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Civil Society Workshop, April 2: “Aid, Migration Management, and Authoritarianism: A Research Agenda” with Kelsey P. Norman and Nicholas R. Micinski

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, April 2 at 12:30 pm on Zoom!

Dr. Kelsey P. Norman

Rice University

and

Dr. Nicholas R. Micinski

Boston University

Aid, Migration Management, and Authoritarianism: A Research Agenda

Abstract: Since the 2015 European refugee “crisis,” the European Union and its member states have invested billions of euros in migration management programs that purport to build the economies of developing countries to prevent migration. While Europe has been attempting this approach to migration management in countries of migrant origin and transit since the 1990s, it has recently pursued migration agreements that offer development aid in exchange for preventing migration with increased vigor. This article asks: Does migration management aid strengthen or undermine authoritarianism? Similarly, does migration management aid strengthen or undermine democracy? This article sets out an emerging research agenda on the impact of migration management funding on authoritarianism and democracy. Specifically, this article lays out a theoretical framework for analyzing different country cases and the causal pathways by which migration management aid might push a state to be more democratic or more authoritarian. Second, the article presents four policy areas – state capacity, economic development, civil society, and a state’s diaspora – that are impacted by the migration management funding. This research agenda draws on data collected from archival work, secondary literature, as well as an analysis of policy and government documents to understand how migration management aid is used to support or undermine authoritarianism in countries of transit and origin. Using this data, we assess the relationship between migration management funding and state security apparatuses that is often used to suppress migration, in addition to repressing civil society actors, activists, and citizens.

Zoom link for this event

CSW Full Spring 2020 Schedule

Civil Society Workshop, May 7: “Lách” – Dancing in the Shadow of the Law” with Trang Kelly

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, May 7 at 12:30 pm [EST] online! Please RSVP to receive the Zoom link.

Trang Kelly

Ph.D. Candidate in Social Welfare, GC CUNY

“Lách” – Dancing in the Shadow of the Law – Strategies of Vietnamese Civil Society Organizations Serving Children Work with One-party Communist State Agencies

More than four decades after the Vietnam War ended, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has monopoly control over the country’s social and economic development. Despite scarce resources, CPV has set up a multiple-level management structure and reduced other government entities’ ability to bring civil society organizations (CSOs) into its political structure. Trang Kelly presents preliminary findings from interviews with 15 informants from six types of CSOs in Vietnam’s five largest cities about strategies that CSOs deployed in dealing with government agencies. This study identifies “Tiến thoái lưỡng nan” or Catch-22 situations: paradoxical, inconsistent, and contradictory situations that the CSOs’ administrators described as challenges in working with government agencies while providing social services for children and families. The administrators employ a common strategy of chasing around to find the loopholes they use to solve the problems they face. In Vietnamese, lách translates to “dancing in the shadow of the law”, a term that they use to describe how to utilize these loopholes.

To join us o Zoom, please RSVP here to receive the link!

The complete Spring 2020 schedule is available here

Canceled: “The Right Frame of Mind?: An Analysis of Global Anti-US-Military Protests” with Charmaine Willis

This event has been canceled

Charmaine N. Willis

PhD Candidate, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy University at Albany, SUNY Albany, NY

The Right Frame of Mind?: An Analysis of Global Anti-US-Military Protests

Abstract: Following the end of World War II, the United States embarked on the construction of a network of permanent military bases world-wide to protect US interests abroad. The US military presence can benefit the host nations and host communities by providing protection and by channeling finances into the local economy. At the same time, the presence may be associated with risks to the host community such as: crime, accidents, environmental degradation, and noise pollution. The result is that anti-US-military protest movements have emerged in several host communities. This study provides a global picture of anti-US-military protest mobilization over time by employing negative binomial regressions of an original protest event dataset from 1990 to 2016. I argue that a key explanatory factor is the frames employed by activists. Across several specifications, I find that frames emphasizing sovereignty are more likely to be associated with higher numbers of protesters per event, while women’s welfare frames are more likely to be associated with lower levels of mobilization. Thus, this project not only contributes to the literature on US military politics but also to understanding of the relationships between framing and protest mobilization.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

The complete Spring 2020 schedule is available here

Civil Society Workshop, March 5: “‘Whose Side Are You On?’ Empowerment of Grassroots Pressure on the Hong Kong Government’s Implementation of Autonomy in the Post-Handover Period” with Jessica Mahlbacher

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, March 5 at 12:30 pm in the PoliSci thesis room (5200.07) for a discussion with

