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Inequality in democracies: interest groups and redistribution

We are by now more or less aware that income inequality in the United States and in most of the rich OECD world is higher today than it was some 30 to 40 years ago. Despite varying interpretations of what led to this increase, the fact remains that inequality is exhibiting a persistent increase, which is robust to both expansionary and contractionary economic times. One might even say that it became a stylized fact of the developed world (amid some worthy exceptions).

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Questions about India’s environment and economic growth

Must economic growth be privileged over ecological security? Jairam Ramesh argues that this is the wrong question to ask; the two work in concert, not in opposition, and a bright economic and political future requires a safe, protected environment. As India grows as a global power, the nation has become a leader in progressive environmental policies.

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Human Rights and European Law

Surrogacy: how the law develops in response to social change

In its recent decision in Mennesson v. France (App no. 65192/11), the Fifth Section of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that surrogate children—in this case, born in the US and having US citizenship—should not be prevented from registering as French citizens, as this would be a violation of their right to respect for their private life. The Strasbourg court’s view, which is very understandable, is that nationality is an important part of a person’s identity.

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Why has France banned surrogate motherhood?

Shortly after it emerged in the 1980s, surrogate motherhood was dealt a severe blow in France by a decision of the Cour de Cassation, its highest civil court. In 1991, it ruled that an agreement entered into by a woman to conceive, bear a child, and relinquish it at birth, albeit for altruistic reasons, was contrary to the public policy principle of unavailability of both the human body and civil status.

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The audience screams; people duck

Millions of Americans are eagerly anticipating this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. For over a century, motion pictures have been a dominant cultural and leisure medium. There are, however, two aspects worth highlighting: the sheer novelty of motion pictures and the medium’s initial democratic nature. Twenty-first century Americans have difficulty imagining the wonder and awe motion pictures inspired in the early 1900s.

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What Pakistan’s history means for its future

The story of Pakistan is the story of missed opportunity. As I began to write about the history of this land, I could not help feeling a sense of an intertwining of personal and national destiny in what was necessarily an account of my own missed opportunities […]

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Policing

Trust in the aftermath of terror

In the days following the terrorist attack in Paris on 11 January, thousands of people took to the street in solidarity with the victims and in defense of free speech, and many declared ‘Je suis Charlie’ on social media around the world. The scene is familiar with what we have seen in several other countries in the aftermath of major terrorist attacks.

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Does the MOOC spell the end for universities?

The seemingly unassailable rise of the MOOC – the Massive Open On-Line Course – has many universities worried. Offering access to millions of potential students, it seems like the solution to so many of the problems that beset higher education. Fees are low, or even non-existent; anyone can sign up; staff time is strictly limited as even grading is done by peers or automated multiple-choice questionnaires. In an era of ever-rising tuition fees and of concerns about the barriers that stop the less well-off from applying to good universities, the MOOC can seem like a panacea.

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Thoughts on teaching in prison on World Day of Social Justice

On an overcast day in January 2013, with no criminal justice background and no real teaching experience, I entered the stark grounds of New Jersey’s only maximum-security women’s prison to co-teach a course on memoir writing. The youngest in a classroom of thirteen women, many of whom were serving life or double-life sentences, plus my two mentors and co-teachers, Courtney Polidori and Michele Tarter, my mind began spinning with concern and doubt.

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International Studies Association Convention 2015: a conference and city guide

The International Studies Association Annual Convention will be held in New Orleans this week. The conference will be focusing on Global International Relations and Regional Worlds, A New Agenda for International Studies. If you’re attending, stop by booths 202, 204, and 206 to take advantage of our conference discount. Be sure to check out some of the panels and lectures our authors will be giving.

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Is consumer credit growth worth worrying about?

A news release on 6 February 2015 from the Federal Reserve Board, together with a selection of dense numerical tables, showed once again that consumer credit in use has increased over the course of a year. This is the fourth year in a row and the 67th yearly increase in the 69 years since 1945. But does this mean that credit growth is a meaningful worry? Total consumer sector income and total assets have also increased in 67 of the 69 years since World War II.

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Strife over strategy: shaping American foreign policy

Last month on Capitol Hill, a tedious slur on Henry Kissinger (“war criminal”) provoked an irate reaction (“low-life scum”). The clash between Senator McCain and the protesters of Code Pink garnered media coverage and YouTube clicks. The Senate’s hearings on national strategy not so much. This is unfortunate.

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Education, metaphorically speaking

What do we think education means? What do we believe are teaching’s purpose, status, and function in society? A useful way to reflect on our pre-conceptions and assumptions about anything is to step back and consider the metaphors we automatically apply when thinking or speaking of it. This is a particularly useful exercise for the trainee teacher, who, for obvious reasons, is likely to frame teaching primarily in terms of a performance – one that is observed, analysed, graded and, if all goes well, given the pedagogic equivalent of a five star review.

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Global Summitry Cover

An interview with the Editors of Global Summitry

Global Summitry is a new journal published by Oxford University Press in association with University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Rotman School of Management. The journal features articles on the organization and execution of global politics and policy.

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Why green growth?

There is universal acknowledgment of the fact that India needs to come back on the path of high economic growth quickly. Although GDP grew at an unprecedented annual average rate of growth of almost 7.7% during the past decade (the highest for any democracy in the world), the last two years have been disappointing.

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