Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Nationhood in the City: Assimilation, Citizenship, and Belonging among College-Educated, Second Generation Turks in Berlin and Dominicans in New York

    Author:
    Utku Sezgin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    John Mollenkopf
    Abstract:

    The main question posed by the study is: "How are university-educated immigrant-origin young people from disadvantaged backgrounds responding to the social and political opportunities provided by their cities and nations?" Through in-depth interviews and secondary research, my project sheds light on how local and national institutions, and the historical context, of host societies shape the outlook of upwardly mobile second generation immigrants on questions of citizenship and national belonging. It focuses on interviewing college-educated individuals from similarly disadvantaged groups in two similar locales: Turks in Berlin and Dominicans in New York. My hypothesis is that New York City and the United States offer an institutional package of opportunities and responses that provides a more favorable context of reception for these individuals; and that this in turn fosters a stronger sense of commitment to and membership in the U.S. polity than is the case in Berlin and Germany. This package includes: the civil rights culture/laws, the relatively liberal and pluralistic citizenship regime, an immigration-oriented national and local political culture and institutional history, and the relatively penetrable and inclusive local and national political system that accommodates immigrants.. The project goes beyond segmented assimilation theory to critique its overly structural and deterministic views of race, immigration, and class. The dissertation also takes issue with the view that citizenship and nation-states have been decoupled in our globalized age, a view that has by now largely superseded traditional notions of citizenship tied to the nation-state. My primary means of data collection have been 61 face-to-face, in-depth, semi-structured interviews in the two contexts. The interviews aimed to identify how respondents' identity construction and citizenship practices operate within the host context.

  • Media and Message in Modern Political Thought: From the Age of Print to the Age of Digital Reproduction

    Author:
    Asaf Shamis
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Jack Jacobs
    Abstract:

    The dissertation investigates the relationship between media and message in modern political thought. In the research I situate the ideas of three modern political theorists Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, and Theodor Herzl in the material conditions prevailing in the printing industry of their times. I investigate in each case how the media culture the thinker was working in influenced his political ideas. My findings indicate that in all three cases the political ideas were shaped and conditioned by the particular position of the author, the prevailing attitude to the printed word, and the existing media technologies. Based on the historical research, in the last part of the study I explore the future of political ideas in the age of digital hypertexts. Overall, the findings of the research lead me to call for a broadening of conventional analysis of political ideas: Political ideas must be seen as part of the highly regulated streams of information that flow between author and reader in any given historical period.

  • Inventing Burke: Edmund Burke and the Conservative Party, 1790-1918

    Author:
    Hannah Sidney
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Corey Robin
    Abstract:

    This thesis explores the circumstances by which Edmund Burke came to be regarded as the father of Anglo-conservatism. Conventional wisdom assumes Burke was hailed as a Conservative oracle from the moment Reflections on the Revolution in France appeared. In fact, nineteenth century Conservatives considered Burke a “Whig” who had erred on most critical issues: slavery, Crown prerogative, Ireland, empire. In the twentieth century, however, the advent of universal suffrage and the demise of the Liberal party forced Conservatives to develop an identity which might compete with Labour's mass appeal. It also shifted the locus of Conservative ire from liberalism to socialism. Conservatives came to see themselves as protectors of the individual and their opponents as latter-day Jacobins obsessed with a reified State. A key figure is Hugh Cecil, whose Conservatism (1912) was among the first monographs to define Conservative identity in this way and to trace Conservatism's origins to Burke.

  • Rhetoric and the Politics of Necessity

    Author:
    Daniel Skinner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Joan Tronto
    Abstract:

    This dissertation casts the concept of necessity as a rhetorical form that is commonly used to shape what appears politically possible. I argue that engaging necessity as rhetoric helps not only to conceptualize key political concepts, such as freedom, but to mediate some perennial problems in politics. To make this argument, I undertake two basic tasks. First, I catalog a series of different kinds of necessity arguments that appear across the history of Western political thought. To show necessity's centrality to canonical political theory, I examine the work of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx and Arendt. I then apply this analysis to three examples, each of which illuminates a different kind of political problem: Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War illustrates the role necessity plays in producing the appearance of inevitable war; John Marshall's opinion in McCulloch v. Maryland shows necessity as a problem in legal interpretation; finally, contests over the meaning of medical necessity in American health care debates illustrate problems inherent in the relationship between medicine and politics.

