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  • Author: Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, Pawel Marczewski, Vijayan Mj, Ghia Nodia, Natalia Shapoavlova, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Marisa Von Bülow, Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. Some organizations focused on the needs of underrepresented groups, such as women’s empowerment, inclusion of minorities, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights; others addressed broader societal issues such as economic justice, social welfare, and antipoverty concerns. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and postcommunist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world. It does so under the rubric of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network project, an initiative that aims to explore new types of civic activism and examine the extent to which these activists and associations are redrawing the contours of global civil society. The emerging role and prominence of conservative activism is one such change to civil society that merits comparative examination. Taken as a whole, the report asks what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society. Its aim is not primarily to pass judgment on whether conservative civil society is a good or bad thing—although the contributing authors obviously have criticisms to make. Rather, it seeks mainly to understand more fully what this trend entails. Much has been written and said about anticapitalist, human rights, and global justice civil society campaigns and protests. Similar analytical depth is required in the study of conservative civil society. The report redresses the lack of analytical attention paid to the current rise of conservative civil society by offering examples of such movements and the issues that drive them. The authors examine the common traits that conservative groups share and the issues that divide them. They look at the kind of members that these groups attract and the tactics and tools they employ. And they ask how effective the emerging conservative civil society has been in reshaping the political agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Activism, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Europe, South Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, Caucasus, Middle East, India, Poland, Brazil, South America, Georgia, North America, Thailand, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: After 22 years in power, the BJP is feeling the heat this year in Gujarat's election campaign. This paper analyses the reasons for this sudden frustration with the BJP – with a particular focus on caste mobilisation, urban-rural division, and emerging class politics in Gujarat.
  • Topic: Politics, Urbanization, Elections, Class, Rural, Caste
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2011, Mamata Banerjee and party, Trinamool Congress, stormed to power in West Bengal under the simple slogan poriborton (change). In this piece, Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan explore how Mamata went about demonstrating this change to the West Bengal, as well as the architecture of Trinamool Congress’ thumping victory in the 2016 state election.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Elections, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Muslims comprise 34 percent of Assam’s population, and this population may play a large role in the outcome of Assam’s election. In this piece, CPR researchers Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan Sircar examine the complex contours of the Muslim vote in Assam, with a particular focus on the Lower Assam region where seven of the thirteen districts have a majority of Muslims. They argue that there is no discernible Muslim “vote bank” and any understanding of the role Muslims will play in this election requires a significant amount of nuance.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Ashish Ranjan, Bhanu Joshi, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: We were warned not to take the bus from Silchar to Guwahati. Unfortunately, the train was fully booked, so we had no other option. As soon as we left the city limits of Silchar, we began to make our way through the soggy, bumpy mess that was supposedly the route to Guwahati. We could only discern that this was intended to be a road by the fact that a few other buses, trucks and cars were similarly trying to maneuver through this muddle. A fellow traveler offered, “Roads in Sikkim and Meghalaya have improved in the last five years; here we still search for a pucca road.
  • Topic: Government, Migration, Politics, Infrastructure, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Assam
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar, Gilles Verniers
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The 2015 Bihar election represented a stunning reversal of fortune for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the 2014 national election, the NDA won 172 out of 243 assembly constituency (AC) segments. But in the 2015 Bihar election, just 18 months later, the NDA won only 58 ACs. In this piece, we investigate electoral data from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide a nuanced picture of the shift in Bihar. We argue that poor party coordination within the NDA, in addition to campaign dynamics, account for the magnitude of the NDA’s defeat. Prior to 2014, the JD(U) and the BJP were in alliance together under the NDA banner, but the JD(U) left the coalition over the choice of Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate and decided to contest the 2014 election alone. In 2014, without the JD(U), the NDA won 31 out of 40 parliamentary constituencies, with the JD(U) winning just two seats. In the 18 months between the 2014 and 2015 election, once bitter foes, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, and their respective parties, Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), joined forces along with the Congress to form the mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance to defeat the NDA. The NDA, comprised of the BJP, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) in 2014, stayed intact and added a new party, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), to its ranks. In the election post-mortem, many have offered explanations for the NDA’s reversal of fortune. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has argued that the NDA’s poor performance was due to the “social arithmetic” of caste and less about the its message or campaign strategy (1). Observers of the Grand Alliance have pointed to campaign manager Prashant Kishor’s effective campaign strategy and coordination across all parties in ticket distribution and voter mobilization (2). Our data analysis suggests that the outcome of these elections was less about caste arithmetic and more about the poor coalition strategy of the BJP. In particular, the ways in which the BJP treated its allies contributed to the magnitude of the NDA’s defeat. At the same time, we find that although the parties in the Grand Alliance coordinated their efforts better than the NDA, they did not attract more voters than in 2014.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper develops a theory on how voters form and change political preferences in democratic developing world contexts. In the developing world, where state institutions are often weak, voters tend to be more focused on the competence and capacity of parties and candidates to deliver benefits. Such information may be difficult to ascertain, so voters must glean information from how candidates conduct themselves during the electoral campaign. Voters use kinship networks to develop more accurate preferences by collectively reasoning through newly available information on candidates. In order to demonstrate these claims, this study analyzes data collected on political preferences and kinship networks in two villages just before and after the campaign period during the 2011 Assembly election in the Indian state of West Bengal. The paper finds very strong kinship network effects on changes in issue preferences and vote choice over the course of the campaign and explains the results through qualitative work and a series of network autoregressive statistical models. In sum, this paper demonstrates how voters develop independent preferences and implement political change, even in low information contexts with weak human capital.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Self Determination, Elections
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Mark Schneider, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The literature on decentralized public programs suggests that errors in the targeting of anti-poverty programs are rooted in the capture of these programs by local elites or local politicians. Consistent with the literature on moral economy in political science and experimental economics, we argue that voters in contexts of rural poverty prefer local leaders who target subsistence benefits to the poor. In a high information village context, where voters and leaders know each other, we argue that local elections lead to the selection of local leaders with pro-poor preferences over the distribution of these benefits. We show this with a novel theory of local politicians’ social preferences. We test our theory with unique data from a behavioral measure, conducted in the context of a lottery with a modest cash prize in rural India, that captures a scenario in which local leaders have full discretion and anonymity over allocation among members of their rural communities. We analyze our data using a novel estimation strategy that takes the characteristics of the pool of potential beneficiaries into account in decisions over allocation under a budget constraint. We find that local leaders have strong preferences for targeting the poor, and particularly those they believe supported them politically in the past. This article suggests that free and fair elections at the local level can powerfully encourage pro-poor targeting even in contexts of weak institutions and pervasive poverty. It also makes a fundamental contribution to research on distributive politics by challenging research in this area to demonstrate the effect of electoral strategies and other distortions on allocation relative to local leaders’ baseline distributive preferences.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Political Theory, Elections
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar, Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The exit polls are out in Bihar, and we are none the wiser. It is seemingly a photo finish between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Janata Dal United [JD(U)]-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-Congress Grand Alliance. The Bihar election is ending as it began, full of theatre and intrigue. We can only guess how it ends. We were making our way to East Champaran; we didn’t realise Narendra Modi’s rally would be in Gopalganj district that day. The rally was over, but traffic had stopped moving 2 km from the rally site; we would be stuck at the same spot for the next few hours. Nowhere else to go, we got out of the car and started chatting with rally-goers. An exuberant BJP supporter exclaimed, “We have 8-10 lakh people today!” This was clearly an overestimate, but the crowd was bigger than we had seen elsewhere. We stopped in at a roadside stand where 4-5 men were being served their thalis and asked from where they had come to attend the rally. “Dewaria,” responded one man (Dewaria is in Uttar Pradesh (UP), not Bihar). He went on, “None of us are from Bihar. People are coming from Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Allahabad. The Party gives us enough money to eat lunch as well.” The Muslim shopkeeper who was cooking for them, the only person there who would actually be voting in Bihar, was clearly supporting the Grand Alliance, but he was happy for the extra money generated from the rally. The real reason for the traffic bottleneck then became clear. The road had narrowed to a single lane. While we headed further into Bihar, bus after bus, each with a “UP” license plate, was headed the other way. We analysts often mistakenly use rallies to gauge the hawa for a party. But, ultimately, rallies are about theatre and spectacle, while elections are won on the strength of the ground-level campaign. Privately, a section of BJP workers have been telling us that they can now see the NDA losing in this election, not something we heard in the first couple of weeks of the campaign. In our previous piece, using available data, we argued that the NDA would have to do very well in the third and fourth phases of this five-phase election if it is to win, something that even BJP leaders have now said publicly. Given that the NDA was well ahead in 2014, the NDA might still pull off this victory. It is clear, however, that the Grand Alliance has run a stronger ground campaign than the NDA, and that the campaign has had a major impact on changing voters’ minds. The NDA now seems unlikely to get near the 172 assembly constituency (AC) segments it won in 2014. In the remainder of this piece, we assess the structure of the Grand Alliance, how it shaped the campaign, as well as how the campaigns, for both NDA and the Grand Alliance, conducted themselves during this election.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is unclear that the United States has any current assessments and strategy to deal with either these governance or economic issues. If it does, it has provided no transparency as to what these plans are, and has failed to develop any effective public measures of the effectiveness of its civil aid programs after more than 10 years of effort, and in spite of the fact that the civil dimension of counterinsurgency efforts is at least as important as the military efforts. It is also important to note that World Bank and UN reporting show the same lack of progress in governance, economics, and human development in Pakistan as in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, India
