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Subject: Political Science and International Relations

The Dark Side of Speech

A Disenchanted Report on the Decade that Preceded the Invasion of Ukraine

Carlo Penco, University of Genoa, Italy

ISBN: 978-1-64889-854-9
Availability: Forthcoming
636pp. ¦ $91 £73 €85

What is disinformation, and why does it matter? How can we understand and detect different kinds of disinformation? With an analysis of relevant events of the period 2012-2022, the book attempts to answer these questions. The book is organized into four parts. (1) The first part presents the notions of post-truth and fake news using some of the most recent critical studies, analyzing some typical examples and the environment in which some of them originated. (2) The second part introduces the notion of conspiracy theory and describes the emergence of the idea of white supremacy and its ramifications, together with the narratives developed during the COVID restrictions. (3) The third part describes the emergence of the algorithms behind social networks and their role in propaganda, making examples of US and European elections and the Brexit referendum. An analysis of 'Cambridge Analytica' shows the tip of an iceberg of disinformation that is spreading around the world. Some remarks by comedians and philosophers help to give a new view on the concept of freedom of speech, with particular attention to the more and more difficult freedom of the press. (4) The fourth part gives some “emergency tools” for detecting disinformation at an individual level, understanding the most hidden mechanisms of disinformation, and the biases that almost unavoidably enter our minds. These tools come from the results both of traditional theories and the most recent social philosophy of language, not despising references to statistics. This is a fundamental book for having a general survey of this period of political turmoil, consulting a wide list of references and official documents, and having a grasp of the means of intellectual self-defense. “This book is non-standard: it relies on the most sophisticated theories of language and yet it gives everything in simple and colloquial language. Differently from sophisticated analyses of linguistic phenomena, it gives the feeling of participating in a tour around what happened in the last decade, with a disenchanted eye that uses some results of the critical literature, without compelling one to become a theoretician in the field of philosophy or critical analysis. The hidden focus of the book is freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and what they mean today in an era of more sophisticated and widespread disinformation permitted by the algorithms governing social networks. ….”

Living the Independence Dream: Ukraine and Ukrainians in Contemporary Socio-Political Context

Edited by Lada Kolomiyets, Dartmouth College/Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine

May 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-861-7
Availability: In stock
366pp. ¦ $114 £91 €106

For many Ukrainians, 1991 was a crucial point when their long-held dream of independence came true. The image of the future life in independent Ukraine was then almost identical to folklore images of Ukraine as the land of milk and honey. "Living the Independence Dream" takes a multi-dimensional look at the period of regained independence as a time of advancement towards the realization of collective dreams shaping the post-Soviet nation, even through everyday disappointments, anxiety, and uncertainty. The collection features personal accounts of several generations of Ukrainians who found themselves displaced by political upheavals in foreign lands, as well as the voices of recently displaced people who left the Donbas or other regions of Ukraine following the outbreak of the Russian aggression. It revisits the legacy of Soviet dissidents and explores the ideologies of Ukrainian language revival and the ways that memory and language construct Ukrainian identity and generate vital energy amidst war. The collection "Living the Independence Dream" aims to analyze the agency of contemporary Ukrainian people and the role of media, literature, and digital folklore in creating new messages, meanings, and values formed during the Independence decades.

Topics and approaches to studying intelligence

Edited by Andrew Macpherson, University of New Hampshire and Glenn P. Hastedt, James Madison University

April 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-881-5
Availability: In stock
188pp. ¦ $81 £65 €76

The goal of "Topics and approaches to studying intelligence" is to bring into sharper focus the evolving nature of intelligence studies, which is in the midst of a period of significant expansion that is taking place across a number of dimensions. Working on this foundation of past and contemporary analytic intelligence studies, the chapters in "Topics and approaches to studying intelligence" highlight areas of debate and disagreement, provide insight into new areas of study and broaden the methodological toolset used by researchers. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches investigate analysis, alliances, competitive/private sector intelligence, gendered practices of intelligence agencies, the nature of intelligence studies scholarship, accreditation, intelligence disclosure for diplomacy, and the sharing of nuclear-related intelligence.

Cuerpos de género y cuerpos politicos. Un estudio de españoles y de US latinos conversos al islam

Marta Boris Tarre, University of Idaho

May 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-769-6
Availability: In stock
212pp. ¦ $77 £62 €72

"Cuerpos de género y cuerpos políticos" constituye uno de los pocos libros en lengua española sobre las conversiones al islam de los grupos en cuestión, pero más específicamente de como estos utilizan el género y la nación como vehículos identitarios, lo que será útil para investigadores en estudios religiosos y sociológicos. Este libro examina las convergencias que se producen entre conversión al islam y género, nación y ciudadanía por parte de dos grupos poblacionales occidentales –españoles y US latinos–. El estudio etnográfico de campo, los feminismos islámicos y el estudio de masculinidades van a constituir la base para explorar cómo la visión de género que estas mujeres y hombres conversos al islam sostienen representan nuevas formas identitarias de género que constituyen instrumentos políticos y que resisten los estereotipos que se atribuyen al sujeto musulmán. No obstante, estos también representan alternativas de género por incorporar un elemento religioso, lo cual les otorga agencia para vivir el islam en un territorio que vislumbra esta religión de forma hostil. Finalmente, "Cuerpos de género y cuerpos políticos" estudiará cómo los conversos redefinen la identidad de nación y de ciudadanía en función a su afiliación religiosa. El componente moral que su nueva religión aporta contribuye a una idea de nación y de ciudadanía que no puede entenderse sin visionar al ciudadano como un ser moral y religioso, lo que contrasta con la idea de ciudadanía occidental y con la identidad de nación del territorio donde residen en la que lo religioso es privatizada. Ello desemboca en un concepto de “españolidad” y de “latinidad” que incorpora el islam como base infalible de autoridad y que contrasta con una sociedad hegemónica que incorpora otros factores como la región, la cultura y la lengua como base a idea de nación y de cohesión nacional.

Pandemic and Narration: Covid-19 Narratives in Latin America

Edited by Andrea Espinoza Carvajal, University of Exeter and Luis A. Medina Cordova, University of Birmingham

April 2024 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-821-1
Availability: In stock
282pp. ¦ $106 £85 €99

'Pandemic and Narration: Covid-19 Narratives in Latin America' sheds light on how, as Covid-19 spread, infecting and killing millions across the world, life not only continued to be experienced but also continued to be narrated. By putting together this volume, we help understand what happened in the region from a perspective in which, unlike most of what we saw during the health emergency, numbers, statistics and percentages are not at the centre of the analysis. The essays gathered here foreground something else: the manifold ways Covid-19 was subjectively and collectively narrated in the news, government reports, political speeches, NGO communications, social media, literature, songs and many other media. From a wide range of disciplinary approaches, the contributors to this edition pay attention to how fictional and non-fictional stories, official discourses, as well as personal and political accounts, documented, represented and shaped the health crisis, laying bare how —in Latin American countries— the spread of the virus intersected with corruption, gender-based violence, inequality and exclusion, as with community, solidarity and hope. Readers will find that the focus on narrative provides an alternative source of knowledge on Latin America’s Covid-19 experience. Our perspective contrasts with the usual emphasis on death tolls, infection rates, weekly cases, vaccination counts, and the plethora of statistics that illustrated the gravity of the situation in the build-up to, during, and after the peak of the crisis. While extremely important to understand the situation, numbers do not tell the whole story. A comprehensive picture of the pandemic can only be achieved when the stories of the virus are accounted for. Health, after all, is no stranger to narrative. And neither is Latin America.