Books published by Polity


After the Caliphate

Polity | June 24, 2019 | 240 pages
In 2014, the declaration of the Islamic State caliphate was hailed as a major victory by the global jihadist movement. But it was short-lived. Three years on, the caliphate was destroyed, leaving its surviving fighters – many of whom were foreign recruits – to retreat and scatter across the... More Info

Why Cities Look the Way They Do

Polity | June 17, 2019 | 192 pages
We tend to think cities look the way they do because of the conscious work of architects, planners and builders. But what if the look of cities had less to do with design, and more to do with social, cultural, financial and political processes, and the way ordinary citizens interact with them? What... More Info

Democracy and Community

Polity | June 24, 2019 | 120 pages
The concept of community is tainted by the events of the twentieth century, frequently appropriated by totalitarian regimes for the purposes of exclusion and oppression. In this dialogue with Peter Engelmann, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy attempts to reframe community as central to a... More Info

What is Epistemology?

Polity | June 10, 2019 | 200 pages
Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge. Epistemologists seek to understand knowledge’s nature and availability. What is knowledge? There are competing theories. Can we really have knowledge? Challenges abound. In this lively book, Stephen Hetherington introduces us to... More Info

The Political Economy of Inequality

Polity | May 20, 2019 | 224 pages
During the last few decades, the gap between the incomes, wealth and living standards of rich and poor people has increased in most countries. Economic inequality has become a defining issue of our age. In this book, leading political economist Frank Stilwell provides a comprehensive overview of... More Info

The Sex Factor

Polity | May 28, 2019 | 248 pages
Why did the West become so rich? Why is inequality rising? How ‘free’ should markets be? And what does sex have to do with it? In this passionate and skilfully argued book, leading feminist Victoria Bateman shows how we can only understand the burning economic issues of our time if we put sex... More Info

Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society

Polity | March 11, 2019 | 192 pages
As an exile in America during the War, Theodor Adorno grew acquainted with the fundamentals of empirical social research, something which would shape the work he undertook in the early 1950s as co-director of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research. Yet he also became increasingly aware of the... More Info


Polity | May 28, 2019 | 200 pages
By making available the almost unlimited energy stored in prehistoric plant matter, coal enabled the industrial age – and it still does. Coal today generates more electricity worldwide than any other energy source, helping to drive economic growth in major emerging markets. And yet, continued... More Info

The Relevance of the Communist Manifesto

Polity | April 1, 2019 | 70 pages
No other Marxist text has come close to achieving the fame and influence of The Communist Manifesto. Translated into over 100 languages, this clarion call to the workers of the world radically shaped the events of the 20th century. But what relevance does it have for us today? In this slim book,... More Info

The Joy of Missing Out

Polity | April 8, 2019 | 128 pages
‘Because you’re worth it’, proclaims the classic cosmetics ad. ‘Just do it!’ implores the global sports retailer. Everywhere we turn, we are constantly encouraged to experience as much as possible, for as long as possible, in as many ways as possible. FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – has... More Info

What is Digital Sociology?

Polity | February 4, 2019 | 152 pages
The rise of digital technology is transforming the world in which we live. Our digitalized societies demand new ways of thinking about the social, and this short book introduces readers to an approach that can deliver this: digital sociology. Neil Selwyn examines the concepts, tools and practices... More Info


Polity | May 20, 2019 | 80 pages
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States sent shockwaves across the globe. How was such an outcome even possible? In two lectures given at American universities in the immediate aftermath of the election, the leading French philosopher Alain Badiou helps us to make sense of... More Info

The Metric Society on the Quantification of the Social

Polity | March 18, 2019 | 200 pages
In today’s world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes and lists are rapidly emerging, as data are collected on virtually every aspect of our lives. From annual university rankings, ratings agencies and fitness tracking technologies to our credit score... More Info

Living Well at Others' Expense

Polity | April 22, 2019 | 140 pages
At the heart of developed societies lies an insatiable drive for wealth and prosperity. Yet in a world ruled by free-market economics, there are always winners and losers. The benefits enjoyed by the privileged few come at the expense of the many. In this important new book, Stephan Lessenich shows... More Info

Cyberdiplomacy, Managing Security and Governance Online

Polity | April 15, 2019 | 160 pages
The world has been sleep-walking into cyber chaos. The spread of misinformation via social media and the theft of data and intellectual property, along with regular cyberattacks, threaten the fabric of modern societies. All the while, the Internet of Things increases the vulnerability of computer... More Info

Theology and Religion

Polity | March 18, 2019 | 160 pages
Graham Ward argues that the study of theology and religion, as a single academic discipline, plays a vital role in helping us to understand politics, world affairs, and the nature of humanity itself. Religion can be used to justify inhumane actions, but it also feeds dreams, inspires hopes, and... More Info

War and Political Theory

Polity | May 28, 2019 | 240 pages
In a world that continues to be riven by armed conflict, the fundamental moral and political questions raised by warfare are as important as ever. Under what circumstances are we justified in going to war? Can conflicts be waged in a ‘moral’ way? Is war an inevitable feature of a world driven... More Info

In Praise of Politics

Polity | April 29, 2019 | 120 pages
Against the backdrop of an alarming rise in authoritarianism and the crisis of liberal democracy, few would consider extoling the virtues of politics today. Yet in this lively dialogue with journalist Aude Lancelin, leading French thinker Alain Badiou argues that it is precisely through politics... More Info

Is Whistleblowing a Duty?