Jessica Mahlbacher

Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science, CUNY

‘Whose Side Are You On?’ Empowerment of Grassroots Pressure on the Hong Kong Government’s Implementation of Autonomy in the Post-Handover Period

In the run-up to the 1997 Handover from the British to Chinese sovereignty, Beijing promised the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy. The Basic Law, the territory’s mini-constitution, was to ensure this autonomy. Following the Handover, however, the local government repeatedly attempted to integrate further with the Chinese parent state in its implementation of the Basic Law.  Grassroots organizations often mobilized to stop the local government’s integration efforts. What factors empower grassroots mobilization in struggles over autonomy? Building on 80 semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and archival research, this project uses a bargaining framework to demonstrate how coalitional resources are vital to grassroots mobilization’s ability to impact local government decision-making regarding autonomy. Changes in the coalition structure are often the result of the local government’s management of elite disputes, shifting use of cooptation, and the degree to which their policies affect the interests of powerful international actors.  This presentation will look at these dynamics from Right of Abode movement through the 2003 Anti-Article 23 Movement.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

The complete Spring 2020 schedule is available here

Civil Society Workshop, April 23: “The People’s Constitution: How Social Movements and Civil Society Organizations Have Shaped the U.S. Constitution” with John Kowal

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, April 23 at 12:30 pm on Zoom for a discussion with

John Kowal 

Brennan Center for Justice, Vice president for programs

The People’s Constitution: How Social Movements and Civil Society Organizations Have Shaped the U.S. Constitution

This presentation, from a forthcoming book, will look at the role of social movements and civil society organizations in effecting constitutional change in the United States. Broad-based social movements played a crucial role in many amendment fights: from the nascent organizing of Anti-Federalists who demanded changes to the new Constitution; to the powerful 19th century movements promoting temperance, abolition of slavery, and woman suffrage; to the modernizing crusades of the Populists and Progressives; to the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. By the turn of the 20th century, these campaigns were increasingly shaped by professionalized pressure groups. These increasingly sophisticated civil society organizations, not necessarily representing movements, pioneered strategies of research, organizing, communications, lobbying, and political pressure to transform the politics of constitutional amendments. While a history, the book draws lessons for activists thinking ahead to the next wave of constitutional change.

Please RSVP here, and we will email you the Zoom link!

RSVP on Eventbrite

The complete Spring 2020 schedule is available here

Civil Society Workshop, February 6: “Dollars and Dissent: Institutional Donor Support for Grassroots Organizing and Social Movement Building” with Ben Naimark-Rowse

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, February 6 at 12:30 pm in the PoliSci thesis room (5200.07) for a discussion with

Benjamin R. Naimark-Rowse

Topol Fellow in Nonviolent Resistance,
The Fletcher School, Tufts University

Dollars and Dissent: Institutional Donor Support for Grassroots Organizing and Social Movement Building

Hossam el-Hamalawy, Love and Revolution
Hossam el-Hamalawy, Love and Revolution الثورة والحب. Revolutionary Graffiti at Saleh Selim Street, the island of Zamalek, Cairo. Taken on October 23, 2011. https://flic.kr/p/ays7dw (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From 2011-2015, institutional donors gave only 3% of their human rights funding to support social change strategies that included grassroots organizing. Ten times as much human rights funding went to support strategies that involved advocacy, systems reform and implementation. Five times as much funding went to support strategies that involved capacity building and technical assistance. And three times as much funding went to support strategies that involved research and documentation. Why did such a small percentage of human rights funding go to support strategies that involve grassroots organizing? Why and how did some donors support grassroots organizing and nonviolent social movement building? Relying on newly collected survey data, in-depth interviews and a comparative case study, this research opens the black box of donor decision-making that leads donors to decide to support grassroots organizing and nonviolent social movement building, or not. It also offers donors actionable principles and practices for supporting nonviolent social movements and grassroots organizing.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

The complete Spring 2020 schedule is available here

Civil Society Workshop, February 20: “Philanthropic contributions to public research universities in the U.S. and Japan” with Fumitake Fukui

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, February 20 at 12:30 pm in the PoliSci thesis room (5200.07) for a discussion with

Fumitake Fukui, Ph.D.

Visiting scholar at Teachers College Columbia University, Associate professor at Kamakura Women’s University

Philanthropic contributions to public research universities in the U.S. and Japan: How do government subsidies and tax policies affect donative behavior?

