Research Library

2015
The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform
Brownlee, Jason, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds. 2015. The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Several years after the Arab Spring began, democracy remains elusive in the Middle East. The Arab Spring that resides in the popular imagination is one in which a wave of mass mobilization swept the broader Middle East, toppled dictators, and cleared the way for democracy. The reality is that few Arab countries have experienced anything of the sort. While Tunisia made progress towards some type of constitutionally entrenched participatory rule, the other countries that overthrew their rulers Egypt, Yemen, and Libyaremain mired in authoritarianism and instability. Elsewhere in the Arab world uprisings were suppressed, subsided or never materialized.

The Arab Springs modest harvest cries out for explanation. Why did regime change take place in only four Arab countries and why has democratic change proved so elusive in the countries that made attempts? This book attempts to answer those questions. First, by accounting for the full range of variance: from the absence or failure of uprisings in such places as Algeria and Saudi Arabia at one end to Tunisias rocky but hopeful transition at the other. Second, by examining the deep historical and structure variables that determined the balance of power between incumbents and opposition.

Brownlee, Masoud, and Reynolds find that the success of domestic uprisings depended on the absence of a hereditary executive and a dearth of oil rents. Structural factors also cast a shadow over the transition process. Even when opposition forces toppled dictators, prior levels of socioeconomic development and state strength shaped whether nascent democracy, resurgent authoritarianism, or unbridled civil war would follow.

Contentious Elections: From Ballots to Barricades
Norris, Pippa, Richard W Frank, and Ferran Martinez i Coma. 2015. Contentious Elections: From Ballots to Barricades. New York: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the world has witnessed a rising tide of contentious elections ending in heated partisan debates, court challenges, street protests, and legitimacy challenges. In some cases, disputes have been settled peacefully through legal appeals and electoral reforms. In the worst cases, however, disputes have triggered bloodshed or government downfalls and military coups. Contentious elections are characterized by major challenges, with different degrees of severity, to the legitimacy of electoral actors, procedures, or outcomes.

Despite growing concern, until recently little research has studied this phenomenon. The theory unfolded in this volume suggests that problems of electoral malpractice erode confidence in electoral authorities, spur peaceful protests demonstrating against the outcome, and, in the most severe cases, lead to outbreaks of conflict and violence. Understanding this process is of vital concern for domestic reformers and the international community, as well as attracting a growing new research agenda.

The editors, from the Electoral Integrity Project, bring together scholars considering a range of fresh evidence– analyzing public opinion surveys of confidence in elections and voter turnout within specific countries, as well as expert perceptions of the existence of peaceful electoral demonstrations, and survey and aggregate data monitoring outbreaks of electoral violence. The book provides insights invaluable for studies in democracy and democratization, comparative politics, comparative elections, peace and conflict studies, comparative sociology, international development, comparative public opinion, political behavior, political institutions, and public policy.

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
Putnam, Robert D. 2015. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. New York: Simon & Schuster. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility.

It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was.

Robert Putnam—about whom The Economist said, “his scholarship is wide-ranging, his intelligence luminous, his tone modest, his prose unpretentious and frequently funny”—offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis. Putnam begins with his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. By and large the vast majority of those students—“our kids”—went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book.

Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence. Putnam provides a disturbing account of the American dream that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country.

von Soest, Christian, and Michael Wahman. 2015. “Not All Dictators Are Equal: Coups, Fraudulent Elections, and the Selective Targeting of Democratic Sanctions.” Journal of Peace Research Vol. 52 (1): 17–31. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Since the end of the Cold War, Western powers have frequently used sanctions to fight declining levels of democracy and human rights violations abroad. However, some of the world’s most repressive autocracies have never been subjected to sanctions, while other more competitive authoritarian regimes have been exposed to repeated sanction episodes. In this article, we concentrate on the cost–benefit analysis of Western senders that issue democratic sanctions, those which aim to instigate democratization, against authoritarian states. We argue that Western leaders weight domestic and international pressure to impose sanctions against the probability of sanction success and the sender’s own political and economic costs. Their cost–benefit calculus is fundamentally influenced by the strength of trigger events indicating infringements of democratic and human rights. Western sanction senders are most likely to respond to coups d’e´tat, the most drastic trigger events, and tend to sanction vulnerable targets to a higher extent than stable authoritarian regimes. Senders are also more likely to sanction poor targets less integrated in the global economy and countries that do not align with the Western international political agenda, especially in responding to ‘weaker’ trigger events such as controversial elections. The analysis is carried out using a new dataset of US and EU sanctions against authoritarian states in the period 1990–2010.

soestwahman2015.pdf
Almaliky, Muhamed H. 2015. “Mending Iraq.” Foreign Affairs. Publisher's Version
Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World
Covarrubias, Ana. 2015. Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World. Edited by Jorge I. Domínguez. New York: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Handbook of Latin America in the World explains how the Latin American countries have both reacted and contributed to changing international dynamics over the last 30 years. It provides a comprehensive picture of Latin America’s global engagement by looking at specific processes and issues that link governments and other actors, social and economic, within the region and beyond. Leading scholars offer an up-to-date state of the field, theoretically and empirically, thus avoiding a narrow descriptive approach. The Handbook includes a section on theoretical approaches that analyze Latin America’s place in the international political and economic system and its foreign policy making. Other sections focus on the main countries, actors, and issues in Latin America’s international relations. In so doing, the book sheds light on the complexity of the international relations of selected countries, and on their efforts to act multilaterally.

The Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World is a must-have reference for academics, researchers, and students in the fields of Latin American politics, international relations, and area specialists of all regions of the world.

