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Language Used when Covering People with Disabilities

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News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center

News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center of the story. A story about a disabled person is primarily about their disability, with their other accomplishments framed by it.

As one example of the victimhood narrative, ABC News used to run a special called My Extreme Affliction as part of 20/20 until 2012. As the name implies, the specials covered people with disabilities, specifically extreme versions. One 2008 episode on Tourette’s syndrome described Tourette’s like it was some sort of demonic possession. The narrator talked about children who were “prisoners in their own bodies” and a family that was at risk of being “torn apart by Tourette’s.” I have Tourette’s syndrome myself, which made ABC’s special especially uncomfortable to watch. When not wringing their metaphorical hands over the “victims” of disability, many news outlets fall into the “supercrip” narrative. They refer to people as “heroes” who “overcome” their disabilities to achieve something that ranges from impressive to utterly mundane. The main emphasis is on the disability rather than the person who has it. These articles then exploit that disability to make readers feel good. As a person with a disability, I am aware that it impacts my life, but it is not the center of my life. The tics from my Tourette’s syndrome made it difficult to speak to people when I was younger, but even then they did not rule me.

Disability coverage, however, is still incredibly important for promoting acceptance and giving people with disabilities a voice. A little over a fifth of adults in the United States have a disability (CDC: 53 million adults in the US live with a disability), so poor coverage means marginalizing or even excluding a large amount of people. Journalists should try to reach their entire audience. The news helps shape public opinion with the stories it features. Therefore, it should provide visibility for people with disabilities in order to increase acceptance. This is a matter of civil rights. People with disabilities deserve fair and accurate representation.

My personal experience with ABC’s Tourette’s special leads me to believe that the media, especially the news, needs to be more responsible in their reporting. Even the name “My Extreme Affliction” paints a poor picture of what to expect. A show that focuses on sensationalist portrayals in pursuit of views further ostracizes people with disabilities. The emphasis should be on a person and not their condition. The National Center for Disability Journalism tells reporters to “Focus on the person you are interviewing, not the disability” (Tips for interviewing people with disabilities). This people-first approach is the way to improve disability coverage: Treat people with disabilities with the same respect as any other minority group.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Mobilizing Narratives: Comparing Afghan Hazaras in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Bangladeshis in Islamist Groups

Description

While recruitment of middle and upper-class Bangladeshis by Islamic jihadist terror groups and Iranian mobilization of Afghan Hazaras to fight in the Syrian civil war present two extremely different regional challenges, this study shows how these movements are linked in

While recruitment of middle and upper-class Bangladeshis by Islamic jihadist terror groups and Iranian mobilization of Afghan Hazaras to fight in the Syrian civil war present two extremely different regional challenges, this study shows how these movements are linked in the ways in which state and non-state actors deploy similar narrative strategies to mobilize support. I argue that narratives that capitalize upon the failure of upward social mobility and governance failures are highly useful for recruiting individuals to join either state or non-state organizations when appropriately and specifically linked to the particular historical, cultural, and political environment. I will demonstrate this by comparing and contrasting the use of recruitment narratives playing off of grievances for Iran's IRGC recruitment of poor Afghan Hazaras with low-levels of formal educational achievement and Islamist terrorist groups’ recruitment of middle- and upper-class Bangladeshis. The study argues that while the contexts and life experiences between IRGC Hazara and Bangladeshi terror group recruits are quite distinct, they are similarly motivated by narratives that emphasize the creation of a strong ideological and religious community based on alienation defined by a lack of desired and expected upward social mobility and profound failures of basic governance.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Colin Kaepernick, Ethnocentrism, and Multiculturalism: Redefining Nationalism in the United States

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This paper explores whether American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ refusal in 2016 to acknowledge the national anthem symbolizes a form of nationalism in the United States. At first glance, the rising support of “un-American” acts that reject

