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 Degree Discipline: Political Science
 Degree Level: Master's
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes

Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes

Date: August 2015
Creator: Gorescu, Gabriela
Description: In presenting their correspondence, I highlight the means in which Hobbes is able to divorce nature and politics in his philosophy. This is done by bringing to light Hobbes’s agreement with Descartes’s deceiving God argument. First, I demonstrate Hobbes’s hidden agreement with it by analyzing his objection to Descartes’s first Meditation. Second, I show that Hobbes and Descartes both retreat into consciousness in order to deal with the possibility of deception on the behalf of God. Third, I trace Hobbes’s rational justification for entertaining that very possibility. Fourth, I bring forward Hobbes’s certain principle, that God is incomprehensible. Fifth, I demonstrate Hobbes’s rationalization for rendering nature incomprehensible in turn. From this key insight, the differences between the two philosophers stand out more. Whereas Descartes rids himself of the possibility of a deceiving God, Hobbes does not. Sixth, I show that Descartes needs to rid himself of that possibility in order to have a basis for science, Hobbes’s science is such that he does not need to rid himself of that possibility. My investigation ends by considering both Hobbes’s and Descartes’s stance on nature, in relation to politics. I find that Hobbes’s principle is much more practical that Descartes’s principle. Hobbes’s ...
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Plebiscites

Plebiscites

Date: May 2015
Creator: Fonseca Acosta, Rosa
Description: This study investigates factors that can influence leaders to use plebiscites to settle territorial claims. A quick survey of the plebiscite literature shows that the method has been extensively mentioned in the legal, historical, and philosophical fields (mostly through case studies) but less so in political science. This thesis is the first attempt, to my knowledge, to quantitatively investigate the different factors that can influence a leader to use a plebiscite. Using the latest version of the ICOW dataset, I test political and economic theories to try to explain the variation in the decision outcome. This study includes the following variables: identity ties, economic strength, an interaction between identity ties and economic strength, internal constraints (regime type and violent interaction), and external constraints (membership to international organizations). The results suggest that identity ties offer the strongest explanation as to why leaders settle a territorial claim with a plebiscite. Plebiscites have been rarely used to settle territorial claims, but when used they tend to settle cases permanently. This thesis serves as an attempt to revive a method that while difficult to agree upon, can be successful in resolving territorial claims permanently, and more importantly peacefully.
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Why Be Friends? Amicus Curiae Briefs in State Courts of Last Resort

Why Be Friends? Amicus Curiae Briefs in State Courts of Last Resort

Date: December 2014
Creator: Perkins, Jared D.
Description: While there has been a substantial body of research on interest group activity in U.S. federal courts, there has been comparatively little analysis of interest group engagement with state courts. Given that state courts adjudicate the vast majority of cases in the American legal system and very few cases are appealed to the Supreme Court, understanding why organized interests participate in these courts is of great importance. The present study analyzes interest group involvement as amicus curiae in all state courts of last resort from 1995-1999 to examine what factors motivate organized interests to turn to the courts. The results indicate that interest groups are primarily motivated by their policy goals in deciding which cases to file amicus briefs in, but that they are limited in their ability to file by institutional constraints unique to state courts of last resort. This research provides insight into interest group behavior, state courts and the role organized interests play in influencing legal outcomes in the American states.
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The First Days of Spring: An Analysis of the International Treatment of Homosexuality

The First Days of Spring: An Analysis of the International Treatment of Homosexuality

Date: December 2013
Creator: Galvan, Michael R.
Description: In recent history, the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons have been in constant fluctuation. Many states criminalize homosexual behavior while other states legally recognize same-sex marriages and same-sex adoptions. There are also irregular patterns where LGBT interest groups form across the globe. With this research project, I begin to explain why these discrepancies in the treatment of homosexuality and the formation of LGBT interest groups occur. I develop a theory that the most obvious contrast across the globe occurs when analyzing the treatment of homosexuals in OECD member states versus non-OECD countries. OECD nations tend to see the gay community struggle for more advanced civil rights and government protections, while non-OECD states have to worry about fundamental human rights to life and liberty. I find that this specific dichotomization is what causes the irregular LGBT interest group formation pattern across the globe; non-OECD nations tend to have fewer LGBT interest groups than their OECD counterparts. When looking at why non-OECD nations and OECD nations suppress the rights of their gay citizens, I find that religion plays a critical role in the suppression of the gay community. In this analysis, I measure religion several different ways, including ...
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Gender, Peace and Democracy

Gender, Peace and Democracy

Date: August 2013
Creator: Kelly, Eliza G.
Description: In the last several decades there has been immense international emphasis and promotion of gender equality and female participation in the social, economic, and political spheres of society. There has also been an increase in civil conflict recurrence in countries as well as countries transitioning to democracy. This study explores the effect of female participation on peace and democracy. In the first part, I focus on the effect female participation has on decreasing the risk of peace failing in post-civil conflict countries. In many countries, women are marginalized and conflict further marginalizes them. However, I argue that the post-conflict environment allows women to escape this cycle of marginalization and their inclusion and participation is very crucial to sustaining peace. I find that female political and social female decreases the risk of peace failing in post-civil war countries. In the second part, I focus on the effect female participation has on decreasing the risk of authoritarian reversals in countries that have transitioned to and toward democracy. Previous empirical research has focused on women’s role in transitions to democracy, factors that contribute to the survival of democracy, as well as how women’s participation affects the stability country. I argue that women’s social, ...
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Inside the Third Sector: a Gongo Level Analysis of Chinese Civil Society

Inside the Third Sector: a Gongo Level Analysis of Chinese Civil Society

Date: August 2013
Creator: Kirby, John Brandon
Description: This thesis investigates a new variant of the relationship between society and the states: Government-Owned (or Organized) Non-Governmental Organizations (GONGOs). Past research has typically understood civil society as a means to explain the orientation of groups of citizens towards collective outcomes. For decades, NGOs have been a key component of this relationship between political actors but the systematic study of GONGOs has been widely neglected by research. I used an original dataset collected from an NGO directory developed by the China Development Brief (CDB) that provides information on the functional areas of NGOs, their sources of funding and various organizational facts. These data were used to code a series of concepts that will serve as the basis for an initial systematic study into GONGOs and their relationship with the Chinese government. My theoretical expectations are that the primary predictors of an NGO’s autonomy relate to their functional areas of operation, their age and other geographical factors. I find preliminary support for the effect of an NGO’s age on its autonomy from the state, as well as initial support for the dynamic nature of the relationship between NGOs and the state. I close with a discussion of these findings as well ...
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The Issue with Latino Voter Turnout: How Does the Issue of Immigration Affect Latino Voter Turnout?

The Issue with Latino Voter Turnout: How Does the Issue of Immigration Affect Latino Voter Turnout?

Date: August 2013
Creator: Robert, John M.
Description: In this study, I investigate how the issue of immigration affects Latino voter turnout. I hypothesize that U.S. Latino citizens who view immigration as highly important and helpful to the United States will be more likely to turn out to vote in midterm and presidential elections. In addition to a contextual analysis on elections in Arizona and California, I perform a probit regression analysis on survey data from Pew Hispanic's 2004 National Survey of Latinos on Politics and Civic Participation. The results are mixed with respect to the initial expectations. While respondents who view immigration as important and helpful are more likely to turn out than those who view immigration as important and hurtful, the results suggest that respondents who find immigration as unimportant may not be less likely to turn out. Further, there are some differences between Latino subgroups, although these differences are minor. Ultimately, the hypotheses presented in this study find moderate support.
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No Greater Error: Negotiated Agreements and Their Effects on the Conclusion of Interstate War

No Greater Error: Negotiated Agreements and Their Effects on the Conclusion of Interstate War

Date: December 2012
Creator: Kendall, David F.
Description: Negotiated settlements, formal treaties to unilateral cease-fires, are often accepted to be the preferable method to end war. When negotiated agreements are used in the normal business of international politics they can be potentially helpful devices; however, when they are relied upon for a nation's security or war prevention and conclusion they can prove disastrous. It is the presence of force variables, and not the formality of an agreement which effectively concludes a war. I recategorize success of an agreement to not only mean failure of a return to war, but also whether the tenets of an agreement are actually followed. I utilize a modified version of Fortna's conflict dataset and run three separate logit analyses to test the effectiveness of settlements in a medium n quantitative analysis. If politicians and policy makers realize that it is not treaties that establish peace but the costs of war and military might then perhaps the world will be a more peaceful place.
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Federalism and Civil Conflict: the Missing Link?

Federalism and Civil Conflict: the Missing Link?

