Completed Dissertations

"Ever-widening Circles": Private Voluntary Development, Colonialism, and Arab Palestinians, 1930-1960

Francis Bonenfant-Juwong

Peace Studies & History

I engage questions about how historical actors envisioned the best way to approach “the local” as outsiders as they grappled with the collateral damage of processes of urban-industrial modernization. I use multi-archival research in the United States, England, Israel, and the West Bank to track how American private voluntary organizations and British colonial authorities deployed a shared strain of rural development among Palestinian Arabs amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Advocates of rural development were ambivalent about modernization and sought ways of nation-building that enabled local societies to retain their integrity and some measure of control over socioeconomic change. Towards this end, advocates promoted a rural development that was practical: immediately relevant for daily life and therefore very dependent on local contexts and the experiences and abilities of the students themselves. In this way, I encourage peacebuilding scholars to take seriously the “everyday” of colonial praxis and push historians of U.S. development towards the “everyday” of specific projects. And I argue that rural development was the predecessor to community development and that, rather than Asia, it is to the Middle East that U.S. community development primarily owes its emergence. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Threat, Risk, and Repression: Exploring State-Sponsored Political Violence from a Prospect Theory Approach

Jessica Brandwein

Peace Studies & Political Science

What are the causes and consequences of state-sponsored political violence against civilians and how can international actors limit such violence? This dissertation takes a prospect theory approach to understanding these questions, diverging from the typical expected-utility framework presented in the existing literature. The primary argument is that governments decide whether to perpetrate violence against their citizens based on whether that government is operating from a domain of gain or a domain of loss. The result is that distinct governments will respond to similar types of threats with difference levels of violence depending on their domain. This dissertation consists of an introduction and three chapters which use quantitative methods to study several consequences of this argument. Chapter 2 explores the causes of state repression, arguing that a government’s domain influences how governments frame threats and the level of risk a government will accept to eliminate those threats. A statistical analysis of government responses to dissent among African countries supports this argument, showing that governments in the domain of loss repress low levels of dissent at higher rates than governments in the domain of gain. Chapter 3 considers the effects of government violence, examining how the killing of civilians in intrastate conflict influences its outcome. This chapter argues that a government’s domain shapes its use of civilian victimization, which in turn affects the conflict’s outcome. A global study of intrastate conflicts finds that the patterns of violence perpetrated by governments in the domain of loss are more likely to lead to rebel-preferred conflict outcomes, while those used by governments in the domain of gain increase the probability of a government-preferred outcome. Chapter 4 looks at how international actors influence the use of state repression, proposing that the effect of interventions on the use of state-sponsored violence is conditioned on government domain. Quantitative testing provides some limited support for this theory. In combination, these chapters suggest that utilizing a prospect theory framework can improve our understanding of state-sponsored political violence. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Civil Resistance and the Processes of Contentious Politics in Egypt, 2010-2015

Matthew J. Chandler

Peace Studies & Sociology

Egyptian pro-democracy activists mobilized two major uprisings in recent years: one ending Hosni Mubarak’s decades-long rule in February 2011, and the other precipitating a coup against newly-elected president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Prior research indicates that nonviolent campaigns succeed more often and are more likely to result in democracy than armed insurgencies. The theory, in essence, is that nonviolent campaigns better facilitate popular participation, which simultaneously serves to mobilize more potent campaigns and encourage democratic governance. But that explanation is inadequate when civil resistance has mixed outcomes, as in the case of Egypt. Therefore, this dissertation shifts the analytical perspective to the processes of contentious political transitions in which civil resistance campaigns are embedded. It focuses on the years 2010 through 2015 in Egypt, using the two major uprisings as a paired comparison to develop the theorized linkage between civil resistance and democratization. It finds that civil resistance in Egypt operated through multiple mechanisms that interacted dynamically over time and were sensitive to changes in the wider structure of political relations. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

A Long Road to Canaan: The Capuchin Missionaries and the Rise of Liberation Theology in Eastern Nicaragua, 1939-1979

Ryne Clos

Peace Studies & History

This dissertation investigates the mission established by the Detroit Province Capuchins in eastern Nicaragua from 1939-1979. Its emphasis is a transformation in the missionaries’ ministry enacted in 1967, which involved the adoption of new experimental techniques. The central historical contention is that this transformation led to the creation and diffusion of liberation theology in Nicaragua. The revisionist portrait of liberation theology emphasized here challenges existing understandings of the way this religious movement arose throughout Latin America.

The dissertation contends that the overlapping socio-political movements of the “Long Sixties” (1959-1973) destabilized the ideas about Catholicism and the priesthood that the Capuchins had championed in Nicaragua since the 1930s. This period cast them into a crisis that climaxed in 1967. Dozens of other missionaries in Latin America experienced similar vocational crises. A small subset of the missionary community, however, did not respond to the events that shaped the Long Sixties with bewilderment. These pioneering priests instead utilized experimental pastoral methodologies to reinvent the priesthood for the unique demands of the setting. The Capuchins, and many of their peers, turned to these experimentalists as a way of resolving their vocational crisis. In this way, early experiments, which would later be formalized and systemized as liberation theology, proliferated on an ad hoc basis across Latin America.

The Capuchins borrowed techniques from their peers and modified them to fit their unique circumstances. In particular, they borrowed three practices. First, from Leo Mahon, a missioner from Chicago to Panama City, they adopted the Delegates of the Word. The Delegates initiative involved training local laymen to act as surrogate priests. From the Society of Foreign Missions in Choluteca, Honduras, the Capuchins imitated the Celebration of the Word, a reinvention of the mass characterized by group discussion of biblical passages. Finally, from the Brazilian theorist Paulo Freire, the Capuchins enacted the pedagogy of the oppressed and enshrined “conscientization” as the primary goal of their mission. Over the next decade, these practices evolved into a rigorous, coherent system, the missionary pedagogy of the oppressed, a nascent form of liberation theology. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

'Unlocking Human Dignity': A Theology of Liberation from the Context of U.S. Immigrant Detention and Deportation

Colleen Cross

Peace Studies & Theology

Defining Critical Feminist Justpeace: Women's Peacebuilding Praxis and Feminist Political Thought

Karie Cross

Peace Studies & Political Science

The central concerns of my dissertation are the meaning of gender-just peace and the methods for pursuing it. Entering an ongoing debate within peace studies about the United Nations’ top-down, institutions-oriented “liberal peace,” I use ethnographic research with women’s peacebuilding groups in India alongside feminist political thought to argue for a “critical feminist justpeace,” developed from the bottom-up and taking the diverse experiences of marginalized women as motivation. Women in Manipur, India, try to build peace across ethnic, religious, and class-based boundaries. I analyze their practices, synthesizing them into a peacebuilding “praxis”—reflection combined with action with the goal of transformation—which we can fruitfully compare to Western feminist thought. This comparison of praxis and theory suggests that where the liberal peace fails women, a radically inclusive critical feminist justpeace will come closer to success. Such a peace is never achieved, but is rather an on-going process of contestation and relationship-building across divisions of power and privilege. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Building and Burning Bridges: Solidarity and Contention among Peace Activists in Mindanao

Hyunjin Deborah Kwak

Peace Studies & Sociology

My dissertation explains how activist groups’ foci of attention and interaction patterns generate different stylistic orientations toward action. This study addresses my broader theoretical interest in the power of cultural practice to affect group identity and collective behavior. My dissertation is based on 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Mindanao, Philippines, in the immediate aftermath of signing the historic peace accord that put an end to four decades of armed conflict. Civil society organizations and networks of Christian, Moro, and Indigenous peace activists played a critical role in the peace accord negotiations and social reconciliation efforts. By paying special attention to important extra-deliberative processes—the perceptual, interactional and emotional dynamics—of the peace activists, I theorize that activist groups’ spheres of influence and patterns of interaction shape their organizational foci, including activists’ theories of how to achieve social change and the types of project they choose to pursue. I analyze two distinct foci of attention found among Mindanao peace activists: these different foci in turn, inform and sustain two different styles of collective action: that of position-taking advocates and community bridge-builders. Organizational focus constrains group action over time, and differences in foci among activist groups often lead to tensions when they try to cooperate within the same network. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

To Be More Fully Alive: John of the Cross and Judith Butler on Transformation of the Self

Heather M. DuBois

Peace Studies & Theology

My dissertation develops a theory for intrapersonal praxis that enables solidarity, justice, and peace in the face of alienation, oppression, and violence. It contributes to two schools of thought, mystical-political theology, as represented by Johann Baptist Metz, and conflict transformation, as represented by John Paul Lederach. I combine the resources of a religious classic and a contemporary critical theory of subject formation to address identity-based impasse. Namely, I employ the spiritual guidance and mystical anthropology of John of the Cross and the ethics and philosophical anthropology of Judith Butler. Drawing from John, I describe transformation of the self in terms of virtue, vice, and practices of attentive receptivity. Drawing from Butler, I describe transformation in terms of socio-political power, psychic processes, and practices of critical inquiry. In addition, I employ the affect theory of psychologist and philosopher Silvan Tomkins to describe the formation and transformation of patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior. With these elements, I develop an ecosystemic working theory of the transforming self.

