History of the Peloponnesian War was the first major work of political inquiry that did not relate events to divine influences. It introduced instead a critical method of looking to the facts of human actions as the basis of our understanding - a method that continues to be used today, more than two millennia later. Many of the most important political thinkers in the Western tradition cite Thucydides as an influence, and major figures including Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and Friedrich Nietzsche have praised his writing.
Kenneth Waltz's Theory of International Politics created a "scientific revolution" in international relations, starting two major debates. In the 1980s it defined the controversy between the neorealists, who believed that competition between states was inevitable, and the neoliberals, who believed that states could cooperate with each other. As the debate wound down with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, a second more fundamental debate began.
Anthropologist Geert Hofstede's 1980 work, Culture's Consequences, was the first study to look at cultural differences using data. The Dutchman took advantage of the enormous global span of his employer, the technology company IBM, to gather survey data in 20 languages and across 70 countries, and to produce a unique study of national values.
"Does not contain a summary of the hypotheses"
In his 1983 book Nations and Nationalism, British-Czech intellectual Ernest Gellner put forward a theory of nationalism, explaining that the concept of nation is not in fact an ancient notion, as we might first imagine. Rather, it is a modern idea born out of the seismic social and cultural shifts that industrialization brought to the Western world.
When American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man in 1992, Western liberal democracies seemed to have won the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Fukuyama believed liberal democracy had triumphed for a reason. Any political system containing "fundamental contradictions," he thought, would eventually be replaced by something else. For Fukuyama, communism was such a system.
"An essential retrospective review"
Politics as a Vocation examines what makes good political leaders and explores the effects of political action on modern societies. On one level it summarizes the political scholarship of one of the founding fathers of social science. On another it reflects a leading German academic and political activist's practical concerns about the future at a time of great volatility following defeat in World War I.
Social capital - the relationships between people that allow communities to function well - has long been recognized as the grease that oils the wheels of society. It facilitates trust, creates bonds among neighbors, and even helps boost employment. In his 2000 book, Bowling Alone, American sociologist Robert Putnam argues that Americans have become disconnected from one another and from the institutions of their common life and investigates the consequences of this change.
"Repetitive and lacks detail"
Religion and the Decline of Magic examines popular belief in 16th and 17th century England, a key period during which leaders of the Protestant Reformation tried to disentangle magic from religion itself. Thomas argues that magic was popular because it offered practical solutions to everyday problems. Few social historians had examined the popular religious beliefs of the 1500s at the time Thomas wrote Religion.
In his 1997 work Theology of Discontent, American Iranian Hamid Dabashi suggests that the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979 would not have happened had it not been for the influential ideas of eight Iranian Islamic thinkers in the four decades before it occurred. Dabashi surveys these thinkers' contributions to the development of Iran's system of Islamic beliefs. He says this ideology was shaped both according to Iranians' perception of themselves and according to their perception of the West.
Business scholars C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel base their 1990 argument for a strategy change on a comparison of case studies. They note that some corporations are adept at inventing new markets, quickly entering emerging markets, and shifting patterns of customer choice in established markets. The authors suggest that the ability to identify core competencies allows companies to develop new products quickly, and they challenge managers to emulate these best practices
Published in 1990, The Anti-Politics Machine is American anthropologist James Ferguson's first book. It discusses international development projects: how they are conceived, researched, and put into practice. Importantly, it also looks at what these projects actually achieve. Ferguson is critical of the idea of development and argues that the process does not take enough account of the daily realities of the communities it is intended to benefit.