Faculty Bookshelf

Books by Alasdair Roberts

Some of the latest publications from our prolific faculty, covering vital topics such as campaign finance reform, the real-world impact of social science research, the U.S. healthcare system, and more.

Anthropology

 
book cover of "Youth Politics in Putin's Russia

Youth Politics in Putin’s Russia: Producing Patriots and Entrepreneurs, Julie Hemment

Julie Hemment provides a fresh perspective on the controversial nationalist youth projects that have proliferated in Russia in the Putin era, examining them from the point of view of their participants and offering provocative insights into their origins and significance. The pro-Kremlin organization Nashi(“Ours”) and other state-run initiatives to mobilize Russian youth have been widely reviled in the West, seen as Soviet throwbacks and evidence of Russia’s authoritarian turn. By contrast, Hemment’s detailed ethnographic analysis finds an astute global awareness and a paradoxical kinship with the international democracy-promoting interventions of the 1990s. Drawing on Soviet political forms but responding to 21st-century disenchantments with the neoliberal state, these projects seek to produce not only patriots, but also volunteers, entrepreneurs, and activists.

Tight Knit Global Families and the Social Life of Fast Fashion

Tight Knit Global Families and the Social Life of Fast Fashion, Elizabeth Krause

Krause offers a revelatory look into how families involved in the fashion industry are coping with globalization based on longterm research in Prato, the historic hub of textile production in the heart of metropolitan Tuscany. She brings to the fore the tensions—over value, money, beauty, family, care, and belonging—that are reaching a boiling point as the country struggles to deal with the same migration pressures that are triggering backlash all over Europe and North America. Tight Knit tells a fascinating story about the heterogeneity of contemporary capitalism that will interest social scientists, immigration experts, and anyone curious about how globalization is changing the most basic of human conditions—making a living and making a life. 

Communication

 
Civic engagement in diverse latinx communities by Mari Castaneda

Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning From Social Justice Partnerships in Action,  Mari Castañeda and Joseph Krupczynski 

Students, faculty, and community partners alike will find Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning From Social Justice Partnerships in Action accessible not only because it includes an array of examples regarding Latinx civic engagement, but it also demonstrates that personal experiences are powerful tools for the production of new knowledge. This book reveals an epistemology of social justice that aims to investigate and develop a new Latinx community-university praxis for how to engage with diverse communities in the twenty-first century. 

Reporting Cultures on 60 Minutes: Missing the Finnish Line in an American Newscast

Reporting Cultures on 60 Minutes: Missing the Finnish Line in an American Newscast, Donal Carbaugh and Michael Berry

This work delves into the act of reporting on different cultures as a means of exploring our own. The way culture is presented to the media highlights various international and intercultural dynamics, as well as the complexity involved in reporting from a cultural standpoint.

Reporting Cultures in 60 Minutes is a study covering the journalistic practice of reporting culture by examining "Tango Finlandia," a broadcast report on Finnish culture produced by the American television news magazine 60 Minutes. It covers the journalistic practice of reporting culture broadly by looking specifically at Finns and Americans reporting about their respective homelands and about the other’s culture and social interactions.

Economics

 
The Well-Being of the Labor Force in Colonial Bombay: Discourses and Practices, Priyanka Srivastava

The Well-Being of the Labor Force in Colonial Bombay: Discourses and Practices, Priyanka Srivastava

This study draws on extensive archival research to explore the social history of industrial labor in colonial India through the lens of well-being. Focusing on the cotton millworkers in Bombay in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the book moves beyond trade union politics and examines the complex ways in which the broader colonial society considered the subject of worker well-being. As the author shows, worker well-being projects unfolded in the contexts of British Empire, Indian nationalism, extraordinary infant mortality, epidemic diseases, and uneven urban development. Srivastava emphasizes that worker well-being discourses and practices strove to reallocate resources and enhance the productive and reproductive capacities of the nation’s labor power. She demonstrates how the built urban environment, colonial local governance, public health policies, and deeply gendered local and transnational voluntary reform programs affected worker wellbeing practices and shaped working class lives.

Sombras: A Desordem Financeira na Era da Globalização (Shadows: Financial Disorder in the Era of Globalization), Francisco Louçã and Michael Ash

Sombras: A Desordem Financeira na Era da Globalização (Shadows: Financial Disorder in the Era of Globalization), Francisco Louçã and Michael Ash

Neste trabalho de alcance histórico e pés bem assentes na atualidade, Francisco Louçã e Michael Ash embrenham-se nos meandros da banca-sombra para explicar como se chegou ao atual estado de desordem e crise. Da desregulamentação dos reguladores à estagnação do crescimento, este é um livro indispensável para entendermos o mundo em que vivemos e as forças que o controlam, pré e pós-Donald Trump.

