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Series: Vernon Series in Politics

The Crisis of American Democracy: Essays on a Failing Institution

Edited by Leland Harper, Siena Heights University

ISBN: 978-1-64889-104-5
Availability: Pre-order
239pp. ¦ $76 £61 €67

The essays in “The Crisis of American Democracy: Essays on a Failing Institution” seek to answer central questions about American democracy, such as: if American democracy is failing, what are the causes of this failure? What are the consequences? And what can be done to fix it? These standalone essays present diverse perspectives on some of the impediments to achieving a true democracy in the present-day United States of America, as well as prescriptions for overcoming these obstacles. Leading academics from across North America, contribute their perspectives on this timely debate.

Science and Liberty: Patient Confidence in the Ultimate Justice of the People

John L. Cordani Jr., Cornell University

July 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-279-0
Availability: In stock
172pp. ¦ $64 £51 €59

One of the most debated topics in law and politics is the role that science should play in setting policy. What does it mean to demand that politicians and the People themselves “follow the science” if science deals with questions of fact, not matters of moral or political values? This long-standing controversy has roots ranging from Plato’s philosopher-kings to Enlightenment skepticism to modern progressivism and the rise of the administrative state. ‘Science and Liberty’ explores the idea that a constitutional republic provides a fitting role for science while preserving the People’s liberty and right to self-government. It examines this topic from five perspectives: American, Historical, Philosophical, Scientific, and Moral. Providing direct access to primary historical sources, ‘Science and Liberty’ contends that America’s founders designed a constitution that was predicated on the Enlightenment theory that liberty precedes government and that presupposed the engagement of the People and their representatives at all levels of free debate. Early twentieth-century progressivism was openly hostile to these founding principles in its desire for efficient rule by scientific administrators. However, it is impossible to philosophically ground political and moral values in the findings of science, despite what modern theorists claim. Ultimately, the injunction to “follow the science” demands to substitute the values of “experts” for the values of the People themselves. By illustrating numerous examples from the hard and social sciences, ranging from physics to Biblical criticism to climate science, this book also explains that the People have a role to play in reasonably engaging with and critiquing modern science. ‘Science and Liberty’ will appeal to those interested in a variety of subjects, including law, politics, philosophy, and intellectual history, as well as scientific criticism, particularly from an American perspective. It is written to be accessible for all ages while also engaging with complex issues and sources relevant for those with advanced degrees.

The Corporate Overlords will be Kind: Campaign Finance, Representation and Corporate-led Democracy

Radu George Dumitrescu, University of Bucharest, Romania

April 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-879-3
Availability: In stock
148pp. ¦ $47 £34 €39

‘The Corporate Overlords will be Kind’ is a unique book in that it makes use of a multi-pronged approach – journalistic, legal, theoretical – to find, document, and explain instances in which well-known corporations such as Wal-Mart, Uber, McDonald’s, Airbnb, Gillette, Nike and others have involved themselves, as ‘artificial persons’, in political and social debates involving aspects such as gender, racism, sexual minorities, and gun ownership. This book argues that these transnational, multi-billion-dollar corporations that thrive in the globalized world market are forced to take explicitly political stances by the very environment in which they activate and by the consumers whom they serve, taking on the latter’s values and opinions and representing them to retain them as customers. ‘The Corporate Overlords will be Kind’ advances that corporations are now – and will increasingly be – the loudest voices in the political market square of the United States, but that such a situation is not necessarily a cause for concern. This book thus departs from the traditional scholarly views of Citizens United (the 2010 landmark decision of the Supreme Court which granted free speech to corporations as persons) as a woe to democracy, and argues that the ageless, deathless, genderless, nationless corporations will be the political representatives of the futures, not political parties. This book will appeal to undergraduate and graduate students specializing in social sciences, particularly politics, history, sociology, and law. Political professionals and journalists may also be interested in the book, in addition to the general reader with interest in politics.

Religion and the Populist Radical Right: Secular Christianism and Populism in Western Europe

Nicholas Morieson, Australian Catholic University

March 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-143-4
Availability: In stock
227pp. ¦ $61 £46 €52

In Western Europe, populist radical right parties are calling for a return to Christian or Judeo-Christian values and identity. The growing electoral success of many of these parties may suggest that, after decades of secularisation, Western Europeans are returning to religion. Yet these parties do not tell their supporters to go to church, believe in God, or practise traditional Christian values. Instead, they claim that their respective national identities and cultures are the product of a Christian or Judeo-Christian tradition which either encompasses—or has produced—secular modernity. This book poses the question: if Western European politics is secular, why has religious identity become a core element of populist radical right discourse? To answer this question, Morieson examines the discursive use of religion by two of the most powerful and influential populist radical right parties: The French National Front and the Dutch Party for Freedom. Based on this examination, he argues that the populist radical right has capitalised on a cultural shift engendered by the increasing visibility of Islam in Europe. Western Europeans’ encounter with Islam has revealed the non-universal nature of Western European secularism to Europeans, and demonstrated the secularisation of Christianity into Western European ‘culture.’ This, in turn, has allowed secular French and Dutch citizens to identify themselves—as well as their nation and, ultimately, Western civilisation—as Christian or Judeo-Christian. Seizing on this cultural shift, the author contends that the National Front and Party for Freedom have built successful and similar brands of reactionary politics based on the notion that contemporary secularism is a product of Europe’s Christian heritage and values, and that therefore Muslim immigration is an existential threat to the core values of European politics, including the differentiation of politics and religion, and of church and state. ‘Religion and the Populist Radical Right: Secular Christianism and Populism in Western Europe’ will be of interest to scholars and researchers working on the intersections of Political Science, Sociology, and Religion. It will also appeal to the general audience interested in the relationship between populism in Western Europe and religious identity as it is written in an accessible style.

A Theory of Disfunctionality: The European Micro-states as Disfunctional States in the International System

Archie W. Simpson

January 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-016-1
Availability: In stock
278pp. ¦ $61 £46 €52

"A Theory of Disfunctionality: The European Micro-states as Disfunctional States in the International System" explains the continuing survival of European micro-states as members of the international system. Micro-states are small sovereign states with populations of 1 million or less, of which there are 10 in Europe. The existence of micro-states raises a number of questions about the nature of statehood, the recognition of sovereignty, and the ability of such states to maintain a presence in international politics. This book establishes the ‘theory of disfunctionality’ in which a functional account of statehood is proposed. It is argued that the state has six functions—but the micro-states are so small that they ‘contract out’ some state functions to others in the international system. By doing this, the micro-states ensure their continuing survival in international politics. The book, which focuses on two case studies—Monaco and Luxembourg—, will be of particular interest to those involved in small state studies including scholars, students, practitioners and policy-makers, as well as those researching International Relations and state theory.

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