With this theory about the transforming self, I argue for a set of dispositions and practices that can foster positive transformation in and through ambivalent socio-material ecosystems. Specifically, I argue for intrapersonal praxis that develops relational sensibility, defined as the capacity to experience, perceive, understand, and participate in the dynamic complexity of living. I use ‘sensibility’ holistically, connoting responsiveness to stimuli through the physiological senses, affective reactions, and mental perceptions. Relational sensibility addresses two critiques of modernity articulated by philosophers Stephen Toulmin and Charles Taylor: the truncation of the human person and the systematization of human life. Increasing sensibility can enable a second form of intrapersonal praxis that I call re-scripting. ‘Re-scripting’ combines insights from Tomkins’ theory about personal patterns and Butler’s theory about social norms to offer an understanding of intentional transformation of the self as activity at the nexus of the personal and the social. Since impasse is characterized by the exhaustion of readily available means, if there is to be movement through impasse, something new must happen. My theory for praxis articulates how this might occur at the level of the self. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Ideology and Authoritarian Persistence: Shaping the Public Sphere in North Korea and Burma

Alexander Dukalskis

Peace Studies & Political Science

This dissertation examines how circumscription and manipulation of the public sphere contributes to the persistence of authoritarian regimes. It argues that while ruling ideologies of such regimes may differ in content, they rely on similar sets of underlying mechanisms designed to impact interactions in the public sphere. It analyzes how the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) under Kim Jong Il and Burma/Myanmar under successive military juntas have attempted to legitimate themselves as military regimes in the post-Cold War era. The dissertation illustrates how the ideologies of the DPRK and the Burmese junta worked to forestall critiques about authoritarian rule — even if many citizens were dissatisfied with the state’s authoritarian practices — by limiting and manipulating discussion in the political public sphere. Data is drawn from domestically-oriented media as well as 75 semi-structured interviews with North Koreans and Burmese conducted in 2011 and 2012. While the study empirically focuses on the DPRK and Myanmar, in broader comparative and analytical chapters it also points to the generalizability of the argument, with implications for theories of ideology, the study of authoritarianism, and debates about how closed societies change. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Pluriversal Peacebuilding: Decolonial Democracy, Religion, and the Epistemic Politics of Peace

Garrett Fitzgerald

Peace Studies & Political Science

Narratives of Power: History Education and Statecraft in Uganda

Ashley Greene

Peace Studies & History

“Narratives of Power” examines the interaction between history education and statecraft in Uganda since 1925. Tracing the development of history curricula through Uganda’s transition from British colony to independent state, I explore how political elites have appropriated history education in their quests to win the hearts, minds, and votes of young people. I use a mixed-methods approach, drawing on archival material, school curricula, and oral history interviews with curriculum specialists, education officers, and history teachers from nine secondary schools around the country.

Chapters one and two examine colonial narratives of exploration and empire, first from the pages of British syllabuses, and then from the reactions of African intellectuals who denounced them as colonial brainwashing. Next, I examine the efforts of educated African elites whose hopes of reclaiming history as a story of African triumph and platform for national identity clashed with the reality of Ugandan social and political cleavages. Chapter four investigates the stagnation of curriculum reform under the National Resistance Movement, and history teachers’ reactions to Uganda’s current curriculum. Finally, using a case study about a recently implemented secondary-school program known as patriotism clubs, I illustrate that far from abandoning historical reconstruction, Uganda’s government is engaging with the politicization of history in ways that try to bypass traditional curricular channels.

I argue that historical reconstruction has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of government attempts to communicate political messages to young people. Unable to control how the past is taught and interpreted in the formal school system, elites are employing new strategies that use extracurricular programs to bypass non-state actors whose views might bring them into contention with the state’s imagined past. The neglect of Ugandan history in the education system and the emergence of patriotism clubs should be seen as congruent phenomena; the former limits historical narratives that might delegitimize the state while the latter allows the NRM to use history as a more effective tool of state power. My findings indicate that future studies of education and statecraft must expand to include the changing spaces in which students are encountering state narratives about the past. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Church as Sanctuary: A Preferential Option for the Displaced and Persecuted Poor

Leo Guardado

Peace Studies & Theology

This dissertation argues that sanctuary is a pillar of ecclesial identity and a concretization of what it means to be a church of the poor in the United States. As persons once again flee El Salvador and other Central American countries where unbearable levels of violence have essentially created a low-intensity war akin to the 1980s, the church in the United States is faced with the challenge of protecting the humanity of “unauthorized” communities seeking refuge from governmental structures that kill through persecution and deportation. Throughout history as well as in contemporary politics, sanctuary’s capacity to interrupt and resist processes of legalized violence has made it a contentious concept and practice. Among communities of faith the possibility of providing church sanctuary can become a point of controversy and division rather than unity. Within the Roman Catholic Church there is a critical need to better understand the theological foundations of sanctuary and the ways that it incarnates the nature and mission of the church as a sacrament of salvation in and for the world so that bishops and laity alike can appropriately discern their participation, or the cost of failing to protect the displaced and persecuted poor in their midst.

