Show The Graduate Center Menu

American Politics

Thomas Halper

Halper: Halper: The Misfortunes of Others Halper: Power, Politics, and American Democracy Halper: Foreign Policy Crisis

Thomas Halper, Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk: A Survey and a Critique(London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003).

Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk will appeal to philosophers and social scientists interested in issues of rights and social justice, and to graduate students and journalists seeking a critical survey of the field. Innumerable recent books have addressed the issues of rights and social justice, but none combines the comprehensiveness, disinterestedness, and brevity found in this work. Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk is unique in its critical, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may approach; is untainted with special pleading for specific philosophical schools or social policies; is distinctive in its range, examining the views of classical as well as contemporary thinkers and trendy as well as more established approaches; is relentless in its confrontation of the abstract with the concrete; discusses positive rights in such contexts as health care, education, foreign aid, homelessness, welfare, and disaster relief policies; is distinctive in its prose, which is vivid, engaging, clear, occasionally funny, and never pompous or engorged with jargon; can be read and enjoyed by serious non-specialists as well as specialists.

Thomas Halper, The Misfortunes of Others: End-Stage Renal Disease in the United Kingdom (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

In this important new study, Thomas Halper examines the policies and practices of the British National Health Service in treating kidney disease. Technological advances since the 1960s mean that end-stage renal disease, an otherwise fatal condition, can usually be treated successfully.  In Britain, however, the availability of resources necessary for treatment is still limited and many people must go untreated.  Professor Halper discusses a number of issues, both ethical and political, that arise from having to choose who does and does not get treated.  These issues include: the right to health care; the interaction between political demands, government agencies, and public policy; the promise of technology in a society where resources are scarce; and duties owed the individual by the community (and vice versa).

The book draws on numerous personal accounts, often moving or unintentionally revealing, and prove interesting to professionals and students with an interest in philosophy (especially medical ethics), health care, public health care, public health, public policy, and British politics.

Ruth O'Brien

Ruth O'Brien ed.,TELLING STORIES OUT OF COURT: Narratives about Women and Workplace Discrimination (New York: Cornell University Press , 2008).

“Few of the countless real-life stories of workplace discrimination suffered by men and women every day are ever told publicly. This book boldly and eloquently rights that wrong, going where no plaintiff testimony could ever dare because these stories are often too raw, honest, ambiguous, and nuanced to be told in court or reported in a newspaper.”--from the Foreword

Telling Stories out of Court reaches readers on both an intellectual and an emotional level, helping them to think about, feel, and share the experiences of women who have faced sexism and discrimination at work. It focuses on how the federal courts interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Offering insights that law texts alone cannot, the short stories collected here--all but two written for this volume--help readers concentrate on the emotional content of the experience with less emphasis on the particulars of the law. Grouped into thematic parts titled “In Their Proper Place,” “Unfair Treatment,” “Sexual Harassment,” and “Hidden Obstacles,” the narratives are combined with interpretive commentary and legal analysis that anchor the book by revealing the impact this revolutionary law had on women in the workplace.

At the same time, the stories succeed on their own terms as compelling works of fiction, from “LaKeesha's Job Interview,” in which a woman's ambition to move from welfare to work faces an ironic obstacle, to “Plato, Again,” in which a woman undergoing treatment for cancer finds her career crumble under her, to “Vacation Days,” which takes the reader inside the daily routine of a nanny who works at the whim of her employer.


C. G. K. Atkins
Bebe Moore Campbell
Ellen Dannin
Alice Elliott Dark
Kristen Iversen
Harriet Kriegel
Stephen Kuusisto
Catherine Lewis
Risa L. Lieberwitz
Achim Nowak
Ruth O'Brien
Eileen Pollack
Aurelie Sheehan
Sharon Oard Warner

Ruth O'Brien ed., Voices from the Edge: Narratives About the Americans With Disabilities Act (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004).

Fear, rage, courage, discrimination. These are facts of everyday life for many Americans with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made working, traveling, and communicating easier for many individuals. But has this significant piece of civil rights legislation helped those with disabilities become fully accepted members of society? How does an individual deal with discriminatory situations that the law cannot, does not, or will not cover? What is life like in post-ADA America? The stories in this collection give readers a chance to visualize and perhaps resolve these questions for themselves. Using the techniques of both fiction and creative non-fiction, the contributors bring to life the everyday problems that people with disabilities face. Rather than analyzing the law, the writers dramatize the complex set of issues underlying the ADA as it is practiced and interpreted around the country: at a small Southern college, in the Library of Congress, on a New York City sidewalk. The stories from these local battlegrounds form a unique portrait of a continuing struggle. Ruth O'Brien's legal commentary on the Americans with Disabilities Act supplements these narratives. Organized analytically to reflect the ADA's main provisions, her commentary draws out and responds to the legal issues raised in each contributor's narrative. Discussing relevant Supreme Court and federal cases, O'Brien addresses key legal questions such as: What recourse do individuals have when enforcement of the law is ambiguous or virtually nonexistent? What is a disability? How will its changing definition affect individuals' lives-as well as their legal actions-in the future? Voices from the Edge seeks to challenge the mindset of those who would deny equal protection to the disabled, while providing informative analysis of the intent and application of the ADA for those who wish to learn more about disability rights. Giving voice to many types of discrimination the disabled face while illustrating the personal stakes underlying legal disputes over the ADA, this collection offers unparalleled insight into the lives behind the law.

