Political Science Bookshelf
Below is a list of some of the important books that the Political Science faculty have published recently.
- Spencer Piston (Assistant Professor of Political Science). 2018. Class Attitudes in America: Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and Political Implications. Cambridge University Press. This book explains a long-standing puzzle in American politics: why so many Americans support downwardly redistributive social welfare programs, when such support seems to fly in the face of standard conceptions of the American public as anti-government, individualistic, and racially prejudiced. Bringing class attitudes into the analysis, Spencer Piston demonstrates through rigorous empirical analysis that sympathy for the poor and resentment of the rich explain American support for downwardly redistributive programs – not only those that benefit the middle class, but also those that explicitly target the poor. The book captures an important and neglected component of citizen attitudes toward a host of major public policies and candidate evaluations. It also explains why government does so little to combat economic inequality; in key instances, political elites downplay class considerations, deactivating sympathy for the poor and resentment of the rich.
- David Mayers (Professor of Political Science & History). 2018. America and the Postwar World: Remaking International Society, 1945-1956. Routledge Press. The main tide of international relations scholarship on the first years after World War II sweeps toward Cold War accounts. These have emphasized the United States and USSR in a context of geopolitical rivalry, with concomitant attention upon the bristling security state. Historians have also extensively analyzed the creation of an economic order (Bretton Woods), mainly designed by Americans and tailored to their interests, but resisted by peoples residing outside of North America, Western Europe, and Japan. This scholarship, centered on the Cold War as vortex and a reconfigured world economy, is rife with contending schools of interpretation and, bolstered by troves of declassified archival documents, will support investigations and writing into the future. By contrast, this book examines a past that ran concurrent with the Cold War and interacted with it, but which usefully can also be read as separable: Washington in the first years after World War II, and in response to that conflagration, sought to redesign international society. That society was then, and remains, an admittedly amorphous thing. Yet it has always had a tangible aspect, drawing self-regarding states into occasional cooperation, mediated by treaties, laws, norms, diplomatic customs, and transnational institutions. The U.S.-led attempt during the first postwar years to salvage international society focused on the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, the Acheson–Lilienthal plan to contain the atomic arms race, the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals to force Axis leaders to account, the 1948 Genocide Convention, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the founding of the United Nations. None of these initiatives was transformative, not individually or collectively. Yet they had an ameliorative effect, traces of which have touched the twenty-first century—in struggles to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, bring war criminals to justice, create laws supportive of human rights, and maintain an aspirational United Nations, still striving to retain meaningfulness amid world hazards. Together these partially realized innovations and frameworks constitute, if nothing else, a point of moral reference, much needed as the border between war and peace has become blurred and the consequences of a return to unrestraint must be harrowing.
- Dino Christenson (Associate Professor of Political Science) and John Gerring. 2017. Applied Social Science Methodology: An Introductory Guide. Cambridge University Press. This textbook provides a clear, concise, and comprehensive introduction to methodological issues encountered by the various social science disciplines. It emphasizes applications, with detailed examples, so that readers can put these methods to work in their research. Within a unified framework, Gerring and Christenson integrate a variety of methods – descriptive and causal, observational and experimental, qualitative and quantitative. The text covers a wide range of topics including research design, data-gathering techniques, statistics, theoretical frameworks, and social science writing. It is designed both for those attempting to make sense of social science, as well as those aiming to conduct original research. The text is accompanied by online practice questions, exercises, examples, and additional resources, including related readings and websites. An essential resource for undergraduate and postgraduate programs in communications, criminal justice, economics, business, finance, management, education, environmental policy, international development, law, political science, public health, public policy, social work, sociology, and urban planning.
- Douglas L. Kriner (Associate Professor of Political Science) and Eric Schickler, Investigating the President: Congressional Checks on Presidential Power. Princeton University Press, 2016. Although congressional investigations have provided some of the most dramatic moments in American political history, they have often been dismissed as mere political theater. But these investigations are far more than grandstanding. Investigating the President shows that congressional investigations are a powerful tool for members of Congress to counter presidential aggrandizement. By shining a light on alleged executive wrongdoing, investigations can exert significant pressure on the president and materially affect policy outcomes. Kriner and Schickler construct the most comprehensive overview of congressional investigative oversight to date, analyzing nearly thirteen thousand days of hearings, spanning more than a century, from 1898 through 2014. They examine the forces driving investigative power over time and across chambers, identify how hearings might influence the president’s strategic calculations through the erosion of the president’s public approval rating, and uncover the pathways through which investigations have shaped public policy. By bringing significant political pressure to bear on the president, investigations often afford Congress a blunt, but effective check on presidential power—without the need to worry about veto threats or other hurdles such as Senate filibusters. To learn more: See further discussion of this book in a blog published by the London School of Economics US Centre at http://bit.ly/2gauDme.
