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 time. We do not have public intellectuals of this caliber anymore, maybe with an exception of Noam Chomsky. (more…)
After waiting for over a year, finally our article is online! This article is titled “‘Ways of knowing’ water: integrated water resources management and water security as complementary discourses“, Andrea Gerlak and I wrote it for International Negotiations and Environmental Agreements (INEA), a well-respected journal in the area of environmental policy and political science. The …
On March 13, 2015, ADA University Debate Society hosted a great round of debate with ADA University faculty – Dr. Anar Valiyev, Dr. Kavus Abushov, Dr. Javid Gadirov, Dr. Farhad Mukhtarov on the motion “Freedom of speech is more important than religious sensitivities.” The event followed up with a round of discussion and Q&A panel. Generally, the event brought up many important and noteworthy ideas and clash points which grabbed huge attention of the audience. Here is the video of the debate.
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 …
Farhad Mukhtarov (ADA University, Azerbaijan) and Aleh Cherp (Central European University, Hungary; Lund University, Sweden), with essential assistance from a graduate ADAU student Richard Sarpong, published 2 articles in Oxford Bibliographies, Oxford University Press. One article is about Energy Security — the concept that commands great policy attention nowadays, from the issues of oil and gas prices, to geopolitics and climate change. The second article is about Water Security — essentially, the idea of human security applied to the field of water resources. (more…)
However, one website offers a good take on many of those concepts, and only in 1000 words! It is the blog written by Paul Cairney and can be found here. This is excellent for students of public policy and people with general interest. So are you taking a public policy class and you have to …
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 theory (more…)
The debate on the travel of ideas has ignited once again, this time on the pages of the new scientific journal called Global Discourse. Founded in 2010, this journal claims not to have a particular disciplinary audience and to target inter-disciplinary approaches. It managed to raise an interesting discussion with the latest issue (more…)
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 from multiple perspectives.
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. My major satisfaction comes from the consciousness that I have the opportunity and hopefully the capacity to touch someone’s life early on to an extent that would allow transformation, personal and professional, mostly via showing the new ways of looking and thinking about reality, about the mundane, about the obvious. Rendering the mundane exotic is perhaps key in education. Giving the students such lenses is the greatest gift of education. (more…)
The Journal of Environmental Science & Policy will feature in early 2015 an article co-authored by Farhad Mukhtarov, Svenja Fox, Nozila Mukhamedova and Kai Wegerich. This article is an attempt to resolve the tensions between the need for institutional reform and learning in this process and the paramount importance of the policy context in determining the fate of institutional reforms (more…)
This post shows how water is a slow-ticking bomb in the European policy domain, that many more protests and political fights are set to happen in the years to come in that area. Europe is used to good life with unlimited resources, such as water; the reality, alas, is different, and the people are not used to this, especially the baby-boomers. (more…)
What is Freedom? Many philosophers have tried to answer this question. When listening to Brene Brown’s talk on vulnerability, I often think of freedom in a way of breaking through the boundaries of the ‘comfort zone’, by making myself vulnerable and in a way, opening up new avenues for personal growth. And in making oneself vulnerable, one breaks free, free from his old self, free from the boundaries, free from the habits of mind and body. (more…)
I am jet-lagged after my vacation and have to wake up early for my 9am morning class and get back into the working mode again after the vacation. Sleepy, with a bunch of papers I am going to the classroom and see a lot of new students buzzing around with excitement, colleagues waving at me in the corridor and some old friends with whom we ended up working for the same university. It is good to be back, I missed my students and the university life! (more…)
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, takes prevalence and spreads as an epidemic. (more…)
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 approaches to water management. The CRC Press website summarises the book’s contents as follows: (more…)
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 this diversity in light may be the first step in creating the dialogue, and indeed, bridging the big gap among the researchers, including those in water governance. So, what is your label? And would you like to be labeled? I prefer to stay a “scientist-poacher”!
Forgive a brief indulgence in personal anecdote, although exclusively for a purpose. I was interviewed for a job at a Dutch University some years ago, and since my PhD thesis had neo-Gramscian ideas, I was asked whether I was a neo-Gramscian. The intention was to indicate that there are a few like-minded prominent researchers at an associated faculty of social sciences. I responded that I was not sure who I was, perhaps a social scientist with a variety of ideas. In reality, I was a “scientist-poacher”! I have been encroaching on the fields of economics, political science, international relations, geography, linguistics, cultural science and God knows what else! And I have no name for myself! That would not be a problem if not the human need to classify in order to comprehend and judge (see a nice article by Freeman and Frisina on this). Nowadays, you are not because you think, as Descartes had proclaimed. You are because you have a label! (more…)
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 Politics and will most likely become a flagship publication with great impact on scholarship and policy (more…)