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  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: This year’s Democracy Report shows that the trend of a third wave autocratization – the decline of democratic regime traits – continues and now affects 24 countries. When we weight levels of democracy by population size – because democracy is rule by the people and it matters how many of them are concerned – it emerges that almost one third of the world’s population live in countries undergoing autocratization. Yet democracy still prevails in a majority of countries in the world (99 countries, 55 percent). This section analyses the state of democracy in the world in 2018 and developments since 1972, with an emphasis on the last 10 years. Our analysis builds on the 2019 release of the V-Dem dataset.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Developing World, Democracy, Populism
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Ukraine, India, Brazil
  • Author: Paul Bagabo, Onesmus Mugyenyi, Siragi Magara, Paul Twebaze
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: This publication draws from the literature on contract transparency as well as interviews with key experts in Uganda's extractives sector. It concludes that while legal frameworks on transparency and disclosure provisions exist, they have not been effective in ensuring that citizens gain access to information on the details of the contracts; and the level of contract transparency and disclosure in the oil and gas sector is higher than in the mining sector. While information on mining licenses is provided on the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development website and the mining cadastre is publicly available, vital information on actual deposits and revenue sharing is not publicly available. Uganda is party to several transparency initiatives and publicly committed to joining the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Despite the membership to these initiatives, the level of transparency and disclosure of extractives contracts is still low. In order to ensure that contract transparency contributes to increased accountability in the sector, this publication makes several recommendations.
  • Topic: Oil, Natural Resources, Democracy, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Mani Shankar Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Elected three times to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, and nominated by the President to Rajya Sabha, the upper house, for a further six years, Aiyar has served for 21 years in the Indian Parliament, been conferred the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award (2006), and been a Cabinet Minister for five years (2004-09). He has authored seven books, including Confession of a Secular Fundamentalist, and edited the three volumes of Rajiv Gandhi’s India.
  • Topic: Religion, Law, Democracy, Citizenship, Religious Law, Secularism
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Calder Walton
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Spies, election meddling, disinformation, influence operations, data har- vesting: at present, it seems barely a moment passes without another intelligence scandal breaking on our news feeds. Following Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack on the 2016 U.S. presidential election—which was intended to support Moscow’s favored candidate, Donald J. Trump, and undermine his opponent, Hillary Clinton—the media frequently labeled the operation “unprecedented.” The social-media technologies that Russia deployed in its cyber-attack on the United States in 2016 were certainly new, but Russia’s strategy was far from unusual. In fact, the Kremlin has a long history of meddling in U.S. and other Western democratic elections and manufacturing disinformation to discredit and divide the West. Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, has reconstituted and updated the KGB’s old Cold War playbook for the new digital age. This paper, an exercise of applied history, has two aims: first, to understand the history of Soviet disinformation, and second, to make sense of Western efforts to counter it during the Cold War. Doing so provides policy-relevant conclusions from history about countering disinformation produced by Russia and other authoritarian regimes today.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Democracy, Election watch, Espionage
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: This essay is a historical inquiry into the issue of the intelligence community’s standing—its prestige and credibility in the eyes of the executive, Congress, the press, and the public. Its premise is that the intelligence community needs a high reputation for both competence and morality to serve the best interest of national security.
  • Topic: Democracy, Domestic politics, Espionage
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: The current Egyptian political scene reveals an important paradox: since its ascendancy to power in 2013, the military-led authoritarian government has not faced significant challenges from civil society despite systematic hu- man rights abuses and continuous societal crises. Apart from limited protests by labor activists, student movements, and members of syndicates, Egyptians have mostly refrained from protesting, instead hoping that the government will improve their living conditions despite a rising poverty rate of 33 percent, an inflation rate between 11 and 12 percent, and unemployment at eight percent. This popular reluctance to challenge the authoritarian government has continued to shape Egypt’s reality since the collapse of the short-lived democratization process from 2011–2013.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Rule of Law, Protests, Dictatorship
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: David E. Kiwuwa
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: The People Power Movement (PPM) in Uganda has its roots in the growing politics of discontent in Africa and across the world. On the continent, the growth of popular movements has been evident in countries like Zimbabwe, Sudan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, and Tunisia to mention but a few. These public protests have increased notably in number with their most significant recent manifestation being the Arab Spring. An important aspect of these pro- tests is the central role played by youth movements such as Y’en Maarre (Fed Up) in Senegal, Balai Citoyen (The Civic Broom) in Burkina Faso, and La Lucha (The Struggle) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the past decade, mass uprisings in Africa have accounted for one in three of the nonviolent campaigns aiming to topple dictatorships around the world. With twenty-five new nonviolent mass movements, Africa has experienced almost twice as many as Asia, the next most active region with sixteen. What is common to all these movements is not only the active and public expression of discontent but also the existence of a long entrenched and increasingly indifferent ancien regime whose priority is political survival. In some ways, one could argue that emerging protests are largely a continuation of incomplete democratic struggles in authoritarian or semi-democratic regimes.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Democracy, Domestic politics, Protests
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Dana Moss
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Transnational social movements play a critical role in the fight against authoritarianism, and a growing field of diaspora studies shows that exiles, émigrés, emigrants, and refugees are especially well positioned to undermine dictatorships from abroad. Given their cross-border ties, diasporas often mobilize against abuses taking place in their homelands, move aid to war zones and refugee camps, and fuel revolutionary social change. Exiles who gain the right to protest and lobby in their places of settlement can also become powerful players in international relations. Iraqi expatriate Ahmed Chalabi, who helped to justify the United States-led invasion of Iraq by fabricating evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, is just one example of how influential exiles can be when exacting revenge on the autocrats who abused them.