In response to the arrival of displaced Salvadorans in the 1980s, church sanctuary became a widespread practice that raised questions about the church itself, its responsibility to protect, and sanctuary’s potential to transform political systems and construct a more human society. This historical and political context becomes the foundation for a systematic theological reflection where I retrieve ancient traditions of refuge and sanctuary and place them in dialogue with the ecclesiology of Vatican II; analyze the sacramentality of the poor in Oscar Romero’s preaching and witness in relation to the vision of a church of the poor as expressed at the Medellin conference; and develop four categories that constitute church as sanctuary: refuge, healing, holiness, and salvation. In a world marred by dehumanizing violence, sanctuary is a necessary mark of ecclesial existence, for it is a salvific practice not only for those whose life is threatened but for the church itself. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

From Homer to Hemingway: The Place of the Soldier in Political Thought

Caleb Hamman

Peace Studies & Political Science

This dissertation examines the place of the soldier in political life. Through close readings of Homer, Thucydides, Tocqueville, and Hemingway, I analyze the political existence of the soldier in different types of political community. The main movement I trace is one in which the original Homeric image of the soldierly ideal is inverted in the modern world. Drawing upon Tocqueville and Hemingway, I argue that the American soldier is a figure not honored by American society. The American disposition toward the soldier tends to be characterized by patriotic feeling and sympathetic sentiment. The unity of soldierly practices and meanings encountered in Homer—around honor and glory, and wounding and healing—collapses, I suggest, for the soldier in modern society. The reciprocity established between soldier and city in the classical polis—a reciprocity I find in Thucydides—does not obtain for the soldier in the modern world. I argue that the American soldier suffers as a consequence of not being honored. Drawing upon Homer and Hemingway, I suggest that the withholding of honor from the soldier obstructs the soldier’s ability to heal from the wounds of war. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Monotheism and the Paradox of Intolerance: The Refusal to Divinize Victims and the Mosaic Distinction

Chris Haw

Peace Studies & Theology

In a shrinking and globalizing world, with many conflicts stemming from religious or ideological differences, how are we to regard monotheism’s potential for inspiring violent absolutism? Discussions of monotheism’s political consequences often emphasize either its “intolerance” of other gods and religions as a source of bigotry and conflict, on the one hand, or emphasize monotheism as a source of pacific, universalistic, transcendent tolerance on the other. But both approaches fail to give monotheism’s “intolerance” its due. I argue that monotheism’s intolerance opens up historic potentials that are both enlightening and dangerous: it dissolved the ancient link between God and the political sphere, helped us see past the distortions of divinized politics, and deepened concern for the victims of politics—while it nonetheless makes possible a uniquely absolutist, violence. By comparison, polytheistic “tolerance” does not necessarily make for a liberating vision of inclusion and diversity. To argue this, I construct an account of monotheism’s intolerance—as a “refusal to divinize victims” and a prohibition of representing the Absolute—and its relevance to pluralistic coexistence today. This includes critically weaving together the mimetic theory of René Girard, the monotheistic scholarship of Jan Assmann et al, and the social theory of Chantal Mouffe, treating their ideas as mutually illuminating. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

"When the Ukrainian World Was Destroyed": Genocidal Narrative Convergence and Stakeholder Interactions during National Crises

Kristina Hook

Peace Studies & Anthropology

In the wake of complex, contested disasters, narratives of suffering often emerge as integral features of attempts to rebuild cosmologies, particularly when such catastrophes are perpetrated by other humans. Due to the social negotiations and fluidity inherent in these processes, influential stakeholders can play an outsized role in using these discursive political tools for nation-building and solidarity. Genocidal narratives of suffering exist as a special and morally untouchable case due to their emotional salience and scope. Despite our knowledge that such narratives of suffering can impact sociopolitical processes, how these processes unfold, particularly as they are driven by influential stakeholders, is under-theorized. This project examines the interactions of four groups of social actors who frequently interact with Holodomor genocide narratives—lawyers, academics, politicians, and activists—in the context of modern Ukraine. The 1932-1933 Ukrainian Holodomor (“killing by hunger”) refers to an artificially induced famine in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Ukraine that killed an estimated 4.5 million people and changed Ukrainian society forever.Since Ukraine’s 1991 independence, narratives regarding the Holodomor have grown from a diffuse set of suppressed memories into an officially-sanctioned charter story for Ukrainian national identity as nuances decreased and stakeholder narratives converged during a series of escalating national crises.To substantiate this argument, two overarching, interlinking themes are explored: 1) the extreme cosmological destruction (i.e., the intentional, concurrent targeting a group’s biological existence and social world) caused by the Holodomor itself, and how this devastation contributed to 2) modern national identity ambiguities that paved the way for the pronounced role that influential stakeholders played in steering conversations of who Ukrainians were, are, and should be.Using more than 1,000 pages of qualitative data gathered by intensive interviewing with 100 national-level stakeholders across politics, law, academia, and activism, I illustrate how the Holodomor today is laden with representational meanings signifying Ukraine’s contemporary reality as a borderland caught between its Eastern past and Western aspirational future.Contextualizing this argument through 2.5 years of ethnographic fieldwork and participant-observation in Ukraine, I explore Holodomor narrative functions—including reclamation, resistance, absolution, and camouflage—and demonstrate the salience of this event and its legacy in understanding contemporary Ukraine. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Agency under Duress: A Political Theological Approach to Peacebuilding

Janna Hunter-Bowman

Peace Studies & Theology

This dissertation offers an account of religious actors in situations of duress. The thesis is that the kinds of actions performed by war-torn communities in Colombia, South America, indicate a kind of agency that is undertheorized in peace studies but that can be illuminated by theology in a way that contributes to peace studies. It argues that messianic theology is the best theoretical framework for illuminating peacebuilding agents under duress, like the featured communities. After all, their practices are subaltern, vulnerable, and transformative. Moreover, moral judgment is key for neutralizing and counteracting crisis.

The communities live in a world at war and experience time in ways that enable and mandate their agency of witness in situations of overt violence—independent of state power. They therefore seem to vindicate John Howard Yoder’s theopolitical messianic vision, which now appears ambivalent. This dissertation engages Yoder in a critical manner.

Gustavo Gutierrez suggests that a messianic orientation conditions participation in linear (state-oriented) processes and contributes “to the nations” accordingly. This is because, for Gutierrez, there is much still to come in the messianic breaks. They set gradual eschatological processes in motion. In contrast with the messianic ruptures, movement toward wholeness requires engaging institutions and epistemic “others” in gradual time.

The interplay of the two eschatologies—messianic and gradual—grounds a flexible framework for peacebuilding that allows for change and variance in context. A key contribution is the framework’s flexible account of the state, attuned to debates about the emergence of the “religion” and “the state.” This dissertation testifies to multiple forms of power, freedom, and agency contributing to peace, and the moral worlds embedded therein. Foregrounding the entanglements of both theological and political worlds has the potential to make peacebuilding more strategic. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Good and Bad Apologies: Determinants of Successful State Apologies

Ji Eun Kim

Peace Studies & Political Science

Why do some state apologies that address past atrocities succeed at bringing about reconciliation while others fail? Under what conditions would the recipients of apologies find them satisfactory and acceptable? In order to close the gaps between theory and practice regarding the efficacy of state apology, I identify and test four causal factors that can affect victims’ reception of state apologies. These factors are: the manner in which expressions of apology are made (who speaks what, when, where, and how), behavioral consistency of the apologizer, conspicuous opportunism of the apologizer, and prior communicative interactions. I conduct mixed-methods research that incorporates Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and in-depth case studies, using primary sources such as media reports, government statements, organizational reports, and in-depth interviews. By assessing whether and how certain features of an apology affect its reception, this research aims to introduce cross-case empirical analyses and a new dataset on state apologies that could be shared and used for future research on apology and reconciliation. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Armed with Good Intentions? Explaining Arms Embargo Compliance

Kathrin Kranz

Peace Studies & Political Science

My dissertation—“Armed with good intentions? Explaining arms embargo compliance”—investigates why major arms exporters have come not only to comply with international arms embargoes, but also to embrace them as policy instruments. I examine and contrast the historical developments in two leading arms exporting nations, Germany and the United Kingdom. During the past 50 years, these countries moved away from treating arms embargoes as a nuisance they reluctantly navigated—and sometimes violated—to championing them as policy instruments. Based on rich case studies of the arms embargo regimes against South Africa and China, and interviews with policymakers and archival research, the dissertation finds that the growing strength of the arms embargo norm has made noncompliance a costly choice for arms exporting states. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

¡Presente! Political Theology at the Gates of Ft. Benning

Kyle Lambelet

Peace Studies & Theology

What does it mean politically, morally and theologically to claim that the dead are presente? Responding to this question, the following dissertation constructs a messianic political theology of the resurrected dead through an extended case study of the School of the Americas Watch. Currently one of the longest running nonviolent movements for social change in the United States, this movement has called for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC, a training facility for Latin American military and police officers, and a fundamental change in US foreign policy. The movement has been centered on an annual protest liturgy that names those killed by graduates of the SOA/WHINSEC and claims them as ¡presente!

This dissertation explores the political, moral and theological significance of this claim, a claim that draws upon a creedal affirmation of a belief in and hope for the resurrection. Through the course of this study I construct a political theology that coordinates the dynamics of messianism, liturgy and practical reason. I argue that the performance of the messianic claim in the ¡presente! litany generates obligations between the living and the dead. These obligations underdetermine the actions that follow, however, and therefore require practical reasoning as activists discern how to faithfully enact effective political action. Thus, the need for practical reason remains, even as the development of that practical reason is fundamentally conditioned by the messianism of the liturgy.

