International Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Emerging Development Partners and Aid Governance: Examining the Role of 'Aid Effectiveness' in South African and Indonesian South-South Cooperation

Date created: 
2015-12-17
Abstract: 

The past few decades have witnessed an unprecedented shift in the international system, as the collapse of Cold War era bipolarity and rapid economic growth in several developing nations have produced dramatic shifts in the global geography of power. As a result, prominent countries of the Global South are playing increasingly important roles in global governance. One aspect of this shift has been the diminishment of Northern hegemony in the realm of official development assistance, and the growing importance of South-South development cooperation. This paper utilizes case studies of South African and Indonesian international cooperation programs to examine the emerging relationships between increasingly active development partners of the Global South and the “mainstream” development architecture established by the OECD-DAC. The case studies reveal widely divergent patterns in the attitudes which emerging powers have adopted toward the status quo development establishment, which this paper seeks to explain through an analysis of the normative discourse surrounding each country's development partnerships, the institutional capacities of their implementing agencies, and their relative positions in the international balance of power.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Harriss
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Re-Defining Revolution: A Case Study of Women and Graffiti in Egypt

Date created: 
2015-12-02
Abstract: 

Like any social phenomenon, revolutions are gendered. The male tilt of revolutionary processes and their histories has produced a definition of revolution that consistently fails women. This thesis aims to redefine revolution to incorporate women’s visions of societal transformation and the full achievement of their rights and freedoms. I argue that approaches to women’s revolutionary experiences are enriched by focusing on the roles of culture, consciousness, and unconventional revolutionary texts. Egypt is examined as a case study with a focus on the nation’s long history of women’s activism that took on new forms in the wave of socio-political upheaval since 2011. Using interdisciplinary, visual analysis, I examine graffiti created by women, or that depict women between 2011 and 2015 to reveal how gender was publicly re-imagined during a period of flux for Egyptian society. The historical and visual analysis contribute to a new definition of revolution, one that strives to achieve the total transformation of society by disrupting gendered consciousness to finally secure rights and freedoms for all.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Tamir Moustafa
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Delving into drones: secret war drone strikes, mass media’s role, and the need for better data

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-12-11
Abstract: 

Since their introduction, drones have evolved into a preferred weapon platform for many of the world’s military forces. They are prolific in their utilization and deadly in their ability. However, drone strike data is highly inconsistent, as is the extent of reported casualties that have resulted from their use. This inconsistency is the impetus for this project’s principal goal: to assess the degree of variation between existing databases and to aggregate them in a new meta-database. Using an in-depth analysis of the available drone strike casualty data within an aggregated statistical modeling framework, further insight into this data variability is achieved. This study examines data from seven tracking organizations that measure drone strikes in the so-called ‘ghost wars’ in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and reveals a high degree of variation in the data. Furthermore, this study examines the relationship between mass media, public opinion, and elites, with the understanding that drone data may influence foreign policy decisions. This study contends that with no publicly available official data sources on these wars, and with dramatic levels of data deviation between the unofficial tracking organizations that currently measure casualty figures, there is a clear need for more consistent drone strike data.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Tamir Moustafa
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A Commitment to Politics: The Trajectory of the Muslim Brotherhood During Egypt's 2011-2013 Political Opening

Date created: 
2014-08-21
Abstract: 

Prior to the 2011 Arab uprisings, Islamist parties in most Arab states had been systematically prevented from exercising any meaningful authority in government. Following President Mubarak’s ouster from power in 2011, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) established a political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), and formally entered mainstream politics, providing a rare opportunity to examine the role of an Islamist party in the context of democratic transition. Contrary to concerns that the MB might use Egypt’s political opening to install an undemocratic regime, the movement instead committed itself to electoral politics and consistently adhered to the framework for political transition. An analysis of the MB’s political trajectory during the 2011–2013 timeframe reveals that the movement endeavoured to protect Egypt’s democratic transition against the encroachment of the military and the judiciary. Despite the FJP’s efforts, sustained interference by non-elected institutions brought Egypt’s democratic experiment to a premature end. This course of events confirms that an Islamist movement is capable of fully committing to politics, but also indicates that political commitment alone is insufficient to ensure a successful transition to democratic governance.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Tamir Moustafa
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

International Implications of Chinese Oil and Natural Gas Interests

Date created: 
2014-04-23
Abstract: 

As China’s energy demand grows at a rapid pace alongside its economy, it seeks to secure access to the oil and natural gas needed to sustain this level of development. This paper examines two approaches that it uses to do so: opening up markets to its state-controlled oil companies and pushing territorial claims that hold rich potential reserves. Although these strategies create international tensions that increase the threat of conflict, this paper argues that a broader clash between major powers is unlikely. More probable is that global economic ties will encourage China to lean towards international collaboration over competition until renewable technologies replace petroleum.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Contemporary approaches to stopping the illegal ivory trade: a case study in cultural motivations

Date created: 
2014-04-23
Abstract: 

Elephants and their ivory have a rich and long history in Thailand. However, the demand for ivory in Thailand is dramatically affecting elephant populations, particularly African elephants. While the consumption of ivory is banned in most countries, Thailand still allows for domestic consumption, resulting in the mixing of legal and illegal ivory. Understanding the cultural traditions that gives rise to contemporary values and beliefs about the consumption of ivory can provide significant and critical insight into why people consume it. This study argues that greater contextual understanding of cultural beliefs can make awareness campaigns more effective at reducing the consumption of ivory. To understand cultural motivations more deeply, this study uses a sociological perspective, primarily that of Pierre Bourdieu. This provides a more contextual engagement with Thai consumers, reconnects them with cultural values about elephants and their importance in Thai society, and works towards a shift in attitudes about consuming ivory.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

The Philippines, 2050: Institutional Barriers to Development

Date created: 
2014-04-14
Abstract: 

In the first few decades after independence in 1946 it seemed that the Philippines had all the resources and potential to become a development success story. Instead, during the country’s long period of martial law under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the political instability under his successor Corazon Aquino the Philippines failed to realize this potential and remained poor and underdeveloped. Recently the situation has changed markedly, leading some to predict that the Philippines will be one of the “Next Eleven” or N-11 countries with considerable potential for economic growth in the 21st century. This paper examines the role of political changes in the Philippines in contributing to this turnaround. One section defines institutions and their importance, while another looks at the weaknesses that have plagued the Philippines’ electoral and multiparty political systems. Finally, some prescriptions on how to begin to address these institutional and electoral dysfunctions are discussed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

An incomplete transition? Explaining the ongoing prevalence of violence against women in post-apartheid South Africa

Date created: 
2014-04-25
Abstract: 

Twenty years after its transition from apartheid to democracy, South Africa is seen in the international community as a regional bastion of democratic, economic and social rebirth. Yet despite its many successes, rates of violence against women in South Africa remain endemically high. This paper examines the diffusion of norms of nonviolence and gender equality from the international community into South African law and society and the subsequent feedback of those norms, to measure South Africa’s compliance with international human rights standards. To inform the discussion, this paper introduces a model outlining the institutions and social processes operating at three levels: macro (i.e., international), meso (i.e., national) and micro (i.e., community/individual). The model highlights six ways in which norms are weakened or blocked: accessibility, apparent compliance, institutional weakness, divergent priorities, silencing and norm violation fatigue. Each of these factors is examined in turn to explain why women in South Africa continue to experience high rates of violence and why South Africa cannot be said to have made a ‘complete' transition to a peaceful democratic state.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Onur Bakiner
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Exploring the environment-development continuum: Examining an integrated approach through a case study of two villages in Tamil Nadu, India

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-28
Abstract: 

Current issues abound in relation to environmental practices and impacts, as well as to socio-economic inequality and inequity. Despite inherent linkages, these two fields of focus are often conceptualized as if they are separate, and treated with a trade-off approach, in which one is placed in a position of increased importance, to the detriment of the other. Alternatively, an integrated approach offers a perspective and practice in which environmental and socio-economic factors are managed holistically. In order to engage in a critical discussion of this relationship and positive alternatives to dominant perceptions, an ethnographic case study was undertaken primarily in the Pichavaram forest region of Tamil Nadu, India. I find that previous attempts at environmental management and socio-economic development had been dealt with as separate issues, and had largely failed to achieve desired results; however, following a shift to an integrated approach in the mid-1990s, both environmental and socio-economic indicators improved, and have proven resilient following both the 2003 project end, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami devastation. Thus, this study’s findings support the concept that inherent linkages between environmental and socio-economic factors require an equally interlinked approach in practice, which then allows for a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Onur Bakiner
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Conditional Opportunities: Conceptual Disparities and Practical Shortcomings of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in Chiapas, Mexico

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-12-11
Abstract: 

Aimed at building human capital and alleviating poverty, Mexico’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program Oportunidades has been hailed a success with proponents citing a large body of statistical evidence as support for program. However, far less information is available on the quotidian experiences of the program from the point of view of beneficiaries and those involved in administrating the program and its related services. By looking into the personal experiences and life histories of beneficiaries and workers, we can gain insight into important issues that do not always arise in the statistical data or surveys that only directly address the program. For this project interviews with program recipients as well as official and non-official program employees were conducted in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico. This major project suggests that the formal rhetoric utilized by participants and workers to discuss the program directly often contradicts their experiences; therefore, an investigation into participants’ life experiences and histories can augment or even challenge an understanding of the program based on statistical evidence or survey data. This project also contributes to a growing body of research based on qualitative methodology that explores the complexity of CCT programs through in depth interview and observation. What emerges is a motif of discrepancies: Discrepancies between the ideological underpinnings of the program and participants’ experiences of poverty, as well as discrepancies between program objectives and actual program functioning. As a result, a number of critiques arise regarding service quality, the efficacy of conditionality, and program sustainability in the face of proposed expansions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alexander Dawson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.