Balcells, Laia. “The determinants of low-intensity intergroup violence. The case of Northern Ireland,” Journal of Peace Research.
What accounts for low-intensity intergroup violence? This article explores the determinants of low-intensity sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which has marked the post-1998 peace agreement period. Low-intensity violence comprises a variety of events from riots to attacks against other civilians as well as against homes and symbolic buildings such as churches. We argue that this violence is more likely and prevalent in interface areas where similarly sized rival communities are geographically in contact with each other. Parity and contact spur intergroup competition and threat perception, and they increase the viability of violence. We use original cross-sectional time-series violence data for the 2005–12 period at a disaggregated subnational level, the ward, and a wide variety of social and economic indicators to test our hypotheses. In particular, we assess the impact of within-ward ethnic composition, on the one hand, and the ethnic composition of neighboring wards, on the other. We find that the number of intergroup violent events peaks in wards where there is parity between groups, and in predominantly Catholic (Protestant) wards that border predominantly Protestant (Catholic) wards. The article makes two main contributions: it shows that micro-level dynamics of violence can expand beyond local territorial units, and it suggests that ethnic segregation is unlikely to prevent intergroup violence.
Balcells, Laia. “Warfare, political identities, and displacement in Spain and Colombia,” Political Geography.
This paper explores the causes of displacement during civil wars. Recent scholarship has shown that conventional civil wars – those in which forces are relatively balanced – and irregular civil wars – those in which one side is substantially stronger than the other – exhibit different patterns of violence. We hypothesize that, while the mode of violence differs, the form of displacement should be consistent across the wars: displacement is a tactic of war that armed groups use to conquer new territories. By expelling civilians associated with rivals, armed groups improve their odds of gaining control of contested territory. This implies that members of a group are targeted for displacement because of their identity and presumed loyalties. We test the theory using two fine-grained datasets on individuals displaced during a conventional civil war, in Spain (1936–1939), and an irregular civil war, in Colombia (1964–). In both cases, the war cleavage was ideological and reflected in national elections: the locations where political parties received support indicated which populations were sympathetic to rivals. In both civil wars, we observe higher levels of displacement in locations where more sympathizers of rival armed groups reside. The article is the first comparison to our knowledge of the sub-national dynamics of displacement within two different civil wars and it shows that the microfoundations of displacement are similar across types. Finally, the article explains macro-level differences with a coherent micro-level framework.
Grant, Ruth. “Homo Politicus: Reflections on The Passions and the Interests,” Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology.
In The Passions and the Interests, Hirschman explored a movement in 18th century thought whose aim was to shape human motivations by establishing the prominence of interests, particularly material interests, in order to diminish the negative effects of the passions in political life. If the pursuit of gain could replace the pursuit of glory, for example, commercial transactions might replace bloody wars as a means of resolving conflict. Hirschman finds this claim overly optimistic. And, in his view, in making their case, these thinkers oversimplified and impoverished our understanding of human psychology by reducing all motivation to interest – a problem that persists in contemporary social science. After exploring Hirschman’s account of 18th century thinkers, this paper attempts a discussion of a richer psychology identifying the variety of passions that motivate action toward different political goals; viz. status, justice, solidarity, and security. These political passions – including ambition, compassion, righteous indignation, loyalty, and fear – can have positive as well as negative political consequences.
Kirshner, Alexander S. “Legitimate Opposition, Ostracism, and the Law of Democracy in Ancient Athens,” Journal of Politics.
Traditionally, scholars have tied the emergence of legitimate opposition to the rise of political parties in the nineteenth century. Once governments acknowledged parties’ and partisans’ essential roles in representative government, they also established limits on legitimate opposition. Illegitimate opposition was now defined as the pursuit of unconstitutional, extreme or disloyal ideals. This essay upends the traditional understanding of legitimate opposition. Athenian democracy did not feature parties, but it did feature intense political competition. As I demonstrate, that competition was structured by a recognizable form of legitimate opposition. Focusing on the fifth century, I illustrate how Athens fostered contestation and where it drew the boundaries of opposition. Competitors were not sanctioned because of their ideals. Instead, Athenian institutions were anti-monopolistic, blocking individuals from wielding excessive power. Recognizing Athens’ distinctive, party-less model of legitimate opposition should lead us to fundamentally reconsider the practice and the dominant approaches to regulating political competition today.
Leventoglu, Bahar, “Bargaining with Habit Formation” Economic Theory.
Habit formation is a well-documented behavioral regularity in psychology and economics; however, its implications on bargaining outcomes have so far been overlooked. I study an otherwise standard Rubinstein bargaining model with habit-forming players. In equilibrium, a player can strategically exploit his opponent’s habit- forming behavior via unilateral transfers off the equilibrium path to generate endogenous costs and gain bargaining leverage at no cost to himself on the equilibrium path. Uncertainty about habit formation may lead to delay in agreement.
McClain, Paula, D., Gloria Y.A. Ayee, Taneisha N. Means, Alicia M. Reyes-Barrientez and Nura A. Sediqe, 2016. “Race, Power and Knowledge: Tracing the Roots of Exclusion in the Development of Political Science in the United States,” Politics, Groups and Identities 4.3 : 467-482.
Scholars of race, ethnicity, and politics have long questioned why the discipline of political science has taken so long to recognize the legitimacy of the study of the politics of America’s racial minority groups. The answer to this question, we believe, lies in the historical roots of the discipline. This article examines the complex relationship between racial ideologies and the development of the discipline of political science in the United States. Using a genealogical analysis, we analyze the racist origins of the discipline that arose from the work and attitudes of one of the founders of American political science, John W. Burgess. In an effort to legitimize political science as an empirical field rooted in the scientific method, Burgess and other prominent early political scientists turned to existing “scientific” notions of race. The racial ideologies that spurred the early development of political science continue to influence the ways in which issues of race and ethnicity are embraced and understood within the discipline today and contribute to its lack of diversity.