“Out of Place: A Memoir” by Edward Said — Absolutely Fascinating

It is hard now for me to pinpoint the moment when I became aware of the work of Edward Said and when it entered my personal and intellectual radars so to speak. (If interested in other posts on Edward Said, please see the post on On Being an Academic and a Public Intellectual and on […]

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BOOK REVIEW ESSAY: Policies on The Move. NEW PUBLICATION!

I reviewed four recent books on the translation of policies, assemblages and the growing role of ethnography in public policy and urban studies in a new book review essay published in Environment and Planning C. These books are as follows: Blaustein Jarrett, Speaking truths to power: Policy ethnography and police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. […]

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Public Policy Bits: Public Policy, Planning and Chess

Once a great Cuban world chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca was asked how many moves ahead he is able to see in a chess game. He famously responded: ‘one, the best one’. Karl Wittfogel, in 1957, published his seminal book “Oriental Despotism“, his claim that state-formation and organization of societies in hierarchies originated from large […]

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On Writing, Honesty and Van Gogh

I have recently received two reviews on my writing pieces, which felt like a great achievement for a number of reasons. Five or six other journals rejected one article before it was actually reviewed. Another, a chapter for a prestigious collection, which I am co-writing with a colleague in Australia, finally got reviews from two […]

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On Being an Academic and a Public Intellectual

Edward Said is primarily known for this views on Palestine and Israel and for this book “Orientalism” which defined and inspired the post-colonial studies, as discussed before on this blog. He, however, also left a dozens if not hundreds of essays and interviews — the goldmine for anyone interested in the issues of politics, literature, […]

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Crafting or Designing Socio-Ecological Systems? NEW PUBLICATION!

Finally, our Special Issue of Environmental Science & Policy is online, and you can enjoy the articles. You can read our editorial about the issue here, and the article I wrote with colleagues on water user associations in the region here.

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“The Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb

After 3 years of owning the book, I finally made the effort and read the book from cover to cover. It was hard to start off, but then went in a free-flow. There are many reviews on the Internet, so I won’t go on about the book at length, only mention a few things which […]

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Edward Said: Last Public Intellectual

Last autumn, I started being interested in Professor Edward Said, who is most known for his 1978 book “The Orientalism”. I won’t write about the book here, a lot has been written about it already. Edward Said, however, is much more than an author. He stands out as perhaps the last public intellectual of our […]

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“Our Kids” by Robert Putnam, 2015

The New York Review of Books published a review of the new book of Robert Putnam “Our Kids”. This book is about where America is going in terms of the “morality” of life — increasing divorce rates, children born out of the wedlock and an overall decreasing happiness trend.

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What Makes Ideas Spread?

There is too much choice at the moment, the tyranny of choice. The only way to make sure that your idea, bad or good, becomes influential, you have to make sure this idea is different from all other ideas! It may be crazy, it may be risky-looking, but this is really the “safe” way to […]

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Weekend Reading: “Social Theory”

One day when I was a student in Oxford, I went to a student auction to buy a bicycle. Instead, I bought a book. It was only 3 GBP and it was second hand. It was called “Social Theory: a Historical Introduction” by Alex Callinicos, and this was a start of my passion for social […]

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Global Governance of Biofuels. NEW PUBLICATION!

Farhad Mukhtarov co-authored a new paper (short communication) with Professor Patricia Osseweijer from Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) and dr. Robin Pierce from Harvard Law School (US). It appeared in the last issue of 2014 of Bio-based and Applied Economics, a new journal devoted to the issues of energy transition and bio-economy as viewed […]

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bell hooks on teaching and critical thinking

One of the major things that makes my life meaningful at this particular moment is teaching and the chance to pass some knowledge and ways of thinking to my students. It is not self-esteem which I am gaining here, although I recognize that teaching is a mildly narcissistic activity which may inflate already oversize egos. […]

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Weekend Reading: “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”

The travel of ideas This week’s weekend reading is the international bestseller from Malcolm Gladwell “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”. In this book released in 2000, the New York Times columnist and a writer Malcolm Gladwell describes the turning point when a trend starts to catch fire, becomes important, […]

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New Book!!! “River Basin Management in the Twenty-first Century: Understanding People and Place”

Good news for those interested in water resources management and policy! A new book is published by CRC Press, part of Taylor & Francis Group, which is called “River Basin Management in the Twenty-first Century: Understanding People and Place” edited by Victor Squires, Hugh Milner, and Katherine Daniell. It has a rich collection of various […]

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Scientists-poachers: are you one of them?

This is a brief sojourn into the social science literature on environmental and policy change which shows the diversity of the field, the multiplicity of assumptions, emphases and models. It also shows that some of these ‘labels” may have more in common with assumptions and hypotheses made by the quantitative researchers than others. Thus, bringing […]

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Oxford Handbook on Water Politics and Policy (2015)

An excellent news for the scholars and policy-makers in water policy and politics is that the new Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy is contracted and currently in progress to be published in 2015! Most excitingly, this is the first edition of such a high profile Handbook in the field of Water Policy and […]

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Thoughts on ethnography and a slaughterhouse from the Annual Ethnography Symposium 2013

At the Amsterdam Ethnography Symposium, a full room of scholars, mostly anthropologists, is captivated by the charismatic speaker telling the tale of mass killing and normalization of such. The subject is the ethnography of a slaughterhouse. The element of story-telling is combined with stand-up comedy, when the presenter takes questions from the audience in the […]

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Public Policy Bits: Techno-fixes?

Albert Einstein famously proclaimed that “you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it”.  But we keep trying to fool ourselves that we can. We see technology as our ultimate solution, from extending our lives through synthetic biology, to arguing that we must have genetically modified food and other organisms as we are […]

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Water Governance, Policy and Knowledge Transfer. NEW PUBLICATION!

Guest contribution by Gül Özerol, Cheryl de Boer, and Joanne Vinke-de Kruijf. “Water Governance, Policy and Knowledge Transfer: International Studies of Contextual Water Management” is the title of a new book published in May by Routledge as part of the book series Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management. A major finding of the book is that context […]

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