KARACHI: Oxford University Press’s publication Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia penned by Ilhan Niaz has been judged the Best Book Publication in Social Sciences, 2013-14 by Higher Education Commission.
This volume that is a chronological study of state power’s origins, development and nature tells that Eurasia is home to dominant tradition of arbitrary rule mediated through military, civil and ecclesiastical servants and marginal tradition of representative and responsible government through autonomous institutions.
According to the author former tradition finds expression in hierarchically organized and ideologically legitimated continental bureaucratic states while the latter manifests itself in the state of laws. In recent times, the marginal tradition has gained in popularity and has led to continental bureaucratic states attempting to introduce democratic and constitutional reforms.
These attempts have rarely altered the actual manner in which power is exercised by the state and its elites given the deeper and historically rooted experience of arbitrary rule. Far from being remote, the arbitrary culture of power that emerged in many parts of the world continues to shape the fortunes of states.
To ignore this culture of power and the historical circumstances that have shaped it comes at a high price, as indicated by the ongoing democratic recession and erosion of liberal norms within states that are democracies.
About the Author: Ilhan Niaz, PhD, is Assistant Professor of History at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. He is the author of The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan, 1947–2008 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2010, 2011), and An Inquiry into the Culture of Power of the Subcontinent (Islamabad: Alhamra, 2006). Ilham has been published in leading international academic journals including,
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Asian Affairs (The Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs), Asian Profile, The New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, and The Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He also occasionally contributes articles and reviews to leading national news publications. The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan was awarded best non-fiction book of 2010 and at the 2011 Karachi Literature Festival. It has won the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan award for best book publication in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities for 2010.