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  • Author: François Vergniolle De Chantal
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: The US Congres is the most powerful legislative in the world. Its independence and its powers make it impossible for the presidency to be truly imperial. The Senate is especially influential since it allows its members to use a series of minority procedures, such as the filibuster, that exert a constant a priori pressure on the Executive. This institutional configuration is made extremely costly by the current partisan polarization. It is also, however, a functional equivalent to the theoretical parliamentary right of life and death on Executive powers.
  • Topic: Governance, Law, Political Science, State
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Olivier Dabène, Gaspard Estrada, Damien Larrouqué, Nordin Lazreg, Delphine Lecombe, Frédéric Louault, Antoine Maillet, Frédéric Massé, Kevin Parthenay, Eduardo Rios, Darío Rodriguez, Constantino Urcuyo-Fournier
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Foreign Exchange, History, Reform, Transitional Justice, Political Prisoners, Memory
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, South America, Uruguay, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Guatemala
  • Author: Renaud Egreteau
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: In March 2011, the transfer of power from the junta of general Than Shwe to the quasi-civil regime of Thein Sein was a time of astonishing political liberalization in Burma. This was evidenced specifically in the re-emergence of parliamentary politics, the return to prominence of Aung San Suu Kyi elected deputy in 2012 and by the shaping of new political opportunities for the population and civil society. Yet, the trajectory of the transition has been chiefly framed by the Burmese military’s internal dynamics. The army has indeed directed the process from the start and is now seeking to redefine its policy influence. While bestowing upon civilians a larger role in public and state affairs, the army has secured a wide range of constitutional prerogatives. The ethnic issue, however, remains unresolved despite the signature of several ceasefires and the creation of local parliaments. Besides, the flurry of foreign investments and international aid brought in by the political opening and the end of international sanctions appears increasingly problematic given the traditional role played in Burma by political patronage, the personification of power and the oligarchization of the economy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Democratization, Human Rights, Politics, Peacekeeping, State
  • Political Geography: Asia, Burma, Myanmar
  • Author: Laurent Gayer
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: With a population exceeding twenty million, Karachi is already one of the largest cities in the world. It could even become the world’s largest city by 2030. Karachi is also the most violent of these megacities. Since the mid-1980s, it has endured endemic political conflict and criminal violence, which revolve around control of the city and its resources. These struggles for the city have become ethnicised. Karachi, often referred to as a “Pakistan in miniature”, has become increasingly fragmented, socially as well as territorially. Notwithstanding this chronic state of urban political warfare, Karachi is the cornerstone of the economy of Pakistan. Despite what journalistic accounts describing the city as chaotic and anarchic tend to suggest, there is indeed order of a kind in the city’s permanent civil war. Far from being entropic, Karachi’s polity is predicated upon relatively stable patterns of domination, rituals of interaction and forms of arbitration, which have made violence “manageable” for its populations – even if this does not exclude a chronic state of fear, which results from the continuous transformation of violence in the course of its updating. Whether such “ordered disorder” is viable in the long term remains to be seen, but for now Karachi works despite—and sometimes through—violence.
  • Topic: History, Sociology, Urbanization, Conflict, Political Science
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Asia, Karachi
  • Author: Luis Martinez
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: In post-Qadhafi Libya, the authorities are in search of a new art of governing. Despite the legitimacy accorded them by elections, they remain very weak. Without any means of coercion, they are constantly obliged to negotiate for their survival, threatened by those who were not chosen by voters but who instead draw their legitimacy from their participation in the revolution – the militias. The challenge facing the Libyan authorities is not so much to combat these forces but to harness them. Libya has not undertaken a process of “de-Qadhafication.” But for the militias, in particular the Islamists, the presence of former officials and leaders in the state apparatus is intolerable. Thus, on May 5, 2013 they pressured the parliament into passing a law excluding from politics persons who occupied positions of responsibility under the old regime. If the revolutionary brigades continue to impose their will on the government, the fall of Qadhafi’s regime will have not brought about political change in Libya but rather the continuation of former political practices under a new guise.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Sociology, Governance, Elections, Arab Spring, Political outlook, Protests, State
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Raphaelle Mathey
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Anthropological studies demonstrate that personal values, social relationships and indicators of cultural identity are expressed in a symbolic manner in funeral rites. In Azerbaijan such rites can include as many as ten commemorative events (yas) in the year following the death. These are critically important events in which allegiances are made and broken. During the period of political chaos and economic recession which followed independence, from 1991 to 1996, the yas served as an incubator for a local identity movement. Political stability, beginning in 1996, and the advent of the petroleum era, in the 2000s, transformed the country’s face, reordered the relationships between individuals, and today raise the issue of creating a State and developing a national political project. The study of funeral rites enables one to measure the magnitude of these changes. The evolution of yas reveals new needs of a society in turmoil and reflects the fundamental examination Azerbaijanis are undertaking of themselves, their religion, their European and Oriental identity and their relationship to modernity.
  • Topic: Economics, Religion, History, Culture, Identities, Anthropology
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Asia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Elsa Tulmets
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: After joining the European Union in 2004 or 2007, all Central and Eastern European countries have expressed their will to transfer their experience of democratization, transition to market economy and introduction of the rule of law to other regions in transition. They have influenced in particular the launching of an EU policy towards the East, which was so far rather absent, and of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2003. The rhetoric developed is particularly strong and visible, but what about the implementation of the aid policies to transition? Which reality does the political discourse entail, both in its bilateral and multilateral dimensions? Central and Eastern European countries do not represent a homogeneous bloc of countries and have constructed their foreign policy discourse on older ideological traditions and different geographical priorities. Despite the commitment of a group of actors from civil society and reforms in the field of development policy, the scarce means at disposal would need to be better mobilized in order to meet expectations. In the context of the economic crisis, the search for a concensus on interests to protect and means to mobilize, like through the Visegrad Group and other formats like the Weimar Triangle, appears to be a meaningful option to follow in order to reinforce the coherence of foreign policy actions implemented.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Politics, Europeanization, Transnational Actors
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Poland, Czech Republic, Central Europe, European Union
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Middle East experts, scholars, and laymen were equally caught off guard by the startling political upheaval that rippled through the Arab world like a contagious disease in early 2011. While the situation is still in flux and one cannot draw conclusions as to what will ultimately emerge, the unexpected nature of these Arab uprisings has certainly provoked debate around some of the existing assumptions about the domestic politics of the region. Over the years, a robust body of scholarship has developed focusing on the durability of authoritarian rule in the Middle East, and the remarkable resilience of the regimes in power. Much of this analysis has been based on the rigorous study of the patterns of socio-political behavior in the Middle East, both at the regional level of analysis as well as that of individual states, and, in particular, on the carefully crafted “ruling bargains” between regimes and their citizens.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: This report examines whether traditional liberalism stands a chance in today’s India, where the individual’s role has been nearly subsumed by a dominant state seeking to be benefactor.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Melissa Conley Tyler
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) was established in 1924 with to promote public understanding and interest in international affairs. The AIIA works actively to engage younger people in the community in its work by coordinating events such as careers fairs, school events, mentoring, internships and the Young Diplomats Program
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Australia