Better Law for a Better World: New Approaches to Law Practice and Education


Book by Liz Curran: “How as a society can we find ways of ensuring the people who are the most vulnerable or have little voice can avail themselves of the protection in law to improve their social, cultural, health and economic outcomes as befits civilised society?

Better Law for a Better World answers this question by looking at innovative practices and developments emerging within law practice and education and shares the skills and techniques that could lead to confidence in the law and its ability to respond. Using recent research from Australia, practice initiatives and information, the book breaks down ways for law students, legal educators and law practitioners (including judicial officers, law administrators, legislators and policy makers) to enhance access to justice and improve outcomes through new approaches to lawyering. These can include: Multi-Disciplinary Practice (including health justice partnerships); integrated justice practice; restorative practice; empowerment modes (community & professional development and policy skills); client-centred approaches and collaborative interdisciplinary practice informed by practical experience. The book contains critical information on what such practice might look like and the elements that will be required in the development of the essential skills and criteria for such practice. It seeks to open up a dialogue about how we can make the law better. This includes making the community more central to the operation of the law and improving client-centred practice so that the Rule of Law can deliver on its claims to serve, protect and ensure equality before the law. It explores practical ways that emerging lawyers can be trained differently to ensure improved communication, collaboration, problem solving, partnership and interpersonal skills. The book explores the challenges of such work. It also gives suggestions on how to reduce professional barriers and variations in practice to effectively, humanely and efficiently make a difference in people’s lives….(More)”.

Trust and Records in an Open Digital Environment


Book edited by Hrvoje Stančić: “…explores issues that arise when digital records are entrusted to the cloud and will help professionals to make informed choices in the context of a rapidly changing digital economy.

Showing that records need to ensure public trust, especially in the era of alternative truths, this volume argues that reliable resources, which are openly accessible from governmental institutions, e-services, archival institutions, digital repositories, and cloud-based digital archives, are the key to an open digital environment. The book also demonstrates that current established practices need to be reviewed and amended to include the networked nature of the cloud-based records, to investigate the role of new players, like cloud service providers (CSP), and assess the potential for implementing new, disruptive technologies like blockchain. Stančić and the contributors address these challenges by taking three themes – state, citizens, and documentary form – and discussing their interaction in the context of open government, open access, recordkeeping, and digital preservation.

Exploring what is needed to enable the establishment of an open digital environment, Trust and Records in an Open Digital Environment should be essential reading for data, information, document, and records management professionals. It will also be a key text for archivists, librarians, professors, and students working in the information sciences and other related fields….(More)”.

Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency


Book by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “Government statistics are widely used to inform decisions by policymakers, program administrators, businesses and other organizations as well as households and the general public. Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, Seventh Edition will assist statistical agencies and units, as well as other agencies engaged in statistical activities, to carry out their responsibilities to provide accurate, timely, relevant, and objective information for public and policy use. This report will also inform legislative and executive branch decision makers, data users, and others about the characteristics of statistical agencies that enable them to serve the public good….(More)”

The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology is Reshaping Power, Politics, and Resistance


Book by Steven Feldstein: “The world is undergoing a profound set of digital disruptions that are changing the nature of how governments counter dissent and assert control over their countries. While increasing numbers of people rely primarily or exclusively on online platforms, authoritarian regimes have concurrently developed a formidable array of technological capabilities to constrain and repress their citizens.

In The Rise of Digital Repression, Steven Feldstein documents how the emergence of advanced digital tools bring new dimensions to political repression. Presenting new field research from Thailand, the Philippines, and Ethiopia, he investigates the goals, motivations, and drivers of these digital tactics. Feldstein further highlights how governments pursue digital strategies based on a range of factors: ongoing levels of repression, political leadership, state capacity, and technological development. The international community, he argues, is already seeing glimpses of what the frontiers of repression look like. For instance, Chinese authorities have brought together mass surveillance, censorship, DNA collection, and artificial intelligence to enforce their directives in Xinjiang. As many of these trends go global, Feldstein shows how this has major implications for democracies and civil society activists around the world.

A compelling synthesis of how anti-democratic leaders harness powerful technology to advance their political objectives, The Rise of Digital Repression concludes by laying out innovative ideas and strategies for civil society and opposition movements to respond to the digital autocratic wave….(More)”.

Learning Policy, Doing Policy: Interactions Between Public Policy Theory, Practice and Teaching


Open Access Book edited by: Trish Mercer, Russell Ayres, Brian Head, and John Wanna: “When it comes to policymaking, public servants have traditionally learned ‘on the job’, with practical experience and tacit knowledge valued over theory-based learning and academic analysis. Yet increasing numbers of public servants are undertaking policy training through postgraduate qualifications and/or through short courses in policy training.

Learning Policy, Doing Policy explores how policy theory is understood by practitioners and how it influences their practice. The book brings together insights from research, teaching and practice on an issue that has so far been understudied. Contributors include Australian and international policy scholars, and current and former practitioners from government agencies. The first part of the book focuses on theorising, teaching and learning about the policymaking process; the second part outlines how current and former practitioners have employed policy process theory in the form of models or frameworks to guide and analyse policymaking in practice; and the final part examines how policy theory insights can assist policy practitioners.

