Theses - Politics and International Studies


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  • ItemEmbargo
    Post-War African Studies, Underdevelopment, and the French and British New Lefts, 1953-1993
    Karayiannides, Efthimios
    This thesis challenges the notion that thinkers associated with the French and British New Lefts were solely concerned with elaborating a “Western Marxism”. It does so by reconstructing the important role sociological and economic analyses of sub-Saharan Africa played in shaping the sociological and conceptual imagination of the French and British New Lefts. I show that sub- Saharan Africa was at the centre of comparative frameworks used to formulate several major ideas we today associate with the New Left. Chapter 1 charts how Eric Hobsbawm and Peter Worsley drew and expanded upon Max Gluckman’s interpretation of the Mau Mau uprising in colonial Kenya to sketch their respective accounts of how, and under what conditions, social movements ‘modernize’. Chapter 2 shows how the thought of South African émigré Marxists developed within British New Left milieus as a critique of liberal theories of industrialisation and modernisation. It then shows how thinkers associated with the French New Left, like Claude Meillassoux and Étienne Balibar, drew on the work of the South African Marxists and other Africanists to challenge the notion that contemporary capitalist societies were witnessing the disappearance of class. Chapter 3 shows how Stuart Hall’s influential interpretation of Thatcherism is indebted theoretically to the Africanist scholarship and development literature he was engaging with in the period. Chapter 4 pursues a genealogy of Orlando Patterson’s concept of “social death”, demonstrating that its origins lie in the work of French economic anthropologists of Africa. Chapter 5 argues that Arghiri Emmanuel’s theory of “Unequal Exchange” was deeply influenced by his experiences in the Belgian Congo. In the conclusion I consider reasons why New Left engagement with the sub-Saharan African context went into rapid decline from the late-1980s onwards. I show that the very thing that fascinated New Left thinkers about Africa in preceding decades - the failure of capitalist relations of production to definitively take root - began to feed into narratives about the continent being wiped off the face of the global economy.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Social Capitalisation in Quest of Recognition: Egypt and Qatar in the 2010s
    El Taki, Karim; El Taki, Karim [0000-0003-0080-4538]
    Recognition is a key motivation of social actors. It is so in interpersonal relations as per recognition theory but also, as International Relations scholarship has shown, in international politics. However, the extensive application of the concept, encompassing phenomena ranging from social movements to international conflict, raises concerns about its analytical purchase. This thesis makes a theoretical proposition on the quest for recognition by regimes, in the name of the states with which they identify, under tighter conditions. Building on the established observation that a denial of recognition can prompt social actors to engage in a recognition struggle, this thesis qualifies the specific conditions of misrecognition under which the theorised quest unfolds. Against misrecognition by significant others of a state’s important self-identities, a regime may embark on a quest for recognition by leveraging social capitalisation processes. The thesis deploys the theory in Egypt and Qatar during two episodes in which they faced misrecognition of important self-identities of theirs, corresponding to self-identified positions in domestic and international hierarchies. Specifically, they faced contestation of their domestic legitimacy and their regional power status. While the Egyptian and Qatari regimes showcase markedly divergent material and ideational attributes, they have resorted to broadly similar recognition-seeking behaviours in the face of such misrecognition. Their quest for recognition has unfolded across domestic and international hierarchies and across regional and global ones, seeking to socially capitalise on international alt-recognition, international misrecognition, regional recognition, and global recognition. In making these arguments, I rely on four main bodies of material—namely, military procurement and cooperation data, regime media discourse, lobbying documentation submitted to the United States Department of Justice, and interviews conducted in Doha and Washington, DC. By examining Egypt’s and Qatar’s social capitalisation on (mis)recognition across hierarchical orders in pursuit of recognition, the analysis confirms the purchase of a social-relational approach and contributes to inverting the dominant from-above perspective on hierarchy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mysteries of Mankind, Secrets of the State, and Complexities of Conflict: A Dynamic, Multi-Level Pre-War Bargaining Model
    Eggum, Erik
    War is an undeniable phenomenon in international relations. But why do states fight each other? The quintessential question of the causes of war has drawn prolific scholarly attention ever since Thucydides' dissection of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). Yet little consensus has been reached. What makes war causes so elusive? One reason, I contend, is that ideographic and nomothetic explanations of war have traditionally been considered in opposition. There is, however, nothing mutually exclusive about a dynamic process and specific combinations of causal variables. Explaining the onset of war requires answers to both why and how war emerges – conditions and process. In this thesis, I therefore take a systems approach and argue that war, as any social phenomenon, can be conceived of and analyzed as an outcome of an endogenous process of actions and reactions which shape and, in turn, are shaped by context. Whereas natural systems consist of detectable secrets, social systems also consist of undetectable mysteries. Specifically, I develop a dynamic, nonlinear pre-war bargaining model which allows us to simulate how two adversarial states of configurable economic and military size, regime type, and leadership bargain over a contentious issue and decide whether to use military force to resolve it. By integrating the international, domestic, and individual-level material secrets and immaterial mysteries into a coherent dynamic whole, the model embraces the inherent complexity of social