Afghanistan has been in the headlines for many years – but tragically for all the wrong reasons. First invaded by the Soviets in 1979, the country then experienced the trauma of civil war followed by yet another intervention, this time by the United States and allies, which ended with the West’s ignominious withdrawal in August 2021. Afghanistan: Long War, Forgotten Peace examines multiple dimensions of what happened and why, and what the future holds for the country now the Taliban are back in power.
Multidisciplinary in approach, this book features analysts from a variety of academic disciplines, including policy-makers and public intellectuals – many with direct experience of having lived and worked in Afghanistan. It explains why the Taliban finally triumphed, what this means for Afghan society, and how competing actors in the international system have reacted to the Taliban takeover. Questions include whether the West’s withdrawal represented a major or only a temporary setback for NATO and the United States, and whether and how there can be any amelioration of the situation in Afghanistan itself. The country and its people face multiple interrelated challenges, including those of women’s rights, the drugs economies and human trafficking and exploitation.
This volume is essential reading for all those concerned with what happens in Afghanistan over the coming months and years, the consequences for the Afghan people – and for the rest of the world.Book Details
Governments in liberal democracies pursue social welfare, but in many different ways. The wellbeing approach instead asks: why not focus directly on increasing measured human happiness? Why not try to improve people’s overall quality of life, as it is subjectively seen by citizens themselves?
The radical implications of this stance include shifting attention to previously neglected areas (such as mental health and ‘social infrastructure’ services) and developing defensible measures of overall wellbeing or quality of life indicators. Can one ‘master’ concept of wellbeing work to create more holistic policy-making? Or should we stick with multiple metrics? These debates are well-developed in health policy-making and in alternative ‘capabilities’ approaches to assessing quality of life. Most recently, the connections between wellbeing and political participation have come into sharper focus.
Wellbeing remains a contested concept, one that can be interpreted and used differently, with consequences for how it is incorporated into policy decisions. By bringing together scholars from economics, psychology and behavioural science, philosophy and political science, the authors and editors of this short volume explore how different disciplinary approaches can contribute to the study of wellbeing and how this can shape policy priorities.Book Details
Populist movements, parties and leaders have gained influence in many countries, disrupting long-established patterns of party competition, impugning the legitimacy of representative institutions and sometimes actively weakening or coarsening government capabilities. By positing an acute contrast between the will of the people and established elites, and advocating simplistic policy solutions careless of minority rights, populists have challenged the development and even the maintenance of liberal democracy on many fronts.
Social scientists’ attention to populism has grown rapidly, although it remains somewhat fragmented across disciplines. Many questions remain. Are populism’s causes economic or cultural? National or local? Is populism a threat to liberal democracy? If so, what kind of threat? And what can be done about it? Employing a range of conceptual toolkits and methods, this interdisciplinary book addresses in a critical and evidence-based way the most common diagnoses of populism’s causes, consequences and policy antidotes.Book Details