  • Author: Mark Schneider
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Local brokers are thought to possess fine-grained information on voters' political preferences, material needs, and even social preferences. Research on clientelism assumes that brokers meet the most basic informational requirement of knowing voters' partisan preferences, if not their votes. This assumption drives theoretical predictions on the types of voters politicians should target with selective benefits, and whether or not a quid pro quo exchange of benefits-for-votes is an efficient electoral strategy relative to programmatic distribution. Nonetheless, existing scholarship does not test this assumption and analysis of variation in brokers' ability to identify voters' partisan preferences has not been conducted. To test this assumption, this paper develops a behavioral measure – guessability – based on whether or not village council presidents in Rajasthan, India correctly guess the partisan preferences of voters sampled from their local areas. I find guessability to be lower than existing theory and low-information benchmarks expect. Local leaders can identify the partisan preferences of voters who are most guessable either because they belong to core partisan ethnic groups or because they are integrated into their local co-partisan networks. However, they perform poorly at identifying those whose partisan preferences are uncertain and require monitoring to reveal. This has consequences for the targeting strategies parties and politicians pursue.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics, Political Theory, Sociology
  • Political Geography: India, Rajasthan
  • Author: Damien Krichewsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a global component of business-society relationships has triggered many controversial debates in which CSR is either advocated as a source of virtuous business or disregarded as mere “window dressing.” This paper proposes an alternative perspective on the CSR phenomenon based on N. Luhmann’s social systems theory, which guides a study of CSR in India combining macroscopic observations and the case of the cement manufacturer Lafarge India. The study shows that CSR is not primarily constituted of corporate attempts to “do well by doing good,” as the CSR doxa suggests. However, the phenomenon generates significant transformations of business-society relationships. While increasing financial expectations tend to blunt large companies’ sensitivity toward competing societal expectations, other social systems react with protest movements and political interventions. Companies respond to the perceived threat of these uncertainties by introducing new CSR-related organizational structures, which improve their ability to observe the uncertainties as parameters of economic risks. Companies subsequently mobilize calculated CSR-related practices to shield business opportunities from the possible negative consequences of sociopolitical constraints. The analytical framework outlined in the present paper introduces new angles for studying how the CSR phenomenon proceeds from and transforms the way social systems observe and regulate the role of companies in society.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Politics, Sociology, Business
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Milan Vaishnav
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In developing countries where elections are costly and accountability mechanisms weak, politicians often turn to illicit means of financing campaigns. This paper examines one such channel of illicit campaign finance: India's real estate sector. Politicians and builders allegedly engage in a quid pro quo, whereby the former park their illicit assets with the latter, and the latter rely on the former for favorable dispensation. At election time, however, builders need to re-route funds to politicians as a form of indirect election finance. One observable implication is that the demand for cement, the indispensible raw material used in the sector, should contract during elections since builders need to inject funds into campaigns. Using a novel monthly-level data set, we demonstrate that cement consumption does exhibit a political business cycle consistent with our hypothesis. Additional tests provide confidence in the robustness and interpretation of our findings.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Sandra Destradi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: According to the theory of “democratic peace,” India, as the largest democracy in the world and as South Asia's predominant regional power, should be expected to promote democracy in neighboring countries. However, New Delhi lacks any official democracy‐ promotion policy, and its past record on democracy in the region is mixed at best. Against this background, the paper analyzes the substantial role India came to play in the peace and democratization process in Nepal in the years 2005–2008, asking whether this constitutes a departure from New Delhi's traditional policy of noninterference in its neighbors' internal affairs and a move towards a more assertive approach to democracy promotion. The analysis shows that India's involvement in Nepal was the product of short‐term stability concerns rather than being an indicator of a long‐term change in strategy with the intention of becoming an active player in international democracy promotion.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, New Delhi, Nepal
  • Author: Bill Ristow
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges the whole countryside and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy. If the control is from without, it proves more poisonous than want of control. It can be profitable only when exercised from within.”
