Very Short Introductions: Politics (from Oxford University Press)
American Political Parties and ElectionsExamines the electoral process in the United States and explains why it is widely misunderstood. Why is participation in elections so much lower in the United States than in other mature democracies? What role do the political parties play in the electoral process? And why do unregulated groups such as 527 advocacy organizations have as much, if not more, influence than candidates' campaign organizations? This VSI examines these and other issues to provide an insider's view of how the system actually works and why there remain only two main political parties, despite the fact that many citizens claim allegiance to neither and think badly of both.
American PoliticsIntroduces the vital elements of American politics. Using an historical-institutional approach, it explains how the American political system is, and always has been, a work in progress — one unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. It explores the issue of parties and polarization and surveys the basic institutions: the Presidency, Congress, the judicial branch, the unelected bureaucracy of the independent agencies, and state and local governments. It also deals with political communication, public opinion, voting and the boundaries of the electorate, and the politics of government steering of the economy.
The American PresidencyThe Founding Fathers were dedicated to the project of creating an American government both functional and incapable of devolving into tyranny. To do this, they intentionally decentralized decision making among the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. This ebook delves into the constitutional roots of the American presidency to show how presidents face the challenges of governing within a system of separation of powers. It reviews crucial themes, including democratization of presidential elections, transitioning into and organizing a presidency, challenges in leading the permanent government, making law and executing policy, and reforming and changing the institution, before considering future prospects for the US presidency.
AnarchismAnarchism: A Very Short Introduction explores key anarchist thinkers from Kropotkin to Chomsky and considers anarchism from a variety of perspectives: theoretical, historical, and international. What exactly is anarchism and who are the anarchists? Can anarchy ever function effectively as a political force? Is it more ‘organized’ and ‘reasonable’ than is currently perceived? The word ‘anarchism’ tends to conjure up images of aggressive protest against government, and — recently — of angry demonstrations against bodies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. But is anarchism inevitably linked with violent disorder? Do anarchists adhere to a coherent ideology?
CitizenshipCitizenship: A Very Short Introduction approaches its subject from a political perspective, to address the complexities behind the major topical issues and to examine the main models of citizenship that exist today. Interest in citizenship has never been higher. It has become a buzz-word for politicians of all varieties, moral leaders, and every kind of campaigning group from the global to the local level. But what does it mean to be a citizen of a modern, complex community? How have ideas of citizenship changed through time from ancient Greece to the present? Why is citizenship important? Can we create citizenship, and can we test for it?
CommunismCommunism: A Very Short Introduction highlights the inner dynamics, crises, and demise of communism as a global system, explaining the theory behind its ideology, and examining the history and mindset behind its political, economic, and social structures. That system, at its zenith, ruled more than a third of the world's population across four continents, and threatened to destroy the West. Yet most of it eventually, and very suddenly, mutated into spectacular failure. The collapse of communism was one of the most defining moments of the twentieth century. The highs and lows of communist power and its future in today's world is examined
DemocracyDemocracy: A Very Short Introduction is a short account of the history of the doctrine and practice of democracy, from ancient Greece and Rome through the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices associated with it in the modern world. Considering the diverse range of interpretations of ‘democracy’, it looks at the controversies about such issues as who should have a right to vote. This VSI argues that democracy is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for good government, and that ideas of the rule of law, and of human rights, should in some situations limit democratic claims.
FascismWhat is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? Can it be both? Fascism: A Very Short Introduction unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world — tracing its origins in the intellectual, political, and social crises of the late nineteenth century, the rise of fascism following World War I, including fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of ‘failed’ fascist movements in Eastern Europe, Spain, and the Americas. It also considers fascism in culture, the new interest in transnational research, and the progress of the far right since 2002.
FederalismFederalism: A Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the principles and operations of federalism, the political system defined by power sharing between a national government and its subnational units, from its origins and evolution to the key events and constitutional decisions that have defined its framework. While the primary focus is on the United States, a comparative analysis of other federal systems, including those of Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Nigeria, and Switzerland, is provided. The role of federal government is explained alongside the critical roles of state and local governments. This VSI also examines whether federal structures are viable in an era of increasingly centralized and authoritarian-style government
GeopoliticsFrom great power politics and speculation about resource scrambles, to everyday encounters and objects such as smart phones, geopolitics affects citizens, corporations, international bodies, social movements, and governments. Geopolitics is far more than simply the impact of geographical features such as rivers, mountains, and climate on political developments. Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction explores the intellectual historical origins of geopolitics and its current concerns, drawing on regional and thematic case studies. A country’s connectivity, location, size, and resources all affect how the people that live there understand and interact with the wider world. The recent rise of populism and economic nationalism worldwide are also considered
GovernanceGovernance: A Very Short Introduction explains the main theories of governance and their impact in the corporate, public, and global spheres. The many uses of the term ‘governance’are expolored: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund make loans conditional on ‘good governance’; climate change and avian flu appear as issues of ‘global governance’; the US Forest Service calls for ‘collaborative governance’. Why is the term used so pervasively and to what does it refer? What makes good or bad governance?
Ideologydeology: A Very Brief Introduction is an examination of the major theories of ideology and the ways they have enriched our comprehension of ideology. Ideology is one of the most controversial terms in the political vocabulary. It creates both revulsion and inspiration. This VSI examines the reasons for this reaction and explains why ideologies deserve respect as a major form of political thinking. It explores the changing understandings of ideology as a concept and the arguments of the main ideologies. It draws on a range of disciplines in order to show the potency of ideology as a resource at the disposal of societies
LiberalismLiberalism is one of the most central and pervasive political theories and ideologies, yet it is subject to different interpretations as well as misappropriations. Its history carries a crucial heritage of civilized thinking, of political practice, and of philosophical-ethical creativity. Liberalism: A Very Short Introduction unpacks the concept of liberalism and its various interpretations through three diverse approaches. Looking at its historical and theoretical development, analysing the liberal ideology, and understanding liberalism as a series of ethical and philosophical principles, it provides a thorough exploration of the concept and practice of liberalism
NationalismNationalism: A Very Short Introduction examines the political and moral challenges that face the vast majority of human beings who consider themselves to be members of various nations. It explores nationality through the difficulties and conflicts that have arisen throughout history, from ancient civilizations to the present day, and discusses nations and nationalism from social, philosophical, and anthropological perspectives. This VSI looks at the nation in history, the territorial element in nationality, and the complex ways nationality has co-existed with religion, and shows how closely linked the concept of nationalism is with being human
PopulismWhat is populism? What is the relationship between populism and democracy? Populism: A Very Short Introduction presents populism as an ideology that divides society into two antagonistic camps: the “pure people” versus the “corrupt elite,” and that privileges popular sovereignty above all else. It illustrates the practical power of this ideology by describing populist movements of the modern era—European right-wing parties, left-wing presidents in Latin America, and the Tea Party movement in the United States—and charismatic populist leaders such as Juan Domingo Péron, H. Ross Perot, Silvio Berlusconi, and Hugo Chávez. Although populism is ultimately part of democracy, populist forces constitute an increasing challenge to democratic politics
ProgressivismWhat exactly is progressivism? What role has it played in the political, social, and economic history of America? This VSI offers an overview of progressivism in America--its origins, guiding principles, major leaders and major accomplishments. A many-sided reform movement that lasted from the late 1890s until the early 1920s, progressivism emerged as a response to the excesses of the Gilded Age. As capitalism ran unchecked and more and more economic power was concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, a sense of social crisis was pervasive. Progressive politicians, journalist and social workers fought for worker's compensation, child labor laws, minimum wage and maximum hours legislation; they enacted anti-trust laws, improved living conditions in urban slums, instituted the graduated income tax, won women the right to vote, and laid the groundwork for Roosevelt's New Deal.
The Reagan RevolutionNearly two decades after that 1989 speech, debate continues to rage over just how revolutionary those Reagan years were. The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction identifies and tackles some of the controversies and historical mysteries that continue to swirl around Reagan and his legacy, while providing an illuminating look at some of the era's defining personalities, ideas, and accomplishments. Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan remains the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and one of the most controversial. This VSI situates the reception of Reagan's actions within the contemporary liberal and conservative political scene
SocialismSocialism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to answer questions such as: What is socialism? Does it have a future, or has it become an outdated ideology in the twenty-first century? The successes and failures of modern socialism are examined and explained from an international perspective — ranging from communism in Cuba to social democracy in Sweden. Discussing socialism from its inception in the industrial towns of the nineteenth century to its response to the feminist, green, and anti-capitalist movements today, this VSI concludes that, with its values of equality, solidarity, and cooperation, socialism remains as relevant as ever, but that it needs to learn lessons from the past
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