Research Journal #9

I am reading about the program approach and stages of DDR:

The first two components of DDR, are Disarmament and demobilization. take place before the reintegration phase in order to create the security and trust necessary for implementing peace agreements and starting reconstruction Gilligan (2012). Following disarmament and demobilization, the goal is for ex-combatants to find a livelihood and submit to laws and norms that govern civilian society. The risk is that demobilized combatants may have difficulty finding a productive position in the legal civilian economy and may maintain an oppositional stance toward society and government. Such marginalization may increase the propensity to engage in crime or renewed violence. By providing economic benefits, reintegration programs try to make civilian life more attractive to ex-combatants and thus reduce the risk of political disorder Gilligan (2012).

Poorly conceived and executed programs can themselves also become a factor in the creation of future conflicts (knight and Ozerdem, 2005). This paper includes a theoretical model for DDDR. I will continue to delve into the idea of DDR during this weekend.

Research Journal #10

Well as we are approaching the submission deadline and now that I am done with the methodology section, I started working on the case study part. So far, I divided this section to four parts: (1) Citizenship identity  (2) attributes of a good citizen (3) civic activities and skills (4) the disconnect form reality.

For the methodology, I Use Van Djik’s Content Analysis (CA).  Since the paper is seeking to read and interpret the state’s underlying logic from engaging in Civics education , I concluded that that Content analysis is the best fit as it “tracks power enactment and discourse production” (Van Dijk, 1993, p.261).

Research Journal 8

I got the feedback on how to move forward from where I am now. The good news is I have articulated my research question. The bad news is, I spent too much time in reading Nepal’s history (I must say this is getting really interesting though). Now I need to develop the conceptual framework in order to analyze the challenges of democratization in Nepal.

I am reading the articles on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) approach. From my initial search, there are a lot of scholarly article out there on Africa, some on Columbia, Ireland and some other on Afghanistan.

The discourses say, the end of a war does not necessarily guarantee a country about stability. The introduction of a ceasefire, peace agreement or even discrete interventions seeking to disarm warring parties, does not necessarily guarantee improvements in the safety of either civilians or former combatants. Many so-called ‘post-conflict’ environments yield even more direct and indirect threats to civilians than the armed conflicts that preceded them (Muggah, 2007). For next few days, I will continue reading about the basic argument, challenges, and factors for DDR. I will also look for case studies on which triggered the success and failure of DDR.

Research Journal #9

After the meeting with Dr Kendhammer, I have a sense on how to reframe my research question and orient my literature review to render it more precise and relevant to my case study or let’s say the region I am interested in.

Since I need to start working on my case study, I began going through the textbooks I have and translating the content. I am working on Post Arab Uprisings Civics textbooks in Jordan from 5th to 10 th grade. Most Arab countries start teaching Civics from the 5th grade and discontinue it on 10th. The argument is that students must focus on “more relevant” subjects to their envisaged career.  The other argument is that by that age students are made aware of political participation and can follow politics with informed opinions.

While consulting the textbooks, I am focusing on the definition of active participation, equality and the in-class activities after every unit. What is drawing my attention so far is the very sophisticated way politics are defined and presented to students. Moreover, it is interesting that the type of in class activities are based on memorialization rather than practice. I continue to explore the textbooks and take notes.

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.