- Taylor Boas (Assistant Professor). 2016. Presidential Campaigns in Latin America: Electoral Strategies and Success Contagion. Cambridge University Press. How do presidential candidates in new democracies choose their campaign strategies, and what strategies do they adopt? In contrast to the claim that campaigns around the world are becoming more similar to one another, Taylor Boas argues that new democracies are likely to develop nationally specific approaches to electioneering through a process called success contagion. The theory of success contagion holds that the first elected president to complete a successful term in office establishes a national model of campaign strategy that other candidates will adopt in the future. He develops this argument for the cases of Chile, Brazil, and Peru, drawing on interviews with campaign strategists and content analysis of candidates’ television advertising from the 1980s through 2011. The author concludes by testing the argument in ten other new democracies around the world, demonstrating substantial support for the theory.
- Liah Greenfeld (Professor of Political Science), Pensar con libertad. Arpa Editores, 2016. Pensar con libertad (Think Freely) is a reflection on the modern world, the nation, and the nature of the human sciences. Greenfeld, who has spent much of her career exploring nationalism, engages in critical dialogues with some great thinkers about their “intellectual families:” Karl Marx, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Joseph Ben-David, Edward Shils, Raymond Aron, Daniel Bell, Ernest Gellner, and Benedict Anderson. The book is organized as a set of trials that serve as an invitation to think freely and engage in intellectual criticism.
- Rosella Cappella Zielinski (Assistant Professor of Political Science), How States Pay for Wars. Cornell University Press, 2016. Armies fight battles, states fight wars. To focus solely on armies is to neglect the broader story of victory and defeat. Military power stems from an economic base, and without wealth, soldiers cannot be paid, weapons cannot be procured, and food cannot be bought. War finance is among the most consequential decisions any state makes: how a state finances a war affects not only its success on the battlefield but also its economic stability and its leadership tenure. In How States Pay for Wars, Rosella Cappella Zielinski clarifies several critical dynamics lying at the nexus of financial and military policy. Cappella Zielinski has built a custom database on war funding over the past two centuries, and she combines those data with qualitative analyses of Truman’s financing of the Korean War, Johnson’s financing of the Vietnam War, British financing of World War II and the Crimean War, and Russian and Japanese financing of the Russo-Japanese War. She argues that leaders who attempt to maximize their power at home, and state power abroad, are in a constant balancing act as they try to win wars while remaining in office. As a result of political risks, they prefer war finance policies that meet the needs of the war effort within the constraints of the capacity of the state.
- Katherine Levine Einstein (Assistant Professor) and Jennifer Hochschild. 2015. Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics. Oxford University Press. A democracy falters when most of its citizens are uninformed or misinformed, when misinformation affects political decisions and actions, or when political actors foment misinformation—the state of affairs the United States faces today, as this timely book makes painfully clear. In Do Facts Matter? Jennifer L. Hochschild and Katherine Levine Einstein start with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal citizen, who knows and uses correct information to make policy or political choices. What, then, the authors ask, are the consequences if citizens are informed but do not act on their knowledge? More serious, what if they do act, but on incorrect information? Analyzing the use, nonuse, and misuse of facts in various cases—such as the call to impeach Bill Clinton, the response to global warming, Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the case for invading Iraq, beliefs about Barack Obama’s birthplace and religion, and the Affordable Care Act—Hochschild and Einstein argue persuasively that errors of commission (that is, acting on falsehoods) are even more troublesome than errors of omission. While citizens’ inability or unwillingness to use the facts they know in their political decision making may be frustrating, their acquisition and use of incorrect “knowledge” pose a far greater threat to a democratic political system. Do Facts Matter? looks beyond individual citizens to the role that political elites play in informing, misinforming, and encouraging or discouraging the use of accurate or mistaken information or beliefs. Hochschild and Einstein show that if a well-informed electorate remains a crucial component of a successful democracy, the deliberate concealment of political facts poses its greatest threat.
- Douglas Kriner (Associate Professor of Political Science) and Andrew Reeves. 2015. The Particularistic PresidentL Executive Branch Politics and Political Inequality. Cambridge University Press. As the holders of the only office elected by the entire nation, presidents have long claimed to be sole stewards of the interests of all Americans. Scholars have largely agreed, positing the president as an important counterbalance to the parochial impulses of members of Congress. This supposed fact is often invoked in arguments for concentrating greater power in the executive branch. Kriner and Reeves challenge this notion and, through an examination of a diverse range of policies from disaster declarations, to base closings, to the allocation of federal spending, show that presidents, like members of Congress, are particularistic. Presidents routinely pursue policies that allocate federal resources in a way that disproportionately benefits their more narrow partisan and electoral constituencies. Though presidents publicly don the mantle of a national representative, in reality they are particularistic politicians who prioritize the needs of certain constituents over others.
- David Mayers (Professor of Political Science and History). 2013. FDR’s Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis: From the Rise of Hitler to the End of World War II Cambridge University Press. What effect did personality and circumstance have on US foreign policy during World War II? This incisive account of US envoys residing in the major belligerent countries – Japan, Germany, Italy, China, France, Great Britain, USSR – highlights the fascinating role played by such diplomats as Joseph Grew, William Dodd, William Bullitt, Joseph Kennedy and W. Averell Harriman. Between Hitler’s 1933 ascent to power and the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, US ambassadors sculpted formal policy – occasionally deliberately, other times inadvertently – giving shape and meaning not always intended by Franklin D. Roosevelt or predicted by his principal advisors. From appeasement to the Holocaust and the onset of the Cold War, David Mayers examines the complicated interaction between policy, as conceived in Washington, and implementation on the ground in Europe and Asia. By so doing, he also sheds needed light on the fragility, ambiguities and enduring urgency of diplomacy and its crucial function in international politics.
- Neta Crawford (Professor of Political Science). 2013. Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America’s Post-9/11 Wars Oxford University Press. United States officials argued during America’s post-9-/11 wars that the US took every precaution to prevent unintended civilian death and injury — known as collateral damage — due to US military operations. Yet, during the first years of the wars, officials accepted the inevitability of the harm, and tens of thousands of civilians were killed and injured by the US and its allies. The book explores moral responsibility for three kinds of collateral damage incidents. Accidents were unforeseen and sometimes unforeseeable, and arguably they were comparatively rare. More numerous were systemic collateral damage deaths, the foreseeable consequence of rules of engagement, weapons choices, standard operating procedures and military doctrine. Proportionality/double effect collateral damage is foreseeable, and foreseen, yet anticipated military advantages are said to excuse this unintentional killing. Both systemic collateral damage, and proportionality/double effect collateral damage are produced in part by expansive and permissive conceptions of military necessity. The other causes of systemic collateral damage are found in the organization of warmaking — the institutionalized rules, procedures, training, and stresses of war. Depending on choices that are made at the organizational and command level, the likelihood of causing civilian casualties may rise or fall. When those factors, including beliefs about military necessity, change the incidence of collateral damage also changes. This book offers a new way to think about moral agency and accountability. The dominant paradigm of legal and moral responsibility in war stresses both intention and individual accountability. Yet that framework is inadequate for cases of systemic and proportionality/double effect collateral damage because the causes of those deaths and injuries lie at the organizational level — where doctrine, tactics, and weapons are decided. The author supplements theories of individual agency and accountability with a theory of collective moral responsibility, treating organizations as imperfect moral agents. The US military exercised moral agency when it began, mid-way through the Post-9/11 wars, to change its organizational procedures in order reduce collateral damage deaths. The book offers ways to increase political and public moral responsibility for conduct in war.
- Cathie Jo Martin (Professor of Political Science) and Duane Swank. 2012. The Political Construction of Business Interests: Coordination, Growth, and Equality. Cambridge University Press. Many societies use labor market coordination to maximize economic growth and equality, yet employers’ willing cooperation with government and labor is something of a mystery. The Political Construction of Business Interests recounts employers’ struggles to define their collective social identities at turning points in capitalist development. Employers are most likely to support social investments in countries with strong peak business associations, that help members form collective preferences and realize policy goals in labor market negotiations. Politicians, with incentives shaped by governmental structures, took the initiative in association-building and those that created the strongest associations were motivated to evade labor radicalism and to preempt parliamentary democratization. Sweeping in its historical and cross-national reach, the book builds on original archival data, interviews and cross-national quantitative analyses. The research has important implications for the construction of business as a social class and powerful ramifications for equality, welfare state restructuring and social solidarity.