MPSA members are continually advancing scholarship across all subfields of political science. The books highlighted here have been published by MPSA members within the past year.

The MPSA is dedicated to promoting the research of our members. If you have recently published a book, we would love to hear about it and help spread the word! Please fill out this short form.

Winter 2023-24

Missouri Politics: Government in the Show-Me State

Elizabeth Dorssom, Lincoln University of Missouri

Publisher: Kendall Hunt
Publication Date: January 2024
ISBN: 9798385112012

This book looks at the political status of Missouri in the United States. This comprehensive book explores the Show-Me State’s rich political tradition through a comparative approach. The author describes Missouri’s political system and traditions in context with other states’ constitutions, policymaking, and institutions. This book describes Missouri’s basic institutions such as the General Assembly, Governors, and Judicial System, in addition to providing an overview of the basic powers of the state government, as Missouri’s constitutional organization, and the role of campaigns, political parties, and interest groups. This book provides an in-depth explanation and comprehensive overview of the structure and inner workings of Missouri’s political system.

I’m Here to Ask for Your Vote: How Presidential Campaign Visits Influence Voters

Christopher J. Devine, University of Dayton

Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: December 2023
ISBN: 9780231212359

During presidential campaigns, candidates crisscross the country nonstop—visiting swing states, their home turf, and enemy territory. But do all those campaign visits make a difference when Election Day comes? If so, how and under what conditions? Do they mobilize the partisan faithful or persuade undecided voters? What do campaigns try to achieve through campaign visits—and when do they succeed?

I’m Here to Ask for Your Vote is a comprehensive and compelling examination of the strategy and effectiveness of presidential campaign visits. Christopher J. Devine uses an original database of presidential and vice-presidential campaign visits from 2008 through 2020 to estimate the effects of visits on vote choice and turnout, both among individual voters and within counties. He finds that campaign visits do not usually influence voting behavior, but when they do, most often it is by persuading undecided voters—as was the case for John McCain in 2008 and even Donald Trump in 2020. Challenging the recent emphasis on candidates playing to their base, this book suggests that persuasion is still a viable campaign strategy, in which candidate visits may play a major role. I’m Here to Ask for Your Vote is an authoritative and engaging analysis designed for scholars, strategists, students, and other readers interested in understanding how campaign visits—and campaigns more broadly—shape presidential election outcomes.

Fall 2023

Nationalized Politics: Evaluating Electoral Politics Across Time

Jamie L. Carson, University of Georgia; Joel Sievert, Texas Tech University; Ryan D. Williamson, University of Wyoming

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: October, 2023
ISBN: 9780197669662

In the United States, politics has become increasingly nationalized in recent years as voter decision-making is now driven by partisan or national political forces rather than the attributes of individual candidates. Indeed, voters now seem more concerned with which of the two national parties will be in power across all levels of government as opposed to which candidate will represent them individually. The phenomenon has now reached levels unseen since the nineteenth century, when the party ballot was in use and voters were generally unable to select among individual candidates.

Nationalized Politics asks and answers the question, “how has nationalization influenced elections across different political eras?” Jamie L. Carson, Joel Sievert, and Ryan D. Williamson look at historical variation in nationalization through an analysis of congressional elections from 1840 to 2020. By examining roughly 180 years of elections, the authors leverage considerable differences in electoral competition, electoral rules, nationalization, polarization, and partisan advantage via the incumbency advantage. Moreover, Carson, Sievert, and Williamson employ a unique survey design to capture citizen attitudes toward the nationalization of politics to further consider the question of how nationalization is currently shaping politics. Providing a comprehensive history of US congressional elections, Nationalized Politics illustrates the roots of the current electoral landscape in the US.

Race, Rights, and Rifles: The Origins of the NRA and Contemporary Gun Culture

Alexandra Filindra, University of Illinois, Chicago

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: September, 2023
ISBN: 9780226828763

One-third of American adults—approximately 86 million people—own firearms. This is not just for protection or hunting. Although many associate gun-centric ideology with individualist and libertarian traditions in American political culture, Race, Rights, and Rifles shows that it rests on an equally old but different foundation. Instead, Alexandra Frilindra shows that American gun culture can be traced back to the American Revolution when republican notions of civic duty were fused with a belief in white male supremacy and a commitment to maintaining racial and gender hierarchies.

Drawing on wide-ranging historical and contemporary evidence, Race, Rights, and Rifles traces how this ideology emerged during the Revolution and became embedded in America’s institutions, from state militias to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Utilizing original survey data, Filindra reveals how many White Americans —including those outside of the NRA’s direct orbit—embrace these beliefs, and as a result, they are more likely than other Americans to value gun rights over voting rights, embrace antidemocratic norms, and justify political violence.

Summer 2023

National Party Organizations and Party Brands in American Politics: The Democratic and Republican National Committees, 1912-2016

Boris Heersink, Fordham University

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: July 2023
ISBN: 9780197695111

Scholars have long debated the role and importance of the Democratic and Republican National Committees in American politics. In National Party Organizations and Party Brands in American Politics, Boris Heersink identifies a core DNC and RNC role that has thus far been missed: creating national party brands. Drawing on extensive historical case studies and quantitative analysis, Heersink argues that the DNC and RNC have consistently prioritized their role of using publicity to inform voters about their parties’ policies and priorities from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards. Both committees invested heavily in political communication tools with the goal of shaping voters’ perceptions of their parties. As Heersink shows, the DNC and RNC often have considerable freedom in determining what type of brands to promote, placing them in the center of major intra-party debates in the twentieth century–including Prohibition, civil rights, foreign affairs, and economic policy. Analytically rigorous and marshaling a vast body of research on US elections between 1912 and 2016, this book highlights how important national party organizations are in setting the agenda in American politics.

