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. Attendees are expected to read the papers in advance and be prepared to provide constructive feedback for presenters. The Seminar Series is supported, in part, by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. To be added to the Sié Research Seminar Series invitation list, please email email@example.com.
Courtenay Conrad, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Merced
October 13, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 1150
Lunch will be served. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the paper.
Can public opinion constrain democratic governments from engaging in torture? The authors argue that perceptions of threat undermine the extent to which American public opinion is a strong bulwark against government torture. Although surveys demonstrate that a slim majority of the American public generally opposes torture, the authors show that Americans are considerably more supportive of abuse when it is directed at individuals who they perceive as threatening: when the detainee has an Arabic name, when the alleged crime is terrorism, and when an intelligence agency is responsible for the interrogation of a detainee. The results underscore the importance of institutional protections of human rights given the malleability of public opinion as a constraint.
Richard Jackson, Deputy Director at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
October 17, 2016
5:00pm, Sie Complex 1150
Lunch will be served. Please contact email@example.com to request a copy of the paper.
The aim of this article is to explore why pacifist theory is neglected as a potential resource for thinking about the use of force and the protection of the vulnerable in IR, particularly when it deals directly with all the main issues involved. More specifically, it explores some of the consequences of excluding pacifist perspectives, and discusses how pacifist theory can expand the ethical horizons of debate over how to respond to violent threats in IR. My conclusion is that pacifism is currently a form of "subjugated knowledge" within IR, but taking pacifism seriously could help to expand the ethical imagination and range of policy options in considerations about civilian protection, among others. Moreover, investing in the exploration of pacifist approaches has the potential to go beyond short-term protection measures in violent conflicts, taking us instead towards the goal of breaking the long-term cycles of violence which perpetuate vulnerability in the first instance.
Kyle Beardsley, Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University
September 22, 2016
Peace agreements often include provisions for integrating minority ethnic groups into security sector institutions. Advocates argue that "ethnic balancing" reduces discrimination; opponents counter that it erodes unit cohesion. We test these predictions against each other using surveys and lab-in-the-field experiments implemented with teams of Liberian National Police officers. We find that teams that include minority police officers are no more or less cooperative than those that do not, and that heterogeneous teams are no more or less cooperative than homogeneous ones. We also find, however, that teams with minority police officers are more rather than less discriminatory against minority civilians—a substantively large and highly statistically significant adverse effect. We show that this effect is not driven by heterogeneity, but rather by the presence of minority police officers per se. We explore potential mechanisms and provide reasons for both optimism and caution towards ethnic balancing in deeply divided societies.
Joseph Young, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University
"'If Torture is Wrong, What About 24?':Torture and the Hollywood Effect"
May 19, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 1150
How do dramatic depictions of counterterrorism practices impact public opinion and policy? Since 9/11, media depictions of these practices have also grown precipitously. Do media depictions impact how the public views torture? This study is a randomized control trial that examines how the framing of torture in pop culture impacts support for this practice. Using a mixed within-subjects and between-subjects design, participants (n = 150) were randomly assigned to a condition for dramatic depictions showing (1) torture as effective, (2) torture is ineffective, or (3) a neutral (control) condition. Participants who saw torture as being effective increased their stated support for it. We also found that participants who saw torture – regardless of whether or not it was effective – were more likely to sign a petition in line with their stated beliefs on torture. These findings may indicate people are more likely to take action about aggressive policies after seeing violence.
Michael Kalin, PhD Candidate at Yale University and Sié Center Visiting Scholar
"Social Identity and Non-Material Payoffs: A Review"
May 12, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 1150 (formerly Sié 150)
What is the existing evidence for non-material payoffs driven by group attachments that we call social identity? When do these matter and for what sorts of behaviors? We highlight findings across political science, ranging from voting and redistribution to violence and conflict, that focus on the non-material, identity-based, motivations for behavior in these domains. Doing so allows us to draw out commonalities across research areas often held in isolation from one another and which frequently employ overlapping terminology. We attempt to summarize important findings, and identify open questions; these include the role played by elites in shaping mass mobilization around identities and the relationship between social identities and social norms.