systems and enables us to study how small variations in initial conditions, changes produced by the bargaining process, and exogenous factors affect the stability of peace. The model thus brings together the process-oriented ideographic approach and counterfactual analysis, on the one hand, and the variable-oriented nomothetic approach on the other. Another reason for the elusiveness of war causes, I argue, is the paradigmatic divides and lack of scientific pluralism in IR. Since etiology is inextricably linked to methodology, these divides and the putative distinction between "causal" explanation and "interpretive" understanding have hampered scientific progress on the causes of war. Therefore, the model is constructed based on scientific pluralism and analytical eclecticism and builds on both Rationalism and Constructivism in its treatment of the first, second, and third images and their interdependence. The result is a highly configurable dynamic model which is intended to serve as a 'theoretical laboratory'. As an initial 'inference to the best explanation' to be improved in future iterations, this theoretical laboratory allows for theoretical process tracing and the identification of both agentic and structural necessary conditions counterfactuals. Etiologically, this amounts to a dynamic conjunctional concept of causes and causation in the form of INUS conditions and complexes. By simulating hundreds of thousands of perfectly replicable cases with minor variations over militarily symmetric and asymmetric dyads with states of different regime types, economic properties, and rational and sub-rational leaders, the model enables sensitivity analysis and both case-specific and general explanations of war onset.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Who Speaks for the State? Narration, Representation, and the JCPOA
    Menton, Jane
    For over four decades, the United States and Iran have been enemies. Hostility is deeply ingrained within both states. In 2002, revelations about Iran’s covert nuclear program added a new layer to this relationship: how do you prevent a rival from acquiring nuclear weapons? For years, the United States deployed various coercive methods—sanctions, sabotage, military threats—to no avail. Then, during the Obama administration, Iran became the test case for engaging with ‘implacable’ adversaries on ‘intractable’ problems. Although the obstacles to success were formidable, in 2015, Iran, the United States, and the other P5+1 states announced the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under this agreement, Tehran accepted verifiable restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Although the Iran Deal generated controversy within the United States, opposition did not weaken the administration’s resolve or derail the agreement’s implementation. Success, however, proved short-lived. In 2018, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the JCPOA. Today, Tehran is closer than ever to nuclear breakout and efforts to revive the JCPOA have stalled. On the one hand, this outcome may seem unsurprising. After all, the Obama administration was challenging a decades-old rivalry; scholars would anticipate narrative constraints. Yet the commitments that representatives make to other states generally do outlive their authors: pacta sunt servanda is no empty phrase. In short, both the agreement and undoing of the JCPOA defy expectations. This is especially because while many expected negotiations to fail, or Iran to cheat, it was American reversal that unravelled the JCPOA. In this thesis, I argue that the contradictory behaviour of successive administrations exposes a latent tension at the heart of state ontology—between collective identity and sovereign authority. Identifying these dual processes of state constitution can help scholars better understand the mechanics of narrative constraint: what allows stories to persist even when leaders defy them. To theorize what makes discursive boundaries operative and effective, I introduce the concept of narrative enforcement. I then illustrate my argument by demonstrating how the plural and continuous implication of Iran in the narration of U.S. identity enabled, even incentivized, an outcome that defied the systems-level imperatives of representative governance.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sailors, Soldiers and Statesmen: The Conceptual Context of British Naval and Military Strategy, 1902-1914
    Todd, Martin
    This thesis posits that although national defence strategy must ultimately be determined by civilian ministers its roots lie in the conceptual foundations of the professional armed services, which represent the primary sources of strategic advice. Consequently, the relative depth and coherence of these foundations are important factors in shaping options presented for political decision. These foundations comprise not only the body of doctrine that articulates the ways in which armed force can be applied most effectively to achieve specified ends, but also the institutions through which these ideas are assimilated within the services, and the staff structures that translate them into candidate strategies. To illustrate this process, this thesis evaluates the relative states of developments in the conceptual foundations of the Royal Navy and the British Army in the period from end of the war in South Africa in 1902 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The first chapter examines how, having come to dominate defence policy on the back of external conceptions of naval power, the Navy was slow to develop its own capacity for conceptual development. The second chapter goes on to examine how its further refusal to create a strategic planning staff affected its ability to adapt to strategic change and to engage in vital debates over national strategy. The third chapter charts how the Army, despite its subordinate status and the ignominy of its failings in South Africa, was able to draw upon, and further develop, the capacity for conceptual development enshrined in the Staff College. The fourth chapter then examines how this foundation enabled the establishment of a credible strategic planning staff, which was instrumental to the structural reform of the service and the adaptation and communication of military strategy in the light of strategic reorientation. Ultimately, the thesis concludes that the conceptual disparity between the Navy and the Army has been neglected as a material factor in determining British strategy prior to the First World War.