Each chapter examines a different dilemma that SOA Watch activists face and examines how the coordination of these three dynamics impacts that dilemma. These include the use of liturgy as a repertoire of contentious politics (chapter 2); the building of nonviolent coalitions across differences of race, religion, class and citizenship (chapter 3); the transgression, affirmation, and appropriation of the law (chapter 4); and the function of exemplarity and charisma to motivate movement involvement (chapter 5). While each of these chapters draw upon empirical materials, my goal is ultimately constructive and I conclude by gesturing toward the possibilities enabled by a messianic political theology rooted in the resurrected presence of the dead. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

To Conceal or Reveal? Predictors of Adolescent Self-Disclosure to Mothers and the Mediating Role of Trust

Katy-Marie Lance

Peace Studies & Psychology

Studies have consistently revealed adolescent disclosure as the strongest predictor of parental knowledge about adolescents’ companions, whereabouts, and behaviors. In turn, parental knowledge is linked to various positive adolescent outcomes. It therefore becomes important to understand what promotes adolescent disclosure to parents. Although intrapersonal predictors such as dispositional self-concealment have been identified as important predictors of disclosure in adult dyads, little is known about how personality dimensions affect youth disclosure to parents. The current study tested two main hypotheses: 1) that adolescent self-concealment would account for variation in self-disclosure to mothers, over and above the contribution of previously examined predictors of youth disclosure (i.e., maternal warmth and adolescent rule-breaking behavior) and 2) that parental trust would serve as an influencing variable between our independent variables (i.e., adolescent self-concealment, maternal warmth, and adolescent rule-breaking behavior) and adolescent self-disclosure. Each hypothesis was tested using adolescent and mother reports respectively.

Using a sample of 82 mother-adolescent dyads, two 2-step hierarchical regressions confirmed the first hypothesis. Self-concealment explained additional variance in adolescent self-disclosure above and beyond what had been accounted for by the variables entered at step 1 (maternal warmth and adolescent rule-breaking behavior) according to adolescent reports and also mother reports.

For our second hypothesis, structural equation modeling was used to test a model in which parental trust mediated the relationship between the aforementioned independent variables and adolescent self-disclosure. Neither final model (for adolescent or mother reports) revealed an indirect pathway between self-concealment and self-disclosure. For adolescent reports, the best-fitting approach to the model fit the data adequately, but only when direct paths were also included. For mother reports, the model fit the data relatively well with significant indirect links between maternal warmth, adolescent rule-breaking and adolescent self-disclosure (all mediated by maternal trust), and a direct significant relation between adolescent self-concealment and adolescent self-disclosure. Other models resulted in weaker fit, but informed our understanding of the potential role of trust as an influencing variable in adolescent self-disclosure and are thus discussed in further detail. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

“Feel the Grass Grow”: The Practices and Politics of Slow Peace in Colombia

Angela Lederach

Peace Studies & Anthropology

This ethnographic study traces the historical and political processes that shape how grassroots actors build peace in Montes de María, Colombia. Drawing on twenty-two months of ethnographic research, 103 interviews, and twelve focus group sessions with grassroots peace activists, youth, (I)NGO workers, state bureaucrats, private sector actors, and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), I analyze peacebuilding as a site of contestation where universalized notions of ‘peace’ are negotiated, reworked, and recast within a particular locale. In particular, I outline how grassroots leaders explicitly contest and refuse “the times (los tiempos)” of the state and the international community as implementation of the Colombian peace accords unfolds in Montes de María.

I draw on the distinct social, environmental, and temporal dimensions of everyday peacebuilding in Montes de María to develop a grounded theory of “slow peace.” I argue that social leaders theorize “the times” beyond speed, pace, and duration. Instead, they invoke “the times” to draw attention to radical, alternative ways of experiencing, relating to, and inhabiting the world. The defense of territory and life is found through an immersion into the cotidianidad (everyday), where ancestral memories of collective resistance, practices of care for the entorno (life world), and relations of love and solidaridad (solidarity) are held and nurtured. I offer an anthropological account of peacebuilding that understands peace as a historical, cultural, and political process – emergent, dynamic, plural, and unfolding in everyday life.

Campesinos in Montes de María understand peace as embedded within their daily practices of care for their land and territory through multispecies relations that allow abundant life to flourish even in the midst of the ongoing violence(s) of armed conflict, forced displacement, and extractivism. The practices of slow peace emerge from the tenacious and collective struggle for dignified life found through an immersion into the cotidianidad (everyday) where relationships are deepened, ancestral memories reclaimed, and ecologies regenerated. Slow peace recasts peacebuilding as a multigenerational, multispecies, and continuous struggle to build a decolonial peace otherwise. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Communities of War and Peace: Arendt, Political Association, and International Relations

Shinkyu "James" Lee

Peace Studies & Political Science

Which forms of political association promote peace? Peace is usually connected with cosmopolitan unity or the oneness of humanity. My exploration of the relative benefits of a society of states and the pluralistic orders it creates for peace challenges this view.

In this dissertation, I examine Hannah Arendt’s thoughts on political association. Extensive engagements with three different institutional models characterize Arendt’s work: the nation-state (in The Origins of Totalitarianism), the ancient polis (in The Human Condition), and the modern republic (in On Revolution). My study traces the main features of these models and shows how Arendt’s interest in and understanding of constitutional law and participatory politics lead her to reject both abstract legalism and all-too-concrete nationalism. In my view, Arendt’s writings evince an acute awareness of how difficult it is to balance the domestic need for robust political participation, public spirit, and care for a particular political “world” with the need, at the inter-state level, to create and maintain a framework of international law. I argue that Arendt’s political theory does not founder on this tension. Arendt underlines the need to maintain a tense equilibrium between these two poles, which is required if we are to avoid the cosmopolitan privileging of international law and institutions above all else. Similarly, such a tense and consciously maintained equilibrium enables us to avoid the nationalist conclusion that, in order to be self-governing, a state must possess more or less unfettered sovereignty.

In order to back up these assertions, I investigate Arendt’s novel idea of federalism and her notion of how a constitutional regime can be “augmented and preserved.” Arendt’s concepts of constitutional augmentation and federalism allow us to bridge the gap between domestic and international politics. Indeed, her thought suggests the possibility of re-conceiving of states in a way that does justice to both intra-state and inter-state relations. The potential result is something neither idealistic cosmopolitan theory nor conventional realist theory can offer: a nuanced and well-articulated model of a pluralistic society of states. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Coercive Force, Symbolic Power and Fragmented Urban Publics: Understanding Democratic Police Reform in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Leslie MacColman

Peace Studies & Sociology

Beware the Magic Crocodile: The Role of Chiefs in Cultural and Political Reform in Malawi

Emily Maiden

Peace Studies & Political Science

The study of chiefs as legitimate political players is a growing field in political science. Recently, scholars have looked at vote brokerage and the provision of resources, but few talk about the power of chiefs as agents of cultural change. Using Malawi as a case study, this project uses 121 interviews with chiefs, with supporting evidence drawn from approximately 50 additional interviews from key stakeholders (including teachers, child protection workers, government bureaucrats, and NGOs), and 23 focus groups with over 200 women, to explore how and why chiefs are promoting political and a cultural reform to combat child marriage.

I find that the dual positionality of chiefs as both political and cultural actors, invested with high levels of trust and support from their communities, contributes to their ability to address culturally embedded practices like child marriage, which actively promote violence against children. Chiefs are joining with government and NGO actors to promote political reform in that they are working to educate their constituents on recent changes to the national marriage laws; in many cases, they are also using their authority as chiefs to pass bylaws that incorporate harsher punishments for those found breaking the law. But chiefs are—paradoxically, many argue—taking their advocacy a step further by using their authority as the “custodians of culture” to address and reform the underlying cultural norms and practices that make child marriage acceptable. To this end, chiefs emerge as curious political actors that have the power to do what many political reforms fail to do: change the underlying culture. Chiefs should therefore be central to the efforts of NGOs, governments, and human rights activists interested in, not only passing legal reforms to reduce forms of violence, but addressing underlying culture practices that create a space through which this violence emerges. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Does Violence Beget Violence? Factors Moderating Trajectories of Youth Aggression in a Context of Political Conflict

Laura Taylor

Peace Studies & Psychology

A common assumption is that a violent environment produces violent youth; this project interrogated this assertion in two ways examining if exposure to intergroup antisocial behavior increases youth aggression, and in turn, if changes in general youth aggression are related to participation in intergroup conflict. Improving on past work, the current study utilized four waves of a prospective, longitudinal dataset of mother/child dyads (N=820; 51% female; ages 10 to 20 years old) in Northern Ireland. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) addressed new questions about inter-individual differences in intra-individual change in a setting of protracted political conflict. Although boys were higher than girls in initial aggression, there were no significant gender differences in the average trajectory or linear change in aggression from 10 to 20 years old. As a risk factor, experience with sectarian antisocial behavior predicted greater aggression problems; however, that effect weakened with age and was buffered by a cohesive family environment. Regarding the continuation of intergroup conflict, being female and having a more cohesive family negatively predicted youth participation in sectarian acts, whereas the trajectory of general aggression (i.e., intercepts and linear slopes) predicted significantly more youth engagement in out-group antisocial behavior. On an individual level, the findings identify ways the family environment serves to protect youth from greater aggression and from engaging in out-group hostility; at a societal level, the project suggests multiple ways to decrease the potential for youth mobilization in protracted conflict. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Coming of Age in Post-Accord Belfast: Changes in the Political Climate and Exposure to Sectarian Violence as Moderators of Adolescents' Emotional Security

