Peacebuilding

Robin Chase

Shared Mobility Principles During the course of my career, I’ve met and worked with some amazing people. None of them holds a candle to Robin Chase. I use the term force of nature in describing her to other people. If anything, that’s an understatement. She cofounded ZipCar and Veniam, has been on the boards of a number of environmental organizations, and gives some of the most inspirational talks I've ever heard. Now, she has combined a lot of those interests involving cities, transportation, the environment, and socioeconomic equality. You can get a glimpse of what Robin's all about in general by thinking about the statement from her that accompanies the photo to the right. A few weeks ago, [...]

Robin Chase 2018-02-11T22:21:06+00:00

Rethinking Power

Rethinking Power It’s about time for us to rethink what power means. I’ve felt that way for some time especially when I’ve had to think about the ways in which my work as a peacebuilder and as a political scientist do not mesh. It took reading Dacher Keltner’s The Power Paradox to have the pieces begin to fall into place. Keltner is a social psychologist who understands the traditional definition of power we political scientists have used at least since the time of Machiavelli. As Robert Dahl put it in the 1950s: A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do. In other words, [...]

Rethinking Power 2018-02-05T13:12:24+00:00

Peacebuilding and Democracy

Peacebuilding and Democracy Until last Thursday afternoon, I was planning to write about what comparative politics research can do to help peacebuilders. Then, I ran into my friend Jim Pfiffner of George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government. Jim is a scholar of the presidency who has written books on judging the character of our chief executive--among many other things. Jim is also one of the most thoughtful people I know. And since we hadn't seen each other in ages and since we are both political scientists, our discussion immediately turned to the Trump presidency--even before we mentioned our grandkids. I had just finished reviewing Steven Levitsky and Danie Ziblatt's How Democracies Die. As we discussed [...]

Peacebuilding and Democracy 2018-01-21T16:44:35+00:00

On Trust

As a comparative political scientist and peacebuilder, I have to be interested in trust, and I have to be worried about the declining trust both in the country I live in and in the ones I study. Restoring and rebuilding trust seems to be a requirement for making significant progress in solving any of the vexing issues in our social, political, and economic lives today. And the news on that front isn’t terribly encouraging these days….r Luckily, a book and an article crossed my desk this week that address how trust can be restored, albeit in very different ways. First is Rachel Botsman’s delightful book, Who Can We Trust.  She starts from a premise most of my colleagues [...]

On Trust 2017-12-26T18:28:14+00:00