Research Journal #8

I think I am in a relatively advanced stage for my paper. Pending Dr Kendhammer’s  feedback and my group’s feedback as well, I think I only have the case study to delve into.

As my paper indicates, it goes as follows;  “The paper subscribes to the democratization processes but extends its analysis to one specific institutional arena; democratization through education in post-conflict Middle Eastern societies. First, it broadly reviews the most relevant literature on citizenship education. Then, it narrows its focus to state construction projects in post- conflict contexts, the portrayal of politico-historical facts in national narratives, as well as citizenship education as far as the MENA region is concerned.

In the section that follows, the paper illustrates these theoretical points with reference to the case of Jordan by means of a longitudinal study. This study juxtaposes previous findings and scholarly work with post-Arab Uprisings educational curriculum in the same country. The purpose of this study is to bring two periodization into conversation with the Arab Uprisings as the cut point.”




Research Journal #7

I guess I have the preliminary outline for my paper so far. I changed a lot and need to meet with Dr Kendhammer.

  1. Introduction
  2. Democratization Theory; a brief conversation of the literature
    i. Democratization and the Middle East North Africa
    ii. Democratization Through Education
  3. Citizenship Education
    i. What is Citizenship Education; definition
    ii. Literature review on Citizenship education (overall)
    iii. Literature review on Post-conflict citizenship education in the MENA region
  4. Jordan as a case study
    i. Longitudinal study; Jordan
  5. Conclusion

Research Journal #6

Civic education has tended to emphasize one or the other of these approaches: Either civic education tends toward being reflexively patriotic and insufficiently critical, or it is weakly patriotic and hypercritical. As I am examining Citizenship education in post-conflict context, I picked a book recommended by my advisor. Sigal R. Ben-Porath in Citizenship Under Fire works on a two dimensional context; Israel and the US post 9/11.  The book brings several important and useful perspectives to bear on civic education and is prompted by the U.S. war on terror. The author ‘s approach makes a link between all-important question of education for democracy.  As of where I am right now in terms of reading the book, the author suggests that conventional approaches to civic pedagogy may promote antagonism rather than encourage attitudes that lead to peace. Which is exactly what I am looking at through my case studies.

Research Journal #5

Political history of Nepal (To be continued)

Brown (1996) wrote about the history of early Rana period starting from 1846. Jung Bahadur Rana came from Chetri family and achieved the power by murdering opponents. In his regime, he established few long-lasting practice in Nepalese politics. First. he downplayed the political role of King (Shah) and enhanced the divine identity of him. Second, he started the culture of intermarriage between Shah dynasty and Rana family to elevate his family’s class status. Third, he started family patronage to secure power. Fourth, Jung Bahadur’s Nepal was heterogeneous in terms of politics, culture and identity. In order to unify them, he passed a law (Mluki Ain) to integrate independent social system into Hindu caste hierarchy structure. As a consequence, ethnic groups previously known by their territories, defined by their caste.

The effects of these initiatives enabled the Rana elites to dominate the Nepalese political and economic arena in the nineteenth century.

Rana’s continuation of power had a British connection as well. He realized that with the declining power of China, he would not be able to fight with British. So he decided to befriend the British with maintaining an isolation at the same time. Britain, on the other hand had two interest in Nepal. First, the supply of mercenary troops for Indian army. The Gurkha troop was considered as legends and they were not influenced by Indian culture, therefore mitigated the risk of mutiny. Second, keeping Nepal as a “buffer state on the periphery of British Raj” (p. 10).

Nepal had high strategic value for Britain. The Oligarchy of Rana family ended with the end of world war II. I will continue reading about the history with an objective to understand the influence of such events in contemporary Nepalese politics.

Research Journal #4

After reading a significant amount of literature so far about nationalism and nations, it strikes me that the most influential doctrine in modern history is that all humans are divided into nations. These nations are constrained in a geographical space and develop a nationalist attitude that defines the ‘us’ from the ‘them’ (i.e. insiders from outsiders). Nationalism as a concept is at the center of debates of four theoretical camps. First, the nationalist theory which is also is known as the ethnonational theory views nation-states as descendants of ‘primordial’ ethnic groups (Smith, 1983). Second, perennial theory sees nations as ‘historically constituted and stable community of people, formed by a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture” (Stalin, 1929). Third, modernist theory insists that nation and nationalism are a form of modern political organization where identity is viewed as a social construct (Gellner, 1983). Postmodernist theory, however, defines a nation as an imagined political community and nationalism as a “mode of political imagination” (Anderson, 1991, p.6).

Having grouped these foundations about nationalism and how the understanding of nations came to be divided into different schools, I am reading this book right now “Becoming political: Comparative perspective on citizenship education.Carole Hahn (1998) sheds light on the question: Under what conditions do democratic attitudes and values take root in youth?I am trying to see the rationale that the author used to compile and compare the different systems in Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands and the US.

Research Journal # 4

I have been reading the book titled ‘The Challenge to Democracy in Nepal: A Political History’ by T. Louise Brown (1996). She did her fieldwork in Nepal during a significant time period of political transition in Nepal. After three decades of monarchial rule, in 1994 Nepalese people elected Unified Marxist – Leninist (UML). According to the author, “Nepal thereby became an intriguing anomaly in the post-cold war world and the first Asian nation to be governed by democratically elected communists”.

Overthrowing monarch was possible by the movement by Jana Andolan, who formed the government with high expectation from the supporters that the party would change the socioeconomic situation dramatically. The optimism did not take much time to turn into cynicism. In answering the failure of such ‘people-oriented movement’ to bring democracy, Brown situates the movement by Jana Andolan in the political history of injustice experienced by different ethnic group of Nepal. While I am reading it, it appears to me that Brown might going to emphasize on lack of emancipative values in the Nepalese culture for failing to achieve democracy!

The author pointed out three interrelated process that dominated political development of Nepal – the in-migration and territorial expansion by the Indo-Aryan community, creeping hinduisation, and third is a process of consolidation of single political rule from Kathmandu. The Indo-Aryan community (known as Khas) entered into west from South. They formed a high caste society and their aristocrat language (khas kura) became the official state language known as Nepali. The Khas expanded their control over Tibeto – Burman community living in eastward hills. This tribal group was subjugated as a result of conquest by the Khas and process of inter-marriage between Hindu and tribal elites. The Tibeto group, with a desire to integrate themselves in the dominant culture, adopted many values and practices of high caste Indo-Aryans.  They become enmeshed in a society where Indo-Arians are legitimized as religiously higher class. ‘This expansion of the political and economic power of high caste Hindus and complementary permeation of subject cultures by the Hindu religion, forms one of the major dynamic processes in Nepali history’ (Brown 1996, p. 2). This process is referred as hinduisation or sanskritisation.

The author then explains the importance of geopolitical location of the country. Nepal is in the hub of east, central and South Asia and important juncture for trans-himalayan trade. Such strategic significance made the Nepalese connected to two dominant regions and also made it vulnerable to expansion by them. In nineteenth century, China became weak and could not play any significant role in Himalayan politics which resulted Nepal being influenced more by British and India.

Research Journal #3

As of now, I am working on laying the theoretical foundation for my research on citizenship education and its implications on the consolidation of democratic principles, hence political participation, the enlightened understanding of citizens, and inclusive decision making process.    More precisely what makes for an effective civic participation and engagement. As recommended by Dr Kendhammer, I explored articles published in the World Politics Journal to figure out the outline of the literature review.

I am currently re-reading “The Imagined Communities” by Benedict Anderson.Anderson subscribes to the modernization theory explaining the origin of nations. In other words, nations developed as a necessary component of industrial society, though neither “economic interest, Liberalism, nor Enlightenment could, or did, create in themselves the kind, or shape, or imagined community” (65). Anderson emphasizes the constructed nature of culture and on the role of capitalism to the development of nations. That’s where I am right now.

I also interested in this book by Smith (
1998) entitled “Transnationalism from Below” and “Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States” (2005).

Research Journal 3

I spent some time reading through the first half of my sources this week in order to gain a clearer understanding of exactly how events unrolled in Gambia and what actions Jammeh had taken which caused such mistrust on the part of Senegal.  I also began to piece together the various interactions between the international community and Jammeh’s regime, allowing me to understand from where their concern and need to become involved came.  I began with a few newspaper articles and then “thickened” my knowledge with academic sources.

From what I’ve pieced together, Jammeh’s initial military coup surprised the country with its success, when it had apparently been really poorly planned and based on anger about salaries.  He took over from Jawara, who, while allowing a multiparty democracy and a free press and having outlawed the death penalty, failed to fight poverty within the country.  Additionally, his time in office amounted to just under 30 years, the only ruler of the nation since Gambia’s independence in the 1950’s.  Jammeh had risen through the ranks of the military previously, having even taken a police course at Ft. McClellan.  Upon his arrival to power, he did improve the country initially, which allowed him to be re-elected for a second term, as the local people felt a sense of pride due to the paving of roads, the refurbishing of classrooms, and the building of hospitals, schools, and an airport.  However, with this came the crackdown on political opposition and journalists, the suspension of Gambia’s Constitution, and a terrible human rights record.

Though Jammeh did promise to move toward a “thicker” democracy, his record of human rights continued to be terrible, to the point of a UN Special Rapporteur being sent to the country.  Jammed additionally pulled out of the ICC, which he mocked (Freeman). However, European countries placed no sanctions, as they wished for Jammeh to help them with the refugees fleeing out of the country and into the EU.  As for ECOWAS, Jammeh mocked their mediation effort post 2016 election as “rubish,” and biased (Reid 85).

