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  • Author: Selman Almohamad
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the scholarship on security sector reform (SSR) tends to neglect regional politics in the formulation of its concepts and policies, and that this neglect deprives the study of SSR of a valuable analytical level. It therefore uses comparative historical analysis and the model of regional conflict formations (RCFs) to examine army reforms in Sierra Leone and Iraq from a regional angle, thereby illustrating the explanatory potential that regional politics could bring to the study of SSR and its implementation. The paper also distinguishes between convergent and divergent regional formations, whereby the relationship between SSR outcomes and regional politics is conceived of as constitutive, entangled, and holistic.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Military Affairs, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, Sierra Leone
  • Author: David Samuels, Cesar Zucco Jr.
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: What is the source of the Partido dos Trabalhadores' (PT) success? And is the PT likely to thrive into the future as a key player in Brazil's party system? In this paper we weigh in on an emerging debate about Lula's role in the PT's rise to power. Without Lula's ability to win more votes than his party, we might not be discussing lulismo at all, much less its difference from petismo. Yet despite Lula's fame, fortune, and extraordinary political capabilities, lulismo is a comparatively weak psychological phenomenon relative to and independently of petismo. Lulismo mainly reflects positive retrospective evaluations of Lula's performance in office. To the extent that it indicates anything more, it constitutes an embryonic form of petismo. The ideas that constitute lulismo are similar to the ideas that constitute petismo in voters' minds, and they have been so since the party's founding – a nonrevolutionary quest to make Brazilian democracy more equitable and more participatory. Both lulismo and petismo are key sources of the PT's strength, but petismo is likely to endure long after Lula has departed the political scene.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Jörg Wischermann, Bui The Cuong, Nguyen Quang Vinh, Dang Thi Viet Phuong, Nguyen Thi Minh Chau
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Civic organizations (COs) are neither a good nor a bad thing. They are not inherently fighters for democracy or supporters of authoritarian rule. The way they develop depends on the impact that various forms of state power have on them and on their influence on the state. Vietnamese COs appear to be no exception. When we examine just one direction of these interdependent and reciprocal relations, it becomes clear that under the constraints of the Vietnamese state's infrastructural power many Vietnamese COs develop features of intra‐organizational authoritarianism; that they help to embed the state and the Communist Party more deeply within Vietnamese society; and, finally, that they contribute to bringing the society further under the control of the state and the party. However, this occurs to a very different degree depending on the type of CO. NGOs and faith‐based organizations in particular, at least in the field of gender norms and practices, seem to resist the state's discursive power. This could imply challenges to the state’s and the party's control of politics and society and leads the authors to draw far‐reaching conclusions as far as developmental cooperation with and potential support for various types of Vietnamese COs is concerned.
  • Topic: Non-Governmental Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Anaïd Flesken
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Ethnic diversity is often seen to be detrimental to peace and stability, particularly if ethnicity is the basis for political mobilization. Mobilization is assumed to increase the salience of ethnicity, and with it in-group cohesion, out-group animosity, and national instability; yet the mechanisms have rarely been studied empirically. This article argues that we need to study ethnicity as the outcome of political processes, focus on the attitudinal mechanisms underlying ethnic relation; and examine this phenomenon at the individual level. To this end, the article first disaggregates the term "ethnicity" into attributes, meanings, and actions. Referring to constructivism, it then argues that political science should focus on meanings. Building on the theory and findings of social psychology, this paper shows that political science must distinguish analytically between meanings regarding different in- and out-group processes. Doing so can help advance the study of ethnic relations and conflict-management practices.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Politics, Ethnic Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Ukraine, Bulgaria
  • Author: Giulia Piccolino
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Drawing on the history of statebuilding in Western Europe, fiscal sociology has proposed the existence of a mutually reinforcing effect between the emergence of representative government and effective taxation. This paper looks at the case of Benin, a low-income West African country that underwent a fairly successful democratization process in the early 1990s. It finds, in contrast to previous studies that have emphasized dependency on aid rents, that Benin appears to have reinforced its extractive capacities since democratization. However, the effect of democratization has been largely indirect, while other factors, such as the influence of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the size of the country's informal sector, have played a more direct role in encouraging or inhibiting tax extraction. Nevertheless, the hypothesis that effective taxation depends on a quasiconsensual relationship between government and taxpayers finds some confirmation in the Beninese case.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, West Africa
  • Author: Patrick Köllner