  • ItemOpen Access
    When Movements Fail: Drug Policy and Popular Participation in Brazil
    Krause Dornelles, Felipe
    Most examinations of the political consequences of social movements are single case studies that seek to ascertain the determinants of movement success. This thesis instead employs comparative analysis to further the understanding of the dynamics of partial successes and unintended outcomes of mobilisation. Thus, instead of simply asking why movements sometimes fail at achieving their core aims, the main contribution of this thesis is to provide a clearer picture of what happens when movements fail. To address these issues, I examine the largely frustrated, contentious efforts to reform policies that govern illicit drugs in Brazil, which – following the activists themselves – I collectively call the anti-prohibitionist movement. Anti-prohibitionism challenges the War on Drugs, pointing out its destructive consequences, including violence, human rights abuses, corruption and an overall weakening of democratic institutions. In order to attain greater analytical robustness, I subdivide Brazilian anti-prohibitionism into four units: Ayahuasca Movement; Cannabis Movement; Harm Reduction Movement; and NGO-led Advocacy. Collectively, these four units form a comprehensive picture of the civil society-driven drug policy reform efforts in Brazil in the past four decades. The thesis develops an original analytical framework to assess the pathways leading to varied outcomes among the four units. Employing a combination of social movement theory and comparative historical analysis, I explain how certain characteristics of social movements, as well as the political scenario in which they operate, generate different forms of impactful failure. From a structural point of view, this investigation improves our understanding of continuity and change within such institutions as prohibition. The findings show that the extant literature on Latin American social movements requires revision, in order to better understand novel forms of contentious politics in the region. Based on the theory of the regulatory state, I propose and develop a new category of Latin American social movement, which I term regulatory contention. In regulatory contention, social movements make primarily rules-based, rather than redistributive, claims. This, in turn, has effects on important factors such as movement strategy, internal organisation, constituency-building and, not least, outcomes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reassessing New Labour's Political Economy: A study of housing and regional economic policy
    O'Shea, Jerry
    This thesis is a study of housing policy and regional economic policy under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, which uses interviews, archives, and public documents to explore the spatial dimension within New Labour’s wider political economy. It focusses particularly on the work of John Prescott’s Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)—which became the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (2001-2) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2002-6)—and represents the first serious attempt to assess Prescott’s substantive impact on policymaking. The thesis argues that key New Labour figures thought about their political economic project as being more statist, interventionist, and Keynesian than political scientists or political economy ‘Anglo-liberal growth model’ scholars have contested. Support is lent to Jim Tomlinson and Ben Clift’s ‘New Keynesian’ description of New Labour’s broad political economic project. However, I push back against Tomlinson’s argument that delivering economic support for struggling regional economies was not deliberate or even articulated by New Labour. Rather, I demonstrate that John Prescott (1999) considered his super-departments, the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, “very important economic department[s] […] massive deliverer[s], particularly when we have decided public expenditure is there to uphold the economy in the traditional Keynesian way”. Prescott used these departments to run a regionally selective economic strategy that enacted policies and realised institutions that Prescott had designed in 1982 as part of Labour’s ‘Alternative Economic Strategy’. Specifically, analysis of case studies such as the Regional Development Agencies and the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders shows that these institutions were designed to provide swift intervention in both the supply and demand side of regional economies, while bypassing the complex and electorally sensitive issue of local government governance and spending. In addition, the findings demonstrate that for Brown and Balls, this regional economic policy part formed an important theoretical part of their ‘constrained discretion’ macroeconomic policy. Interviews, archival analysis, and lesser studied command papers and grey literature analysis reveal that Brown and Balls endorsed Prescott’s regional economic project as the regional component of the state’s arsenal in operating a discretionary monetary, fiscal, and interventionist policy. This policy, I argue, was explicitly intended to reduce rising regional inequalities and shelter the UK economy from the dangers of the vicissitudes of global financial markets and the “straitjacket” of the European Monetary Union and the EU’s regional policy.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Standing Up for the Nations? Devolution and the Changing Dynamics of Territorial Representation in the UK House of Commons, 1992-2019
