Scholarly Works, Political Science

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  • Cyberculture’s Abstract Utopias: Silicon Valley and Cleaner, Greener, Leaner Rules for a “New Economy”
    Luke, Timothy W. (University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, 2023-10-20)
  • The Dialectic of De-Holocenation: Waste and Wealth in the Anthropocene
    Luke, Timothy W. (University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, 2022)
  • Asymmetries in Potential for Partisan Gerrymandering
    Goedert, Nicholas; Hildebrand, Robert; Travis, Laurel; Pierson, Matthew (2024)
    This paper investigates the effectiveness of potential partisan gerrymandering of the U.S. House of Representatives across a range of states. We use a heuristic algorithm to generate district maps that optimize for multiple objectives, including compactness, partisan benefit, and competitiveness. While partisan gerrymandering is highly effective for both sides, we find that the majority of states are moderately biased toward Republicans when optimized for either compactness or partisan benefit, meaning that Republican gerrymanders have the potential to be more effective. However, we also find that more densely populated and more heavily Hispanic states show less Republican bias or even Democratic bias. Additionally, we find that in almost all cases we can generate reasonably compact maps with very little sacrifice to partisan objectives through a mixed objective function. This suggests that there is a strong potential for stealth partisan gerrymanders that are both compact and beneficial to one party. Nationwide, partisan gerrymandering is capable of swinging over one hundred seats in the U.S. House, even when compact districts are simultaneously sought.
  • Individual accountability, collective decision-making
    Gibbs, Daniel (Springer, 2023-01-23)
    An influential theoretical literature studies a single executive's electoral incentives to knowingly pursue bad policies because they are popular. I develop a model to study pandering in a legislative setting where multiple politicians, each accountable to their own constituency, are responsible for policymaking. Individual politicians receive private information about the best policy for achieving outcomes that citizens value. Politicians then privately deliberate to select a policy. Under certain conditions, politi- cians face electoral incentives to misrepresent their private evidence during deliberation in order to convince their colleagues to adopt a popular policy. I find that these perverse incentives become weaker as the number of politicians involved in policymaking increases. In larger groups, politicians share more responsibility for their policy choices. Individual politicians therefore have less to gain electorally from pandering. This result suggests that in addition to giving politicians more information about which policies are in citizens' best interest, larger groups provide stronger incentives for politicians to use this information when policymaking is non-transparent.
  • The Reputation Politics of the Filibuster
    Gibbs, Daniel (Now Publishers, 2023-10-03)
    Filibusters and efforts to defeat them shape the public reputation of U.S. senators and their parties. I develop a formal model to study how senators’ concerns about their own and the opposing party’s reputation influence their behavior in the Senate. In the model, a majority and opposition party bargain over policy. Each party earns a reputation with a core primary constituency which observes legislative bargaining and forms beliefs about its party’s policy priorities. Filibusters and attempts to defeat them are costly and can therefore credibly signal that a party values a particular issue. I identify conditions under which parties use these costly procedural moves to preserve or enhance their reputation when the costs of obstruction deter purely policy-motivated parties from filibustering or attempting to defeat a filibuster. Alternatively, under certain conditions parties strategically choose not to pursue policy victories that they otherwise would either to protect their own reputation with a constituency that values other issues more highly or to deny the opposing party the opportunity to signal. I examine the model’s empirical implications for the relative frequency of filibusters, cloture votes, and tabling motions and identify conditions under which the Senate is endogenously supermajoritarian.
  • Unsettling Brazil: Urban Indigenous and Black Peoples’ Resistances to Dependent Settler Capitalism
    Poets, Desirée (University of Alabama Press, 2024-03)
    Unsettling Brazil offers a powerful account of five urban Indigenous and Black communities and movements in Brazil that illuminates their struggle for land, dignity, and their ways of life amid historic and ongoing settler colonialism, marked by militarization and dependent capitalist development. The in-depth case studies are the Indigenous movement Aldeia Maracanã and the quilombola community Sacopã in Rio, the Quilombo dos Luízes in Belo Horizonte, the Indigenous movement behind the Pindorama scholarship program in São Paulo, and the Complexo da Maré favela in Rio. For each, Poets vividly documents the intersectional and transnational structures of power that perpetuate the erasure, dispossession, and exploitation of nonwhite populations and the creative ways that Black and Indigenous communities have mobilized to unsettle these structures. Drawing on the knowledge produced by Black and Indigenous organizers and thinkers, Poets argues for an interdisciplinary framework that prioritizes the voices and experiences of these communities. Addressing increasingly salient calls for decolonization, Poets ponders the paradoxical role of rights, citizenship, and the state in the fight for freedom and justice. Unsettling Brazil urges readers to confront the uncomfortable truths about the nation's history and stands in solidarity with those fighting to reclaim their heritage, identity, and land.
