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The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America - Encounter Books
A compelling case can be made that violent crime, especially after the 1960s, was one of the most significant domestic issues in the United States. Indeed, few issues had as profound an effect on American life in the last third of the twentieth century. After 1965, crime rose to such levels that it frightened virtually all Americans and prompted significant alterations in everyday behaviors and even lifestyles. The risk of being mugged was a concern when Americans chose places to live and schools for their children, selected commuter routes to work, and planned their leisure activities. In some locales, people were afraid to leave their dwellings at any time, day or night, even to go to the market. In the worst of the post-1960s crime wave, Americans spent part of each day literally looking back over their shoulders.

The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America is the first book to comprehensively examine this important phenomenon over the entire postwar era. It combines a social history of the United States with the insights of criminology and examines the relationship between rising and falling crime and such historical developments as the postwar economic boom, suburbanization and the rise of the middle class, baby booms and busts, war and antiwar protest, the urbanization of minorities, and more.
book  sociology  violence  crime  criminal_justice  united_states_of_america  20th_century 
7 hours ago by rvenkat
Now out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the East European Revolution of 1989 | World Politics | Cambridge Core
Like many major revolutions in history, the East European Revolution of 1989 caught its leaders, participants, victims, and observers by surprise. This paper offers an explanation whose crucial feature is a distinction between private and public preferences. By suppressing their antipathies to the political status quo, the East Europeans misled everyone, including themselves, as to the possibility of a successful uprising. In effect, they conferred on their privately despised governments an aura of invincibility. Under the circumstances, public opposition was poised to grow explosively if ever enough people lost their fear of exposing their private preferences. The currently popular theories of revolution do not make clear why uprisings easily explained in retrospect may not have been anticipated. The theory developed here fills this void. Among its predictions is that political revolutions will inevitably continue to catch the world by surprise.
european_politics  revolutions  20th_century  social_behavior  contagion  homophily  ?  social_psychology  institutions  norms  collective_dynamics  judgment_decision-making  dmce  teaching  timur.kuran 
11 hours ago by rvenkat
One Long Night
A groundbreaking, haunting, and profoundly moving history of modernity’s greatest tragedy: concentration camps

For over 100 years, at least one concentration camp has existed somewhere on Earth. First used as battlefield strategy, camps have evolved with each passing decade, in the scope of their effects and the savage practicality with which governments have employed them. Even in the twenty-first century, as we continue to reckon with the magnitude and horror of the Holocaust, history tells us we have broken our own solemn promise of “never again.”

In this harrowing work based on archival records and interviews during travel to four continents, Andrea Pitzer reveals for the first time the chronological and geopolitical history of concentration camps. Beginning with 1890s Cuba, she pinpoints concentration camps around the world and across decades. From the Philippines and Southern Africa in the early twentieth century to the Soviet Gulag and detention camps in China and North Korea during the Cold War, camp systems have been used as tools for civilian relocation and political repression. Often justified as a measure to protect a nation, or even the interned groups themselves, camps have instead served as brutal and dehumanizing sites that have claimed the lives of millions.

Drawing from exclusive testimony, landmark historical scholarship, and stunning research, Andrea Pitzer unearths the roots of this appalling phenomenon, exploring and exposing the staggering toll of the camps: our greatest atrocities, the extraordinary survivors, and even the intimate, quiet moments that have also been part of camp life during the past century.
book  history  modernity  concentration_camps  ethnic_cleansing  ?  world_history  19th_century  20th_century  21st_century 
4 weeks ago by rvenkat
Drèze, J. and Sen, A.: An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions. (eBook, Paperback and Hardcover)
When India became independent in 1947 after two centuries of colonial rule, it immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system, with multiple parties, freedom of speech, and extensive political rights. The famines of the British era disappeared, and steady economic growth replaced the economic stagnation of the Raj. The growth of the Indian economy quickened further over the last three decades and became the second fastest among large economies. Despite a recent dip, it is still one of the highest in the world.

Maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achievable goal for India. In An Uncertain Glory, two of India's leading economists argue that the country's main problems lie in the lack of attention paid to the essential needs of the people, especially of the poor, and often of women. There have been major failures both to foster participatory growth and to make good use of the public resources generated by economic growth to enhance people's living conditions. There is also a continued inadequacy of social services such as schooling and medical care as well as of physical services such as safe water, electricity, drainage, transportation, and sanitation. In the long run, even the feasibility of high economic growth is threatened by the underdevelopment of social and physical infrastructure and the neglect of human capabilities, in contrast with the Asian approach of simultaneous pursuit of economic growth and human development, as pioneered by Japan, South Korea, and China.