Ruth O'Brien, Crippled Justice: The History of Modern Disability Policy in the Workplace (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2001).

Crippled Justice, the first comprehensive intellectual history of disability policy in the workplace from World War II to the present, explains why American employers and judges, despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, have been so resistant to accommodating the disabled in the workplace. Ruth O'Brien traces the origins of this resistance to the postwar disability policies inspired by physicians and psychoanalysts that were based on the notion that disabled people should accommodate society rather than having society accommodate them. O'Brien shows how the remnants of postwar cultural values bogged down the rights-oriented policy in the 1970s and how they continue to permeate judicial interpretations of provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In effect, O'Brien argues, these decisions have created a lose/lose situation for the very people the act was meant to protect. Covering developments up to the present, Crippled Justice is an eye-opening story of government officials and influential experts, and how our legislative and judicial institutions have responded to them.

Ruth O'Brien, Workers' Paradox: The Republican Origins of New Deal Labor Policy, 1886-1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).

Reinterpreting the roots of twentieth-century American labor law and politics, Ruth O'Brien argues that it was not New Deal Democrats but rather Republicans of an earlier era who developed the fundamental principles underlying modern labor policy. By examining a series of judicial rulings from the first three decades of the century, she demonstrates that the emphasis on establishing the procedural rights of workers that is usually associated with the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 actually emerged over a decade earlier, in the Republican-formulated labor legislation of the 1920s.

O'Brien's findings underscore a paradox within the foundation of labor policy and the development of liberalism in the United States. The leaders of the liberal state created a strict regulatory framework for organized labor only after realizing that the mainstream labor movement's capacity for collective power threatened to undermine individualism and classlessness in American society. In other words, O'Brien argues, the individualism that accounts for the overall weakness of the liberal state also produced America's statist labor policy.

Ruth O'Brien, Bodies in Revolt: Gender, Disability, and a Workplace Ethic of Care (New York: Routledge, 2005).

Bodies in Revolt argues that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) could humanize capitalism by turning employers into care-givers, creating an ethic of care in the workplace. Unlike other feminists, Ruth O'Brien bases her ethics not on benevolence, but rather on self-preservation. She relies on Deleuze and Guattari's interpretation of Spinoza and Foucault's conception of corporeal resistance to show how a workplace ethic that is neither communitarian nor individualistic can be based upon the rallying cry "one for all and all for one."

O'Brien contends that, to instigate such a revolt, disability must be viewed as an integral part of life, an ever-evolving, indeed, almost universal aspect of the human condition. This recognition transforms the ADA from a narrow civil rights law into the most revolutionary labor/civil rights law that the United States has ever seen. Its employment provisions would do nothing less than undercut capitalism by making employers provide reasonable accommodations on the basis of human needs instead of profits. Accommodating one person sets precedents for all. Absent a divide between individual rights and collective action, persons with disabilities become Foucauldian agents of resistance or "bodies in revolt," undermining the standardization and dehumanization of the post-Fordist political economy.

Frances Fox Piven


Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977).

Have the poor fared best by participating in conventional electoral politics or by engaging in mass defiance and disruption? The authors of the classic Regulating The Poor assess the successes and failures of these two strategies as they examine, in this provocative study, four protest movements of lower-class groups in 20th century America:

The mobilization of the unemployed during the Great Depression that gave rise to the Workers' Alliance of America
The industrial strikes that resulted in the formation of the CIO
The Southern Civil Rights Movement
The movement of welfare recipients led by the National Welfare
Rights Organization

Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Why Americans Still Don't Vote and Why Politicians Want It That Way (Boston: Beacon Press, Revised 2000).

Americans take for granted that ours is the very model of a democracy. At the core of this belief is the assumption that the right to vote is firmly established. But in fact, the United States is the only major democratic nation in which the less well-off, the young, and minorities are substantially underrepresented in the electorate.
Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward were key players in the long battle to reform voter registration laws that finally resulted in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the Motor Voter law). When Why Americans Don't Vote was first published in 1988, this battle was still raging, and their book was a fiery salvo. It demonstrated that the twentieth century had witnessed a concerted effort to restrict voting by immigrants and blacks through a combination of poll taxes, literacy tests, and unwieldy voter registration requirements.

Why Americans Still Don't Vote brings the story up to the present. Analyzing the results of voter registration reform, and drawing compelling historical parallels, Piven and Cloward reveal why neither of the major parties has tried to appeal to the interests of the newly registered-and thus why Americans still don't vote.

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, The Politics of Turmoil (New York: Pantheon, 1974).

