Charles Taylor Book Award
Presented for the best book in political science that employs or develops interpretive methodologies and methods. This award recognizes the contributions of Charles Taylor to the advancement of interpretive thinking. His 1971 essay “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man,” which powerfully critiqued the aspiration to model the study of politics on the natural sciences and cogently explains how “interpretation is essential to explanation” in the human sciences, along with his many other articles, book chapters, and volumes, have long been a source of inspiration for scholars seeking to develop and apply an interpretive approach to the study of politics.
Presented to: Paul Amar, University of California, Santa Barbara, for
The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism (Duke University Press, 2013).
Paul Amar’s Security Archipelago exemplifies the rich and innovative potential of interpretive methods and methodology in comparative and transnational research. Bringing together events, practices, and discourses in the global cities of Rio and Cairo, from the landmark United Nations summits held in these cities (in 1992 and 1994, respectively) to the present, Amar interweaves fascinating empirical detail and provocative meta-reflection on the trajectories and paradoxes of militarism, humanitarianism, and sexuality politics in our global age. His book especially stands out for the Taylor award due to its self-reflexive, creative, and confident crafting and pursuit of what Amar terms his “archipelago method.” With this method Amar brings his cases together in a multitude of ways: from charting similarities and differences between cultural heritage urban planning projects in each city, to exploring implications of the structural position of both cities in semiperipheral states, to following transnational flows of security practices and humanitarian rescue discourses, to persuasively interpreting the two cities as generative sites of new forms of human security power and governance. Moreover, Amar skillfully integrates his rich array of comparative moves to advance an invigorating metanarrative that aims to displace narratives of neoliberalism with his own novel narrative of a move from liberalization to securitization. This narrative situates the Global South as the center, rather than the recipient or resister, of global trends and reintegrates events of the 9/11 decade within flows and trajectories that reach from preceding events in the 1990s up to compelling readings of contemporary events, especially the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Honorable Mention: Frank Fischer and Herbert Gottweis, eds. The Argumentative Turn Revisited: Public Policy as Communicative Practice (Duke University Press, 2013)
Committee: Timothy W. Luke (Virginia Tech; Chair); Robert Adcock (George Washington University); Dennis Galvan (University of Oregon)
Congratulations Paul Amar!