Veto Rhetoric: A Leadership Strategy for Divided Government

Samuel Kernell, University of California-San Diego

Publisher: CQ Press
Publication Date: June, 2023
ISBN: 9781506373546

“While veto threats have a long history, presidents have come to be more reliant on this bargaining tool in the last few decades. Veto Rhetoric therefore serves as a nice companion to Sam Kernell’s classic study, Going Public, which documented a similar trend with regards to presidential public appeals. Kernell’s current study will no doubt once again lead presidential scholars to rethink how they understand and conceptualizing presidential-congressional relations.”
– Joel Sievert, Texas Tech University

In Veto Rhetoric, Samuel Kernell offers a fresh, more sanguine perspective to understanding national policy making in this era of divided government. Contrary to the standard “separation of powers” representation of the veto which deals presidents a weak “take it or leave it” hand, Kernell shows that veto rhetoric forces Congress to pay careful heed of the president’s objections early in deliberations as legislation is forming. Moreover, the book introduces original statistical analysis to test the argument and extends previously reported analyses to include the Biden presidency. Veto Rhetoric will change the way students of Congress and the presidency assess their respective roles in making national policy.

The Audience Decides: Applause-Cheering, Laughter, and Booing during the Debates in the Trump Era

Patrick A. Stewart, University of Arkansas

Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication Date: June 2023
ISBN: 978-1-66693-509-7

The Audience Decides argues that the political parties, aided and abetted by mass media, have abdicated one of their most important responsibilities: that of providing and vetting the best leadership options available. The search for followers, ratings, and attention has led to the structure of presidential debates, especially during the primary season, being driven by goals of entertaining the public at the expense of enlightening the citizenry. To understand the role of the audience as active participant in political debates, and how their function has been subverted, this book focuses on behavior by the candidates and in-person audiences during the 2016 and 2020 general election debates. It does so by using observational methods to consider nonverbal behaviors by candidates to establish on-stage dominance and the observable audience reactions by the in-person audience and their effect on those following the debates. It is anticipated that The Audience Decides will allow for evaluation and reconsideration of how debates, or whatever replaces them, might not only entertain, but also enlighten the most important part of representative democracy – the voting public. Ultimately, it is hoped that debates will help the audience decide who their leader will be based upon substance, not style.

How the Rampant Proliferation of Disinformation Has Become the New Pandemic, and What to Do About It

Max Joseph Skidmore Jr., University of Missouri

Publisher: Westphalia Press
Publication Date: June, 2023
ISBN: 978-1637236178

How the Rampant Proliferation of Disinformation has become the new Pandemic, examines the causes of the overwhelming tidal wave of fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda, and the increase in information illiteracy and mistrust in higher education and traditional, vetted news outlets that make fact-checking a priority. Differentiating between misinformation, and disinformation, the book clarifies how some erroneous information is accidentally spread without malice, while other fake news stories are deliberately spread because of someone’s self-serving agenda. Also noted is how certain politicians, such as Donald Trump, Madison Cawthorn, and Marjorie Taylor Greene spread malicious, and dangerous, disinformation in order to motivate their base, driving them into an angry frenzy, and even inciting them to commit violent acts because of their fake beliefs. These same politicians, and their sycophantic pundits, will also label anything as “fake news” that is critical of them and reflects them in a negative light–even when it is 100% accurate. Finally, How the Rampant Proliferation of Disinformation has Become the new Pandemic suggests ways to counter and fight disinformation and falsehoods rapidly spreading via social media and other forms of the mass media. This includes countering false information about a “stolen or rigged election,” “Pizzagate,” and Critical Race Theory, that have blown up during the United States’ culture wars. Besides detailing prior research on propaganda and disinformation, it chronicles a new qualitative, phenomenological research study on the perceptions of Information Literacy (IL) instructors at private, four-year institutions in the state of Kansas.

Fall 2022 - Spring 2023

Chasing Equality: Women’s Rights and US Public Policy

Suan Gluck Mezey, Loyola University Chicago and Megan A. Sholar, Loyola University Chicago

Publisher: Lynne Rienner Publishers
Publication Date: March, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-955055-88-8

“Offers keen insights on contentious public policy issues that affect the status of women. The focus on the ‘revolving door’ toward progress highlights the complicated interactions among all three branches of government in the policymaking process.” —Laura van Assendelft, Mary Baldwin University

Despite women’s many gains in the political, economic, and social spheres, equality remains elusive—and in some areas, ground is being lost. Why? Why does the pay gap between women and men persist? Why is sexual harassment and assault so prevalent in schools and universities? Why are efforts to diminish women’s individual autonomy, restricting their access to reproductive health care, succeeding? Susan Mezey and Megan Sholar address these disturbing questions, tracing the struggle for women’s equal rights and opportunities in the US across more than a century.

The Downhome Sound: Diversity and Politics in Americana Music

Mandi Bates Bailey, Valdosta State University

Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication Date: March, 2023
ISBN: 9780807179604

American roots music, also known as Americana music, can be challenging to categorize, spanning the genres of jazz, bluegrass, country, blues, rock and roll, and an assortment of variations in between. In The Downhome Sound, Mandi Bates Bailey explores the messages, artists, community, and appeal of this seemingly disparate musical collective. To understand the art form’s intended meanings and typical audiences, she analyzes lyrics and interviews Americana artists, journalists, and festival organizers to uncover a desire for inclusion and diversity. Bailey also conducts an experiment to assess listener reception relative to more commercial forms of music. The result is an in-depth study of the political and cultural influence of Americana and its implications for social justice.

