese, and Chinese who comprised, variously, illegal aliens, alien citizens, colonial subjects, and imported contract workers. She shows that immigration restriction, particularly national-origin and numerical quotas, re-mapped the nation both by creating new categories of racial difference and by emphasizing as never before the nation's contiguous land borders and their patrol. This yielded the "illegal alien," a new legal and political subject whose inclusion in the nation was a social reality but a legal impossibility--a subject without rights and excluded from citizenship. Questions of fundamental legal status created new challenges for liberal democratic society and have directly informed the politics of multiculturalism and national belonging in our time.
Ngai's analysis is based on extensive archival research, including previously unstudied records of the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service. Contributing to American history, legal history, and ethnic studies, Impossible Subjects is a major reconsideration of U.S. immigration in the twentieth century.
- Winner of the 2005 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians
- Co-Winner of the 2004 Berkshire Conference First Book Prize, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians.
- Winner of the 2004 Littleton-Griswold Prize, American Historical Association.
- One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004.
- Winner of the 2004 Theodore Saloutos Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society.
The Lesser Evil:
Political Ethics in an Age of Terror
Paper | 2005 | $16.95 | ISBN: 0-691-12393-4
Cloth | 2004 | $29.95 | ISBN: 0-691-11751-9
232 pp. | 6 x 9
Publisher's Description: Must we fight terrorism with terror, match assassination with assassination, and torture with torture? Must we sacrifice civil liberty to protect public safety?
In the age of terrorism, the temptations of ruthlessness can be overwhelming. But we are pulled in the other direction too by the anxiety that a violent response to violence makes us morally indistinguishable from our enemies. There is perhaps no greater political challenge today than trying to win the war against terror without losing our democratic souls. Michael Ignatieff confronts this challenge head-on, with the combination of hard-headed idealism, historical sensitivity, and political judgment that has made him one of the most influential voices in international affairs today.
Ignatieff argues that we must not shrink from the use of violence--that far from undermining liberal democracy, force can be necessary for its survival. But its use must be measured, not a program of torture and revenge. And we must not fool ourselves that whatever we do in the name of freedom and democracy is good. We may need to kill to fight the greater evil of terrorism, but we must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil.
In making this case, Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the unprecedented menace of Al Qaeda, with its suicidal agents bent on mass destruction. He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, but--just as important--restrained. The public scrutiny and political ethics that motivate restraint also give democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when the furies of vengeance and hatred are spent.
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