Academia and academic discussions need to more effectively grapple with the political implications and meanings of contested concepts such as security and democracy. Piki Ish-Shalom’s main argument for a more engaged academia is an ambitious pursuit, one that seeks to refashion a form of constructivism so that it is more politically sensitive and active. Beyond the Veil of Knowledge is organized into two parts. Part I discusses the development and role of concepts. Part II discusses how academia can, by developing an ethos of academic responsibility and proceeding through the levels of individuals, communities, and structures, realize a more engaged vocation. The book is theoretically sophisticated but clearly and tangibly written. It is a refreshing, dynamic set of reflections for how to be an activist academic in a time of uncertain politics.
There are only two modest issues with the text—one structural/organizational and the other political. The first stems from the large amount of reprinted or recycled material in the book. It is not unusual to reprint a study or two in a full-length book. But I am not sure, outside of a collection of essays, I have come across a book that included material, as this one does, from nine previously published studies. (Although this perhaps overstates it, as one of those studies, “Zooming In, Zooming
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