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The International Foundations of Russian Gay Communities and Civil Society

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Civil society, when taken as a whole, is a complex phenomenon that incorporates several movements and can be accompanied with international support. For instance in 1987, 40 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were registered by the government, and within 25 years, the

Civil society, when taken as a whole, is a complex phenomenon that incorporates several movements and can be accompanied with international support. For instance in 1987, 40 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were registered by the government, and within 25 years, the number has increased to 300,000 in the present day Russian Federation. These numbers only include registered organizations, and do not count unregistered organizations, as approved under article 3 "Public organizations...can function without state registration and acquiring of the rights of registered legal body," or organizations that have been refused registration, such as the "Marriage Equality Russia" NGO that was denied registration in 2010. Thus the total amount of NGOs is significantly higher than 300,000. Every one of these NGOs "contribute to Russia‘s economic, political and social life in numerous ways and provide opportunities for citizens to help create better communities and elevate their voices" ("USAID in Russia"). With hundreds of thousands of organizations attempting to make a better society, they are creating a Russian civil society, one that could use the experience of countries with already well-established civil societies (Walzer). Walzer, however, notes the importance for civil society of political engagement with the state (317). In this thesis, I argue that the LGBT movement in Russia today has set an important example for other groups in civil society through its willingness to take on the Russian state through demonstrations and to use the state through the EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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2012-12

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Religion and political activism in Mexico

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Why do religious organizations facilitate secular political activism in some settings and not others? This dissertation uses regional variation in political activism across Mexico to elucidate the relationship between religious organizations and political activism, as measured through associational activity and

Why do religious organizations facilitate secular political activism in some settings and not others? This dissertation uses regional variation in political activism across Mexico to elucidate the relationship between religious organizations and political activism, as measured through associational activity and involvement in political protests. I utilize a quantitative analysis of 13,500 data observations collected from the nationally representative National Survey of Political Culture and Citizenship (ENCUP), supplemented by municipal and diocesan-level data from a variety of governmental and Church statistical databases, to test several theories describing religion's potential impact on political activism. I also utilize a qualitative comparative analysis examining the relationship between the Catholic Church and political mobilization in the Mexican States of Chiapas, Morelos, and Yucatán. I present an agent-based model developed to delineate the micro-level mechanisms linking Church institutional configurations and religion's pro-social effects to individual incentives to politically organize. The predictions of the agent-based model are assessed against my statistical dataset. The study finds where religious institutions devolve decision-making, monitoring, and sanctioning authority to the laity, individuals develop capacities to overcome collective action problems related to political activism. Religious ideology is also found to influence capacities for political activism.

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2013

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Swords and plowshares: Jewish non-Weberian governance in British Palestine

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What does it mean to speak of governance in the absence of states? This dissertation seeks to answer this question through an empirical examination of the founding of two unique agricultural settlements constructed by the Jewish community of Palestine, also

What does it mean to speak of governance in the absence of states? This dissertation seeks to answer this question through an empirical examination of the founding of two unique agricultural settlements constructed by the Jewish community of Palestine, also known as the Yishuv: the kibbutz and the moshav. Commonly, in order to be considered effective, states must, at minimum, provide their population with two critical public goods: the satisfaction of their material needs and their physical protection through a military or police force. Dominant assumptions across multiple subfields of both Comparative Politics and International Relations content that because weak and failed states cannot provide their civilian populations with these critical public goods, that governance in the absence of effective, sovereign, and territorial states is a myth. It is often argued that violence, anarchy, and human suffering inevitably follow in the wake of state collapse and that in order to alleviate these problems, state building practices must focus on creating a fully sovereign state that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within its borders. This dissertation questions these assumptions. Through quantitative analysis of an original dataset constructed from Israeli archival sources as well as a qualitative historical examination of declassified Israeli archival material from 1920-1948, this dissertation demonstrates that it is possible for non-state actors to construct institutions of governance within the context of a weak or failing state. The Jewish community, through its organs of governance, utilized the kibbutzim and the moshavim to provide the all important public goods of military defense and economic growth respectively. It is shown in this dissertation how political institutions can be crafted endogenously within weak and failing states and how these institutions may actually serve to increase political stability, staving off anarchy and violence.

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2013

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Multilateral organizations and domestic democratic governance

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International organizations are ubiquitous in the international system and often intervene in domestic political affairs. Interventions can occur because states do not have adequate infrastructure to govern, because a political regime seeks international legitimation of its rule, or because an

International organizations are ubiquitous in the international system and often intervene in domestic political affairs. Interventions can occur because states do not have adequate infrastructure to govern, because a political regime seeks international legitimation of its rule, or because an intervention may prevent political crisis. Whatever the reason, there are consequences of such interventions for domestic society. This project asks how interventions sanctioned by international organizations affect individual political involvement, specifically attitudes toward democracy and democratic institutions. I theorize and empirically demonstrate that when an international intervention reinforces existing democratic institutions in a state, individual levels of confidence in democracy and levels of trust in democratic institutions improve. By contrast, when an intervention undermines existing democratic institutions, levels of confidence in democracy and trust in democratic institutions decrease. This research is important because it shows that the determinants of individual political engagement are not only domestic, but also affected by international-level phenomena. This means that international organizations and the interventions they regularly employ in states can meaningfully affect the prospects for democratic consolidation.

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2015

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The Internet and Ethnic Riots

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In this dissertation i argue that the internet has a positive impact on the likelihood of ethnic riots. To make this argument I put forward three major claims. First, ethnic riots are best understood as performances that aim to clarify

In this dissertation i argue that the internet has a positive impact on the likelihood of ethnic riots. To make this argument I put forward three major claims. First, ethnic riots are best understood as performances that aim to clarify ambiguities in the social order. Second, communication technologies structurally constrain the flow of information passing through them. Third, the internet is unique among modern Information Communication Technologies in its capacity for inducing ethnic riots. I provide two types of empirical evidence to support these claims: a cross-national analysis of internet penetration and a case study of India. The former provides evidence for the central claim, finding that the internet has a positive effect on the likelihood of ethnic conflict after a threshold of internet penetration is met. The latter sketches the limits of the proposed theory, finding that internet penetration decreased the likelihood of ethnic riots in India. I argue this is a result of welfare contextualization of the internet.

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2020