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Promoting Polyarchy

Promoting Polyarchy
Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony

$70.99 (C)

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Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: September 1996
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521566919

$ 70.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Promoting Polyarchy is an exciting, detailed and controversial work on the apparent change in US foreign policy from supporting dictatorships to promoting "democratic" regimes. William I. Robinson argues that behind this facade, US policy upholds the undemocratic status quo of Third World countries. He addresses the theoretical and historical issues at stake, and uncovers a wealth of information from field work and hitherto unpublished government documents. Promoting Polyarchy is an essential book for anyone concerned with democracy, globalization and international affairs.

    • Original and controversial argument which runs against conventional wisdom, but backed up by carefully researched data
    • Contains highly revealing exposés of US foreign policy, using previously unpublished documents
    • Both stringently theoretical for scholars and topical enough to attract wider readership of students, journalists, policy-makers etc.
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    • Winner of the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the political Economy of the World Section of the American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book represents an original, compelling and critical rethinking of the nature and form of United States foreign policy in the Third World 1980s and 1990s. Robinson has developed his own theoretical framework and synthesis drawn from comparative political sociology, political economy and political theory, one that takes its global inspiration from both world-systems and neo-Gramscian approaches to international relations. Robinson's theoretical strengths are combined with excellent empirical research... In his meticulous and detailed exposition of the nature, limits and contradictions of these cases, Robinson makes a fundamental contribution to our possibilities of understanding the contours of crucial aspects of North-South relations in this and the next century." Stephen Gill, York University, Toronto

    "This book provides a sobering look at what it means to say the US is promoting democracy throughout the world. It is a good antidote to much academic pap." Immanuel Wallerstein, State University of New York

    "While economic and cultural globalization have attracted a good deal of popular and scholarly attention, globalization in the political sphere is a relatively under-researched area. In Promoting Polyarchy William Robinson, building on a formidable array of local knowledge and theoretical reflection, makes the bold argument that democracy promotion in US foreign policy is best explained in terms of the pluralist idea of polyarchy and that this restricted conception of democracy serves the interests of an increasingly transnational elite. Polyarchy, thus, `is a structural feature of the emergent global society.' The logic of the analysis and the power of his case studies represent a challenge that complacent pluaralists and those sceptical of globalization should not ignore." Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics

    "...Robinson offers much more than a political manifesto-the core of the book is a well-considered analysis of the role of U.S. foreign policy in constructing and maintaing the contemporary global ideological hegemony, exemplified by four fscinating case studies. Promoting Polyarchy is a worthy contribution to political sociology." Christopher Chase-Dunn, Contemporary Sociology

    "This is a pathbreaking study of the changes in U.S. policy wrought by the `epochal shift' of globalization. The ground-breaking ideas put forth in this book are a counterpoint to the world systems school of Immanuel Wallerstein and more classical Marxsits and neo-Marxists who argue for the continued primacy of the nation-state." Roger Burbach, NACLA Report on the Americas

    "..he believe has succeeded admirably...." Myron J. Frankman, Labour, Capital & Society

    "William Robinson has written an extraordinarily important book. His work should be required reading for scholars and activists attempting to understand the contemporary direction of U.S. foreign policy....a rigorous, passionate, and historically informed critique of the barren and disempowering political structures that pass for democracy today." Science & Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1996
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521566919
    • length: 488 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.71kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: from East-West to North-South: US intervention in the 'new world order'
    1. From 'straight power concepts' to 'persuasion' in US foreign policy
    2. Political operations in US foreign policy
    3. The Philippines: 'molded in the image of American democracy'
    4. Chile: ironing out a 'Fluke' of the political system
    5. Nicaragua: from low-intensity warfare to low-intensity democracy
    6. Haiti: the 'practically insolvable problem' of establishing consensual domination
    7. Conclusions: the future of polyarchy and global society.

  • Author

    William I. Robinson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville


    • Winner of the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the political Economy of the World Section of the American Sociological Association

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