Book Reviews

Book Review: Handbook of Politics – State and Society in a Global Perspective

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The end of the Cold War marked not only the end of a fairly predictable model of politics, but equally importantly it also unsettled the accepted ways in which politics has been explained and understood.


BY EMILIAN KAVALSKI | MAY 30, 2012

handbook

In this respect, the study of political phenomena seems to have been undergoing an intense and oftentimes troubled reflection on the validity and relevance of its theories, methods, and propositions. At the same time, the proliferation of a diverse set of new (or previously overlooked) issues on the political stage has urged such reconsiderations of the study of politics to promptly produce explanatory frameworks that can offer germane responses to the emerging challenges.

A key feature of such reconsiderations of political processes has been the confrontation with the pervasive dynamics of globalization. Its patterns reflect the complex interaction between societies and states as a result of the breadth, speed, and scope of technological innovation, the proliferation of affordable means of travel, and the growing levels of economic interdependence. While it is often difficult to render legible such a dynamic international environment, this has not deterred a number of state and non-state actors to engage in creative entrepreneurship on the global stage. It is the thoughtful explanation and understanding of these dynamics that are at the heart of the volume edited by Kevin T. Leicht and J. Craig Jenkins.
The editors have done an excellent job of emphasizing the distinct aspects from the globalization of the complex interactions between state and society. In this respect, the volume offers an excellent overview of the main trends animating current debates in the study of political phenomena. The point of departure for the collection is the acknowledgement that it will be shortsighted to treat politics only as “why, when, and how people get what they want,” because this would make the study of politics merely “synonymous with the study of social life” (pp. 1-2). Instead, the contributors to the volume make the case that while “social life” covers a fairly wide-ranging domain both politics and its study are a much broader and diverse field. In this setting, the collection launches an inquisitive discussion of the continuity and change in the study of politics in response to the challenges posed by globalization.

 


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*Published in Journal of Global Analysis (JGA) Vol. 3 | No. 1
© Copyright 2012 by CESRAN

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