In their first and highly praised book, Regulating the Poor, Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, two of America's best-known radical social critics, documented the rise of the welfare crisis in America and put forth their thesis as to its causes, effects, and solutions.  In The Politics of Turmoil, they have gathered their other essays on the urban crisis, analyzing the different aspects of the political upheaval produced in the cities since World War II.
One facet of this upheaval has been the great black migration to the cities and the subsequent rise of insurgency among the black poor themselves, taking the form of marches, riots, rent strikes, and welfare protest.  Several essays evaluate these movements, showing that the relatively closed American political system, which often made protest the only option available to the poor, also finally defeated them. 

Migration brought great numbers of blacks into the arena of city politics, generating the hope that they would follow the path presumably taken by other ethnic groups, gaining power and patronage through municipal politics.  Another group of essays examines the basis for the hope in the political structure of contemporary American cities, and concludes that the prospects for the realization of black power are exceedingly dim.

The final essays discuss efforts by American political elites to moderate the disorder welling up in the ghettos, efforts ranging from the establishment of manpower training and mental health programs to the "War on Poverty."  Modest as these programs were, the greater irony is that the black poor did not turn out to be their chief beneficiaries; sectors of the middle class profited more.  Once again, the poor had made the trouble and others made the gains.

Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, The New Class War: Reagan's Attack on the Welfare State and Its Consequences (New York: Pantheon, 1982).

The slashing of the social programs by the Reagan administration poses the most serious threat to the welfare state since its origins in the Great Depression.  In this book, Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward propose an explanation why a new class war has been declared not only on the poor but on workers as well.

Piven and Cloward start by examining the enormous changes that the current administration has brought about in our social policies.  However, they go well beyond the usual examination of cuts and ask, for the first time, the underlying questions why these policies were carried out and what their overall economic impact is meant to be.  They go on to predict that this assault will be resisted.  Since the New Deal, Americans have come to recognize that government plays a major role in economic life, that it is responsible for the economic well-being of its citizenry.

That was not always so.  The politicization of economic rights represents a radical departure from traditional American beliefs.  In contrast to much of Europe, working people in the United States have rarely demanded government intervention on their own behalf.  The major reason that government had little proper role in economic life was the prevalence of laissez-faire doctrine.  Piven and Cloward examine the distinctively American institutions that gave life to this doctrine, and show how these gradually broke down as state intervention in the economy expanded throughout the twentieth century.  Their re-examination of American history is daring and provocative.  It proposes a perspective on the American past that is harshly realistic, and a perspective on the American future that is boldly optimistic.

The New Class War is one of those rare books that manages, in the compass of a very few pages, to offer new answers to long-standing and basic questions.  It will be read and debated for years to come.

Fred Block, Richard Cloward, Barbara Ehrenreich and Frances Fox Piven, The Mean Season: The Attack on the Welfare State (New York: Pantheon, 1987).

Against the crescendo of fashionable attacks upon the welfare state, our boldest social thinkers--Fred Block, Richard Cloward, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Frances Fox Piven--argue for its real, hard-won accomplishments.  The Mean Season analyzes Regan's war on the poor and the welfare state to reveal its true beneficiaries--and its true targets.  More than a defense of the welfare state's economic efficiency and fairness, The Mean Season is a reaffirmation of those decent, human values so much under attack in Regan's America.

Frances Fox Piven Ed., Labor Parties in Postindustrial Societies, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991).

Vast changes in western societies have dimmed the prospects of the labor-based political parties that emerged a century ago, and became major contenders for government power.

This book makes evident the problems generated for left parties by the emerging postindustrial economic order.  However, despite common difficulties, each party confronts the new problems of post-industrialism in the context of different national political heritages and party legacies.  These differences, in turn, go far toward explaining the relative success of some parties and the disarray of others.

The internationally renowned contributors include: Joel Krieger, Goran Therborn, Claus Offe, Gosta Esping-Andersen, Ivor Crewe, George Ross, Asher Arian, Ilan Talmud, Neil Bradford, Jane Jenson and Alan DiGaetano.

Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare (New York: Vintage Books, Revised 1993).

Originally published in 1971, this social science classic outlines the social functions of welfare programs.



Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Breaking of the American Social Compact (New York: The New Press, 1997).

Piven and Cloward demonstrate that under the banner of "globalization," a mobilized American business class is driving down wages and benefits, breaking unions, weakening civil rights, and slashing programs that protect the disadvantaged - all at a time when income and wealth inequality has reached historic extremes. They argue that business elites' claim that ordinary people must make due with less because of the imperatives of the global markets is a hoax, and that the effort to dismantle the social compact should instead be understood as an ideologically powered political mobilization by business.

Frances Fox Piven, Joan Acker, Margaret Hallock and Sandra Morgen Eds., Work, Welfare and Politics: Confronting Poverty in the Wake of Welfare Reform (Eugene: University of Oregon Press, 2002).

