- Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa - Theory and Evidence
An analysis of recent data on the economic behavior of market institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, with implications for future research and current policy.
In Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Marcel Fafchamps synthesizes the results of recent surveys of indigenous market institutions in twelve countries, including Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, and presents findings about economics exchange in Africa that have implications both for future research and current policy. Employing empirical data as well as theoretical models that clarify the data, Fafchamps takes as his unifying principle the difficulties of contract enforcement. Arguing that in an unpredictable world contracts are not always likely to be respected, he shows that contract agreements in sub-Saharan Africa are affected by the absence of large hierarchies (both corporate and governmental) and as a result must depend to a greater degree than in more developed economies on social networks and personal trust. Fafchamps considers policy recommendations as they apply to countries in three different stages of development: countries with undeveloped market institutions, like Ghana; countries at an intermediate stage, like Kenya; and countries with developed market institutions, like Zimbabwe.
Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa caps ten years of personal research by the author. Fafchamps, in collaboration with such institutions as the Africa Division of the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute, participated in the surveys of manufacturing firms and agricultural traders that provide the empirical basis for the book. The result is a work that makes a significant contribution to research on the continuing economic stagnation of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is also largely accessible to researchers in other fields and policy professionals.
- Mind in Architecture - Neuroscience, Embodiment, and the Future of Design
Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particularly neuroscience, can offer compelling insights into the ways our buildings shape our interactions with the world. This expanded understanding can help architects design buildings that support both mind and body. In Mind in Architecture, leading thinkers from architecture and other disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, psychiatry, and philosophy, explore what architecture and neuroscience can learn from each other. They offer historical context, examine the implications for current architectural practice and education, and imagine a neuroscientifically informed architecture of the future.
Architecture is late in discovering the richness of neuroscientific research. As scientists were finding evidence for the bodily basis of mind and meaning, architecture was caught up in convoluted cerebral games that denied emotional and bodily reality altogether. This volume maps the extraordinary opportunity that engagement with cutting-edge neuroscience offers present-day architects.
ContributorsThomas D. Albright, Michael Arbib, John Paul Eberhard, Melissa Farling, Vittorio Gallese, Alessandro Gattara, Mark L. Johnson, Harry Francis Mallgrave, Iain McGilchrist, Juhani Pallasmaa, Alberto Perez-Gomez, Sarah Robinson
- Sound as Popular Culture: A Research Companion
Scholars consider sound and its concepts, taking as their premise the idea that popular culture can be analyzed in an innovative way through sound.
The wide-ranging texts in this book take as their premise the idea that sound is a subject through which popular culture can be analyzed in an innovative way. From an infant's gurgles over a baby monitor to the roar of the crowd in a stadium to the sub-bass frequencies produced by sound systems in the disco era, sound--not necessarily aestheticized as music--is inextricably part of the many domains of popular culture. Expanding the view taken by many scholars of cultural studies, the contributors consider cultural practices concerning sound not merely as semiotic or signifying processes but as material, physical, perceptual, and sensory processes that integrate a multitude of cultural traditions and forms of knowledge.
The chapters discuss conceptual issues as well as terminologies and research methods; analyze historical and contemporary case studies of listening in various sound cultures; and consider the ways contemporary practices of sound generation are applied in the diverse fields in which sounds are produced, mastered, distorted, processed, or enhanced. The chapters are not only about sound; they offer a study through sound--echoes from the past, resonances of the present, and the contradictions and discontinuities that suggest the future.
Karin Bijsterveld, Susanne Binas-Preisendorfer, Carolyn Birdsall, Jochen Bonz, Michael Bull, Thomas Burkhalter, Mark J. Butler, Diedrich Diederichsen, Veit Erlmann, Franco Fabbri, Golo Follmer, Marta Garcia Quinones, Mark Grimshaw, Rolf Grossmann, Maria Hanacek, Thomas Hecken, Anahid Kassabian, Carla J. Maier, Andrea Mihm, Bodo Mrozek, Carlo Nardi, Jens Gerrit Papenburg, Thomas Schopp, Holger Schulze, Toby Seay, Jacob Smith, Paul Theberge, Peter Wicke, Simon Zagorski-Thomas
- Energy and Civilization: A History
A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization.
"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years.
--Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year
Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows--ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity--for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization.
Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts--from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.
- Reinventing the Automobile - Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century
This book provides a long-overdue vision for a new automobile era. The cars we drive today follow the same underlying design principles as the Model Ts of a hundred years ago and the tail-finned sedans of fifty years ago. In the twenty-first century, cars are still made for twentieth-century purposes. They are inefficient for providing personal mobility within cities -- where most of the world's people now live. In this pathbreaking book, William Mitchell and two industry experts reimagine the automobile, describing vehicles of the near future that are green, smart, connected, and fun to drive. They roll out four big ideas that will make this both feasible and timely.
The fundamental reinvention of the automobile won't be easy, but it is an urgent necessity -- to make urban mobility more convenient and sustainable, to make cities more livable, and to help bring the automobile industry out of crisis.