The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Comparative Politics Speaker Series- Steven Brooke (Univ of Wisconsin-Madison)

Populist Violence and Social Resistance: The Catholic Church and the Philippine Drug War

Mon, February 24, 2020 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Comparative Politics Speaker Series- Steven Brooke (Univ of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract: When populists use state power to target vulnerable communities, under what conditions can communities resist? We argue that religious institutions that couple a normative commitment to resisting such violence with the institutional capacity to intervene can reduce civilian victimization. Support for our argument comes from the Philippines. We blend an original dataset of nearly 2,500 drug-related police and vigilante-style killings with census data, electoral returns, and local religious infrastructures across thousands of neighborhoods in metro Manila. We find that neighborhoods with a Catholic parish experience roughly 25% fewer killings than those without. We posit five mechanisms for this relationship: parishes can threaten accountability, offer physical shelter, disrupt the processes of targeting, reduce the number of targets, or facilitate community cohesion. Our data shows that parishes more strongly influence patterns of police violence rather than vigilante-style killings, consistent with arguments that a parish's ability to threaten accountability deters state agents operating in their official capacity.

Steven in an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and a Faculty Fellow at the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS)   He is also a non-resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative.

Steven’s research and teaching focuses on comparative politics, religion and politics, and the politics of the Middle East.  His first book, Winning Hearts and Votes: Social Services and the Islamist Political Advantage, looks at how and why non-state groups provide social services, with an empirical focus on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.  His articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and the British Journal of Middle East Studies.

Steven joined the University of Wisconsin- Madison in the Summer of 2019 after three years on the faculty at the University of Louisville.  He received his Ph.D. in Government in 2015 from The University of Texas at Austin, and before that an M.A. in Government (also at UT-Austin) as well as a M.A. in History at George Mason University.  His B.A. is in International Affairs and History from James Madison University.

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