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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Political Science
 Decade: 2010-2019
Ethnic Politics in New States: Russian and Serbian Minorities After Secession

Ethnic Politics in New States: Russian and Serbian Minorities After Secession

Date: May 2013
Creator: Batta, Anna
Description: New states are often born in a volatile environment, in which the survival of the new country is uncertain. While analysis of the nationalizing new governments exists, research focuses mainly on domestic politics. I argue that the treatment of minority that remains in the new states is a function of the interaction of the dual threat posed by the minority itself domestically on one hand and the international threat coming from the mother state to protect its kin abroad on the other hand. Specifically, I argue that there is a curvilinear relationship between domestic and international threat and the extent of discrimination against the politically relevant minority. Most discrimination takes place when domestic and international threats are moderate because in this case there is a balance of power between the government, the minority, and the rump state. With time-series-cross-sectional (TSCS) data analysis this dissertation systematically tests the treatment of Russian and Serbian minorities in all post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav states between 1991 and 2006 and finds statistically significant results for the curvilinear hypothesis. Territorial concentration of the minority and the ratio of national capabilities between the mother and the seceded states prove to be especially important predictors of minority treatment. In ...
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Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations

Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations

Date: December 2014
Creator: McCallister, Gerald L. Jr.
Description: Research on ethnicity and conflict treats the concept of ethnicity as defining the actors in these conflicts, whereas research on the construction and maintenance of ethnic identity explores why ethnicity unifies individuals into a single social group. What happens when this unifying concept is divided between two enemy countries? How does this situation influence peace settlements over territorial issues, armed conflict, and economic relations between these countries? To answer these questions, I create a continuous measure of ethnic similarity between rivals. I find that ethnic similarity can facilitate cooperation and exacerbate conflictual interactions between rivals, but governments will seek to limit interactions with their rival when the cross border ethnic groups are minorities. In addition, I create categorical predictors of ethnic similarity, which reveal nuances in these relationships. Specifically, rivalries sharing a pan-ethnic identity are more likely to engage in conflict regardless of actual ethnic similarity, and dyads with a majority in one country sharing ethnicity with a minority in another country are less likely to fight once in a state of rivalry. This is because a quid pro quo exists between these rivals where one rival can reduce oppression of the minority in exchange for the other rival not ...
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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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Examining the Effect of Security Environment on U.S. Unilateral Military Intervention in Civil Conflicts

Examining the Effect of Security Environment on U.S. Unilateral Military Intervention in Civil Conflicts

Date: August 2011
Creator: Aubone, Amber
Description: This study focuses on how perceived security environment affect U.S. unilateral, military intervention in civil conflicts, using the concept of Bayesian learning to illustrate how threat perceptions are formed, how they change, and how they affect the U.S. decision to intervene militarily in civil conflicts. I assess the validity of two primary hypotheses: (1) the U.S. is more likely to intervene in civil conflicts with connections to a threatening actor or ideology; and (2) the U.S. is more likely to intervene in civil conflicts for humanitarian motives in a less threatening security context. To test these hypotheses, I compare U.S. military intervention in three temporal contexts reflecting more threatening security contexts (Cold War and post-9/11) and less threatening security contexts (1992-2001). Results of logit regression analysis reveal that a conflict’s connection to a threatening actor or ideology is the most statistically and substantively significant determinant of U.S. military intervention in civil conflicts, both in more and less threatening security contexts. They also indicate that humanitarian motives are not a statistically significant determinant of U.S. military intervention in civil conflicts, even in a more benign security environment. These findings imply that U.S. unilateral military intervention is reserved for more direct national ...
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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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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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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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Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

Date: December 2015
Creator: Marshall, Michael C.
Description: This dissertation examines the emergence, survival, performance, and national impact of rebel parties following negotiated settlements. Building on a growing literature examining the environmental and organizational factors affecting insurgent-to-party transformations, this dissertation asks why some insurgent organizations thrive as political parties in post-conflict environments and others fail to make such a transformation. I propose that foreign actors play a pivotal role in the formation of what I call “protégé parties,” which are better equipped to make the transformation into political parties than other rebel groups. Further, different kinds of sponsors have varying effects on transformation. Empirical analysis supports these propositions, finding that protégé parties with authoritarian sponsorship are better equipped to develop than those backed by democracies or no one.
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Friendship, Politics, and the Good in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Friendship, Politics, and the Good in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

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Date: May 2015
Creator: Pascarella, John Antonio
Description: In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX provide A philosophic examination of friendship. While these Books initially appear to be non sequiturs in the inquiry, a closer examination of the questions raised by the preceding Books and consideration of the discussion of friendship's position between two accounts of pleasure in Books VII and X indicate friendship's central role in the Ethics. In friendship, Aristotle finds a uniquely human capacity that helps readers understand the good is distinct from pleasure by leading them to think seriously about what they can hold in common with their friends throughout their lives without changing who they are. What emerges from Aristotle's account of friendship is a nuanced portrait of human nature that recognizes the authoritative place of the intellect in human beings and how its ability to think about an end and hold its thinking in relation to that end depends upon whether it orders or is ordered by pleasures and pains. Aristotle lays the groundwork for this conclusion throughout the Ethics by gradually disclosing pleasures and pains are not caused solely by things we feel through the senses, but by reasoned arguments and ideas as well. Through this insight, we can begin ...
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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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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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Increasing the Players: Expanding the Bilateral Relationship of Conflict Management

