The Sié Research Seminar Series is a forum for discussion among PhD students, faculty and researchers on works-in-progress, with the aim of establishing an ongoing exchange between members of the Korbel community and innovative researchers from other institutions.
Abdullah al-Arian, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar
December 4, 2014
12:00pm, Sié 150
Idean Salehyan, Department of Political Science, University of North Texas
No News is Good News?: Mark and Recapture for Event Data When Reporting Probabilities are Less than One
Salehyan and his co-author Cullen S. Hendrix discuss a common, but often ignored, problem in event data: underreporting bias. When collecting data, it is often not the case that source materials capture all events of interest, leading to an undercount of the true number of events. To address this issue, they propose a common method first used to estimate the size of animal populations when a complete census is not feasible: mark and recapture. By taking multiple sources into consideration, one can estimate the rate of missing data across sources and come up with an estimate of the true number of events. To demonstrate the utility of the approach, they compare Associated Press and Agence France Press reports on conflict events, as contained in the Social Conflict in Africa Database. They show that these sources capture approximately 76% of all events in Africa, but that the non-detection rate declines dramatically when considering more significant events. They also show through regression analysis that deadly events, events of a larger magnitude, and events with government repression, among others, are significant predictors of overlapping reporting. Ultimately, the approach can be used to correct for undercounting in event data and to assess the quality of sources used.
Helga Malmin Binningsbø
Senior Researcher, PRIO
May 13, 2014
12:00pm, Sié 150
Work in the field of transitional justice focuses on institutions implemented following political transitions or armed conflict. This research has often assumed that transitional justice is put in place once armed conflict has ended, yet often transitional justice is implemented while conflict is ongoing without any political transition or shift in power taking place. Research on during-conflict justice (DCJ) processes has been hindered by a lack of data. To address this limitation the authors have created a new global, cross-national dataset on the use of DCJ. In this paper they introduce the dataset which includes the use of trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, purges, and exiles implemented during 156 internal armed conflicts from 1946 through 2011. In addition to determining the presence or absence of DCJ in each conflict year they have collected descriptive variables for each DCJ including information on the target of the process, its scope and timing. Following a presentation of the data, their paper draws attention to the conditions under which DCJ is used and the type of process most likely to be put in place. This dataset is of use to scholars working directly on the issue of transitional justice, as well as those interested in the tactics governments use during armed conflict.
BRANDON VALERIANO, "The Dynamics of Cyber Conflict between Rival Antagonists"
April 10, 2014
12:00pm, Sié 150
In 2011, the United States government declared a cyber attack similar to an act of war, punishable with conventional military means. Cyber engagements directed by one state against another are now considered part of the normal relations range of combat and conflict. Cyber is thought to be just another piece in the arsenal. This paper, co-authored with Ryan C. Maness, examines these processes and determines which rival states have been using cyber tactics and where these actions are directed. The authors also examine the level and seriousness of cyber interactions to discern the level of impact of the incident or dispute.
Damon Coletta and John Riley, "Improving Cooperation and Avoiding Breakdown in Complex Operations"
12:00pm, Sié 150
John Riley (DFPS/DVP, Kutztown University) and Damon Coletta (DFPS) presented a noontime seminar on "Improving Cooperation and Avoiding Breakdown in Complex Operations," at the Sie Center. The session was hosted by Chaired Professor Deborah Avant, director of the Sie Center and project lead for research on "Networks, Governance and Global Security." Discussion focused around recommendations appearing in a May 2013 Special Issue of a journal edited at University of Cambridge (UK), Small Wars & Insurgencies, in which Dr. Coletta had contributed an article. Drs. Riley and Coletta, along with former DFPS faculty member Lt. Pete Tolles (USN), led debate on state-centric versus networked-based approaches for improving performance of various entities within the international community in crisis situations such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The Sie Center audience of advanced graduate students split along career lines—nongovernmental organization (NGO) versus military—with military officers holding out greater optimism that state-centric approaches could be sufficiently adaptable to address complex crisis management operations.
Heather M. Roff Perkins, "Jus Ad Vim & Cyber Attacks: Governing the Use of Force in Cyberspace"
January 22, 2014
12:00pm, Sié 150
The debate on cyber warfare is characterized by two broad discussions: whether cyber attacks are governable through traditional just war principles, and if they are, to what extent the existing principles can adequately apply. This paper argues that the debate is misguided because cyber attacks occupy an area of coercive activity that sometimes amounts to force, but not necessarily "war" proper. I thus claim the just war tradition is not always the most appropriate framework for understanding how to govern this new type of weapon. Proffering a more nuanced view of cyber coercion, I contend we should classify cyber attacks into three discrete categories: cyber attacks with nonkinetic effects, cyber attacks with indirect kinetic effects, and cyber attacks that accompany or are precursors to kinetic war. When attacks are adjuncts or precursors to traditional kinetic war, they can be coopted into the traditional just war theory. However, the first two categories represent "uses of force," but are not "armed attacks" or "uses of armed force." They are thus better evaluated by jus ad vim - or force-short-of-war - framework that is more attuned to the ethical concerns of limited force.
Oliver Kaplan, "Explaining Recidivism of Ex-combatants in Colombia"
November 12, 2013
12:00pm, Sié 150
What determines the recidivism of ex-combatants from armed conflicts? In post-conflict settings around the world there has been growing interest in reintegration programs to prevent ex-combatants from returning to illegal activities or to armed groups, yet little is known about who decides to "go bad." In this paper, Oliver Kaplan and co-author Enzo Nussio, Department of Political Science, Universidad de Los Andes, draw on theories from criminology and conflict studies to develop hypotheses about which kinds of individuals are most likely to return to illegal activities and when. They evaluate various individual-level, community-level, and broader security environment predictors of recidivism by combining data from a representative survey of ex-combatants of various armed groups from Colombia with police records that indicate which among the respondents returned to belligerent or illegal activities. By analyzing data on the observed behaviors of ex-combatants, the authors avoid some of the validity pitfalls of existing studies of reintegration that only rely on perceptions about why ex-combatants might go astray. The results suggest which individual and community-level factors are most highly correlated with various kinds of recidivism and hold implications for programs and policies to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into society. Interviews with ex-combatants provide additional evidence about their motivations for recidivism.