This talk explores how government subsidies and tax policies affect donations to public research universities in the U.S. and Japan. After Japanese national universities were incorporated from being governmental organizations to national university corporations in 2004, they started doing fundraising to compensate for the decreasing trends of governmental operation funds. However, there is a huge gap between Japanese and American research universities with regard to donations. To explore what determines the trends of donations to public research universities in both countries, this study focuses on environmental aspects such as macro-economic factors, government subsidies, and charitable tax deduction policies in the U.S. and Japan. Using panel data of donations to public research universities from the late 2000s to the 2010s in both countries, this study shows that environmental factors affect donations to public research universities differently. Moreover, it implies philanthropic contributions in the U.S. are based on the combination of strong capital markets and a charitable deductions policy, which is different from the Japanese higher education model. This study will discuss the isomorphism of U.S. universities’ philanthropic model to the Japanese higher education system by introducing the recent Japanese tax policies and the reform of university administration.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

The complete Spring 2020 schedule is available here

Civil Society Workshop, December 5: “Reduce, Replace, or Reorient: NGO Responses to the End of International Funding” with Merrill Sovner

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, December 5 at 12:30 pm for a discussion with

Merrill Sovner

PhD Candidate, Political Science, GC CUNY

“Reduce, Replace, or Reorient: NGO Responses to the End of International Funding”

Civil society is viewed by scholars as performing essential functions for democratization, and it was embraced by governments and international donors seeking to sustain democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) after 1989. Thirty years on, hostile rhetoric from CEE governments and politicians seek to paint civil society organizations as elites that are more responsive to those international donors and like-minded advocacy professionals than to the public at large. Under what conditions do CSOs promote democratic practices or operate as disconnected elites? This research looks at organizations that received international funding from the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Trust) in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The responses of organizations to the end of CEE Trust funding – reduced activities, replaced large grants, or reoriented their activities to a domestic constituency – illuminate the adaptation and sustainability of organizations to provide democratization functions in the face of growing populism in Central and Eastern Europe.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

Civil Society Workshop, November 21: “Civil society, immigration and xenophobia in Johannesburg, South Africa” with David Monda

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, November 21 at 12:30 pm for a discussion with

David Monda

Doctoral student, Political Science, GC CUNY

Civil society, immigration and xenophobia in Johannesburg, South Africa

This paper emerges from the traumatizing experiences of African immigrants experiencing xenophobia in Johannesburg South Africa. Over a period of three months in the Summer of 2019, a field study was conducted in conjunction with two South African civil society organizations. These are Mould Empower Serve (MES) and the Outreach Foundation. The field study came up with three main findings. Firstly, that the problems of xenophobia are experienced differently in different parts of the city of Johannesburg. Secondly, that “protection gaps” (the period between when the African immigrants arrive in South Africa and the time they successfully get their immigration papers), significantly affected immigrants. These “protection gaps” limit the ability of immigrants in starting their own businesses or gaining employment. Lastly, that depending on the country of origin, different immigrants have different experiences. Somali, Ethiopian and Nigerian immigrants are a lot more successful at starting their own businesses and getting employed compared to immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The paper concludes with areas for civil society intervention that can mitigate the sporadic explosion of xenophobic violence in the City of Johannesburg. It also recommends areas for future research and exploration.

The author would like to thank the CUNY Office of Research for generous fellowship support towards this project.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

Civil Society Workshop, November 7: “Surveillance and Collective Efficacy” with Anna Zhelnina

The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Thursday, November 7 at 12:30 pm for a discussion with

Anna Zhelnina

PhD Candidate, Sociology, GC CUNY

“Surveillance and Collective Efficacy”

In this paper, I want to explore the effects of internalization of surveillance on the communities’ capacity to act collectively in the interest of a common good. Building on my fieldwork in Moscow, Russia, I will demonstrate how the fears and expectations of surveillance disrupted neighborhood-level attempts to oppose urban renewal plans (“Renovation” of the city’s housing stock announced in 2017). Muscovites, expecting the authoritarian state to infiltrate grassroots activism, had difficulties establishing relations of trust with their neighbors, which affected their ability to orchestrate collective resistance to the project.

The big role of social media in this resistance campaign complicated the effect of the expected surveillance: in the anonymous and atomized city, social media were necessary for neighbors to find one another and coordinate their actions against urban renewal; however, social media proved to be more prone to disruption by the expected (and real) surveillance and infiltration.

Room: Political Science Thesis Room, room 5200.07

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