UNT Theses and Dissertations - 38 Matching Results

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Clenching the Fists of Dissent: Political Unrest, Repression, and the Evolution to Civil War

Description: Previous scholarship has long concentrated on the behaviors of belligerents during regime-dissident interactions. While much of the progress in the literature concentrated on the micro-level processes of this relationship, little research has focused on providing a theoretical reasoning on why belligerents choose to act in a particular manner. This project attempts to open the black box of decision making for regimes and dissidents during regime-dissident interactions in order to provide a theoretical justification for the behaviors of the belligerents involved. Moreover, this project argues that there is a relationship between the lower level events of political violence and civil war as the events at earlier stages of the conflict influence the possible outcome of civil conflict. Regimes and dissidents alike are strategic actors who conduct themselves in a manner to ensure their survival while concurrently attempting to succeed at achieving their respective goals. Although all authoritarian regimes are similar in their differences to democracies, there are significant differences between the regimes, which influence the decision making of the regime leader to ensure the survival of the political institution. In addition to influencing the decision calculus of the regimes, the behavior of the regimes impacts the probability of civil war at later stages of the interaction. Conversely, dissidents also perform as strategic actors in an attempt to gain their preferred concessions and outcomes. Although their comprehension of the coercive capacity of a regime is limited, their knowledge of the repressive capacity of the regime provides them with the understanding of their future fate if they escalate to violence against the regime. This project is conducted using two theories on regime and dissident actions and responses, two large-N empirical analyses of regime and dissident behaviors during nonviolent and violent dissident campaigns from 1945-2006, and two historical case studies of Egypt and Syria ...
Date: August 2016
Creator: Backstrom, Jeremy R
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Counterinsurgency Dilemma: The Causes and Consequences of State Repression of Human Rights in Civil Wars

Description: In this project a theory of adaptive differential insurgency growth by the mechanism of repression driven contagion is put forth to explain variation in the membership and spatial expansion of insurgencies from 1981 to 1999. As an alternative to the dominant structural approaches in the civil war literature, Part 1 of the study proposes an interactive model of insurgency growth based on Most and Starr's opportunity and willingness framework. The findings suggest that state capacity, via its impact on state repressive behavior, plays an important gatekeeping function in selecting which minor insurgencies can grow into civil war, but contributes little to insurgency growth directly. In Part 2 of the study, I directly examine variation in insurgency membership and geographical expansion as a function of repression driven contagion. I find that repression increases the overall magnitude of insurgency activity within states, while at the same time reducing the density of insurgency activity in any one place. Despite an abundance of low intensity armed struggles against a highly diverse group of regimes around the world, I find an extremely strong and robust regularity: where repression is low - insurgencies don't grow.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Quinn, Jason Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Crossing Over: Essays on Ethnic Parties, Electoral Politics, and Ethnic Social Conflict

Description: This dissertation analyzes several topics related to political life in ethnically divided societies. In chapter 2, I study the relationship between ethnic social conflict, such as protests, riots, and armed inter-ethnic violence, and bloc partisan identification. I find that protests have no effect on bloc support for political parties, riots increase bloc partisan identification, and that armed violence reduces this phenomenon. In chapter 3, I analyze the factors that influence the targeting of ethnic groups by ethnic parties in social conflict. I find some empirical evidence that conditions favorable to vote pooling across ethnic lines reduce group targeting by ethnic parties. In chapter 4, I analyze the effects of ethnic demography on ethnic party behavior. Through a qualitative analysis of party behavior in local elections in Macedonia, I find that ethnic parties change their strategies in response to changes in ethnic demography. I find that co-ethnic parties are less likely to challenge each other for power under conditions of split demography. In fact, under conditions of split demography, I find that co-ethnic parties have political incentives to unite behind a single party because intra-group competition jeopardizes the group's hold on power.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Stewart, Brandon
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does Euroscepticism Matter? the Effect of Public Opinion on Integration

Description: This dissertation seeks to test the proposition that public opinion is a driving force in integration, and thus examines the effect of euroscepticism on EU integration. Utilizing an understanding of integration as the process of European states achieving similar legal, social, cultural, political and economic policy outcomes while ceding greater policy power to European institutions, the relationship between aggregate level euroscepticism in EU member states (the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden) and speed of compliance with EU policies is examined. More specifically, this dissertation examines the relationship between aggregate level euroscepticism in an EU member state, and the speed at which that state transposes EU directives. In testing this relationship a number of contextual conditions are examined, including the role of issue salience, domestic party systems, and electoral conditions. The findings of this dissertation suggest that the widely held belief that public opinion is driving European integration may be false.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Williams, Christopher J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ecological Sustainability and Peace: The Effect of Ecological Sustainability on Interstate and Intrastate Environmental Conflict

Description: This study examines the relationship between ecological sustainability and violent conflict at both the interstate and intrastate level. In particular, this study explores the effect of ecological sustainability of a society on the initiation and the occurrence of violent conflict. By developing a theory, which is named "Eco-peace," this study hypothesizes that the more ecologically sustainable the socioeconomic system of societies, the less likely the society is to initiate interstate conflict. Regarding intrastate conflict, it is hypothesized that the more ecologically sustainable the mode of development pursued by the Third World society is, the more likely that society is to experience intrastate conflicts. To test the hypotheses, this study conducts cross-national time-series analyses for 97-127 countries. Negative binomial and Poisson models are used for interstate conflict during 1960-2001, and logit and rare event logit models are used for intrastate conflict during 1960-1999. Militarized interstate dispute dataset and Uppsala Armed Conflict Program dataset are employed for interstate and intrastate conflict. For ecological sustainability, Ecological sustainability factor index and Environmental sustainability index are used. Through the analyses, this study found the supports for the theoretical argument that the ecologically unsustainable modes of development cause the initiation of interstate conflict and the incidence of intra-state conflict in the Third World.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Yoon, Jong-Han
Partner: UNT Libraries

Elections and Authoritarian Rule: Causes and Consequences of Adoption of Grassroots Elections in China

Description: This dissertation investigates the relationship between elections and authoritarian rule with a focus on the case of China's adoption of elections at the grassroots level. In this dissertation, I look at the incentives facing Chinese local governments in choosing between holding competitive elections or state-controlled elections, and how the selection of electoral rules shapes the public's preferences over political institutions and influences the citizens' political behaviors, especially voting in elections and participation in contentious activities. The overarching theme in this dissertation proposes that the sources and consequences of Chinese local elections are conditioned on the state-owned resources and the governing costs. When the amount of state-owned resources to rule the local society is limited, the paucity of resources will incentivize authoritarian governments to liberalize grassroots elections to offset the governance costs. The various levels of election liberalization will lead to different consequences in the public's political behavior. An abundance of state-owned resources not only discourages rulers from sharing power with the local society, but also supplies the rulers with strong capacity to obtain loyalty from voters when elections are adopted. As a result, elections under authoritarian governments with an abundance of state-owned resources will see more loyalist voters than elections with authoritarian governments with fewer state-owned resources. In addition, the varieties of election practices will exert impacts on public opinion toward the authoritarian government: awareness of elections will enhance public trust in the government and decrease the public's intention to challenge the incumbents' authority while at the same time increasing the public's faith in the institutions, thereby encouraging the public to adopt official channels to air their grievances. The analysis of the village-level as well as individual-level survey data and cases lends empirical supports to the argument. First, I find that the governing costs—measured by the size of labor force—are ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Tzeng, Wei Feng
Partner: UNT Libraries

Electoral Rules, Political Parties, and Peace Duration in Post-conflict States

Description: This dissertation examines the following research question: Which types of electoral rules chosen in post-conflict states best promote peace? And are those effects conditional upon other factors? I argue that the effects are conditional upon the types of political parties that exist in the post-conflict environment. Although this explanation is contrary to scholars that speak of political parties as products of the electoral system, political parties often predate the choice of electoral system. Especially in post-conflict states, political parties play an important role in the negotiation process and hence in the design of the electoral rules. I argue that the effects of electoral rules on peace duration are mitigated by the degree to which a party system is broad (nonexclusive) or narrow (exclusive). I develop a theoretical model that led to three hypotheses focusing on the independent role that political parties play in mitigating the effects of electoral rules on peace duration. To test these hypotheses, I use the Cox proportional hazard model on 57 post-conflict states from 1990 to 2009 and had competitive elections. The empirical results show support for the main argument of this study. First, the findings show that electoral rules alone do not increase or decrease the risk of civil war outbreak, yet when interacting with the degree to which political parties are broad or narrow, there is a significant effect on the outbreak of civil war. Second, the results show that post-conflict states with party centered electoral systems (closed list PR system) are less likely to have an outbreak of civil war when more seats in the parliament are controlled by broad-based parties. In addition, I conduct a comparative case study analysis of two post-conflict states, Angola (1975-1992) and Mozambique (1975-1994), using the most similar systems (MSS) research design.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Kisin, Tatyana Tuba Kelman
Partner: UNT Libraries

Endogenous Information and Inter-state War Expansion

Description: Scholars have long debated the causes of late third party state joining in ongoing inter-state wars. This research has generally concluding that peace-time conditions, measured in terms of: third party capabilities; proximity to warring states; and inter-state alliances, are determining factors in the decision to join. However, these studies utilize theories derived from static pre-war measures of capabilities and motivation to explain late joining; indeed, the same measures that fail to predict participation at war's outset. Further, extant research has no explanation for why weak and non-proximate states every participate. Existing theory thus fails to provide a comprehensive explanation of joining behavior. This project contends that a resolution lies the interaction between pre-war conditions and intra-war events. Intra-war events that are allowed to vary on a per battle basis, including change in combat location and alliance entry and exit from combat, reveal new information about the war and its progress, thereby forcing third party states to recalculate their initial decision to abstain in relation to their pre-existing situation. Incorporation of intra-war processes helps to better explain decisions by third party states to join ongoing inter-state wars late in their development, and why states that frequently choose to abstain (e.g., weak states) ever choose to participate. This project is executed using a combination of ex post facto historical case studies, a theory of joining based on pre and intra-war environments, and large-N empirical analysis on all inter-state wars 1823-1988, conducted utilizing a novel collection of event-level data based on inter-state war battles.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Liebel, Steven R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 addition, with most similar systems (MSS), most different systems (MDS) design methods, and directed case studies I apply the curvilinear hypothesis to the Russian minority in the Baltic States and the Central Asian Republics, and also to the Serb minority in the countries of the former Yugoslavia to present a detailed analysis.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Batta, Anna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ethnic Similarity and Rivalry Relations

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 supporting secessions by their co-ethnics. These pairs of rivals also are more likely to attempt peace settlements. Contested nations, which are rivalry-dyads with similar ethnic majorities, are both the most likely of the ethnically similar rival categories to engage in militarized interstate disputes, but also engage in larger amounts of interstate trade.
Date: December 2014
Creator: McCallister, Gerald L. Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 security threats, even those that are less grave, and that the perception of the U.S. as “global cop” may be misleading, at least in terms of unilateral military intervention.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Aubone, Amber
Partner: UNT Libraries

Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

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.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Marshall, Michael C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Friends of the State Courts: Organized Interests and State Courts of Last Resort

Description: Why do interest groups participate in state courts of last resort by filing amicus curiae briefs? Are they influential when they do? This dissertation examines these questions using an original survey of organized interests that routinely participate in state supreme courts, as well as data on all amicus curiae briefs and majority opinions in over 14,000 cases decided in all fifty-two state supreme courts for a four year period. I argue that interest groups turn to state judiciaries to achieve the dual goals of influencing policy and organizational maintenance, as amicus briefs can help organized interests achieve both outcomes. Furthermore, I contend that amicus briefs are influential in shaping judicial policy-making through the provision of legally persuasive arguments. The results suggest that interest groups do file amicus briefs to both lobby for their preferred policies and to support their organization's long-term viability. Additionally, the results indicate that organized interests also participate in counteractive lobbying in state courts of last resort by filing amicus briefs to ensure their side is represented and to dull the effect of oppositional amici. The findings also demonstrate support for the influence of amicus briefs on judicial policy-making on state high courts, as amicus briefs can influence the ideological direction of the court's majority opinions. Overall, this research extends our understanding of interest group lobbing in the judiciary and in state policy venues, and provides insight into judicial politics and policy-making on state courts of last resort.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Perkins, Jared David
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 to understand how Aristotle's Ethics is a work of political philosophy; to fully appreciate the significance of his approach, however, we must contrast his work with that of Thomas Hobbes, his harshest Modern critic. Unlike Aristotle, Hobbes is nearly silent on friendship in his political philosophy, and examining his political works especially Leviathan reveals the absence of friendship is part of his deliberate attempt to advance a politics founded on the moral teaching that pleasure is the good. Aristotle's political philosophy, by way of contrast, aims to preserve the good, and through friendship, he not only disentangles the good from ...
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Date: May 2015
Creator: Pascarella, John Antonio
Partner: UNT Libraries

A History of Overcoming: Nietzsche on the Moral Antecedents and Successors of Modern Liberalism