Noelle Brigden, "Improvised Communities: Transnational Practice and National Performances along the Migration Route through Mexico"
September 30, 2013
To travel undetected by state authorities and criminal predators, Central Americans pass as Mexican during their journey to the United States. This "passing" underscores the ambiguities of social roles, such as nationality. Over time, these performances partially reconstruct imagined communities, blurring the boundaries between foreigners and citizens. However, International Relations scholarship tends to overlook how uncoordinated everyday practice complicates state control of territory in a globalized world. By tracing the co-constitutive relationship between migration policing, national performances and transnational routes, this paper reveals the makeshift nature of identity. In so doing, it argues for the continued inclusion of ethnography as a method for exploring the dynamic relationship between territory, state and nation.
May 17, 2013
Microfinance—the provision of small loans to low-income individuals—has gained substantial attention from both domestic and international actors because of its perceived capacity to alleviate poverty and inequality. Though the basic premise of microfinance is widely accepted, there is no consensus on microfinance regulation, which has important implications for not only who has access to microfinance services but also for the sustainability of microfinance institutions. In previous research, Professor Olsen shows that a focus on power and political contestation around microfinance points to the importance of domestic interests and organized groups in explaining microfinance regulatory outcomes.This study builds on that work and provides important steps in furthering our understanding about the variation in microfinance regulation. In particular, it asks: Why do domestic actors organize to shape regulation in some countries but not in others? Once organized, what determines their effectiveness? Contributing to the collective action literature, this study asserts that the formation of microfinance associations is a function of actors' ability to access the state and is not determined by its size or homogeneity, as traditional explanations would suggest. Parsing out collective action from what she terms "collective influence," this research demonstrates that, contingent upon organizing, microfinance associations' strength emerges from the innovative tactics they employ.
Séverine Autesserre, "Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention"
April 26, 2013
Séverine Autesserre presented her work-in-progress "Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention" on April 26. Why do international peace interventions so often fail to reach their full potential? Based on several years of ethnographic inquiry in conflict zones around the world, she demonstrated that everyday elements—such as the expatriates' social habits, standard security procedures, and habitual approaches to collecting information on violence – strongly impact the effectiveness of intervention efforts.
Lindsay Heger, "Negotiating with Rebel Governments: The Effect of Service Provision on Conflict Negotiations"
February 4, 2013
In her paper and presentation, Dr. Lindsay Heger, Research Associate at the One Earth Future Foundation, explored the question: When rebels provide social services, do they have more leverage negotiating terms of a peace deal? The literature suggests that service-providing groups may, on average, have a wider base of support and a more centralized organizational structure. Heger and co-author Danielle Jung argue that these features deter potential spoilers from breaking away from the organization during negotiation processes. This, in turn, makes governments more willing to engage in negotiations since the threat from spoilers is smaller. Thus, service providing rebels are more likely to engage in stable negotiation processes compared to non-providers. This paper analyzes these propositions by gathering service provision data on nearly 400 terrorist and groups and their involvement in and behavior during peace talks. It also serves as an introduction to a larger project about the implications of rebel service provision on conflict outcomes.
Eugenio Cusumano, "The Bureaucratic Politics of Outsourcing Security: The Privatization of Diplomatic Protection in the US and the UK"
October 22, 2012
Eugenio Cusumano, Fulbright-Schuman Scholar at the Korbel School of International Studies, will present in the second installment of the Sié Research Seminar Series. His research focuses on the global private military and security industry. In his paper, co-authored with Christopher Kinsey, he argues that states' increasing resort to private military and security companies (PMSCs) does not merely distort the balance of power between different branches of government, strengthening the executive vis-à-vis the legislative. It also redistributes authority and resources within the executive branch, changing the relationship between civilian foreign policy bureaucracies and military organizations. Although the use of PMSCs provides foreign policy bureaucracies with new avenues to pursue their parochial interests, a scholarly analysis of the bureaucratic politics of outsourcing is still missing. His paper probes the hypothesis that the outsourcing of diplomatic security in the US and the UK has been affected by bureaucratic competition and inter-agency rivalries, responding to foreign policy bureaucracies and development agencies' attempt to maximize their institutional autonomy vis-à-vis military organizations.
September 10, 2012
Oliver Kaplan, Lecturer at the Korbel School, will present in the first installment of the Sié Center's monthly Research Seminar Series. His research, conducted with with Enzo Nussio, analyzes the determinants of the social reintegration of ex-combatants from armed conflicts. Social and political participation is seen as a critical factor for preventing civil war recurrence. Participation can help ex-combatants feel socially fulfilled and acceptance by their communities can reduce their needs to maintain social connections to their former armed group networks and bosses. Kaplan and Nussio hypothesize that the strength of community organization and social relations among residents are associated with increased participation of ex-combatants in their communities. They test various individual, community and environmental factors using data from a survey of randomly sampled ex-combatants from Colombia, a survey of ordinary civilians, and observational datasets. The results suggest which ex-combatants are most likely to socially reintegrate and where. The results also provide insight on how ex-combatants' levels of participation compare with that of ordinary civilians. Kaplan and Nussio also examine how the social participation of ex-combatants and related social reintegration programs in Colombia may contribute to meeting broader definitions of successful reintegration.