School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Help is close at hand? Proximity and the effectiveness of peacekeepers
    Goldring, E ; Hendricks, M (SAGE Publications, 2018-10)
    How do the national origins of peacekeepers influence peacekeeping operations’ success? We argue that peacekeeping operations better protect civilians when a higher percentage of peacekeepers come from geographically proximate countries. These peacekeepers have been exposed to similar societal and cultural norms and are more invested in preventing conflict diffusion. Peacekeepers from proximate countries can better collect and analyze intelligence, are more effective at separating combatants, and are therefore more successful at protecting civilians. In making this argument, we also challenge the theory that diversity in a peacekeeping operation matters. We find support for both our mechanisms and show that the importance of diversity may have been overstated. Where a peacekeeping operation is present in civil conflicts, if a quarter of its personnel come from proximate countries, then all things being equal, it would completely prevent civilians dying. The results show policymakers the importance of recruiting peacekeepers from countries near to conflicts.
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    Fighting for a name on the ballot: constituency-level analysis of nomination violence in Zambia
    Goldring, E ; Wahman, M (Taylor and Francis Group, 2018-08-18)
    What factors increase the likelihood of nomination violence? Nomination violence can be an expression of both horizontal conflict, between local political elites, and vertical conflict, between national and local elites. We theorize about factors that may increase the risks of vertical and horizontal conflict and leverage a unique dataset of constituency-level nomination violence obtained from surveys with 464 domestic election observers active in the 2016 Zambian general election. Our statistical analyses show constituencies with an incumbent standing for re-election were more likely to experience nomination violence. Also, contrary to previous research on general election violence, we theorize and find that more rural constituencies had a higher propensity for nomination violence than urban constituencies. Our findings highlight the importance of intra-party power relations and the bargaining relationship between the centre and periphery.
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    Democracy in Reverse: The 2016 General Election in Zambia
    Goldring, E ; Wahman, M (SAGE Publications, 2016-12)
    On 11 August 2016, Zambia held elections for the presidency, National Assembly, local councillors, and mayors. Concurrently, a referendum was held on whether to enhance the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Zambia. The elections were significant for several reasons: It was the first contest under a newly amended Constitution, which introduced important changes to the electoral framework. It also marked a break with Zambia's positive historical record of arranging generally peaceful elections. Moreover, the election featured an electoral playing field that was notably tilted in favour of the incumbent party. Ultimately, the incumbent president, Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front, edged out opposition challenger Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development. The election was controversial and the opposition mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to the final results. The 2016 elections represent a reversal in the quality of Zambian democracy and raise questions about the country's prospects for democratic consolidation.
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    IAEA Non-Compliance Reporting and the Iran Case
    Findlay, T (Arms Control Association, 2016-01)
    Agreement by Iran in Vienna on 14 July 2015 to roll back and constrain its nuclear program handed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) its greatest non-compliance reporting challenge yet. As the multilateral organization charged with determining compliance with nuclear safeguards agreements, the IAEA has had experience with eight significant non-compliance cases, including that of Iran prior to this latest agreement. But none matches the procedural complexity, technical intricacy and political sensitivity of the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action concluded by Iran with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. To fulfil its role the IAEA’s Secretariat and Director General, Yukiya Amano, will need to draw on the Agency’s extensive experience with past non-compliance cases, exploit the latest verification technology promised by the agreement, marshal its finest report-crafting expertise and steer an impartial, balanced, sensitive path through treacherous political waters.
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    Sustaining the Nuclear Watchdog with a Grand Budgetary Bargain
    FINDLAY, T (Taylor and Francis Group, 2016-05-11)
    On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake struck the east coast of Japan. Fifty-six minutes later the seismic safety experts at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that the event, and its accompanying tsunami, could damage nuclear power plants in the region. The Agency’s Incident and Emergency Centre was activated, declared to be in “full response mode” and staffed continuously 24 hours a day for the following 54 days. Approximately 200 agency personnel were diverted from their normal activities to the Fukushima disaster response, keeping in touch with Japanese authorities, advising concerned member states and coordinating offers of assistance. Fukushima-related activities ended up consuming all unencumbered funding in the agency’s safety and security budget for 2012 as well as requiring a one-off transfer of funds from other major programs. This incident illustrates graphically the hand-to-mouth existence of what is popularly known as the “nuclear watchdog.”
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    Privatizing Political Authority: Cybersecurity, Public-Private Partnerships, and the Reproduction of Liberal Political Order
    McCarthy, DR (COGITATIO PRESS, 2018)
    Cybersecurity sits at the intersection of public security concerns about critical infrastructure protection and private security concerns around the protection of property rights and civil liberties. Public-private partnerships have been embraced as the best way to meet the challenge of cybersecurity, enabling cooperation between private and public sectors to meet shared challenges. While the cybersecurity literature has focused on the practical dilemmas of providing a public good, it has been less effective in reflecting on the role of cybersecurity in the broader constitution of political order. Unpacking three accepted conceptual divisions between public and private, state and market, and the political and economic, it is possible to locate how this set of theoretical assumptions shortcut reflection on these larger issues. While public-private partnerships overstep boundaries between public authority and private right, in doing so they reconstitute these divisions at another level in the organization of political economy of liberal democratic societies.
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    Sex in prisoner power relations: Attitudes and practices in a Ukrainian correctional colony for men
    Symkovych, A (Wiley, 2017-01-01)
    Abstract Most research on prison sex has originated in the global West, often employing quantitative methodology. Building on a semi‐ethnographic study of a Ukrainian prison, this article explores how prisoners and officers perceive prisoner sex. Rape was not reported in this prison, despite the relatively young prison population. I argue that the informal prisoner power structure of the prison underworld diminishes sexual abuse. Thus, contrary to much of the literature, masculinity, homophobia, and informal prisoner hierarchies can equally instigate and restrain prison violence and sexual victimisation.
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    The disposition of the destitute
    Arnold, M ; Nansen, B ; Kohn, T ; Gibbs, M ; Harewood Gould, H (Council to Homeless Persons, 2019)
    The final disposition is a term used by people in the funeral industry to refer to the burial or cremation of a dead person. The final disposition is a profoundly important event, not simply a pragmatic or material process, and its significance is expressed through ritualised performances. The disposition and its rituals are shared and communal, involving ceremonies attended by the deceased’s family, friends, and community, whilst less indirectly the disposition is shared by wider social norms and values around the proper treatment of the deceased body. Although the disposition is common to us all, then, it is also a personalised event in which the particularity of the life lived is recognised. Similarly, the place of interment, whether body or ashes, is named and marked to recognise the individual life of the deceased. Places of interment are thus not only identified, but are also accessible to family, friends and community, for the purpose of ongoing visitation and remembrance.
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    ‘Death by Twitter’: Understanding false death announcements on social media and the performance of platform cultural capital
    Nansen, B ; O'Donnell, D ; Arnold, M ; Kohn, T ; Gibbs, M (University of Illinois Libraries, 2019)
    In this paper, we analyse false death announcements of public figures on social media and public responses to them. The analysis draws from a range of public sources to collect and categorise the volume of false death announcements on Twitter and undertakes a case study analysis of representative examples. We classify false death announcements according to five overarching types: accidental; misreported; misunderstood; hacked; and hoaxed. We identify patterns of user responses, which cycle through the sharing of the news, to personal grief, to a sense of uncertainty or disbelief. But we also identify more critical and cultural responses to such death announcements in relation to misinformation and the quality of digital news, or cultures of hoax and disinformation on social media. Here we see the performance of online identity through a form that we describe, following Bourdieu as ‘platform cultural capital’.
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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.