Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • 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.

  • Education in Hope: Critical pedagogies and the ethic of care

    Author:
    Tony Monchinski
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Marshall Berman
    Abstract:

    In the last half of the twentieth-century, critical pedagogies developed to challenge dominant educational models. While critical pedagogies have long argued that ethics is at the heart of their endeavors, the details of the ethical models reflected by critical pedagogies has gone largely unexamined. This dissertation argues that the critical pedagogies of John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and a group of scholar/activists working within the fold of feminist pedagogy all reflect an ethic of care. Carol Gilligan first introduced the concept behind an ethic of care in the early 1980s. Subsequent work within the field of feminist ethics, psychology, and education has expanded and refined the concept of an ethic of care. This dissertation seeks to make clear the connections between critical pedagogies and an ethic of care.

  • International norm echoing in rebel groups: The cases of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

    Author:
    Jennifer Mueller
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Susan Woodward
    Abstract:

    This research demonstrates that rebel groups use international norms in their discourse and echo patterns in the discourse of states and that they do so to promote their own legitimacy at key turning points in their conflicts. Which international norms rebel groups use most frequently is partially determined by the congruence of those norms with their local norms and beliefs and the degree to which a group's internal structure has become more hierarchical and specialized. Two rebel groups are examined in this study over the course of their conflicts: the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The international norms under analysis are human rights, international humanitarian law, genocide, and norms against terrorism. Rebel groups echo the broad pattern of change in discourse and behavior exhibited by states: as states increasingly turned to human rights discourse and focused on the protection of civilians in conflict during the 1990s, rebel groups did so as well in their discourse. These non-state actors, however, are not merely echoing the discourse from the international level as passive recipients: they adopt international norms into their discourse for strategic reasons, namely to increase their legitimacy with local and international audiences. By tracing the patterns of norm adoption throughout the course of the conflict and matching peaks of fluctuation with events on the ground, this research demonstrates that rebel groups increase the frequency of their use of international norms at key turning points in the conflict, such as during negotiations for ceasefire or peace agreements, and do so to boost their legitimacy. The research examines the effect of two additional variables on the changes in the discourse of the groups: the normative culture of the groups and the internal hierarchical structure. Findings demonstrate that the normative culture of a rebel group partially determines which international norms are adopted by the group and that a precondition of a high level of internal hierarchy is necessary before a group echoes international norms consistently.

  • Community-Level Predictors of Family Homelessness in the United States

    Author:
    Ellen Munley
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    John Mollenkopf
    Abstract:

    The problem of reducing homelessness in U.S. communities has challenged policymakers and advocates, who have looked to academic research on homelessness to understand its causes and design strategies to prevent and reduce homelessness. Although individual-level research shows important differences between homeless families and homeless individuals, the literature on community-level predictors of homelessness includes little work focused on families. Using newly available data on rates of family homelessness, this study identifies economic and social factors associated with rates of homelessness at the community level, finding that family poverty rates and rental housing costs are strong and consistent predictors of family homelessness, with higher poverty rates and housing costs associated with higher rates of family homelessness. Housing market and economic factors are overall more consistent predictors than public health or demographic factors in these models of family homelessness. The study also looks closely at the public assistance programs that serve low-income families, asking whether the reach and generosity of these programs, as they vary across states and communities, have any relationship with the rates of homelessness among families. Finding that areas with higher rates of family homelessness tend to have greater enrollment of families in poverty in the TANF program, possible explanations for this result are investigated. The study also finds that the generosity of food stamp benefits is associated with lower family homelessness rates, while similar measures of TANF and SSI programs do not have a measurable community-level relationship with family homelessness rates. The study discusses several policy recommendations that could address housing market and economic determinants of homelessness, and the need for further individual-level and cross-national research that would continue this examination of the relationship between public assistance programs and family homelessness rates.