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  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: With the exception of Cuba, the hemisphere is a relatively free place to be a journalist compared to much of the rest of the world. But that doesn't mean it's safe or easy, or that it's getting any easier. Below is a catalogue of the abuses, risks and challenges that journalists and media faced in the Americas and in selected countries outside the region last year.
  • Political Geography: America, Cuba
  • Author: Santiago A. Canton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Inter-American System enshrined the right to freedom of thought and expression in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In 1998, to further protect this right, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission) established the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. I served as the first head of the office.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Olivier Palluault
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cultures Conflits
  • Institution: Cultures Conflits
  • Abstract: La homeland security, mise en place aux États-Unis après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, incarne la transformation contemporaine de la sécurité. Son apparition n'est pas directement liée à la chute du World Trade Center mais relève plutôt d'une dynamique de sécurité qui s'est cristallisée au milieu des années 1990. Cette dynamique repose sur la conjonction de cinq processus : la formation d'un consensus autour de la promotion d'une Amérique forte et vigilante (processus ontologique), un changement des pratiques stratégiques tournées vers la réduction des vulnérabilités (processus stratégique), la création d'un espace bureaucratique de sécurité situé au-delà du militaire et du policier (processus bureaucratique), l'avènement de nouveaux acteurs de la sécurité spécialisés dans la gestion des risques (processus sociologique), la prégnance d'une appréhension de l'innovation technologique comme source de la menace et remède face à celle-ci (processus technologique).
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Margaret Moore
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: This article examines the nature of the wrongs that are inflicted on individuals and groups who have been expelled from the land that they previously occupied, and asks what they might consequently be owed as a matter of corrective justice. Such cases-in which individuals and groups are expelled, their property is expropriated, and their land is subsequently settled by other people-are not unusual. They include the expulsion of Germans from the Sudeten area of Czechoslovakia between 1945 and 1947; the expulsion of (mainly) Greek Cypriots from the north of Cyprus following the Turkish invasion there in 1974; and the expulsion of Muslim Bosniaks from what is now called the Republic of Srpska, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, between 1991 and 1995. Historically, there are numerous other cases of "ethnic cleansing" and border redrawing. The injustice with which this article is concerned is also foundational to the current dominant societies in the Americas and Australasia.
  • Political Geography: America, Australia, AustralAsia
  • Author: George Crowder
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Modern Pluralism: Anglo-American Debates Since 1880, Mark Bevir, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 255 pp., $85 cloth. Talk of “pluralism” has become ubiquitous in political theory, but it is often vague. In this edited collection Mark Bevir aims to improve our understanding of this tricky area by clarifying different senses and theories of pluralism and tracking the development of these during the twentieth century. In particular, Bevir wants to acquaint readers with significant versions of pluralism that have been submerged by other ideas, yet may still provide useful resources for us now. The basic idea of bringing together various dimensions, periods, and traditions of pluralism is immediately intriguing. The obvious critical question is, do they really have anything in common, or are there sufficient local overlaps to justify their organization under the unitary category of “pluralism”? This in itself seems to be a problem of plurality. On the whole, Bevir meets this challenge successfully.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Karen Leonard
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Finding Mecca in America: How Islam is Becoming an American Religion Near the end of this interesting book, the author characterizes his final chapter as “a series of interpretive judgments about the venture of Islam in its American habitat (p.205),” and I find this true of the book as a whole. It began as a doctoral dissertation, and Bilici defines himself a cultural sociologist who takes an agonistic (combative, contesting) approach, an approach that “pays attention to the margins more than the mainstreams, to lived experience more than to floating abstractions (p.21).” Yet, lengthy discussions of philosophy and social theory punctuate the chapters, enabling readers to debate the stated balance. Bilici also characterizes his work as ethnography, and while he draws on his work in Detroit, Michigan, as part of a team project and his internship with the Council of American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, in Washington, DC, the ethnographic material is limited, providing illustrations for various points Bilici wants to make rather than systematic evidence for them. He argues that his topics have escaped attention (or been taken for granted) or are postdiasporic, meaning they have not yet fully appeared above the horizon (p.19), such as Abrahamic discourse and Muslim comedy. He writes that “what should be prized is not the sea of data but the wisdom of elucidation (p.23),” and this personal interpretation is certainly worth reading.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Nurullah Ardiç
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Secularism and Religion-Making Recent scholarship in the sociology of religion has produced fresh perspectives on the understanding of religion and its inter-relationships with society. Largely influenced by post-structuralist social theory, these new perspectives call for a re-evaluation of existing theoretical and methodological approaches as well as empirical analyses, as reflected in the oft-used terms to describe their projects, including “rethinking,” “imagining” religion and its “invention” and “manufacturing” a là “invention of tradition”. The term “religion-making” is one such concept that questions the traditional ways of studying religion (and its constitutive other, secularism). It refers to the reification by political and intellectual actors (with different motivations) of a religion (its beliefs and practices/rituals) based on certain taken-for-granted (binary) concepts, such as the religious/secular divide, within the discursive field of world religions. The collection of articles edited by Markus Dressler and Arvind-Pal Mandair brings together eleven theoretically-informed and empirically-focused studies on religion-making in different socio-historical contexts. It fits nicely, and contributes to, the above-mentioned recent trends in the sociology of religion and secularism. A strong trend within this scholarship is a critique of the “secular critique” of the Enlightenment-inspired secularization theory, which also implies a critical re-evaluation of the (secularist) notion of a clear-cut distinction between the religious and the secular. This is also a common theme among the articles brought together in this edited volume: each study questions from a post-structuralist angle (but focusing on a different aspect of) the assumption of the 'boundedness' of “religion” and “secularism” and their opposition to one another. The theoretical aim of the volume, according to the editors, is to problematize this dichotomous assumption and demonstrate instead the codependency of “secular” and “religious” discourses. Its empirical aim is to “examine the consequences of the colonial and postcolonial adoption of Western-style objectifications of religion and … the secular, by non-Western elites” (p. 3), but it also contains cases of Western actors. Moreover, the editors' lengthy Introduction contains a useful discussion on the philosophical foundations (from Kant to Heidegger, from Hume to Hegel) and current manifestations (in Taylor, Habermas etc.) of the epistemological hegemony of the religious/secular dichotomy and of the “universalization” of the concept of religion out of Western Christianity. The analyses contained in the volume address the processes of religion-making at three different levels. First, “religion-making from above” refers to the discursive strategy of reifying religion(s) from powerful positions rendering them an instrument of governmentality. This is often undertaken by nation-states in their efforts to reframe existing religious traditions in a docile manner. As the editors note, this strategy is also applied by individual political actors, intellectuals and NGOs, as exemplified by the famous American think-tank RAND Corporation's call for “rebuilding Islam” in a manner that would not constitute a threat to American interests worldwide. The same advice was reiterated in 2004 by Daniel Pipes, a member of the Zionist lobby in the US who was close to the Bush administration, who argued that the ultimate goal of “the war on terror” was “religion-building,” implying the neocon elites' desire to “civilize Islam” (p. 22). These examples show not only the fact that the notion of religion-making from above is extremely relevant to current global geo-politics but also a paradigmatic symptom of the secular-liberal hegemony over religion in Western imagination: all religious traditions are encouraged and/or forced to “fit in” the existing socio-political structures in the form of “protestantization” –i.e. becoming an a-political, “modernized”/secularized and docile religion with no agenda for change in the status quo. Therefore, this hegemonic secular discourse does not so much aim to cleanse the public sphere and politics from religion as to make the latter fit in with the existing system and, if possible, function as a source of legitimization for hegemonic powers.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: C. Christine Fair, Karl Kaltenhaler, William Miller
