Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War

In this intriguing account of Soviet mass-culture after WWII, Kristin Roth-Ey delineates how it grew explosively in an attempt to make good socialism’s promise of “high-quality cultural experience on an everyday basis,” delivering more and more individualized Soviet forms of mass media uncorrupted by the degraded “masscult” of the West. Moscow Prime Time analyses the growth and maturity of this important cultural initiative - especially in film and television - that was intimately bound to the Soviet experiment, and ultimately unable to save it.

Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War
Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan A. Way. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract

Based on a detailed study of 35 cases in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and post-communist Eurasia, this book explores the fate of competitive authoritarian regimes between 1990 and 2008. It finds that where social, economic, and technocratic ties to the West were extensive, as in Eastern Europe and the Americas, the external cost of abuse led incumbents to cede power rather than crack down, which led to democratization. Where ties to the West were limited, external democratizing pressure was weaker and countries rarely democratized. In these cases, regime outcomes hinged on the character of state and ruling party organizations. Where incumbents possessed developed and cohesive coercive party structures, they could thwart opposition challenges, and competitive authoritarian regimes survived; where incumbents lacked such organizational tools, regimes were unstable but rarely democratized.

Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt
Blaydes, Lisa. 2010. Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
Despite its authoritarian political structure, Egypt's government has held competitive, multi-party parliamentary elections for more than 30 years. This book argues that, rather than undermining the durability of the Mubarak regime, competitive parliamentary elections ease important forms of distributional conflict, particularly conflict over access to spoils. In a comprehensive examination of the distributive consequences of authoritarian elections in Egypt, Lisa Blaydes examines the triadic relationship between Egypt's ruling regime, the rent-seeking elite that supports the regime, and the ordinary citizens who participate in these elections. She describes why parliamentary candidates finance campaigns to win seats in a legislature that lacks policymaking power, as well as why citizens engage in the costly act of voting in such a context.
Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe
Nalepa, Monika. 2010. Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract

After communist regimes in Eastern Europe fell after 1989, the pattern of “lustration,” of shedding light on the Communist past, took different forms in the early years of the new regimes. These arose from complex patterns of bargaining, but showed an unexpected willingness of former rulers to allow disclosure of the past. Monika Nalepa’s path-breaking book re-examines the process by which this took place through qualitative and quantitative means in nine East Central Europe countries. Skeletons in the Closet argues that secrets of past collaboration played a prominent role in stabilizing the transition to representative democracy and in the timing and content of subsequent transitional justice laws.

Coethnicity: Diversity and the Dilemmas of Collective Action
Habyarimana, James, Macartan Humphreys, Daniel N. Posner, and Jeremy Weinstein. 2009. Coethnicity: Diversity and the Dilemmas of Collective Action. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Abstract

Ethnically homogenous communities often do a better job than diverse communities of producing public goods such as satisfactory schools and health care, adequate sanitation, and low levels of crime. Coethnicity reports the results of a landmark study that aimed to find out why diversity has this cooperation-undermining effect. The study, conducted in a neighborhood of Kampala, Uganda, notable for both its high levels of diversity and low levels of public goods provision, hones in on the mechanisms that might account for the difficulties diverse societies often face in trying to act collectively.

The Mulago-Kyebando Community Study uses behavioral games to explore how the ethnicity of the person with whom one is interacting shapes social behavior. Hundreds of local participants interacted with various partners in laboratory games simulating real-life decisions involving the allocation of money and the completion of joint tasks. Many of the subsequent findings debunk long-standing explanations for diversity’s adverse effects. Contrary to the prevalent notion that shared preferences facilitate ethnic collective action, differences in goals and priorities among participants were not found to be structured along ethnic lines. Nor was there evidence that subjects favored the welfare of their coethnics over that of non-coethnics. When given the opportunity to act altruistically, individuals did not choose to benefit coethnics disproportionately when their actions were anonymous. Yet when anonymity was removed, subjects behaved very differently. With their actions publicly observed, subjects gave significantly more to coethnics, expected their partners to reciprocate, and expected that they would be sanctioned for a failure to cooperate. This effect was most pronounced among individuals who were otherwise least likely to cooperate. These results suggest that what may look like ethnic favoritism is, in fact, a set of reciprocity norms—stronger among coethnics than among non-coethnics—that make it possible for members of more homogeneous communities to take risks, invest, and cooperate without the fear of getting cheated. Such norms may be more subject to change than deeply held ethnic antipathies—a powerful finding for policymakers seeking to design social institutions in diverse societies.