Increasing the Players: Expanding the Bilateral Relationship of Conflict Management

Date: May 2014
Creator: Stull, Emily A.
Description: This research seeks to explore the behavior of international and regional organizations within conflict management. Previous research on conflict management primarily examines UN peacekeeping as the primary actor and lumps all non-UN actors into a single category. I disaggregate this category, examining how international and regional organizations interact when deciding to establish a peace mission, coordinate a peace mission with multiple organizations, and finally, how this interaction affects the success of peace missions. I propose a collective action theoretical framework in which organizations would rather another actor undertake the burden and costs of implementing a peace mission. I find the United Nations is motivated to overcome the collective action problem through an increase in the severity of the conflict. Regional organizations are motivated to establish a peace mission as the economic and political salience of the conflict increases, increasing the possibility of the regional organization acquiring club goods for its member states. The presence of a regional hegemon within a regional organization also significantly increases the likelihood of an organization both establishing a peace mission and taking on the primary role when coordinating a joint mission. I argue this is because a regional hegemon allows the organization to more easily ...
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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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International Learning and the Diffusion of Civil Conflict

International Learning and the Diffusion of Civil Conflict

Date: August 2014
Creator: Linebarger, Christopher
Description: Why does civil conflict spread from country to country? Existing research relies primarily on explanations of rebel mobilization tied to geographic proximity to explain this phenomenon. However, this approach is unable to explain why civil conflict appears to spread across great geographic distances, and also neglects the government’s role in conflict. To explain this phenomenon, this dissertation formulates an informational theory in which individuals contemplating rebellion against their government, or “proto-rebels,” observe the success and failure of rebels throughout the international system. In doing so, proto-rebels and governments learn whether rebellion will be fruitful, which is then manifested in the timing of rebellion and repression. The core of the dissertation is composed of three essays. The first exhorts scholars of the international spread of civil violence to directly measure proto-rebel mobilization. I show that such mobilization is associated with conflicts across the entire international system, while the escalation to actual armed conflict is associated with regional conflicts. The second chapter theorizes that proto-rebels learn from successful rebellions across the international system. This relationship applies globally, although it is attenuated by cultural and regime-type similarity. Finally, the third chapter theorizes that governments are aware of this process and engage in repression ...
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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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Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

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Date: December 2015
Creator: Drummond, Nicholas W.
Description: It has become something of a cliché for contemporary scholars to assert that Madison turned Montesquieu on his head and thereafter give little thought to the Frenchman’s theory that republics must remain limited in territorial size. Madison did indeed present a formidable challenge to Montesquieu’s theory, but I will demonstrate in this dissertation that the authors of the Federalist Papers arrived at the extended sphere by following a theoretical pathway already cemented by the French philosopher. I will also show that Madison’s “practical sphere” ultimately concedes to Montesquieu that excessive territorial size and high levels of heterogeneity will overwhelm the citizens of a republic and enable the few to oppress the many. The importance of this dissertation is its finding that the principal mechanism devised by the Federalists for dealing with factions—the enlargement of the sphere—was crafted specifically for the purpose of moderating interests, classes, and sects within an otherwise relatively homogeneous nation. Consequently, the diverse republic that is America today may be exposed to the existential threat anticipated by Montesquieu’s theory of size—the plutocratic oppression of society by an elite class that employs the strategy of divide et impera.
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New Wine in Old Wineskins: Hobbes’s Use and Abuse of Religious Rhetoric

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Hobbes’s Use and Abuse of Religious Rhetoric

Date: December 2014
Creator: Higgins, Nicholas J
Description: Thomas Hobbes’s knowledge of religious doctrine, typology, and use religious rhetoric in his writings is often glossed over in an over-eager attempt to establish his preeminence as a founder of modern political theory and the social contract tradition. Such action, however is an injustice to Hobbes himself, who recognized that in order to establish a new, and arguably radical, political position founded upon reason and nominalist materialism he had to reform people’s understanding of religious revelation, and Christianity specifically. Rather than merely move to a new epistemological foundation, Hobbes was aware that the only way to ensure religion does become a phoenix was to examine and undermine the foundations of religious thought in its own terms. This reformation of religious language, critique of Christianity, and attempt to eliminate man’s belief in their obligation to God was done in order to promote a civil society in which religion was servant of the state. Through reforming religious language, Hobbes was able to demote religion as a worldview; removing man’s fear of the afterlife or obligation to obey God over a civil sovereign. Religious doctrine no longer was in competition with the civil state, but is transformed into a tool of the state, ...
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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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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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Not All Truth Commissions Are Alike: Understanding Their Limitations and Impact

