How Democracy Ends by David Runciman

Politics, Sociology

How Democracy Ends by David Runciman
Michael Goodhart, “Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World”
Cities in the Urban Age: A Dissent by Robert A. Beauregard
Saving Soldiers or Civilians?: Casualty-Aversion versus Civilian Protection in Asymmetric Conflicts by Sebastian Kaempf
Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945–1989 by Kateřina Lišková

How Democracy Ends by David Runciman

English | May 10th, 2018 | ASIN: B074V69B5N, ISBN: 1541616782 | 256 Pages | EPUB | 0.60 MB

Democracy has died hundreds of times, all over the world. We think we know what that looks like: chaos descends and the military arrives to restore order, until the people can be trusted to look after their own affairs again. However, there is a danger that this picture is out of date.
Until very recently, most citizens of Western democracies would have imagined that the end was a long way off, and very few would have thought it might be happening before their eyes as Trump, Brexit and paranoid populism have become a reality.
David Runciman, one of the UK’s leading professors of politics, answers all this and more as he surveys the political landscape of the West, helping us to spot the new signs of a collapsing democracy and advising us on what could come next.

Michael Goodhart, “Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World”

2018 | ISBN-10: 0190692421, 019069243X | 288 pages | PDF | 3 MB

This book challenges the dominant approach to problems of justice in global normative theory and offers a radical alternative designed to transform our thinking about what kind of problem injustice is, and how political theorists might do better in understanding and addressing it. Michael Goodhart argues that the dominant paradigm, ideal moral theory (IMT), takes a fundamentally wrong-headed approach to the problem of justice. IMT seeks to work out what an ideally just society would look like, and only then outlines our moral obligations in realizing that ideal. In other words, it ignores the realities of everyday politics.
As Michael Goodhart asserts, IMT postpones engagement with actually existing injustices and distorts our understanding of them, and it normalizes many problematic features of our world. On the other hand, the leading alternatives to IMT struggle to make sense of the role values play in politics. This book sees justice as an ideology and develops an innovative bifocal theoretical framework for making sense of it. This framework provides two complementary perspectives on justice: a theoretical perspective that situates competing ideological claims about justice in a broader political context and a partisan perspective that evaluates the structure and coherence of particular conceptions of justice. As opposed to IMT, it focuses on barriers to justice and advocates an activist political theory that takes sides in political struggles against injustice. Goodhart argues that theorists can help to generate the countervailing power necessary for social transformation through the work of articulation, translation, and mapping, work which contributes to a more comprehensive social science of injustice. Ultimately, this book describes the work that political theory and political theorists can do to combat injustice and illustrates it through a novel reconceptualization of responsibility for injustice.

Cities in the Urban Age: A Dissent by Robert A. Beauregard

English | March 19, 2018 | ISBN: 022653524X, 022653538X | PDF | 224 pages | 1.3 MB

We live in a self-proclaimed Urban Age, where we celebrate the city as the source of economic prosperity, a nurturer of social and cultural diversity, and a place primed for democracy. We proclaim the city as the fertile ground from which progress will arise. Without cities, we tell ourselves, human civilization would falter and decay. In Cities in the Urban Age, Robert A. Beauregard argues that this line of thinking is not only hyperbolic—it is too celebratory by half.
For Beauregard, the city is a cauldron for four haunting contradictions. First, cities are equally defined by both their wealth and their poverty. Second, cities are simultaneously environmentally destructive and yet promise sustainability. Third, cities encourage rule by political machines and oligarchies, even as they are essentially democratic and at least nominally open to all. And fourth, city life promotes tolerance among disparate groups, even as the friction among them often erupts into violence. Beauregard offers no simple solutions or proposed remedies for these contradictions; indeed, he doesn’t necessarily hold that they need to be resolved, since they are generative of city life. Without these four tensions, cities wouldn’t be cities. Rather, Beauregard argues that only by recognizing these ambiguities and contradictions can we even begin to understand our moral obligations, as well as the clearest paths toward equality, justice, and peace in urban settings

Saving Soldiers or Civilians?: Casualty-Aversion versus Civilian Protection in Asymmetric Conflicts by Sebastian Kaempf

English | April 30, 2018 | ISBN: 1108427642 | PDF | 316 pages | 3.9 MB

Concerns for the lives of soldiers and innocent civilians have come to underpin Western, and particularly American, warfare. Yet this new mode of conflict faces a dilemma: these two norms have opened new areas of vulnerability that have been systematically exploited by non-state adversaries. This strategic behaviour creates a trade-off, forcing decision-makers to have to choose between saving soldiers and civilians in target states.
Sebastian Kaempf examines the origin and nature of this dilemma, and in a detailed analysis of the US conflicts in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, investigates the ways the US has responded, assessing the legal, moral, and strategic consequences. Scholars and students of military and strategic studies, international relations and peace and conflict studies will be interested to read Kaempf’s analysis of whether the US or its adversaries have succeeded in responding to this central dilemma of contemporary warfare.

Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945–1989 by Kateřina Lišková

English | April 30, 2018 | ISBN: 1108424694 | PDF | 320 pages | 3.3 MB

This is the first account of sexual liberation in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Kateřina Lišková reveals how, in the case of Czechoslovakia, important aspects of sexuality were already liberated during the 1950s – abortion was legalized, homosexuality decriminalized, the female orgasm came into experts’ focus – and all that was underscored by an emphasis on gender equality. However, with the coming of Normalization, gender discourses reversed and women were to aspire to be caring mothers and docile wives. Good sex was to cement a lasting marriage and family.
In contrast to the usual Western accounts highlighting the importance of social movements to sexual and gender freedom, here we discover, through the analysis of rich archival sources covering forty years of state socialism in Czechoslovakia, how experts, including sexologists, demographers, and psychologists, advised the state on population development, marriage and the family to shape the most intimate aspects of people’s lives.