Baum, Matthew, and Yuri M Zhukov. 2015. “Filtering Revolution: Reporting Bias in International Newspaper Coverage of the Libyan Civil War.” Journal of Peace Research.Abstract

Reporting bias–the media’s tendency to systematically underreport or overreport certain types of events–is a persistent problem for participants and observers of armed conflict. We argue that the nature of reporting bias depends on how news organizations navigate the political context in which they are based. Where government pressure on the media is limited–in democratic regimes–the scope of reporting should reflect conventional media preferences toward novel, large-scale, dramatic developments that challenge the conventional wisdom and highlight the unsustainability of the status quo. Where political constraints on reporting are more onerous–in non-democratic regimes–the more conservative preferences of the state will drive the scope of coverage, emphasizing the legitimacy and inevitability of the prevailing order. We test these propositions using new data on protest and political violence during the 2011 Libyan uprising and daily newspaper coverage of the Arab Spring from 113 countries. We uncover evidence of a status-quo media bias in non-democratic states, and a revisionist bias in democratic states. Media coverage in non-democracies underreported protests and nonviolent collective action by regime opponents, largely ignored government atrocities, and overreported those caused by rebels. We find the opposite patterns in democratic states.

journal_of_peace_research-2015-baum-0022343314554791.pdf
Simmons, Beth A, and Cosette Creamer. 2015. “Do Self-Reporting Regimes Matter? Evidence from the Convention against Torture.” International Studies Association. New Orleans, Louisiana.Abstract

Human rights treaty bodies have for many years now been criticized as useless and self-reporting widely viewed as a whitewash. Yet very little research explores what, if any, influence this periodic review process has on governments’ implementation of and compliance with treaty obligations. We argue oversight committees may play an important role by providing information for international and domestic audiences. This paper examines the effects of self-reporting and oversight review, using original data on the quality and responsiveness of reports submitted to the Committee Against Torture (CmAT) and a dynamic approach to strengthen causal inference about the effects of the periodic review process on rights practices. We find that the review process in fact does reduce the incidence of torture in self-reporting states. Furthermore, we find that local media attention to the process in Latin American spikes during the review process, consistent with domestic awareness and mobilization made possible by media attention to torture practices and treaty obligations. Thus, this is the first study to present positive evidence on the effects of self-reporting on torture outcomes, contrary to the many studies that assert the process is basically useless.

creamersimmons_isa2015.pdf
Beckert, Sven. 2015. “Book review: ‘Empire of Cotton: A Global History,’ by Sven Beckert.” Washington Post. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Global history is very much the fashion in leading university history departments today. Some of them seek to replace courses in Western civilization with classes in global history—but usually such courses have to be team-taught by a variety of specialists, since so few individual academics have such a broad reach. “Empire of Cotton” proves Sven Beckert one of the new elite of genuinely global historians.

Beckert, Sven. 2015. “Insights from the Academy: Review of Sven Beckert's Empire of Cotton: A Global History.” MSNBC. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Book review of Sven Beckert's Empire of Cotton: A Global History.

Beckert, Sven. 2015. “The Turbulent Reign of King Cotton: The Dark History of One of the World’s Most Important Commodities.” The Spectator. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A review of Empire of Cotton by Sven Beckert reveals that while Britain abolished the slave trade in the early 19th century, 50 years later its cotton industry still depended on American slave-labour.

Beckert, Sven. 2015. “Cotton, A Global History: Spinning tales.” The Economist. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Good economic history tells dramatic stories of ingenuity and aspiration, greed and national self-interest. Sven Beckert writes good economic history. But why cotton? Mr Beckert’s answer is that for 900 years, until 1900, it was the world’s most important manufacturing industry. Cotton is relevant now because the story explains how and why an industry goes global. It is a story of wildly fluctuating fortunes, from stunning wealth to dire social disasters.

Pande, Rohini. 2015. “Keeping Women Safe: Addressing the Root Causes of Violence Against Women in South Asia.” Harvard Magazine. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In December 2012, thousands of protesters flooded the streets of cities across India, demanding a safer environment for women. A 23-year-old female student had died from injuries sustained 13 days earlier, when six men raped and savagely beat her on a Delhi bus. The case gained international attention, and since then South Asian media have reported dozens more horrifying instances of violence against women, several involving tourists: a Danish woman was gang-raped in Delhi after asking for directions back to her hotel, and an American was raped while hitchhiking in the Himalayas.

Viterna, Jocelyn, and Cassandra Robertson. 2015. “New Directions in the Sociology of Development.” Annual Review of Sociology 41. Download Paper
2014
Norris, Pippa, and Mona Lena Krook. 2014. “Beyond quotas: Strategies to promote gender equality in elected office.” Political Studies 62 (1): 1-19.
Norris, Pippa, Ferran Martinez i Coma, and Richard W. Frank. 2014. “Measuring electoral integrity around the world: A new dataset.” PS: Political Science & Politics 47 (4): 1-10.
Norris, Pippa. 2014. “Existential insecurity and the geography of religiosity.” The Changing World Religion Map, edited by Stann Brunn. Berlin: Springer.
Norris, Pippa, and Mona Lena Krook. 2014. “How do quotas work? The supply and demand model revisited.” Deeds and Words: Gendering politics. A Festschrift for Professor Joni Lovenduski. Essex: ECR Press.
Norris, Pippa. 2014. “Introduction’ and ‘Electoral integrity and political legitimacy.” Comparing Democracies 4, edited by Lawrence Leduc and Richard Niemi. Vol. 4. London: Sage, 4.
Norris, Pippa, and Christian Welzel. 2014. “Mecca or oil? Why Arab states lag in gender equality.” Global Cultural Change, edited by Russell Dalton. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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