Turning to the question of Senegal, the 2001 ballot found Jammeh allowing Senegalese Jola coming into the country to vote for Jammeh, and it seems that the Senegalese administration is tired of dealing with the Casamance region, where the Senegalese Jola live.  Additionally, as Gleditsch and Ward (2006) underscore, the more neighboring countries with a democratic government are near a state, the higher the likelihood of moving toward democracy: their additional explanation of a poor economy as causing an authoritarian state to lose public support proves true in the case of Gambia (927).

Finally, it took Gambia’s opposition parties a long time to form a formidable front.  They attacked Jammeh while offering few answers to the issues of the time, and as Jammeh promised he would continue improving the country, as he had previously done, it took multiple elections before the citizenship no longer believed these claims.  This holds true with the point made by Bunce and Wolchik that a strong opposition is necessary to defeat the incumbent party.

For next week, I will continue piecing together the various actions taken by Jammeh and how the international communities responded.  I plan to further investigate the case of Casamance, as that seems one of the largest reasons Senegal was so ready to step in and enforce the recent election results.  I will additionally keep applying democratization theories to the highs and lows of Jammeh’s election now that I have a clearer picture of how events unrolled.

I listed my resources previously on the research outline I turned in, so I’ll just list Bunce and Wolchik’s article.

Bunce, Valerie J., and Sharon L. Wolchik. 2009. “Post communist Ambiguities.” Journal of Democracy 20: no. 3: 93-107. EBSCOhost (Accessed February 2, 2017).

(If I need to update my sources list I’ll be sure to do so next post, since I haven’t been able to get that feedback on my proposal yet.)

Research Journal #3

Based on the feedback on research idea, I have decided to focus on the process how violent Maoists get involved in the mainstream democratic process. My research question would then be: How does a formerly violent group incorporate themselves in the civilian democratic politics? How does it affect to the existing political practice? I am searching for literature and case studies on similar situation (North Ireland, Sri Lanka). I am struggling to find a theoretical framework on the topic. Would highly appreciate if some authors are suggested to begin with.

Research Journal #2

From the last conversation with Dr. Kendhammer about my topic, he recommended that I tweak it in a way that it is not a human rights oriented paper but rather focuses on a democratization related issue. I decided to start looking at things from a bigger lenses and start exploring the World Value Survey (WVS).  I am looking at the following variables:  “political participation” variables (V83-V95) as well as the “democracy” variable (V127-V187). Because I plan to study citizenship education on a more substantive level in both Lebanon and Tunisia for future, I sought to first look at these countries’ political participation and democratization index from secondary data (WVS). The social re-integration of the ex-combatants is certainly a citizenship related subject matter that I am trying to fit in this topic. But first I would like to explore this list of readings:

Akar, B. (2006). Teachers’ reflections on the challenges of teaching citizenship education in Lebanon: A qualitative pilot study. Reflecting Education2(2), 48-63. Available at: reflecting/article/view/35/35.

Akar, B. (2007). Citizenship education in Lebanon: An introduction into students’ concepts and learning experiences. Educate7(2), 2-18.

Anderson, B. (1991) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso: London.

Belge, C., & Karakoç, E. (2015). Minorities in the Middle East: Ethnicity, religion, and support for authoritarianism. Political Research Quarterly, 68(2), 280–292. doi:10.1177/1065912915580627

Brand, L. A. (2010). National narratives and migration: discursive strategies of inclusion and exclusion in Jordan and Lebanon. International Migration Review, 44(1), 78–110. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2009.00799

Cohen, A. (1985) The Symbolic Construction of Community. London, UK: Tavistock

Darden, K., & Mylonas, H. (2015). Threats to territorial integrity, national mass schooling, and linguistic commonality. Comparative Political Studies, 49(11), 1446-1479. doi: 0010414015606735

Gellner, E., & Breuilly, J. (1983, 2008). Nations and nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Hahn, C. L. (2010). Comparative civic education research: What we know and what we need to know. Citizenship Teaching & Learning, 6(1), 5-23. doi: 10.1386/ctl.6.15_1

Ichilov, O. (2005). Pride in one’s country and citizenship orientations in a divided society: The case of Israeli-Palestinian Arab and orthodox and non‐orthodox Jewish Israeli youth. Comparative education review49(1), 44-61. doi: 10.1086/426160

Maktabi, R. (2000). State Formation and Citizenship in Lebanon. Citizen and the State in the Middle East: Approaches and Applications. N. A. Butenschon, U. Davis, and M. S. Hassassian (ed.) 146-78. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

McMullin, J. (2013). Ex-combatants and the Post-Conflict State: Challenges of Reintegration.Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan

Perliger, A., Canetti-Nisim, D., & Pedahzur, A. (2006). Democratic attitudes among high-school pupils: The role played by perceptions of class climate. School Effectiveness and School Improvement17(1), 119-140. doi: 10.1080/09243450500405217

Quaynor, L. J. (2012). Citizenship education in post-conflict contexts: A review of the literature. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice7(1), 33-57. doi: 10.1177/1746197911432593.1177/1746197911432593