Evan Perkoski, Research Fellow, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
"The Survival of Militant Splinter Groups"
April 28, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 1150 (formerly Sié 150)
When militant groups fragment, why do some emerging organizations survive while others quickly collapse? I argue that characteristics of group breakdown drive the convergence or divergence of preferences within these new organizations, leading to the observed variation in rates of survival. Splinters forming factionally around a shared disagreement or worldview attract a relatively homogeneous core of recruits both from their parent organization and the broader community. On the other hand, splinters forming multidimensionally --absent a clear, shared vision of their organizational trajectory -- attract a more diverse membership base. Militants with strongly aligned preferences for their organizational future are less likely to experience defection, infiltration, and internal feuds, while their cohesion facilitates structural decentralization that further bolsters their resilience. Analyzing a new data set of militant fragmentation, I find strong evidence to support this intuition. In particular, schisms over strategic differences produce new groups that are especially long-lived. The ramifications of this research are significant: while existing studies attest to the influence of internal group preferences, I demonstrate that how militants form|itself a surprisingly understudied topic|strongly shapes their long-term trajectory including the odds that preferences diverge or converge. This research also refocuses the study of conflict fragmentation on individual groups (and particular schisms), showing that how conflicts become fragmented is an important consideration. Finally, and to the potential benefit of policymakers, this project sheds light on a particularly threatening subset of militant groups. However, the results do call into question the utility, and indeed the conventional wisdom, of fragmentation as a counterinsurgency strategy.
Christopher Fariss, Jeffrey L. Hyde and Sharon D. Hyde and Political Science Board of Visitors Early Career Professor in Political Science, Penn State University
"Truth Replaced by Silence: A Field Experiment on Private Censorship in Russia"
April 21, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 1150
This seminar presentation was co-sponsored with the Human Trafficking Center.
Through highly visible acts of repression, authoritarian regimes can send informative signals to private actors about what types of speech are off-limits and might draw the punitive attention of the state. These acts not only encourage private actors to censor themselves but also to censor other private actors, a behavior we refer to as regime-induced private censorship. Our paper is the first to provide systematic empirical evidence on the extent and targets of such censorship behavior. We use a field experiment conducted throughout the Russian Federation in September 2014 to investigate the private censorship behavior of private media firms. The results suggest that private actors censor the messages of other private actors when those messages include anti-regime language, calls for collective action, or both. These results are partially consistent with previous empirical findings in that they show that private actors censor content with a collective action appeal even when the message itself is non-political. Our results, however, build upon previous work by showing that anti-regime messages that do not contain a call for collective action are still censored under some authoritarian regimes. Our results highlight the importance of forms of censorship other than state censorship when discussing repression, dissent, and public opinion formation in authoritarian regimes.
Eli Berman, Professor of Economics, University of California San Diego
"Expanding Governance as Development: Evidence on Child Nutrition in the Philippines"
April 7, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 1150 (formerly Sié 150)
Worldwide, extreme poverty is often concentrated in spaces where people and property are not safe enough to sustain effective markets, and where development assistance is dangerous – and might even induce violence. Expanding governance by coercively taking control of territory may enable markets and development programs, but costs to local residents may exceed benefits, especially if that expansion is violent. We estimate for the first time whether a large counterinsurgency program improves welfare. We exploit the staggered roll-out of the Philippine "Peace and Development Teams" counterinsurgency program, which treated 12% of the population between 2002 and 2010. Though treatment temporarily increased violence, the program progressively reduced child malnutrition: by 10% in the first year, and by 30% from year three onwards. Improved nutritional status was not due to increased health and welfare expenditures, but instead to improved governance. Treatment effects are comparable to those of conventional child health interventions, though conventional programs are likely infeasible in this setting. Rebels apparently react to treatment by shifting to neighboring municipalities, as malnutrition worsens there – with statistically significant 'treatment' effects of similar size. Thus overall program effects are close to zero. These findings invite an evidence-based discussion of governance expansion, an extensive margin of development.
Wendy Wong, Associate Professor of Political Science; Director, Trudeau Center for Peace, Conflict, and Justice; Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
"With Friends like These: Strategic Interactions among INGOs"
March 31, 2016
12:00pm, Sie Complex 3110 (formerly Cherrington room 301 - please note location)
This paper is an offshoot of a bigger book project, where we measure differences in INGO authority using indicators of deference before four audiences: states, corporations, other INGOs, and "the public." In the book, we argue that INGOs working on global advocacy are caught in an "authority trap," which shapes their strategic choices. INGOs with authority across all of these different audiences, those we call "leading INGOs," are are more moderate in their asks and strategies because of a need to balance the needs of all of the audiences to whom they are speaking and therefore, are equally (if not more) concerned with maintaining their status as leading INGOs. INGOs that do not have authority can be as radical as they would like in their asks, but because they have no authority, their demands are bypassed.