Not All Truth Commissions Are Alike: Understanding Their Limitations and Impact

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Date: December 2014
Creator: Nichols, Angela D.
Description: This dissertation project develops a theoretical understanding of how truth commissions achieve legitimacy and thus contribute to peace and stability in the aftermath of major traumatic events (e.g. civil war, mass killings, regime changes). I identify three components of truth commission legitimacy---authority, fairness, and transparency---that facilitate beneficial outcomes for societies emerging from a period of severe human rights repression or civil war. I theorize and test how institutions with these legitimacy characteristics contribute to an increase in respect for human rights and decrease political violence in transitioning societies, thus contributing to peace and stability. In order to test the hypothesized relationships, I create a truth commission characteristic dataset that provides greater detail than existing datasets. This project is a contribution to our understanding of the relationships between human rights, institutions, conflict, and international law. It provides one explanation for the inconsistent findings of extant work concerning the impact of transitional justice, generally and truth commissions, specifically. I provide evidence that there are identifiable "best practices" that truth commissions should consider adopting. This information can assist states, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations alike in making difficult decisions regarding the transitional justice process, which is expensive and time consuming further necessitating an ...
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The Organic-Progressive Principle in the Political Thought and Internationalism of Woodrow Wilson

The Organic-Progressive Principle in the Political Thought and Internationalism of Woodrow Wilson

Date: December 2011
Creator: Flanagan, John Patrick
Description: This is an investigation of the intellectual roots of the political thought and internationalism of Woodrow Wilson, the twenty-eightieth president of the United States. Exposed to the influence of Darwin, Wilson believed that politics had to be redefined as an evolutionary process. the older mechanical understanding of politics was to be replaced with an organic understanding of political development. This allowed Wilson to synthesize a concept of politics that included elements from the Christian tradition; the English Historical School, particularly Edmund Burke; and German idealism, including G.W.F. Hegel. However, because he placed a heavy emphasis on Burke and Hegel, Wilson moved away from a natural rights based theory of politics and more towards a politics based on relativism and a transhistorical notion of rights. Wilson had important theoretical reserves about Hegel, as a result, Wilson modified Hegel’s philosophy. This modification took the form of Wilson’s organic-progressive principle. This would greatly affect Wilson’s ideas about how nations formed, developed, and related to one another. This study focuses on Wilson’s concept of spirit, his theory of history, and his idea of political leadership. the organic-progressive principle is key to understanding Wilson’s attempts to reform on both the domestic and international levels.
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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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The Political Determinants of Fdi Location in Prchina, 1997-2009: Application of a New Model to Taiwanese Fdi in Mainland China

The Political Determinants of Fdi Location in Prchina, 1997-2009: Application of a New Model to Taiwanese Fdi in Mainland China

Date: August 2012
Creator: Lu, Kelan
Description: This research seeks to identify the political determinants that account for the uneven geographical distribution of foreign direct investment (FDI) across Chinese counties. I compare the political determinants of Taiwanese FDI (TDI) and non-Taiwanese FDI site selection across counties in China. I focus on the central-local politics in China, especially the effect of county government autonomy on FDI and TDI site selection. I investigate whether the effect of county government autonomy and its interaction with TDI agglomeration varies across the three economic regions of China (i.e. eastern, central, and western regions). I argue that county government autonomy is critical to attracting inflows of FDI, and its impact is conditional on the existing level of FDI in a given county. Counties with higher autonomy are able to make greater commitments to and involvement in the market economy, have more flexibility to give preferential treatment to FDI and to improve the local investment environment. With the political burden that Taiwanese investors face from the special military and political relationship across the Strait, I argue that TDI is more sensitive to county government autonomy not only for the economic gains like other foreign investors but also for pursuing local protection against the political ...
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The Political Philosophy of Rabelais’s Pantagruel: Reconciling Thought and Action

The Political Philosophy of Rabelais’s Pantagruel: Reconciling Thought and Action

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Date: August 2015
Creator: Haglund, Timothy
Description: Political thinkers of the Renaissance, foremost among them Niccolò Machiavelli and Desiderius Erasmus, authored works commonly referred to as “mirrors of princes.” These writings described how princes should rule, and also often recommended a certain arrangement or relationship between the intellectual class and the political powers. François Rabelais’s five books of Pantagruel also depict and recommend a new relationship between these elements of society. For Rabelais, the tenets of a philosophy that he calls Pantagruelism set the terms between philosophers and rulers. Pantagruelism, defined in Rabelais’s Quart Livre as “gaiety of spirit confected in contempt for fortuitous things,” suggest a measured attitude toward politics. Rabelais’s prince, Pantagruel, accordingly rejects the tendencies of ancient thinkers such as Diogenes the Cynic who viewed politics as futile. Yet Pantagruel also rejects the anti-theoretical disposition of modern thinkers such as Machiavelli who placed too much confidence in politics. I demonstrate how Rabelais warns against the philosophers’ entrance into public service, and how he simultaneously promotes a less selfish philosophy than that of Diogenes. I argue that Pantagruel’s correction of his friend Panurge through the consultations of experts regarding the latter’s marriage problem shows that fortune will always trouble human life and politics. I also ...
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