Students of comparative politics have long faced a vexing dilemma: how can social scientists draw broad, applicable principles of political order from specific historical examples? In Analytic Narratives, five senior scholars offer a new and ambitious methodological response to this important question. By employing rational-choice and game theory, the authors propose a way of extracting empirically testable, general hypotheses from particular cases. The result is both a methodological manifesto and an applied handbook that political scientists, economic historians, sociologists, and students of political economy will find essential.
In their jointly written introduction, the authors frame their approach to the origins and evolution of political institutions. The individual essays that follow demonstrate the concept of the analytic narrative—a rational-choice approach to explain political outcomes—in case studies. Avner Greif traces the institutional foundations of commercial expansion in twelfth-century Genoa. Jean-Laurent Rosenthal analyzes how divergent fiscal policies affected absolutist European governments, while Margaret Levi examines the transformation of nineteenth-century conscription laws in France, the United States, and Prussia. Robert Bates explores the emergence of a regulatory organization in the international coffee market. Finally, Barry Weingast studies the institutional foundations of democracy in the antebellum United States and its breakdown in the Civil War. In the process, these studies highlight the economic role of political organizations, the rise and deterioration of political communities, and the role of coercion, especially warfare, in political life. The results are both empirically relevant and theoretically sophisticated.
Analytic Narratives is an innovative and provocative work that bridges the gap between the game-theoretic and empirically driven approaches in political economy. Political historians will find the use of rational-choice models novel; theorists will discover arguments more robust and nuanced than those derived from abstract models. The book improves on earlier studies by advocating—and applying—a cross-disciplinary approach to explain strategic decision making in history.
Coffee is traded in one of the few international markets ever subject to effective political regulation. In Open-Economy Politics, Robert Bates explores the origins, the operations, and the collapse of the International Coffee Organization, an international "government of coffee" that was formed in the 1960s. In so doing, he addresses key issues in international political economy and comparative politics, and analyzes the creation of political institutions and their impact on markets. Drawing upon field work in East Africa, Colombia, and Brazil, Bates explores the domestic sources of international politics within a unique theoretical framework that blends game theoretic and more established approaches to the study of politics.
The book will appeal to those interested in international political economy, comparative politics, and the political economy of development, especially in Latin America and Africa, and to readers wanting to learn more about the economic and political realities that underlie the coffee market. It is also must reading for those interested in "the new institutionalism" and modern political economy.
Prayer in public schools, abortion, gay and lesbian rights—these bitterly divisive issues dominate American politics today, revealing deep disagreements over basic moral values. In a highly readable account that draws on legal arguments, political theory, and philosophy, Ronald F. Thiemann explores the proper role of religious convictions in American public life. He proposes that religion can and should play an active, positive part in our society even as it maintains a fundamental commitment to pluralist, democratic values.
Arguing that both increased secularism and growing religious diversity since the 1960s have fragmented commonly held values, Thiemann observes that there has been an historical ambivalence in American attitudes towards religion in public life. He proposes abandoning the idea of an absolute wall between church and state and all the conceptual framework built around that concept in interpreting the first amendment. He returns instead to James Madison's views and the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration. Refuting both political liberalism (as too secular) and communitarianism (as failing to meet the challenge of pluralism), Thiemann offers a new definition of liberalism that gives religions a voice in the public sphere as long as they heed the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration or mutual respect.
The American republic, Thiemann notes, is a constantly evolving experiment in constructing a pluralistic society from its many particular communities. Religion can act as a positive force in its moral renewal, by helping to shape common cultural values.
All those interested in finding solutions to today's divisive political discord, in finding ways to disagree civilly in a democracy, and in exploring the extent to which religious convictions should shape the development of public policies will find that this book offers an important new direction for religion and the nation.
Why, Diane Davis asks, has Mexico City, once known as the city of palaces, turned into a sea of people, poverty, and pollution? Through historical analysis of Mexico City, Davis identifies political actors responsible for the uncontrolled industrialization of Mexico's economic and social center, its capital city. This narrative biography takes a perspective rarely found in studies of third-world urban development: Davis demonstrates how and why local politics can run counter to rational politics, yet become enmeshed, spawning ineffective policies that are detrimental to the city and the nation. The competing social and economic demand of the working poor and middle classes and the desires of Mexico's ruling Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) have led to gravely diminished services, exorbitant infrastructural expenditures, and counter-productive use of geographic space. Though Mexico City's urban transport system has evolved over the past seven decades from trolley to bus to METRO (subway), it fails to meet the needs of the population, despite its costliness, and is indicative of the city's disastrous and ill-directed overdevelopment. Examining the political forces behind the thwarted attempts to provide transportation in the downtown and sprawling outer residential areas, Davis analyzes the maneuverings of local and national politicians, foreign investors, middle classes, agency bureaucrats, and various factions of the PRI. Looking to Mexico's future, Davis concludes that growing popular dissatisfaction and frequent urban protests demanding both democratic reform and administrative autonomy in the capital city suggest an unstable future for corporatist politics and the PRI's centralized one-party government. Diane E. Davis, Associate Professor of Sociology and Historical Studies at the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School for Social Research, has written numerous articles on politics and economics in Mexico.
While the debates over U.S. foreign policy in the Gulf rage inconclusively, Lenore Martin addresses the fundamental questions. How unstable is the Gulf? What are the long-term challenges to the protection of U.S. interests in the area? What are the strategic choices the United States must make? Drawing together topics usually dealt with separately, The Unstable Gulf analyzes territorial conflicts, sociopolitical cleavages, superpower competition, U.S. energy policy, and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) strategy in this vital region.
Dr. Martin discusses the basic contradictions of a U.S. policy that relies on stable relations with the Gulf states, whose international relations are themselves unstable. She explores the dynamism of the international politics of the regions as fueled by territorial disputes, religious differences, ethnic dissensions, and ideological contests among these states.