Re: Reflections and Explorations: Volume 3


In 2013 the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (VTIPG) launched the online essay series “RE: Reflections and Explorations” for Virginia Tech graduate students to share articles concerning their evolving research, interests, and experiences on topics relevant to the VTIPG mission. The “RE: Reflections and Explorations” book series features essays selected and edited by VTIPG Director Max Stephenson Jr. and affiliated research faculty member Lyusyena Kirakosyan.

This volume, the third and final in the “RE: Reflections and Explorations” series, which ended in 2021, treats dimensions of the broader trends shaping policy and governance at all scales of analysis, examining the elemental issue of democratic agency and obstacles to its exercise, the difficulties inherent for self-governance in inter-governmental cooperation and in racial, ethnic, and religious diversity and the antagonisms and challenges resulting from rapid widespread economic, social, and technological shifts. These chapters investigate the dynamics of political change and movements in a time when the prevailing social imaginary makes such action, always difficult, especially tough to achieve.

The book is divided into five sections, each of which addresses a discrete topical concern. In one form or another, however, the chapters all address the consequences of Western colonialism and liberalism and of its embrace in recent decades of neoliberalism’s elevation of capitalism to a governing role and its view of freedom as atomistic individualism. By illuminating deeper political trends in the United States and beyond, the authors both give hope and signal the alarm that social change is necessary if self-governance is to be preserved.



politics; public policy; community development; social change dynamics; social movements; democracy