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: AMERICA'S EMPLOYMENT OF WEAPONIZED unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as "drones," to kill alleged terrorists in Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas (FATA) fuels sustained controversy in Pakistan. Pakistani outrage has steadily deepened since 2008, when the United States increased the frequency of the strikes. The increasing use of "signature strikes" has been particularly controversial in (and beyond) Pakistan, because such strikes are targeted at "men believed to be militants associated with terrorist groups, but whose identities aren't always known." Whereas personality strikes require the operator to develop a high level of certainty about the target's identity and location, based on multiple sources such as "imagery, cell phone intercepts and informants on the ground," operators may "initiate a signature strike after observing certain patterns of behavior." When conducting signature strikes, the United States assesses that the individuals in question exhibit behaviors that match a pre-identified "signature" (for example, pattern of observable activities and/or personal networks) that suggests that they are associated with al Qaeda and/or the Pakistani or Afghan Taliban organizations. Because the identity of the target is unknown, even during the strike, it is possible that these persons are innocent civilians, a possibility that both current and former U.S. government officials concede. While the George W. Bush administration employed both personality strikes from 2004 and signature strikes from 2008 in Pakistan, the administration of Barack Obama has redoubled the use of both types. This has ignited public protests against the drones in Pakistan, particularly in Pakistan's urban areas—far removed from the tribal areas where drones are employed. It has also galvanized a vigorous debate within Pakistan's National Assembly, which tried, but ultimately failed, to curtail the strikes.
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America
  • Author: Ming Wan
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: China has gone global, but most China experts in the American academic community have gone local, moving in the opposite direction. As Shambaugh has observed rightly, 'big picture' books on China in the United States have been written by virtually anyone but China scholars. A crucial reason for this academic trend is the current obsession with theories and methods in the social sciences departments, which has changed the incentive structure for scholars who compete for employment, promotion, recognition, and funding. Moreover, given the increasingly complex nature of China's greater presence in the world on so many dimensions, it is also the case that a new generation of scholars trained to be specialized in narrow research topics would arguably find it difficult to write a big book even if they want to. As guilty as many others, this reviewer also encourages his own students to follow a narrow path out of fear that they would otherwise be placed at a competitive disadvantage even though he shares the same concern with Shambaugh.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: Slade Mendenhall
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty, by Timothy Sandefur. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2014. 200 pp. $24.95 (hardcover). While the principles of liberty on which America was founded are under attack from so-called liberals and conservatives alike, and while expanding abuses of government power are too vast and complex for most Americans to fully follow, books by rational, knowledgeable professionals clearly and concisely explaining the problems and offering solutions are of immense value. Timothy Sandefur's The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty fits this bill. Sandefur, a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, bases his latest work on an underappreciated idea in American legal thinking. It is the idea that the Declaration of Independence—understood as a formal, legal, diplomatic document issued by the representatives of thirteen British colonies to the king of England—is part of the law of the land, just as are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, argues Sandefur, the Declaration used to be seen as the “conscience of the Constitution,” and reviving this understanding of its position in the framework of U.S. law will go a long way toward establishing the moral and political context within which lawyers, judges, and Supreme Court justices should argue and interpret constitutional law. Sandefur's thesis is controversial and is not likely to be well received in modern courts and law classrooms. Most law schools teach students to view the Declaration as a mere manifesto or letter of aspiration. But Sandefur wages a compelling intellectual defense of the Declaration-as-law on two fronts: against leftists, who have ridiculously claimed that the document was drafted as a wink-and-nod effort by elite white men to put down minorities and the lower classes; and against conservatives such as Russell Kirk and neoconservatives such as Irving Kristol who, afraid of its “natural rights” language, dismiss the ideas of the Declaration and characterize it as an underhanded “ploy to lure the French” into conflict with the English (p. 14). Sandefur, pointing out the baseless nature of such criticisms, puts forth a strong argument for holding the Declaration as law and highlights the Founding Fathers' own understanding of it as such. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, England