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Understanding and explaining the shape and functioning of systems of political rule requires a focus on their informal elements, which exist alongside and interact with formal elements. And indeed, political science and area studies have long been concerned with various aspects of “informal politics” and “informal institutions”. Based on a survey of relevant literature, I show that the empirically-rich work focusing on the “non-OECD world” has applied the term “informal politics” in different ways, leading to conceptual ambiguity. Moreover, the term informal politics, as used in the literature, tends to lack in terms of conceptual differentiation. In contrast, the conceptual and broader analytical foundations of the study of informal institutions have become more advanced in recent times. Here, I particularly highlight work on different “genetic” types of informal institutions – tradition- and transition-based informal institutions – and on the possible relations between informal and formal institutions. Finally, I suggest that a focus on political regimes is particularly useful for analyzing, from an institutional perspective, the shape and functioning of autocracies (and other systems of political rule). However, the very opacity of such systems of rule as well as practical research obstacles will continue to bedevil the study of informal institutions in autocracies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Political Theory, Governance
  • Author: Hong Liu
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Based upon an empirical analysis of Singaporean Chinese's intriguing and changing linkages with China over the past half century, this paper suggests that multi-layered interactions between the Chinese diaspora and the homeland have led to the formulation of an emerging transnational Chinese social sphere, which has three main characteristics: First, it is a space for communication by ethnic Chinese abroad with their hometown/ homeland through steady and extensive flows of people, ideas, goods and capital that transcend the nation-state borders, although states also play an important role in shaping the nature and characteristics of these flows. Second, this transnational social sphere constitutes a dynamic interface between economy, politics and culture, which has contributed to creating a collective diasporic identity as well as social and business networks. Third, the key institutional mechanism of the transnational social sphere is various types of Chinese organizations – ranging from hometown associations to professional organizations – which serve as integral components of Chinese social and business networks.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore
  • Author: Jonathan Sullivan, Eliyahu V. Sapir
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the substantial advances made in cross-Strait relations during Ma Ying-jeou's (Ma Yingjiu) first term, the ROC president's rhetoric varied considerably as he grappled with the difficult reality of implementing campaign and inauguration pledges to establish better relations with China while striving to maintain national respect and sovereignty. In this article, we put forward a framework for measuring, analysing and explaining this variation in President Ma's first-term discourse. Analysing a very large number of Ma's speeches, addresses, etc., we provide empirical assessments of how the content of Ma's public pronouncements has developed over time, how his rhetoric varies according to the strategic context and timing of a speech, and how his discourse compares to that of his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian (Chen Shuibian). In addressing these questions, the article contributes a quantitative perspective to existing work on political discourse in Taiwan and to the growing methodological and applied literature on how to systematically analyse Chinese political text.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Christian Göbel
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In 2004, the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) was abolished in Taiwan. The SNTV had long been seen as a major factor in the sustenance of county-and township-level clientelist networks (“local factions”). It was also associated with phenomena such as extremism, candidate-centred politics, vote-buying, clientelism and organized crime involvement in politics. More recent scholarship, however, has led to doubts that a single formal institution like an electoral system could have such a powerful influence on electoral mobilization. This article puts these positions to an initial test. It examines the impact of the electoral reform on the mobilization capacity of a local faction in a rural county notorious for its factionalism. By illuminating its intricate mobilization structures, it provides support for the second position: These structures are too resilient to be affected by even a radical electoral reform.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Dirk Nabers, David Shim
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Within international discourses on security, North Korea is often associated with risk and danger, emanating paradoxically from what can be called its strengths—particularly military strength, as embodied by its missile and nuclear programs—and its weaknesses—such as its ever-present political, economic, and food crises—which are considered to be imminent threats to international peace and stability. We argue that images play an important role in these representations, and suggest that one should take into account the role of visual imagery in the way particular issues, actions, and events related to North Korea are approached and understood. Reflecting on the politics of visual representation means to examine the functions and effects of images, that is what they do and how they are put to work by allowing only particular kinds of seeing. After addressing theoretical and methodological questions, we discuss individual (and serial) photographs depicting what we think are typical examples of how North Korea is portrayed in the Western media and imagined in international politics.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, North Korea