 
Book cover of The Public "Professor" by M.V. Lee Badgett

The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World, M. V. Lee Badgett

The work of academics can matter and be influential on a public level, but the path to becoming a public intellectual, influential policy advisor, valued community resource or go-to person on an issue is not one that most scholars are trained for. The Public Professor offers scholars ways to use their ideas, research and knowledge to change the world. The book gives practical strategies for scholars to become more engaged with the public on a variety of fronts: online, in print, at council hearings, even with national legislation. 

Models, Mathematics, and Methodology in Economic Explanation, Donald W. Katzner

Models, Mathematics, and Methodology in Economic Explanation, Donald W. Katzner

This book provides a practitioner's foundation for the process of explanatory model building, breaking down that process into five stages. Donald W. Katzner presents a concrete example with unquantified variable values to show how the five-stage procedure works. He describes what is involved in explanatory model building for those interested in this practice, while simultaneously providing a guide for those actually engaged in it. The combination of Katzner's focus on modeling and on mathematics, along with his focus on the explanatory performance of modeling, promises to become an important contribution to the field.

China, India and Southeast Asia: Paths to development and state-society relations

China, India and Southeast Asia: Paths to development and state-society relations, (eds.), Edmund Terence Gomez, Kee-Cheok Cheong, and Vamsi Vakulabharanam

This volume studies the outcomes of the two-way flow of investments and people between China and India, and Southeast Asia. These cross-border flows have led to new settlements in Southeast Asia from which new outlooks have emerged among locally born generations that have given rise to new forms of solidarity and identification.The advent of new generations of ethnic Chinese and Indians in Southeast Asia, with no ties to China or India, has spawned important debates about identity shifts which have not been registered by government leaders in Southeast Asia, China and India, as reflected in policy statements and investment patterns. Identity changes are assessed in forms where they best manifest themselves: in social life and in business ventures forged, or unsuccessfully nurtured, through tie-ups involving foreign and domestic capital. A state-society distinction is employed to determine how the governments of these rapidly developing countries envision development, through state intervention as well as with the employment of highly entrepreneurial ethnic groups, and the outcomes of this on their societies and on their economies. The chapters were originally published as a special issue in The Round Table.

Journalism

 
Book cover of "This program is brought to you by..." by Joshua Braun

This Program Is Brought to You By… : Distributing Television News Online, Josh Braun

Journalism, television, cable, and online media are all evolving rapidly. At the nexus of these volatile industries is a growing group of individuals and firms whose job it is to develop and maintain online distribution channels for television news programming. Their work, and the tensions surrounding it, provide a fulcrum from which to pry analytically at some of the largest shifts within our media landscape. Based on fieldwork and interviews with different teams and organizations within MSNBC, this multi-disciplinary work is unique in its focus on distribution, which is rapidly becoming as central as production, to media work.

Political Science

 
Book cover of "Campaign Finance and Political Polarization: When Purists Prevail" by Ray LaRaja and Brian Schaffner

Campaign Finance and Political Polarization: When Purists Prevail, Raymond La Raja and Brian Schaffner

Efforts to reform the U.S. campaign finance system typically focus on the corrupting influence of large contributions. Yet, as Raymond J. La Raja and Brian F. Schaffner argue, reforms aimed at cutting the flow of money into politics have unintentionally favored candidates with extreme ideological agendas and, consequently, fostered political polarization. Drawing on data from 50 states and the U.S. Congress over 20 years, La Raja and Schaffner reveal that current rules allow wealthy ideological groups and donors to dominate the financing of political campaigns. In order to attract funding, candidates take uncompromising positions on key issues and, if elected, take their partisan views into the legislature. As a remedy, the authors propose that additional campaign money be channeled through party organizations-rather than directly to candidates-because these organizations tend to be less ideological than the activists who now provide the lion's share of money to political candidates. Shifting campaign finance to parties would ease polarization by reducing the influence of "purist" donors with their rigid policy stances. La Raja and Schaffner conclude the book with policy recommendations for campaign finance in the United States. They are among the few non-libertarians who argue that less regulation, particularly for political parties, may in fact improve the democratic process.

Empire of the People: Settler Colonialism and the Foundations of Modern Democratic Thought, Adam Dahl

Empire of the People: Settler Colonialism and the Foundations of Modern Democratic Thought, Adam Dahl

In Empire of the People, Adam Dahl examines the ideological development of American democratic thought in the context of settler colonialism, a distinct form of colonialism aimed at the appropriation of Native land rather than the exploitation of Native labor. By placing the development of American political thought and culture in the context of nineteenth-century settler expansion, his work reveals how practices and ideologies of Indigenous dispossession have laid the cultural and social foundations of American democracy, and in doing so profoundly shaped key concepts in modern democratic theory such as consent, social equality, popular sovereignty, and federalism.
 

Searching for Truth in the Transitional Justice Movement, Jamie Rowen

Searching for Truth in the Transitional Justice Movement, Jamie Rowen

Searching for Truth in the Transitional Justice Movement examines calls for a truth commission to redress the brutal war during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the decades-long armed conflict in Colombia, and US detention policies in the War on Terror. In so doing, it argues that transitional justice is an idea around which a loosely structured movement emerged and professionalized, making truth commissions a standard response to mass violence. By exploring how this movement developed, as well as efforts to make truth commissions in the Balkans, Colombia, and the US, this book explains different processes through which political actors translate new legal ideas such as transitional justice into political action. Further, it reveals how the malleability of transitional justice and truth commissions is both an asset and a liability for those hoping to ensure accountability, improve survivor well-being, and prevent future violence.

Ballot Blocked: The Political Erosion of the Voting Rights Act, Jesse H. Rhodes

Ballot Blocked: The Political Erosion of the Voting Rights Act, Jesse H. Rhodes

Ballot Blocked shows how the divergent trajectories of legislation, administration, and judicial interpretation in voting rights policymaking derive largely from efforts by conservative politicians to narrow the scope of federal enforcement while at the same time preserving their public reputations as supporters of racial equality and minority voting rights. Jesse H. Rhodes argues that conservatives adopt a paradoxical strategy in which they acquiesce to expansive voting rights protections in Congress (where decisions are visible and easily traceable) while simultaneously narrowing the scope of federal enforcement via administrative and judicial maneuvers (which are less visible and harder to trace). Over time, the repeated execution of this strategy has enabled a conservative Supreme Court to exercise preponderant influence over the scope of federal enforcement.

Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power, Timothy Pachirat

Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power, Timothy Pachirat

Summoned by an anonymous Prosecutor, ten contemporary ethnographers gather in an aging barn to hold a trial of Alice Goffman’s controversial ethnography, On the Run. But before the trial can get underway, a one-eyed wolfdog arrives with a mysterious liquid potion capable of rendering the ethnographers invisible in their fieldsites.

Presented as a play that unfolds in seven acts, the ensuing drama provides readers with both a practical guide for how to conduct immersive participant-observation research and a sophisticated theoretical engagement with the relationship between ethnography as a research method and the operation of power. By interpolating "how-to" aspects of ethnographic research with deeper questions about ethnography’s relationship to power, this book presents a compelling introduction for those new to ethnography and rich theoretical insights for more seasoned ethnographic practitioners from across the social sciences. Just as ethnography as a research method depends crucially on serendipity, surprise, and an openness to ambiguity, the book’s dramatic and dialogic format encourages novices and experts alike to approach the study of power in ways that resist linear programs and dogmatic prescriptions. The result is a playful yet provocative invitation to rekindle those foundational senses of wonder and generative uncertainty that are all too often excluded from conversations about the methodologies and methods we bring to the study of the social world.

Beyond Origins: Rethinking Founding in a Time of Constitutional Democracy, Angélica Maria Bernal

Beyond Origins: Rethinking Founding in a Time of Constitutional Democracy, Angélica Maria Bernal

The foundings of constitutional democracies are commonly traced to singular moments. In turn, these moments of national origin are characterized as radical political innovations, notable for their civic unity, perfect legitimacy and binding authority. This common view is attractive as it suggests original founding events, actors, and ideals that can be evoked to legitimize state authority and unify citizens. Angélica Maria Bernal challenges this view of foundings, however, explaining that it is ultimately dangerous, misguided, and unsustainable.
 

Public Policy

 
Can the Government do Anything Right?, Alasdair Roberts

Can the Government do Anything Right?, Alasdair Roberts

In this compelling book, leading scholar of public policy and management, Alasdair Roberts, explores what government does well and what it does badly. Political leaders, he explains, have always been obliged to wrestle with shifting circumstances and contending priorities, making the job of governing extraordinarily difficult. The performance of western democracies in recent decades is, admittedly, far from perfect but - as Roberts ably shows - it is also much better than you might think.

Policy Analysis in the United States, John A. Hird

Policy Analysis in the United States, John A. Hird

Policy Analysis in the United States brings together contributions from some of the world’s leading scholars and practitioners of public policy analysis including Beryl Radin, David Weimer, Rebecca Maynard, Laurence Lynn, and Guy Peters.

This volume represents an indispensable companion to other volumes in the International Library of Policy Analysis series, enabling scholars to compare cross-nationally concepts and practices of public policy analysis in the media, sub-national governments, and many more institutional settings.

The volume represents an invaluable contribution to public policy analysis and can be used widely in teaching at both graduate and undergraduate levels in schools of public affairs and public policy as well as in comparative politics and policy.

Sociology 
Book cover of "Music City" by Jonathan Wynn

Music/City: American Festivals and Placemaking in Austin, Nashville, and Newport, John Wynn

Wynn tracks the history of festivals in Newport, Nashville, and Austin, taking readers on-site to consider different festival agendas and styles of organization. It’s all here: from the musician looking to build her career to the mayor who wants to exploit a local cultural scene, from a resident’s frustration over corporate branding of his city to the music executive hoping to sell records. Music/City offers a sharp perspective on cities and cultural institutions in action and analyzes how governments mobilize massive organizational resources to become promotional machines. Wynn’s analysis culminates with an impassioned argument for temporary events, claiming that when done right, temporary occasions like festivals can serve as responsive, flexible, and adaptable products attuned to local places and communities.

Book cover of "In the Face of Inequality: How Black Colleges Adapt" by Melissa Wooten

In the Face of Inequality: How Black Colleges Adapt, Melissa Wooten

A quarter of black Americans earn college degrees from black colleges, yet questions about the necessity of black colleges abound. In the Face of Inequality dissects the ways in which race and racism combined to shape the experiences of America’s black colleges in the mid-twentieth century. In a novel approach to this topic, Melissa E. Wooten combines historical data with a sociological approach. Drawing on extensive quantitative and qualitative historical data, Wooten argues that for much of America’s history, educational and social policy was explicitly designed to limit black colleges’ organizational development. As an alternative to questioning the modern day relevance of these schools, Wooten asks readers to consider how race and racism precludes black colleges from acquiring the resources and respect worthy of them.
Beyond Civil Society
 

Beyond Civil Society, Sonia E. Alvarez, Agustín Laó-Montes

The contributors to Beyond Civil Society argue that the conventional distinction between civic and uncivic protest, and between activism in institutions and in the streets, does not accurately describe the complex interactions of forms and locations of activism characteristic of twenty-first-century Latin America. They show that most contemporary political activism in the region relies upon both confrontational collective action and civic participation at different moments. Operating within fluid, dynamic, and heterogeneous fields of contestation, activists have not been contained by governments or conventional political categories, but rather have overflowed their boundaries, opening new democratic spaces or extending existing ones in the process. These essays offer fresh insight into how the politics of activism, participation, and protest are manifest in Latin America today while providing a new conceptual language and an interpretive framework for examining issues that are critical for the future of the region and beyond.

Gendered Lives; Sevual Beings by Joya Misra
Gendered Lives, Sexual Beings, Joya Misra, Mahala Dyer Stewart, Marni Alyson Brown

This innovative reader contains foundational and cutting-edge articles representing a range of primary feminist research by established and early-career scholars. The editors have carefully selected, edited, and introduced the selections with undergraduate students in mind and the readings address many key 21st century approaches to feminist scholarship. Gendered Lives, Sexual Beings is also supported by a dynamic blog, where the editors connect the readings to current events and related online articles, films, short videos, and podcasts.

Go beyond the text with the Gendered Lives, Sexual Beings blog.

From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship, Paul Hollander

From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship, Paul Hollander

During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, political dictators were not only popular in their own countries, but were also admired by numerous highly educated and idealistic Western intellectuals. The objects of this political hero-worship included Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and more recently Hugo Chavez, among others. This book seeks to understand the sources of these misjudgements and misperceptions, the specific appeals of particular dictators, and the part played by their charisma, or pseudo-charisma. It sheds new light not only on the political disposition of numerous Western intellectuals - such as Martin Heidegger, Eric Hobsbawm, Norman Mailer, Ezra Pound, Susan Sontag and George Bernard Shaw - but also on the personality of those political leaders who encouraged, and in some instances helped to design, the cult surrounding their rise to dictatorship.

Fareen Parvez Politicizing Islam – The Islamic Revival in France and India

Politicizing Islam – The Islamic Revival in France and India, Z. Fareen Parvez

Home to the largest Muslim minorities in Western Europe and Asia, France and India are both grappling with crises of secularism. In Politicizing Islam, Fareen Parvez offers an in-depth look at how Muslims have responded to these crises, focusing on Islamic revival movements in the French city of Lyon and the Indian city of Hyderabad. Presenting a novel comparative view of middle-class and poor Muslims in both cities, Parvez illuminates how Muslims from every social class are denigrated but struggle in different ways to improve their lives and make claims on the state. In Hyderabad's slums, Muslims have created vibrant political communities, while in Lyon's banlieues they have retreated into the private sphere. Politicizing Islam elegantly explains how these divergent reactions originated in India's flexible secularism and France's militant secularism and in specific patterns of Muslim class relations in both cities. This fine-grained ethnography pushes beyond stereotypes and has consequences for burning public debates over Islam, feminism, and secular democracy.