Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780190499006

Witches, werewolves, and Christmas

In Hamlet, Marcellus, referring to the royal ghost, says: “It faded on the crowing of the cock. Some say that ever gainst that season comes wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated, this bird of dawning singeth all night long, and then, they say, no spirit dare walk abroad, The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, so hallowed and so gracious is that time.”

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9780190460679

How Americans found information before the Internet

How was information used before the age of Google? Cookbooks showed people how to make new dishes; instructions packed with disassembled toys carried the terror-filled message “some assembly required” and ensured hours of labor on Christmas Eve for millions of parents. Today, people “Google”, but this kind of information gathering has occurred since the seventeenth century.

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GERONB

Barriers to sexual freedom in assisted living

The baby boom generation came of age at a time that pushed boundaries of sexual freedom. Changes in attitudes and behaviors about sexuality were framed by the sexual revolution, women’s rights, gay rights, and the birth control pill. Decades later, the first wave of this generation is now turning 65. While most boomers still have a decade or more before they consider moving into assisted living facilities, a study suggests that sexual freedom is difficult to come by for those who currently reside in a structured environment such as assisted living.

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9780199669042_450

Tightrope walking: The future of political science

Imagine standing at the edge of a precipice. A combination of forces are pushing at your back, biting at your heels and generally forcing you to step into an unknown space. A long thin tightrope without any apparent ending stretches out in front of you and appears to offer your only lifeline. Doing nothing and standing still is not an option. You lift up your left foot and gingerly step out….

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9780190608071

Human-animal chimeras and dehumanization

The US government recently announced that it was lifting its moratorium on funding certain experiments that use human stem cells to create animals that are partly human. At present scientists are only interested in creating entities with some human qualities, but which remain “mostly” animals. For example, some scientists want to create a chimeric pig with a human-enough heart to transplant into a human. Distinguishing between humans and other animals is common in most cultures.

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9780198766827_redesigning-life

Genome editing’s brave new world

“O, wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How beauteous mankind is!/O brave new world,/That has such people in’t!” Shakespeare’s lines in The Tempest famously inspired Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, first published in 1932. Huxley’s vision of the future has become a byword for the idea that attempts at genetic (and social) engineering are bound to go wrong. With its crude partitioning of society, by stunting human development before birth, and with its use of a drug – soma – to induce a false sense of happiness and suppress dissent, this was the opposite of a ‘beauteous’ world.

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9780198777847_450

The quest for order in modern society

Opening the morning paper or browsing the web, routine actions for us all, rarely if ever shake our fundamental beliefs about the world. If we assume a naïve, reflective state of mind, however, reading newspapers and surfing the web offer us quite a different experience: they provide us with a glimpse into the kaleidoscopic nature of the modern era that can be quite irritating.

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Easterlin

Why the science of happiness can trump GDP as a guide for policy

For centuries, happiness was exclusively a concern of the humanities; a matter for philosophers, novelists and artists. In the past five decades, however, it has moved into the domain of science and given us a substantial body of research. This wellspring of knowledge now offers us an enticing opportunity: to consider happiness as the leading measure of well-being, supplanting the current favourite, real gross domestic product per capita, or GDP.

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9780199989973

Influencing social policy in the public interest

How can psychologists and other social scientists interested in making a difference become more fully and effectively engaged in the policy world? To address this question, in-depth interviews were conducted with 79 psychologists who were asked to describe their policy experiences over the course of their careers, with particular focus on a major policy success.

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sumner

The poverty paradox

Amartya Sen’s famous study of famines found that people died not because of a lack of food availability in a country, but because some people lacked entitlements to food. Can the same now be applied to the causes of global poverty?

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Foreign Policy Analysis

Identity, foreign policy, and the post-Arab uprising struggle for power in the Middle East

In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis put on understanding the international relations of the post-Arab uprising in the Middle East. An unprecedented combination of widespread state failure, competitive interference, and instrumentalization of sectarianism by three rival would-be regional hegemons (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran) in failing states has produced a spiral of sectarianism at the grassroots level.

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9780190616090

What academia owes Jane Addams

Jane Addams is perhaps best known as Hull House activist, recipient of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize, and forbearer of modern social work, as well as being a founding member of both the NAACP and the ACLU. Underappreciated, however, is her central role in the development of American Pragmatism and contemporary social inquiry methodology. Until the 1990s, feminist philosophers and historians began working to recover her role in the development of pragmatist thought.

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9780199688364

Conditioning in the classroom: 8 tips for teaching and learning

You are probably familiar with animal learning and conditioning. You probably know that certain behaviours in your pet can be encouraged by reward, for example. You may also know something of the science behind animal conditioning: you may have heard about Pavlov’s drooling dogs, Skinner’s peckish pigeons or Thorndike’s cunning cats. However, what you may not know is that the scientific study of animal conditioning has provided psychologists with an armoury of principles about how training can be most effective.

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9780198744795

Poverty: a reading list

Poverty can be defined by ‘the condition of having little or no wealth or few material possessions; indigence, destitution’ and is a growing area within development studies. In time for The Development Studies Association annual conference taking place in Oxford this year in September, we have put together this reading list of key books on poverty, including a variety of online and journal resources on topics ranging from poverty reduction and inequality, to economic development and policy.

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9780199753901

Olympic swimmers meet Latin America’s vast gray area of private security

During the closing week of the Rio games, the biggest story was not about the pool, the mat, or the track but rather about the after-game party . . . and the after-party mess. As of Friday morning, the next-to-last day of the games, the home page of the New York Times was carrying headlines for five separate articles concerning the event. Clearly, the events that unfolded when the swimmers arrived at the gas station as well as the interviews given by American medalist Ryan Lochte…

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9780190297336

Building community: lessons from swimming

What would be the impact if our current policy to insure safety and prevent drowning were to pay people to swim with each swimmer? No one could go swimming unless they had a paid professional, or paraprofessional, swim with them. Our present policy in human services and mental health is kind of like paying people to insure the safety and well-being of others.

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