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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences


Liverpool University Press: 5 academic books that changed the world

Which books have changed the world? While thoughts range from Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto (originally a political pamphlet) to George Orwell’s 1984 (a novel), great works of scholarship are often overlooked. However, it is these great works that can change our understanding of history, culture, and ourselves.

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SIPRI Yearbook Online

International security and foreign affairs in 2014 [interactive map]

What was happening in the world last year? Events such as the the devastating protest-turned-conflict in Ukraine, or the maritime disputes between states in the South China Sea, have wide-reaching repercussions – from the amount a country spends on its military, to the direction of foreign policies whole regions take.

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John-Making News

Does news have a future?

For over two centuries, newspapers were the dominant news medium. Yet today “dead tree” media-like stamp collecting is, well, so twentieth century. Now that millions of Americans get their news from social media on-line, newspapers have been in free-fall, prompting many pundits to wonder aloud if journalism has a future.

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

Announcing the Place of the Year 2015 shortlist: vote for your pick

Thank you to those of you who participated in the voting period for our Place of the Year 2015 longlist. The top five contenders have moved on to the next round into our shortlist, and we need your help again. If you’re interested about each place and why each has been nominated for Place of the Year 2015, read back on our previous blog post. Vote for your pick in this year’s shortlist by 30 November. The Place of the Year 2015 will be announced 3 December.

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Clean air… hot air

With elections just about a year away, Americans can expect to hear a lot about regulation during the next twelve months—most of it from Republicans and most of it scathing. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump typifies the GOP’s attitude toward regulation.

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9780198744429 Fernandez-Armesto_Foot_in_the_River

“Challenging change” – extract from A Foot in the River

We are a weird species. Like other species, we have a culture. But by comparison with other species, we are strangely unstable: human cultures self-transform, diverge, and multiply with bewildering speed. They vary, radically and rapidly, from time to time and place to place. And the way we live – our manners, morals, habits, experiences, relationships, technology, values – seems to be changing at an ever accelerating pace. The effects can be dislocating, baffling, sometimes terrifying. Why is this?

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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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Ben Bernanke and Wall Street Executives

In a widely quoted interview with USA Today, Ben Bernanke said that ‘It would have been my preference to have more investigations of individual actions because obviously everything that went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm.’ He makes it clear that he thought some Wall Street executives should have gone to jail.

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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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ECOPOL cover for blog

Food and agriculture: shifting landscapes for policy

Where does our food come from? A popular slogan tells us that our food comes from farms: “If you ate today, thank a farmer.” Supermarkets cater to the same idea, labelling every bag of produce with the name of an individual farm.

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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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