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  • Author: Farah Ramzy
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Research focusing on non-formal political and social stakeholders/activists has been generally side-lined as a subject of political, sociological, and economic studies in the Arab world. This has been the case since the emergence of these sub-fields in the post-independence period of the 1960s, as Arab universities and research centres were founding their academic fields, until today. The exception that confirmed the rule was the Marxist approaches that succeeded in fostering a small but steady number of research groups interested mainly in workers’ and labor movements, and in particular unions, or in rural sociology as a reflection of the expression of class struggle within Arab societies.
  • Topic: Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Ismail Fayad
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Research focusing on non-formal political and social stakeholders/activists has been generally side-lined as a subject of political, sociological, and economic studies in the Arab world. This has been the case since the emergence of these sub-fields in the post-independence period of the 1960s, as Arab universities and research centres were founding their academic fields, until today. The exception that confirmed the rule was the Marxist approaches that succeeded in fostering a small but steady number of research groups interested mainly in workers’ and labor movements, and in particular unions, or in rural sociology as a reflection of the expression of class struggle within Arab societies.
  • Topic: International Organization, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maher Akhttiar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Until recently, people with disabilities in the Arab world have lived largely in the shadows, a silent sector lacking the opportunity to express their demands or discuss their needs. There are no medical, social, economic, legal, or political mechanisms in the region for discussing how disability is defined, or effectively explaining who disabled individuals are; this ambiguity in standards, which allows people to be divided into healthy and unhealthy categories, act as a mechanism of veiled oppression.
  • Topic: Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Nael Georges
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper presents the key ideas from a new book of the same name forthcoming soon from Dar el Machreq. This book was made possible by support from the Arab Reform Initiative’s Arab Research Support Program.
  • Topic: International Relations, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Cherine Chams El-Dine
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Since the end of July 2015 a major popular uprising has erupted in Iraq’s provinces – aside from the territories under the control of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdish provinces. This protest movement, deemed to be the largest secular popular movement challenging the post-2003 political order in Iraq, has largely departed from the narrow sectarian paradigm that has so far monopolised the analysis of Iraqi politics. This paper examines the uprising’s actors, its slogans, its internal dynamics/organisational structure, and the Iraqi government’s frenetic response to popular demands.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Isam al Khafaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian revolt, which has disintegrated into a bloody attrition war, has been largely viewed as that of a majority Sunni population trying to depose a regime belonging to the minority Alawite sect. While this view may present a partially true explanation, it fails to explain why the involvement of different Sunni regions in the revolt varied to a large extent and the rising gap between the anti-Assad urbanites on the one hand and the armed militants on the other. It further fails to account for the wide diversity within the rebellion camp and the hostilities among the mushrooming opposition groups.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Greg Distelhorst, Richard M. Locke
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between trade and social institutions in the developing world? The research literature is conflicted: importing firms may demand that trading partners observe higher labor and environmental standards, or they may penalize higher standards that raise costs. This study uses new data on retailers and manufacturers to analyze how firm-level trade responds to information about social standards. Contrary to the "race to the bottom" hypothesis, it finds that retail importers reward exporters for complying with social standards. In difference-in-differences estimates from over two thousand manufacturing establishments in 36 countries, achieving compliance is associated with a 4% [1%, 7%] average increase in annual purchasing. The effect is driven largely by the apparel industry — a longterm target of anti-sweatshop social movements — suggesting that activist campaigns can shape patterns of global trade.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ebony Bertorelli, Patrick Heller, Siddharth Swaminathan, Ashutosh Varshney
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Drawing on data from a large household survey in Bangalore, this paper explores the quality of urban citizenship. Addressing theories that have tied the depth of democracy to the quality and effectiveness of citizenship, we develop an index of citizenship that includes various measures and then explore the extent to which citizenship determines the quality of services and infrastructure that households enjoy. Our findings show that citizenship and access to services in Bangalore are highly differentiated, that much of what drives these differences has to do with class, but we also find clear evidence that the urban poor are somewhat better in terms of the services they receive that they would be without citizenship. Citizenship, in other words, abates the effects of class.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Atul Pokharel
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Implementing municipal-scale policies is challenging in megacities. Despite this, between 1986 and 2006, Delhi converted its entire public transportation network of nearly 100,000 vehicles to use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) instead of diesel and petrol. The use of CNG is widely assumed to have been ordered by the Supreme Court of India. But this overlooks how autorickshaws, privately owned and making up three-fourths of these vehicles, came to use CNG even though the court did not order it. Using two new sources of data, I show that the conversion of autos was jointly led by the largest private manufacturer together with the city government. The court facilitated coordination between several other actors, allowed them to experiment, and monitored progress over two decades leading up to the auto conversion. After capping the total number of autos, it ultimately refrained from passing judgment on two consequential aspects of greening them: vehicle ownership and fuel type. As a result, auto owners were buffeted by decades of incremental policy experimentation. Eventually, these experiments reconfigured auto ownership as some sold their operating permits to become renters, while state institutions remained indifferent to this shadow conversion underfoot.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Heller
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the interaction of politics and business through the lens of the city. The power of business to influence politics in India would lead to a prediction that Indian cities are, in the classic sense of the term, growth machines. Yet we argue in this paper that fundamental problems of governance in India’s megacities have precluded the possibility of business coalitions exerting cohesive influence over investments policies in cities. The result has been the predominance of what we call cabals, that are expert at extracting rents from the city, but in the end fail to promote development in the sense of an institutionalized process of economic and social improvement in the city. Where there has been high growth, it has not been accompanied by the expansion of the cities’ infrastructure and overall coordination capacities. In the end, what is good for business and politicians had neither been good for capitalism in terms of dynamic accumulation nor for inclusion of middle and poorer social groups.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus