Featured New Books

August 2018

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Dignity in the Legal and Political Philosophy of Ronald Dworkin

Contains chapter “Dworkin’s Perfectionism”  by James Fleming and Linda McClain

Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013), an American legal philosopher, jurist, and scholar, was a stalwart advocate of human rights and dignity who developed a formidable scholarly combination of law and moral integrity. He propounded some of the most influential theories of law and morality in modern jurisprudence. 

This volume explores his thoughts on dignity where self-respect and authenticity play a key role. It also sheds light on contemporary judicial and moral conundrums, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the complex relationship between dignity, human will, and responsibility. The book, with contributions from eminent philosophers and thinkers from across the world, provides a detailed analysis of Dworkin’s work on dignity. Each essay in the volume interprets his rich jurisprudential work, and motivates legal philosophers, practitioners, and judges to understand, practise, and disseminate Dworkin’s jurisprudential thoughts.

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How Democracy Ends

How will democracy end? And what will replace it? A preeminent political scientist examines the past, present, and future of an endangered political philosophy.
Since the end of World War II, democracy’s sweep across the globe seemed inexorable. Yet today, it seems radically imperiled, even in some of the world’s most stable democracies. How bad could things get?
In How Democracy Ends, David Runciman argues that we are trapped in outdated twentieth-century ideas of democratic failure. By fixating on coups and violence, we are focusing on the wrong threats. Our societies are too affluent, too elderly, and too networked to fall apart as they did in the past. We need new ways of thinking the unthinkable–a twenty-first-century vision of the end of democracy, and whether its collapse might allow us to move forward to something better.
A provocative book by a major political philosopher, How Democracy Ends asks the most trenchant questions that underlie the disturbing patterns of our contemporary political life.
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God and the IRS: Accommodating Religious Practice in United States Tax Law

Seventy-five percent of Americans claim religious affiliation, which can impact their taxpaying responsibilities. In this illuminating book, Samuel D. Brunson describes the many problems and breakdowns that can occur when tax meets religion in the United States, and shows how the US government has too often responded to these issues in an unprincipled, ad hoc manner. God and the IRS offers a better framework to understand tax and religion. It should be read by scholars of religion and the law, policymakers, and individuals interested in understanding the implications of taxation on their religious practices.

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Habeas Data: Privacy vs. the Rise of Surveillance Tech

A book about what the Cambridge Analytica scandal shows: That surveillance and data privacy is every citizens’ concern.

An important look at how 50 years of American privacy law is inadequate for the today’s surveillance technology, from acclaimed Ars Technica senior business editor Cyrus Farivar.

Until the 21st century, most of our activities were private by default, public only through effort; today anything that touches digital space has the potential (and likelihood) to remain somewhere online forever. That means all of the technologies that have made our lives easier, faster, better, and/or more efficient have also simultaneously made it easier to keep an eye on our activities. Or, as we recently learned from reports about Cambridge Analytica, our data might be turned into a propaganda machine against us.  

In 10 crucial legal cases, Habeas Data explores the tools of surveillance that exist today, how they work, and what the implications are for the future of privacy.

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Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl

Human rights are axiomatic with liberal freedom. This book builds on the critique of this mainstream and official position on human rights, drawing attention to how human rights have been deployed to advance political and cultural intents rather than bring about freedom for disenfranchised groups. Its approach is unique insofar as it focuses on queer, feminist and postcolonial human rights advocacy, exposing how such interventions have at times advanced neo-liberal agendas and new forms of imperialism, and enabled a carceral politics rather than producing freedom for their constituencies.

Through a focus on campaigns for same-sex marriage, ending violence against women, and the Islamic veil bans in liberal democracies, human rights emerge as forms of governance that operate through normative prescriptions, which bind even as they purport to free, and establish a hierarchy of the human subject: who is human and who is not; who qualifies for rights and who does not. This book argues that the futurity of human rights rests in a transformative engagement with non-liberal registers of freedom beyond the narrow confines of the liberal fishbowl.

This book will have a global appeal for students and academics concerned with international and human rights law, jurisprudence, critical legal theory, gender studies, postcolonial studies, feminist legal theory, queer theory, religious studies, and philosophy. It will appeal to political activists and policymakers in the global justice arena concerned with the freedom of disenfranchised groups, human rights, gender justice, and the rights sexual and religious minorities.

 

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Arendt, Agamben and the Issue of Hyper-Legality: In Between the Prisoner-Stateless Nexus

In the Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt famously argued that the stateless were so rightless, that it was better to be a criminal who at least had some rights and protections.

In this book, Kathleen R. Arnold examines Arendt’s comparison in the context of post-1996 U.S. criminal and immigration policies, arguing that the criminal-stateless binary is significant to contemporary politics and yet flawed. A key distinction made today is that immigrant detention is not imprisonment because it is a civil system. In turn, prisoners are still citizens in some respects but have relatively few rights since the legal underpinnings of “cruel and unusual” have shifted in recent times. The two systems – immigrant detention and the prison system – are also concretely related as they often house both populations and utilize the same techniques (such as administrative segregation). Arnold compellingly argues that prisoners are essentially made into foreigners in these spaces, while immigrants in detention are cast as outlaws.

Examining legal theory, political theory and discussing specific cases to illustrate her claims, Arendt, Agamben and the Issue of Hyper-Legality operates on three levels to expose the degree to which prisoners’ rights have been suspended and how immigrant policy and detention cast foreigners as inherently criminal. Less talked about, the government in turn expands sovereign, discretionary power and secrecy at the expense of openness, transparency and democratic community. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary political theory, philosophy and law, immigration, and incarceration.

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Human Rights in China: A Social Practice in the Shadows of Authoritarianism

How can we make sense of human rights in China’s authoritarian Party-State system? Eva Pils offers a nuanced account of this contentious area, examining human rights as a set of social practices. Drawing on a wide range of resources including years of interaction with Chinese human rights defenders, Pils discusses what gives rise to systematic human rights violations, what institutional avenues of protection are available, and how social practices of human rights defence have evolved. 

Three central areas are addressed: liberty and integrity of the person; freedom of thought and expression; and inequality and socio-economic rights. Pils argues that the Party-State system is inherently opposed to human rights principles in all these areas, and that – contributing to a global trend – it is becoming more repressive. Yet, despite authoritarianism’s lengthening shadows, China’s human rights movement has so far proved resourceful and resilient. The trajectories discussed here will continue to shape the struggle for human rights in China and beyond its borders.

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Background to the crisis in Syria and perspectives on human rights & humanitarian law violations

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, in mid-March 2011, the context in which it is regarded has been constantly changing. Four years later, the escalating violent armed conflict, fired from the “Arab Spring” movement has led to the rise of terrorist groups and a huge wave of refugees fleeing from the country. The present publication addresses the developments before 2011, as well as between mid-March 2011 and July 2015. It provides the factual background to the crisis and its analysis within the scope of humanitarian and human rights law. This volume is useful for understanding the roots of the crisis and its circumstances before summer 2015. A detailed research on what has happened and is happening in Syria brings up numerous unsolved issues within the international community. International law provides several possibilities for conflict resolution and stabilising crises: timely and effective response of international community represented by United Nations and its agencies, in particular United Nations Security Council; enforcement of the responsibility to protect; imposing sanctions; bringing to international justice and internationally addressing elements of the crisis, e. g. terrorism. However, with the involvement of different international actors, the implementation of international law depends on the particular behaviour of each of them. This way even erga omnes norms become voluntary. In the case of Syria, the application of international law instruments has been accompanied by hesitation. Cross-regional, regional and internal tensions prevented international community from shaping a coherent and decisive response to mass atrocities taking place in Syria. Thus, this research questions the existing system of leverages and sets an ambitious goal of finding out how to change it.

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Earl Warren, Ernesto Miranda and Terrorism

Would Chief Justice Earl Warren apply Miranda v Arizona to terrorists today? This is not a biography of Warren; that task has been admirably accomplished by others. In inquiring whether Warren would apply Miranda to terrorism requires that we travel back in time to answer the question posed. The fact that President Obama and Attorney General Holder could not agree highlights the complexity and controversy of the issue. The question is brought to the fore after every act of terrorism committed by an American on U.S. soil.

 

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Hate, Politics, Law: Critical Perspectives on Combating Hate

References to hate have become ubiquitous in the modern response to group defamation and violence in liberal democracies. Whether expressed in speech, acted out in criminal conduct, or seen as the fuel of terror and extremism, hate is persistently considered a vice, an evil, and a threat to the modern liberal democracy. But what exactly is at stake when societies oppose hate?

In Hate, Politics, Law: Critical Perspectives on Combating Hate, Thomas Brudholm and Birgitte Schepelern Johansen have gathered a group of distinguished scholars who offer a critical exploration and assessment of the basic assumptions, ideals, and agendas behind the modern fight against hate. They explore these issues and provide a range of explanatory and normative perspectives on the awkward relationship between hate and liberal democracy, as expressed, for example, through anti-hate speech and anti-hate crime initiatives. The volume further examines the presuppositions and ideological roots of fighting hate, as well as its blind spots and limits. It also includes discussions on the definition and meaning of hate, the longer and broader history of the concept of hate, and when and why fighting hatred became politically salient. While most research on hate crime is written and published in order to prevent and combat hate, Hate, Politics, Law takes a much-needed theoretical, historical, and exploratory approach to hatred.

Texts from book descriptions. Copyright reserved by publishers.