The State You See: How Government Visibility Creates Political Distrust and Racial Inequality

Aaron J. Rosenthal, Council on Criminal Justice

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: March 2023
ISBN: 9780472055999

The State You See uncovers a racial gap in the way the American government appears in people’s lives. It makes it clear that public policy changes over the last fifty years have driven all Americans to distrust the government that they see in their lives, even though Americans of different races are not seeing the same kind of government. For white people, these policy changes have involved a rising number of generous benefits submerged within America’s tax code, which taken together cost the government more than Social Security and Medicare combined. As a result, white people are left with the misperception that government does nothing for them, apart from take their tax money to spend on welfare. Distrust of government is the result. For people of color, distrust is also rampant but for different reasons. Over the last fifty years, America has witnessed increasingly overbearing policing and swelling incarceration numbers. These changes have disproportionately impacted communities of color, helping to make the criminal legal system a unique visible manifestation of government in these communities.

While distrust of government emerges in both cases, these different roots lead to different consequences. White people are mobilized into politics by their distrust, feeling that they must speak up in order to reclaim their misspent tax dollars. In contrast, people of color are pushed away from government due to a belief that engaging in American elections will yield the same kind of unresponsiveness and violence that comes from interactions with the police. The result is a perpetuation of the same kind of racial inequality that has always been present in American democracy.

The Origins and Consequences of Congressional Party Election Agendas

Scott R. Meinke, Bucknell University

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: February, 2023
ISBN: 9781009264884

This Element examines congressional party election agendas, asking first how they originate and what priorities within the party they strategically represent and, second, how they shape post-election legislative activity and policymaking. After surveying post-1980 agenda efforts, it focuses on two prominent cases, the Republican Contract with America (1994) and the Democratic New Direction for America (2006). Using archived records and other qualitative evidence, it shows that both agendas were leadership-driven but were developed in lengthy and relatively inclusive processes. Quantifying agenda content, it demonstrates that the parties strategically skewed agenda promises toward select segments of the caucus, as measured in bill introduction priorities, and the promises echoed leadership messaging from speeches and floor motions in the Congress before the election. After winning a majority, both parties shifted the House’s legislative activity sharply toward agenda priorities, but the impact on policy outcomes was substantially constrained.

Collateral Damage: The Influence of Political Rhetoric on the Incorporation of Second-Generation Americans

Sean Richey, Georgia State University

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: February, 2023
ISBN: 9780472055814

Collateral Damage provides an overview of how political communication influences the process of incorporation with the broad society as well as its political parties. Sean Richey shows that how politicians talk about immigrants affects how their children perceive America and their feelings about the nation. These perceptions and feelings in turn greatly influence the children’s desire to incorporate into American political society. He also shows that regardless of a speaker’s intended outcome, what is said can still have a deleterious effect on incorporation desire, a communicative process that he terms “collateral damage.” Richey uses new experimental and survey evidence, as well as the rhetoric of Donald Trump as a test case, to examine how anti-immigration communication influences the incorporation of the children of immigrants.

Inequality across State Lines: How Policymakers Have Failed Domestic Violence Victims in the United States

Kaitlin N. Sidorsky, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Wendy J. Schiller, Brown University

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: February, 2023
ISBN: 978-1009279161

In the United States, one in four women will be victims of domestic violence each year. Despite the passage of federal legislation on violence against women beginning in 1994, differences persist across states in how domestic violence is addressed. Inequality Across State Lines illuminates the epidemic of domestic violence in the U.S. through the lens of politics, policy adoption, and policy implementation. Combining narrative case studies, surveys, and data analysis, the book discusses the specific factors that explain why U.S. domestic violence politics and policies have failed to keep women safe at all income levels, and across racial and ethnic lines. The book argues that the issue of domestic violence, and how government responds to it, raises fundamental questions of justice; gender and racial equality; and the limited efficacy of a state-by-state and even town-by-town response. This book goes beyond revealing the vast differences in how states respond to domestic violence, by offering pathways to reform.

Summer/Fall 2023

Political Graffiti and Global Human Rights: Take Another Look

Philip Hopper, University of Northern Iowa and Evan Renfro, University of Northern Iowa

Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication Date: October, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-66693-281-2

Political Graffiti and Global Human Rights: Take Another Look examines the role of political graffiti in the public spaces of Northern Ireland and occupied Palestine, highlighting the ways in which oppressed communities utilize this form of expression to convey resistance, foster community support, preserve the memory of armed struggle, and assert their presence. By drawing a comparative analysis between Northern Ireland and Palestine, Philip Hopper and Evan Renfro argue that while the peace process has made progress in Northern Ireland, it has not been successful in Palestine. They assert that the disparities in political graffiti between the two regions are not solely attributable to geographical, historical, and political differences, but also to the varying degrees of success in resolving long-standing conflicts and the communities’ ability to remember or forget past atrocities.

In addition to exploring the themes, symbols, inspirations, and artists behind wall art, this book delves into the evolution of the meaning of political graffiti over time, and critically examines the notion of who holds the privilege of creating politically themed art deemed to be in “good taste.”

Democracy or Authoritarianism: Islamist Governments in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia

Sebnem Gumuscu, Middlebury College

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: July 2023
ISBN: 9781009178259

The first Islamist parties to come to power through democratic means in the Muslim world were those in Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the 2002 election in Turkey, and Ennahda (Renaissance Party) in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were both elected in the wake of the Arab uprisings of 2010/11. Yet only Ennahda could be said to have fulfilled its democratic promise, with both the Turkish and Egyptian governments reverting to authoritarianism. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in three countries, Sebnem Gumuscu explains why some Islamist governments adhered to democratic principles and others took an authoritarian turn following electoral success. Using accessible language, Gumuscu clearly introduces key theories and considers how intra-party affairs impacted each party’s commitment to democracy. Through a comparative lens, Gumuscu identifies broader trends in Islamist governments and explains the complex web of internal dynamics that led political parties either to advance or subvert democracy.

