An interview with Michael Herzfeld: Cryptocolonialism, the responsibility of the social sciences and Europe

Last week Raffaella Taylor-Seymour and KR editor Johannes Lenhard had the chance to interview Professor Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. The three talked about what Herzfeld describes as ‘cryptocolonialism’, the public responsibility of the social sciences, economists as the Azande diviners of our times, and neoliberalism in Europe.

Journey to justice: American dreams and nightmares after Rosa Parks

Fifty-eight years ago this month, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for ‘civil disobedience’.  She sat where she wanted on a bus.  On 1st December, the day of the anniversary, Barack Obama sent out a tweet with a picture of him sitting on the Rosa Parks bus, now housed at the Henry Ford Museum, Detroit.  For this social media intervention, Obama was accused in various quarters of crass narcissism, […]

Boris Johnson: Philosophe?

Boris Johnson’s recent remarks about inequality at the Centre for Policy Studies are more than just another provocation. In fact, the idea that inequality was part and parcel of economically advanced societies harks back to Mandeville, Kant and Smith. Johnson shows that the controversial theoretical postulates of the eighteenth century have become the political commonsense of the twenty-first.

Oh So Social

A series of previously unpublished intelligence reports casts a new light on the role of the Frankfurt School and its involvement in global power politics during World War II. What role did the critical theorists and political thinkers Herbert Marcuse, Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer play in the birth of the American national security state?

Gilded Birds Interview: Jane Haynes

King’s Review is pleased to present material from Gilded Birds (, a series of online interviews which each offer ‘a snapshot of contemporary ideals of beauty’. Jane Haynes, psychotherapist and author, discusses her husband’s photograph, ‘Dog and Grass’.

‘Catch it and talk to me’ – Flirting Tehran Style

There are things happening in Tehran that even by Western standards are almost too creatively subversive to be true. And they are happening in the vehicles that Tehranis covet. During ’rounding’ – a form of car-speed dating – the intimacy that is typically banned from anything but the most private nocturnal spaces is partly able to return during sneaked daytime moments.

The Callous Caretaker

Was Margaret Thatcher a visionary leader who fundamentally changed the landscape of British politics? Or was that landscape already changing, with Thatcher merely overseeing developments that were more or less inevitable? Despite the mythos of contemporary British politics, and of the Conservative Party in particular, there are strong reasons to be doubtful of Thatcher’s status as an economic and political visionary. Examining the development of offshore finance – and of Whitehall’s inability to keep pace with this – indicates that Thatcher’s role has been grossly overstated in the popular imagination. Realising this, however, must lead us to question the future prospects for societies like ours.

Destroying the universities

It may surprise readers to learn that the government has spent the last three years persistently undermining and obstructing Britain’s seventh largest export industry.

Smooth is Fast

Police killings of innocents, due to real or imagined resistance, accidental firearm discharge or raiding the wrong address are both numerous and lurid. Moreover, the circumstances even of justified shootings are frequently relatively trivial matters: possession of small quantities of marijuana or cocaine; rarely the cases of violent armed robbery, domestic terrorism and hostage-taking which SWAT teams were formed to tackle.

A Reign of Error

A recent book by Chris Hayes, Twilight of the Elites, argues that the dysfunction of the meritocratic system is causing an increasing number of elite failures in the United States. What can European elites learn from his argument about the adaptability of institutions? Moreover, what shape should reform on both sides of the Atlantic take?