  • Topic: Diaspora, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Suki Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Suki Kim is author of the New York Times bestseller Without You, Tere Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korean Elite. She is the only writer ever to have lived undercover in North Korea for immersive journalism. Her novel Te Interpreter was the winner of the PEN Open Book Award and a fnalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her nonfction has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the New Republic, where she is a contributing editor. She has been awarded Guggenheim, Fulbright, Open Society, and New America fellowships, the American Academy in Berlin Prize, and was a Ferris Professor of journalism at Princeton University. Her TED Talk has drawn millions of viewers, and her essay on fear appears in Te Best American Essays 2018.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Freedom of Expression, Journalism, Repression
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Daniel Gover, Michael Kenny
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London
  • Abstract: Recent political developments have focused attention on the ‘English Question’. In response to the 2014 Scottish referendum result, the UK government initiated a procedural reform in the House of Commons known as ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (EVEL), which was formally adopted in October 2015. This report results from an in-depth academic research project into EVEL. It evaluates how the procedures fared during their first year in operation, and weighs arguments for and against such a reform. Based on this analysis, it makes a series of constructive proposals to improve the current system.
  • Topic: Politics, Law, Elections, Democracy, Identities, Voting
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom
  • Author: Michele Dunne, Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Secular political parties in Egypt have always been caught between an overbearing state and a largely Islamist opposition. The brief, chaotic political opening from 2011 to 2013 offered them unprecedented opportunities, but the violence and intense polarization that followed the military coup have put them under more pressure than ever. Formal politics in Egypt is now a tightly controlled game in which no real independence is allowed, but some secular parties might reemerge as contenders should there be another opportunity for free competition.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Egypt’s new authoritarian regime is rapidly closing the public space—cracking down on autonomous civil society and independent political parties, asphyxiating the practice of pluralist politics, and thwarting citizens’ peaceful and active engagement in public affairs. The government’s primary strategy is to institute wide-scale repression through lawmaking and justify its behavior through conspiratorial and populist narratives. With unprecedented resolve, it has passed new protest and terrorism laws, introduced legal amendments targeting nongovernmental organizations, and extended the military court’s jurisdiction. Essentially, the regime is adapting lawmaking for its own purposes. To fight against the tide, those challenging the system need to fully understand how.
  • Topic: Governance, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Ofra Bengio
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Kurds challenge the self-perceptions of the nation-states in which they reside: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq; and they have played a crucial role in combatting Islamic State. This study analyzes the rivalry and interdependence among the four parts of Kurdistan as well as the dynamics of their relations with regional countries and the international community. With the entire region in a state of flux, will the Kurds fulfill their dream for a state or autonomous existence of their own?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Self Determination, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Belhassen Ennouri
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The field of democratization studies is interested by the transformation of political systems from authoritarian regimes to another type of political system that cannot be pre-determined. This study has emerged in the context the so-called third wave of democratization that began with the Spanish and Portuguese experiences in the 1970s, and then spread to Latin America in the 1980s, sweeping Eastern Europe in the 1990s. Indeed, the success of the Spanish experience in democratization has rendered the case a useful model for studying other cases. The study of the democratic transition – itself an experimental process – has moved from investigating historical experiences to developing a theoretical framework that involves a procedural and practical approach to understanding the instability and volatility of the phenomenon. The study of the democratic transition has been criticized, despite important contributions on the part of researchers. To this point, the notion of a “theory of transition” is at the heart of critical scientific debate.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Tunisia