Work, Welfare and Politics sheds much-needed light on the ideology and impacts of recent welfare reform legislation.  Highlighted by Frances Fox Piven, activist, professor and author from City University of New York, notable scholars, advocates and policymakers explore the timely issues currently facing legislators.  From politics and social control to families and childcare, this volume is comprehensive in scope--and offers concrete suggestions for authentic welfare reform.

Is low-wage work a solution to poverty?  Should work trump caregiving for low-income mothers?  Do job-training programs do more harm than good for low-wage workers?  Do current programs encourage education for low-income parents?  How are states dealing with low-income people after the "end of welfare as we know it"?

Work, Welfare and Politics appears at a crucial time in the welfare reform discussion.  As these issues come before Congress and to the public, the authors provide essential depth and dimension to an informed debate.  Born out of a 2000 conference sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, Work, Welfare and Politics offers analysis and solutions, thorough background and a look ahead.

Frances Fox Piven, The War at Home: The Domestic Costs of Bush’s Militarism (New York: New Press, 2004).

While numerous analysts have discussed, and decried, the geopolitical ambitions of the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies, the attention to America’s imperial posture overseas has turned our eyes away from a crucial dimension of belligerent foreign policy: the domestic politics of war. Frances Fox Piven, examines the ways the war on terror served to shore up the Bush administration’s political base and analyzes the manner in which flag-waving politicians used the emotional fog of war to further their regressive social and economic agendas.

Francis Fox Piven, Challenging Authority (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).

Drawing on critical episodes in American History, including the American Revolution, the abolitionist movement, the labor movement and the Black freedom movement, Piven shows that it is at such seismic moments when ordinary people act outside of self-restricting political norms that they become a force in American politics. 

Andrew Polsky

Andrew Polsky, Rise of the Therapeutic State (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1991).

Assuming that "marginal" citizens cannot govern their own lives, proponents of the therapeutic state urge casework intervention to reshape the attitudes and behaviors of those who live outside the social mainstream. Thus the victims of poverty, delinquency, family violence, and other problems are to be "normalized." But "normalize," to Andrew Polsky, is a term that "jars the ear, as well it should when we consider what this effort is all about." Here he investigates the broad network of public agencies that adopt the casework approach.

Stanley Renshon


Stanley Renshon, The Psychological Assessment of Presidential Candidates (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1996).

While there is increasing public awareness that the psychology, judgment, and leadership qualities of presidential candidates count, the basis on which these judgments should be made remains unclear. Does it matter that Gary Hart changed his name or had an affair? Should Ed Muskie's loss of composure while defending his wife during a campaign speech, or Thomas Eagleton's hospitalization for depression, have counted against them? Looking back over the past twenty-five years, Stanley A. Renshon, a political scientist and psychoanalyst, provides the first comprehensive accounting of how character has become an increasingly important issue in a presidential campaign. He traces two related but distinctive approaches to the issue of presidential character and psychology. The first concerns the "mental health" of our candidates and presidents. Are they emotionally and personally stable? Is their temperament suitable for the presidency? The second concerns character. Is the candidate honest? Does he possess the necessary judgment and motivation to deal with tremendous responsibilities and pressures of the office? Drawing on his clinical and political science training, Renshon has devised a theory which will allow the public to better evaluate presidential candidates. Why are honesty, integrity, and personal ideals so important in judging candidates? Is personal and political ambition necessarily a bad trait? Do extramarital affairs really matter? Finally, and most importantly, how can the public tell whether a candidate's leadership will be enhanced or impeded by aspects of his personality?

Stanley Renshon and Deborah Welch Larson eds., Good Judgment in Foreign Policy: Theory and Application (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).

At the heart of political leadership lies choice. And at the heart of choice lies judgment. A leader's psychology and experience intersect with political realities to produce consequences that can make or break a leader--or a country. Nowhere is judgment more important than in the making of foreign policy. Good judgments can avoid wars, or win them. Poor judgments can start wars or lose them. This book draws together a distinguished group of contributors--psychologists, political scientists, and policymakers--to focus on and understand both good and poor judgment in foreign policy making. Case studies of key leadership decisions combine with theoretical overviews and analyses to offer a highly textured portrait of judgment in action in the all-important foreign policy arena. An up-to-the-minute case on George W. Bush and the war on terrorism applies good judgment theory to contemporary events.

Stanley Renshon, High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition (New York: New York University Press, 1996).

In this perceptive psychological portrait of Clinton and his Presidency, Stanley A. Renshon investigates whether Clinton has demonstrated the requisite qualities of judgment, vision, character, and skill to meet the daunting challenges he faces domestically and internationally. Renshon incisively analyzes Clinton's sweeping ambitions, his enormous confidence in himself and his goals, and his success in convincing people that he genuinely cares about them. He reveals a Bill Clinton whose capacity for political success is often undermined by the very traits for which many praise him. His unusually high self-confidence, for instance, leads him to believe that he, as a "New Democrat," can accomplish what others have not, that he can, for instance, reconcile polar opposites such as liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. Remarkably persistent throughout Clinton's career are certain traits that have defined him to the public -- his tendency to make promises he cannot keep, his uneven political performance, his ability to win people over in person, his sudden bursts of anger. Renshon traces the development of Clinton's character from his early family experiences to his highly successful adolescence and long political career. He illustrates how each step along the way Clinton's inconsistent experiences as an adored but disregarded child; his attempt to avoid the draft and the consequences of doing so; his marriage to Hillary Rodham, whose own psychology has both helped and hurt him; and his tenure as governor during which his character first became a political issue -- is crucial to understanding his erratic and controversial presidency. Exploring the nature of the Clinton marriage as a political partnership and of Hillary Clinton as an "associate president," this is the first serious psychological examination of Clinton, the man and the President.

Stanley Renshon, The Clinton Presidency: Campaigning, Governing, and the Psychology of Leadership (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995).

Stanley Renshon brings together a collection of compelling analyses of the Clinton presidency. Beginning with the 1992 election campaign, the contributors explore the interplay between U.S. presidents and the public they serve. Clinton's specific strengths and weaknesses, the tools he relies on, and his most important opportunities are revealed in this dynamic psychological portrait.


Stanley Renshon ed., Political Psychology of the Gulf War: Leaders, Publics, and the Process of Conflict (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1993).

This fascinating book explores the political psychology behind the invasion, conquest and annexation of Kuwait by Iraq in the summer of 1990 and the subsequent United States-led war of 1991. What motivated the major actors to do what they did? What elements went into the decisions that were made, and how adequate were these decisions? Essays by a broad array of academic experts address these and other questions from diverse perspectives. In the first part of the book, on the war's psychological origins, L. Carl Brown examines the "Arab collective self-image'' and its role in the war. Part two focuses on George Bush and Saddam Hussein, including analyses of Bush's tendency to lash back aggressively when challenged and Hussein's need to best his traditional political rival, President Assad of Syria. Other sections focus on the unfolding of the Gulf War and the role of the media, and the ways in which the populations in the U.S. and the Middle East both affected and were affected by the process of conflict. This book vividly illustrates how both personal and group psychology interact with the contexts in which decisions are made. It also underscores the fact that political contexts are themselves psychological. Renshon edits the journal Political Psychology.

Stanley Renshon, In His Father's Shadow: The Transformations of George W. Bush (New York : Palgave/Macmillan, 2004).

From a pampered son who showed little promise, to his rise to the presidency, George W. Bush has transformed himself through acts of will and faith. This book examines the psychological transformation of Mr. Bush and identifies the pivotal changes that allowed him to achieve success in his personal life and in the political arena, and shows how Bush's personal transformation has come to shape his political policies. Those four transformations define both his biographical psychology and his leadership psychology.

The 1 st transformation is of GWB from a relatively immature and unfocused adolescent, a somewhat aimless young adult, and a relatively unsuccessful middle- aged man to a maturing man whose purpose and skills have picked up warp speed in the last decade of his life.

The 2 nd transformation is as president before and after nine-eleven. Contrary to the arguments of Karl Rove, I think 9-11 did have a profound effect on GWB—not to mention of course his presidency. He went from having a purpose to having a mission.

The 3rd transformation is the Bush administration's ambition to transform American domestic politics from a left center to a right- center policy paradigm. And the 4 th transformation is of American's place and role in the world. Nine-eleven profoundly changed the international calculus, and America 's stance toward it, at least for the Bush Administration.

The man who battled--and defeated--his own inner demons has become a president determined to battle the demons of terrorism and extremism that prevent democracy from flourishing around the world. This psychological portrait provides an assessment of both the president's psychology and leadership and his prospects as a transformational leader.

Stanley Renshon (ed.), One America: Political Leadership, National Identity and the Dilemmas of Diversity (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown U. Press, 2001).

With enormous numbers of new immigrants, America is becoming dramatically more diverse racially, culturally, and ethnically. As a result, the United States faces questions that have profound consequences for its future. What does it mean to be an American? Is a new American identity developing? At the same time, the coherence of national culture has been challenged by the expansion of—and attacks on—individual and group rights, and by political leaders who prefer to finesse rather than engage cultural controversies. Many of the ideals on which the country was founded are under intense, often angry, debate, and the historic tension between individuality and community has never been felt so keenly.

In One America?,distinguished contributors discuss the role of national leadership, especially the presidency, at a time when a fragmented and dysfunctional national identity has become a real possibility. Holding political views that encompass the thoughtful left and right of center, they address fundamental issues such as affirmative action, presidential engagement in questions of race, dual citizenship, interracial relationships, and English as the basic language.

This book is the first examination of the role of national political leaders in maintaining or dissipating America’s national identity. It will be vital reading for political scientists, historians, policymakers, students, and anyone concerned with the future of American politics and society.

Stanley Renshon, America's Second Civil War: Dispatches from the Political Center (New Jersey : Transaction Publishers, 2002).

America has always taken a coherent national identity for granted. In recent decades that assumption has been challanged. Individual and group rights have expanded, eliciting acerbic debate about the legitimacy and limits of claims. National political leaders have preferred to finesse rather engage these controversies. At the same time, large numbers of new immigrants have dramatically made the United States more racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse. As a result this country faces critical political and cultural questions. What does it mean to be an American? What, if anything, binds our country and citizens together? Is a "new American identity" developing, and if so, what is it? Can political leaders help us answer these questions?

For the second time in the history of the United States another civil war looms. Tthe new danger lies in conflicts among people of different racial, cultural, and ethnic heritages, and between those who view themselves as culturally, politically, and economically disadvantaged versus those whom they see as privileged. Unlike the first Civil War, the antagonists cannot take refuge in their family or their religious, social, cultural or political organizations. These are the precisely the places were the war is being fought. At issue is whether it is possible or desirable to preserve the strengths of a common heritage. Some quarters insist that our past has resulted in a culture only worth tearing down to build over, rather than one worth keeping and building upon. We are in conflict over the viability of American culture and identity itself.

This volume is organized into a series of intellectually grounded but provocative chapters on political leadership, the 2000 presidential campaign. Immigration, affirmative action, and other contemporary social and political issues. Renshon uses the perspective of political psychology to help us to see old issues in new ways, and new issues in different ways. His critical question are the impact of immigration on American common values, national identity, and politics. America's Second Civil War examines issues likely to be at the forefront of American politics, culture, and social debate in the new millennium. Intelligently written and intended for a wide audience, it will be of interest to political scientists and students of American politics as well as the general public.

Stanley Renshon, The 50% American: Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terror (Georgetown Univ. Press, 2005).

The United States is the only nation in the world that allows its citizens to hold one or more foreign citizenships, vote in another nation's elections, run for or be appointed to office in another country, and join the armed forces even of a nation with interests hostile to those of the U.S. while retaining their citizenship. These policies reinforce the often already strong emotional, political, and economic ties today's immigrants retain to their home countries. Yet few studies have addressed what dual citizenship means for the United States as a nation and the integration of immigrants into the American national community. Is it possible to reconcile two different nationalities, cultures, and psychologies? How can we honor immigrants' sense of identity without threatening American national identity? What do Americans have a right to expect of immigrants and what do they have a right to expect of Americans?

In The 50% American political psychologist Stanley Renshon offers some insights into the political and national ramifications of personal loyalties. Arguing that the glue that binds this country together is a psychological force—patriotism— he explains why powerful emotional attachments are critical to American civic process and how they make possible united action in times of crisis. In an age of terrorism, the idea that we are all Americans regardless of our differences is more than a credo; it is essential to our national security. Comprehensive in scope, this book examines recent immigration trends, tracing the assimilation process that immigrants to the United States undergo and describing how federal, state, and local governments have dealt with volatile issues such as language requirements, voting rights, and schooling. Renshon turns a critical eye to the challenges posed over the past four decades by multiculturalism, cultural conflict, and global citizenship and puts forth a comprehensive proposal for reforming dual citizenship and helping immigrants and citizens alike become more integrated into the American national community.

Stanley Renshon and John Duckit , Political Psychology: Cultural and Crosscultural Foundations (New York : Macmillan, 2000).

Relationships of culture and political psychology shape a wide range of important contemporary political issues. The distinguished contributors to this book make use of diverse theories of psychology, informed by a broadly comparable understanding of the nature of culture. The book is an important landmark in developing the field of political psychology, developing insights from psychological anthropologists, political scientists and crosscultural psychologists. Critical contemporary social, political and cultural issues of ethnic and crosscultural conflict around the world are crying out for theories making use of the powerful lens of culture along with other refractory frameworks.

Stanley Renshon and Peter Suedfeld, Understanding the Bush Doctrine : Psychology and Strategy in an Age of Terrorism (Routledge, 2007).


In Understanding the Bush Doctrine: Psychology and Strategy in the Age of Terrorism leading scholars of U.S. foreign policy, international relations, and political psychology examine one of the most consequential and controversial statements of national security policy in contemporary American history. Unlike other books which focus only on unilateralism or preventive war, volume provides a comprehensive frame work with which to analyze the Bush Doctrine by identifying five central and interrelated elements of the doctrine-American preeminence, assertive realism, strategic stand-apart alliances, selective multilateralism, and democratic transformation. The essays in the volume examine the Doctrine in terms of these five key elements.