Jack Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor, John Evans Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
"THE STRUCTURES OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIETIES: FORMAL DIFFERENTIATION"
March 10, 2016
12:00pm, Sié 150
This paper is a chapter from a book ms. that develops a radically new multidimensional conception of the structures of international societies. In the three preceding chapters I argue that the Waltzian tripartite (ordering principle, functional differentiation, distribution of capabilities) conception of structure fails to accurately depict the structure of any international system. This chapter begins to develop and apply an alternative account -- a multidimensional structural framework -- by looking at differences of form in social positions and their relations. Because the formal arrangement of the parts of a system is often especially well expressed in visual models, I use them extensively.
The chapter is divided into four principal parts. Sections 5.1 and 5.2 identify two types of polities ("states" and "empires") and four types of international systems ("states systems," "empires," "world states," and "heterarchies"). Sections 5.3-5.7 consider the structural dimensions of centralization, functional differentiation, stratification, and spatio-political organization. Sections 5.8 and 5.9 examine states systems and heterarchies, the two types of international systems with the most immediate contemporary relevance. Sections 5.10-5.13 then step back and reflect on the general character and some of the implications of these models.
Phil Potter, Assistant Professor of Politics, University of Virginia
"Tactical Diversity in Militant Violence"
February 25, 2016
12:00pm, Sié 150
Militant groups, like all organizations, carefully consider the tactics and strategies that they employ. In this article, we assess why some militant organizations diversify into multiple tactics while others limit themselves to just one or a few. This is an important puzzle because militant organizations that employ multiple approaches to violence are more likely to stretch state defenses, achieve tactical success, and threaten state security. We theorize that militant organizations respond to external pressure by diversifying their tactics in order to ensure their survival and continued relevance, and that the primary sources of such pressure are government repression and inter-organizational competition. We find consistent support for these propositions in tests of both the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) and Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) datasets. To address the possible endogeneity of repression and diversification we then confirm these findings in a more fully identified specification that employs ethnic fractionalization as an instrument in a multi-process recursive model. Finally, we demonstrate that organizations that diversify under pressure adopt more disruptive tactics such as hijacking and suicide bombing, rather than devolving into less threatening approaches such as isolated shootings and kidnappings. The policy implication is that while countries cannot anticipate the character of future tactical innovations, they may be able to anticipate which groups will most readily adopt them.
Laia Balcells, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Duke University
"Rivalry and Revenge: the Politics of Violence in Civil War"
February 18, 2016
12:00pm, Sié 150
What explains violence against civilians in civil wars? Why do armed groups use violence in some places but not in neighboring places with similar characteristics? Why do they kill more civilians in some places than in others? More specifically, why do groups kill civilians in areas where they have full military control and their rivals have no military presence? The theoretical argument is that armed groups target civilians who have been politically mobilized by the enemy group, as they perceive threats behind the frontlines. I propose a distinction between indirect and direct violence against civilians, and I argue that the distribution of political loyalties relates differently with respect to each of these types. These differences emanate from their diverging form of production: indirect violence is perpetrated with heavy weapons is unilaterally carried out by the armed group. In contrast, direct violence is perpetrated with small weapons and is produced by armed groups in collaboration with local civilians. Direct (or face-to-face) violence occurs when enemy supporters are located in zones controlled by the armed group, whereas indirect violence occurs when enemy supporters are located in zones controlled by the adversary. When targeting enemy supporters behind enemy lines, the armed group aims to kill as many of them as possible, hence they target locations with high concentrations of enemy supporters. In territory the armed group controls, in contrast, the group must take into account the preferences of its own supporters, whose collaboration is crucial. Group supporters are likely to collaborate in the killing of their neighbors if and only if it is in their own interest to do so, which is the case when eliminating enemy supporters can decisively shift the demographic balance and help them gain or consolidate political control of the locality. Because of the latter, direct violence is likely to occur where the balance between group supporters and enemy supporters is relatively even. Thus, the main prediction in the book is that indirect violence increases with rival supporters' domination of a locality whereas direct violence increases with parity between supporters of the two rival groups.
