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Comparative Politics

Christa Altenstetter

Christa Altenstetter and James Bjorkman eds., Health Policy (Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1998).

This book gathers together 28 articles previously published in medical and social science journals, to provide an overview of the field of American health policy. Each section includes articles culled from a span of several decades with historical timelines to show contemporary relevance and change over time. The six sections cover the foundations of health policy, socio-economic and political factors, American and comparative national experiences, opportunities and constraints on policy learning, and methodological issues of policy analysis, Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Christa Altenstetter and James Bjorkman eds., Health Policy Reform, National Variations and Globalization (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997).

Health policy reforms are often justified and sometimes generated by ideas - or misperceptions of ideas - about how the health-care system works in other countries. Many countries have attempted to restructure their health-care systems. Brazil, Germany, Israel and The Netherlands have introduced large-scale reforms, whereas France, Britain and Canada have targeted specific aspects. The issue remains on the agenda around the globe, including Eastern Europe and North America - where reforms are largely market-driven. This volume provides new information about these countries and regions in terms of both the financing and delivery of services. It compares selected systems in order to extract lessons or, more appropriately, cautions and caveats about easily voiced proposals for change versus the harsh realities of politics and the inertial constraints of bureaucratic organization. National variations in policy reforms are discussed in terms of managed care, health insurance, institutional ideas, and involvement of foreign experts.

Christa Altenstetter, Medical Devices: European Union Policymaking and the Implementation of Health and Patient Safety in France (New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2007)

Medical devices are the bread and butter from which health care and clinical research are derived. Such devices are used for patient care, genetic testing, clinical trials, and experimental clinical investigations. Without medical devices, there is no clinical research or patient care. Without life-adjusting devices, there are no medical procedures or surgery. Without life-saving and life-maintaining devices, there is no improvement in well-being and quality of life. Without innovative medical devices and experimentation, there can be no medical progress or patient safety. Medical devices and medical technology are used to create or support many different products and medical-surgical procedures.

This volume on the regulation of medical devices in the European Union, with a focus on France, tackles a topic of interdisciplinary interest and significance for policymakers in countries around the globe. The EU regulatory regime is one of three global regional regimes, and medical products manufactured in EU countries are sold worldwide. As countries confront an aging population on a global scale, with associated increases in chronic diseases, physical handicaps, and multi-morbidity, there will inevitably be an increase in the demand for health services and, concomitantly, the use of medical devices in medical and surgical procedures. This will be the case regardless of whether services are delivered in hospitals, doctors’ offices, or at home. The associated risks of a particular device will be the same whatever the country of origin for the device, or where the need occurs. Revolutionary medical advances increase diagnostic capabilities, but they increase the potential of harm and risks to patients.

Medical technologies and devices are used ethically most of the time; yet they have the potential for unethical use when scientific medicine is elevated over human life and death. Assumptions that are taken for granted can be dangerous to a patient’s health. That is why our understanding of appropriate and effective regulation of medical devices is significant to all people on all continents.

Sherrie Baver

Sherrie Baver, The Political Economy of Colonialism: The State and Industrialization in Puerto Rico, (Westport: Praeger, 1993).

This study examines how Puerto Rico's industrial development process has shaped and been shaped by the state, relations with Washington, and Puerto Rican society, especially in light of the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s. Sherrie Baver posits that Puerto Rico's extreme integration into the U.S. political economy was an unintended consequence of the development model, and that its result has been a state whose tasks, such as securing an environment for private capital accumulation and income redistribution, have become increasingly regulated by the federal government, challenging Puerto Rico's commonwealth status. Recommended for scholars of Latin American Politics and Third World Development.

Gabriel Haslip-Viera and Sherrie Baver eds., Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996).

Since the 1980’s a number of important books have been published that focus on issues affecting Hispanics throughout the United States; none until now, however, have focused solely on the New York experience. The 12 essays collected in Latinos in New York comprise the first booklength analysis of the past and present condition of Latinos in metropolitan New York. Focusing on Puerto Ricans, these essays also contain the most up-to-date thinking on the newer Latino migrant groups in New York such as the Dominicans, Cubans, Mexicans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Peruvians. Not only do the contributors emphasize the specificity of the New York Latino experience, they also suggest the generalization of many of their findings and policy recommendations to the national level.

Latinos in New York will be used as a text for courses in ethnic studies, sociology, political science, anthropology, and indeed any class that deals with minorities in urban America. While the book emphasizes what is unique about the Latino experience in New York, the authors also intend that the essays will be of relevance to general readers interested in Latino issues, policy analysts, and students of the Latino experience throughout the United States.

Sherrie Baver and Barbara Deutsch Lynch (eds.), Beyond Sun and Sand: Carribbean Environmentalisms (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2006).

Filtered through the lens of the North American and European media, the Caribbean appears to be a series of idyllic landscapes—sanctuaries designed for sailing, diving, and basking in the sun on endless white sandy beaches. Conservation literature paints a similarly enticing portrait, describing the region as a habitat for endangered coral reefs and their denizens, parrots, butterflies, turtles, snails, and a myriad of plant species.

In both versions, the image of the exotic landscape overshadows the rich island cultures that are both linguistically and politically diverse, but trapped in a global economy that offers few options for development. Popular depictions also overlook the reality that the region is fraught with environmental problems, including water and air pollution, solid waste mismanagement, destruction of ecosystems, deforestation, and the transition from agriculture to ranching.

Bringing together ten essays by social scientists and activists, Beyond Sun and Sand provides the most comprehensive exploration to date of the range of environmental issues facing the region and the social movements that have developed to deal with them. The authors consider the role that global and regional political economies play in this process and provide valuable insight into Caribbean environmentalism. Many of the essays by prominent Caribbean analysts are made available for the first time in English.

John Bowman

John Bowman, Capitalist Collective Action (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989).

This unique volume presents a theory of capitalist collective action and a case study of the pre-World War II American coal industry to which the theory is applied. The author examines the irony of capitalist firms that do not want to compete with each other, but often cannot avoid doing so. He then explains under what conditions businesses would be able to organize their competition and identifies the economic and political factors that facilitate or inhibit this organization. The case study not only illustrates the theory, but demonstrates how the competitive relations of capitalist firms are critically important determinants of their political behavior.

Forrest Colburn


Forrest Colburn, Latin America at the End of Politics (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2002).

After decades of ideological struggle, much of it in the service of an elusive socialist ideal, Latin America has embraced liberalism--democracy and unfettered markets. But liberalism has triumphed more by default than through exuberance. The region's democracies are fragile and lethargic. Despite pronounced social inequality, widespread poverty, and other difficulties, the populace is not engaged in deep discussions about state and society. The end of ideological contests has dampened political conflict, but likewise lessened the sense of urgency for solving trenchant problems. Political fatigue and devotion to acquisition have smothered egalitarianism as even an ideal. There is an uneasy social indifference.

Latin America at the End of Politics explores this period of circumscribed political passions through deft portrayals of crucial political, economic, social, and cultural issues: governance, entrepreneurs and markets, urban bias, poverty, the struggle for women's equality, consumerism, crime, environmental degradation, art, and migration of the poor. Discussions of these issues are enriched by the poignant narratives of emblematic individuals, many of whom are disoriented by the ideological void of the era.

Forrest Colburn's highly original analysis draws on his deep scholarly and personal familiarity with Latin America. The collage of issues discussed, set in a provocative framework, offers a compelling interpretation of Latin America in the aftermath of the last century's ideological battles--and a way to begin to talk about the region's future.

Forrest Colburn, The Vogue of Revolution in Poor Countries (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1994).

In the aftermath of World War II, revolutions upset a surprisingly large number of poor countries, among them Vietnam, China, Cuba, Algeria, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, Afghanistan, Iran, and Nicaragua. Revolutionaries in these geographically and culturally disparate countries came to power through different routes, but once in power they had remarkably similar ideas about how to remake their states and societies. In this passionate analysis of the course of these revolutions, Forrest Colburn suggests that shared institutional and policy choices of revolutionary elites arose from a fashionable political imagination. Paradoxically, in an era marked by the demise of European colonialism, it was Europeans - mainly Marx, Engels, and Lenin - who supplied the vision of what could replace colonialism. Colburn traces the diffusion of this intoxicating political imagination not to the Soviet Union, but instead to Western Europe and North America, where socialism was rarely more than political fantasy. In Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, this imagination inspired revolution, but more importantly led to sadly flawed ideas about how to eliminate poverty and inequality. The vogue for revolution in poor countries withered away in a descent accelerated, but not initiated, by the East European events of 1989-1991. This lucid book clarifies why so many countries were so profoundly wrecked in the frenzied pursuit of a dreamt-up world.

Forrest Colburn, My Car in Managua (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991).

Histories of revolutions often focus on military, political, or economic upheavals but sometimes neglect to connect these larger events to the daily lives of 'ordinary' people. Yet the peoples' perception that 'things are worse than before' can topple revolutionary governments, as shown by recent defeat of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and the governments of Eastern Europe. Providing the kind of prosaic, revealing details that more formal histories have excluded, My Car in Managua offers an objective, often humorous description of the great difficulties and occasional pleasures of life in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution.

Forrest D. Colburn and Arturo Cruz S., Varieties of Liberalism in Central America: Nation-States as Works in Progress (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007 ).

Why do some countries progress while others stagnate? Why does adversity strengthen some countries and weaken others? Indeed, in this era of unprecedented movement of people, goods, and ideas, just what constitutes a nation-state? Forrest Colburn and Arturo Cruz suggest how fundamental these questions are through an exploration of the evolution of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica over the last quarter of a century, a period of intriguing, often confounding, paradoxes in Central America's development.
Offering an elegant defense of empiricism, Colburn and Cruz explore the roles of geography and political choice in constructing nations and states. Countries are shown to be unique: there are a daunting number of variables. There is causality, but not the kind that can be revealed in the laboratory or on the blackboard. Liberalism—today defined as democracy and unfettered markets—may be in vogue, but it has no inherent determinants. Democracy and market economies, when welded to the messy realities of individual countries, are compatible with many different outcomes. The world is more pluralistic in both causes and effects than either academic theories or political rhetoric suggest.

Joyce Gelb

Joyce Gelb, Gender Policies in Japan and the United States: Comparing Women's Movements, Rights, and Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

This book is the first to explore the similarities and differences in gender-related policy making and outcomes in Japan and the U.S., concentrating on the areas of equal employment, domestic violence, and reproductive rights, with additional attention to gender equality policy in Japan and "family friendly policy" in both nations. It analyzes the significance of international feminism and new standards of gender equity--kansetsu gaiatsu--as a resource for Japanese feminists seeking policy reform, as well as new trends toward policy cooperation.


Joyce Gelb and Marian Polley, Women and Public Policies (Charlottesville: Univ. of Virginia Press, 1996).

Women and Public Policies analyzes how the women's movement of the 1970s influenced federal policy. The authors treat four issues - credit, education, pregnancy disability, and abortion rights - as case studies, measuring the successes and failures of the women's movement in these representative policy areas.

Feminism and Politics: A Comparative Perspective(Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1989).

This incisive work provides a comparative political analysis of the women's movement in England, the United States, and Sweden from the 1960s to the present. Based on extensive interviews in each of the three countries, Feminism and Politics focuses not only on the internal dynamics of the movements themselves, but also on the relationship of feminist politics to the political process as a whole and to the economic and ideological context. Gelb finds that differences in the feminist movements in each country relate to systemic and cultural differences. In Britain the closed nature of the political system has greatly narrowed opportunities for feminist political activities. By contrast, the feminist movement in the United States has enjoyed relative autonomy and success, primarily because it has been unconstrained by the necessity of working through existing groups such as unions and political parties. In Sweden Gelb finds an anomalous situation in which the state has implemented many feminist policies but has allowed little ideological or political space for an autonomous movement. In its scope and analysis, Feminism and Politics offers a valuable new perspective on women's political activities.

John Gerassi

John Gerassi, Jean-Paul Sartre: Hated Conscience of His Century: Protestant or Protester? (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1989).

Countless biographers have tried to unveil the real Jean Paul Sartre without his consent or cooperation. Only John Gerassi was honored with the responsibility of being Sartre's official biographer. His book sheds brilliant light on both the life and the thoughts of the man who embodied one of the prime intellectual movements of the twentieth century.

John W. Harbeson

John Harbeson and Donald Rothchild eds., Africa in World Politics: The African State System in Flux (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995).

