Category Archives: Politics and International Relations

Contemporary African Politics

Posted by Michael Drapper, Marketing Executive

Today, as Nigeria goes to the polls for its fifth quadrennial general elections since the 1999 return to democracy, it is clear that the country, and Africa as a whole, is in a period of rapid change. Now, as in Nigeria, some two-thirds of countries on the continent have embarked on comprehensive democratic transitions, in diverse forms, with varying degrees of maturation. Crucially, there is broad recognition among African elites that participatory and democratic processes are standards or benchmarks for judging them, as shown by the establishment of the African Union, the New Partnership for African Development, and the African Peer Review Mechanism. The improved political climate reflects important economic and social changes as well. Since the mid-1990s, economic growth in the majority of African countries has been strong, surpassing 5% per year in fifteen countries on the continent. For a number of these, higher growth has been accompanied by diversification of their economies and exports.

Africans actors deserve the credit for much of the observable change. Western aid agencies, Chinese mining companies and UN peacekeepers have played their part, but the continent’s main driver of change appears to be its own people. Across the continent a palpable sense of hope abounds from rural to urban communities and across the generations. The ability of governments to play a mediatory role between global capitalism and the domestic, intra-state arena is being transformed, as states exhibit increasing capacities and resources as well as different levels of social and political motivation. While it is true that most African states are responding to the external pressures of the International Financial Institutions, their governments still bear responsibility for promoting an approach to development and on this they appear to be doing a little better, especially in economic management and striking peace deals.

Whether what we are witnessing is a third liberation of the continent – the first from colonialism, the second from autocratic indigenous rule, and now something far different – remains to be seen. Understanding the evolving reality is the central aim of Ashgate’s new Contemporary African Politics series. This series seeks original approaches to furthering our understanding of the ensuing changes in contemporary Africa. It will look at the full range and variety of African politics in the 21st century, covering the changing nature of African society, gender issues, security, economic prosperity and poverty, to the development of relations between African states, external organisations and between leaders and the people they would govern. The series aims to publish work by senior scholars as well as the best new researchers.

If you have a proposal you would like to submit for consideration, please email Rob Sorsby, Senior Commissioning Editor, at RSorsby@ashgate.com. For more information on submitting a proposal, please visit www.ashgate.com/authors.

Ethnicity democracy and citizenship in africaReinventing development

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Gender in a Global/Local World

Posted by Michael Drapper, Marketing Executive

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s, a turbulent period marked by rapid industrialization, huge population growth, and the rise of new radical political ideologies. At its inception International Women’s Day and its activists campaigned for women’s right to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and to end discrimination. Over time these inequalities, to a great or lesser extent, have lessened with women’s rights improving almost universally.

But as the world gets smaller, new challenges to gender equality have come to the fore. The Gender in a Global/Local World series critically explores the uneven and often contradictory ways in which global processes and local identities come together. Much has been and is being written about globalization and responses to it but rarely from a critical, historical, gendered perspective. Yet, these processes are profoundly gendered albeit in different ways in particular contexts. The changes in social, cultural, economic and political institutions and practices alter the conditions under which women and men make and remake their lives. New spaces have been created – economic, political, social – and previously silent voices are being heard.  North-South dichotomies are being undermined as increasing numbers of people and communities are exposed to international processes through migration, travel, and communication, even as marginalization and poverty intensify for many in all parts of the world.  The series features monographs and collections which explore the tensions in a ‘global/local world’, and includes contributions from all disciplines in recognition of the fact that no single approach can capture these complex processes.

Gender and ConflictRecent volumes in this series include Gender and Conflict, which examines how cognition and behaviour, agency and victimization, are gendered beyond the popular stereotypes. Conducting in-depth case studies into such topics as women’s violence and gender relations in the Israeli Defence Forces and the role of female combatants in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, the book offers insight into worlds that are new and often surprising and unconventional.

When care work goes globalWhen Care Work Goes Global provides an innovative view on the new international division of reproductive labour, demonstrating how and why domestic and care work has developed into the largest occupation sector for female migrants worldwide, encompassing not only migration movements from the global South to the global North but also those from rural to urban areas.

