Research Journal

My original idea for my research paper was to look at the inherent flaws of democratization and democratic systems, but I struggled in finding a specific enough question to ask in looking at these factors.  Therefore, for the sake of making up for lost time, I have decided to conduct my research on the democratization of Uruguay, as I have already had to do some research on the subject in the creation of my group’s democratization index.  The main question I will be asking is how Uruguay was able to become such an advanced democracy in such a short period of time, especially since it is located in Latin America, which is not the most historically democratic area.  I would also like to look at specific elements of Uruguay’s democratic system and discuss how these ideas are suitable to a country like Uruguay while they maybe not being effective tools in other democratic system.

One of these aspects of Uruguay’s democratic strategy that has caught my interest lately is their approach to the problem of drug cartels and drug trafficking that has plagued South America.  Uruguay has implemented the unique policy of decriminalization for all personal drug use, allowing them to focus more of their efforts on the violent drug offenders that make up the cartels and trafficking rings.




Intellectuals and Left Politics in Uruguay 1958-2006, By Stephen Gregory

Uruguay: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations, By Peter J. Meyer

The Politics of Social Policy change in Chile and Uruguay : Retrenchment Versus Maintenance, 1973-1998 / Rossana Castiglioni

Political structures and democracy in Uruguay / Luis E. González

Repression, Exile, and Democracy : Uruguayan Culture / Edited by Saúl Sosnowski and Louise B. Popkin ; Translated from Spanish by Louise B. Popkin

Uruguay’s Return to Democracy / Charles G. Gillespie (JSTOR)

Research Journal

While doing my research, I stumbled upon an article about voter turn out throughout Latin America is dropping rapidly after the first elections are held. Although there are many institutional, demographic, and political variables that suffice to making democracy work as a whole, Latin America is struggling to figure out how to balance all these variables in order to have a stable and liberal democracy. The Article by Kostadinova and Power suggests that “citizens begin to disengage from electoral participation almost immediately after the democratic transition has been completed”(20). There studies have founded that these primary founding elections show great importance based on the historical legacies of each of the Latin Americans countries. However, as further elections have taken place, there are fewer voters that are turning out to vote in one of the most crucial institutions to a democracy. However, they pose that more research needs to be done in order to find if these statistics draw a correlation to other developing democratic nations throughout the world.

Therefore, a major issue of democratization in Latin America is going to be the willingness of the people to vote. Although the founding elections in Latin America are crucial, the institutions need to foster a sense of accountability and lower the stakes of the political game. These founding elections are prominent because they establish the first elite leaders of these democratic institutions. Furthermore, the stakes of giving up power in these democracies excel due to patronage and access to power throughout Latin America.

I need to do more research on the political culture of Latin America in order to answer these challenges to democratization throughout the Latin American landscape. However, cultural legacies, religious institutions, and access to resources are among the variables that seem to deter Latin America from being able to achieve a robust democracy.


Kostadinova, Tatiana, and Timothy J. Power. “Does Democratization Depress

Participation?: Voter Turnout In The Latin American And Eastern European

Transitional Democracies.” Political Research Quarterly 3 (2007): 363.

JSTOR Arts & Sciences II. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.

Research Journal

Like most of the class, I am going through sources that might be of use, but still conceptualizing my analysis of Indonesian memes and what they say about Indonesians’ sensibilities about their government and justice. So in moving forward, my understanding of a key resource I will use is that in order for motive or intent of the spectacle to be clear, one must deconstruct it (Constructing the Political Spectacle). I planned on analyzing the different parts of the memes and what they symbolize generally, but what Edelman theorizes has more to do with politics/mystifications used by politicians rather than attitudes of the people. I might look elsewhere for a resource that I can rely on more heavily, but this seems a good fit for the time being.

I am still struggling with a method or process for analyzing something as subjective as a graphic/meme to determine intent or symbol, but I think that most of examples I have are straight forward enough to be able to theorize what the linkage is. I would begin by providing some historical context in light of strides Indonesia has made since the 60s and 70s with regard to media and then explain the significance of social media as a means by which people can share information.

What do the graphics/memes shared by Indonesians via social media tell us about their attitudes concerning government and justice? – this could be a central question

Research Journal #5

I was unable to post last week about my progress in my research, but I was able to narrow down my topic into a single question;

– What are the major barriers to China’s democratization in the next 20 years?

From there I decided to narrow down different areas of interest that might help explain why China will struggle to become democratic in the future.  I decided to focus on 3 major barriers like the organization of the communist party, the wealth & prosperity of the country as a whole, and surveillance & security of the nation. I have found a couple of books that I need to read and explore before writing anything on these barriers.  I have not decided or finalized these as the only options/barriers in this paper.  During my research I may find a different topic that better explains why China will struggle to democratize within the next 20 years.  If anyone has other suggestions on different barriers that you think better explain China’s struggle please let me know.  There is a lot of focus on Taiwan and I believe that this will be the main focus of these different topics.  I also need to find more scholarly writings about China.  This is an important topic in the political science realm and I believe that reading others opinions before diving into my research is important.