The hypotheses are tested with a multi-method empirical strategy. The research design consists of exploring intra-country variation (with large-n sub-national data) of violence during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) and the Ivorian civil wars (2002-2011), and combining it with additional secondary evidence from other cases in order to provide external validity. For the case studies, I draw on archival and historiographic sources to construct a set of novel databases of victims of lethal violence, pre-war elections results, and geographical and socioeconomic variables. I also us qualitative evidence collected from oral sources and from over a hundred published sources, including general history books, as well as regional and local studies.
Jeff Colgan, Richard Holbrooke Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Watson Institute at Brown University
"The Political Economy of Territorial Ambitions"
February 4, 2016
12:00pm, Sié 150
The 20th century witnessed a remarkable change in the territorial preferences of powerful states. Empires declined, and advanced states rarely sought to annex or permanently occupy foreign territory, even after overseas military victories. One part of the story is surely the rise of colonial nationalism, but another part of the explanation, less well understood, has to do with changing interests within the advanced states. I argue that two factors help account for this change in territorial preferences: energy modernity and regime type. High energy consumption per capita, relative to 19th century standards, signifies an underlying economic transition that changes the political balance of power away from those who benefit economically from imperialism and toward groups who are more sensitive to its costs. Regime type affects the ease with which domestic groups that would benefit from aggressive imperialism can engage in state capture. When a state is both democratic and energy modern, its preferences for imperialism (long-‐term occupation of foreign territories) are likely to be low. When a state is energy traditional, however, a state is likely to have strong territorial preferences even when it is democratic. This theory is tested with a broad historical analysis over the period of 1850-‐2000, focusing on the six major combatants of World War II: Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Each of these states started with strong imperial preferences, but there is significant variation in the timing of the subsequent change in each state's preferences.
Lee Ann Fujii, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, University of Toronto Mississauga
"Sideshows," a book chapter from the manuscript Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display
January 28, 2016
12:00pm, Sié 150
This book asks what explains violent display. To answer this question, I examine various displays that occurred in three different settings: the Bosnian war, Jim Crow Maryland, and the Rwandan genocide. Not all displays involved what I call "extra-lethal" violence but this chapter focuses exclusively on such displays. The chapter also references two lynching cases that I discuss in previous chapters. One is the lynching of black factory worker, Matthew Williams, that took place in December 1931 in Salisbury, Maryland and the other was the lynching of black farmhand, George Armwood, that took place in October 1933 in Princess Anne, a neighboring town.
Ben Appel and Jakana Thomas, Assistant Professors of Political Science, Michigan State University
"The Effectiveness of Sanctioning Foreign Terrorist Organizations"
January 14, 2016
12:00pm, Sié 150
Both the UN and the U.S. have sought to disrupt the activity of terrorist groups by enacting economic sanctions against them. While both have devoted significant resources to their sanctions program, very little is known about how this counterterrorism strategy actually influences the activities of targeted terrorist groups. In this study, we examine systematically the impact of U.S. and UN sanctions on both the frequency and severity of terrorist attacks in a cross-national study from 1989-2014. Focusing on a broad array of economic/diplomatic policy tools that may fall under the broad umbrella of sanctions (i.e., seizing/freezing assets, embargos [arms, goods, services], travel bans), we expect that sanctions will curtail terrorist activity. We test our argument on a new data including information on both U.S. and UN sanctions. Using difference-in-differences estimation to account for concerns related to selection effects, we find consistent support for our argument, UN and U.S sanctions reduce both the frequency and severity of terrorist attacks.