Gender integration in nato military forcesLana Obradovic’s Gender Integration in NATO Military Forces examines twenty-four NATO member states, asking why states abandon their policies of exclusion and promote gender integration, admitting women into their military forces, in such a way that women’s military participation becomes an integral part of military force.

As the world continues to change the Gender in a Global/Local World series highlights the need for academic research to keep up, exploring the new and continued gendered tensions and conflicts between global and local cultures.

To read more about this series please visit www.ashgate.com/GGLW, where you can also read reviews and excerpts of the books, or visit our Gender and Politics page to see more Ashgate titles on the subject.

A human factors approach to hostile intent and counter-terrorism

Hostile Intent and Counter TerrorismWhile there is much research into counter-terrorism, until now there has not been a single source that deals with the issue from a human factors and psychology perspective. Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism fills that gap. Part of the Ashgate Human Factors in Defence series, the book is of value not only to researchers in the field but also security stakeholders at policy and practitioner level.

‘In this insightful and incisive text, Stedmon, Lawson and their many colleagues and co-contributors grapple with one of the most pressing issues for our species and our survival on this planet. They undertake to show how the integration of people and technology is at once the genesis of and potential solution to the vexed problems of contemporary asymmetric conflict, expressed through terrorism. But more than this, their crucial collective deliberations mandate that we consider what our future society can and should look like. These are issues at the very heart of the human enterprise. Thus, while both a timely and important text for the declared central concern for counter-terrorism and the place of human factors and ergonomics in that struggle, their work forces us to examine the inherent sub-text which asks and addresses persistent and perennial questions about the individual and their place in a communal and technologically-driven society. Accessible to the general reader, yet of great value to the involved professional, this text is one that must be widely read in order that we understand what threats surround us and what avenues we all possess to resolve them.’   Peter A. Hancock, University of Central Florida, USA

‘This book has an important contribution to make to those seeking to develop counter-terrorism policy and practices informed by evidence-based scholarship. It contains a diverse set of reflections from around the world, inspired by a group of researchers who initially came together to consider ways of developing robust, reliable and ethical ways of detecting the covert activities of terrorists in crowded places. This book illustrates, in its scale and scope, the size and complexity of the challenge.’   Tristram Riley-Smith, University of Cambridge, UK

Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism is edited by Alex Stedmon, Coventry University and Glyn Lawson, The University of Nottingham. You can find out more about the book on the Ashgate website, where you can also read the preface from Matt Jones.