Overall, I have a rough outline with what I want my paper to look like, along with a couple of sources that I found while narrowing down and determining my research question.  Over Spring break I plan on finishing the reading of the different books I have found and to have a detailed outline of my paper.  From there I will write a rough draft so I can have a basic paper.  I will continue my research and add or delete information as a see fit.  If anyone else has any suggestions or comments on good sources please let me know!

Research Journal 5

This week I have focused on researching media within Kenya and Ghana and the implementations that it has on the electoral process, and political discourse in general. I have found a lot of good information on Ghana through various research journals and books. Kenya has proved to be a little bit challenging, and I have only found a couple sources on media that pertain to my interests. I have a couple books/journal articles on reserve so I hope that they can provide me with more information about Kenya. I want to address both private and state-owned media outlets in my paper, as well as newspaper, TV, radio, and the internet. There are some pretty interesting dynamics and correlations that can be seen in Ghana when it comes to the media and political parties. I’m not sure how I am going to frame my argument quite yet because I have yet to find more info out about Kenya. This coming week I plan on synthesizing all of my sources that I have found so far so that I can start outlining/writing my paper.

Research Journal#5

This week I started reading the books relative to my topic. As I read I become more convinced of the fact that the reason behind the stalled democratization in Mauritania is the union between those in power (military regimes) and their civil allies (tribal leaders, businessmen…etc). I will continue reading the sources I have and hopefully will start the actual writing by next week.

Research Journal #5

With the upcoming project due, my research paper has fallen a bit to the wayside this week. But, in extension to last week’s journal, I’ve been continuing to study the pro-Putin youth. Though Wikipedia is usually considered a bad source, I used it as a launchpad for learning more about the “Nashi” movement. For those interested, the link is here:

Like most political movements, there are more layers to this group. Though they staged pro-Kremlin demonstrations in response to anti-Putin protests, some suggest that the Nashi party can replace the current power, United Russia. The group receives a great amount of state funding, so the party may actually end up as United Russia 2.0, rather than a new party with a different platform.

Research Journal 5

In my research on civil unrest and resistance prior to colonial rule, I found that many people still consider the French to have had a large part in creating the social movements in Senegal as we see them today. Early-on resistance often came in the form of Islamic Jihad. While this tradition was part of the shaping of resistance movements before the 1900s, the French connected kingdoms and cultivated the power of more secular groups as they gained power in Senegal. A figurehead of resistance was Amadu Bamba. He was the son of a Jihadist, but was also a strong critic of his father. Bamba never practiced Jihad but because he was a Marabout, and gathered people that opposed further development, the French colonial powers placed him in this group and so exiled him. With this time, exiled in Gabon, Bamba built a reputation for himself through nonviolent action. He achieved something near sainthood, and has remained a symbol in resistance struggles today.

So now that I’m coming to understand more of the patterns of resistance in Senegal, Jihad, Bamba, Labor strikes (before and during colonization), and recent urban rioting, I need to focus on how they connect, and how they work in the development of democracy.

Journal 5

In my second journal post, if class members still remember, I gave a partial outline of what my paper should be like. I’ll take off from there today, now that the outline is fully developed. I’ll definitely add three more sections to the existing conceptualization.

Departing from the survey of multi-party politics and its orientation since 1992, I’ll now examine the inter- and intra- workings and relationships among political parties. In brief, this section will include the accusations of regional concentration and religious bias that the ruling party has been trading on the country’s opposition, plus the reality on the ground. A speculation on reasons for such accusations and the impact thereof will be looked into.

Next section will be about popular support and identity for parties and the country’s numerous agenda. The resource question will be implicitly mainstreamed here – I’ll argue that the politics of profit and loss, for lack of a better expression, is the major reason for identity formation and agenda support.

A section before conclusion will survey some instances in which empirical evidence regarding the several cases I would make in the foregoing sections of the paper.  I’ll tentatively call this section: incentives for election misconducts and recurring violence. It will cover some major happenings from the first multiparty election in 1995 until the last one held in the year 2010.

Lastly, I’ll discuss Tanzania’s complex future. While the possibilities of national reconfigurations are quite meager as of now –the time when the country’s incumbent party remains highly influential – with piling grievances in both Zanzibar and Tanganyika, there’s one day when the party shall go, and an excruciating political restructuring will likely haunt the country and its revered Union.

Research Journal #5

I went to the library this week in order to get a few books in order to start reading. I found out very quickly that the language used to discuss patronage as an American concept is a bit different. Machine politics is one of the keywords I used, and various political books were written about chicago and new york. I took one on chicago in hopes that it could prove as a good case study. But I did find books with Patronage in the name which is great. I probably reserved about 8-10 books, and am slowly working my way through the books, or single chapters of them. Other than a problem with the term and language usage I’m just researching away. A lot seems to be focused on specifics like presidential nominations, or party politics, or lobbying. I think by the end of the research phase I will have more than enough information to write and discuss