Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • RULING IN PLACE: GEOGRAPHY, LEGITIMACY, AND REGIME SURVIVAL IN SINGAPORE AND TAIWAN

    Author:
    Anoulak Kittikhoun
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Yan Sun
    Abstract:

    This study explores the phenomenon of authoritarian regime durability and change in two advanced industrialized countries of East Asia - Singapore and Taiwan. Why has the regime in Singapore been able to survive while the one in Taiwan ended two decades ago? Does authoritarian rule mainly depend on coercion and/or material rewards? Are there alternative sources of regime legitimacy and stability? How does a country's political geography influence the way in which a regime maintains power? This work argues that a viable source of authoritarian regime legitimacy is the country's geo-idea, which derives from the place's physical characteristics, historical legacies, and the spatial identity of its people. Singapore's small size, strategic location, lack of resources and historical experiences of international and regional influences have engendered a geo-idea of a small vulnerable ethnically different place situated within a hostile region. Consequently, the ruling People's Action Party legitimized and prescribed restrictive pre-political rules, arguing that any overt politicking based on race and/or religion would heighten past animosities and lingering tensions, and destroy the barely surviving state. Taiwan's small size and location near China and history of external powers' colonialisms and Chinese intermittent rule have given rise to at least two competing geo-ideas. Claiming that Taiwan was an integral part of China in which it still represented and would eventually return, the ruling Kuomintang enacted martial law to halt national elections and ban political challenges. Arguing that the island possessed a geo-identity separate from China, the opposition constantly challenged the KMT's idea and finally capitalized on the international de-recognition of the KMT's claims to push for democratic reform and an end to authoritarian rule. The study highlights the importance of a state's geography not only in its defense or geopolitics, but also in national policies, including identity construction and political domination. In legitimizing their rule, regimes can draw on its spatial surroundings and characteristics, the sort of history it has experienced, and the perception and fears of its people. The relative acceptance of the regime's claims validates its political order, and vice versa.

  • Conservatives Against Capitalism: The Conservative Critique of Capitalism in American Political Thought

    Author:
    Peter Kolozi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Corey Robin
    Abstract:

    It is commonly assumed that American conservatives, past and present, unreservedly support free-market capitalism. This dissertation, an intellectual history of conservative anti-capitalist thought in America, will challenge this assumption. It traces the historical development of a tradition in the American conservative discourse focused on the tension between conservatism and capitalism. This conservative tradition is characterized by opposition, critique and ultimately, accommodation with capitalism. While this critical tradition is no longer as central to the conservative discourse as it once had been, it illustrates how conservatives have attempted to reconcile conservative values, institutions, and tradition with the dynamism of capitalism.

  • When Humanitarianism Dictates Disarmament Policy: Controversy over the Definition of Antipersonnel Landmines under the 1997 Antipersonnel Landmine Ban

    Author:
    Naoko Kumagai
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Susan Woodward
    Abstract:

    This research seeks to examine the discursive influence of humanitarian advocacy groups on a government's decision about the balance between military necessity and civilian protection, with the case of the dispute over the definition of anti-personnel (AP) mines under the 1997 AP Mine Ban Treaty. Between the two main disputed definitions, humanitarian advocacy groups have advocated the effect-oriented definition over the design-oriented definition since the former covers and prohibits anti-vehicle (AV) mines with potential AP effects. Based on the recognition of the state's reluctance to accept any external interference in armament policy and the two potential defects of humanitarian advocacy groups, insufficient access to the decision-making process and insufficient availability of military and technological information on weapons, I posit that the humanitarian advocacy discourse, which highlights the cruel impact of such mines on civilians, is more effective than the technological advocacy discourse, which disputes governments' theoretical argument for the functional reliability of controversial AV mines. First, the quantitative study on the twenty-six developed states with liberal democracy as of 2002 demonstrates the strong impact of the military stake in AV mines on government definition of AP mines. Second, a qualitative comparative study of two governments from each definition group, Austria and Canada from the effect-oriented definition and Germany and France from the design-oriented definition, during the period from 1998 through 2002, confirms the weak influence of technological advocacy discourse. Lastly, the qualitative text analysis of two governments with the design-oriented definition of AP mines, France and Germany, during the period of 2003 through 2005, demonstrates the positive correlation between the humanitarian discourse and a government's adoption of the effect-oriented definition of AP mines. Still, the rationalist alternative explanations based on the German government's technological capacity to produce more advanced AV mines leave the extent of effectiveness of humanitarian discourse unconfirmed. A new finding from the successful case of Germany, the importance of the utilization of international norms as a factor to make the humanitarian discourse more effective, suggests further research on the detailed conditions and mechanism for successful humanitarian advocacy discourse.