Parties, Politics, Peace: Electoral Inclusion as Peacebuilding

Carrie Manning, Georgia State University; Ian O. Smith, St. Mary’s University; Ozlem Tuncel, Georgia State University

Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: June, 2023
ISBN: 9781032318936

This pathbreaking book uncovers the important, underappreciated role of armed opposition groups turned political parties in shaping long-term patterns of politics after war. Based on an empirically grounded and theoretically informed retrospective on nearly 30 years of post-conflict democratic state-building efforts, it examines whether this practice has contributed to peace and finds that engaging post-rebel parties in electoral politics has proven to be a viable long-term strategy for bringing political stability, that disparate post-rebel parties from different political contexts invest heavily in electoral politics, and that few post-rebel parties actively seek return to civil conflict as a solution after becoming a political party. This book will be of key interest to scholars, students, and practitioners in democracy, governance, elections, political parties, post-conflict peacebuilding, and more broadly to international relations, comparative politics, and regional politics.

Winter/Spring 2023

Where FDI Goes in Decentralized Authoritarian Countries: The Politics of Taiwanese Site Selection for Investment in Mainland China

Kelan Lu, University of South Carolina

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: May 2023
ISBN: 9780472075928

Among all the decentralized authoritarian countries, China is distinctive not only because of its emergence as one of the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) recipient countries with one of the highest levels of fiscal decentralization, but also because of the combination of its fiscal decentralization and the cadre promotion system as incentive institutions for attracting FDI inflows. China is an important case to empirically investigate the impact of fiscal autonomy on adversarial investment because it has become the largest investment destination of its long-term adversary, Taiwan, with Taiwanese FDI being among the largest FDI in mainland China. Given the special role played by local Chinese governments in attracting and hosting Taiwanese FDI, it is important to study the differences between where Taiwanese FDI and other FDI goes.
Given the uniqueness of the China case and that of Taiwanese investment in mainland China, this book explores the following questions. What determines where FDI goes in authoritarian countries like China? Fiscal decentralization has been argued to be a driving force of skyrocketing FDI inflows in China due to its impact on local governments’ incentives. However, is the impact of fiscal autonomy on FDI monolithic with the dynamically changing levels of FDI inflows at the lower administrative levels in China, especially with its special cadre management system? Does the impact of fiscal decentralization on FDI strengthen or weaken or stay the same when attracting FDI inflows from adversarial states? And what are the implications of such adversarial investment—especially as it diffuses from coastal cities to the interior regions, or from key cities to peripheral regions—of decentralized authoritarian countries targeted by this investment?

Marginalized, Mobilized, Incorporated: Women and Religious Nationalism in Indian Democracy

Rina Verna Williams, University of Cincinnati

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: May 2023
ISBN: 9780197567227

In Marginalized, Mobilized, Incorporated, Rina Verma Williams places women’s participation in religious politics in India into historical and comparative perspective through a focus on the most important Hindu nationalist political parties in modern Indian history: the All-India Hindu Mahasabha (HMS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She compares three critical periods to show the increasing involvement of women in Hindu nationalist politics over time. In its formative years in the early 1900s, the HMS marginalized women; in the 1980s, the BJP began to mobilize them; and in the contemporary period, as the BJP returned to power in 2014, it has incorporated women into its structures and activities. Williams contends that the incorporation of women into Hindu nationalist politics has significantly advanced the BJP’s electoral success compared to prior periods when women were either marginalized or mobilized in more limited ways. For the BJP, women’s incorporation works to normalize religious nationalism in Indian democracy; however, incorporation has not been emancipatory for women, whose participation in BJP politics is still predicated on traditional gender ideologies that tether women to their social roles in the home and family.

Drawing on significant new data sources, Williams includes interviews with key BJP leaders, visual campaign materials, and an examination of major campaign events to construct an unmatched before-and-after view of India’s watershed 2014 elections. Given that the BJP is one of the most dynamic religious/ethno-nationalist parties in the world at present, Williams’ account of how it incorporated masses of women into its coalition is essential reading for scholars and students interested not just in India, but in the relationship between gender and right-wing populist politics globally.

After Violence: Russia’s Beslan School Massacre and the Peace that Followed

Debra Javeline, University of Notre Dame

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: April, 2023
ISBN: 9780197683347

Starting on September 1, 2004, and ending 53 hours later, Russia experienced its most appalling act of terrorism in history, the seizure of School No. 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. Approximately 1,200 children, parents, and teachers were taken hostage, and over 330—nearly one of every hundred Beslan residents—were killed, hundreds more seriously wounded, and all severely traumatized. After Violence is the first book to analyze the aftermath of such large-scale violence with evidence from almost all direct victims. It explores the motivations behind individual responses to violence. When does violence fuel greater acceptance of retaliatory violence, and when does violence fuel nonviolent participation in politics? The mass hostage taking was widely predicted to provoke a spiral of retaliatory ethnic violence in the North Caucasus, where the act of terror was embedded in a larger context of ongoing conflict between Ossetians, Ingush, and Chechens. Politicians, journalists, victims, and other local residents asserted that vengeance would come. Instead, the hostage taking triggered unprecedented peaceful political activism on a scale seen nowhere else in Russia. Beslan activists challenged authorities, endured official harassment, and won a historic victory against the Russian state in the European Court of Human Rights. After Violence provides insights into this unexpected but preferable outcome. Using systematic surveys of 1,098 victims (82%) and 2,043 nearby residents, in-depth focus groups, journalistic accounts, investigative reports, NGO reports, and prior scholarly research, After Violence offers novel findings about the influence of anger, prejudice, alienation, efficacy, and other variables on post-violence behavior.