Holly Porter, Lead Researcher for Northern Uganda, Justice and Security Research Programme, London School of Economics
"Moral Spaces and Sexual Transgression: the 'Event,' the 'Ordinary,' and 'Logics' of Sexual Violence in Northern Uganda"
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
9:30am, Ben Cherrington Hall 141
When it comes to rape in the context of war, evocative language describing rape as a "weapon of war" and the female body as a battlefield is now commonplace. Yet scholars also note the similarities with violence before, during and after conflict, with a key issue being the relationship between rape in war and "normal" male-female relationships -- in other words, between "the event" and "the ordinary." This paper explores these relationships by considering sexual violence in Acholi, northern Uganda. Building on research focusing on forced sex from over seven years of fieldwork, the paper foregrounds the ways sexual violence variously works to continue, exaggerate and/or rupture ³normal² social and gender orderings of Acholi society. However, examining rape and its aftermath solely through the prism of "the event" and "the ordinary" leaves the picture blurry: people carve out moral spaces of agency to assert moral probity, as modes of governance, and as ways of making sense of the choices and actions of themselves and others. Deliberate distinction of space works to separate events from essence and actions from morality. In Acholi, these moral spaces are delineated by temporalities (olden times, the time of war, these days, and a continuous frozen ideal of Acholi life), in turn associated with specific physical localities (the village, the camp, the bush, town, home). By mapping ideas of what constitutes sex and sexual transgression onto these moral spaces, this paper sheds light on the relationship between event and ordinary, rape and war.
Luke Abbs, Visiting Scholar
"Better the Devil You Know: Why Incumbents Delegate Violence to Ethnic Militias"
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
The traditional "Weberian" conception of statehood suggests that elites should rely on official state agents to suppress potential challengers (Ahram 2011), as irregular militia groups dilute the state's monopoly over force. For pro-government militias are organized armed actors that support the government, but operate outside of conventional security structures (Carey et al, 2013). In principle, the usage of militia should be particularly unnecessary for elites that maintain executive power, as they have exclusive control over the conventional state forces. Maintaining a monopoly of force depends on concentrating power at the center, and therefore we should not expect to see elites delegate state violence to irregular militia groups. However, between 1981 and 2007, forty-two states have relied on the support of ethnic militias, which are a unique form of pro-government militia that are exclusively recruited along ethnic lines. This is puzzling, since ethnic leaders with access to conventional forces still delegate security roles to militia groups that operate outside of their direct control. This article builds on this puzzle, focusing on the research question: why do ruling ethnic elites delegate state violence to ethnic militias?
Ana Arjona, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
"Non-state territorial armed groups and state capacity"
October 22, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
Different kinds of non-state armed groups are behind the most violent conflicts of today: the FARC in Colombia, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and drug traffickers in Mexico. While we often study these groups separately, policy recommendations to counter their expansion often point to the same solution: improving state capacity. Yet, what state capacity entails, and which specific components are more crucial, is seldom theorized. This ambiguity has led to policy recommendations that are too broad and ambitious, as they call for interventions that bring security, public goods provision, institutions, and development. In this paper I propose the concept of "non-state territorial armed groups", and develop a theoretical framework to assess the relative importance of different components of state capacity in preventing these groups from ruling civilian populations. I argue that improving local justice institutions should be a priority—more so than providing public goods and implementing projects for local development, which seems the dominant policy. Justice institutions are an essential building block of social order, and they also provide the cement for civilian resistance to armed group rule. I test the main implications of the argument with original data on conflict zones throughout Colombia, where different kinds of non-state armed groups have operated for decades.
Amy Grubb, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences
Department of Security Studies and International Affairs, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
"Collusion at the Grassroots in Kenya’s 2007-08 Post-Election Violence"
September 17, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
Human security challenges such as Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007-08 necessitate research on geographical levels below the state and the particular local actors and processes crucial in providing or threatening that security. The factors most indicated as causes of Kenya’s violence, namely neopatrimonialism, elite fragmentation, and ethnicity, can be manifested in actor behaviors differently across communities. This study examines two districts in the Rift Valley where I find distinct dynamics in relationships between perpetrators and grassroots state officials. The paper shows that where state officials collude with perpetrators, the effect can be deleterious on the state goal of reducing a threat. Instead, this behavior can lead to a cycle of continuous violence. Consequently, the containment of conflict, and thereby the provision of human security, depends on impartial state officials at the grassroots level able and willing to offer protection to targeted groups.
