School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Response to COVID-19: An Australian behaviour support service perspective
    Hagiliassis, N ; Di Marco, M ; Koritsas, S (Bild, 2020-09-01)
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    Refining national greenhouse gas inventories
    Yona, L ; Cashore, B ; Jackson, RB ; Ometto, J ; Bradford, MA (SPRINGER, 2020-01-24)
    The importance of greenhouse gas inventories cannot be overstated: the process of producing inventories informs strategies that governments will use to meet emissions reduction targets. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leads an effort to develop and refine internationally agreed upon methodologies for calculating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and removals. We argue that these guidelines are not equipped to handle the task of developing national greenhouse gas inventories for most countries. Inventory guidelines are vital to implementing climate action, and we highlight opportunities to improve their timeliness and accuracy. Such reforms should provide the means to better understand and advance the progress countries are making toward their Paris commitments. Now is the time to consider challenges posed by the current process to develop the guidelines, and to avail the policy community of recent major advances in quantitative and expert synthesis to overhaul the process and thereby better equip multi-national efforts to limit climate change.
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    'The struggle isn't over': Shifting aid paradigms and redefining 'development' in eastern Myanmar
    Decobert, A (Elsevier, 2020-03-01)
    In recent years, international optimism about Myanmar’s fledgling democratization and peace process has contributed to a shift by many Western donors towards the ‘normalization’ of aid relations with the former pariah state, and from more ‘humanitarian’ to more ‘development’-style approaches. Yet these shifts are not necessarily seen as progress by members of community-based health organizations, which operate under para-state governance systems in the borderlands. Instead, members of these organizations often describe the emerging ‘development’ paradigm in Myanmar as doing more harm than good. This article draws on long-term ethnographic research conducted over a decade-long period with ethnic minority health workers operating in Myanmar’s eastern borderlands. It examines the meanings of ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘development’ – and of the ‘humanitarian-development nexus’ – from the perspective of local-level actors whose voices are still too often ignored in debates about international aid programs and their implementation. It finds that the reactions of the health workers to shifting aid paradigms and programs highlight what is at stake in an evolving politics of aid. These reactions are linked with a politics of suffering; with an ongoing struggle for recognition of non-state governance systems; and with impacts that international aid economies have in designating different socio-political actors as legitimate, and in territorializing border spaces in different ways, at different times. The health workers’ attempts to advance an alternative model for ‘development’ in their communities in turn illustrate how different actors, who are brought together in an unequal ‘aid encounter’, are involved in an ongoing struggle over the legitimacy of competing systems of government and over the territorialization of border areas. Finally, the article contends that, without understanding local perspectives and engaging critically with the political implications of evolving aid interventions, international aid programs risk impacting negatively on conflict dynamics in contested and transitional states.
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    Health as a bridge to peace in Myanmar's Kayin State: 'working encounters' for community development
    Decobert, A (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2020-10-15)
    This article explores ‘health as a bridge to peace’ in Myanmar’s Kayin State. It focuses on an Auxiliary Midwife training programme, which has created partnerships between actors historically divided by decades-long conflict. Drawing on ethnographic research, the article highlights the agency of community-level service providers, who are often overlooked in conventional approaches to peacebuilding. It demonstrates that community health workers are challenging top-down liberal approaches to peacebuilding and advancing an alternative approach to development and peace in their areas–one that emphasises systemic change and recognition of non-state governance systems. The shared lexicon and standardised practices of healthcare create ‘working encounters’–encounters that ‘work’, because they enable actors historically divided by conflict to carve out an ‘apolitical’ space in an otherwise highly politicised context, while still allowing for different perspectives and agendas. These ‘working encounters’ in turn facilitate the development of understanding, trust and collaboration across conflict divides. Yet community-level actors face structural limitations, which are often underestimated by proponents of ‘health as a bridge to peace’. Nevertheless, this case study highlights significant contributions that community-level ‘working encounters’ can make to wider peace processes, as well as the need for hybrid and emancipatory practices of peace formation.