Contents:  Foreword, Don Harris; Preface, Matt Jones; Hostile intent and counter-terrorism: strategic issues and the research landscape, Alex Stedmon and Glyn Lawson. Part 1 Conceptualising Terrorism: The role of fear in terrorism, Alex Braithwaite; Understanding terrorism through criminology? Merging crime control and counter-terrorism in the UK, Pete Fussey; Analysing the terrorist brain: neurobiological advances, ethical concerns and social implications, Valentina Bartolucci; Ethical issues in surveillance and privacy, Ron Iphofen. Part 2 Deception and Decision-Making: Non-verbal cues to deception and their relationship to terrorism, Dawn L. Eubanks, Ke Zhang and Lara Frumkin; Deception detection in counter-terrorism, Aldert Vrij, Sharon Leal and Samantha Mann; A field trial to investigate human pheromones associated with hostile intent, Peter Eachus, Alex Stedmon and Les Baillie; On the trail of the terrorist: a research environment to simulate criminal investigations, Alexandra L. Sandham, Thomas C. Ormerod, Coral J. Dando and Tarek Menacere. Part 3 Modelling Hostile Intent: Safety and security in rail systems: drawing from the prevention of railway suicide and trespass to inform security interventions, Brendan Ryan; Tackling financial and economic crime through strategic intelligence management, Simon Andrews, Simon Polovina, Babak Akhgar, Andrew Staniforth, Dave Fortune and Alex Stedmon; Competitive adaptation in militant networks: preliminary findings from an Islamist case study, Michael Kenney, John Horgan, Cale Horne, Peter Vining, Kathleen M. Carley, Mia Bloom and Kurt Braddock; Evaluating emergency preparedness: using responsibility models to identify vulnerabilities, Gordon Baxter and Ian Sommerville. Part 4 Sociocultural Factors: Unintended consequences of the ‘War on Terror’: home-grown terrorism and conflict-engaged citizens returning to civil society, John Parkinson and Andrew Staniforth; Parasites, energy and complex systems: generating novel intervention options to counter recruitment to suicide terrorism, Mils Hills and Ashwin Mehta; Terrorist targeting of schools and educational establishments, Emma Bradford and Margaret A. Wilson; Female suicide terrorism as a function of patriarchal societies, Tanya Dronzina. Part 5 Strategies and Approaches for Counter-Terrorism: Designing visible counter-terrorism interventions in public spaces, Ben Dalton, Karen Martin, Claire McAndrew, Marialena Nikolopoulou and Teal Triggs; A macro-ergonomics perspective on security: a rail case study, Rose Saikayasit, Alex Stedmon and Glyn Lawson; Deception and speech: a theoretical overview to inform future research, Christin Kirchhübel, David M. Howard and Alex Stedmon; Evaluating counter-terrorism training using behavioural measures theory, Joan H. Johnston and V. Alan Spiker. Part 6 Future Directions: Hostile intent and counter-terrorism: future research themes and questions, Alex Stedmon and Glyn Lawson. Index.

Border Walls 25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Posted by Katy Crossan, Commissioning Editor

The fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago this month raised hopes of a new borderless era however in recent years the border wall has been given renewed vigour, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Israel-Palestine. The success of these new walls in the development of friendly and orderly relations between nations (or indeed, within nations) remains unclear. What role does the wall play in the development of security and insecurity? Do walls contribute to a sense of insecurity as much as they assuage fears and create a sense of security for those ‘behind the line’? Exactly what kind of security is associated with border walls?

Borders fences and wallsTackling these questions, Borders, Fences and Walls edited by Élisabeth Vallet, explores the issue of how the return of border fences and walls as a political tool may be symptomatic of a new era in border studies and international relations. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, it examines problems that include security issues ; the recurrence and/or decline of the wall; wall discourses ; legal approaches to the wall; the ‘wall industry’ and border technology as well as their symbolism, role, objectives and efficiency.

Élisabeth Vallet has recently been interviewed by the Courrier International and her research has informed an article in the Washington Post.

Élisabeth Vallet is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geography and scientific director of Geopolitics at the Raoul Dandurand Chair at the University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada.

Gandhi in Political Theory: Truth, Law and Experiment – a guest post from Anuradha Veeravalli

This is a guest post from Anuradha Veeravalli, author of Gandhi in Political Theory.

Gandhi as the ‘Mahatma’ (great soul) or Gandhi as the shrewd politician — opinions have swayed vastly on the role Gandhi played in the Indian freedom movement and the question of whether and what lessons the modern world can learn from his life. It is thus befitting that on the 145th anniversary of his birth, falling on October 2nd, the debate be given a fresh break, pushing beyond these dualities to a discussion of his presuppositions, theory and method.

Gandhi in Political TheoryGandhi in Political Theory argues that the clincher is in Gandhi’s engagement with experiment as an epistemological category and methodological tool. This allows the coming together of theory and practice, and the normative and the descriptive, besides establishing a principle of motion in the context of history, a lacuna which the social sciences have been unable to fill.

Gandhi’s approach then is not merely a moral or spiritual one but a matter of theory and method. It is not an anti-colonial stance as much as it is a considered and systematic response to the presuppositions of modernity and post-Enlightenment thought. The focus of the book then is not on explaining Gandhi’s influences and actions but on locating the principles of his political thought within a philosophical trajectory that systematically challenges the presuppositions of the dominant mode of post-Enlightenment thought.