Karen Ruth Adams, Associate Professor, International Relations, University of Montana
"A New Approach to Security Studies:The Threat, Vulnerability, and Assistance Framework"
May 28, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
In this paper, I offer a new approach to organize, apply, and evaluate the concepts and arguments of security studies. I call it the Threat, Vulnerability, and Assistance Framework (TVAF). Although elements of the framework can be discerned throughout the scholarly literature on security, its logic has never been made explicit. The paper has four parts. In Part I, I provide a brief overview of the history and current structure of security studies, which Alan Collins has aptly summarized as “pick ‘n mix.”2 In Part II, I explain that if security studies is going to become a normal science capable of informing effective action by policy makers and practitioners, some kind of conceptual framework is needed. In Part III, I deduce the TVAF from the ordinary language definitions of security and insecurity, and from the social context in which actors and units operate. The framework depicts the fundamental claim of security studies, which is that the level of security a particular actor or unit experiences is a result of three factors: the existence of threats to actors and units of its type, the vulnerabilities of the actor or unit in question, and the availability of external assistance. In Part IV, I demonstrate that the TVAF can be applied to a variety of actors and units (including people, states, and ecosystems), and I argue that it is best applied to the full array threats, vulnerabilities, and forms of assistance.
Steve Zech, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
"More Than Just Victims: Civilian Resistance during Internal Armed Conflict in Peru"
May 7, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
What explains civilian resistance to insurgent violence? Why do some communities resort to violence while others facing similar situations do not? I argue that how actors address the tension between their community’s ideas about violence and their own use of violence is key to understanding violent action. Community narratives interpret events and define inter-group relations: discourse that legitimizes violence makes violence more likely. The form this resistance takes – whether large-scale mobilization or disorganized individual acts – depends on a community’s institutional capacity to generate collective action. I test my argument against realist and rationalist arguments that emphasize power, threat, and incentive structures.
Research on internal armed conflict focuses on violence perpetrated by insurgent groups and state security forces, often ignoring other armed civilian actors. But, militias, paramilitary groups, and civilian self-defense forces represent important third parties in most armed conflicts. In the 1980s and 1990s, Peruvian civilian self-defense forces played a crucial role in defeating the insurgent threat challenging the state. My dissertation explains divergent outcomes in civilian resistance during Peru’s internal armed conflict. To examine the origins and evolution of civilian self-defense forces I use a mixed-methods approach that combines a quantitative analysis of regional civilian violence with community case studies. I use in-depth case studies to explain the timing of civilian resistance as well as the underlying social processes behind decisions to take violent action. I evaluate my argument using historical cases from Peru’s internal armed conflict in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as contemporary cases in the Ayacucho and Junín regions of Peru. I draw from hundreds of testimonies in the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission archives, as well as nearly two hundred personal interviews with self-defense force members, community leaders, military officials, and civilians.
Cassy Dorff, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
"Dynamic Networks of Conflictual Events: The Mexican Criminal Conflict"
April 23, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
I present an aggregated analysis on the evolution of armed conflict in Mexico. The criminal war in Mexico is extremely complex: Drug Trafficking Organizations, citizens, government agents, amongst others, are all relevant actors within the dynamic evolution of the conflict. Existing research, however, typically ignores the interdependencies inherent to these networks. Using a new collection of machine-coded event data, I generate conflict networks for each year from 2004 to 2010. In doing so, I make three major contributions. First, I offer insights into the potential promise and pitfalls of using machine-coded data for country-level analysis. Next, after cleaning and improving upon the original data, I generate dynamic yearly networks, which include a wide variety of violent-related actors. Importantly, I demonstrate how these networks capture the independent nature of the Mexican conflict and present new insights, such as how government coordination changes in response to cartel violence over time. Finally, I use a latent space approach to uncover previously unobservable violence between government actors, criminal groups, and civilians. This research design serves as a platform for future research to investigate the effects of other major events–such as mass protests–on the evolution of armed conflict.
Chris Blattman, Associate Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
"Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia"
April 9, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
We show that noncognitive skills and identity are malleable in adulthood, and investments can reduce costly antisocial behaviors. We recruited 999 Liberian men engaged in crime, violence, and drug trafficking. We randomized half to eight weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy to foster self control skills (anger management, self-discipline) and a noncriminal self-image and values. We also randomized a $200 grant. Cash led to short-lived income gains. Therapy increased self control and noncriminal values, and led to large, sustained falls in crime and violence. Therapy’s impacts were greatest when followed by cash, as the short-lived boost to income reinforced behavioral changes.
