School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    A field experiment on community policing and police legitimacy.
    Peyton, K ; Sierra-Arévalo, M ; Rand, DG (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019-10-01)
    Despite decades of declining crime rates, longstanding tensions between police and the public continue to frustrate the formation of cooperative relationships necessary for the function of the police and the provision of public safety. In response, policy makers continue to promote community-oriented policing (COP) and its emphasis on positive, nonenforcement contact with the public as an effective strategy for enhancing public trust and police legitimacy. Prior research designs, however, have not leveraged the random assignment of police-public contact to identify the causal effect of such interactions on individual-level attitudes toward the police. Therefore, the question remains: Do positive, nonenforcement interactions with uniformed patrol officers actually cause meaningful improvements in attitudes toward the police? Here, we report on a randomized field experiment conducted in New Haven, CT, that sheds light on this question and identifies the individual-level consequences of positive, nonenforcement contact between police and the public. Findings indicate that a single instance of positive contact with a uniformed police officer can substantially improve public attitudes toward police, including legitimacy and willingness to cooperate. These effects persisted for up to 21 d and were not limited to individuals inclined to trust and cooperate with the police prior to the intervention. This study demonstrates that positive nonenforcement contact can improve public attitudes toward police and suggests that police departments would benefit from an increased focus on strategies that promote positive police-public interactions.
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    Sending a message: The Australian's reporting of media policy
    Young, S (SAGE, 2015-11-01)
    As Australia's only national general newspaper, with an elite ‘political class’ audience, The Australian has been at the forefront of newspaper proprietors' attempts to influence media policy. This article analyses The Australian's reporting of two key media policy proposals affecting newspapers: the establishment of the Australian Press Council in 1975–76 and the Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulation (the Finkelstein inquiry) in 2012–13. While the events were 36 years apart, the paper's stance and rhetoric were remarkably similar. However, its approach to journalism and to providing information to its audience changed in several important respects.
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    News Corporation Tabloids and Press Photography During the 2013 Australian Federal Election
    Young, S (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2017)
    Academic attention has often been focused upon analysing words in journalism texts and, consequently, the impact of photographs in newspaper journalism has tended to be overlooked. This is problematic because images are a key method by which news is selected, framed and communicated, particularly in tabloid newspapers. This article focuses upon criticisms that tabloids from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation Australia were biased—against the Kevin Rudd-led Labor government and towards Tony Abbott’s conservative Liberal–National Coalition—during the 2013 federal election in Australia. Through an analysis of front pages, this article explores how photographs contributed to reporting the campaign and expressing the strong political preferences of News Corporation. The article concludes that Murdoch’s Australian tabloids shifted towards a British-style overt partisanship in their reporting of the 2013 election. Images were at the forefront of that shift as they are a powerful tool for conveying messages of newspaper support and opposition, and occupy a central place in how political issues, events and individuals are represented and understood.
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    Press Photography and Visual Censorship in the Australian Parliament
    Young, S (WILEY, 2018-03-01)
    Still photography is an important medium for visually communicating — and scrutinising — the power of elected representatives. However, it has been severely restricted by parliaments. Surprisingly, the photographs taken by press photographers have been viewed as a larger threat to parliamentary dignity than other seemingly more powerful media, such as television. This article analyses parliaments’ “extraordinary sensitivity to photography” by conducting a comparative, historical examination of press photography in five national parliaments — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The article discusses historical milestones in media access for each of these parliaments, but focuses particularly upon the unusual case of the Australian Parliament and its rules on still photography. The author draws upon interviews conducted with Australian press photographers, as well as an analysis of primary material — including parliamentary guidelines on media access, photographs, newspaper reports, parliamentary debates, inquiry reports and submissions.
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    [Review of the book Is the American Century Over? by J.S. Nye Jr.]
    Lynch, TJ (Cambridge University Press, 2016-08-01)
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    Explaining provincial government health expenditures in China: evidence from panel data 2007–2013
    Tan, X (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-07-03)
    Background: Since the mid-2000s, the Chinese government has increased government health expenditures (GHE) significantly to address widespread complaints about health delivery. This study examines the real per capita provincial GHE over the period 2007–2013 to identify the determinants of provincial GHE during the most recent round of health reforms. Methods: A range of theoretically grounded socioeconomic indicators were collected from the China Statistical Yearbooks and then factored to reduce the number of highly correlated indicators. Maps were drawn to visualise the spatial patterns of key variables and fixed-effects regressions were run to test relationships between the real per capita provincial GHE and various variables. GMM estimators were used to address endogeneity problems. Results: Key determinants of provincial GHE in China include the real per capita budgetary deficits, economy, and industrial structure (two factors composed from an exploratory factor analysis). Increasing 1000 yuan real per capita budgetary deficits was expected to increase the real per capita GHE by 34 yuan. A one-unit increase in the economy was associated with a 249 yuan higher real per capita GHE, while a one-unit increase in the industrial structure was expected to decrease the real per capita GHE by 33 yuan. Conclusions: The findings of this study reveal a worrisome picture: potential inefficiencies of the central government’s funding efforts and the overwhelming importance of economic development for GHE.
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    The Impact of Jihadist Foreign Fighters on Indigenous Secular-Nationalist Causes: Contrasting Chechnya and Syria
    Rich, B ; Conduit, D (TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC, 2015-02-01)
    Jihadist foreign fighters have become common in civil conflicts in Muslim countries. While research exists on the impact they have upon returning home, less attention has been given to their influence on the opposition cause that they mobilize in support of. This article looks at the impact that jihadist foreign fighters on the Chechen and Syrian resistance causes, evaluating their influence on oppositional cohesion and ideology, domestic and international perceptions of the movements, and on governmental narratives regarding the conflicts the foreign fighters engage in. It is concluded that foreign fighters have overwhelmingly damaged the Chechen and Syrian opposition movements, making the likelihood of opposition success more remote.
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    Foreign Fighters, Human Rights and Self-Determination in Syria and Iraq: Decoding the Humanitarian Impact of Foreign Fighters in Practice
    Conduit, D ; Rich, B (Brill, 2016-01-01)
    Foreign fighters have become inextricably linked to perceptions of human rights abuses in the Syria and Iraq wars, particularly since the Islamic State group founded its caliphate. This paper explores the human rights impact of foreign fighters in the conflicts, noting that while foreign fighters have been involved in grave human rights abuses, such behavior has not been uniform and must be differentiated by group and role. In this regard, it is argued that while foreign fighters have overwhelmingly had a negative impact on most human rights indicators, fighters in some groups have positively impacted the Right to Self-Determination. Further, the paper notes that while foreign fighters have been large-scale perpetrators of human rights abuses, one must also consider the propaganda value of such acts because foreign fighter-led violence is more newsworthy globally than local-led violence.
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    The syrian muslim brotherhood and the spectacle of hama
    Conduit, D (Middle East Institute, 2016-03-01)
    The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has been a key diplomatic player in the current Syrian uprising; a role that stands in stark contrast to its reputation among Western authors. This article argues that this chasm between the Brotherhood’s practice and reputation is a legacy of the 1982 Hama massacre. The slaughter has become a “spectacle,” as per the theory of Guy Debord, leading Hama to take on an exaggerated significance in portrayals of the Brotherhood.
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    Political Participation of Islamists in Syria: Examining the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood's Mid-century Democratic Experiment
    Conduit, D (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-01-02)
    Accompanying increased participation by Islamists in parliaments across the Middle East in the past two decades, there continues to be a debate as to the sincerity of their commitment to democratic values and systems. Scholars have traditionally pursued the issue through the inclusion/moderation model, or through concepts such as ‘post-Islamism’. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, however, represents a rare case for the study of Islam and democracy because its democratic engagement preceded its later period of violent and ideological radicalism by decades. The group contested elections within the first two years of its formation, meaning that its positions on democracy were ‘moderated’ neither by pluralist political pressures nor by the failure of a previous non-democratic ideology. This article therefore examines the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood's performance in Syria's political processes between 1947 and 1963 as a case study of Islamism and democracy, evaluating substantive indicators of democratic engagement, such as electoral practices, pact formation, policy adaptation and approaches to executive government. Using recent interviews with Brotherhood members, memoirs, archival material and newspapers, the article argues that, during this time, while the Brotherhood was not the most effective political actor, it did demonstrate a reasonably diligent commitment to democracy.