  • IMMIGRANTS FACING IMMIGRATION POLICY: STATE LAWS REGULATING ELIGIBILITY FOR IN-STATE TUITION AND BELONGING AMONG IMMIGRANT YOUTH IN THE UNITED STATES

    Author:
    Fanny Lauby
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    John Mollenkopf
    Abstract:

    This dissertation focuses on new paths of immigrant incorporation and on the political mobilization of undocumented youths in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. The goal of this investigation is to assess whether contrasting state laws that either open or restrict eligibility for in-state tuition are associated with different levels of belonging and different styles of organizing among immigrant youths. This research draws from theories on political incorporation and a resource mobilization model of collective action. It also builds on theories of policy design highlighting the role of policy images in immigration reform. This dissertation aims to develop a broader understanding of the subjective sense of belonging, which includes civic and political engagement along with various measures of assimilation. The contrasting cases of state-level policy in New York and New Jersey provide for an investigation into an important level of government that has largely been missing from the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Both states have considered legislation in 2012 and 2013 which would grant larger access to public universities for undocumented youths. To fully address this issue, the dissertation relies on an innovative mixed-methods approach, collecting both quantitative data from a survey of college-age Latino immigrants, and qualitative data from sixty in-depth interviews with undocumented youths. Results indicate that undocumented youths tend to become mobilized in states which provide more restrictive contexts of reception, and where the coalition of support is still being recruited. However, state laws affecting access to college do shape the availability of political and civic resources for immigrant youths. This is evident both when the law opens and restricts eligibility for in-state tuition. This dissertation highlights the importance of place in immigrants' paths of political incorporation into the United States, as well as the role of policy narratives in fostering or deterring political engagement. The results will help policymakers better understand the contexts of reception which public policies create for young immigrants.

  • `Bootstraps' or `Helping Hand:' An Exploration of the Relationship between Economic Stratification among Black Americans and Their Racial Attitudes toward Merit-Based Opportunities and Affirmative Action

    Author:
    Sherman Lee Jr
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Joe Rollins
    Abstract:

    Over the last thirty years, much has been written about the increasing disparity between Black Americans who have achieved upward mobility and those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. This dissertation utilizes the General Social Survey (GSS) to contribute to this dialogue on stratification within the Black American community. More specifically, it asks the questions: from 1994-2006 - during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations - how did socioeconomic status affect Blacks' racial attitudes about themselves? To answer this question, the racial attitudes of a sample of Black Americans of low socioeconomic status will be compared to the racial attitudes of their higher socioeconomic status counterparts across several demographic, attitudinal, and economic variables. The theoretic framework for this investigation includes stratification theory (Weber), group interest theory (Dawson, Shelton & Wilson), and the theory of opportunities and group consciousness (Chong & Kim).

  • DOING GOOD BY DOING WELL? THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE MEDICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED STATES

    Author:
    Volker Lehmann
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Irving Markovitz
    Abstract:

    This study is dedicated to the political economy of the medical biotechnology industry in the United States. The study combines interviews with more than 150 biotechnology actors with a historical analysis and evidence from publicly available data bases. The ascent of this new industry took place in the United States first and foremost, because there, scientific advancements coincided with the rise of supply-side economics, a policy shift that was part of a larger, neoliberal, ideological shift. Despite free-market rhetoric, specific clusters within the United States became the world's leading biotechnology clusters because of a history of targeted interventions to stimulate economic competitiveness. And despite much expectation about a `biotechnology revolution', biotechnology became an outsourced sub-industry for research, embedded within the `blockbuster drug' business model of large pharmaceutical companies. This business model benefited from America's healthcare system, whose fragmentation and domination by private health providers proved to be global drug companies' most profitable market. To keep the status quo, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries have successfully engaged in political maneuvering. They have helped preventing or watering down U.S. healthcare reform efforts, not in the least the most recent ones under President Obama.

  • Albert Camus' political thought: from passion to compassion

    Author:
    Angel López
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Marshal Berman
    Abstract:

    The present work analyzes the political thought of Albert Camus, specifically the challenges of the justice ideal, and Camus' prioritization of the concepts of limits and compassion. Although Camus is not usually considered part of the traditional canon of political philosophy, I organized his thought into three major areas: a sub-theory of the human being, a sub-theory of institutions, and a sub-theory of political change. This method, I demonstrate, is ideal for extracting and organizing the political ideas of non-traditional political writers. In the case of Camus, he advocates for an international and democratic `civilization of dialogue' as part of his sub-theory of institutions, a preference for limited revolt over unpredictable and violent revolution as part of his sub-theory of political change, and, given what he called the `solidarity of man in error and aberration', a marked preference for compassion over justice in times of political crises as his sub-theory of the human being.

  • CHINA'S SEARCH FOR "PEACEFUL INTERNATIONALISM" VIS-À-VIS A LIBERAL WORLD ORDER: INTERESTS, NATIONAL IDENTITY AND FOREIGN POLICY

    Author:
    Bo Ma
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Yan Sun
    Abstract:

    In this dissertation, I employ the concept of national identity to explain China's foreign policy behavior during the history of the People's Republic of China. Specifically, I propose the concept of "peaceful internationalism" to characterize the behavioral orientation of China in the post-Mao era. Peaceful internationalism as both an idea and a policy, aims at a cross-national framework for cooperation and co-existence through non-conflictual, non-hegemonic and non-unilateral mechanisms of dispute resolution. This study argues that China pursues peaceful internationalism in a liberal international order, which is consistent with its contemporary national identity, which I term the "phoenix rising" identity. This identity has three roots: the Confucian identity, the victimhood identity and the identity of revolutionary internationalism. As an analytical category, the "phoenix rising" identity captures China's contemporary national identity, highlighting the rebirth and renewal of China's past identities in addition to China's experience of integrating into the world community during the post-Mao era. It shares the values of non-intervention, non-hegemony and equality among powers and serves as a framework for understanding China's foreign policy behavior in contemporary times. In the dissertation, according to the ideas and policies embedded in China's peaceful internationalism, China's resurgence will undermine certain special rights and privileges the U.S. enjoys. But essentially, peaceful internationalism and American-led liberal internationalism share many fundamental principles, such as the market economy, inter-state cooperation and international institutions. In order to maintain world peace and stability, the system must guarantee the survival and coexistence of states, strong or weak, in a system of sovereign states. My work provides little evidence that a rising China exploits its own unequal power over subordinate states through alliance systems or imperial systems, or that it will move to balance against the United States in the twentieth-first century.

  • Dollar Democracy: The Politics of Dollarization in Latin America

    Author:
    Cori Madrid
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Irving Markovitz
    Abstract:

    The state's right to print money and control monetary policy is among its most powerful abilities: it allows the state to manage the economy, raise revenue, and reward political allies. Since the establishment of the Westphalian state system, the state's monopoly of money within its borders has been a source of wealth and within the last century, influence over the macroeconomy and local actors. Nevertheless, in the year 2000, Ecuador and El Salvador surprised the world by announcing that they would officially dollarize their economies, replacing their national currencies with the dollar. What can explain why countries, such as Ecuador and El Salvador, would voluntarily subjugate themselves completely to another country's monetary regime? Given its dramatic impact on the power of the state, why would any independent country choose to dollarize? Up until now, scholarly attempts to explain dollarization have focused on its theoretical economic "advantages" and "disadvantages": its impact on lowering interest rates, greater access to credit, the economic benefits of currency stability versus reductions in seigniorage and the loss of monetary sovereignty. In the case of Ecuador, economists and political scientists, alike, agreed that dollarization was the only option available: it was a sheer act of desperation divorced from social or political considerations other than the desperate need for quick stability. However, these answers fall flat, as they ignore 1) the relationship between local struggles over dollarization and financial globalization, 2) the differential ways in which dollarization impacts various societal groups, creating winners and losers with strong interests in influencing policy adoption, and 3) the ways in which internal political struggles and coalitional alliances impact the outcome of these struggles. Differing monetary regimes create concentrated groups of winners and losers and where there are winners and losers, actors will work to impose their preferred policies. Through detailed case studies of two countries where a campaign for dollarization was successful (Ecuador and El Salvador) and one case study of a country where dollarization was defeated (Argentina), this dissertation shows that struggles over dollarization reflect sectorial distributional struggles that are intrinsically related to processes of financial globalization.

  • Occupy Mall Street? How the Court Conditioned Public Space Where People Go

    Author:
    Anthony Maniscalco
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Marshall Berman
    Abstract:

    This thesis explores the tension between practicable space and property rights. That tension has frequently animated legal contests over political expression in privately owned, publicly accessible marketplaces in the United States. Do American marketplaces function as marketplaces of ideas? Should they? In order to examine those questions, I survey the Supreme Court's considerations of expressive activity on public and commercial property, in particular, shopping centers. I begin by developing indications of public space, as well as noting the challenges for civic inclusion within the modern political sphere. Next, I survey historical practices of public space within (Western) marketplaces. Those practices reveal myriad negotiations over the multi-functionality of urban place, as well as dialectical interplay between publics and embodied spaces, which appear to impact civic capacity. In an era of suburbanization, space, spatial practices, and legal interpretations transform significantly, due in large part to the segregation of private places and purposes from genuine public uses. I combine social and political theory with case studies of judicial decision-making, in order to historicize the contest over practices and exclusions of space. I trace the development of the High Court's public forum doctrine, focusing specifically on typologies used to regulate expression on public property. Then I detail the Court's rulings on free speech and assembly inside shopping centers. After examining the way in which Supreme Court precedents have been construed in two states, New York and New Jersey, I argue for revisited First Amendment protections of expressive space inside privately owned shopping centers. The goal of this study will be to look beyond a zero-sum game between space and property, towards a more inclusive view of commerce and public functionality.