Militias, States and Violence against Civilians: Civic Vice, Civic Virtue

Edited by Paul Lorenzo Johnson, Independent Researcher and William Wittels, Brown University

Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: April, 2023
ISBN: 9781032122816

This book examines the conditions under which the presence and use of militias result in an increase or a decrease in violence against civilians in intra-state conflicts. Showcasing the breadth and diversity of modern militias in the context of violence against civilians, the volume addresses the predation and repression that many such groups are infamous for, as well as increasingly important efforts by other militias at civilian protection in war-torn settings. The chapters examine militias from around the world, drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods as they cover groups as varied as gangs, death squads, grassroots community-defense groups, official state militias, and party-sponsored armies – groups on the “civic vice” side, the “civic virtue” side, and the wide and mixed in-between space where most cases fall.

Taken as a cohesive unit, the work lays the foundation for an encompassing theory and interrogation of the causal chain between militia type and operating context and the levels of violence against civilians. It provides path-breaking theory-building and empirical scholarship. Policymakers and national security practitioners dealing with issues relating to armed groups will also benefit from the practical issues covered here, such as how different forms of sponsorship and training affect militia behavior. This book will be of interest to students of civil wars, political violence, counterinsurgency, civil-military relations, and security studies in general.

Voters Under Pressure: Group-Based Cross-Pressure and Electoral Volatility

Ruth Dassonneville, Université de Montréal

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: March 2023
ISBN: 9780192894137

This book examines changes in voters’ electoral choices over time and investigates how these changes are linked to a growth in electoral volatility. Ruth Dassonneville’s core argument, supported by extensive empirical data, is that group-based cross-pressures lead to instability in voters’ choices. She theorizes that when citizens’ socio-demographic characteristics and their membership of social groups do not consistently push them to support one party, but instead lead them to feel cross-pressured between parties, their voting decision process lacks constraint. Voters who are group-based cross-pressured are less likely to feel an attachment to a party, and have less guidance when assessing the state of the economy, when taking positions on issues, or evaluating leaders. The different factors that influence voters’ choices, as a result, do not add up to strengthening a preference for one specific party but instead lead a voter to consider different parties. To test this argument, the book makes use of election survey data from eight established democracies that allow the study of voting behaviour and its correlates over several decades. These data are complemented with data from the European Election Studies project and from election study panels. The book shows that group-based cross-pressures are an important source of instability as they affect the extent to which citizens’ voting decision process is structured. This is evident from the fact that cross-pressured voters are more ambivalent between parties, make their voting decision later, and are more likely to switch parties from one election to the next.

Divined Intervention: Religious Institutions and Collective Action

Christopher W. Hale, University of Alabama

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: March 2023
ISBN: 978-0-472-03928-9

Divined Intervention provides an innovative institutionalist account for why religion enables political activism in some settings, but not others. Christopher W. Hale argues that decentralized religious institutions facilitate grassroots collective action, and he uses a multimethod approach to test this explanation against several theoretical alternatives. Utilizing nationally representative Mexican survey data, the book’s statistical analyses demonstrate that decentralization by the Catholic Church is positively associated with greater individual political activism across the country. Using case studies centered in the Mexican states of Chiapas, Yucatán, and Morelos, the author shows that religious decentralization encourages reciprocal cooperative interactions at a local level. This then increases the ability of religion to provide goods and services to its local adherents. These processes then prompt the growth of organizational capacities at the grassroots, enabling secular political activism.

Because this theoretical framework is grounded in human behavior, it shows how local institutions politically organize at the grassroots level. Divined Intervention also offers an improved understanding of religion’s relationship with political activism, a topic of ever-increasing significance as religion fuels political engagement across the globe. The book further synthesizes seemingly disparate approaches to the study of collective action into a cohesive framework. Finally, there is some debate as to the impact of ethnic diversity on the provision of public goods, and this study helps us understand how local institutional configurations can enable collective action across ethnic boundaries.

Disruptions as Opportunity: Governing Chinese Society with Interactive Authoritarianism

Taiyi Sun, Christopher Newport University

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: March 2023
ISBN: 978-0-472-05563-0

Disruptions as Opportunities: Governing Chinese Society with Interactive Authoritarianism addresses the long-standing puzzle of why China outlived other one-party authoritarian regimes with particular attention to how the state manages an emerging civil society. Drawing upon over 1,200 survey responses conducted in 126 villages in the Sichuan province, as well as 70 interviews conducted with Civil Society Organization (CSO) leaders and government officials, participant observation, and online research, the book proposes a new theory of interactive authoritarianism to explain how an adaptive authoritarian state manages nascent civil society. Sun argues that when new phenomena and forces are introduced into Chinese society, the Chinese state adopts a three-stage interactive approach toward societal actors: toleration, differentiation, and legalization without institutionalization. Sun looks to three disruptions—earthquakes, internet censorship, and social-media-based guerrilla resistance to the ride-sharing industry—to test his theory about the three-stage interactive authoritarian approach and argues that the Chinese government evolves and consolidates its power in moments of crisis.

We the Mediated People: Popular Constitution-Making in Contemporary South America

Joshua Braver, University of Wisconsin Law School

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: February, 2023
ISBN: 9780197650639

The “people” are the ultimate source of authority for a constitution. But who are the people? The danger is that populist leaders will define the people as one segment of the population that is unbound by law to create a new constitution that centralizes power in the leader’s hands. This book retells the story of popular constitution-making in South America to develop an alternative theory of the relationship of the people to law. Braver examines how and how not to violate law to construct an inclusive people so they may realize their freedom to break with the past but still stave off the establishment of semi-authoritarian constitutions.

