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Michael Borgolte

In World History as the History of Foundations, 3000 BCE to 1500 CE, Michael Borgolte investigates the origins and development of foundations from Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. In his survey foundations emerge not as mere legal institutions, but rather as “total social phenomena” which touch upon manifold aspects, including politics, the economy, art and religion of the cultures in which they emerged. Cross-cultural in its approach and the result of decades of research, this work represents by far the most comprehensive account of the history of foundations that has hitherto been published.


John Asimakopoulos

In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the general public.


Raül Tormos

In The Rhythm of Modernization, Raül Tormos analyses the pace at which belief systems change across the developed world during the modernization process. It is often assumed that value change follows the slow rhythm of generational replacement. This book, however, reports trends that contradict this assumption in the field of values. Challenging Inglehart’s modernization theory, the transition from traditional to modern values happens much quicker than predicted. Many “baby-boomers” who were church-going, morally conservative materialists when they were young, become unchurched and morally tolerant postmaterialists in their later years. Using surveys from multiple countries over many years, and applying cutting-edge statistical techniques, this book shows how citizens quickly adapt their belief systems to new circumstances throughout their lives.

Contentious Politics in China

Causes, Dynamics, and Consequences


Manfred Elfstrom and Yao Li

Martin Piotrowski, Rob Clark, Yuying Tong, Wyatt Schmitz and Kumiko Shibuya


Using data from the 2012 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) fourth module on family and changing gender roles, the authors explore cross-national differences in the prevalence of non-traditional attitudes towards women’s paid labor and children’s interference in parents’ lives in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. Their results show that variation in attitude configurations and their determinants differ across each setting in ways that are inconsistent with existing theoretical explanations formulated to explain both macro- and micro-level mechanisms of differences in attitudes. The authors therefore propose a paradigm shift in cross-national attitudinal research along the lines proposed by the Theory of Conjunctural Action (TCA), which recognizes the path-dependent interplay of local schematic and material elements of social structure that operate at multiple levels of analysis.

Reza Hemmati and Rasoul Abbasi Taghidizaj


Efficiency and equality are both important goals and values in higher education, and their concurrency (balance) has been one of the main concerns of higher education scholars and policy makers over the past decades. The aim of the present study is to discover the causal mechanism and contextual factors that are likely to result in concurrency of equality and efficiency in higher education. To this end, the combination of two explanatory theories of equality and efficiency were used. The theory of equality focused on three dimensions of equal opportunities, modernization, and cultural differences. Likewise, to explain efficiency, Chalabi’s three-level causal model of sustainable production of science was used. Methodologically, a multiple case study method was adopted, and the cases under study (nine countries) were selected based on purposive sampling. The findings showed that for the concurrency of equality and efficiency in higher education, a set of conditions must be present in the configurational and combinational causality. The preconditions for this concurrency is the presence of some social conditions such as productive economy, the rule of law, inter-societies competitiveness, social cohesion, democracy, universalism, egalitarianism (at macro level), meritocracy, academic autonomy, and organizational competitiveness (at the meso level) and the absence of some other conditions including fatalism (at the macro level).

Morten Blekesaune


This study investigated whether openness-to-change values (self-direction and stimulation) and conservation values (security and tradition) could predict the diffusion of the internet into homes by 2014, at the level of 159 European regions. All four value scales were correlated with the diffusion of the internet, after controlling for regional wealth and population density. Self-direction was by far the most consistent predictor of the diffusion of internet connections; a combination of self-direction and stimulation values could predict home internet use better than other combinations of human values. A longitudinal analysis, at the level of 25 countries, investigated the possibility of reverse causation (could the internet affect human values?), between 2004 and 2014. The study found no such effects.

Contested Authorities over Life Politics

Religious-Secular Tensions in Abortion Debates in Germany, Turkey, and Israel

Gökce Yurdakul, Gala Rexer, Shvat Eilat and Nil Mutluer


Conflicts between religious and secular discourses, norms, actors, and institutions are differently shaped across the Middle East and Europe in accordance with their specific socio-legal contexts. While current scholarship has often studied this tension by focusing on religious rituals, the authors shed new light on the way religion and secularity shape the everyday making of life politics by way of a three-country comparison of abortion debates in Germany, Turkey, and Israel. Through face-to-face interviews with stakeholders involved in interpreting secular abortion law, the authors analyze how social actors in three predominantly monotheistic countries and socio-political circumstances construe secular abortion laws differently in practice. The authors show that, contrary to common belief, contestations over abortion do not neatly divide between religious and secular authority, but they create gray zones of negotiation. Articulated through specific historical, political, and religious circumstances, such gray zones involve everyday decisions on human authority in determining abortion practices and differing understandings of women’s bodies.

Frane Adam and Matevž Tomšič


This article deals with the recent rise of populist tendencies and their meaning in contemporary democracies within the EU, including Eastern Europe. It stresses the importance of two interrelated and interconnected processes that provide a fertile ground for the emergence of different types of populism – crisis of parliamentary multi-party democracy and pressures of supranational integration and globalisation. Populism has the ambition to address both, to solve the political crisis and defend national sovereignty against globalism by personifying politics as a way of concentrating power. This means a tendency toward a (semi)-authoritarian (but still competitive) regime and state-led capitalism. In addition, new allies and protectors in an emerging new, multi-polar global order and outside of the EU and Western sphere are sought.