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Naomi S.S. Jacobs

In Delicious Prose: Reading the Tale of Tobit with Food and Drink, Naomi S.S. Jacobs explores how the numerous references to food, drink, and their consumption within The Book of Tobit help tell its story, promote righteous deeds and encourage resistance against a hostile dominant culture. Jacobs’ commentary includes up-to-date analyses of issues of translation, text-criticism, source criticism, redaction criticism, and issues of class and gender. Jacobs situates Tobit within a wide range of ancient writings sacred to Jews and Christians as well as writings and customs from the Ancient Near East, Ugarit, Greece, Rome, including a treasure trove of information about ancient foodways and medicine.

May Schinasi

Through years of neglect, deliberate modernization, and the effect of decades of war, Kabul’s architectural history has virtually disappeared. By meticulous use of all available records including written works, photographs, films, and oral reminiscences, Kabul: A History 1773-1948 provides a remarkably complete and unsurpassed account of the city’s history as seen through its built environment, from the pleasure gardens of the 16th and 17th century Mughals to the efforts of the Saduza’i and Muhammadza’i rulers of the 18th-20th centuries to turn this one-time resort town into a thriving capital city at the center of a country of enormous diversity. Thoroughly documented and well-illustrated, the book reveals the rich cultural legacy of a city of global importance.

Theory in Action

Theoretical Constructionism

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Edited by Peter Sohlberg and Håkon Leiulfsrud

How to approach social theory actively, with a theoretical lens analogous to the use of methods, has been a challenge for professional scholars and students alike. Rather than treating social theory in an iconic manner, we explore the active use of theorizing for constructing and generating new knowledge. Examples of theoretical constructions and topics discussed include: the heuristic role of concepts; theoretical construction work; the importance of question-driven sociology; counterfactual reasoning; the power of ordinary language; an inventory of explanatory practices in social science; abduction; comparative case studies; class operations and the potential for using Merton’s middle range theory. Theory in Action is highly relevant for researchers and students interested in constructing theories in the social sciences.

Contributors are: Göran Ahrne, Mette Andersson, Roar Hagen, Willy Guneriussen, Ragnvald Kalleberg, Håkon Leiulfsrud, Willy Martinussen, Annick Prieur, Peter Sohlberg, Pål Strandbakken, and Richard Swedberg.

Finance Capital Today

Corporations and Banks in the Lasting Global Slump

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François Chesnais

Finance Capital Today is shortlisted for the The Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize 2017.

Finance Capital Today presents a rich new analysis of the specific features of contemporary capitalism, notably its truly global nature and its financialisation, calling on Marxist analyses of the concentration, centralisation and globalisation of capital and Marx’s theory of interest-bearing and fictitious capital. Chesnais shows how financial globalisation and the exponential growth of financial assets have developed alongside the globalisation of productive capital, paying special attention to the contemporary operations of transnational corporations and global oligopoly. He argues that the macroeconomic perspective is one in which large amounts of capital are looking for profitable investment in a setting of underlying overproduction and low profits. The outcome will be low global growth, repeated financial shocks and the growing interconnection between the environmental and economic crises.

The Poverty of Work

Selling Servant, Slave and Temporary Labor on the Free Market

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David Van Arsdale

In The Poverty of Work, Van Arsdale goes inside the world of temping and discovers a type of work dreadfully insecure yet growing rapidly. Furthermore, through a comprehensive historiography, he illustrates how employment agencies moved from England to North America during the colonial period, where they sold workers into many deprived employment statuses, including indentured servitude and slavery.

Van Arsdale contends that had the history of employment agencies been better understood, they would have likely been abolished with slavery, or at the very least, more tightly controlled by government. Today, left largely unregulated, employment agencies are powerful corporations generating astonishing revenue by selling flexible, on-demand temporary workers. Unfortunately, this labor is trapping millions in a cycle of unemployment, despair, and poverty.

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Edited by Nancy van Deusen and Leonard Michael Koff

The essays in this volume explore the nature of time, our God-given medium of ascent, known, as Augustine puts it, through the ordered study of the “liberal disciplines that carry the mind to the divine ( disciplinae liberales intellectum efferunt ad divina)”: grammar and dialectic, for example, to promote thinking; geometry and astronomy to grasp the dimensions of our reality; music, an invisible substance like time itself, as an exemplary bridge to the unseen substance of thoughts, ideas, and the nature of God (theology). This ascending course of study rests on procedure, progress, and attainment — on before, following, and afterwards — whose goal is an ascending erudition that lets us finally contemplate, as Augustine says in De ordine, our invisible medium — time — within time itself: time is immaterial, but experienced as substantial. The essays here look at projects that chronicle time “from the beginning,” that clarify ideas of creation “in time” and “simultaneous times,” and the interrelationships between measured time and eternity, including “no-time.” Essays also examine time as revealed in social and political contexts, as told by clocks, as notated in music and embodied in memorializing stone. In the final essays of this volume, time is understood as the subject and medium of consciousness. As Adrian Bardon says, “time is not so much a ‘what’ as a ‘how’”: a solution to “organizing experience and modeling events.”
Contributors are (in order within the volume) Jesse W. Torgerson, Ken A. Grant, Danielle B. Joyner, Nancy van Deusen, Peter Casarella, Aaron Canty, Jordan Kirk, Vera von der Osten-Sacken, Gerhard Jaritz, Jason Aleksander, Sara E. Melzer, Mark Howard, Andrew Eschelbacher, Hans J. Rindisbacher, James F. Knapp, Peggy A. Knapp, Raymond Knapp, Michael Cole, Ike Kamphof and Leonard Michael Koff.

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Edited by Ebru Boyar and Kate Fleet

Using a wealth of primary sources and covering the entire Ottoman period, Ottoman Women in Public Space challenges the traditional view that sees Ottoman women as a largely silent element of society, restricted to the home and not seen beyond the walls of the house or the public bath. Instead, taking women in a variety of roles, as economic and political actors, prostitutes, flirts and slaves, the book argues that women were active participants in the public space, visible, present and an essential element in the everyday, public life of the empire. Ottoman Women in Public Space thus offers a vibrant and dynamic understanding of Ottoman history.

Contributors are: Edith Gülçin Ambros, Ebru Boyar, Palmira Brummett, Kate Fleet and Svetla Ianeva.

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Edited by Luuk de Ligt and Laurens Ernst Tacoma

Until recently migration did not occupy a prominent place on the agenda of students of Roman history. Various types of movement in the Roman world were studied, but not under the heading of migration and mobility. Migration and Mobility in the Early Roman Empire starts from the assumption that state-organised, forced and voluntary mobility and migration were intertwined and should be studied together. The papers assembled in the book tap into the remarkably large reservoir of archaeological and textual sources concerning various types of movement during the Roman Principate. The most important themes covered are rural-urban migration, labour mobility, relationships between forced and voluntary mobility, state-organised movements of military units, and familial and female mobility.

Contributors are: Colin Adams, Seth G. Bernard, Christer Bruun, Paul Erdkamp, Lien Foubert, Peter Garnsey, Saskia Hin, Claire Holleran, Tatiana Ivleva, Luuk de Ligt, Elio Lo Cascio, Tracy L. Prowse, Saskia T. Roselaar, Laurens E. Tacoma, Rolf A. Tybout, Greg Woolf, and Andrea Zerbini.

Oil and Security Policies

Saudi Arabia, 1950-2012

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Islam Yasin Qasem

With one quarter of proven oil reserves and the largest oil production in the world, Saudi Arabia has been at the center of world politics. Its vast oil resources have been utilized in various ways to maximize internal and external security. While oil revenue allowed the Saudi state to buy off legitimacy at home and abroad, the Saudi state exploited oil supply to either forge alliances with or pressure consuming and producing countries. By providing an insightful account of how oil resources shaped Saudi security policies since the mid-twentieth century, Islam Y. Qasem offers a timely contribution to the study of oil politics and the interrelationship between economic interdependence and security.

The Future of Work

Super-exploitation and Social Precariousness in the 21st Century

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Adrián Sotelo Valencia

This book analyses the processes, mutations and trends currently characterising the world of work that are bound up within the deep contradictions of a global capitalist system troubled by systemic crisis, where the old Fordist and Keynesian state order has been substituted by a minimal, pro-business neoliberal State founded on the intensive restructuring of economic and productive systems and work organisation, characterised by labour deregulation, flexibility, super-exploitation and social precariousness. This is a work that illustrates the paradigmatic transition from social and labour relations based on job security, comprehensive collective agreements and guaranteed social rights, towards new social relations that find their technical, political and organizational roots in job insecurity, work rotation and monumental social insecurity, generally expressed in the systemic and growing loss of social and labour rights by workers the world over.

First published in Spanish by the Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales de la UNAM and Editorial Miguel Ángel de Porrúa as Los rumbos del trabajo. Superexplotación y precariedad social en el siglo XXI, Mexico, 2012.