Give its centrality to American national security, and the fact the effects of it are likely to be felt well into the 21st century, Understanding the Bush Doctrine will provide a critically balanced and pointed assessment of the Bush Doctrine and its premises, as well as a fair appraisal of its implications and prospects

Table of Contents

I. The Foundations of the Bush Doctrine
1. The Bush Doctrine Considered Stanley A. Renshon
2. International Relations Theory Meets World Politics: The Neoconservative vs. Realism Debate Gerhard Alexander
II. The Bush Doctrine in the Post 9/11 World
3. The Convinced, the Skeptical, and the Hostile: American and World Public Opinion on the Bush Doctrine Doug Foyle
4. The New Psychology of Alliances Peter Suedfeld, Phillip Tetlock, and Rajiv Jhangiani
5. Illusory promises and strategic reality: rethinking the implications of strategic deterrence in a post-9/11 world Willy Curtis
6. Deterrence in an Age of Asymmetric Rivals: Rogue Leaders and Terrorists
Jerrold Post
7. Preventive War and the Bush Doctrine:
Theoretical Logic and Historical Roots Jack Levy
8. The Psychological Origins of Preventive War
Jonathan Renshon
9. The Democracy Doctrine of President George W. Bush Marvin Zonis
III: The View From Abroad
10. The Bush Doctrine Abroad Alexander Moens
11. Anti-Americanism: Seeing Ourselves in the Mirror of the United States
Janice Stein IV: Conclusion-The Bush Doctrine in Perspective
12. Premature Obituary: The Future of the Bush Doctrine Stanley A. Renshon
The City University of New York
13. The Bush Doctrine in Perspective Peter Suedfeld University of British Columbia


Stanley Renshon, Handbook of Political Socialization: Theory and Research (New York: The Free Press, 1977).


What is learned in political socialization—political attitudes, general attitudes? When does political learning take place? How does learning occur-what are the agencies of impact and how do they operate? What are the consequences of political socialization?

These are some of the fundamental questions raised and discussed in this carefully structured, wide-ranging collection of incisive essays for the professional or student interested in how individuals acquire their political orientations. Handbook of Political Socialization offers lucid explanations and probing analyses of major theories, concepts, findings, and implications in the field. In fifteen chapters, a distinguished group of contributors focuses on different aspects of political socialization; they often use illustrations from comparative studies as they provide insight into new approaches, concepts and methodologies.

Part 1: introduces and develops the basic framework upon which further discussion of theory, research, and methodology depends.
Part II:considers the ongoing process of political socialization through the life cycle as this process is influenced and shaped by various agents.
Part III: discusses the outcomes of the political socialization process in relation to such factors as moral development, political values, and political activism.
Part IV: looks at the future in proposing possible directions for further study in political socialization.

A distinctive feature of this volume is the inclusion of chapter on such often neglected topics as methodology, mass communications, adult socialization, and the policy implications of political socialization research. The important concept of political learning through the life cycle receives special attention.

Stanley Renshon , Psycological Needs and Political Behavior (New York: The Free Press, 1974).

What makes a person participate in the political system? Psychological Needs and Political Behavior exams the problems of why, under what circumstances, and with what consequences citizens take part in politics. It provides a systematic theory of the linkage between basic human needs and political behavior.
The major theme of the book is that the motivation to participate in politics originates in the need for personal control. According to Renshon, each person has within him a basic need to gain control over his physical and psychological life space. When the individual’s life space includes the political system, then the link is forged between a need for personal control and its outplay in political life. Renshon not only proposes a motivational need based on this particular need, but goes on to detail the ways in which this need is structured by the social environment.

This book traces the development of the need for personal control. Beginning with its psychological origin in childhood socialization experiences, it follows the political implications in the individual’s selection of later political behaviors. Renshon studies the need motivation to participate, the political action selected, and the degree of satisfaction obtained in the actual arena of political activities.

Of interest to both political scientists and psychologists Psychological Needs and Political Behavior makes a creative breakthrough toward explaining politics in terms of basic human motivations.

Stanley Renshon, National Security in the Obama Administration: Reassessing the Bush Doctrine (New York: Routledge, September 8, 2009)

The Bush Doctrine is dead! At least that’s what critics hope. But while new U.S. national security challenges emerge, many post–9/11 threats still persist and the policies of George W. Bush offer one set of strategic answers for how President Obama can confront those dangers. Neither a polemic nor a whitewash, this book provides a careful analysis of the Bush Doctrine—its development, application, and rationale—and assesses its legacy: How will Obama respond to the many foreign policy challenges that await him?

Through an examination of psychology as much as policy, this book is the first comparative analysis of the Bush Doctrine and the developing Obama Doctrine, analyzes the range of national security issues Obama will face and the political divisions that permeate U.S. national security debates. It is essential reading for anyone looking to understand how presidents assess security risks generally and how Obama specifically is likely to adapt the Bush Doctrine to his own worldview.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Obama Presidency and the World He Inherits
Part I: The Bush Doctrine Reconsidered
Chapter 2: The Evolution of a Post Nine-eleven National Security Perspective
Chapter 3: The Real Bush Doctrine
Chapter 4: The Bush Doctrine: Myths and Criticisms Part II: The Strategic World After 9/11
Chapter 5: The New Calculus of Risk
Chapter 6: Deterrence, Containment and Adversarial Bargaining Post 9/11: North Korea and Iran
Chapter 7: Dangerous Threats and the Use of Force
Chapter 8: Strategic Options and the Future of the Bush Doctrine Part III: The Politics of Post 9/11 National Security
Chapter 9: The Politics of Risk Assessment
Chapter 10: The Politics of Post 9/11 National Security: A Profound Worldview Divide
Chapter 11: Obama’s National Security Tasks: Worldview Leadership and Judgment

Stanley Renshon, Noncitizen Voting and American Democracy (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, June 1, 2009)

Continuing large-scale migration to the United States raises the question of how best to integrate new immigrants into the American national community. Traditionally, one successful answer has been to encourage immigrants to learn our language, culture, history, and civic traditions. New immigrants would then be invited become citizens and welcomed as full members of the community.