In a democratic system, which India has great reason to value, addressing these failures requires not only significant policy rethinking by the government, but also a clearer public understanding of the abysmal extent of social and economic deprivations in the country. The deep inequalities in Indian society tend to constrict public discussion, confining it largely to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent. Drèze and Sen present a powerful analysis of these deprivations and inequalities as well as the possibility of change through democratic practice
democracy  india  development_economics  welfare  policy  critique  economic_history  20th_century  book 
12 weeks ago by rvenkat
Young Radicals by Jeremy McCarter | PenguinRandomHouse.com
Where do we find our ideals? What does it mean to live for them—and to risk dying for them? For Americans during World War I, these weren’t abstract questions. Young Radicals tells the story of five activists, intellectuals and troublemakers who agitated for freedom and equality in the hopeful years before the war, then fought to defend those values in a country pitching into violence and chaos.

Based on six years of extensive archival research, Jeremy McCarter’s dramatic narrative brings to life the exploits of Randolph Bourne, the bold social critic who strove for a dream of America that was decades ahead of its time; Max Eastman, the charismatic poet-propagandist of Greenwich Village, whose magazine The Masses fought the government for the right to oppose the war; Walter Lippmann, a boy wonder of socialism who forged a new path to seize new opportunities; Alice Paul, a suffragist leader who risked everything to win women the right to vote; and John Reed, the swashbuckling journalist and impresario who was an eyewitness to—and a key player in—the Russian Revolution.

Each of these figures sensed a moment of unprecedented promise for American life—politically, socially, culturally—and struggled to bring it about, only to see a cataclysmic war and reactionary fervor sweep it away. A century later, we are still fighting for the ideals these five championed: peace, women’s rights, economic equality, freedom of speech—all aspects of a vibrant American democracy. The story of their struggles brings new light and fresh inspiration to our own.
book  socialism  liberalism  20th_century  united_states_of_america  cultural_history 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Inside Every Utopia Is a Dystopia | Boston Review
Review of a new biography of Norman Bel Geddes, a theatre designer-turned-furturist who created the Futurama pavilion for GM at the 1939 World's Fair in NYC.
futurism  utopia  technology  20th_century  science  science_fiction  design  designers 
april 2017 by johnmfrench
We Are All Very Anxious | We are Plan C
"When misery stopped working as a control strategy, capitalism switched to boredom."
"There has been a partial recuperation of the struggle against boredom. Capitalism pursued the exodus into spaces beyond work, creating the social factory – a field in which the whole society is organised like a workplace. Precarity is used to force people back to work within an expanded field of labour now including the whole of the social factory."
"Today’s public secret is that everyone is anxious. Anxiety has spread from its previous localised locations (such as sexuality) to the whole of the social field. All forms of intensity, self-expression, emotional connection, immediacy, and enjoyment are now laced with anxiety. It has become the linchpin of subordination."
"Our success in this performance in turn affects everything from our ability to access human warmth to our ability to access means of subsistence, not just in the form of the wage but also in the form of credit. Outsides to the field of mediatised surveillance are increasingly closed off, as public space is bureaucratised and privatised, and a widening range of human activity is criminalised on the grounds of risk, security, nuisance, quality of life, or anti-social behaviour.

"In this increasingly securitised and visible field, we are commanded to communicate. The incommunicable is excluded."
"We’ve noticed a certain tendency for insurrectionists to refuse to take seriously the existence of psychological barriers to militant action. Their response tends to be, 'Just do it!' But anxiety is a real, material force – not simply a spook. To be sure, its sources are often rooted in spooks, but the question of overcoming the grip of a spook is rarely as simple as consciously rejecting it."
weareplanc.org  plan_c  capitalism  anxiety  system  control  misery  boredom  19th_century  20th_century  history  organization  strategy  secret  society  social_change  resist  1960s  protest  culture  work  employment  surveillance  consumerism  social_media  japan  u.k.  repression  regulation  war  parenting  poverty  theory  public  punishment  fear  compliance  situationist  action  activism  anger  power  revolution  tip  psychology  depression  apathy  BenCarson 
april 2017 by cluebucket
Fannie Lou Hamer - Wikipedia
"Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off"
black_history  people  american_history  20th_century 
march 2017 by rvenkat

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