  • The Efficacy of European Union Spyware Regulations
    Phillips, Riley (Tech4Humanity Lab, 2023-12-01)
    Supranational organizations like the European Union (EU) have struggled to enforce successful legal frameworks that adequately regulate and enforce the export and misuse of malware technologies. Considering the Pegasus Project and the newly released Predator Files, EU systems of regulation fall short at addressing the broader malware market abuse, production, and proliferation. Despite numerous export regulations EU states membership in the acclaimed organization has provided a false sense of security and accountability for the upholding of human rights. Pegasus Project and Predator files reveal the mass proliferation of spyware throughout the EU by leveraging its vague export controls and state centered accountability methods. The 2022 EU directive and legislation efficacy fails to uphold export arrangements and by extension United Nations (UN) and EU human rights standards through terminological loopholes and proliferative export regulations.
  • Understanding Generative Adversarial Networks
    Ludwig, Peyton (Tech4Humanity Lab, 2023-09-01)
    Generative adversarial networks (GANs) are a new technology impacting social, policy, and security discourses. The rise of GANs enables the creation of artificially generated hyper-realistic human faces. GANs have been around since 2014,1 yet only recently has their quality risen to a level capable of fooling the average person. StyleGANs are GANs trained to manipulate or generate high-quality images.2 StyleGANs are becoming increasingly publicly accessible and enable users to generate human faces with ease. The styleGAN program is open access;2 while this allows for usage in positive ways, it also leads to easy accessibility for those that want to use this technology for malicious purposes. Fake accounts withAI-generated faces as their profile pictures plague social media sites and are often used as tools for misinformation. As styleGANs improve, it becomes more difficult to spot these fake faces. It is important to understand how these styleGANs work in order to best combat these disinformation attempts and understand what to do moving forward.
  • Policy, Society, and Immigrants in Japan
    Milly, Deborah J. (Oxford University Press, 2023-10-11)
    Where is immigration to Japan headed? Is the country likely to make major changes in its policy approach that ease options for settlement? Can conditions for immigrants improve to encourage greater social inclusion? The books here consider themes that affect immigrants in Japan: political leaders’ views on immigration policy, cross-national realities of immigration and integration, the marginalizing character of policies, and society’s response to immigrants. The economic motivations behind increased immigration aside, considering how social incorporation of immigrants is already occurring should shed light on future prospects.
  • Perspective Chapter: Foreign Residents Providing Eldercare in Japan – Government Data and Their Limitations
    Milly, Deborah J. (IntechOpen, 2023)
    How many foreign residents in Japan are caring for Japanese senior citizens? What trends will likely characterize reliance on foreign residents for caregiving? Japan leads the world in its proportion of seniors, but many other countries are following a similar path. The visa system and the care industry in Japan are highly institutionalized and diverse, posing challenges for assessing the extent of foreign residents’ contribution to care. Scholars, policy professionals, and those advising potential migrants from other countries should recognize the pros and cons of the major government data sources and not rely on just one source. This chapter provides guidance on these sources and suggestions for using them effectively. It further highlights that, given recent access to new visa options, employers are opting for workers with more skills and the possibility of remaining in Japan for a longer period of time.
  • Immigrant Incorporation in East Asian Democracies [Book review]
    Milly, Deborah J. (Cambridge University Press, 2021-11)
  • Multilevel governance, community and emergency management during the pandemic: Migrants in Japan
    Milly, Deborah J. (Emerald, 2023-04-24)
    Purpose: Building on perspectives from the study of multilevel governance, migrants' inclusion and emergency management, this article asks how differences across national regulations for foreign residents, work eligibility and access to national emergency supports intersected with local approaches in responding to migrants. Design/methodology/approach: This article examines national policy adjustments and parallel subnational governance early in the pandemic for three groups of foreign residents: international students, technical interns and co-ethnics with long-term visas, primarily Brazilians and Peruvians. It uses Japanese-language documents to trace national policy responses. To grasp subnational governance, the article analyzes coverage in six Japanese regional newspapers from northern, central and western Japan, for the period of April 1 to October 1, 2020. Findings: National policies obstructed or enabled migrants' treatment as members of the local community but did not dictate this membership, which varied according to migrant group. Migrants' relationship to the community affected available supports. Originality/value: The article brings together perspectives on multilevel governance, emergency management and migrants' inclusion. It exposes how different migrant groups' ties to the local community affected access to supports.
  • Biopolitics: Power, Pandemics and War
    Brantly, Aaron F.; Brantly, Nataliya D. (Elsevier, 2023-01-26)
    COVID-19 and the subsequent global response have had a profound impact on the public health, economic health, and political health in nearly every country. This article examines the biopolitics of power and pandemics in war. Three case studies are presented: the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918–1920 and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak in both Syria and in eastern Ukraine. The pandemic's impact has been particularly acute in active warzones, undermining the ability of governments and organizations to enforce public health recommendations, provide for the care of patients, secure supplies, and transmit information.
