OxPol is launching a new series in which contributors are invited to review recent books written by Oxford academics. This series hopes to encourage greater cross-divisional engagement of the Oxford graduate community with the work of the university’s top academics.

A Review of Inequality and Democratization: An Elite-Competition Approach, by Ben Ansell and David Samuels In this dense and absorbing review, Professor Ben Ansell explains how past and current models have failed to capture the paradox that development may lead to greater income inequality. He explores the roles of actors and structures in his own approach to the study of this relationship and casts a critical light on the plight of those who live in poverty despite democratization. Turning to the other end of the income spectrum, he discusses the global trend towards capital mobility and how it relates and affects …

In the following conversation concerning her recent publication, Dr. Janina Dill, Departmental Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Oxford, navigates a clear-cut path through concepts of International Law (IL), legitimacy and morality in warfare. From a theoretical perspective, she explains the relationship between constructivism, IL and international relations and highlights how our understanding of this relationship may be better informed through new concepts such as ”behavioural relevance” and “normative success”. From a practical perspective, she examines the historical shift in the conduct of warfare and the use of drone warfare by the United States. In response to Brett …

“Interesting times await us in any case.” That is the enigmatic and yet telling prognosis Professor Jan Zielonka extracts from an array of convoluted developments in recent European politics. Surveying sharp discrepancies in national employment levels, debt crises, anti-establishment political parties, and creeping disengagement against the backdrop of constant cacophony, Professor Zielonka explores the divergent effects of integration, the changing role of state actors and the prospects of the European Union in the not-so-distant future.

Just under a decade ago, Archie Brown highlighted several factors that he thought limited the explanatory power of comparative politics as an academic discipline. Such factors included undue emphasis on studying democracies at the expense of autocracies, a lack of methodological pluralism, inadequate attention given to understanding political leaders, its separation of domestic and international relations, and its increased isolation from the “real world of politics” that the discipline sought to explain.[1] ‘The Myth of the Strong Leader’ is a book that addresses all of these criticisms demonstrating both erudition on behalf of Brown and a keen ability to practice …

Max Muir speaks to Lois McNay, Professor of Political Theory at Oxford University and Fellow of Somerville College, about her new book, ‘The Misguided Search for the Political’. She argues that radical democratic theorists, in their search for the abstract essence of politics itself, have ushered in a dangerous silence on the lived experience of inequality and oppression. Without addressing the ‘social weightlessness’ of their theories, these radical democrats find their emancipatory credentials seriously undermined. Max Muir: Hi Lois, thanks for chatting with us. Your new book is called ‘The Misguided Search for the Political’. Why exactly is that search …

This month, which sees the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, is a time of reflection and remembrance for Europe. It is therefore an appropriate time for Politics in Spires to review Professor MacMillan’s recent book on this origins of the First World War, The War that Ended Peace. Below is an interview with Margaret Macmillan and a review by her interviewer, Katharine Brooks. The War that Ended Peace can truly be termed a masterful work of scholarship, detailing the origins of the war in both outstanding breadth and depth. The book does not tell a new story of the origins …