Dana Townsend

Peace Studies & Psychology

Growing up in a post-accord society characterized by ongoing intergroup tension and cyclical violence such as Northern Ireland may put youth at a higher risk for psychopathology. Prior research in Belfast showed that increased exposure to sectarian violence often resulted in more emotional insecurity about the community and subsequent adjustment problems. Though the impact of direct exposure to violence is well documented, few studies account for factors outside of one’s immediate environment – such as the broader sociopolitical climate and the levels of tension or threat in society. The current study advances research in this area by using systematically coded newspapers from Northern Ireland (N = 2,797) to assess the overarching trends in Catholic-Protestant relations from 2006-2011 and explore the relation between these macro-contextual changes and adolescents’ emotional insecurity. A qualitative analysis of the news reports showed that, despite progress in the peace process during these years, intergroup conflict was prevalent. At the societal level, political tension and intragroup threat were characterized by sectarian community violence, lack of trust in the police, and a spike in dissident republican attacks. A series of multilevel moderation analyses using the coded news reports and five waves of survey data from families in Belfast (N = 999) indicated that adolescents responded differently to community violence depending on the political climate. Overall, emotional insecurity increased with exposure to sectarian violence. During periods of high intragroup threat in society, this relation was stronger for Protestants and weaker for Catholics. As macro-level threat increased, Catholics who had more cumulative exposure to violence became more secure, Catholics who had less cumulative exposure became more insecure, and Protestants who had more cumulative exposure remained more insecure than their peers. During periods of high intergroup tension in society, adolescents with more cumulative exposure to violence became more secure, regardless of their group. These findings illustrate how individual responses to the immediate environment can vary based on salient events in society, thus contributing both empirically and methodologically to the design of interventions and policies in Belfast and other areas affected by violent conflict. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Concluding Conquest: Why States End Military Occupation

Lenore VanderZee

Peace Studies & Political Science

Military occupation has been part of interstate relations the system existed. Conquest paid, and controlling territory meant reaping its benefits. However, after World War II norms of state sovereignty and territorial integrity were codified in the United Nations Charter. At the same time, maintaining colonization became untenable and politically harmful, and Western states began to relinquish their colonies overseas, either by force or choice. Despite these emerging norms and the process of decolonization, military occupation continues to be an important international issue. There have been forty-two occupations that have begun since the end of World War II; of these, thirteen remain ongoing, and twenty-nine have ended. This project asks: Why do some of these occupations endure, while others end? Specifically, Why and how do states end military occupation? I theorize that the interaction between conditions at the international, dyadic, and domestic levels of analysis significantly shift the cost-benefit analysis of occupying states.

There has been very little comparative work on the processes of military occupation – the studies are limited to a handful of books and articles that do not directly address the question at hand, or have a coherent and logical definition of military occupation from which to build. To fill this gap, I created an original dataset identifying forty-two military occupations, 1945-2014 and collecting data on 32 variables. Using this data, I build my theory and develop hypotheses using diverse literatures, including territorial disputes, inter- and intrastate wars, failing states and falling empires, the demise of colonialism, and case studies of the individual cases of military occupation. By examining these varying branches of literature, I rule out potential competing explanations, as well as make some cautious generalizations about the nature of the end and outcome of military occupation.

I then test my theory by analyzing two cases of military occupation that share several important similarities: Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor (1975-1999) and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara (1975-Present). Through comparative process-tracing, I ascertain how conditions at the three levels of analysis interact to result in these divergent outcomes. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Cosmopolitan Priming for Change: Transnational Social Movements in Communist Eastern Europe

Ana Velitchkova

Peace Studies & Sociology

Social movement scholars have argued that social movement mobilization at the micro level is a sequential multi-stage process but have ignored the first stage of this process, the creation of a pool of supporters from which movements can potentially draw participants, when analyzing the Eastern European protest wave of 1989. I question the assumption that such a pool of potential participants was ready-made and ask how it was formed. To address these concerns, I analyze the mobilization context in which the successful protest wave of 1989 developed. I contrast it with the mobilization contexts of the unsuccessful Chinese and Albanian cases. My concrete research question is: What were the societal institutional environment and the political culture in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s within which protest movements could gather mass support and within which democracy could take root? I argue that the Eastern European democratic impetus was grounded within a cosmopolitan world culture. I also argue that Eastern European transnational social movements were major cosmopolitan actors in creating and promoting this culture over more than a decade. Thus, cosmopolitanism served as a mobilization potential while the development of cosmopolitanism appears to have been the first stage of the protest mobilization process and subsequent democratization in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. My evidence comes from various sources, including a dataset on transnational social movement organizations around the world from 1953 to 2003, the World Value Survey, data on movement membership and reach, and semi-structured interviews with members of the most prominent movement in the region, the Esperanto movement, in four Eastern European countries. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »

Interpreting Islam: U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1953-1968

Laura Weis

Peace Studies & History

This study of United States relations with post-colonial Indonesia sheds light on how prevalent assumptions about and interpretations of a major world religion, Islam, shaped policymakers’ attitudes and decisions concerning U.S. engagement with Muslim actors abroad. It examines not only the accuracy and nuance of U.S. officials’ knowledge about Islam in Indonesia, but also religion’s shifting salience in U.S. foreign relations during the height of the Cold War. It argues that religion mattered in the construction and implementation of U.S. policies toward Indonesia—but under specific, changing conditions, not as an overarching framework. Islam provided one lens by which U.S. officials understood the behavior and goals of the Indonesian government and, perhaps more consequentially, the character of the majority of Indonesia’s people. While interpretations of Islam in Indonesia evolved over the course of subsequent U.S. administrations—and the significance and utility of these perceptions waxed and waned over time—in general the U.S. foreign policy establishment tended to see religion as a means to an end, namely, as an instrument that at times proved useful in the struggle against global communism. Read the full dissertation on CurateND »