Archive

Volume 41 begins with the contribution by David Guignion, which critically assesses some of the central theses of the well-known contemporary thinker Jordan Peterson. Departing from the context of a particular piece of Canadian legislation, Guignion mounts an ambitious ‘counter-critique’ to Peterson’s critique of the notion of science in contemporary society. Next, AJ Golio’s article combines theory and empirics by identifying the ‘human costs’ that accompany the “fortress design” preservation policy of national parks which carries severe restrictions on land use including by local rural communities. The South African case, with its regime transition, enriches the understanding of how opening up this policy area to more public participation, in particular through electoral accountability, may help reduce its negative side effects on the communities that existentially depend on the land. Bernardino Leon-Reyes gains inspiration from the Weberian conceptualization of rationality in studying how a critical take on terrorism seems to have missed the centrality of (a certain type of) rationality in the conduct of terrorist actions. In a research note, Maxim Chupilkin advocates a more intense focus on inequality in political economy. He argues for a bi-directional study of social mobility, looking at both those who achieved a better economic position than their predecessors and those whose position worsened. Lastly, Marzio Di Feo reviews the popular book by Yuval Harari Homo Deus. 

Jordan Peterson and the (F)law of ‘Scientific Inquiry:’ A Critical Evaluation of Peterson’s Use of Science and Philosophy in His Conquest Against Social Justice

by David Guignion

Politikon, 41: 7-23

Abstract

This article explores Jordan Peterson’s political project in response to Canada’s legislation of Bill C-16, a bill seeking to add gender expression to the list of grounds for discrimination under the criminal code. Peterson opposes Bill C-16 because it presents, for him, an ideological mode of speech and thought regulation. For Peterson, this bill is the result of the decline of scientific validity and the rise of a postmodernism motivated by the desire to undermine Western civilization. Therefore, this article argues that Peterson’s challenge to postmodern thought as an anti-scientific doctrine is perplexing given the general lack of consensus between his views and those of the greater scientific community. The article presents different theoretical frameworks attesting to the reality of gender non-conforming identities as well as to the consequences of denying these identities, and argues that rather than challenging oppressive systems of governance, Peterson’s project actually mirrors them.

Keywords

Friedrich Nietzsche; Gender; Hannah Arendt; Jean Baudrillard; Jordan Peterson; Judith Butler; Totalitarianism; Trans-identities

People or Preservation? How Electoral Accountability Reduces Human Cost in South Africa’s National Parks

by AJ Golio

Politikon, 41: 24-42

Abstract

Natural protected areas (NPAs) are commonly used to preserve environmental biodiversity. Such policies, however, often harm rural communities. This article argues that the human cost of NPAs is often because of a lack of formal electoral accountability that links national governments to these communities. Through the case of 1994 democratic elections in South Africa that signified the end of the apartheid, I show that an increase in electoral accountability can be associated with a decrease in the human cost of NPAs. Using scholarly observations and histories on NPAs in South Africa, and primary documents from governmental agencies, I examine the post-apartheid change in three areas pertinent to human cost: Law and Intention, Communication and Community Involvement, and Land Restitution. In doing so, I demonstrate that the enfranchisement of black South Africans, who overwhelmingly populate the rural communities that are harmed by NPAs, has led to a shift in human cost.

Keywords

Biodiversity; Electoral Accountability; Human Cost; National Parks; Preservation; South Africa

Rescuing Rationality from the Rationalists: For a Neo-Weberian Understanding of Rationality in Critical Terrorism Studies

by Bernardino Leon-Reyes

Politikon, 41: 43-57

Abstract

A decade after its emergence, Critical Terrorism Studies (CTS) has remained unable to engage with one of the most prominent discourses that, on the one hand, justifies the dehumanisation of those accused of terrorism and, on the other, disciplines critical scholarship: the presentation of the terrorist as an irrational subject. Recognising the tensions that emerge from CTS’s critical understanding of “the world” and its simultaneous aim of making knowledge claims, this paper draws on the work of Max Weber in order to create a reflexive methodology able to analyse the rationality of terrorism. After showing the incompatibility between recent understandings of rationality in ‘mainstream’ terrorism studies with CTS, and the limits of ‘postmodern’ stances, this article proposes a neo-Weberian ‘via media’ capable of offering an analysis of the rationalities of terrorism, while remaining sensitive to the limitations of social theory.

Keywords

Critical Terrorism Studies; Ideal-type; International Relations Theory; International Sociology; ISIS; Max Weber; Methodology; Rationality; Social Action

Research Note: Downward Mobility: When Social Lifts Change Direction

by Maxim Chupilkin

Politikon, 41: 58-65

Abstract

In this research note, a new direction in the study of inequality is being advocated. The current research in the field of social mobility is extensively focused on upward mobility and pays no attention to downward mobility. With the help of intergenerational wealth data, this contribution demonstrates the unexplained questions of downward mobility, shows the importance of studying children from both poor and privileged backgrounds and outlines possible research directions in the field. This research note is a call for action for scholars of inequality.

Keywords

Capital Accumulation; Income; Inequality; Intergenerational Inequality; Social Mobility; Wealth

Book Review: Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval N. Harari

by Marzio Di Feo

Politikon, 41: 66-68

Human Enhancement; Politics of AI; Post-humanism

Vol. 40 of IAPSS Politikon contains a special section bringing together three contributions of three members of the IAPSS Academic Think Tank and Academic Committee (ATT & ACOM) 2017/2018, coordinated by Dr. Jamila Glover. Firstly, Lora Hadzhidimova and Aaron Stacey analyse the relationship between populism and the national concerns expressed by citizens in the European Union’s (EU) Eastern and Western member-states. The authors find that the predominant type of populism in the EU does not overlap with the type of concerns on a national level. The article concludes with outlining the implications of their findings. Secondly, in a single-authored piece, Lora Hadzhidimova presents a comprehensive overview of the emergence, evolution and current state of scholarly debate on the contentious issue of integration in the European Union. She argues that the debate has shifted from a paradigm perspective to a problem driven approach. The article further contends that this new approach is optimal because it is pragmatic in solving complex problems that occur within the EU. Thirdly, Rigina Syssoyeva’s research note addresses the growth of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). She conducts s a rigorous qualitative research study that demonstrates that Schimmelfennig’s theoretical concepts can explain the process of enlargement of the EAEU. Vol. 40 concludes with a stand-alone article by Joshua Schwartz who critically examines the argument Joseph Parent presented in his book Uniting States, and claims that it does not provide a satisfactory explanation for the emergence of voluntary mergers of states into one. Surveying the argument in detail, the article offers an in-depth analysis of the case of the United Arab Republic and concludes that there are other possible causes of voluntary unions than the one Parent identified.

Attending to the wrong issue in the political spectrum: Right-wing populism for left-wing concerns in the EU

by Lora Hadzhidimova and Aaron Stacey

Politikon, 40: 7-27

This study aims to explore the relationship between populism and the national concerns expressed by citizens in the European Union (EU). In particular, we seek to determine if a certain type of populism in the countries (right or left) responds to the leading national concerns (cleavages). In order to do so, we examine the national concerns and the type of populism in the EU’s Eastern and Western member-states, separately, and then compare them. Results show, first, that right-wing populism in the EU is much more common than left-wing populism, and, second, that the East and the West share to a large extent similar national concerns that are left-wing in nature. We conclude that the predominant type of populism in the EU does not overlap with the type of concerns on a national level. Implications for this tendency are provided.

Keywords

European Union; Left-Wing; National Concerns; Populism; Right-Wing

More integration or more disintegration in the European Union? A sociological perspective

by Lora Hadzhidimova 

Politikon, 40: 28-47

This paper analyzes the scholarly debate about integration in the European Union; its emergence, evolution and current state.  It examines works employing theoretical and problem-driven approaches, dedicated to analyzing integration as their main object. The findings suggest that the debate has progressed significantly – a fact evident by the change of the initial question with which scholars engaged – whether international organizations and institutions have a future as independent entities. The way the EU integration was explored has also gradually shifted from paradigmatic debates, mostly between realists and liberalists, to diverse problem-driven contributions. This new, pragmatic approach is preferred as an effort to better explain the complex question of the EU integration in times of crises. An assessment of this debate is required to improve the quality of the future research agendas, methodological approaches, and policy recommendations of the field.

Keywords

Debate; Disintegration; EU; Integration; Sociology

Understanding the enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union: The case of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan

by Rigina Syssoyeva

Politikon, 40: 48-60

The research note addresses the enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined shortly after its establishment in 2015. In theoretical terms, it aims to test Frank Schimmelfennig’s concepts on enlargement of integration communities. In practical terms, it seeks to answer why and how new members enter the EAEU. Qualitative research methods, such as historical, deductive and comparative analysis, to demonstrate that Schimmelfennig’s theoretical concepts can explain the process of enlargement of the EAEU.

Keywords

Enlargement; Eurasian Economic Union; Integration Theories; Post-Soviet Integration; Regional Integration

Domestic Politics as an Explanation for Voluntary Union: The Missing Case of the United Arab Republic

by Joshua A. Schwartz

Politikon: 40: 61-75

What are the causes of voluntary union in world politics? In other words, why would two states decide to freely surrender their individual autonomy and merge into one state? In a sweeping new study that emanates from the realist tradition, Joseph Parent claims to have examined all the relevant historical cases and found that the unmistakable cause of voluntary union between two states is “optimally intense, indefinite, and symmetrically shared” external security threats. However, this paper will demonstrate that Parent has mistakenly omitted valid historical cases of voluntary unions from his sample and, in the process, biased his findings. By examining one of these wrongly excluded cases in-depth, that of the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria, this paper will demonstrate that internal security threats and personal political incentives can also be causes of voluntary union.

Keywords

Arab Nationalism; Nasser; Political Integration; Realism; United Arab Republic; Voluntary Union

Vol. 39 of IAPSS Politikon includes four research articles. In the first one, Jessica Neafie puts forward a hypothesis that, contrary to conventional assumptions, foreign direct investment decreases access to clean water. She presents and statistically tests the validity of this hypothesis, as well as of several possible explanations of it. Her findings contribute to the broader debate about the ways how potable water access can be increased. The issue continues with Paola Imperatore’s analysis, based on her paper presented at the IAPSS World Congress 2018 in Paris. She shows how the opposition movement towards locally unwanted land use (LULU) has emerged in Italy, and how it functions. Applying frame analysis to evaluate primary sources from a number of these oppositional movements, she discovers the pushback of infrastructure owners to these movements, and the subsequent ways of reacting to it. These ways indicate how a particular contentious issue may be generalized so that it speaks to general public concerns such as democracy, corruption, the application of public finances and social justice. The background of these discursive constructions point to the dialectic between the local and the global, exemplified in the IAPSS 2018 Annual Theme ‘Diversity and Globalization’ as well. Thirdly, Adil Nussipov presents the revised and abridged version of his graduate thesis which argues that there is an inverse U-shaped relationship between the ‘international authority’ of international organizations and the levels of access these IOs provide to transnational actors (such as international NGOs or multinational companies). His article explains how organizations with medium authority provide the most access through a perspective of rationalist self-interest: it is these organizations that can gain most by allowing the participation of transnational actors in their decision-making processes. In the final article of this year, also based on a presentation at the IAPSS World Congress 2018, Fiammetta Colombo explores the possible connections between several phenomena that are frequently associated with economic globalization (such as growing rates of inequality and unemployment rates), and the rise of nationalist political parties in the Western Balkans. While no causal relationship emerges, she shows how nationalism goes hand in hand with support of economic globalization in the majority of the nationalist parties of the region, and suggests avenues for further research based on this observation.

The role of foreign direct investments (FDI) in promoting access to clean water

by Jessica Neafie

Politikon, 39: 7-35

Does foreign direct investment (FDI) decrease access to clean water in developing nations? Governments use economic growth from globalization to fund investment in infrastructure to improve water access, but FDI is hindering these efforts through pollution and increased water usage that put pressure on the supply of this public good. I test the hypothesis that growing pressure from increased use and pollution of water by foreign investors reduces water access in developing countries, where impacts are felt more acutely than in developed countries where public goods institutions are stronger. Using a country-year fixed effects regression model on a panel data set of over 130 countries from 1990 to2010, I assess whether FDI increases or decreases potable water access in developing countries, and the role that development plays in moderating this effect. I find strong evidence of a negative relationship between FDI and access to potable water in developing countries.

Keywords

Developing Countries; Development; Foreign Direct Investment, Globalization; International Political Economy; Natural Resources; Water

“Not Here Nor Elsewhere”: The Local-Global Dialectic in Locally Unwanted Land Use (LULU) Campaigns; The Case of Italy

by Paola Imperatore

Politikon, 39: 36-63

Over the last decades, several local populations throughout Italy have started to mobilize against the use of land to build infrastructure which is defined by its promoters as crucial to competitiveness in the global market. These challengers have been labeled by institutions and media as NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and egoistic actors who operate in opposition to the public interest. Local movements have created oppositional NOPE (Not On the Planet Earth) or NIABY (Not In Anyone’s Back Yard) discourse to underline the local-global dialectic oriented toward broadly questioning the effects of globalization. Using frame analysis, this paper examines nine Italian LULU campaigns in order to investigate the presence of discursive strategies able to transcend the local dimension, the ability of the challengers to develop and spread a common key of interpretation to the different conflicts and, finally, the existence of recurring and successful frames despite the local peculiarities.

Keywords

Frame Analysis; LULU Campaigns; Model of Growth; NIABY/NOPE, NIMBY

International Authority of International Organizations and Access Provisions for Transnational Actors

by Adil Nussipov

Politikon, 39: 64-85

Why do some international organizations (IOs) provide more institutional access for transnational actors (TNAs) into their policy processes than others? I argue that the international authority of IOs plays an important role in shaping the level of access provision. IOs with high and low international authority levels provide less access than IOs with medium levels of authority. High authority IOs have no functional needs in involving TNAs. Low authority IOs are not mandated with tasks that may require additional input by TNAs. In contrast, IOs with medium levels of authority experience an institutional shortage of authority for achieving the goals of their mandates. For this reason, they see a strong functional benefit in involving TNAs as a way to overcome their authority limitations. I employ regression analysis using existing datasets in order to test the hypothesis. Statistical results support the argument.

Keywords

Access Provision; International Organizations; IO-TNA Relations; Quantitative Analysis; Transnational Actors.

The Impact of Economic Globalisation on the Rise of Nationalism: The Case of Western Balkan Countries

by Fiammetta Colombo

Politikon, 39: 86-102

The Western Balkans went through a transition process when globalisation was at its maximum strength and expansion. This paper examines the Western Balkan economies during said transition period and the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on their social fabric. The aim is to investigate the repercussions of economic globalisation on nationalism. Using a comparative approach, this work firstly analyses the economic transition of Western Balkans, focusing on social consequences of economic globalisation. The results found in this first step are then compared with the electoral results of nationalist parties in the region. Furthermore, their attitude towards globalisation is examined. The findings show that the economic transition had strong consequences on unemployment, poverty, and inequality rates in the region; this fallout had a subsidiary role in the growth of nationalist parties. Finally, with the only exception of the Serbian case, nationalist forces appear to be in favour of globalisation.

Keywords

Comparative method; Economic crisis; Economic globalisation; Nationalism; Western Balkans