In this section you can read reviews of academic books covering Europe and the European neighbourhood. We publish four reviews a month, aiming to cover a wide range of books on all aspects of public policy and politics.
In Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics, editor James Muldoon brings together contributors to reopen discussion of councilist ideas and movements and to take the scholarship into new realms. While the chapters evidence the continuing tensions within the literature, this is a welcome and important contribution to the revival of this deeply emancipatory form of democratic socialism, writes Babak Amini.
Council Democracy: Towards a […]
Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems edited by Erik S Herron, Robert J Pekkanen and Matthew S Shugart
Electoral systems are key components in the operation of representative democracies that vary considerably in their construction, with important consequences for how democracy is implemented. Ron Johnston reviews The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems which provides valuable overviews of many of the important topics studied by electoral system scholars, though he wonders about the relative value of such large and expensive volumes aimed […]
For many of us, economics appears too abstract and rooted in assumptions that make individuals seem unfamiliar as human subjects. In Everyday Economics: A User’s Guide to the Modern Economy, Steve Coulter seeks to tackle these perceptions by offering an accessible take on economics that shows how it has relevance to different aspects of our everyday lives, from health to shopping and housing. Coulter […]
In Global Health Governance in International Society, Jeremy Youde reflects on the challenges facing global health governance and the future of international society. While this is a theoretically engaging and empirically informed study, Ioannis Papagaryfallou questions the solidarist approach of the English School of international theory within the text.
Global Health Governance in International Society. Jeremy Youde. Oxford University Press. 2018.
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Global Health has emerged […]
In European Security in Integration Theory: Contested Boundaries, Kamil Zwolski revisits two theories of international and European integration – federalism and functionalism – to show their relevance for understanding the dilemmas facing Europe today. As early integration theories may return as part of current debates, this book will be of use to academics and policymakers, finds Anna Nadibaidze.
European Security in Integration Theory: Contested Boundaries. Kamil Zwolski. […]
In Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood, Joshua Keating presents five present-day cases of border debates, humanising the issues they raise through personal stories and daily experiences. Covering topics from virtual citizenship to nested sovereignty, this book may rejuvenate the conversation about how countries and borders affect residents when they are neither static nor responsive to people, writes Jennifer Stubbs.
Invisible Countries: Journeys to […]
In New Female Tribes: Shattering Female Stereotypes and Redefining Women Today, Rachel Pashley presents the results of a survey of over 8,000 women in nineteen different countries, navigating the reader through a series of snapshots that show how women see themselves around the globe today. While at times engaging in broad brush-strokes in its depiction of four female ‘tribes’, this is a hopeful, […]
In 99 Theses on the Revaluation of Value: A Postcapitalist Manifesto, Brian Massumi offers a short yet intricate economic, cultural and philosophical work that aims to retrieve the concept of value from capitalist power. Through the book’s deliberately fragmented form, Massumi presents a relevant and urgent dissection of the processes by which we are currently shaped, and a hopeful vision of how […]
Book Review: Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity and Well-Being in Postsocialist Russia by Tomas Matza
In Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity and Well-Being in Postsocialist Russia,Thomas Matza offers an ethnographic account that explores the rise of psychotherapy in post-socialist Russia. Through in-depth interviews and observations of psychotherapists working in different institutions across the country, Matza not only probes deeply into their practice and perspectives, but also gives a human face to Russian experiences of flux and transition, […]
In The Proletarian Answer to the Modernist Question, Nick Hubble offers a challenge to the persistent binary established between modernist and working-class literature in interwar Britain, arguing that the divide reflects a narrow view of political class consciousness. This is an insightful study, finds Stanislava Dikova, that seeks to show how remembering modernist legacies will contribute to the invigoration of political energy and […]
In Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age, Nicole Seymour turns attention away from despair at climate change and environmental devastation to instead look at gestures and responses rooted in the comical, the silly and the ridiculous and their capacity to offer sites of resistance. This is a powerful example of humanities scholarship that makes a forceful intervention into pressing […]
In Fifty Years of The Battle of Algiers: Past as Prologue, Sohail Daulatzai not only offers an ode to The Battle of Algiers, exploring the film’s intellectual lineage and its impact upon postcolonial liberation movements, but also argues that its revolutionary logic has more recently been inverted in service of the ‘war on terror’. This is a powerful, thought-provoking and stimulating book, finds Srini Sitaraman.
Fifty Years […]
In The Infinite Desire for Growth, Daniel Cohen offers a historical and philosophical account of the adoption of growth as a principle and goal in economic theory from the Enlightenment to the present day. While the essays at times overlook the specific historical and political contexts in which the concept of growth emerged and developed, the collection is thought-provoking and will contribute […]
In Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World, William Davies examines how feeling has come to reshape our world today, displacing the role historically afforded to reason and dissolving longstanding distinctions between the mind and body, between war and peace. The book provides a timely diagnosis of the contemporary social and political dominance of feelings over facts, writes Lilly Markaki, while locating hope […]
In Nordic Nationalism and Penal Order: Walling the Welfare State, Vanessa Barker offers an account of the preconditions that allowed for the recent increase in restrictive migration policies in Sweden. Deconstructing the overly romanticised image of a welcoming welfare state through a longitudinal study, the book presents a sharp, rich and alarming analysis that will be of particular interest to those exploring the convergence […]
In Understanding Central Europe, editors Marcin Moskalewicz and Wojciech Przybylski bring together 65 contributors from the region to explore the diverse connotations and unique geopolitical features of Central Europe. The book succeeds in showing the heterogeneity of Central European countries and making the complexities of the region more comprehensible for readers, finds Ostap Kushnir.
Understanding Central Europe. Marcin Moskalewicz and Wojciech Przybylski (eds). Routledge. 2017.
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In General Theory of the Precariat: Great Recession, Revolution, Reaction, Alex Foti aims to bridge a gap in current literature on precarity by integrating the historical emergence, political role and demands of social movements and the precariat into economic theory. While this concise book does not yet offer the ‘general theory’ of its title, it is a brilliant analysis of the composition of the precariat […]
In For a Left Populism, Chantal Mouffe argues that our contemporary ‘populist moment’ represents an opportunity for democratic reinvigoration through the formation of a left populism in the name of radical democracy. The book marks an important intervention, most especially in its work on the political role of affect, finds Matthew Longo, but he remains unconvinced as to whether Mouffe’s vision of agonistic contestation will […]
Book Review: Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey by Begüm Adalet
In Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey, Begüm Adalet offers an account of the historical construction of the ‘Turkish Model’ as a manufactured product of American Cold War policy juxtaposed with Turkish domestic politics. Exploring the conceptualisation and execution of modernisation through examples of survey research, infrastructure and architecture, this is a valuable study of the politics of […]
In The Language of Brexit: How Britain Talked its Way Out of the European Union, Steve Buckledee analyses and compares the linguistic features of both sides of the UK ‘Brexit’ debate, placing these discursive techniques in wider social and historical context. Combining an accessible writing style and thoughtful analyses, the book will help open up and advance the academic discussion of Brexit […]