Category Archives: Politics and International Relations

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.

Understanding the Tea Party Movement

Understanding the Tea Party MovementUnderstanding the Tea Party Movement is edited by Nella Van Dyke, University of California, Merced, USA, and David S. Meyer, University of California, Irvine, USA

‘With the rise and now potential decline of the Tea Party movement, we have been sorely in need of a volume explaining this pivotal early 21st century conservative mobilization. With Van Dyke and Meyer’s edited volume, containing chapters written by scholars foremost in their field, we now have the definitive source on this fascinating and important social movement.’   Holly McCammon, Vanderbilt University, USA

‘When the Tea Party movement erupted, it challenged mainstream politics and scholars: where did the Tea Party’s resources come from? Who were its supporters? What defined their goals and identities? In this volume, some of the most insightful scholars of social movements today provide convincing answers to these questions. Better than any other, this volume shows why the Tea Party emerged and how it has reshaped the political landscape.’   Jack A. Goldstone, George Mason University, USA

Hailing themselves as heirs to the American Revolution, the Tea Party movement staged tax day protests in over 750 US cities in April 2009, quickly establishing a large and volatile social movement. Tea Partiers protested at town hall meetings about health care across the country in August, leading to a large national demonstration in Washington on September 12, 2009.

The movement spurred the formation (or redefinition) of several national organizations and many more local groups, and emerged as a strong force within the Republican Party. Self-described Tea Party candidates won victories in the November 2010 elections.

Even as activists demonstrated their strength and entered government, the future of the movement’s influence, and even its ultimate goals, are very much in doubt. In 2012, Barack Obama, the movement’s prime target, decisively won re-election, Congressional Republicans were unable to govern, and the Republican Party publicly wrestled with how to manage the insurgency within.

Although there is a long history of conservative movements in America, the library of social movement studies leans heavily to the left. The Tea Party movement, its sudden emergence and its uncertain fate, provides a challenge to mainstream American politics. It also challenges scholars of social movements to reconcile this new movement with existing knowledge about social movements in America.

Understanding the Tea Party Movement addresses these challenges by explaining why and how the movement emerged when it did, how it relates to earlier eruptions of conservative populism, and by raising critical questions about the movement’s ultimate fate.

About the Editors:

Nella Van Dyke is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced, USA. She is the editor of Strategic Alliances: Coalition Building and Social Movements.

David S. Meyer is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine, USA. He is the author of The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America and editor of Routing the Opposition: Social Movements, Public Policy, and Democracy in America and Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State.

Contributors: Rory McVeigh; Tina Fetner; Brayden G. King; Paul Almeida, Nella Van Dyke; David S. Meyer, Amanda Pullum, Abby Scher, Chip Berlet; Deana A. Rohlinger, Jesse Klein; Ruth Braunstein.

Recent reviews by the LSE Review of Books

The LSE Review of Books regularly features Ashgate titles. It’s a fantastic site for book reviews in general, and covers a wide range of social science topics, including sociology, politics and IR, architecture, planning, gender studies, to name just a few.

Recent reviews of Ashgate books include:

Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Oriented Perspective on Radicalisation and the Escalation of Political Conflict, edited by Lorenzo Bosi, Chares Demetriou and Stefan Malthaner

Unconventional Warfare in South Asia: Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency by Scott Gates and Kaushik Roy

The Greening of Architecture: A Critical History and Survey of Contemporary Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design, by Phillip James Tabb and A. Senem Deviren

Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection: Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture by Deborah Harris-Moore

The Impact of Racism on African American Families: Literature as Social Science by Paul C. Rosenblatt

The Greening of ArchitectureUnconventional warfare in south asiaThe impact of racism on african american familiesDynamics of political violence

For more reviews visit the LSE Review of Books

When Soldiers Say No: Selective Conscientious Objection in the Modern Military

“adds considerably to the literature by bringing together a range of perspectives on the merits of selective conscientious objection, as well as consideration of its application (or lack thereof) in a number of states. Its interdisciplinary nature is particularly attractive.”

Gary Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool John Moores University, has reviewed When Soldiers Say No for the LSE Review of Books. You can read his full review here.

Shannon E. French, Case Western Reserve University:

‘We expect members of the military to accept civilian authority and not determine foreign policy. But what if a nation commits its troops to an unjust war? Are they then morally obligated to refuse to fight? This is a question with potentially devastating real-world consequences that should concern every citizen. Whetham, Robinson, and Ellner have produced a brilliant, provocative volume that examines the issue of selective conscientious objection from many perspectives and across several cultures to provide a balanced array of arguments from which readers can derive their own conclusions.’

David Rodin, University of Oxford:

‘The issue of selective conscientious objection is where the rubber really hits the road for recent debates about the moral status of soldiers. The real achievement of this fine volume is to connect the theoretical debate with the concrete policy challenges faced by military and government – and to substantially advance both. Essential reading for anyone working on the ethics of war.’

When soldiers say noTraditionally few people challenged the distinction between absolute and selective conscientious objection by those being asked to carry out military duties. The former is an objection to fighting all wars – a position generally respected and accommodated by democratic states, while the latter is an objection to a specific war or conflict – theoretically and practically a much harder idea to accept and embrace for military institutions.

However, a decade of conflict not clearly aligned to vital national interests combined with recent acts of selective conscientious objection by members of the military have led some to reappraise the situation and argue that selective conscientious objection ought to be legally recognised and permitted. Political, social and philosophical factors lie behind this new interest, which together mean that the time is ripe for a fresh and thorough evaluation of the topic.

This book brings together arguments for and against selective conscientious objection, as well as case studies examining how different countries deal with those who claim the status of selective conscientious objectors. As such, it sheds new light on a topic of increasing importance to those concerned with military ethics and public policy, within military institutions, government, and academia.

When Soldiers Say No is edited by Andrea Ellner, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, Paul Robinson, professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the University of Ottawa, and David Whetham, Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies, King’s College London, based at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the UK Defence Academy.

Contents:

Foreword, Jeff McMahan

Introduction, Andrea Ellner, Paul Robinson and David Whetham

Part I Arguments For and Against Accepting Selective Conscientious Objection:

The duty of diligence: knowledge, responsibility, and selective conscientious objection, Brian Imiola

There is no real moral obligation to obey orders: escaping from ‘low cost deontology’, Emmanuel R. Goffi

Selective conscientious objection: a violation of the social contract, Melissa Bergeron

Who guards the guards? The importance of civilian control of the military, David Fisher

An empirical defense of combat moral equality, Michael Skerker

Selective conscientious objection and the just society, Dan Zupan

Part II Case Studies in Selective Conscientious Objection:

Selective conscientious objection in Australia, Stephen Coleman and Nikki Coleman (with Richard Adams)

Conscientious objection to military service in Britain, Stephen Deakin

Selective conscientious objection: philosophical and conceptual doubts in light of Israeli case law, Yossi Nehushtan

Claims for refugee protection in Canada by selective objectors: an evolving jurisprudence, Yves Le Bouthillier

Conscience in lieu of obedience: cases of selective conscientious objection in the German Bundeswehr, Jürgen Rose

Part III Conclusions:

Selective conscientious objection: some guidelines for implementation, J. Carl Ficarrotta

War resisters in the US and Britain – supporting the case for a right to selective conscientious objection?, Andrea Ellner

The practice and philosophy of selective conscientious objection, Andrea Ellner, Paul Robinson and David Whetham