This paper explores whether American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ refusal in 2016 to acknowledge the national anthem symbolizes a form of nationalism in the United States. At first glance, the rising support of “un-American” acts that reject traditional patriotism would imply that American nationalism is faltering. If one observes the colloquial understanding of nationalism as extreme commitment to a country, this may be true. But after closer examination, the pattern instead depicts a polarization of two distinct forms of nationalism — ethnocentric nationalism and what I call multicultural nationalism, both intensifying away from each other.
As opposed to colloquial understanding, there is no standard scholarly definition of nationalism, but it is widely seen as zeal over an identity that strives to manifest into an organized state. Despite this minimal consensus, nationalism is usually equated with an ethnocentric conception of the nation-state, what I recognize to be ethnocentric nationalism, the commitment to a linguistically, racially, and culturally likeminded nation. I argue that this traditional, ethnocentric understanding of nationalism is only one interpretation of nationalism. Ethnocentric nationalism has and continues to be in tension with a more recently established interpretation of the nation, which I call multicultural nationalism: the commitment to a country’s principles rather than to its racial, cultural, and religious ties.

A common acceptance of difference is growing in the United States as shown by Kaepernick’s public support in the face of patriotic conformity. This perspective draws from the United States’ ideological roots that argue for one nation made up of many, e pluribus unum, so that foreign backgrounds should not just be accepted but also embraced to form a more diverse nation. The passion for a progressive, multicultural America can be translated into its own movement of multicultural nationalism. In this context, the support for Kaepernick’s actions no longer appears to represent increased dissent from the United States, but instead seems to be an attempt to challenge ethnocentric nationalism’s claim to the nation.

This paper will begin by contrasting the reactions to Kaepernick’s protest and to protests before him in order to contend that nationalism is no longer characterized by only ethnocentric tradition. I will analyze theoretical studies on nationalism to dispute this common understanding that nationalism is solely ethnocentric. I will argue that nationalism, rather, is the intense manifestation of a community’s identity within a political state; the identity of which can be either ethnocentric or multicultural. The Kaepernick ordeal will be used to signify the greater division in the American public over whether a multicultural or ethnocentric conception of the nation should be supported in the United States. Lastly, this paper will observe how the Kaepernick protest suggests multicultural nationalism’s viability in today’s politically progressive environment, and how multiculturalism should embrace nationalism to advance its platform.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Imagining Vietnam: Applying Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities Theory to Vietnamese Nationalism in Novel Form

Description

To demonstrate the way in which Benedict Anderson's theory of imagined communities applies to Vietnamese nationalism, a work of historical fiction was written to illustrate several of Anderson's key points. These scenes were then elaborated on in the second non-fiction

To demonstrate the way in which Benedict Anderson's theory of imagined communities applies to Vietnamese nationalism, a work of historical fiction was written to illustrate several of Anderson's key points. These scenes were then elaborated on in the second non-fiction portion, which analyzes the history of Vietnamese nationalism and how they are portrayed creatively in the first section to prove the accuracy and utility of applying a constructivist model to the origin of the Vietnamese nation.

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Created

Date Created
2013-05

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The Czechoslovakian Ethnocracy: 10 Years in the Making

Description

Czechoslovakia failed to implement democracy and nationalism in an equal and fair manner to the Czechs and Slovaks. As Masaryk mirrored Czechoslovakia off of the United States and his close friend President Wilson, the founding Czechoslovakian documents created an unequal

Czechoslovakia failed to implement democracy and nationalism in an equal and fair manner to the Czechs and Slovaks. As Masaryk mirrored Czechoslovakia off of the United States and his close friend President Wilson, the founding Czechoslovakian documents created an unequal version of the basic democratic principles. The domestic geopolitical culture of nationalism and nationalism abroad influenced ethnic identification between the new borders for the Czechs and Slovaks. Without the shared social language of Czechoslovakian nationalism the Czechs and Slovaks did not unite politically, ethnically, or at all. This allowed for the Czechs to take over and create their idealist democracy, otherwise known as an ethnocracy.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Toxic Nationalism: The Rise of Xenophobic Populist Rhetoric in Modern American Election Campaigns

Description

This paper intends to parse out the differences between various types of nationalism. It will break down the current trend toward xenophobic rhetoric in modern democratic election campaigns. Then, it will discuss the effect of modern media coverage in the