Date: August 2012
Creator: Lancaster, Ross
Description: This thesis investigates federalism and civil conflict. Past work linking federalism and civil conflict has investigated the factors that pacify or aggravate conflict, but most such studies have examined the effect of decentralization on conflict onset, as opposed to the form federalism takes (such as congruent vs incongruent forms, for example). I collect data on civil conflict, the institutional characteristics of federalist states and fiscal decentralization. My theoretical expectations are that federations who treat federal subjects differently than others, most commonly in an ethnically based manner, are likely to experience greater levels of conflict incidence and more severe conflict. I find support for these expectations, suggesting more ethnically based federations are a detriment to peace preservation. I close with case studies that outline three different paths federations have taken with regards to their federal subunits.
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Explanation for the Variation of Women’s Rights Among Moderate Muslim Countries

Explanation for the Variation of Women’s Rights Among Moderate Muslim Countries

Date: May 2012
Creator: Sortor, Angela E.
Description: Due to the actions of radicals and extremists, many in the West have come to view Islam as a religion of gender inequality that perpetuates the severe oppression of women. However, there is actually great variation in women’s rights across Muslim countries. This thesis presents a theoretical framework seeking to explain this variation, by examining differences in family law. The theory supposes that variation can be explained by the strategic actions of political leaders. From this theory, I hypothesize that the variations in women’s rights come from the variation in family law, which in large, are due to the existence of groups threatening the power of the political leaders, and the leader’s subsequent understanding of this threat. Using a most similar systems research design, I examine 4 moderate Muslim countries, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. Through case study research, I find limited support for the above hypothesis.
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Newspaper Ownership Structure and the Quality of Local Political News Coverage

Newspaper Ownership Structure and the Quality of Local Political News Coverage

Date: May 2012
Creator: Clark, Karla Christine Marie
Description: This research sought to ascertain how newspaper ownership structures influence the quality of local political news coverage. More specifically, do independently owned newspapers tend to produce larger quantities of quality local political reporting than do corporately owned and publicly traded newspapers? In the thesis, I develop an understanding of "quality" news coverage as being coverage that is thematic, or providing interpretive analysis and supplying contextual information. Additionally, I tackle the question of quality news coverage from three angles: whether or not independently owned newspapers provide more quality local political news stories per edition than corporately owned papers; whether or not the percentage of quality local political news stories of total political news stories within an edition is higher for independently owned or corporately owned newspapers; and whether or not the percentage of total political news stories of total news stories is higher for independently owned or corporately owned newspapers.
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Electoral System Effects On Anti-muslim Sentiments In Western Europe

Electoral System Effects On Anti-muslim Sentiments In Western Europe

Date: December 2011
Creator: Saleemi, Asmara
Description: The purpose of this thesis is to answer the question, why is there a variation in anti-Muslim sentiments across Western Europe? There is existing literature on individual and country-level variable s to explain why prejudice exists, but this research examines the impact of political institutions on anti-Muslim sentiments. Based on new institutionalism theory, electoral systems can shape public attitudes by providing far-right parties a platform to put their concerns on the agenda, and these parties promote anti-Muslim popular sentiments. The results of this analysis support this argument in that the larger the average district magnitude in a country, the greater the anti-Muslim sentiments. The findings also show that an increase in far-right party vote-share also covaries with an increase in anti-Muslim sentiments.
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Europeanization and the Rise of Extremist Parties

Europeanization and the Rise of Extremist Parties

Date: December 2011
Creator: Dague, Jennifer Lee
Description: The research question addressed by this study is: what is the relationship between Europeanization and the rise of extremist parties? In particular I examine the impact of Europeanization on the rise of extreme right parties in Europe from 1984 to 2006. Europeanization in this paper is defined as a process whereby the transformation of governance at the European level and European integration as a whole has caused distinctive changes in domestic politics. This process of Europeanization is one part of a structure of opportunities for extremist parties (which also include social, economic, and electoral factors). Although this study finds that Europeanization does not have a statistically significant effect it is still an important factor when examining domestic political phenomenon in Europe.
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Beggars, Brides, and Bards: The Political Philosophy of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Beggars, Brides, and Bards: The Political Philosophy of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Date: August 2011
Creator: Murphy, Stephanie Miranda
Description: To do justice to Shakespeare’s comprehensive moral and political thought this paper seeks to discover what we can learn from the political philosophy of his largely neglected comedy, Taming of the Shrew. Not only does this endeavor provide a valuable forgotten link within the critical analyses of the theorists, but it also corrects the various misinterpretations of the play among contemporary critics. I argue that the play surveys various key themes that are rooted in classical political philosophy – such as education, the problems of anger, and the dynamic between nature and convention – and takes into consideration how they apply to modern man. Shakespeare borrows Plato’s idea that eroticism is central to education and explicitly references Ovid’s love books to reexamine our conceptions about one’s formation of character, the proper standards for judging the ideal mate, and the effects of these issues on the stability of the community. I also submit an innovative explanation of the relation between the induction and the main plot. Taken together they exhibit a critique of the role of the poet and his art in modern civil society.
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The Enemy of My Enemy: International Alliances Against Transnational Terrorist Organizations