  • Biotechnology Regulation in the European Union and France: Un Dialogue des Sourds

    Author:
    Patricia Stapleton
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Christa Altenstetter
    Abstract:

    In the early 1990s, France was at the forefront of agricultural biotechnology innovation and implementation. Yet, by the end of the decade, France had become one of the most vocal opponents among the European Union member states to genetically modified organisms and genetically modified food. France's continued resistance to implementing EU agricultural biotechnology legislation has created a regulatory impasse in this issue area. This study examines the triggering events that led to the reversal in the French position on GMOs, as well as explores the institutional development of the EU and French regulatory frameworks. Using a historical institutionalist approach, this work demonstrates that triggering events in the 1990s led to policy changes and institutional development in the fields of public health and food safety, both at the EU-level and within France. The main argument put forth in this dissertation is that the differences in the institutional evolution of the French regulatory framework for GMOs when compared to the evolution of the EU's regulatory framework has created the regulatory deadlock, which can be characterized as un dialogue des sourds between the EU and France. Furthermore, this impasse will continue to exist as long as the EU disregards the core concerns of anti-GMO sentiment in France.

  • THE UNITED STATES OF THE WORLD: HUMAN RIGHTS, POLITICAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY VIA AFFECTIVE AND RATIONAL POLITICS

    Author:
    Marriah Star
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Andrew Polsky
    Abstract:

    This study examines how Political Entrepreneurs in the United States Congress responded to human rights abuses in six countries during the 1970s and 1980s: Cambodia, El Salvador, South Africa, the Soviet Union, Taiwan, and Uganda. It presents a four-point model for approaching the study of United States human rights policy. The key element in all the cases is bonding social capital, also called affective politics. American policy towards the Soviet Union and Uganda both demonstrate the integration of international, transnational, and domestic politics. Taiwan receives special attention because U.S. Taiwan policy continues to exemplify the integration of international relations, transnational relations, and domestic politics. The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) represents Taiwanese-Americans who care about promoting democracy on Taiwan and, ultimately, Taiwan's legal status as an independent country. FAPA cultivates and sustains relationships with members of Congress and their staff to create the Taiwan Caucus in the House and Senate, second in influence only to the Israel Caucus, which is cultivated by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This study investigates how the Taiwan Independence Movement (TIM) learned, in part from AIPAC, to become politically viable as an ethnic lobby in the 1980s after limited success in the 1960s and 1970s, despite lacking the voting power and financial resources of Jewish-Americans. This study examines how bonding social capital (affective politics) is used to compensate for deficiencies in financial capital and voting power (rational politics), thus creating the political capital that political entrepreneurs use to shape U.S. foreign policy. Political entrepreneurs include citizens, congressional staff, and members of Congress, who have an impact on U.S. foreign policy that is greater than we would expect if we studied their resources by using only a rational choice framework. This study demonstrates that scholars of international relations, transnational politics and American politics can analyze the biographies of political entrepreneurs and their emotional relationships to more fully understand U.S. foreign policy.

  • Remittances and Political Liberalization

    Author:
    Yu-Sung Su
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Bowman John
    Abstract:

    At present, this connection between remittances and political liberalization is based on sporadic observations and anecdotal evidence. I examine this relationship by carrying out a methodologically sophisticated analysis that combines game theoretic reasoning, a matching methods causal model, a Bayseian multilevel statistical analysis, and in-depth case studies of Mexico and Taiwan. In the Mexican chapter, I model a game in which remittances function as a signaling device, indicating to patronage-dispensing politicians exactly which households possess an exit option and thereby constitute a set of "swing voters." The policy analysis of a spending program called PROCAMPO that uses matching and multilevel modeling analysis confirms the hypothesis that these households are more likely to be targeted to receive distributive benefits. Remittances have played a major role in undermining the patron-client relationship typical of the PRI, Mexico's long-dominant political party, and thereby contributed to its recent decline. The study of Taiwan focuses on an entirely different remittance scenario. The puzzle is to explain Taiwan's decision to abandon its "no haste, be patient" policy aimed at slowing economic integration with mainland China. I explain this policy reversal by modeling a game of pigs in a box between expatriate business people and the Taiwanese government. I conclude that, in the pre-2000 institutional setting, policy change was unlikely. However, post-2000 political developments, in particular the emergence of a split within the KMT and the electoral victory of an opposition (DPP) candidate for president, created an opening for business people to exploit their control over significant remittance flows and thereby force a change in policy. A study of voting behavior confirms with the institutional analysis that voters receiving remittances were more likely to vote for the DPP opposition. Hence, the increased ease of movement of money and people across the Strait that separates China and Taiwan will further opportunities to increase contestation in Taiwanese politics. The final chapter conducts a large-$N$ analysis of 164 countries between 1991 and 2000. I use an instrumental variables method to deal with the potential reverse causality. The result confirms that remittances are positively associated with the occurrence of political liberalization.

