Recent monograph publications from Cardiff University Press

To mark International Open Access Week 2022 (24-30 October), this post features our latest three monographs, published during the last five months. Like all other CardiffUP publications, they’re open access: free to read and download via our website. And they have something else in common…

The Face-to-Face Principle: Science, Trust, Democracy and the Internet was published in May 2022. Its authors are Harry Collins, Robert Evans, Martin Innes, Eric B. Kennedy, Will Mason-Wilkes and John McLevey. They describe a modern global society where remote communication is replacing face-to-face (F2F) interaction in ways that could be disastrous for democracy and the idea of truth. The trust that F2F enables is contrasted with the “illusion of intimacy” created by remote communication. The monograph shows why F2F communication still matters, and why it’s essential for the survival of pluralist democracies.

Digital Supply Chain Transformation: Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Growth is an edited volume, published in August 2022 and edited by Yingli Wang and Stephen Pettit. Its contributing authors show how organisations can use emerging digital technologies for operational effectiveness, new capabilities and innovative business model development to transform their supply chains. Valuable insight is provided into how these technologies work and how to use them to create value for stakeholders by delivering sustainable supply chain outcomes.

Divine Descent and the Four World-Ages in the Mahābhārata – or, Why Does the Kṛṣṇa Avatāra Inaugurate the Worst Yuga? by Simon Brodbeck was published on 12 October 2022. The Mahābhārata is one of the great epic poems of ancient India, written in Sanskrit. In its Hindu theology, divine descent is said to improve the world; but the Mahābhārata war, which the god Viṣṇu descends to effect, moves the world into its most dismal age (yuga). The monograph discusses that paradox, focusing on the roles of the suffering Earth and the ancient audiences.

At first glance, these three monographs seem to have few similarities. But one key aspect that unites them is their relevance to the great challenges and dangers of 21st-century Western society. Could they help us get closer to identifying solutions?

As The Face-to-Face Principle illustrates, virtual interactions dramatically increased at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with F2F communication becoming risky and restricted. Now that we’re building up defences against the virus, finding a balance between these two forms of communication isn’t straightforward. In the context of a rapidly-developing “new normal”, the monograph examines the crucial role that F2F communication plays in the preservation of trust, truth and democracy.

Digital Supply Chain Transformation was published in the aftermath of major disruption to UK and European supply chains and logistics. The causes of the disruption have included Brexit, Covid-19 restrictions, industrial action and the conflict in Ukraine. This edited volume indicates, however, that technology is already contributing to the solutions and will continue to do so.

The subject of Divine Descent is an epic poem, parts of which date from around 400 BCE, but it has more relevance to our modern world than we might anticipate. The monograph discusses passages of the Mahābhārata that describe a terrible war, the “suffering Earth” and the worst age in history: our own 21st-century experiences are disconcertingly similar. The theme of Open Access Week 2022 is “Open for Climate Justice”, making the publication of this newest CardiffUP monograph in the same month unexpectedly appropriate: the Mahābhārata’s personification of Earth suffering from the human weight placed on her is particularly poignant.

Discover these and other CardiffUP monographs at https://cardiffuniversitypress.org/site/books/

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