Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

SIPRI Yearbook 2015

Fragile systems and development

The term fragile state originated as an alternative to “failed state” – a worldview predominated by assertions about “weak” or “strong” states, with very weak states referred to as “failures”, “failed states”, etc. A lot of critics rightly pointed out the naivete of a single dimension in conceptualizing the myriad ways in which states and societies can go wrong.

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Raw politics: devolution, democracy and deliberation

As a long-time student of politics I have often found myself assessing various kinds of attempts to create new democratic processes or arenas. From citizens’ juries through to mini-publics and from area panels to lottery-based procedures the scope of these experiments with ‘new’ ways of doing politics has taken me from the local ward level right up to the international level.

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9780190263553 - Atlas of the World 22nd edition (22e)

Ukraine’s two years of living dangerously

Last year in 2014, Ukraine made its way into our Place of the Year shortlist, garnering 19.86% of votes. Though Scotland beat out Ukraine for the top spot (with its impressive 37.98% of votes out of five on the shortlist), that by no means undermines everything this Eastern European country has gone through. Serhy Yekelchyk, author of The Conflict in Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know, reflects on how Ukraine has transformed in recent years.

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Media policy and political polarization

Does media policy impact the rising political polarization in the United States? The US Congress passed The Telecommunications Act of 1996 that comprehensively overhauled US media policy for the first time since 1934, resulting in relaxed ownership regulations intended to spur competition between cable and telephone telecommunications systems.

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Oxford Dictionaries

George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945, George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay “You and the Atom Bomb,” speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

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Constitutional Personae

Which persona are you?

The US Supreme Court has been a vessel for controversy, debate, and deliberation. With a variety of cases filtering in and out of the Supreme Court each year, one would suspect that the decisions would be varied.

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9780190263553 - Atlas of the World 22nd edition (22e)

Place of the Year 2015: behind the longlist

You don’t need to follow the news too closely to know that 2015 has been a roller coaster of a year. Last week we announced our longlist for Place of the Year 2015, but since then some of you have been asking, “why is x included?”, or “why is y worth our attention?”

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Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures

Naivety in the US approach to Syria

Another strategic surprise; another flat-footed, perplexed response. Repeatedly blind-sided, the Obama administration has failed to fundamentally reassess its grand strategy of restraint.

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On Indian democracy and justice

We have reason to be proud of our determination to choose democracy before any other poor country in the world, and to guard jealously its survival and continued success over difficult times as well as easy ones. But democracy itself can be seen either just as an institution, with regular ballots and elections and other such organizational requirements, or it can be seen as the way things really happen in the actual world on the basis of public deliberation.

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Teh Anthropocene Project-Williston

Climate change and the Syrian refugee crisis: being honest about root causes

What should we make of Chancellor George Osborne’s recent claim that we need a “comprehensive plan” to address the burgeoning Syrian refugee crisis, a plan that addresses the “root causes” of this tragic upheaval? The UK government’s way of framing the issue is not unique. Many other governments as well as political pundits of various ideological stripes have been urging us to see the issue in precisely these terms.

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Bayliss and Stoddart-British Nuclear Experience

Clement Attlee and the bomb

As the new leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, wrestles with his own beliefs about nuclear weapons and those opposing beliefs of many members of the Shadow Cabinet, it is interesting to look back to the debates which took place in the Labour Government of Clement Attlee in the immediate post-war period.

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Does Torture Work?

An (in)effective interrogation

In early July, the American Psychological Association (APA) released an independent report detailing collusion between the APA and the Bush Administration on abusive interrogation techniques. The 500 plus page Hoffman report found that a small group of APA officials colluded with counterparts in the Department of Defense (DOD).

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