Research on ethnic diversity typically draws on either experimental research or field work. Coethnicity does both. By taking the crucial step from observation to experimentation, this study marks a major breakthrough in the study of ethnic diversity.

Economic Liberalism and Its Rivals: The Formation of International Institutions Among the Post-Soviet States

Examines the critical role that the economic ideas of state leaders play in the creation and maintenance of the international economic order. Drawing on a detailed study of the fifteen post-Soviet states in their first decade of independence, interviews with key decision-makers and the use of closed ministerial archives, the book explores how the changing ideas of state officials led countries to follow one of three institutional paths: rapid entry into the World Trade Organization, participation in a regional Customs Union based on their prior Soviet ties, or autarky and economic closure. In doing so, the book traces the decisions that shaped the entry of these strategically important countries into the world economy and provides a novel theory of the role of ideas in international politics.

American Empire and the Politics of Meaning: Elite Political Cultures in the Philippines and Puerto Rico during U.S. Colonialism

When the United States took control of the Philippines and Puerto Rico in the wake of the Spanish-American War, it declared that it would transform its new colonies through lessons in self-government and the ways of American-style democracy. In both territories, U.S. colonial officials built extensive public school systems, and they set up American-style elections and governmental institutions. The officials aimed their lessons in democratic government at the political elite: the relatively small class of the wealthy, educated, and politically powerful within each colony. While they retained ultimate control for themselves, the Americans let the elite vote, hold local office, and formulate legislation in national assemblies.

American Empire and the Politics of Meaning is an examination of how these efforts to provide the elite of Puerto Rico and the Philippines a practical education in self-government played out on the ground in the early years of American colonial rule, from 1898 until 1912. It is the first systematic comparative analysis of these early exercises in American imperial power. The sociologist Julian Go unravels how American authorities used “culture” as both a tool and a target of rule, and how the Puerto Rican and Philippine elite received, creatively engaged, and sometimes silently subverted the Americans’ ostensibly benign intentions. Rather than finding that the attempt to transplant American-style democracy led to incommensurable “culture clashes,” Go assesses complex processes of cultural accommodation and transformation. By combining rich historical detail with broader theories of meaning, culture, and colonialism, he provides an innovative study of the hidden intersections of political power and cultural meaning-making in America’s earliest overseas empire.

Distrusting Democrats: Outcomes of Participatory Constitution Making
Moehler, Devra C. 2008. Distrusting Democrats: Outcomes of Participatory Constitution Making. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Abstract

How does mass participation affect political culture in countries undergoing political transition? Distrusting Democrats examines the consequences of citizen involvement in Uganda, one of a growing number of countries employing the participatory model of constitutional reform. Contrary to predictions, author Devra Moehler finds that participation contributes to the creation of "distrusting democrats": citizens who are democratic in their attitudes, but suspicious of their governmental institutions in practice. Moehler argues that participation in developing democracies gives citizens new tools with which to evaluate their imperfectly-performing institutions. Participation raises democratic expectations and alerts citizens to existing democratic deficits. The general implications for constitution-building countries are clear: short-term risks of disillusionment and instability; and long-term advantages from a more sophisticated citizenry capable of monitoring leaders and promoting political development.

The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia: Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought

In this rich intellectual history, Cemil Aydin challenges the notion that anti-Westernism in the Muslim world is a political and religious reaction to the liberal and democratic values of the West. Nor is anti-Westernism a natural response to Western imperialism. Instead, by focusing on the agency and achievements of non-Western intellectuals, Aydin demonstrates that modern anti-Western discourse grew out of the legitimacy crisis of a single, Eurocentric global polity in the age of high imperialism.

Aydin compares Ottoman Pan-Islamic and Japanese Pan-Asian visions of world order from the middle of the nineteenth century to the end of World War II. He looks at when the idea of a universal "West" first took root in the minds of Asian intellectuals and reformers and how it became essential in criticizing the West for violating its own "standards of civilization." Aydin also illustrates why these anti-Western visions contributed to the decolonization process and considers their influence on the international relations of both the Ottoman and Japanese Empires during WWI and WWII.

The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia offers a rare, global perspective on how religious tradition and the experience of European colonialism interacted with Muslim and non-Muslim discontent with globalization, the international order, and modernization. Aydin's approach reveals the epistemological limitations of Orientalist knowledge categories, especially the idea of Eastern and Western civilizations, and the way in which these limitations have shaped not only the contradictions and political complicities of anti-Western discourses but also contemporary interpretations of anti-Western trends. In moving beyond essentialist readings of this history, Aydin provides a fresh understanding of the history of contemporary anti-Americanism as well as the ongoing struggle to establish a legitimate and inclusive international society.

Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty: Oil Politics in Iran and Indonesia
Smith, Benjamin. 2007. Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty: Oil Politics in Iran and Indonesia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Abstract

That natural resources can be a curse as well as a blessing is almost a truism in political analysis. In many late-developing countries, the "resource curse" theory predicts, the exploitation of valuable resources will not result in stable, prosperous states but rather in their opposite. Petroleum deposits, for example, may generate so much income that rulers will have little need to establish efficient, tax-extracting bureaucracies, leading to shallow, poorly functioning administrations that remain at the mercy of the world market for oil. Alternatively, resources may be geographically concentrated, thereby intensifying regional, ethnic, or other divisive tensions.

In Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty, Benjamin Smith deciphers the paradox of the resource curse and questions its inevitability through an innovative comparison of the experiences of Iran and Indonesia. These two populous, oil-rich countries saw profoundly different changes in their fortunes in the period 1960–1980. Focusing on the roles of state actors and organized opposition in using oil revenues, Smith finds that the effects of oil wealth on politics and on regime durability vary according to the circumstances under which oil exports became a major part of a country's economy. The presence of natural resources is, he argues, a political opportunity rather than simply a structural variable.

Drawing on extensive primary research in Iran and Indonesia and quantitative research on nineteen other oil-rich developing countries, Smith challenges us to reconsider resource wealth in late-developing countries, not as a simple curse or blessing, but instead as a tremendously flexible source of both political resources and potential complications.

Entrepreneurial States: Reforming Corporate Governance in France, Japan, and Korea
Tiberghien, Yves. 2007. Entrepreneurial States: Reforming Corporate Governance in France, Japan, and Korea. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Abstract

In Entrepreneurial States, an innovative examination of the comparative politics of reform in stakeholder systems, Yves Tiberghien analyzes the modern partnership between the state and global capital in attaining structural domestic change. The emergence of a powerful global equity market has altered incentives for the state and presented political leaders with a "golden bargain"—the infusion of abundant and cheap capital into domestic stock markets in exchange for reform of corporate governance and other regulatory changes.

Drawing on extensive archival research and interviews with policy and corporate elites in Europe and East Asia, Tiberghien asks why states such as Korea and France have embraced this opportunity and engaged in far-reaching reforms to make their companies more attractive to foreign capital, whereas Japan and Germany have moved forward much more grudgingly. Interest groups and electoral institutions have their impacts, but by tracing the unfolding dynamic of reform under different constraints, Tiberghien shows that the role of political entrepreneurs is critical. Such policy elites act as mediators between global forces and national constraints. As risk takers and bargain builders, Tiberghien finds, they use corporate reform to reshape their political parties and to stake out new policy ground. The degree of political autonomy available to them and the domestic organization of bureaucratic responsibility determine their ability to succeed.

Accountability without Democracy: Solidarity Groups and Public Goods Provision in Rural China

Observers of modern China have noted the stark differences in the kinds of public expenditure undertaken by villages in rural China, villages often located right next to each other. The differences in social services and public amenities between villages in rural China cannot be accounted for by just the exercise of democratic activity, nor by direction from the central government. Instead, these differences are produced by the informal means of exercising accountability and control over officials by village and temple organizations, and family lineages. Lily Tsai's book is an exploration of the unseen mechanisms of public life in rural China - a study of how governance in rural China at the local level cannot be understood through democratic institutional forms alone.

Accountability Without Democracy has been selected as the winner of the 2007/2008 Dogan Award from the Society for Comparative Research.

Politics and Volunteering in Japan: A Global Perspective
Haddad, Mary Alice. 2007. Politics and Volunteering in Japan: A Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract

Mary Alice Haddad's book is a comparative examination of the sometimes crucial phenomenon in democratic societies: volunteering. Yet patterns of volunteering vary across cultures. These differences are measured in this important study as a combination of citizen's attitudes toward their government, their own society's patterns of expectations and practices, and the sense of responsible individualism found in each society. Politics and Volunteering in Japan develops a predictive model for understanding volunteering across cultures from a comparison of three Japanese cites, and tests it against patterns of volunteering in Finland, Japan, Turkey and the United States.

Globalization and Business Politics in Arab North Africa: A Comparative Perspective
Cammett, Melani Claire. 2007. Globalization and Business Politics in Arab North Africa: A Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract

The adjustments to a global economy have produced varied industry/ state relations throughout the world, but perhaps nowhere as crucially as in the developing industrial countries. Melani Cammett's Globalization and Business Politics finds that these forms of cooperation rely on past relations of the state and industry. Her subtle comparative analysis of the textile and clothing industries in Morocco and Tunisia encompasses the social, political, economic, and historical forces that shaped - and continue to shape- these contrasting examples. Success in this new environment depends crucially, Globalization and Business Politics suggests, on new and productive ways that state, society, and industries can develop means of persistent, ongoing, and adaptive mutual support.

Crucibles of Political Loyalty: Church Institutions and Electoral Continuity in Hungary
Wittenberg, Jason. 2006. Crucibles of Political Loyalty: Church Institutions and Electoral Continuity in Hungary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
This book investigates one of the oldest paradoxes in political science: why do mass political loyalties persist even amid prolonged social upheaval and disruptive economic development. Drawing on extensive archival research and an original database of election results, this book explores the paradox of political persistence by examining Hungary's often tortuous path from pre- to post-communism. Wittenberg reframes the theoretical debate, and then demonstrates how despite the many depredations of communism, the Roman Catholic and Calvinist Churches transmitted loyalties to parties of the Right. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Church resistance occurred not from above, but from below. Hemmed in and harassed by communist party cadres, parish priests and pastors employed a variety of ingenious tactics to ensure the continued survival of local church institutions. These institutions insulated their adherents from pressures to assimilate into the surrounding socialist milieu. Ultimately this led to political continuity between pre- and post-communism.
Japan’s Dual Civil Society: Members without Advocates
Pekkanen, Robert. 2006. Japan’s Dual Civil Society: Members without Advocates. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Abstract

This book provides an overview of the state of Japan's civil society and a new theory, based on political institutions, to explain why Japan differs so much from other industrialized democracies. It offers a new interpretation of why Japan's civil society has developed as it has, with many small, local groups but few large, professionally managed national organizations. The book further asks what the consequences of that pattern of development are for Japan's policy and politics. The author persuasively demonstrates that political institutions—the regulatory framework, financial flows, and the political opportunity structure—are responsible for this pattern, with the result that civil groups have little chance of influencing national policy debates. The phenomenon of “members without advocates” thus has enormous implications for democratic participation in Japan.

Runaway State-Building: Patronage Politics and Democratic Development
O'Dwyer, Conor. 2006. Runaway State-Building: Patronage Politics and Democratic Development. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Abstract

Here, Conor O'Dwyer introduces the phenomenon of runaway state-building as a consequence of patronage politics in underdeveloped, noncompetitive party systems. Analyzing the cases of three newly democratized nations in Eastern Europe—Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia—O’Dwyer argues that competition among political parties constrains patronage-led state expansion.

O’Dwyer uses democratization as a starting point, examining its effects on other aspects of political development. Focusing on the link between electoral competition and state-building, he is able to draw parallels between the problems faced by these three nations and broader historical and contemporary problems of patronage politics—such as urban machines in nineteenth-century America and the Philippines after Marcos.

This timely study provides political scientists and political reformers with insights into points in the democratization process where appropriate intervention can minimize runaway state-building and cultivate efficient bureaucracy within a robust and competitive democratic system.

The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean
Ho, Engseng. 2006. The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean. Berkeley: University of California Press. Abstract

The Graves of Tarim narrates the movement of an old diaspora across the Indian Ocean over the past five hundred years. Ranging from Arabia to India and Southeast Asia, Engseng Ho explores the transcultural exchanges—in kinship and writing—that enabled Hadrami Yemeni descendants of the Muslim prophet Muhammad to become locals in each of the three regions yet remain cosmopolitans with vital connections across the ocean. At home throughout the Indian Ocean, diasporic Hadramis engaged European empires in surprising ways across its breadth, beyond the usual territorial confines of colonizer and colonized. A work of both anthropology and history, this book brilliantly demonstrates how the emerging fields of world history and transcultural studies are coming together to provide groundbreaking ways of studying religion, diaspora, and empire.

Ho interprets biographies, family histories, chronicles, pilgrimage manuals and religious law as the unified literary output of a diaspora that hybridizes both texts and persons within a genealogy of Prophetic descent. By using anthropological concepts to read Islamic texts in Arabic and Malay, he demonstrates the existence of a hitherto unidentified canon of diasporic literature. His supple conceptual framework and innovative use of documentary and field evidence are elegantly combined to present a vision of this vital world region beyond the histories of trade and European empire.

An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon
Deeb, Lara. 2006. An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Abstract

Lara Deeb's An Enchanted Modern concerns the many ways religious piety has been reborn and reshaped in the Shi'i neighborhood of Al-Dahiyya in Beirut. She presents an engrossing anthropological account of a community fashioning a creative and rich religious modernity. Deeb encounters a vibrant, redirected, Islamic life, reshaped by the politics of the recent past, creatively re-imagined and lived in the present, with no sign of losing its centrality to individuals, communities and states in the future. Most notably, it is an Islamic life that is expressed in especially creative ways in the public and private lives of women. The modern pious includes women involved, educated, outspoken and part of a community, at odds at points with Western notions of modernity, and equally powerful and attractive.

Courts under Constraints: Judges, Generals, and Presidents in Argentina
Helmke, Gretchen. 2005. Courts under Constraints: Judges, Generals, and Presidents in Argentina. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract

This study offers a theoretical framework for understanding how institutional instability affects judicial behavior under dictatorship and democracy. In stark contrast to conventional wisdom, the central findings of the book contradict some assumptions that only independent judges rule against the government of the day. Set in the context of Argentina, the study uses the tools of positive political theory to explore the conditions under which courts rule against the government. In addition to shedding light on the dynamics of court-executive relations in Argentina, the study provides general lessons about institutions, instability, and the rule of law. In the process, the study builds a set of connections among diverse bodies of scholarship, including US judicial politics, comparative institutional analysis, positive political theory, and Latin American politics.