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  • Publication Date: 04-1995
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: With the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in Nicaraguan history in 1990, Nicaraguans ended a decade-long civil war and began a process of reconciliation. Within the space of a year, the army was shrunk from 96,000 to less than 15,000 troops, the Nicaraguan Resistance was demobilized, and new forms of dialogue between previously hostile groups emerged. Nevertheless, economic recovery remained elusive in the face of hyperinflation, high expectations and competing demands among organized groups, and a lack of confidence among investors and producers. Disputes over property have played a significant role in Nicaragua's recent political and economic experience, and are a fundamental factor in its future economic recovery and political reconciliation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Thomas Chronopoulos
  • Publication Date: 12-1995
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Studies of Social Change
  • Abstract: In the period between 1758 and 1834 repertoires of contention in Britain changed from parochial, particular, and bifurcated to cosmopolitan, modular, and autonomous. In other words, eighteenth century actions "that included a good deal of ceremonial, street theater, deployment of strong visual symbols, and destruction of symbolically charged objects" through the course of time lost their relative predominance and instead "demonstrations, strikes, rallies, public meetings, and similar forms of public interaction came to prevail during the nineteenth century." These new routines for the eighteenth century contentious events are the ones that ordinary people in the United States and Western Europe still to this date principally employ to make claims. This conclusion merges from a systematic study of more than 8,000 contentious gatherings, in Southern England (1758-1820) and Great Britain as a whole (1828-1834).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, England
  • Author: Mustafa Emirbayer, Jeff Goodwin
  • Publication Date: 10-1995
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Studies of Social Change
  • Abstract: In 1980, Jack Goldstone wrote an influential review essay entitled "Theories of Revolution: The Third Generation." Goldstone noted that a "third generation" of theorists had emerged during the 1970s, one that placed special emphasis on the causal role of political and economic "structures" in social revolutions, especially states, transnational forces, and peasant communities. (By contrast, "second generation" theorists emphasized the role of diffuse "social strains" and their social-psychological consequences) Today, it seems increasingly apparent that this third generation, despite its impressive theoretical contributions, has largely run its course. In fact, as John Foran has recently noted, "the first signs of a new school may be appearing on the intellectual horizon." This new perspective, Foran and many other scholars agree, ought to focus much more attention on culture and ideology (as well as on agency) than did the third generation, but without losing sight of the important role played by political and economic structures.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Science and Technology
  • Author: Charles Tilly
  • Publication Date: 05-1995
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Studies of Social Change
  • Abstract: Observation of state-military relations in Israel reveals an apparent paradox: Within a period of about seventy years, the more the militarization of Israeli society and politics gradually increased, the more politicians were successful in institutionalizing effective control over the Israel Defence Forces (IDF, and the pre-state organizations). Militarization passed through three main stages: (1) accepting the use of force as a legitimate political instrument during the pre-state period (1920-1948), subsequent to confrontation between pacifism and activism; (2) giving this instrument priority over political-diplomatic means in the state's first years up to the point in which (3) military discursive patterns gradually dominated political discourse after the 1967 War. At the same time, political control over the IDF was tightened, going from the inculcation of the principle of the armed forces' subordination to the political level during the pre-state period to the construction of arrangements working to restrain the military leverage for autonomous action.
  • Topic: Education, Industrial Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Israel
  • Author: Mustafa Emirbayer, Ann Miscbe
  • Publication Date: 01-1995
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Studies of Social Change
  • Abstract: The concept of agency has become a source of increasing strain and confusion in social thought. Variants of action theory, normative theory, and political-institutional analysis have defended, attacked, buried, and resuscitated the concept in often contradictory and overlapping ways. At the center of the debate, the term "agency" itself has maintained an elusive, albeit resonant, vagueness; it has given rise to a long list of associated (and often equally vague) terms, such as selthood, motivation, will, purposiveness, intentionality, choice, initiative, freedom, and creativity. Yet despite the growing numbers of recent theorists -- ranging from Jeffrey Alexander, Anthony Giddens, and Pierre Bourdieu to Jurgen Habermas and James Coleman -- who have addressed the so-called "structure and agency problem," the concept of agency itself has been surprisingly neglected. In the struggle to demonstrate the interpenetration of agency and structure, most theorists have failed to distinguish agency as an analytical category in its own right -- with distinctive theoretical dimensions and temporally variable social manifestations. The result has been a flat and impoverished conception that, when it escapes the abstract voluntarism of rational choice theory, tends to remain so tightly bound to structure that one loses sight of the different ways in which agency actually shapes social action.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Science and Technology
  • Author: Stephen M. Saideman
  • Publication Date: 11-1995
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California
  • Abstract: Is secession contagious? If so, can it be contained or quarantined to limit its spread? These two questions must be addressed to understand the challenges posed by ethnic divisions within and between states today. The end of ideological competition between the United States and the Soviet Union has not ushered in an era of global peace, but instead a period characterized by ethnic conflicts within many states. The coincidence of the disintegrations of the Soviet, Yugoslav, and Czechoslovak federations suggests that secession does spread with potentially nasty consequences.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Nationalism, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe
  • Author: John Keane
  • Publication Date: 10-1993
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster
  • Abstract: What is a nation? Do nations have a right to self-determination? If so, does that mean that the national identity of citizens is best guaranteed by a system of democratic government, in which power is subject to open disputation and to the consent of the governed living within a carefully defined territory? And what of nationalism? Does it differ from national identity? Is it compatible with democracy? If not, cam its growth be prevented, or at least controlled, so as to guarantee the survival or growth of democracy?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-1992
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Robert Pastor, Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Program at The Carter Center and Executive Secretary of the Council, opened the conference with a reference to Mexican Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz who once said, "A nation without free elections is a nation without a voice, without eyes, and without ears." Pastor noted that the right to free and fair elections is a universal right enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Charter of the Organization of American States. In the spirit of honoring that right, the Council was formed in 1986 to lend support and assistance to the democratization movement in the Americas.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 05-1990
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the entire electoral process, the political system in Nicaragua gradually opened so that by election day, the major political parties acknowledged that they had an adequate opportunity to explain their positions to the Nicaraguan people. The Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government shared the conclusion of the parties: the Nicaraguan people were free to vote their preferences in a fair election, and the official results reflected the collective will of the nation.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America