In exploring how policy process theory is developed, taught and taken into policymaking practice, Learning Policy, Doing Policy draws on the expertise of academics and practitioners, and also ‘pracademics’ who often serve as a bridge between the academy and government. It draws on a range of both conceptual and applied examples. Its themes are highly relevant for both individuals and institutions, and reflect trends towards a stronger professional ethos in the Australian Public Service. This book is a timely resource for policy scholars, teaching academics, students and policy practitioners….(More)”

You Are Here: A Field Guide for Navigating Polarized Speech, Conspiracy Theories, and Our Polluted Media Landscape


Book by Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner: “Our media environment is in crisis. Polarization is rampant. Polluted information floods social media. Even our best efforts to help clean up can backfire, sending toxins roaring across the landscape. In You Are Here, Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner offer strategies for navigating increasingly treacherous information flows. Using ecological metaphors, they emphasize how our individual me is entwined within a much larger we, and how everyone fits within an ever-shifting network map.

Phillips and Milner describe how our poisoned media landscape came into being, beginning with the Satanic Panics of the 1980s and 1990s—which, they say, exemplify “network climate change”—and proceeding through the emergence of trolling culture and the rise of the reactionary far right (as well as its amplification by journalists) during and after the 2016 election. They explore the history of conspiracy theories in the United States, focusing on those concerning the Deep State; explain why old media literacy solutions fail to solve new media literacy problems; and suggest how we can navigate the network crisis more thoughtfully, effectively, and ethically. We need a network ethics that looks beyond the messages and the messengers to investigate toxic information’s downstream effects….(More)”.

Digital Identity, Virtual Borders and Social Media: A Panacea for Migration Governance?


Book edited by Emre Eren Korkmaz: “…discusses how states deploy frontier and digital technologies to manage and control migratory movements. Assessing the development of blockchain technologies for digital identities and cash transfer; artificial intelligence for smart borders, resettlement of refugees and assessing asylum applications; social media and mobile phone applications to track and surveil migrants, it critically examines the consequences of new technological developments and evaluates their impact on the rights of migrants and refugees.

Chapters evaluate the technology-based public-private projects that govern migration globally and illustrate the political implications of these virtual borders. International contributors compare and contrast different forms of political expression, in both personal technologies, such as social media for refugees and smugglers, and automated decision-making algorithms used by states to enable migration governance. This timely book challenges hegemonic approach to migration governance and provides cases demonstrating the dangers of employing frontier technologies denying basic rights, liberties and agencies of migrants and refugees.

Stepping into a contentious political climate for migrants and refugees, this provocative book is ideal reading for scholars and researchers of political science and public policy, particularly those focusing on migration and refugee studies. It will also benefit policymakers and practitioners dealing with migration, such as humanitarian NGOs, UN agencies and local authorities….(More)”.

The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots


Book by Kate Darling: “For readers of The Second Machine Age or The Soul of an Octopus, a bold, exciting exploration of how building diverse kinds of relationships with robots—inspired by how we interact with animals—could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work.

There has been a lot of ink devoted to discussions of how robots will replace us and take our jobs. But MIT Media Lab researcher and technology policy expert Kate Darling argues just the opposite, and that treating robots with a bit of humanity, more like the way we treat animals, will actually serve us better. From a social, legal, and ethical perspective, she shows that our current ways of thinking don’t leave room for the robot technology that is soon to become part of our everyday routines. Robots are likely to supplement—rather than replace—our own skills and relationships. So if we consider our history of incorporating animals into our work, transportation, military, and even families, we actually have a solid basis for how to contend with this future.

A deeply original analysis of our technological future and the ethical dilemmas that await us, The New Breed explains how the treatment of machines can reveal a new understanding of our own history, our own systems and how we relate—not just to non-humans, but also to each other….(More)”.

Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World


Innovation in Real Places – Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World - Oxford Scholarship Online

Book by Dan Breznitz: “Across the world, cities and regions have wasted trillions of dollars blindly copying the Silicon Valley model of growth creation. We have lived with this system for decades, and the result is clear: a small number of regions and cities are at the top of the high-tech industry, but many more are fighting a losing battle to retain economic dynamism. But, as this books details, there are other models for innovation-based growth that don’t rely on a flourishing high-tech industry. Breznitz argues that the purveyors of the dominant ideas on innovation have a feeble understanding of the big picture on global production and innovation.

They conflate innovation with invention and suffer from techno-fetishism. In their devotion to start-ups, they refuse to admit that the real obstacle to growth for most cities is the overwhelming power of the real hubs, which siphon up vast amounts of talent and money. Communities waste time, money, and energy pursuing this road to nowhere. Instead, Breznitz proposes that communities focus on where they fit within the four stages in the global production process. Success lies in understanding the changed structure of the global system of production and then using those insights to enable communities to recognize their own advantages, which in turn allows to them to foster surprising forms of specialized innovation. All localities have certain advantages relative to at least one stage of the global production process, and the trick is in recognizing it….(More)”.

In AI We Trust: Power, Illusion and Control of Predictive Algorithms


Book by Helga Nowotny: “One of the most persistent concerns about the future is whether it will be dominated by the predictive algorithms of AI – and, if so, what this will mean for our behaviour, for our institutions and for what it means to be human. AI changes our experience of time and the future and challenges our identities, yet we are blinded by its efficiency and fail to understand how it affects us.

At the heart of our trust in AI lies a paradox: we leverage AI to increase control over the future and uncertainty, while at the same time the performativity of AI, the power it has to make us act in the ways it predicts, reduces our agency over the future. This happens when we forget that that we humans have created the digital technologies to which we attribute agency. These developments also challenge the narrative of progress, which played such a central role in modernity and is based on the hubris of total control. We are now moving into an era where this control is limited as AI monitors our actions, posing the threat of surveillance, but also offering the opportunity to reappropriate control and transform it into care.

As we try to adjust to a world in which algorithms, robots and avatars play an ever-increasing role, we need to understand better the limitations of AI and how their predictions affect our agency, while at the same time having the courage to embrace the uncertainty of the future….(More)”.