However, a concerted effort is underway to gain acceptance for, and implement, the idea that the United States should allow new immigrants to vote without becoming citizens. It is mounted by an alliance that brings together progressive academics, law professors, local and state political leaders, and community activists, all working to decouple voting from American citizenship. Their effort show signs of success, but is it really in America's best interests to allow new immigrants to have the vote? Their proposals have been much advocated, but little analyzed.

This book provides an analysis of the arguments put forward by advocates of this position on the basis of fairness, increasing democracy, civic learning, and moral necessity and asks: Do they really help immigrants become Americans?

Table of Contents
Introduction: Non-citizen Voting: Framing the Issues
Chapter 1: Allowing New Non-citizen Immigrants to Vote A Range of
Chapter 2: Non-citizen Voting: Impact, Complexities, and Progressive
Chapter 3: Evaluating Proposals to Allow Non-citizen Voting: Steps to a
More Useful Discussion
Chapter 4: History, Legality, and Bandwagons
Chapter 5: Iconic Claims, Contrary Evidence
Chapter 6: In Defense of Naturalization

Stanley Renshon, Barack Obama and the Politics of Redemption (New York: Routledge, January, 2012)

Every new president raises many questions and Barack Obama possibly raises more than most. Two years into his presidency debate continues about whether he can be a pragmatic centrist or whether his politics of hope and transformation will ultimately flounder on the rocky shoals of America's deep political divisions. What of his leadership style? Has the uncommonly calm character he demonstrated on the campaign trail kept him from making an essential emotional connection with the American public? Obama took office with extraordinarily high expectations and a palpable hunger in the American psyche for a new national direction. Inflated expectations, however, are often a recipe for disappointment, as the midterm elections seemed to demonstrate.

Based on extensive biographical, psychological, and political research and analysis, noted political psychologist Stanley Renshon follows Obama's presidency through his first two years in office. He digs into the question of who is the real Obama and assesses the advantages and limitations that he brings to the presidency. These questions cannot be answered without recourse to psychological analysis. And they cannot be answered without psychological knowledge of presidential leadership and the presidency itself. Renshon explains that underlying Obama's ambition lies a need for redemption—of himself, of his parents, and ultimately of America itself.

Table of Contents

Annotated Time Line

Chapter 1: The Early Obama Presidency: From Campaigning to Governing
Chapter 2: The Puzzle of Obama's Political Identity
Chapter 3: The Arc of Ambition and the Development of a Style

Chapter 4: Obama's Presidential Leadership: Transformation and Redemption
Chapter 5: The Moral Thrust of Obama's Ambition: Fairness
Chapter 6: The Question of Leadership Integrity
Chapter 7: Ambition's Confidence
Chapter 8: A Zen-like President's Emotional Undercurrents
Chapter 9: Psychology in the White House

Chapter 10: Transformation's Demise and the Redemption of the Obama Presidency
Appendix A: Analyzing Barack Obama: A Note on Theory, Method, Evidence and Inference
Appendix B: A Mysterious President: Puzzlement from the Left, Right and Center


Kenneth Sherrill

Kenneth Sherrill and Marc Wolinsky ed., Gays and the Military: Joseph Steffan versus the United States (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1993).

In April 1987 Joseph C. Steffan, one of the ten highest ranking midshipmen in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy, and only six weeks from graduation, was denied his diploma and forced to resign his commission because he answered "Yes, sir" to the question, "I'd like your word, are you a homosexual?" Six years later his cause, and that of other gay men and lesbians seeking to serve their country by enlistment in the military, has become the subject of intense national controversy. This unusual and innovative work, based on the litigation strategy and court papers filed in the case of Joseph C. Steffan v. Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense, et al., brings the resources of clinical psychiatry, clinical and social psychology, cultural history and political science to bear upon the fundamental questions at issue: How is sexual orientation determined? How and why have socially prejudiced stereotypes about male and female homosexuals developed? Why have gays faced special obstacles in defending themselves against discrimination? How much political power do gays have?

Marc Wolinsky and Kenneth Sherrill argue that gays constitute a politically powerless class that has been unjustly deprived of its constitutional right to equal protection under the law. They have collected here the affidavits filed on behalf of Joseph Steffan in his suit against the United States government, together with the counter-arguments of the Department of Defense and the extraordinary opinion of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Whatever the outcome of the case, presently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, this book will stand as a lasting and indispensable guide to the sources of sexual discrimination.