    Sheldon, Jack
    This thesis investigates how MPs go about representing the United Kingdom’s component territorial units in the House of Commons. More specifically, it examines how national and regional interests are fed into parliamentary proceedings, how this varies across different territorial, political and institutional contexts, and how the role of the sub-state territorial MP has evolved since the introduction of devolution in the late 1990s. Before this project there had been no substantial study of how the UK’s component territorial units are represented at Westminster for over 40 years. This is despite transformative changes to the constitutional and political environments in which MPs with seats in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales operate. By transferring key policy responsibilities away from the centre, devolution raised questions about the roles of MPs from the affected areas. Political divergence between the different parts of the UK has subsequently become more pronounced, and over the last decade the future of the domestic Union has become an increasingly salient issue. A mixed-methods approach is taken, combining analysis of 6,001 parliamentary contributions with 23 interviews. It is found that MPs with constituencies in the devolved areas focus heavily on matters specific to their territorial units, and increasingly so since 1992–97. These MPs have adapted their territorially-focused roles to the changed institutional environment, for instance through positioning themselves as champions and critics of the devolved executives and legislatures. This sort of behaviour was especially widespread during the period of intense parliamentary debate about Brexit from 2016–19, although evidence of sub-state territorial representation having influenced the course of these events is limited primarily to second order issues. English MPs are also found to engage in territorial representation of areas larger than constituencies, specifically in relation to counties. However, this is a far more prominent feature of the behaviour of MPs with seats in Cornwall compared to those with seats in Yorkshire. The trends that have been identified speak to a political sphere in the UK that is increasingly fragmented along territorial lines. These findings carry significant implications for academic literatures on parliament and territorial politics in the UK, and for our broader understanding of the UK political system. The approach and findings also have the potential to inform future research on representation of territorial units by members of legislatures in other multi-level political systems.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Subjects of Care: Ethics, Education, Extremism
    Bastani, Niyousha
    This dissertation questions a popular logic that takes the cultivation of “better thinking” as the path toward more caring and ethical political engagement. I study this logic by looking to globally pervasive educational and psychological approaches to counter-extremism, which target Muslims especially as knowing in dangerous ways. Counter-extremism in the UK throws into focus common beliefs about education, psychological well-being, and care. I argue that the latter beliefs co-constitute a widespread racialising ethic of “taking care of” the cognition of Others so that they become suitable, fully human subjects. The dissertation therefore asks: How do dominant beliefs about education, psychology, and care shape counter-extremism? What are the conditions of possibility for the emergence and dominance of these beliefs? How do these beliefs racialise some as less human Others on the basis of “cognitive development”, and what does this process reveal about dominant modes of racialisation more broadly? Pursuing these questions, I elucidate the dominant genre of being human that is secured by counter-extremism and the terms through which it produces its Other. I draw on ethnographic consideration of an extremism prevention “lab” (Chapter 2), historical investigation of the conditions of possibility for the emergence of this genre of being (Chapter 3), and ethnographic engagement with the everyday reproduction of this genre and resistance to it in UK higher education today (Chapters 4 and 5). My intervention deepens understanding of anti-Muslim racism. By pointing to counter-extremism’s framework of care, I challenge the consensus that anti-Muslim racism primarily works through an ethic of fear. I also draw attention away from the exceptionality of counter-terrorism’s production of Otherness by revealing the norms of psychology and education that enable it. In short, this dissertation illuminates how the common association of supposedly superior cognition with ethical superiority constitutes today’s dominant genre of being human.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Youth Politics between Informality and State Violence in Nairobi, Kenya.
