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The Associational Counter-Revolution: The Spread of Restrictive Civil Society Laws in the World’s Strongest Democratic States
Chrystie Flournoy Swiney, Bloomberg Philanthropies
196pp. ¦ $45 £33 €38
In an increasing number of countries around the globe, representing all regime types, in all regions, with all levels of economic and military strength, civil society’s autonomy from the state, its defining feature, is diminishing. While a variety of tools are used to restrict civil society organizations’ (CSOs) independence from the state, an increasingly popular and dangerously effective vehicle for accomplishing this goal is the law. Through the passage of legislation that imposes new restrictions on the ability of CSOs to operate free from excessive government scrutiny and control, governmental actors are gaining greater control over the non-governmental sector and in ways that benefit from the veneer of legality. Perplexingly, such laws are not only appearing in countries where they might be expected -- Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Russia, Zimbabwe, and countries throughout the Middle East. Indeed, they are increasingly appearing in democratic states too, including strong, fully consolidated democratic states with historically strong and independent civil society sectors: Canada, India, New Zealand, Spain, Israel, Hungary, Poland, and the US, to name just a few. Restrictive CSO laws, which are unsurprising in authoritarian-leaning states, are uniquely puzzling in the context of democratic ones, which have been the primary defenders, funders, and champions of a robust and independent civil society. This book explores this concerning and intriguing phenomenon by documenting its full scope and spread within the world’s strongest democratic states and attempting to explain its occurrence. Using a combination of mixed methods -- theory, process tracing, interviews, and statistical analysis – this timely analysis helps to shed light on a global phenomenon that seems to be fueling the democratic backsliding visible in an increasing number of democracies throughout the world. This exploration, which bridges comparative and international law, international relations, democratic theory, and state-civil society relations, attempts to make sense of this global contagion, the closing space phenomenon, which threatens to undermine one of cornerstones of any democracy – a free and independent civil society -- in the years and decades ahead.
Reagan Fancher, University of North Texas
Availability: In stock
206pp. ¦ $59 £43 €49
Fought between 1979 and 1989, the Soviet-Afghan War provided vital combat experience for Osama bin Laden and his senior lieutenants in al-Qaeda, allowing them to hone their newly acquired skills in guerrilla warfare to later support Islamist insurgencies worldwide. Yet the ruthless al-Qaeda chief’s success depended on the Soviet leadership’s reluctant prolonging of its military occupation out of fear of leaving Afghanistan in hostile hands. As relative latecomers to the ferocious Afghan frontlines, the inexperienced Arab fighters benefitted militarily from the combat training unwittingly provided by their Soviet foes. After skillfully obtaining this command and battle experience by working within the wartime atmosphere, bin Laden channeled al-Qaeda’s efforts in a global jihadi campaign targeting a second superpower and its allies. While allegations of U.S. support for the Arab jihadis have contributed to a popular image of bin Laden and al-Qaeda as C.I.A. creations, the historical facts appear to demonstrate that the combat opportunities provided by the Soviet occupation forces played a far larger role in transforming them into seasoned guerrilla fighters. In contrast to the dozens of previous works on bin Laden and al-Qaeda, this book is the first to focus primarily on the Soviet-Afghan War’s impact on training the Arab fighters from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere, in battle, and preparing them to export their guerrilla war to assist their comrades in their native countries. As a teaching tool that re-examines and clarifies the impact of bin Laden’s wartime actions, this book will be particularly useful to scholars of history and international relations seeking to acquire and spread new knowledge in the classroom and to better understand the origins of al-Qaeda’s deadly skills and martial resilience. It offers an opportunity for today’s decision-makers to learn from history and avoid creating new generations of bin Ladens.
204pp. ¦ $70 £55 €61
‘Rewriting Resistance: Caste and Gender in Indian Literature’ explores the claustrophobic shadow of discrimination hanging over Indian women and lower caste people from ancient times. It examines how different literary figures paint a vivid and descriptive picture of the physical and psychological oppression faced throughout India. The book traces feminist resistance, subaltern resistance, and resistance during the anti-colonial struggle, with the literary outputs discussed working as socio-political activity against dominant ideologies. The volume further talks about the responsibility, not only of those oppressed, but also of us as human beings, to speak out against the violation of human rights and for justice. So, the book focuses on the literary writers who always dream of a better India where all people, regardless of their caste, class and gender, can live and breathe freely. The book is divided into three parts. Part I describes the plight of women, their commodification and the politics around them, and how they fight hard to regain their faded identity. Part II depicts the interesting findings on gender-caste intersections and discrimination. Part III explores the struggle of the low caste, specifically male members of Dalit community, along with their history. It further portrays how orthodoxy in rituals creates the burden of traditional and existential crises. ‘Rewriting Resistance: Caste and Gender in Indian Literature’ re-visits Indian literary texts in terms of what they reveal about the resistance registered through the suffering of human beings (women and Dalits) at the hands of fellow human beings, and further links the discussion to our contemporary situation. The book has a unique quality in that it is not only a detailed study of select Indian English texts, but also delves into an in-depth analysis of texts from Bengali, Urdu, and Hindi literature. The work is likely to affect and appeal to students, scholars and academics, and can be adopted for classroom teaching and research purposes as well.
Leland Harper, Siena Heights University
Availability: In stock
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.
Availability: In stock
246pp. ¦ $82 £64 €71
“Becoming Home: Diaspora and the Anglophone Transnational” is a collection of essays exploring national identity, migration, exile, colonialism, postcolonialism, slavery, race, and gender in the literature of the Anglophone world. The volume focuses on the dispersion or scattering of people in exile, and how those with an existing homeland and those displaced, without a politically recognized sovereign state, negotiate displacement and the experience of living at home-abroad. This group includes expatriate minority communities existing uneasily and nostalgically on the margins of their host country. The diaspora becomes an important cultural phenomenon in the formation of national identities and opposing attempts to transcend the idea of nationhood itself on its way to developing new forms of transnationalism. Chapters on the literature or national allegories of the diaspora and the transnational explore the diverse and geographically expansive ways in which Anglophone literature by colonized subjects and emigrants negotiates diasporic spaces to create imagined communities or a sense of home. Themes explored within these pages include restlessness, tensions, trauma, ambiguities, assimilation, estrangement, myth, nostalgia, sentimentality, homesickness, national schizophrenia, divided loyalties, intellectual capital, and geographical interstices. Special attention is paid to the complex ways identity is negotiated by immigrants to Anglophone countries writing in English about their home-abroad experience. The lived experiences of emigrants of the diaspora create a literature rife with tensions concerning identity, language, and belongingness in the struggle for home. Focusing on writers in particular geopolitical spaces, the essays in the collection offer an active conversation with leading theorizers of the diaspora and the transnational, including Edward Said, Bill Ashcroft, William Safran, Gabriel Sheffer, Stuart Hall, Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, and Benedict Anderson. This volume cuts across the broad geopolitical space of the Anglophone world of literature and cultural studies and will appeal to professors, scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in English, comparative literature, history, ethnic and race studies, diaspora studies, migration, and transnational studies. The volume will also be an indispensable aid to public policy experts.