Africa in World Politics addresses the effects of major currents in Africa and global politics upon each other and the ramifications of these interrelationships for contemporary theories of international and comparative politics. This third edition focuses on the changing state system in sub-Saharan Africa. The nation-state as we know it is a legacy of European rule in Africa, and the primacy of the nation-state remains a bedrock of most contemporary theories of international relations. Yet in the fourth decade of Africa's independence, this colonial inheritance is being challenged as never before with potentially far-reaching implications for Africa, and for world politics as a whole. The authors examine a variety of changing state systems on the continent, ranging from the rapidly failing Western-style states (Rwanda, the Sudan, and others), to new states emerging from old ones (Eritrea from Ethiopia), to states becoming radically decentralized (Ethiopia, Uganda).

John Harbeson and Donald Rothchild eds., Africa in World Politics: Post-Cold War Challenges (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995).

Exploring Africa's changing status in international relations, this book addresses the region's colonial heritage as well as the historical, economic, and cultural factors that have shaped the continent's current standing in world affairs. The contributors also analyze some of the most intense conflicts and examine the evolution of relations with other regions and powers. In this greatly revised second edition the focus on Russia's role in Africa has been significantly reduced, and francophone Africa and regional organizations are now covered. Important new issues such as democratization, conflict resolution, territorial concerns, and humanitarian intervention are discussed in depth. The result is a thought-provoking and up-to-date text written by leading scholars in their fields.

John Harbeson, Donald Rothchild and Naomi Chazan eds., Civil Society and the State in Africa (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1995).

This seminal book examines the potential value of the concept of civil society for enhancing the current understanding of state-society relations in Africa. The authors review the meanings of civil society in political philosophy, as well as alternative theoretical approaches to employing the concept in African settings. Considering both the patterns of emerging civil society in Africa and issues relating to its further development, they give particular emphasis to the cases of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire.


John Harbeson ed., The Military in African Politics (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1987).

Here is the first book to look at African politics and the new problems facing the military leadership. The contributors to The Military in African Politics have divided the regimes into three categories or case studies. These studies focus on the characteristics of the officers who came to power--young or old, revolutionary or conservative, on each country's particular problems, and on the strategies used by the military leaders to stay in power.

Roger Karapin

Roger Karapin, Protest Politics in Germany: Movements on the Left and Right Since the 1960s (Penn State U. Press, 2007).

Social movements and the protests they spawn are widely regarded as important to the vibrancy of democracy and its ability to respond constructively to change. In the immediate postwar period, West Germany’s was a “spectator democracy,” with the citizenry largely passive and elites operating mainly through consensus. Beginning with the student demonstrations in the late 1960s, however, Germany experienced waves of left-wing protest that expanded the political agenda and broadened political participation. Later, after the unification of East and West Germany, the country was confronted by new challenges from right-wing groups, which often engaged in violence during the early 1990s.

In this book Roger Karapin carefully examines protest movements on both the left and the right in order to understand how they became large and influential and why protesters in different conflicts used quite different methods (ranging from conventional participation to nonviolent disruption to violent militancy). His study of nine cases of protest includes leftist opposition to urban-renewal and nuclear-energy policies in the 1970s and 1980s and rightist opposition to immigration policy in the 1990s. Comparisons of contrasting cases reveal the crucial role played by strategic interaction among protesters, party politicians, and government officials—rather than socioeconomic factors or political institutions—in determining the paths that the movements took.

Irving Leonard Markovitz

Irving Leonard Markovitz ed., Studies in Power and Class in Africa (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987).

Unified by the basic concepts of all politics--who gets what, when, where, and why, and who gets left out--these wide-ranging essays address problems of major concern in the daily lives of African people during and after the colonial period.

Peter Roman

Peter Roman, People's Power: Cuba's Experience With Representative Government (Lanham: Rowan & Littlefield, Revised 2003).

People's Power presents a theoretical, historical, and contemporary analysis of representative government in Cuba. It explains how the Cuban model was built on the theoretical foundations set in Rousseau, Marx, and Lenin, and the historical precedents of the Paris Commune, the 1905 and 1917 Soviets, and the pre- and post-Stalin years of the Soviet Union. The book's primary focus is on the municipal level, but it also contains important material on the national and provincial elected bodies. People's Power also explores firsthand the more recent people's councils and workers' parliaments.

Yan Sun

Yan Sun, The Chinese Reassessment of Socialism, 1976-1992 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1995).