    Sittoni, Rachel
    This thesis explores the complex politics of youth in an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, as they negotiate between a globalized neoliberal economy and a very localized regime of state violence carried out by police. Situating youth politics in Kenya’s post-independence political history, it reveals that today’s regime of police violence against youth is in fact deeply constitutive of the Kenyan political fabric; moreover, every post-independence political transition has cemented ideas of youth subordination as central in managing youth politics, and national politics more broadly. In today’s configuration, a product of the neoliberal age, the economy and state violence combine not only to solidify Kenyan ideas of youth subordination, but also to create situations of looping violence that include ongoing police violence. To sustain such violence, the state embeds itself in the informal and instrumentalises existing gerontocratic power structures to gain tenuous forms of social support for its violence within the very communities targeted by that violence. In response, as the violence becomes entwined with youth livelihoods, youth draw on those very systems of violence to negotiate life in Mathare and to create subtle counter-systems and imaginaries, both social and political.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Jeremy Bentham's Theory of Representative Democracy
    Vitali, James
    There is a renewed interest in the concept of representation and its relationship to democracy, both in political theory and the history of political thought. Yet, despite the fact that he is one of the few thinkers to theorise representative democracy as his preferred form of government explicitly, Jeremy Bentham is conspicuously absent from current scholarly work in these fields. This thesis contends that Bentham put forward an original, realist theory of representative democracy that ought to be taken seriously. Chapter I sets out the primary historiographical frames through which Bentham has been viewed, and why these have led to a negative appraisal of his political thought. Chapter II suggests why this negative assessment is unjustified and argues that the key to understanding the sophistication of his theory of representative democracy is to grasp his notion of the people as a “useful fictitious entity” – a theoretical perspective that set out in his mind both the limits of popular politics and the primary challenges to be addressed in political theory. Chapter III considers Bentham’s understanding of representative government as a positive good and a consequence of the nature of the people, but as pathologically liable to tend towards tyranny in and of itself. Chapter IV sets out why Bentham believed popular self-rule was an unrealistic, defective, and anarchical solution to the pathological tendencies of representation. Chapter V outlines Bentham’s theory of realist democracy, based on a dualistic relationship between the people and their rulers, popular sovereignty and the continuous influence of public opinion, and designed to mitigate the twin evils of anarchy and tyranny. Chapter VI considers the contemporary relevance of Bentham’s theory of representative democracy, particularly to the school of political realism. A concluding Chapter places Bentham in several scholarly debates taking place today around the history of political thought, the nature of political realism, and the concept of representation.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Lithuanian Emigrants and Home–Country Elections 2014–2016
    Maminskaite, Monika
    Whilst a growing, even if still relatively scarce, body of empirical political science literature has been addressing the increasingly important topic of voting from abroad, studies of external voters from Central and Eastern European countries of origin lag behind considerably. The highly relevant case of Lithuania has to date not been studied altogether. This dissertation addresses this overlooked research topic using original survey and interview data. The topic is approached through three research questions: Which Lithuanian emigrants are aware of and interested in home–country politics? Which Lithuanian emigrants vote and which abstain from home–country elections, and why? How do Lithuanian emigrants make their political choices? This thesis helps us start painting a clearer picture of the external Lithuanian electorate. Among other findings, it suggests Lithuanian emigrants to be most interested in and aware of home–country politics if they intend to return there one day, notwithstanding how long they have been residing abroad. Possible reasons for this finding are offered. Interest, in turn, is suggested by the quantitative data to be, overall, a better predictor of participating in home–country elections than knowledge. There is also evidence for effects of voting costs, political trust and perceived efficacy. In accordance with the Michigan school, emigrants appear to be making at least some of their political choices ideologically, whereas socio–economic factors underscored by the Columbia school are of a lesser bearing at individual level, even if at macro level Lithuanian external voters’ choices tend to correspond to the ‘high socio–economic status’ internal electorate. Support for rational choice theory of voting is also discussed. In addition to offering the first–ever account of the Lithuanian case, this thesis contributes to the global scholarship on emigrant voting. Its findings are discussed within a broader context of micro– and macro–level research on external voting, and within growing work on transnational political engagement and inherent ‘resocialisation’ and ‘complementarity’ perspectives.
  • ItemOpen Access
    'The False Song of Globalism': Anti-Globalist Politics and Ideology in the United States from 1945 to 2000
    Smith, Daniel
    The emergence of right-wing populism in transatlantic democracies is one of the most significant political trends of the 21st century. When then-candidate Trump denounced globalist policies and elites in his 2016 Presidential campaign, he introduced the American public to a new term: ‘globalism’. Since then, anti-globalist populism has become the definitive political ideology of the Republican Party and right-wing movements around the world. Where did anti-globalist populism come from? To answer this question, this dissertation explores the previously neglected history of anti-globalist ideology and politics in the United States from 1945 to 2000. I argue that the historical emergence of anti-globalism as a distinctive ideology in the late 20th century U.S. can be attributed to the long-term efforts of two far-right groups: the John Birch Society and the Liberty Lobby. These organizations were established in the late 1950s by far-right social movement leaders seeking to promote a far-right conspiracist ideology oriented against Communism and internationalism. During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, these organizations institutionalized into the ideological and organizational hubs of the American far right. After multiple decades, these groups produced a ‘conspiracist canon’ of anti-globalist books and newsletters that were among the most widely read and circulated texts on the American Right. By the 1990s, many conservatives were already thinking through the ideological lens of anti-globalism. During the 1990s, a backlash against globalization took place on the American Right. Republican politicians, anti-government militias, and violent extremists were all united by their shared opposition to an ambiguous ‘New World Order’. I argue that anti-globalist ideology pre existed the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. By tracing the history of anti-globalism before globalization, this dissertation offers a novel argument about the origins of contemporary populism and the history of the American Right.