Through the “extraordinary adaptation” of old institutions, the people and its constitutional convention may include all parties. Rather than overthrowing old institutions and opening a legal void, in extraordinary adaptation, the revolutionary party gains offices through democratic elections and then repurposes the old regime’s institutions by bending, reinterpreting, and even breaking their rules. However, it never creates a legal vacuum, and this partial legal continuity facilitates the participation of old parties that continue to hold some power in the previous constitution’s institutions. The adaptation must be principled: the revolutionary must first exhaust all legal channels, openly acknowledge the violation to seek popular vindication, and concede enough to the opposition so that it may begrudgingly acquiesce to the new constitution. The book develops the theories of constitution-making by examining all four instances of popular constitution-making in contemporary South America. It shows how populist leaders in Venezuela and Ecuador established semi-authoritarian constitutions through lawless constitution-making while Colombia and Bolivia managed to avoid the same fate by engaging in extraordinary adaptation.

Spring/Summer 2023

Leverage and Cooperation in the US World Order: The Shrewd Sheriff

Giacomo Chiozza, American University of Sharjah

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: July 2023
ISBN: 9781009355049

Since the end of World War II, the United States has maintained a unique system of partnerships and alliances, known as the US world order. Within this order, it has sought both compliance from, and consensus with, its partners. Sometimes it has achieved both, sometimes one but not the other, and sometimes neither. What accounts for this variation in hegemonic leadership? Giacomo Chiozza suggests that the answer depends on the domestic political institutions that structure US relations with the incumbent leaders in the partner nations. Domestic political institutions that foster political successors and allow for regular and flexible channels of leadership turnover make it easier for the US to sustain friendly relations. However, unexpectedly, institutions that allow for regular and flexible channels of leadership turnover also create domestic political incentives that foster the attainment of better governance and more respect of human rights.

Understanding War and Peace, 2nd Edition

Edited by Dan Reiter, Emory University

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: July 2023
ISBN: 9781009125031

Written for undergraduate students studying the politics of conflict and cooperation, Understanding War and Peace considers the roots of global conflicts and the various means used to resolve them. Edited by Dan Reiter with contributing authors who are all leading scholars in the field, it balances approachable, engaging writing with a conceptually rigorous overview of the most important ideas in conflict studies. Focusing on concepts, policy, and historical applications, the text minimizes literature reviews and technical jargon to engagingly present all major topics in international conflict, including nuclear weapons, peacekeeping, terrorism, gender, alliances, nuclear weapons, environment and conflict, civil wars, public opinion. Enriching the textbook pedagogy, each chapter concludes with a summary of a published quantitative study to introduce students with no prior quantitative training to quantitative analysis. Online resources for instructors include an instructor manual, a test bank and contemporary case studies for each chapter topic regarding the conflict in Ukraine.

Genocidal Conscription: Drafting Victims and Perpetrators under the Guise of War

Christopher Harrison, Northern Arizona University

Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication Date: June 2023
ISBN: 978-1-66692-567-8

Genocidal Conscription examines how some states have employed mandatory military service as a tool to capture and kill the victims of genocide by recruiting the perpetrators from other minorities and shifting blame away from the state. The book highlights several unique intersections that connect military history, Holocaust studies, and genocide. The study details an original framework that encompasses intentions and outcomes of wartime casualties, Clausewitzian wastage, and genocidal massacres. Christopher Harrison traces and compares how two genocidal regimes at war – the Ottoman Empire during World War One and Axis-era Hungary in World War Two – implemented certain policies of military service to capture and destroy their targets amidst the carnage of modern warfare. Following this historical comparative study, the author then summarizes relevant implications and ongoing concerns. The conclusion includes insights into conscription by contemporary authoritarian regimes. By examining these histories and crises, the book suggests that several states are at risk of carrying out genocidal conscription today. While difficult and unlikely, due to political disincentives, the implication of this analysis considers reforms which may prevent states from repeating similar policies and actions again.

Sovereign Funds: How the Communist Party of China Finances Its Global Ambitions

Zongyuan Zoe Liu, Council on Foreign Relations

Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication Date: June 2023
ISBN: 9780674271913

One of the keys to China’s global rise has been its strategy of deploying sovereign wealth on behalf of state power. Since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013, China has doubled down on financial statecraft, making shrewd investments with the sovereign funds it has built up by leveraging its foreign exchange reserves. Sovereign Funds tells the story of how the Communist Party of China (CPC) became a global financier of surpassing ambition. Zongyuan Zoe Liu offers a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the evolution of China’s sovereign funds, including the China Investment Corporation, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, and Central Huijin Investment. Liu shows how these institutions have become mechanisms not only for transforming low-reward foreign exchange reserves into investment capital but also for power projection. Sovereign funds are essential drivers of the national interest, shaping global markets, advancing the historic Belt and Road Initiative, and funneling state assets into strategic industries such as semiconductors, fintech, and artificial intelligence. In the era of President Xi, state-owned financial institutions have become gatekeepers of the Chinese economy. Political and personal relationships with prestigious sovereign funds have enabled Blackstone to flourish in China and have fueled the ascendance of private tech giants such as Alibaba, Ant Finance, and Didi. As Liu makes clear, sovereign funds are not just for oil exporters. The CPC is a leader in both foreign exchange reserves investment and economic statecraft, using state capital to encourage domestic economic activity and create spheres of influence worldwide.

