Politics Against Domination

Ian Shapiro

April 2016 | $35.00 | ISBN-13: 978-0674743847 | 288 pages

Ian Shapiro makes a compelling case that the overriding purpose of politics should be to combat domination. Moreover, he shows how to put resistance to domination into practice at home and abroad. This is a major work of applied political theory, a profound challenge to utopian visions, and a guide to fundamental problems of justice and distribution.
Shapiro builds his case from the ground up, but he also spells out its implications for pressing debates about electoral systems, independent courts, money in politics, minimum wages, and the vulnerabilities of minorities. He takes up debates over international institutions and world government, intervention to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, and the challenges of fostering democracy abroad. Shapiro is brutally realistic in his assessments of politics and power, yet he makes an inspiring case that we can reasonably hope to devise ways to combat domination and act on them. Gleaning insights from the battle against slavery, the creation of modern welfare states, the civil rights movement, Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, and the worldwide campaign against sweatshops, among other sources, Shapiro explains the ingredients of effective coalitions for political change and how best to press them into the service of resisting domination.
Politics against Domination ranges over political science, psychology, economics, history, sociology, and law. It will be of interest to seasoned veterans of political theory in all these disciplines. But it is written in the lucid and penetrating style for which Shapiro is widely known, making it readily accessible to newcomers.

"Ian Shapiro combines erudite, rigorous political theorizing with a public intellectual’s ability to canvass and illuminate contemporary domestic and global problems. It’s a rare blend, one that makes Politics against Domination a book both for academic syllabi and presidential reading lists. It is a book that has actually changed my mind on how to think about international intervention.”  — Ann-Marie Slaughter, President, New America

"This is a profound and unmatched study of the order and justice of non-domination.  Ian Shapiro makes the case that politics — whether domestic or international — should be about saving citizens from hell, not leading them to heaven.”  — Michael Doyle, Columbia University

"As Ian Shapiro says, a polity cannot pursue liberty, equality, or justice until it overcomes domination – and this book provides the best way to think about that crucial step that I know of.  It is a fine example of his almost unique ability to ‘anchor philosophical reflection in real politics,’  thereby showing all of us how to mingle  ‘ought’ with ‘can’  in the service of human liberation and dignity.  — Jennifer Hochschild, Harvard University

"Ian Shapiro has written an exceptional book that brings together political philosophy, empirical political science, political economy, history, occasional natural science, and much else.” — Jeffrey Green, University of Pennsylvania

"Ian Shapiro has the richest knowledge of contemporary politics across the world and the keenest sense of political reality of any American political theorist. Politics against Domination is his trenchant summary of what he has learnt from more than three decades of strenuous inquiry and hard thought.” — John Dunn, University of Cambridge