Polity | January 4, 2019 | 140 pages
Recent years have seen a number of whistleblowers risk their liberty to expose illegal and corrupt behaviour. Some have heralded their bravery, others see them as traitors. Can there be a moral duty to emulate their example and blow the whistle? In this book, leading political philosophers Emanuela... More Info

Russia's Futures

Polity | April 1, 2019 | 256 pages
Russia is back as a major force in global politics, but what does this mean? Is Russia the dangerous revisionist foe that meddles in Western elections and tries to subvert the liberal international order? Or is it a country precariously trying to maintain security and enhance prosperity at home,... More Info

Passions and Politics

Polity | January 14, 2019 | 140 pages
The dominant model of democratic politics emphasizes reason at the expense of the passions. Passions have been treated as dangerous, the opposite of reason and the enemy of virtue. Paul Ginsborg and Sergio Labate challenge this model and put forward a very different view, developing an account of... More Info

What is Philosophy of Religion?

Polity | February 4, 2019 | 160 pages
An important part of philosophy is concerned with religious questions. What is the meaning of life, and how might religious faith or doubt impact such meaning? What is the evidence for the existence of God? Is evidence essential for religious faith? What is the relationship between science and... More Info

Will the gig economy prevail?

Polity | April 15, 2019 | 140 pages
Increasingly, employees are being falsely treated as ‘self-employed’. This phenomenon – the ‘gig economy’ – is seen as the inevitable shape of things to come. In this book, Colin Crouch takes a step back and questions this logic. He shows how the idea of an employee – a stable status... More Info

Can Political Violence Ever Be Justified?

Polity | April 2, 2019 | 140 pages
Violence – from state coercion to wars and revolutions – remains an enduring global reality. But whereas it is often believed that the point of constitutional politics is to make violence unnecessary, others argue that it is an unavoidable element of politics. In this lucid and erudite book,... More Info


Polity | March 11, 2019 | 160 pages
‘Facts alone are wanted in life,’ exclaims Mr Gradgrind at the beginning of Dickens’ Hard Times. Literature is not about facts alone, and – despite two and a half thousand years of arguments – no one can agree on what it is, or how to study it. But, argues Robert Eaglestone, it is... More Info


Polity | April 22, 2019 | 240 pages
Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) was an influential historian and philosopher of science, as renowned for his teaching as for his writings. He is best known for his book The Normal and the Pathological, originally his doctoral thesis in medicine, but he also wrote a thesis in philosophy on the... More Info

Generation Left

Polity | May 13, 2019 | 140 pages
Increasingly age appears to be the key dividing line in contemporary politics. Young people across the globe are embracing left-wing ideas and supporting figures such as Corbyn and Sanders. Where has this ‘Generation Left’ come from? How can it change the world? This compelling book by Keir... More Info

The Demons of Liberal Democracy

Polity | March 11, 2019 | 160 pages
Liberals blame the global retreat of liberal democracy on globalisation and authoritarian leaders. Only liberalism, so they assume, can defend democratic rule against multinationals or populists at home and abroad. In this provocative book, Adrian Pabst contends that liberal democracy is illiberal... More Info


Polity | February 6, 2019 | 160 pages
We constantly disagree with each other on issues of fundamental importance. Does God exist? Should the latest scientific findings be trusted? Are there innate psychological differences between men and women? In four lively chapters, Beebee and Rush explain philosophy’s role in addressing such... More Info


Polity | April 1, 2019 | 160 pages
Today Syria is a country known for all the wrong reasons: civil war, vicious sectarianism, and major humanitarian crisis. But how did this once rich, multi-cultural society end up as the site of one of the twenty-first century’s most devastating and brutal conflicts? In this incisive book,... More Info

Against Hate

Polity | March 18, 2019 | 220 pages
Racism, extremism, anti-democratic sentiment – our increasingly polarized world is dominated by a type of thinking that doubts others’ positions but never its own. In a powerful challenge to fundamentalism in all its forms, Carolin Emcke, one of Germany’s leading intellectuals, argues that we... More Info

The Israel/Palestine Reader

Polity | January 29, 2019 | 304 pages
Introduction to any complex international conflict is enriched when the voices of the adversaries are heard. The Israel/Palestine Reader is an innovative collection, focused on the human dimension of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian confrontation. Its vivid and illuminating readings present the... More Info

Why Global Justice Matters Moral Progress in a Divided World

Polity | May 20, 2019 | 140 pages
While many are born into prosperity, hundreds of millions of people lead lives of almost unimaginable poverty. Our world remains hugely unequal, with our place of birth continuing to exert a major influence on our opportunities. In this accessible book, leading political theorist Chris Armstrong... More Info


Polity | March 18, 2019 | 140 pages
People so often focus on the negative aspects of politics, like greed and corruption, but without politics we would be lost. It frames everything we do, and it has the power to bring about real and positive change. Politics, Andrew Gamble reminds us, defeated slavery and secured equal rights for... More Info

Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?

Polity | January 14, 2019 | 136 pages
Nearly a third of the world’s population suffers from hunger or malnutrition. Feeding them – and the projected population of 10 billion people by 2050 – has become a high-profile challenge for states, philanthropists, and even the Fortune 500. This has unleashed a steady march of initiatives... More Info

Rape and Resistance

Polity | June 6, 2018 | 264 pages
Sexual violence has become a topic of intense media scrutiny, thanks to the bravery of survivors coming forward to tell their stories. But, unfortunately, mainstream public spheres too often echo reports in a way that inhibits proper understanding of its causes, placing too much emphasis on... More Info

Do Central Banks Serve the People?

Polity | September 11, 2018 | 140 pages
Central banks have become the go-to institution of modern economies. In the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, they injected trillions of dollars of liquidity – through a process known as quantitative easing – first to prevent financial meltdown and later to stimulate the economy. The untold... More Info

The Digital Condition

Polity | February 21, 2018 | 220 pages
Our daily lives, our culture and our politics are now shaped by the digital condition as large numbers of people involve themselves in contentious negotiations of meaning in ever more dimensions of life, from the trivial to the profound. They are making use of the capacities of complex... More Info

Life With Lacan

Polity | April 30, 2018 | 128 pages
‘There was a time when I felt that I had grasped Lacan’s essential being from within – that I had gained, as it were, an apperception of his relation to the world, a mysterious access to that intimate place from which sprang his relation to people and things, and even to himself. It was as if... More Info


Polity | August 13, 2018 | 256 pages
Libya is teetering on the edge of collapse, having become a new safe haven for transnational terrorist organizations and an epicenter of the Mediterranean refugee crisis. Few could have imagined that Libya's 2011 uprising against the longstanding regime of Mu'ammar Al-Gaddafi would expose a polity... More Info

The Case for a Maximum Wage

Polity | July 23, 2018 | 140 pages
Modern societies set limits, on everything from how fast motorists can drive to how much waste factory owners can dump in our rivers. But incomes in our deeply unequal world have no limits. Could capping top incomes tackle rising inequality more effectively than conventional approaches? In this... More Info


Polity | January 16, 2018 | 204 pages
Karl Marx was the first theorist of global capitalism and remains perhaps its most trenchant critic. This clear and innovative book, from one of the leading contemporary experts on Marx's thought, gives us a fresh overview of his ideas by framing them within concepts that remain topical and alive... More Info


Polity | November 5, 2018 | 180 pages
Torture is not as universally condemned as it once was. From Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib prisons to the death of Giulio Regeni, countless recent cases have shocked public opinion. But if we want to defend the human dignity that torture violates, simple indignation is not enough. In this important... More Info

What is Power?

Polity | November 28, 2018 | 120 pages
Power is a pervasive phenomenon yet there is little consensus on what it is and how it should be understood. In this book the cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han develops a fresh and original perspective on the nature of power, shedding new light on this key feature of social and political life. Power... More Info

Can Democracy Handle Climate Change?

Polity | July 23, 2018 | 160 pages
Global climate change poses an unprecedented challenge for governments across the world. Small wonder that many experts question whether democracies have the ability to cope with the causes and long-term consequences of a changing climate. Some even argue that authoritarian regimes are better... More Info

Crime and Global Justice

Polity | April 24, 2018 | 288 pages
Over the last quarter of a century a new system of global criminal justice has emerged. But how successful has it been? Are we witnessing a new era of cosmopolitan justice or are the old principles of victors’ justice still in play? In this book, Daniele Archibugi and Alice Pease offer a vibrant... More Info

Economy and Society: Selected Writings

Polity | July 16, 2018 | 280 pages
Few figures are more crucial to understanding the upheavals of our contemporary era than Karl Polanyi. In a world riven by social and economic crises, from rising inequality to the decay of democratic institutions and profound technological disruption, Polanyi’s path-breaking account of the... More Info

Global Security Cultures

Polity | June 6, 2018 | 224 pages
Why do politicians think that war is the answer to terror when military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Mali, Somalia and elsewhere has made things worse? Why do some conflicts never end? And how is it that practices like beheadings, extra-judicial killings, the bombing of... More Info

Why Can't You Afford a Home?

Polity | December 10, 2018 | 140 pages
Throughout the Western world, a whole generation is being priced out of the housing market. For millions of people, particularly millennials, the basic goal of acquiring decent, affordable accommodation is a distant dream. Leading economist Josh Ryan-Collins argues that to understand this crisis,... More Info

Race and the Cultural Industries

Polity | January 23, 2018 | 240 pages
Studies of race and media are dominated by textual approaches that explore the politics of representation. But there is little understanding of how and why representations of race in the media take the shape that they do. How, one might ask, is race created by cultural industries? In this important... More Info