  • Topic: Politics, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, S. Vivek
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In April 2001 the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) approached the Supreme Court of India arguing that the government has a duty to provide greater relief in the context of mass hunger. The litigation has now become the best known precedent on the right to food internationally. This paper reviews the litigation with a view to understand various strategies used by the litigants to create and enforce far-reaching entitlements in a near legal vacuum on the right to food. This is followed by a discussion on the lessons from this case for a rights-based approach to development at large.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Edward Luce is the Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times. He was the paper's South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi, between 2001 and 2006. From 1999–2000, Luce worked in the Clinton administration as the speechwriter to Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Educated at Oxford and married into an Indian family, Luce now lives in Washington, D.C.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Washington, India, Asia, New Delhi
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Pro-democracy demonstrations and a general strike across Nepal in recent weeks mark a decisive shift in the country's political equations and probably signal the approaching end of King Gyanendra's direct rule. A successful popular movement could advance the search for peace but will depend on strong political party leadership in dealing with the Maoists; a messy transition would bring its own risks. Although domestic events will determine the speed and direction of political change, international players should us e their influence to establish practical plans to help stabilise the situation and build a more lasting foundation for peace. This briefing argues for the early formation of a Contact Group (consisting of India, the U.S. and UK, working with the UN) and a complementary Peace Support Group (other key donors and international financial institutions) to form a common front on strategy and tactics to maximise international influence in assisting Nepal's escape from its worsening conflict.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, India, Asia, Nepal, United Nations
  • Author: Kog Yue-Choong
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Land-scarce Singapore has no choice but to carry out massive reclamation to cope with its population growth and economic development. The ability for Singapore to continue to carry out its reclamation to enlarge its territory is tied to its survival as a competitive economy. Land reclamation works have been carried out in Singapore since the late 19th century when Singapore was a British colony. After Singapore was separated from Malaysia in 1965, massive land reclamation has been ongoing almost non-stop since then without giving rise to any dispute with its neighbours. Dredged sea sand has been used for reclamation in Singapore long ago, initially the sea sand come from seabed within Singapore's territory and later from Malaysia and Indonesia. But for the first time in 2002, such reclamation works have figured in volatile ties between Singapore and Malaysia when Malaysia protested vehemently about the trans-boundary environmental impact of Singapore's reclamation works. At the same time, Indonesian leaders imposed an export ban of sea sand from Indonesia to Singapore because they felt that sea sand was being shipped to enlarge Singapore's territory at environmental costs that surpassed the economic benefits from selling the sand. This paper will review the reclamation efforts by Singapore and the perceived threat that it poses to neighbouring countries including Malaysia and Indonesia in the context of the concerns over environmental degradation, territorial rights and the tensions engendered in the relations among these countries. This paper will argue that the dispute between Singapore and Malaysia as well as Singapore and Indonesia should not be securitised. Instead, such non-traditional security issues should be viewed as 'desecuritised'. This need is particularly acute in this uncertain time because of the threats of terrorism and the challenge of escalation in economic rivalry brought about by globalisation and the opening of China and India.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Josy Joseph
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Over 10 million illegal migrants from Bangladesh live in India, according to both official and unofficial estimates. This paper examines the securitization of the issue by various actors through a century. The paper goes into the influences of political ideologies on the Indian State's response to the issue, and the impact of speech acts and other actions of securitizing actors on the issue. The study also examines if desecuritization of the issue would have any positive impact on solving the problem.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, India