A momentous debate has been unfolding in China over the last fifteen years, only intermittently in public view, concerning the merits of socialism as a philosophy of social justice and as a program for national development. Just as Deng Xiaoping's better advertised experiment with market-based reforms has challenged Marxist-Leninist dogma on economic policy, the years since the death of Mao Zedong have seen a profound reexamination of a more basic question: to what extent are the root problems of the system due to Chinese socialism and Marxism generally? Here Yan Sun gathers a remarkable group of primary materials, drawn from an unusual range of sources, to present the most systematic and comprehensive study of the post-Mao reappraisal of China's socialist theory and practice.

Rejecting an assumption often made in the West, that Chinese socialist thought has little bearing on politics and policy making, Sun takes the arguments of the post-Mao era seriously on their own terms. She identifies the major factions in the debate, reveals the interplay among official and unofficial forces, and charts the development of the debate from an initially parochial concern with problems raised by Chinese practice to a grand critique of the theory of socialism itself. She concludes with an enlightening comparison of the reassessments undertaken by Deng Xiaoping with those of Gorbachev, linking them to the divergent outcomes of reform and revolution in their respective countries.

Yan Sun, Corurption and Market in Contemporary China (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004)

Despite the well-known observation that economic liberalization has resulted in rising corruption in emerging markets, few works have systematically studied the linkages between the two phenomena. This book tackles the task by examining the interactions between the evolving courses of economic reform and the changing causes/consequences of corruption in post-Mao China . Contrary to those who blame the lingering role of the state or the ruling party, this book argues that recent corruption is largely a byproduct of post-Mao economic reforms, spurred by the economic incentives and structural opportunities in the emerging marketplace. Contrary to the neo-liberal euphoria over the “invisible hands” of the market, the book shows that the steady retreat of the state has both increased mechanisms for cadre misconduct and reduced disincentives against it. Contrary to the standard efficiency arguments about corruption's effects on economic development, this study shows that corruption may co-exist with successful economic reforms and growth in the short run through unintended and informal mechanisms. Over time, however, these mechanisms may take on a life of their own and undermine the central state's ability to implement its developmental policies, discipline its staff, enforce its regulatory infrastructure, and fundamentally transform the economy.

Susan Woodward

Susan Woodward, Socialist Unemployment : The Political Economy of Yugoslavia, 1945-1990 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1995).

In the first political analysis of unemployment in a socialist country, Susan Woodward argues that the bloody conflicts that are destroying the former Yugoslavia stem not so much from ancient ethnic hatreds as from the political and social divisions created by a failed socialist program to prevent capitalist joblessness. Under Communism the concept of socialist unemployment was considered an oxymoron; when it appeared in postwar Yugoslavia, it was dismissed as illusory or as a transitory consequence of Yugoslavia's unorthodox experiments with worker-managed firms. In Woodward's view, however, it was only a matter of time before countries in the former Soviet bloc caught up with Yugoslavia, confronting the same unintended consequences of economic reforms required to bring socialist states into the world economy.

By 1985, Yugoslavia's unemployment rate had risen to 15 percent, ranging from 1.5 percent in Slovenia to more than 30 percent in Kosovo and Macedonia. How was it that a labor-oriented government managed to tolerate so clear a violation of the socialist commitment to full employment? Proposing a politically based model to explain this paradox, Woodward analyzes the ideology of economic growth, and shows that international constraints, rather than organized political pressures, defined government policy. She argues that unemployment became politically "invisible," owing to its redefinition in terms of guaranteed subsistence and political exclusion, with the result that it corrupted and ultimately dissolved the authority of all political institutions.

Forced to balance domestic policies aimed at sustaining minimum standards of living and achieving productivity growth against the conflicting demands of the world economy and national security, the leadership inadvertently recreated the social relations of agrarian communities within a postindustrial society.

Susan Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War (Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution, 1995).

Yugoslavia was well positioned at the end of the cold war to make a successful transition to a market economy and westernization. Yet two years later, the country had ceased to exist, and devastating local wars were being waged to create new states. Between the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the start of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in March 1992, the country moved toward disintegration at astonishing speed. In this book, Susan Woodward explains what happened to Yugoslavia and what can be learned from the response of outsiders to its crisis. Woodward's analysis is based on her first-hand experience before the country's collapse and then during the later stages of the Bosnian war as a member of the UN operation sent to monitor cease-fires and provide humanitarian assistance.