The Enemy of My Enemy: International Alliances Against Transnational Terrorist Organizations

Date: December 2010
Creator: Berthume, Joshua Guy
Description: A dearth of pre-existing research in the field prompted this thesis on whether traditional econometric analyses of war deterrent alliances are applicable to modern alliances for counter terror purposes. Apparent foundational and contextual differences between the two types of alliances and the costs and benefits member nations derive from each lead the author to theorize that factors contributing to the formation of each alliance are fundamentally similar. Multiple types of statistical models are used to measure variables from the Correlates of War and Polity datasets combined with custom variables in a new dataset concerning major transnational terrorist attacks and the resultant alliances in testing the effect of traditionally contributing formation factors on alliances against terrorism. The results indicate that some contributing factors are similar, extant analysis tools have utility and that further investigation is justified.
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Schoolyard Politics: Ethics and Language at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Schoolyard Politics: Ethics and Language at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Date: December 2010
Creator: Hatcher, Robert
Description: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been both contentious and successful. By examining the ICTY from a Levinasian ethical standpoint, we might be able to understand how the court uses language to enforce ethical and moral standards upon post-war societies. Using linguistic methods of analysis combined with traditional data about the ICTY, I empirically examine the court using ordinary least squares (OLS) in order to show the impact that language has upon the court's decision making process. I hypothesize that the court is an ethical entity, and therefore we should not see any evidence of bias against Serbs and that language will provide a robust view of the court as an ethical mechanism.
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The Dichotomy of Congressional Approval

The Dichotomy of Congressional Approval

Date: August 2010
Creator: Moti, Danish Saleem
Description: This thesis seeks to understand how political awareness affects what information one uses to indicate their approval or disapproval of Congress and its members. More concisely, do more and less aware individuals rely on the same pieces of political information to mold their opinions of Congress? The second question of concern is what role does media consumption play in informing survey respondents about Congress. Third, I consider how survey respondents use cues like the condition of the economy and presidential job performance to help formulate their opinion of Congress Finally, by applying the Congressional approval literature to incumbent level approval, I seek to advance the theory and literature on what motivates the approval of incumbents.
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Discovery of Resources and Conflict in the Interstate System, 1816-2001

Discovery of Resources and Conflict in the Interstate System, 1816-2001

Date: May 2010
Creator: Clark, Bradley
Description: This study tests a theory detailing the increased likelihood of conflict following an initial resource discovery in the discovering nation and its region. A survey of prior literature shows a multitude of prior research concerning resources and nations' willingness to initiate conflict over those resources, but this prior research lacks any study concerning the effects of the discovery of resources on interstate conflict. The theory discusses the increased likelihood of conflict in the discovering nation as both target and initiator. It further looks at the increased chance of conflict in the discoverer's region due to security dilemmas and proxy wars. The results show strong support for the theory, suggesting nations making new resource discoveries must take extra care to avoid conflict.
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Do Different Political Regime Types Use Foreign Aid Differently to Improve Human Development?

Do Different Political Regime Types Use Foreign Aid Differently to Improve Human Development?

Date: December 2009
Creator: Phan, Thu Anh
Description: Existing literature on foreign aid does not indicate what type of political regime is best to achieve human development outcomes or use aid funds more efficiently. I contend that political leaders of different regime types have personal incentives that motivate them to utilize foreign aid to reflect their interests in providing more or less basic social services for their citizens. Using a data set of 126 aid-recipient countries between the years of 1990 and 2007, I employ fixed effects estimation to test the model. The overall results of this research indicate that foreign aid and democratic institutionalization have a positive effect on total enrollment in primary education, while political regime types show little difference from one another in providing public health and education for their citizens.
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State Level Causes of Terrorism: Limits on Political Expression