Constructing Global Public Goods

James C. Roberts, Towson University

Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication Date: March 2023
ISBN: 978-1-4985-5358-2

Why do international actors provide global public goods when they could free-ride on the production of others? Constructing Global Public Goods examines this question by understanding the identities and preferences of the actors. Most rational choice models of public goods explain the public goods decision by examining the strategic interactions among the actors. They generally avoid the question of how utilities and preferences are formed. Constructing Global Public Goods brings a constructivist approach to the study of public goods by recognizing that the actors’ utilities and preferences are socially constructed from the identities the actors take on in the choice situation. The book develops a formal model that links the interpretation of unobserved utilities to preferences for the public goods outcome. It then applies the model to case studies on global monetary management, collective security, and protecting human rights. Bringing constructivism into the public goods decision allows the analysis to look beyond the limited Prisoner’s Dilemma based model of most rational choice approaches and recognizes that the decision whether or not to produce a global public good is a complex web of social, political and cultural factors.

Reputation Analytics: Public Opinion for Companies

Daniel Diermeier, Vanderbilt University

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: March 2023
ISBN: 9780226029627

Public opinion is a core factor of any organization’s success—and sometimes its failings. Whether through crisis, mismanagement, or sudden shifts in public sensibility, an organization can run afoul in the span of a Tweet.

In Reputation Analytics, Daniel Diermeier offers the first rigorous analytical framework for understanding and managing corporate reputation and public perception. Drawing on his expertise as a political scientist and management scholar, Diermeier incorporates lessons from game theory, psychology, and text analytics to create a methodology that has immediate application in both scholarship and practice.

Social Inquiry and Bayesian Influence: Rethinking Qualitative Research

Tasha Fairfield, London School of Economics and Political Science & Andrew E. Charman, University of California, Berkeley

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: August, 2022
ISBN: 978-1108433358

Fairfield and Charman provide a modern, rigorous and intuitive methodology for case-study research to help social scientists and analysts make better inferences from qualitative evidence. The book develops concrete guidelines for conducting inference to best explanation given incomplete information; no previous exposure to Bayesian analysis or specialized mathematical skills are needed. Topics covered include constructing rival hypotheses that are neither too simple nor overly complex, assessing the inferential weight of evidence, counteracting cognitive biases, selecting cases, and iterating between theory development, data collection, and analysis. Extensive worked examples apply Bayesian guidelines, showcasing both exemplars of intuitive Bayesian reasoning and departures from Bayesian principles in published case studies drawn from process-tracing, comparative, and multimethod research. Beyond improving inference and analytic transparency, an overarching goal of this book is to revalue qualitative research and place it on more equal footing with respect to quantitative and experimental traditions by illustrating that Bayesianism provides a universally applicable inferential framework.

Inspired Citizens: How Our Political Role Models Shape American Politics

Jennie Sweet-Cushman, Chatham University

Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication Date: November, 2023
ISBN: 9781439923498

Political role models are people that voters form a connection with, and who provoke them to think differently about and engage with politics. Inspired Citizens examines the impact role models have in American politics through the lens of political psychology. Jennie Sweet-Cushman investigates how citizens, especially marginalized ones, can be influenced by the presence of political role models. She asks critical questions, such as whether role models increase political participation and strengthen American democracy, and whether role models encourage candidate emergence.

Sweet-Cushman develops the Inspired Citizenship Theory to show that political role models can have motivating effects on one’s political citizenship and may, in some case, insulate those who have been traditionally marginalized in American politics. Moreover, she asserts that citizens who have political role models possess very different political behaviors and attitudes than those who do not.

Divided: Open-Mindedness and Dogmatism in a Polarized World

Edited by Victor Ottati, Loyola University Chicago and Chadly Stern, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: July 2023
ISBN: 9780197655467

This volume aims to increase the understanding of open-mindedness and dogmatism, illuminate the nature and causes of polarization, and provide clues regarding how one might attempt to reduce pernicious forms of polarization.
Bringing together a diverse group of leading psychologists, political scientists, sociologists, and communication scholars who investigate dogmatism and open-mindedness within social and political contexts, Divided: Open-Mindedness and Dogmatism in a Polarized World covers a wide range of topics including key definitions of dogmatism and open-mindedness, the emergence of affective polarization, how open-mindedness relates to attitude formation and change, the correspondence between intellectual humility and open-mindedness, and how social norms and situations shape open-minded cognition. Authors consider both the beneficial and more problematic features of open-mindedness, dogmatism, and polarization. Collectively, this volume provides a format that enables readers to learn about creative approaches to understanding dogmatism and open-mindedness and, potentially, to generate innovative solutions that reduce polarization and increase constructive social compromise in the future.

Persuasion in Parallel: How Information Changes Minds about Politics

Alexander Coppock, Yale University

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: January, 2023
ISBN: 9780226821849

Many mistakenly believe that it is fruitless to try to persuade those who disagree with them about politics. However, Persuasion in Parallel shows that individuals do, in fact, change their minds in response to information, with partisans on either side of the political aisle updating their views roughly in parallel. This book challenges the dominant view that persuasive information can often backfire because people are supposedly motivated to reason against information they dislike. Drawing on evidence from a series of randomized controlled trials, the book shows that the backfire response is rare to nonexistent. Instead, it shows that most everyone updates in the direction of information, at least a little bit. The political upshot of this work is that the other side is not lost. Even messages we don’t like can move us in the right direction.

Simulations in the Political Science Classroom: Games without Frontiers

Edited by Mark Harvey, University of Saint Mary; James Fielder, Colorado State University; and Ryan Gibb, Baker University

Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: August, 2022
ISBN: 9780367699765

This book is premised on the assumption that games and simulations provide welcome alternatives and supplements to traditional lectures and class discussions—especially in political science classrooms, where real-world circumstances provide ideal applications of theory and policy prescriptions. Implementing such an active learning program, however, is sometimes daunting to overburdened professors and teaching assistants. This book addresses the challenges of using games and simulations in the political science classroom, both online and in person. Each chapter offers a game or simulation that politics teachers can use to teach course concepts and explains ways to execute it effectively. In addition, the authors in this volume make a proactive case for games and simulations. Each chapter offers research to evaluate the effectiveness of the activity and pedagogical design best practices. Thus, the book not only serves as a game design resource, but also offers demonstrable support for using games and simulations in the political science classroom. Aimed at teachers at all levels, from high school through college, the book may be especially appealing to graduate students entering teaching for the first time and open to new teaching and learning approaches.

Plato’s Letters: The Political Challenges of the Philosophic Life

Ariel Helfer, Wayne State University

Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: December, 2023
ISBN: 978-1501772894

In Plato’s “Letters”, Ariel Helfer provides to readers, for the first time, a highly literal translation of the Letters, complete with extensive notes on historical context and issues of manuscript transmission. His analysis presents a necessary perspective for readers who wish to study Plato’s Letters as a work of Platonic philosophy.

Centuries of debate over the provenance and significance of Plato’s Letters have led to the common view that the Letters is a motley collection of jewels and scraps from within and without Plato’s literary estate. In a series of original essays, Helfer describes how the Letters was written as a single work, composed with a unity of purpose and a coherent teaching, marked throughout by Plato’s artfulness and insight and intended to occupy an important place in the Platonic corpus. Viewed in this light, the Letters is like an unusual epistolary novel, a manner of semifictional and semiautobiographical literary-philosophic experiment, in which Plato sought to provide his most demanding readers with guidance in thinking more deeply about the meaning of his own career as a philosopher, writer, and political advisor. Plato’s “Letters” not only defends what Helfer calls the “literary unity thesis” by reviewing the scholarly history pertaining to the Platonic letters but also brings out the political philosophic lessons revealed in the Letters. As a result, Plato’s “Letters” recovers and rehabilitates what has been until now a minority view concerning the Letters, according to which this misunderstood Platonic text will be of tremendous new importance for the study of Platonic political philosophy.

Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought

David Meyer Temin, University of Michigan

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: August, 2023
ISBN: 9780226827285

Accounts of decolonization routinely neglect Indigenous societies, yet Native communities have made unique contributions to anticolonial thought and activism. Remapping Sovereignty examines how twentieth-century Indigenous activists in North America debated questions of decolonization and self-determination, developing distinctive conceptual approaches that both resonate with and reformulate key strands in other civil rights and global decolonization movements. In contrast to decolonization projects that envisioned liberation through state sovereignty, Indigenous theorists emphasized the self-determination of peoples against sovereign state supremacy and articulated a visionary politics of decolonization as earthmaking. Temin traces the interplay between anticolonial thought and practice across key thinkers, interweaving history and textual analysis. He shows how these insights broaden the political and intellectual horizons open to us today.

Defining the Republic: Early Conflicts over the Constitution

William J. Nichols, Wayne County Community College

Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication Date: August, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-7936-5536-3

Debate over the meaning and purpose of the grand experiment called the United States has existed since its inception. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison worked closely together to achieve the ratification of the Constitution, which both considered essential for the survival of the United States. However, within just a few years of the Constitution’s ratification, they became bitter political enemies as the pair disagreed about what the United States should be like under the new Constitution, specifically how to interpret the Constitution they both worked to create and support.

Defining the Republic: Early Conflicts over the Constitution documents, through presentation of their own words, that these two essential early Americans simply had different expectations all along. Expectations that went unexamined during the frenetic times in which the Constitution was written, debated, and ratified. It is to their differences that Americans today can look in order to better understand the history of the United States, as well as current debates over politics and life in general in the country Hamilton and Madison helped to create.

Following in Footsteps or Marching Alone? How Institutional Differences Influence Renewable Energy Policy

Srinivas Parinandi, University of Colorado at Boulder

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: February, 2023
ISBN: 9780472055821

In recent years, the federal government’s increasing inability to address major societal challenges has arguably hampered America’s commitment to renewable energy initiatives. Individual U.S. states have stepped into this void and adopted their own policies, leading some to believe that the states can propel America’s renewable energy industry forward. However, we know little about how legislative and regulatory dynamics within America’s states might accelerate or hinder renewable energy policy creation.
In Following in Footsteps or Marching Alone?, Srinivas Parinandi explores how states have devised their own novel policies, and how the political workings of legislatures and public utilities commissions have impacted state renewable energy policy design. Through the meticulous study of nearly three decades of state-level renewable energy policy-making, he finds that their creation is primarily driven by legislatures, and that ideologically liberal legislatures largely push the envelope. The book suggests that having a predominantly state-driven renewable energy effort can lead to uneven and patchwork-based policy development outcomes, and a possible solution is to try to more successfully federalize these issues. Parinandi urges readers, scholars, and policy practitioners to consider whether a state-led effort is adequate enough to handle the task of building momentum for renewable energy in one of the world’s largest electricity markets.

Clean Air at What Cost? The Rise of Blunt Force Regulation in China

Denise Sienli van der Kamp, University of Oxford

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: January, 2023
ISBN: 9781009152648

China’s green transition is often perceived as a lesson in authoritarian efficiency. In just a few years, the state managed to improve air quality, contain dissent, and restructure local industry. Much of this was achieved through top-down, ‘blunt force’ solutions, such as forcibly shuttering or destroying polluting factories. This book argues that China’s blunt force regulation is actually a sign of weak state capacity and ineffective bureaucratic control. Integrating case studies with quantitative evidence, it shows how widespread industry shutdowns are used, not to scare polluters into respecting pollution standards, but to scare bureaucrats into respecting central orders. These measures have improved air quality in almost all Chinese cities, but at immense social and economic cost. This book delves into the negotiations, trade-offs, and day-to-day battles of local pollution enforcement to explain why governments employ such costly measures, and what this reveals about a state’s powers to govern society.