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  • Author: Viktoria Martovskaya
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The author of this publication argues that negative societal trends - namely, raising the levels of inter-ethnic tensions, intolerance to diversity and hostility to the ‘others’ – can be predicted through the analysis of political rhetoric. The method of reconstruction of society through the analysis of rhetoric can serve as an early-warning system detecting the approach of an ethnic crisis.
  • Topic: Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Ashley W. Hooper
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In February 2014, violent protests erupted in Tuzla and quickly spread to multiple other Bosnian cities, including Mostar and Sarajevo. Initially, the protests were labeled as the “Bosnian Spring,” a term used to describe a state that is undergoing revolutionary change; however, this term was used prematurely in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by April the protest movement had completely lost momentum. The cause for dissatisfaction among citizens was driven by nearly a decade of political stagnation. The lack of political progression can largely be attributed to the legacy of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which brought an end to the ethnically driven atrocities. However, the agreement also formed a uniquely complicated governmental structure based on ethnicity—providing a political framework in which elites are able to evade accountability. Political competition has been greatly decreased by the continued presence of wartime-ethno parties, which dominate the political discourse—perpetuating fear and mistrust among the electorate. I argue that there is a crisis of democratization halting the political progression and European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina caused by a lack of both political accountability and competition.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Since the early 2000s in Western Balkans (WBs) powerful groups have misused democracy in numerous ways. Governing elites have tolerated the capture of public policy sectors by business conglomerates and have also invited in selected businessmen to capture such sectors. Elites have adapted to inherited frail institutions and have created other deficient institutions to serve their changing strategies. To a lesser extent, the same holds for policy capture by relatively privileged occupational groups of insiders, who are less powerful than elites. On their way up to enrichment and reproduction of relatively privileged status, elites and privileged occupational groups have not encountered the obstacles usually found in other European democracies, such as a relatively strong parliament, judiciary, civil society, mass media and a public bureaucracy functioning with a minimum of autonomy from the government. Policy capture would have been impossible without first achieving and consolidating the supremacy of the government over the legislature and the judiciary. This vital for contemporary democracies balance of powers has been destroyed in WBs to an extent larger than in other European democracies. It will not be rectified, as long as civil society and parliamentary opposition remain weak, while media pluralism is restricted in WB democracies.
  • Topic: Democracy
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Charles Breiterman
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: Generations of students have been taught that the emergence of Parliament and capitalism in England were caused by factors such as the rise of the bourgeoisie, the rediscovery of ancient Greek democracy and the Roman republic, the Magna Carta, the enclosure movement, the Protestant ethic of accumulation (which may not actually apply to England), and English common law. To these factors should be added: a population of extremely well-armed and trained commoners, reliance upon them by the monarchy for military service, and the willingness of the commoners to stage large-scale and ferocious rebellions. It was highly advisable to secure the consent of the commoners before taxing them. The power of the commoners limited what taxation could be imposed. Limited taxation allowed commoners to accumulate substantial sums of money, a crucial factor in the emergence of capitalism in England as early as the 1400s. The power of the commoners forced elites to accommodate the notion of government for the common good (commonweal), eroded the notion that the aristocrat was superior to the commoner, and strengthened the case for equality of opportunity. The history of England stands for the proposition that contemporary firearms laws should be the most permissive reasonably possible. The article also discusses the need to achieve social change without violence. But this is not possible with many regimes worldwide, and it is naive to think tyranny can’t happen here.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Political Theory, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: This document, "The Challenges of the Mediterranean Urban Agenda: the importance of an innovative urban planning, social inclusiveness and private-public parterships development", is the result of the high-level working group on the challenges of the urban agenda in the Mediterranean, which was held on the 15th and 16th December 2014 at Foment del Treball Nacional (Barcelona). On this occasion, more than 30 international experts discussed proposals that could contribute to the improvement of the urban development policies and social inclusion in the cities of the Mediterranean region. During the working group, it was mentioned that more than 80% of global wealth is generated in the cities. It was agreed that in order to finance infrastructure and services it is important that the private sector commits to cooperate with the public administration. The importance of optimising the public transport network from an energy efficiency point of view because cities consume two thirds of the world energy was also noted. Finally, it was highlighted that the creation of urban spaces for interaction and support for young entrepreneurs and platforms that allow knowledge sharing are critical to promote social integration and jobs.>
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Aaron Cosbey
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: While there has been a strong tendency in resource rich countries to push for more stringent local content regulations, the mining sector is looking to move towards increased automation. In this study titled “Mining a Mirage: Reassessing the Shared-Value Paradigm in Light of the Technological Advances in the Mining Sector,” CCSI, IISD and Engineers Without Borders researched the technological innovations that are being developed, assessing when these technologies could be rolled out, and quantifying the potential impacts automation may have on local employment and procurement and on the shared value paradigm. The objective was to better understand how governments could adapt local content, industrial and fiscal policies in order to better prepare for and embrace technological advances in the mining sector.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus