March 2018

Why Europe Intervenes in Africa: Security, Prestige and the Legacy of Colonialism
By Catherine Gegout
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Recommended by Hélène B. Ducros

Catherine Gegout sets out to analyze conflicts in Africa from the late 1980s to 2016, while at the same time discrediting the commonly held conception of Africa as a continent that is uniquely of war and violence. As the recent visit to Africa and declarations of President Macron of France have highlighted, European nations and the European Union are still ambiguous in their interventionist politics on the African continent, in appearance torn between moral and political obligation. The resulting stalemate leads to action or deliberate non-action, sometimes behind a front of multilateralism advocacy that does not prevent the implementation of unilateral policies. Gegout’s research delves into European decisions over military intervention in Africa by contextualizing motives within a continuous history of exploitation and neo-colonial relations. While deemphasizing Africa as a monolith and focusing instead on differentiating the experiences of different nations, she also denounces Eurocentric approaches to the history of foreign policy. As she builds her theory of European military intervention through post-colonial and realist approaches and engages European actors’ responsibility for not curtailing or even for creating conflicts in African states, she also unpacks the role of various other entities, such as NATO, the UN Security Council, the African Union, and the United States.

Contributing an important and precise history of European intervention (and non-intervention) in Africa in the past three decades, the book is also inscribed in wider debates about the meaning of intervention and security, and the rationale of economic and humanitarian motivation for intervention when efforts may be fueled by the desire to preserve economic interests or enhance domestic or international prestige. The volume will appeal to readers beyond the African context, as it invites a reflection over national interests and European foreign policy generally, the legitimacy, legality and ethics of intervention in any region of the world, the actors implicated in different sorts of intervention strategies, and the motives and impacts of intervention, whether driven by peacekeeping, peacebuilding, or the protection of financial, trade and commercial interests.


The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany
By Cynthia Miller-Idriss
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Recommended by Louie Dean Valencia-García

Cynthia Miller-Idriss’ new book, The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany, challenges readers to look beyond facile understandings of a disenfranchised working class as the source of the far-right’s resurgence in Europe. Miller-Idriss acknowledges generally accepted factors that contribute to the reasons why some young people find the far-right appealing, including: 1) marginalization “from traditional measures of economic success”; 2) societal insecurity based on changes in demographics; and 3) exposure to authoritarian values, incarceration, or military experience. In her work, the sociologist relies upon interviews and extensive research into commercial goods, focusing on clothing that promotes or financially supports far-right ideologies. Complicating these factors, Miller-Idriss explores two emotional impulses that propel young people toward the far-right, which include “the urge to belong and be a part of a group, and the desire to rebel and reject mainstream or adult society.”

The author looks not at stereotypical caricatures of the far-right, but rather at young people who are on the fringes of far-right movements so that to better understand the appeal and the fissures between far-right subcultures and mainstream society. Miller-Idriss cleverly describes the role of consumption and style as a “gateway to extremism,” borrowing from scholars like Dick Hebdige, whose work on punk subculture certainly has resonances in Miller-Idress’ work. This is seen in the ways participants in far-right culture purchase clothing brands associated with far-right ideologies, such as Alpha Industries, Ansgar Aryan, Thor Steinar, etc. Thor Steiner, for example, has a pair of jeans called “Rudolf,” after Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hesse. Miller-Idress’ sections demonstrating the intersections of masculinity and the far-right are particularly insightful. The Extreme Gone Mainstream gives valuable insight into the ways that performativity and the power of symbols plays into far-right youth culture. Through her excellently structured recruitment methods and interviewees, Miller-Idress locates young people who are more likely to associate with the far right, bringing valuable insight to scholarship in far-right youth culture. This is a necessary book for anyone wanting to better understand the rituals and strategies being used in far-right cultures as they attempt to bring xenophobic, fascistic ideologies to the mainstream.


EU-China-Africa Trilateral Relations in a Multipolar World: Hic Sunt Dracones
By Anna Katharina Stahl
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Recommended by Mihai Sebe

As European Union member-states are forced to adapt to the rise of new powers in the international arena, most notably China due to its economic growth, the EU foreign policy is undergoing a fundamental transformation. The EU needs to respond to an emerging multipolar world by having a proactive foreign policy regarding China and Africa. One way of dealing with that situation is by conducting a proactive foreign policy of engagement with rising powers. The EU therefore has a series of dialogue initiatives with China and Africa and a broad development of EU-China-Africa trilateral relations. However, a lot still must be done as this book reveals that European policymakers lack a profound understanding of other parts of the world, which is preventing the EU from fully engaging with China and Africa. This book provides a new framework for the research of EU’s foreign policy of engagement with emerging powers, providing a reference source for anyone interested in the EU’s international role.


The Politics of Supranational Banking Supervision in Europe
By David Howarth and Huw Macartney
Publisher: Routledge
Recommended by Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn

Edited by two leading political economists, The Politics of Supranational Banking Supervision in Europe skilfully draws out three longstanding areas of political contestations underpinning the most recent of transfer of economic power to the European Union. Teasing out how acrimonious battles between states, between states and supranational actors, and between members’ epistemic communities have shaped the leap towards regional banking integration, this volume provides a crucial diagnosis of Europe’s capacity to face the next bout of financial volatility.






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