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    The Imagined Immunities of Defense Nationalism
    Gillespie, L (WILEY, 2020-04-05)
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    Pre-election polling and the democratic veneer in a hybrid regime
    Conduit, D ; Akbarzadeh, S (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2020-02-14)
    Hybrid regimes have consolidated on the back of techniques that balance strong regime structures with tokenistic pluralism. This democratic veneer is performed through pseudo markers of democracy such as weak political parties and semi-competitive elections, which aim to ratify regime legitimacy. How public opinion polling fits into authoritarian landscapes, however, is an aspect of hybrid regimes that remains less understood. Scholars of public opinion research in democracies believe that polling can contribute to constructing the world around it, prompting this paper to examine whether public opinion research–and pre-election polling in particular–contributes to the democratic veneer in hybrid regimes by constructing a perception of participatory democracy. It examines the nature and quality of pre-election polling undertaken in authoritarian Iran in the lead-up to the 2017 presidential election in order to make preliminary observations about the potential impact of polling on a regime’s pluralist credentials. It finds that while most polls were poor quality, no polling in an authoritarian environment is benign because the very process of asking citizens their opinions and publicizing responses creates an impression that individual opinions count, in an environment where the opposite is often true.
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    Authoritarian power in space, time and exile
    Conduit, D (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2020-10-01)
    Autocrats have been shown to exert influence over their populations and dissidents abroad through strategies such as ‘transnational repression’ or ‘diaspora engagement’ policies, demonstrating that authoritarian power carries across borders. But existing work on extra-territorial authoritarian power has tended to view state power as a stand-alone variable that endows regimes with a relatively free hand to make their own diaspora policies. This is despite that studies of authoritarianism inside states, including those observing the ‘dynamics of contention,’ have consistently highlighted the relational and contingent nature of authoritarian power. This paper asks whether the iterative dynamics of contention that describe regime-opposition relations within state boundaries endure between authoritarian regimes and their exiles? It brings together the literatures on extra-territorial authoritarian power and the topology of power with that on contentious politics in authoritarian regimes to undertake a case study on the relationship between the Syrian government and the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. It finds that extra-territorial authoritarian is relational and contingent on the political context and its recipients, and shares many of the characteristics of authoritarian power inside state boundaries.
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    Workfare redux? Pandemic unemployment, labour activation and the lessons of post-crisis welfare reform in Ireland
    McGann, M ; Murphy, MP ; Whelan, N (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2020-09-18)
    Purpose This paper addresses the labour market impacts of Covid-19, the necessity of active labour policy reform in response to this pandemic unemployment crisis and what trajectory this reform is likely to take as countries shift attention from emergency income supports to stimulating employment recovery. Design/methodology/approach The study draws on Ireland’s experience, as an illustrative case. This is motivated by the scale of Covid-related unemployment in Ireland, which is partly a function of strict lockdown measures but also the policy choices made in relation to the architecture of income supports. Also, Ireland was one of the countries most impacted by the Great Recession leading it to introduce sweeping reforms of its active labour policy architecture. Findings The analysis shows that the Covid unemployment crisis has far exceeded that of the last financial and banking crisis in Ireland. Moreover, Covid has also exposed the fragility of Ireland's recovery from the Great Recession and the fault-lines of poor public services, which intensify precarity in the context of low-paid employment growth precipitated by workfare policies implemented since 2010. While these policies had some short-term success in reducing the numbers on the Live Register, many cohorts were left behind by the reforms and these employment gains have now been almost entirely eroded. Originality/value The lessons from Ireland's experience of post-crisis activation reform speak to the challenges countries now face in adapting their welfare systems to facilitate a post-Covid recovery, and the risks of returning to “workfare” as usual.
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    What is ‘publicly available data’? Exploring blurred public-private boundaries and ethical practices through a case study on Instagram
    Ravn, S ; Barnwell, A ; Barbosa Neves, B (SAGE Publications (UK and US), 2020)
    This article adds to the literature on ethics in digital research by problematizing simple understandings of what constitutes “publicly available data,” thereby complicating common “consent waiver” approaches. Based on our recent study of representations of family life on Instagram, a platform with a distinct visual premise, we discuss the ethical challenges we encountered and our practices for moving forward. We ground this in Lauren Berlant’s concept of “intimate publics” to conceptualize the different understandings of “publics” that appear to be at play. We make the case for a more reflexive approach to social media research ethics that builds on the socio-techno-ethical affordances of the platform to address difficult questions about how to determine social media users’ diverse, and sometimes contradictory, understandings of what is “public.”