Thus, on each significant head of political theory – sovereignty, territory, political economy, the relation between individual, civil society and state, equality and difference – we argue that there is not only a response to the immediate issue by Gandhi but a significant and sustained reformulation of the fundamental and perennial problems that inform political theory. The reformulation of these issues pit Gandhi’s thought against mainstream political theory and the result is a thought provoking discussion that bears not only on the foundations of modern political theory but also on modern western philosophy. The book spans across Gandhi’s experiments in civil disobedience, political economy and the controversial brahmacharya (or “celibate sexuality” as it has been aptly called by Vinay Lal) experiments taken up during the partition riots before his assassination soon after India’s Independence putting it in the context of specific issues raised by modern political theory and its implications for the modern nation state.

‘Anuradha Veeravalli provides us with a provocative study of Gandhi’s political theory. Gandhi is seen as a systematic thinker who rejects the many dualisms that dominate much modern political thought. The author not only knows her Gandhi very well but also demonstrates a keen command of Western political thinkers. In this book, Gandhi takes on not only British colonialism but also the Enlightenment and the modern nation state.’    Ronald Terchek, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, USA

About the author: Anuradha Veeravalli is an Assistant Professor at the University of Delhi. Her teaching and research focus on issues regarding science, religion and politics and the relation between them through a consideration of their epistemological presuppositions in a comparative perspective.

The United Nations, Peacekeeping and Global Governance – Kate Seaman’s book is a YBP core title for 2014

Untied nationsKate Seaman’s book Un-tied Nations: The United Nations, Peacekeeping and Global Governance has been selected by Yankee Book Pedlar as a UK core title. This is a special commendation, as only 300 books a year receive this designation.

UN-Tied Nations provides a concise and analytical introduction to the ongoing debates around the development of global governance, global security governance, and the continuous impact these are having on the ability of the United Nations to act as an international peacekeeper.

With the recent developments in the Middle East the United Nations is once again making headlines. The failure to reach agreement on Security Council resolutions demonstrates the continued problems in forging a coherent international response to crisis situations. This lack of coherence continues despite recognition of the need for more cooperation to solve the growing list of global problems. With the relative success of global governance initiatives in relation to the environment, health issues, and economic problems, the focus has increasingly shifted to the problems of international security. This timely and important book represents a response to that shift and the implications this has for the wider international system.

Using a number of relevant case studies (including the UN interventions in Bosnia, Somalia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and East Timor) Kate Seaman examines the securitisation of global governance through the prism of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and demonstrates that the development of both global governance and global security governance have transformed the environment in which international organisations, such as the United Nations, are operating. The author also brings together a number of the key academic debates surrounding both global security governance and peacekeeping, and combines an examination of the power relations of global security governance with the changing nature of peacekeeping operations. By bringing the two areas together the book for the first time bridges existing literatures and debates, from theoretical discussions of global governance, to practical examinations of peacekeeping operations.

‘As peacekeepers engage with peace-building in intensely divided post-conflict environments, they find themselves labouring in the engine room of other societies’ political systems. Should peacekeeping become a form of governance, and if it does, what becomes of the original enterprise of peacekeeping? Kate Seaman’s book argues that peacekeeping has been degraded and delegitimised by its encounter with global governance. She supports this argument with interviews with prominent policy-makers, a wide ranging review of the literature on peacekeeping and global governance, and case studies. This book makes a critical contribution to the debate about how peacekeeping and global governance should evolve.’   Hugh Miall, University of Kent, UK

‘Conceptually informed and empirically rich, Seaman skilfully unpacks recent developments in UN peace-keeping through the lens of global governance theory. This incisive work brings together and synthesises the -at times – confounding array of voices surrounding the utility of UN peace-keeping operations and brings an impressive degree of clarity to a frequently opaque discussion. The analysis presented is compelling, at times provocative and always illuminating.’   Feargal Cochrane, Conflict Analysis Research Centre, University of Kent, UK

Kate Seaman is a teaching fellow at the University of Bath.