Carbon Democracy provides a unique examination of the relationship between oil and democracy. Interweaving the history of energy, political analysis, and economic theory, Mitchell targets conventional wisdom regarding energy and governance. Emphasizing how oil and democracy have intermixed, he argues that while coal provided the impetus for mass democracy, the shift to oil drastically limited democratic possibility; above all, the ability to confront contemporary ecological crises.
Oil is a curse, it is often said, that condemns the countries producing it to an existence defined by war, corruption and enormous inequality. Carbon Democracy tells a more complex story, arguing that no nation escapes the political consequences of our collective dependence on oil. It shapes the body politic both in regions such as the Middle East, which rely upon revenues from oil production, and in the places that have the greatest demand for energy. Timothy Mitchell begins with the history of coal power to tell a radical new story about the rise of democracy. Coal was a source of energy so open to disruption that oligarchies in the West became vulnerable for the first time to mass demands for democracy. In the mid-twentieth century, however, the development of cheap and abundant energy from oil, most notably from the Middle East, offered a means to reduce this vulnerability to democratic pressures. The abundance of oil made it possible for the first time in history to reorganize political life around the management of something now called “the economy” and the promise of its infinite growth. The politics of the West became dependent on an undemocratic Middle East. In the twenty-first century, the oil-based forms of modern democratic politics have become unsustainable. Foreign intervention and military rule are faltering in the Middle East, while governments everywhere appear incapable of addressing the crises that threaten to end the age of carbon democracy—the disappearance of cheap energy and the carbon-fuelled collapse of the ecological order. In making the production of energy the central force shaping the democratic age, Carbon Democracy rethinks the history of energy, the politics of nature, the theory of democracy, and the place of the Middle East in our common world.
Until very recently, the idea of ancient Jewish sciences would have been considered unacceptable. Since the 1990’s, Early Modern and Medieval Science in Jewish sources has been actively studied, but the consensus was that no real scientific themes could be found in earlier Judaism. This work points them out in detail, and posits a new field of research: the scientific activity evident in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Jewish Pseudepigrapha. The publication of new texts and new analyses of older ones reveals crucial elements that are best illuminated by the history of science, and may have interesting consequences for it. The contributors evaluate these texts in relation to astronomy, astrology and physiognomy, marking the first comprehensive attempt to account for scientific themes in Second Temple Judaism. They investigate the meaning and purpose of scientific explorations in an apocalyptic setting. An appreciation of these topics paves the way to a renewed understanding of the scientific fragments scattered throughout rabbinic literature. The book first places the Jewish material in the ancient context of the Near Eastern and Hellenistic worlds. While the Jewish texts were not on the cutting edge of scientific discovery, they find a meaningful place in the history of science, between Babylonia and Egypt, in the time period between Hipparchus and Ptolemy. The book uses recent advances in method to examine the contacts and networks of Jewish scholars in their ancient setting. Second, the essays here tackle the problematic concept of a national scientific tradition. Although science is nowadays often conceived as universal, the historiography of ancient Jewish sciences demonstrates the importance of seeing the development of science in a local context. The book explores the tension between the hegemony of central scientific traditions and local scientific enterprises, showing the relevance of ancient data to contemporary postcolonial historiography of science. Finally, philosophical questions of the demarcation of science are addressed in a way that can advance the discussion of related ancient materials. Online edition available as part of the NYU Library's Ancient World Digital Library and in partnership with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW).
Ownership and Control of Oil examines government decisions about how much control to exert over the petroleum industry, focusing on the role of National Oil Companies in the production of crude oil since the nationalizations in the 1970s. What are the motives for which some producing states opt for less and NOT more control of their oil production sector? When can International Oil Companies enter the upstream industry of producing states and under what conditions? The diversity of policy choices across producers provides the stage for this investigation: different theoretical explanations are confronted, with the empirical evidence, with the aim of finally proposing an interdisciplinary framework of analysis to explain who controls oil production around the world. This book is intended for both specialists and general readers who have an interest in the issue of government control of the petroleum industry. Due to its multidisciplinary approach, the book is aimed at a large academic public composed of scholars of Political Science, International Political Economy, Comparative Politics, and Middle East Area Studies. Moreover, this book should be relevant to international consultants, industry professionals and decision-makers in countries assessing their experience with existing control structures as well as the many countries in the process of joining the ‘petroleum club’ of oil producing nations.
Blood, according to Gil Anidjar, maps the singular history of Christianity. As a category for historical analysis, blood can be seen through its literal and metaphorical uses as determining, sometimes even defining Western culture, politics, and social practices and their wide-ranging incarnations in nationalism, capitalism, and law. Engaging with a variety of sources, Anidjar explores the presence and the absence, the making and unmaking of blood in philosophy and medicine, law and literature, and economic and political thought from ancient Greece to medieval Spain, from the Bible to Shakespeare and Melville. The prevalence of blood in the social, juridical, and political organization of the modern West signals that we do not live in a secular age into which religion could return. Flowing across multiple boundaries, infusing them with violent precepts that we must address, blood undoes the presumed oppositions between religion and politics, economy and theology, and kinship and race. It demonstrates that what we think of as modern is in fact imbued with Christianity. Christianity, Blood fiercely argues, must be reconsidered beyond the boundaries of religion alone.
The story of global cooperation between nations and peoples is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems. But international institutions have also provided a tool for the powers that be to advance their own interests and stamp their imprint on the world. Mark Mazower’s Governing the World tells the epic story of that inevitable and irresolvable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power. From the beginning, the willingness of national leaders to cooperate has been spurred by crisis: the book opens in 1815, amid the rubble of the Napoleonic Empire, as the Concert of Europe was assembled with an avowed mission to prevent any single power from dominating the continent and to stamp out revolutionary agitation before it could lead to war. But if the Concert was a response to Napoleon, internationalism was a response to the Concert, and as courts and monarchs disintegrated they were replaced by revolutionaries and bureaucrats. 19th century internationalists included bomb-throwing anarchists and the secret policemen who fought them, Marxist revolutionaries and respectable free marketeers. But they all embraced nationalism, the age’s most powerful transformative political creed, and assumed that nationalism and internationalism would go hand in hand. The wars of the twentieth century saw the birth of institutions that enshrined many of those ideals in durable structures of authority, most notably the League of Nations in World War I and the United Nations after World War II. Throughout this history, we see that international institutions are only as strong as the great powers of the moment allow them to be. The League was intended to prop up the British empire. With Washington taking over world leadership from Whitehall, the United Nations became a useful extension of American power. But as Mazower shows us, from the late 1960s on, America lost control over the dialogue and the rise of the independent Third World saw a marked shift away from the United Nations and toward more pliable tools such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. From the 1990s to 2007, Governing the World centers on a new regime of global coordination built upon economic rule-making by central bankers and finance ministers, a regime in which the interests of citizens and workers are trumped by the iron logic of markets. Now, the era of Western dominance of international life is fast coming to an end and a new multi-centered global balance of forces is emerging. We are living in a time of extreme confusion about the purpose and durability of our international institutions. History is not prophecy, but Mark Mazower shows us why the current dialectic between ideals and power politics in the international arena is just another stage in an epic two-hundred-year story.
It has been clear for many years that the ways in which archaeology is practised have been a direct product of a particular set of social, cultural, and historical circumstances - archaeology is always carried out in the present. More recently, however, many have begun to consider how archaeological techniques might be used to reflect more directly on the contemporary world itself: how we might undertake archaeologies of, as well as in the present. This Handbook is the first comprehensive survey of an exciting and rapidly expanding sub-field and provides an authoritative overview of the newly emerging focus on the archaeology of the present and recent past. In addition to detailed archaeological case studies, it includes essays by scholars working on the relationships of different disciplines to the archaeology of the contemporary world, including anthropology, psychology, philosophy, historical geography, science and technology studies, communications and media, ethnoarchaeology, forensic archaeology, sociology, film, performance, and contemporary art. This volume seeks to explore the boundaries of an emerging sub-discipline, to develop a tool-kit of concepts and methods which are applicable to this new field, and to suggest important future trajectories for research. It makes a significant intervention by drawing together scholars working on a broad range of themes, approaches, methods, and case studies from diverse contexts in different parts of the world, which have not previously been considered collectively.
By the winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world's most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery's ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion. What we need, Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book, is a radical emancipation movement that ends our master-and-slave approach to energy. We must learn to use energy on a moral, just, and truly human scale.
(Mis)readings of Marx In Continental Philosophy reflects on the way major European philosophers related to the work of Karl Marx. It brings together leading and emerging critical theorists to address the readings of Marx offered by Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Negri, Badiou, Agamben, Rancière, Latour and Žižek.
This book describes the significant challenges facing petroleum-producing countries. The volume outlines the pitfalls that policymakers encounter in the aftermath of a major resource discovery, and what they can do to protect their countries from the most adverse consequences. These lessons are derived from two sources: The social science literature that examines the 'Paradox of Plenty' in its disparate forms; and the experience of Norway which has largely avoided this paradox. The book aims to demonstrate the variety of policy tools that are available and how these tools can be adjusted. Questions considered are for example how countries need to administer and regulate the industry. The volume shows how the industry can be managed in a democratic, just, and ethical manner, and for the benefit of the general population.