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Subject: Sociology

Political Corruption in a World in Transition

Edited by Jonathan Mendilow, Rider University and Éric Phélippeau, Université Paris Nanterre, France

April 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-332-3
Availability: Forthcoming

This book argues that the mainstream definitions of corruption, and the key expectations they embed concerning the relationship between corruption, democracy, and the process of democratization, require reexamination. Even critics, who did not take the stable institutions and legal clarity of veteran democracies as a cure-all, assumed that the process of widening the influence on government decision making and implementation allows non-elites to defend their interests, define the acceptable sources and uses of wealth, and demand government accountability. This had proved correct, especially insofar as ‘petty corruption’ is involved. But the assumption that corruption necessarily involves the evasion of democratic principles and a ‘market approach’ in which the corrupt seek to maximize profit do not exhaust the possible incentives for corruption, the types of behaviors involved (for obvious reasons, the tendency in the literature is to focus on bribery), or the range of situations that ‘permit’ corruption in democracies. In the effort to identify some of the problems that require recognition, and to offer a more exhaustive alternative, the chapters in this book focus on corruption in democratic settings (including NGOs and the United Nations which were largely so far ignored), while focusing mainly on behaviors other than bribery.

Onomastics between Sacred and Profane

Edited by Oliviu Felecan

November 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-401-6
Availability: Forthcoming

Religiously, God is the creator of everything seen and unseen; thus, one can ascribe to Him the names of His creation as well, at least in their primordial form. In the mentality of ancient Semitic peoples, naming a place or a person meant determining the role or fate of the named entity, as names were considered to be mysteriously connected with the reality they designated. Subsequently, God gave people the freedom to name persons, objects, and places. However, people carried out this act (precisely) in relation to the divinity, either by remaining devoted to the sacred or by growing estranged from it, an attitude that generated profane names. The sacred/profane dichotomy occurs in all the branches of onomastics, such as anthroponymy, toponymy, and ergonymy. It is circumscribed to complex and interdisciplinary analysis which does not rely on language sciences exclusively, but also on theology, ethnology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, geography, history and other connected fields, as well as culture in general. Despite the contributors’ cultural diversity (29 researchers from 16 countries – England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, U.S.A., and Zimbabwe – on four continents) and their adherence to different religions and faiths, the studies in Onomastics between Sacred and Profane share a common goal that consist of the analysis of names that reveal a person’s identity and behavior, or the existence, configuration and symbolic nature of a place or an object. One can state that names are tightly connected to the surrounding reality, be it profane or religious, in every geographical area and every historical period, and this phenomenon can still be observed today. The particularity of this book lies in the multicultural and multidisciplinary approach in theory and praxis.

A Threatened Rural Idyll? Informal social control, exclusion and the resistance to change in the English countryside

Nathan Aaron Kerrigan, Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science, Coventry University, UK

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-418-4
Availability: In stock
$58 £42 €47

Issues concerning globalisation, protection of identity and resistance to change at the national level (e.g., Brexit) have been the cause of much public and scholarly debate. With this in mind, this book demonstrates how these national, and indeed global narratives, have impacted on and are influenced by ‘going-ons’ in local contexts. By situating these national narratives within a rural context, Kerrigan expertly explores, through ethnographic research, how similar consequences of informal social control and exclusion are maintained in rural England in order to protect rural identity from social and infrastructural change. Drawing on observation, participant observation, and in-depth interviews, ‘A Threatened Rural Idyll’ illustrates how residents from a small but developing rural town in the South of England perceived changes associated with globalisation, such as population growth, inappropriate building developments, and the influx of service industries. For many of the residents, particularly those of middle-class status and long-standing in the town, these changes were seen as a direct threat to the rural character of the town. The investigation highlights how community dynamics and socio-spatial organisation of daily life work to protect the rural traditions inherent in the social and spatial landscape of the town and to maintain the dominance of its largely white, middle-class character. As a result, Kerrigan contends that the resistance to change has the consequence of constructing a social identity that attempts to reinforce the notions of a rural idyll to the exclusion of processes and people seen as representing different values and ideals.

Random Destiny: How the Vietnam War Draft Lottery Shaped a Generation

Wesley Abney

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-196-1
Availability: Forthcoming
$60 £49 €56

This book has two main purposes. One is to present a concise but thorough summary of how the selective service system worked from 1965 through 1973. The second is to demonstrate how this selective process, during a highly unpopular war, steered major life choices of millions of young men seeking deferrals based on education, occupation, marital and family status, sexual orientation, and more. The book explains each category of deferral and its resulting “ripple effect” across society. Putting a human face on these sociological trends, this book includes a number of brief personal anecdotes from men in each category, told from a remove of 40 years, when the lifelong effects of youthful decisions prompted by the draft have become evident. There are few books which address the military draft of the Vietnam years, most notably CHANCE AND CIRCUMSTANCE: The Draft, the War and the Vietnam Generation, by Baskir and Strauss (1978). This early study of draft-age men discusses how they were socially channeled by the selective service system. RANDOM DESTINY follows up on this premise and draws from numerous later studies of men in the lottery pool, to create the definitive portrait of the draft and its long-term personal and social effects. RANDOM DESTINY presents an in-depth explanation of the selective service system in its final years. It also provides a comprehensive yet personal portrait of how the draft and the lottery steered a generation of young lives into many different paths, from combat to conscientious objection, from teaching to prison, from the pulpit to the Canadian border, from public health to gay liberation. It is the only recent book which demonstrates how American military conscription, in the time of an unpopular war, profoundly influenced a generation and a society over the decades that followed.

Machinima – Socio-Cultural Disturbance

Tracy Gaynor Harwood, De Montfort University

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-273-9
Availability: Forthcoming

Since its birth in 1996, machinima (machine-cinema) has grown into a truly global phenomenon – and its latest transformation is evident in the Lets Play community. Machinima is the first digital culture to have emerged from the internet into a mainstream creative genre and it has taken shape as an important fan culture. Its impact has been felt across many aspects of popular culture and its influence can be found in contexts such as the arts and cinema, performance, creative technologies and social media, politics and citizenship. This book traces its history and impacts through a selection of the most culturally significant works. It firstly sets out to describe the key films, provides an overview of the creative processes and interviews with filmmakers and contributors involved in their development. It then traces their release and impact among fans, users and appropriators, supported with material and interviews. This important new work focuses on the specific disruptive socio-cultural impacts of key works identified by the community and Harwood research over a period of 10 years – from film and filmmaking to digital arts, practice and theory. The book will be of interest to machinima researchers and practitioners, including game culture, media theorists and digital artists, and those interested in how creative technologies influences communities of practice over time.