Jason Lyall, Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University
"Bombing to Lose? Airpower, Civilian Casualties, and the Dynamics of Violence in Counterinsurgency Wars"
April 2, 2015
12:00pm, Ben M. Cherrington Hall room 301
Are airstrikes an effective tool against insurgent organizations? Despite the question’s historical and contemporary relevance, we have few dedicated studies, and even less consensus, about airpower’s effectiveness in counterinsurgency wars. To answer this question, I draw on declassified United States Air Force records of nearly 23,000 airstrikes and non-lethal shows of force in Afghanistan (2006-11), satellite imagery, and a new SQL-enabled form of dynamic matching to estimate the causal effects of airstrikes on insurgent attacks over variable temporal and spatial windows. Evidence consistently indicates that airstrikes markedly increase insurgent attacks relative to non-bombed locations for at least 90 days after a strike. Civilian casualties play little role in explaining post-strike insurgent responses, however. Instead, these attacks appear driven by reputational concerns, as insurgent organizations step up their violence after air operations to maintain their reputations for resolve in the eyes of local populations.
Devin Finn, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
"Participation in violent politics during Peru’s internal armed conflict: Ayacucho and Puno in comparative historical perspective"
March 26, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
In this paper, I examine the nature of political participation in Peru prior to and during its internal armed conflict. Participation is defined in terms of its range of articulation—the extent to which individuals and groups are organized, cohesive, and expressive. I argue that it is not necessarily how much people participate in politics—but how they do—that helps explain the nature of social and political relations between rebels and civilians. Attention to historical forms of mobilization in a given context – and their continuity and disjuncture with modes of participation observed during the war – has ontological implications for how we study violence and politics; these overlapping practices are critical to our understanding of participatory processes in democratic states. I suggest we adopt an ontology of violence and politics that facilitates studying citizens’ participation in violent acts as integrated or disjointed components of political and social practices. I argue that strongly articulated participation of peasants and civil society in one region of southern Peru ultimately prevented Sendero rebels from co-opting social struggles and gaining support. In Ayacucho, weak articulation of peasant interests and forms of political mobilization in the decades leading up to the outbreak of Sendero Luminoso’s violent guerra popular resulted in the rebels’ ability to penetrate social networks and wage a political struggle for minds and blood. Intensified violence against civilians occurred there in the mid-to-late 1980s, when peasant communities began turning against rebels’ oppressive rule.
Zakia Shiraz, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Warwick
"Writing in a Time of War: Journalism, Oversight and Colombia's Intelligence Community"
March 5, 2015
12:00pm, BMC 301
Arguably Colombia’s journalists have provided the main “intelligence oversight system” during a civil conflict has persisted for almost seven decades. Journalists in particular have suffered at the hands of all armed actors: narcotraffickers, insurgents, paramilitaries and the Colombian state. Despite the precarious nature of reporting, throughout the conflict journalists have risked their lives and persisted with their efforts to report human rights abuses. In recent years, the sectors of the Colombian press have extended their reporting of the murky activities of the Colombian intelligence services. In an era of whistleblowing and Wikileaks this is an important and neglected area of scholarship on the Colombian intelligence services. This paper seeks to explore the nature and texture of the relationship between the Colombian press and the country’s intelligence services through an analysis of recent intelligence scandals and abuse of power in which the press have questioned the very existence of some of the country’s intelligence bodies.
Jacob N. Shapiro, Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University and Co-Director of the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project
"Choosing Ungoverned Space: Pakistan's Frontier Crimes Regulation"
February 5, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
Why do substantial swathes of territory within the boundaries of administratively competent sovereign states remain ungoverned for long periods of time? We explore this question in the context of a unique set of legal institutions in Pakistan that clearly demarcate spaces that are to be left ungoverned. During colonial rule, the British divided Pakistan into two distinct regions. The first was the Raj, where the British built modern political and bureaucratic institutions. In the second region, the British put a small number of political agents in charge of tribal areas and codified pre-colonial institutions in the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). Legal decisions were left to customary law carried out by local tribal councils, or jirgas. Though the area under FCR has steadily decreased, FCR is still in place in the tribal areas of Pakistan today. Pakistan therefore offers a prime case in why governments leave certain territory ungoverned. Using primary legal documents we create a dataset of when and where FCR applied in Pakistan between 1901 and 2012 at the sub-district level. We then exploit the differential impact of the Green Revolution on potential land revenue at the sub-district level to empirically model the choice to leave territory ungoverned. We find that sub districts that we would see a disproportionate increase in potential land revenue as a result of the Green Revolution are disproportionately more likely to have FCR removed following the advent of the Green Revolution.
Charli Carpenter, Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst
"Political / Science / Fiction and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots"
January 22, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
A burgeoning literature in IR asserts there is a relationship between pop cultural artifacts and global policy processes, but this relationship is rarely explored empirically. This paper provides an evidence-based exploration of the relationship between science fiction narratives and global public policy in an important emerging political arena: norm-building efforts around the prohibition of fully autonomous weapons. Drawing on content analysis of media and campaign frames, new experimental survey data, interviews with advocacy elites, and participant-observation at campaign events, the paper explores causal and constitutive hypotheses about the impact of science fiction on 'real-world' politics.
Michael Rubin, PhD Candidate, Columbia University Political Science Department
"Accountability and Responsiveness in Rebel Regimes"
January 15, 2015
12:00pm, Sié 150
Why do rebels use civilian-targeted violence to establish control over territory in some communities while in others rebels provide governance and public goods? In what forms of collective action do civilians engage to shape rebel behavior, and under what conditions are they effective? Recent events in peripheral regions of weak states from Iraq and Syria to Ukraine have made us painfully aware of the potential negative consequences for civilians when rebel organizations control territory. However, it is also clear that rebels elsewhere establish local governance otherwise crucially under-provided by a weak state: the LTTE in Tamil-majority Sri Lanka and the EPLF in pre-independence Eritrea provided security, justice, health and education services to constituent civilians. These counterexamples debunk the myth that territory outside state control is necessarily “ungoverned space.” Moreover, there appears to be tremendous variation in rebel governance and violence practices even across localities within a particular rebel group's sphere of influence during conflict.
Despite a welcome growth in the social scientific study of rebel governance, the literature leaves unexplained the role for civilian political action to constrain rebel rulers. In this chapter of the dissertation project, I offer an accountability theory of rebel group behavior in the context of state weakness or civil war. Civilian coordination capacity, or local communities’ ability to achieve collective action to serve common interests despite competing preferences, is crucial to explaining rebel behavior. Communities that enjoy high coordination capacity are those in which there exist strong institutions and norms for political consensus-building and conflict management across distributional conflict cleavages. These communities will be more successful at disciplining rebels: they will experience less predatory violence and receive higher levels of goods provision. In these communities, groups may coordinate on credible incentive schemes; pledging material support for rebels conditional on good governance and resistance conditional on predation. Through coordinating their demands and their responses to rebel actions, civilians increase their power to affect rebels’ decision-making process.
Abdullah al-Arian, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar
December 4, 2014
12:00pm, Room 301
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
"Justice during armed conflict from 1949 through 2011: A new dataset"
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Rethinking Collective Action: The Case of Microfinance in Brazil and Mexico"
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Community Counts: The Social Reintegration of Ex-combatants in Colombia"
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.
When it comes to rape in the context of war, evocative language describing rape as a "weapon of war" and the female body as a battlefield is now commonplace. Yet scholars also note the similarities with violence before, during and after conflict, with a key issue being the relationship between rape in war and "normal" male-female relationships‹in other words,between ³the event² and ³the ordinary.
This paper explores these relationships by considering sexual violence in Acholi, northern Uganda. Building on research focusing on forced sex from over seven years of fieldwork, the paper foregrounds the ways sexual violence variously works to continue, exaggerate and/or rupture ³normal² social and gender orderings of Acholi society.
However, examining rape and its aftermath solely through the prism of ³the event² and ³the ordinary² leaves the picture
blurry: people carve out moral spaces of agency to assert moral probity, as modes of governance, and as ways of making sense of the choices and actions of themselves and others. Deliberate distinction of space works to separate events from essence and actions from morality.
In Acholi, these moral spaces are delineated by temporalities (olden times, the time of war, these days, and a continuous frozen ideal of Acholi life), in turn associated with specific physical localities (the village, the camp, the bush, town, home). By mapping ideas of what constitutes sex and sexual transgression onto these moral spaces, this paper sheds light on the relationship between event and ordinary, rape and war.