Democracy and culture

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    Book Review: List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to BuzzFeed by Liam Cole Young

Book Review: List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to BuzzFeed by Liam Cole Young

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In List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed, Liam Cole Young places our current obsession with the list in historical context, tracing their emergence, myriad uses and changing significance. While its use of theory may be occasionally dense for the more general reader, this book is a fascinating study that succeeds in shedding light on our seeming love […]

Book Review: We: Reviving Social Hope by Ronald Aronson

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In We: Reviving Social Hope, Ronald Aronson takes stock of the current state of US society, attributing the rise of Donald Trump to a steep decline in participatory democracy throughout the twentieth century and offering a blueprint for restoring hope to the body politic. This is an intellectually rigorous analysis, writes Jeff Roquen, that will contribute to a broader […]

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    Book Review: Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing by Martin Erwig

Book Review: Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing by Martin Erwig

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In Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing, Martin Erwig aims to spread an interest in computer science by drawing parallels between processes of computation and the problem-solving stories found in popular culture, including the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel and the film Groundhog Day. While some of the content does demand close attention, the concrete examples make this […]

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    Why redistricting should not be left to a mathematical formula alone

Why redistricting should not be left to a mathematical formula alone

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With Wisconsin’s Gill v. Whitford case now before the Supreme Court, gerrymandering and its effects are now back in the public consciousness. One response to state legislature’s gerrymandering of Congressional districts has been to promote a redistricting formula based on the idea of wasted votes. In new research, Micah Altman and Michael P. McDonald find that there are limitations […]

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    “Gay” or “Homosexual”: the words we use can divide public opinion on civil rights

“Gay” or “Homosexual”: the words we use can divide public opinion on civil rights

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Words matter; different terms and phrases can be a huge influence on how the public things about important issues. For example, the term “homosexual” is more likely to be used to identify a group who some feel are outside of society, while “gay and lesbian” are much more inclusive terms. In new research, Brianna A. Smith and colleagues examines […]

Why we need to change the way we think about federalism

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The US federal system of government historically allowed America’s political parties and governance to be decentralized at the state and often local levels. Timothy Conlan writes that several trends in recent decades have worked to undermine that decentralization. Now, he argues that the rise of nationalization and polarization, and the declining perceived legitimacy of the federal government, means that […]

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    Trump is not the first president to play fast and loose with the truth – but he may be the biggest fabulist.

Trump is not the first president to play fast and loose with the truth – but he may be the biggest fabulist.

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The term “trumped up” has become ironically relevant to the behavior of the 45th US president, as evidence of brazen dishonesty continues to mount.  Ron Pruessen considers how Donald Trump has utilized a mold inherited from predecessors – and how he is on the way to spectacularly breaking it.

“Lord, Lord, how the world is given to lying”: so says […]

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    Book Review: The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism by Whitney Chadwick

Book Review: The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism by Whitney Chadwick

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In The Militant Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism, Whitney Chadwick explores how a number of women within the Surrealist movement fought to move beyond the confining role of muse to establish themselves as groundbreaking artists in their own right. Covering the lives of figures including Frida Kahlo, Claude Cahun and Valentine Penrose, this immersive and captivating account challenges […]

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    Book Review: Open Data and the Knowledge Society by Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir

Book Review: Open Data and the Knowledge Society by Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir

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In Open Data and the Knowledge Society, authors Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir place the management of open data ecosystems at the heart of the transformation into a ‘knowledge society’, presenting five case studies through which to consider various ways of dealing with different types of data.  Miranda Nell welcomes this book for showing how open […]

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    Strong partisans trust the political system, but not other people

Strong partisans trust the political system, but not other people

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Do we trust other people just like we trust the political system? For strong party supporters in the US, the answer is a resounding “no”. Drawing on General Social Survey data from between 1972 and 2014, new research by Marc Hooghe and Jennifer Oser shows that strong party supporters have high trust in the political system, but low trust […]

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