State Level Causes of Terrorism: Limits on Political Expression

Date: December 2009
Creator: Case, Erik S.
Description: Expanding on prior research into the state level causes of terrorism, I argue that state repression and limited state capacity reduces opportunities for non-violent political expression and increases the utility of terrorism. I also argue that economic freedom can is a form of political expression that can dissipate political grievances. While previous authors analyzed some of these variables separately using data on transnational attacks, I created a complete model incorporating the three categories of variables and tested my hypotheses using data that includes both domestic and transnational attacks. I use regression analysis for hypothesis testing and find support for the three primary contentions of this thesis and conclude that limits on political expression increase the likelihood nations will experienced increased levels of terrorism.
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An Informational Theory of Midterm Elections: The Impact of Iraq War Deaths on the 2006 Election.

An Informational Theory of Midterm Elections: The Impact of Iraq War Deaths on the 2006 Election.

Date: August 2009
Creator: Kahanek, Jared E.
Description: There has been much scholarly attention directed at the Iraq war's role in determining voter choice. I attempt to extend that research into voter turnout to determine what role the Iraq war played in 2006 voter turnout. This paper argues that turnout at the state level could be explained by the number of US deaths each state had sustained from the Iraq occupation at the time of the election. A theory of voter activation based on information availability is put forth to explain the relationship between national events and voter turnout wherein national events like the Iraq war will raise the amount of information voters have at their disposal, which will increase the likelihood of their voting on election day. Regression analysis comparing the turnout rates of the 50 states to their casualties in Iraq revealed no relationship between the two factors, indicating that something else is responsible for the high turnout of the midterm.
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Saying Sorry: Conflict Atrocity and Political Apology

Saying Sorry: Conflict Atrocity and Political Apology

Date: August 2009
Creator: Chalkley, Marie Leone
Description: This study proposes and tests a comprehensive theory detailing the motivations behind political apologies. A brief survey of the literature shows a field rich in case studies but lacking in rigorous scientific analysis. The theory presented proposes a three-level examination of political apology at the state, dyadic, and system levels and incorporates the effects of culture, conflict, and the nature of the international system into analysis. This study makes use of a new dataset recording the occurrence of political apologies for interstate conflict atrocities from 1900 to 2006. The results suggest that the existing literature, while rich, does not account for all the motivating factors behind apology. The results also confirm that political apology is a creation of the modern era and a result of the liberalization of the international system. In conclusion, paths for future research are suggested and the advent of a global "age of apology" is confirmed.
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Judicial Creativity or Justice Being Served?  A Look at the Use of Joint Criminal Enterprise in the ICTY Prosecution

Judicial Creativity or Justice Being Served? A Look at the Use of Joint Criminal Enterprise in the ICTY Prosecution

Date: December 2008
Creator: Williams, Meagan
Description: The development of joint criminal enterprise at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been controversial since the doctrine was first created in 1997. For the judgments rendered by the ICTY to be perceived as legitimate, the doctrines used to bring charges against defendants must also be perceived as legitimate. The purpose of my thesis is to study the application of joint criminal enterprise at the ICTY and examine how the doctrine has influenced the length of sentences given. I find that joint criminal enterprise may be influencing longer sentences and the three categories of joint criminal enterprise are being used differently on defendants of different power levels. By empirically analyzing the patterns developing at the ICTY, I can see how joint criminal enterprise is influencing sentencing and the fairness of trials.
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Louder and Stronger? The Role of Signaling and Receptivity in Democratic Breakdowns and Their Impact Upon Neighboring Regimes

Louder and Stronger? The Role of Signaling and Receptivity in Democratic Breakdowns and Their Impact Upon Neighboring Regimes

Date: December 2008
Creator: Ludwig, Tommy
Description: The purpose of this thesis is to establish what specific forces influence whether or not a democratic setback within one nation will diffuse to peripheral states. Past studies devoted to this topic have largely suggested that diffusion essentially functions like a contagious disease, where the likelihood of "infection" is primarily based upon the level of interaction between states. This thesis however proposes that the interaction of the signal generated from a democratic state's collapse and the receptiveness of neighboring nations to this signal ultimately determines when and where diffusion will occur. In order to test the validity of this thesis' claims, the level of democracy within the neighboring states of all failed democratic governments spanning the years 1842-2002 are examined during the first years following such system breakdowns within a large-N quantitative research design. Ultimately this study leads to the conclusion that the interaction of signals and receptivity play a major role in the diffusion of democratic setbacks.
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