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Living or Leaving History: Temporality, Identity and Great Power Aspiration
    Liang, Ce
    Rising great powers have always been a central focus of world politics. One reason is that the emergence of a new powerful state implies uncertainty and may pose a threat to the world order, as the anxious discourse around China’s rise implies. More recent studies have begun to investigate the ideational attributes of rising powers. However, there lacks a systematic theorization of how great- power aspiration emerges, institutionalizes, and evolves. Motivated by this puzzle, I seek to broaden the analytical scope of rising great-power behavior by engaging with the notion of re-emergence which is a narrative about China’s great power aspiration. To achieve this aim, I developed a theoretical explanation for re-emerging narratives and argued that the aspiration of re-emergence is a result of temporal national identity construction. My empirical investigation shows that the aspiration of re-emergence is incidental for materially rising powers. Unlike China, re-emerging aspiration is absent in the state narratives of the US and Japan because they approached their national pasts and future in a forward-looking rather than backward-looking way. Realist IR scholars and historians are interested in the structural similarities and differences between the US, China, and Japan because they help us better predict state behavior and the future order in the Asia-Pacific. By systematically explaining the temporal identity constructions of China, the US, and Japan, my analysis incorporates historical insights into a structural explanation that complements the materialist arguments for rising powers. This study demonstrates how materially powerful states construct their national pasts and future matters because emphasizing the importance of a nation’s glorious past makes declining unacceptable, and thus, creates an enduring source of great power aspiration.
  • ItemControlled Access
    The Politics of Sovereignty: Segmentation and Stratification in International Order Today
    Prum, Marie
    How does sovereignty order international politics? This question has inspired a rich body of literature unpacking the concept. Nevertheless, sovereignty remains taken for granted in large parts of the discipline of International Relations (IR) and, as a result, its role in ordering international politics is either ignored or misunderstood. This holds particularly true in areas of politics that are considered to challenge the foundations of the modern state system, such as international environmental politics or the politics of outer space exploration. How does sovereignty shape international efforts to combat climate change? Likewise, how does the conquest of extraterrestrial space impact the use of sovereignty on Earth? Starting from the premise that sovereignty is a complex, historically contingent and socially constructed concept, this thesis answers these questions by liberating the study of sovereignty from its traditional confines. The first part of the thesis focuses on establishing sovereignty studies as a distinct subfield of IR and identifies its strengths and weaknesses. I argue that understanding the role of sovereignty in ordering international politics requires us to re-think deep-seated assumptions about sovereignty in IR literature, most importantly the association of sovereignty with equality. In order to do so, I highlight the neglected role of sovereignty in producing and maintaining hierarchies among states. This is articulated in a theoretical framework combining the logics of segmentation and stratification to explain the dual role of sovereignty in ordering international politics. This theoretical framework is operationalised in the second part of the thesis, which focuses on international environmental politics and the politics of outer space. Individual chapters highlight the workings of sovereign segmentation and stratification in both domains. I challenge the unproductive repetition of debates on the resilience versus the obsolescence of sovereignty and outline an alternative way forward by showing how a sophisticated understanding of sovereignty can help us understand both change and continuity even in areas of politics that seem to stretch the modern state system to its limits. Finally, the thesis argues that the insulation of sovereignty studies is symptomatic of a wider problem experienced by IR scholarship: its relative failure to export new insights outwards. In particular, I explore the relationship between IR and International Law and the ways in which the study of sovereignty within both disciplines illustrates the asymmetric nature of existing interdisciplinary dialogue. Taken together these three sections demonstrate the importance, for IR and other disciplines, of understanding the complex ways in which sovereignty both shapes, and is shaped by, the world we live in today.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Fragile Normativity and the Politics of the Social Sciences, c. 1940-1975
    Howard, Mary