This paper intends to parse out the differences between various types of nationalism. It will break down the current trend toward xenophobic rhetoric in modern democratic election campaigns. Then, it will discuss the effect of modern media coverage in the dissemination and sustenance of toxic nationalist rhetoric and cover the role of President Donald J. Trump in doing the same. Finally, it will outline what appears to be the root cause of this current uptick in toxic nationalism and recommend some methods by which the issue can be resolved in the current political atmosphere.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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The Resurgence of Greek Nationalism Through the Macedonian Name Conflict

Description

Subsequent to the independence of the Republic of North Macedonia, there has been a revival of Greek nationalism. The Greek belief that “Macedonia is Greek” has united the Greek community around the world, and created a new Greek nationalism to

Subsequent to the independence of the Republic of North Macedonia, there has been a revival of Greek nationalism. The Greek belief that “Macedonia is Greek” has united the Greek community around the world, and created a new Greek nationalism to protect the ethnic claim that the Macedonian name is Greek. To better understand how this resurgence of nationalism came to be, I examine certain elements and concepts such as: ethno-cultural and historical claims, politics, borders, Greek diaspora and media sources.
I provide a condensed history on the ancient Kingdom of Macedon (Macedonia) as well as the Balkan Wars and how it led to the breakup of Yugoslavia and independence of the (prior) Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). I then go over the recent conflict over the “Macedonian” name and how the Prespa Agreement led to the name change of the Republic of North Macedonia. I use both the Republic of North Macedonia and North Macedonia interchangeably.
Following the history over the Macedonian name conflict, I provide a literature review to understand concepts such as “nationalism”, “borders”, “diaspora”, “media and politics”, and I analyze how a resurgence of Greek nationalism came to fruition from the aforementioned topics.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Examining the Relationship between Nationalism, Geopolitics, and Political Integration: The Cases of Post-Soviet Estonia and Georgia

Description

This thesis approaches the concept of nationalism within the context of post-Soviet Estonian and Georgian state-building from a sociological perspective, building upon the work of Émile Durkheim, Bernard Yack, Anthony Smith, and Rogers Brubaker. Taking such a stance identifies nationalism

This thesis approaches the concept of nationalism within the context of post-Soviet Estonian and Georgian state-building from a sociological perspective, building upon the work of Émile Durkheim, Bernard Yack, Anthony Smith, and Rogers Brubaker. Taking such a stance identifies nationalism as a social concept whose relationship with geopolitics and political integration comments on the merits of post-Soviet Estonian and Georgian geopolitical conditions and their respective state-building processes, specifically regarding ethnic minority and international integration. I argue that the cases of Estonia and Georgia demonstrate that social solidarity institutionalized in states and expressed through nationalism has significant effects on geopolitics and the integration of ethnic minorities into a broader multi-ethnic state as well as on the integration of a broader multi-ethnic state into the international community. This thesis demonstrates that the different paths that Estonia and Georgia took towards this integration indicate the significance not only of domestic nationalistic circumstances, but also of the larger geopolitical realities and underlying historic foundations in which and from which state-building must occur.

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Created

Date Created
2020-12

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Explaining the Link between Austerity and Immigration in the European Union: The Role of Attitudes

Description

European societies have experienced recent surges in immigration, particularly in the form of refugees and asylum-seekers, in the years following the Arab Spring. At the same time, we can observe a substantial implementation of austerity policies in the European Union

European societies have experienced recent surges in immigration, particularly in the form of refugees and asylum-seekers, in the years following the Arab Spring. At the same time, we can observe a substantial implementation of austerity policies in the European Union following the European Debt Crisis since the end of 2009. In this study, I investigate the correlation between attitudes towards austerity policies and attitudes towards immigration. I hypothesize that individuals who report being disinterested regarding austerity policy will be more positive towards future immigration from outside of the EU while those who report being concerned with austerity policies will be more adverse towards such future immigration. To explain cross-country differences, I use group threat theory, which explains that, larger inflows of immigration combined with challenging economic conditions impose a perceived threat on the host society, resulting in more negative attitudes towards immigration. I plan to analyze data from the Eurobarometer 82.3 (Standard Eurobarometer) social survey (2014) to study the results of my hypotheses within a cross-section of time. My findings largely confirm my hypotheses, though the individual-level results draw a weak correlation between austerity, nationalism, and attitudes towards immigration.

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Date Created
2016-12