Description: This work aims to understand human moral psychology under modern liberalism by analyzing the mature work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. I seek to understand and evaluate Nietzsche's claim that liberalism, rather than being an overturning of slave morality, is an extension of the slave morality present in both Judaism and Christianity. To ground Nietzsche's critique of liberalism theoretically, I begin by analyzing his "master" and "slave" concepts. With these concepts clarified, I then apply them to Nietzsche's history by following his path from Judaism to liberalism and beyond--to his "last man" and Übermensch. I find that Nietzsche views history as a series of overcomings wherein a given mode of power maintenance runs counter to the means by which power was initially attained. Liberalism, as the precursor and herald of the "last man," threatens the end of overcoming and therefore compromises the future of human valuation and meaning.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Gill, Rodney W
Partner: UNT Libraries

Increasing the Players: Expanding the Bilateral Relationship of Conflict Management

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 overcome the collective action problem between its own member states due to the presence of a privileged actor.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Stull, Emily A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

International Learning and the Diffusion of Civil Conflict

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 in order to thwart it. I further argue that this repression is, in part, a function of the threat posed by those regimes founded by rebels.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Linebarger, Christopher
Partner: UNT Libraries

The King Arrives: Chinese Government Inspections and Their Effects

Description: This dissertation studies a critical facet of Chinese politics, inspections by higher Chinese government to villages. Principally, it looks at how village economic development determines government inspection decisions and how inspections, once conducted, impact village politics. Specifically, I argue that villages perceived as destabilizing to the Chinese regime, villages with higher levels of economic inequality and villages located at the two extremes of economic development, should see more inspections. In addition, I argue that inspections, in return, drive village politics: they increase village leaders' governing efficacy and raise villagers' political awareness. This theory has received strong support from both field work and quantitative empirical tests using the Chinese Household Income Project (2002) dataset.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Xi, Jinrui
Partner: UNT Libraries

Knowing What is Useful: Rousseau's Education Concerning Being, Science, and Happiness

Description: Is there a relationship between science and happiness and, if so, what is it? Clearly, since the Enlightenment, science has increased life expectancy and bodily comfort. Is this happiness, or do humans long for something more? To examine these questions, I investigate the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Specifically, I focus on the Discourses and the Emile, as he states in the Confessions that these works form a whole statement concerning the natural goodness of man. I agree with the literature that finds happiness, for Rousseau, is a sentiment one experiences when their faculties correspond to their desires, as this produces wholeness. In this dissertation, I find a form of modern science is necessary for humans to experience higher forms of happiness. This form of science is rooted in utility of the individual. To fully explain this finding, I begin with Rousseau's concept of being. By nature, our being experiences a low form of wholeness. I show Rousseau's investigation of being exposes a catch-22 situation for developing it to experience higher forms of wholeness. While freedom allows us to develop reason and judgment, we need reason and judgment to properly direct our freedom to perfect our individual being. I then show how three different types of tutors and educators, which include a scientific education, are directed by the single goal of maintaining wholeness in Emile's being so he can achieve the happiness of romantic love. Finally, I find that Emile's scientific education is an elaboration of the First Discourse and that his relationship with science, even from birth, plays a critical role for achieving romantic love in the future.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Gross, Benjamin Isaak
Partner: UNT Libraries

Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

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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Date: December 2015
Creator: Drummond, Nicholas W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

New Rules to an Old Game: Electoral Reforms and Post-Civil War Stability

Description: One of the most common features found within peace agreements are provisions that call for post-civil war elections. Unfortunately, recent research on post-civil war stability has consistently demonstrated that the initial elections held after civil wars significantly increases the risk for renewed fighting. While this research does highlight a danger posed by post-war elections, it focuses only on one element associated with post-civil war democracy. I argue that by implementing electoral reforms that are called for in peace agreements, post-war countries reduce the risk of renewed civil war. Implementing these peace agreement provisions increases the durability of post-war peace in two ways. First, by implementing costly electoral reforms called for in the peace agreement, the government signals a credible commitment to the peace process which reduces security dilemmas faced by opposition groups. Second, electoral reforms generate new avenues for political participation for disaffected citizens, which reduces the ability of hardliners to mobilize future armed opposition. I examine how implementing post-war electoral reforms impact the risk of renewed conflict from 1989 through 2010. Using duration models, I demonstrate that implementing these electoral reforms substantially reduces the risk of renewed conflict.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Keels, Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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, one which philosophically founds the modern arguments for religious toleration.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Higgins, Nicholas J
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 understanding of what practices are most crucial for achieving peace and stability.
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Nichols, Angela D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Flanagan, John Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries