The Department of Government
The Department of Government

International Relations Workshop- Graduate Students

Practice ISA talks

Fri, February 17, 2017 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Name
Hans-Inge Lango
 
Title: Mutually assured vulnerability: An ecological approach to the study of coercion and power in cyberspace
 
Abstract: Despite years of debate and a growing body of scholarship, the future of cyber conflict remains unclear. The discussion has hinged on the arrival (or lack thereof) of some kind of cyber war, but the almost exclusive focus on a very specific phenomenon has stymied efforts to understand the actual object of analysis: cyberspace. This paper proposes a new study to cyber security where cyberspace is conceived of as an ecological system where the actors and the structure interact. By identifying the defining characteristics of cyberspace itself we can better understand the sources of cyber power, and thus how actors can achieve their political goals. Because cyberspace is a malleable system, the implication is that actors will attempt to change the structure itself in order to achieve strategic advantages. This can have detrimental effects on the viability of cyberspace as an engine for economic growth and democratic discourse.
 
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Name
Omar Awapara Franco
 
Title
The Geography of Trade Liberalization: Evidence from Peru
 
Abstract
Despite the expansion of international trade, several countries in both the developed and developing world have witnessed a backlash against globalization. Yet, in some cases, the response from anti-trade forces was only tepid and ineffective.  Why do protectionist actors in developing countries sometimes fail to see their interests represented in the policy arena? This study suggests that geography has played a significant role in undermining the formation and clout of the distributional coalitions that seek protectionism. I argue that trade liberalization usually has an uneven distributional impact along regional lines, which can potentially leave trade liberalization losers under unfavorable geographical conditions to associate and engage in collective action. As a result, few or weak coalitions emerge to battle for protection in the policy arena, and in the unlikely scenario in which they do, geographic proximity to decision-makers in the capital city stands as the ultimate barrier to anti-trade interests. Using a combination of statistical analysis and qualitative evidence from Peru in the 2000s, the results highlight the powerful influence of geography on trade policy outcomes.
 
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Name
Megan Thomas
 
Title
Pledging Allegiance to al-Qaeda and ISIL: Transnational Outbidding and the Escalation of Violence
 
Abstract
How do affiliate groups of al-Qaeda and ISIL adjust the number and severity of their terrorist attacks after pledging allegiance?  Strong empirical evidence has yet to emerge, as existing literature mostly focuses on the relationships between the parent organization and its pledges to explain why groups pledge.  Following pledging, a set of interactions occurs among the pledged affiliates that affects their attack decision calculus, raising the question of what are the consequences?  Building on an outbidding logic as a theoretical lens, I explore the full effects of pledging on the quantity and severity of affiliate’s attacks.  Once pledged, affiliates must now compete with other pledged groups for potential recruits and resources, resulting in a transnational outbidding pattern. They become more violent in order to differentiate themselves and gain support.  Consistent with this theory, examining the attacks of affiliate groups since 2003, pledging results in more attacks in general, more suicide attacks specifically, and a selection of more severe targets and types of attacks.
 
 
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Name
Stella-Leonie Wancke
 
Title
Groups and the Strategic Choice of Violence over Non-Violence
 
Abstract
Are groups that have experienced violence in the past more likely to choose violence as a means
of resistance over non-violence? We argue that a history of violence, along with intragroup factors
explain the strategic choice that resistance groups make. The primary causal mechanism is a
learning effect. Groups who have experienced violence in the past, have those tactics in their
“toolkit” and will use them when they anticipate that violent means will be more successful. Hence,
the choice of method is a strategic one. We use the NAVCO 2.0 dataset to test our hypotheses
empirically. Our findings support our main hypothesis that the experience of using violence in the
past makes it more likely that groups choose violent methods of resistance over non-violent ones.
 

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