    This dissertation reconstructs the interactions between German-speaking émigré intellectuals and social scientific debates in the mid-century United States. While classical interpretations often assume émigré thought was founded upon a humanistic rejection of American social scientific method, this dissertation argues that skepticism about the social sciences was far more complicated and wide-ranging from the 1940s to 1970s. Many figures, not just émigrés, began to question the methodological and epistemological premises of the social sciences. Above all, intellectuals wondered how and to what degree one could make normative claims while maintaining an objective conception of social scientific inquiry. These questions were strikingly similar to those asked by prior generations in fin de siècle Germany. In Chapter One, I trace back this intellectual lineage back, examining how Max Weber entered many neo-Kantian concerns about the social sciences into his writings in the 1910s and 1920s. The following chapters then pick up in the 1940s, and move chronologically into the 1970s, showing hidden continuities between these earlier Weberian problems and those in the mid-century. Chapter Two looks at how Alfred Schutz, Eric Voegelin, and Hans Kelsen laced together their philosophies of the social sciences with American democratic theory. Chapter Three follows Theodor Adorno back to the Bundesrepublik, examining how his reception ofWeber coincided with his thinking on values and political ethics. Chapter Four centers around Hannah Arendt, the Committee on Social Thought, and the role of intellectual responsibility during Vietnam. Chapter Five looks at Herbert Marcuse’s critique of social science alongside the New Left’s rejection of prescriptive political philosophy. In studying the historical and institutional dimensions of these mid-century debates about values and the social sciences, I contend that we can further clarify the constraints placed upon political thought. Extensive doubts about expertise, objectivity, and normativity led many thinkers to shy away from blueprints, favoring flexible modes of threading together politics and ethics. This produced a distinct modality of political thinking undergirded by what I call fragile normativity, a vision of political thought that rejected strong normative claims, as well as social scientific neutrality. This dissertation therefore contributes more broadly to the history of mid- century political thought, arguing for understanding the manifold shapes in which political thinking could appear—the numerous countercurrents running against, or between, both value- free social science and prescriptive political philosophy.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Finite Earth Visionaries: Economics, Time and Environmental Crisis in the United States, c.1945-1980
    Van Hensbergen, Hester
    The thesis traces the emergence of a discourse of ecological political economy in America during the postwar decades. It explores the work of three economists, Kenneth Boulding, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, and Herman Daly, and one political theorist, William Ophuls, as they attempted to come to terms with the prospects for human life on a finite earth. Each of them developed their own unique vision of a desirable future for political economy. In the 1950s and 1960s, Boulding integrated entropy – the physical law of dissipation and decay – into his understanding of economic development. He envisaged a spaceship earth economy as an alternative to dominant discourses of militaristic modernization and as a model for global social science to guide the human future. By the start of the 1970s, the mounting environmental crisis made the problem of reconciling human industrial society with the limits of the earth’s ecosystems a more widespread concern. At Yale University, a multidisciplinary group including Daly and Ophuls developed the model of a steady state society, seeking escape from the encroaching tide of environmental apocalypse. For Ophuls, the steady state marked the end of American liberal democracy, while for Daly, it offered a possible salvation for existing market and democratic institutions. Georgescu-Roegen, strictly opposed to the steady state metaphor, and concerned to make sense of entropic economic development, envisaged a wholly different future: a distant condition of global, egalitarian agrarianism. While these theorists framed their work as responses to ecological necessity, they each brought their own political commitments and desires to bear on their visions of the future. In the early 1970s, the urgency of creating a collective research agenda was clear and led them to articulate a shared vision of oikonomic globalism, but the project soon collapsed as the incompatibilities of the theorists’ different visions became clear.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Prestige and the Restraint of Power in International Relations
    Brake, John
    Scholars of international politics have long linked states’ quest for prestige with assertions of national power: diplomatic saber-rattling, scrambles for colonies, arms races, and outright war. This thesis charts a sharply divergent, previously neglected, path to international prestige—foreign policy restraint. The argument in brief is that states seek prestige by conspicuously holding back from the use of power and thereby spurning opportunities for national gain. Departing from the prevailing conception of restraint as merely a kind of inaction, this thesis reframes restraint as a performance. Performances of restraint are constituted intersubjectively when a state is perceived to refrain from pursuing its interests to the extent that its power allows. Forswearing the acquisition of nuclear weapons, liquidating profitable military interventions, renouncing territorial claims, de-escalating diplomatic crises, curbing carbon emissions—each of these policies of self-limitation, and many more besides, may constitute performative restraint if recognized as volitional (emanating from the actor’s will) and supererogatory (exceeding the actor’s normative obligations). To secure others’ recognition of their performances, states appeal to existing normative standards of restraint in international society. By conspicuously exceeding those standards, states express both (1) their material capacity—the abundance of underlying resources that equips them to voluntarily forgo self- interested behavior; and (2) their moral character—the exemplary virtues that underlie their prosocial choices. When states believe that they can credibly perform restraint, triggering these signaling mechanisms, they may “hold back” from acquisitive or assertive policies in order to “rise above” others in terms of prestige. Notably, “holding back to rise above” appeals to states as an expressive strategy exactly because it is materially costly and socially non-obligatory. This thesis draws upon insights into the performative nature of restraint from cognate disciplines and everyday life, integrating them into an overarching account with reference to Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical model of social action. It illustrates how “holding back to rise above” applies in four diverse historical cases: (1) the United States’ Good Neighbor Policy of non-intervention in Latin America (1933-40); (2) Germany’s post-reunification foreign policy, culminating with its non-participation in the US “Coalition of the Willing” for the Iraq War (1991-2005); (3) India’s decades of spurning of nuclear weapons and championing non-proliferation (1964-98); and (4) China’s restraint of its carbon emissions in the context of global climate change mitigation (1992-2017). In short, the thesis contributes to a wide range of debates in IR over the sources of international prestige and the reasons for states’ costly compliance with social standards.
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    Framing Power: Discursive Contestations and the Influence of External Actors in the African Union’s Key Issue Areas
    Musabende, Alice
    Alice Musabende Framing Power: Discursive Contestations and the Influence of External Actors in the African Union’s Key Issue Areas. ABSTRACT This dissertation investigates the dynamics of the power relationship between the African Union and non-African external actors. For many authors, this relationship is understood in terms of a donor-recipient dynamic: the AU is in a permanent and continuous negotiation with more powerful extra-regional actors over the funding of its activities across a broad range of policies and political programmes. As such, external actors are seen as having influence over processes and outcomes. This conventional view is however increasingly contested: a growing number of scholars argue that while AU actors may have limited control over the financing, they are still able to exert significant influence and lead on issues. This thesis reconsiders how to theorize this relationship, and asks the following question: How should the influence of external actors in key issue areas of the African Union be characterised? The thesis analyses the dynamics of interactions between external actors and AU actors in three issue areas: peace and security; migration; and human rights. It does so in a manner which enhances our understanding of external involvement beyond donor dependency, by focusing on discourse, framing and the role of ideas. In the AU issue area of peace and security, the dissertation analyses military intervention and civilian protection; in the migration issue area the analysis focuses on the treatment of migrants; and in the issue area of human rights, the dissertation analyses the rights of sexual minorities. This thesis argues that an important element in the relationship between the AU and external actors is the discursive struggle over the ways in which contemporary African issues should be framed. A focus on discursive contestations therefore helps us better understand African and non-African agency within the African Union. Thus, this dissertation expands our understanding of ideational and discursive interactions between African and non-African actors in the AU, as well as the nature of the contestations and inevitable frictions which arise from them.
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    Workforce Transition Systems and Job Quality in Times of Occupational Structural Change: the Case of Displaced Manufacturing Workers in 21st Century Germany and the United States.
    Akkilic, Esma
    Deepening deindustrialisation owing to increased globalisation and technological change has destroyed millions of manufacturing jobs in advanced capitalist economies. Despite the sizeable impacts of these shifts, we know little about the specific 21st century job quality trajectories of a ‘most vulnerable’ group of displaced manufacturing workers, whose skillsets have been deemed largely obsolete during these processes. Moreover, the theoretical comparative political economy literature is divided on the question of how advanced economies have managed disruptions in a contemporary context. Specifically, there is disagreement as to whether labour market institutions have converged on a similar market-liberal model in the face of intensifying global competition and race-to-the-bottom pressures, or whether they have continued on their resiliently dissimilar institutional pathways. This thesis fills this gap by systematically tracing job quality trajectories of displaced manufacturing workers in two countries that have undergone deindustrialisation but are ordinarily regarded archetypically ‘opposite’ models in the comparative capitalism and welfare state models literature: the United States and Germany. Invoking the recent social investment literature, the thesis puts forth the concept of the Workforce Transition System (WTS), capturing the policies and institutions most essential to mitigating job dislocations in times of occupational structural change and skill obsolescence. Analysing survey data from 1998–2018, the thesis finds chiefly similar and negative post-displacement job quality trajectories for the same group of displaced US and German manufacturing workers. Next, systematic review of the two countries’ WTS’s and of two ‘best-case scenario’ bespoke labour market instruments (US Trade Adjustment Assistance and German Transfergesellschaften), drawing on primary in- depth elite interviews and process-tracing of impact evaluations and programme reviews, reveals that these outcomes are also mirrored in notable institutional similarities in the purportedly distinct political economies. Commonalities between the two economies have become more pronounced over time, especially through visible convergence on ‘workfare’ policies. However, in other realms, both countries have always been more similar than perceived in the established literature, lending support to the continuing dissimilarity argument. The thesis demonstrates that legacies of a vast ‘hidden welfare state’ in the US and the continued centrality of businesses in both countries’ adult lifelong learning and skills’ training systems further elucidate the analogously unfavourable worker job quality trajectories recorded. Overall, this indicates a mounting need for holistic government re-training and up- skilling initiatives to safeguard job quality during disruptive labour market junctures, which seem to have been insufficient in both economies.