  • Sword versus Shield: The Impact of Democracy on Rivalry

    Author:
    Bann Seng Tan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Peter Liberman
    Abstract:

    The democratic peace deals with pairs of states that are least likely to fight. Rivalry scholarship deals with pairs of states that are most likely to fight. By putting the two phenomena together, one can examine the effects of democratization on the conflict behavior of states. Does democratization exacerbates existing tensions or mollify them? I argue that when a rivalry between a democracy and a non-democracy becomes jointly democratic, the rivalry as a whole deescalates. Since the institutional explanation of the democratic peace, unlike the case for the normative explanation, is power sensitive, I infer that the magnitude of de-escalation itself should be also conditioned by the relative power between the rival states. In so doing, I am in essence, applying the logic of the democratic peace to the domain of enduring rivalry. I test the theoretical expectations using both statistics and case studies. Using data on conflict behavior from the Correlates of War and on regime characteristics from the Polity project, I conduct two sets of quantitative tests using logistic and survival analysis. I also use the rivalry between Peru and Ecuador over a disputed border from 1979 to 2000 as a case study. I split the rivalry into two time periods based on the direction of dyadic regime change. Overall the evidence supported the theoretical expectation that democratization ameliorates conflict, even within rivalry. Furthermore, I found more support for the institutional explanation compared to the normative alternative. The research makes three contributions to the literature. First, I identify regime change in rivalry as a domain suitable for a critical test of the democratic peace and conduct one such test. Second, I investigate behavioral change in rivalry rather than just rivalry termination. The field knows that democracy helps to terminates rivalry but lacks a theory of how this comes to be. I provide a first cut at such a theory. Third, I address the cost-benefits analysis of democratization. Contrary to works which asserts that democratization increases the likelihood of war, I demonstrate evidence that democratization does not exacerbate on-going rivalries.

  • Sustainable Development and the Urban Water Sector Reform in Dakar, Senegal: The Politics of Neoliberalism in a Developing Country

    Author:
    Sophie Theven de Gueleran
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Irving Markovitz
    Abstract:

    The 1996 urban water sector reform in Senegal is not the sustainable development success claimed by its proponents. Privatization and cost-recovery management resulted in poor water and sanitation services unaffordable to many, increased access inequalities, and accelerated water resource destruction. Dependent on profitmaking and users' ability to pay, service provision did not improve the satisfaction of basic water needs for all and the protection of water resources, nor reduce poverty and waterborne diseases. The water reform pursued the liberalization of Senegal's economy, opening new resources to the capitalist world economy and extending the inequity and destructiveness of this system to the water sector. Integrating water services into the global market, the reform served the interests of the international and Senegalese business sector, not those of the Senegalese people. The reform process was an exemplary case of the workings of the neoliberal hegemony. Though the international financial institutions imposed the reform for continued lending, the Senegalese government and water sector officials and professionals endorsed it, encouraged by their ideological orientations. The spread of neoliberal economic ideas had paralleled the liberalization process since the late 1970s, and by the time of the reform the idea that privatization and commercial management would improve efficiency, and therefore water services and resource preservation, was pervasive. The reform was a sustainable development endeavor good for people and good for the environment. Ideology helped justify the reform. The United Nations played an ideological role that facilitated the adjustment of Senegal to the interests of powerful international actors. Through the elaboration of a neoliberal notion of sustainable development and water policy guidelines, the UN encouraged the adoption of neoliberal water reforms in developing countries. As the World Bank and the business sector came to dominate UN policymaking for "environmental" services, the policy discourse eliminated ecological concerns from sustainable development. From challenging the capitalist growth development model and promoting the adjustment of human activities to environmental limits, the concept reconciled economic growth with environmental preservation and social improvement. Policies to privatize and manage water services for profit became sustainable, conducive to resource protection, social equity and democratic participation.

  • THE SILENT GUERRILLAS: UNDER SLAVERY, IN PEASANT POLITICS, AND THROUGHOUT THE INDUSTRIAL AND SOCIAL FACTORIES

    Author:
    Kevin Van Meter
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Mark Blasius
    Abstract:

    In the work that follows, I will examine what political theorist James C. Scott calls "the hidden transcripts" of social struggle, which are written between the lines of the political record through the quotidian and clandestine practices of resistance and mutual aid that are the first and last recourse of subjugated populations. By engaging with literature on contemporary and historical social movements, I will explore the emergence and brief legibility of these practices among chattel slaves in the American South, the peasantry in various settings, and in a number of other industrial and social settings in an attempt to determine the role of these practices in the formation of formal social movements.