  • CoSINT: Designing a Collaborative Capture the Flag Competition to Investigate Misinformation
    Venkatagiri, Sukrit; Mukhopadhyay, Anirban; Hicks, David; Brantly, Aaron F.; Luther, Kurt (ACM, 2023-07-10)
    Crowdsourced investigations shore up democratic institutions by debunking misinformation and uncovering human rights abuses. However, current crowdsourcing approaches rely on simplistic collaborative or competitive models and lack technological support, limiting their collective impact. Prior research has shown that blending elements of competition and collaboration can lead to greater performance and creativity, but crowdsourced investigations pose unique analytical and ethical challenges. In this paper, we employed a four-month-long Research through Design process to design and evaluate a novel interaction style called collaborative capture the fag competitions (CoCTFs). We instantiated this interaction style through CoSINT, a platform that enables a trained crowd to work with professional investigators to identify and investigate social media misinformation. Our mixed-methods evaluation showed that CoSINT leverages the complementary strengths of competition and collaboration, allowing a crowd to quickly identify and debunk misinformation. We also highlight tensions between competition versus collaboration and discuss implications for the design of crowdsourced investigations.
  • Ukraine War OSINT Analysis: A Collaborative Student Report
    Brantly, Aaron F. (Virginia Tech. Tech4Humanity Lab, 2023-05-01)
  • Thinking Generically and Specifically in International Relations Survey Experiments
    Suong, Clara H.; Desposato, Scott; Gartzke, Erik (SAGE Publications, 2023-04-17)
    Does treatment abstraction affect treatment effects in International Relations survey experiments in countries outside of the US? We assess whether treatment effects are conditional on the anonymity of country actors among respondents in Brazil, China, Sweden, Japan, and Ukraine. We examine whether the effects of the United Nations’ approval of military force and regime type of the target country on support for war are moderated by respondents’ compliance with our abstraction encouragement. We find that around 20% of the respondents across all samples think of specific countries and do not comply with our abstraction encouragement. However, we fail to find evidence of a change in the average treatment effects by non-compliance, implying that the treatment effects are not likely to be conditional on respondents’ compliance (thinking of specific cases) or schema inconsistency (thinking of specific cases that are implausible given the context). At the same time, we find that treatment inconsistency (thinking of specific cases that are inconsistent with the assigned treatments) can affect the main treatment effects.
  • The “Accidental Candidate” Versus Europe’s Longest Dictator: Belarus’s Unfinished Revolution for Women
    Jalalzai, Farida; Jurek, Steve (Cogitatio, 2023-02)
    Women in Central and Eastern Europe have made gains as presidents and prime ministers. A notable exception to this is Belarus, where President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the longest dictator in Europe, has tightly clung to power since 1994. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya surprised many when she threw her hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential election. This article asks how Tsikhanouskaya arose as the 2020 opposition candidate and how gender shaped the campaign. Gender played a central role in her being able to stand in the election. Her husband had been a leading presidential candidate but was imprisoned by the regime. Like women who rose to executive leadership positions, Tsikhanouskaya ran in her husband’s place. Lukashenka permitted her candidacy because he did not see her as a political threat. Lukashenka regularly diminished her candidacy using sexist rhetoric. Tsikhanouskaya’s own campaign highlighted more traditionally feminine traits such as being a nurturer, unifier, and non-power seeking, and only being in politics by chance. Referring to herself as an “accidental candidate,” she made it clear that she sought to unify the Belarussian people against the dictatorship and would step aside after this was accomplished. As de facto opposition leader, she continues to highlight these more feminine qualities and craft a less threatening image.
  • Report on Citizenship Law: Jordan
    Frost, Lillian (European University Institute, 2022-02-24)
    This report focuses on nationality law in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with reference to its historical background, evolution, and current context, as well as a description of the modes of acquiring and losing Jordanian nationality. Although the report focuses on the legal evolution and content of citizenship in Jordan, it also highlights important silences and inconsistencies in the law and, where pertinent, unpacks these in relation to the law.
  • Transformation or the next meal? Global-local tensions in food justice work
    Vibert, Elizabeth; Gill, Bikrum Singh; Murphy, Matt; Pérez Piñán, Astrid; Puerta Silva, Claudia (University of Waterloo, 2022-07-15)
    This article presents conversations across difference that took place among community partners and researchers at a week-long workshop in T’Sou-ke First Nation territory in 2019. The workshop launched the Four Stories About Food Sovereignty research network and project, which brings together food producers, activists, and researchers representing T’Sou-ke Nation in British Columbia, Wayuu Indigenous communities in Colombia, refugee communities in Jordan, and small-scale farmers in South Africa. We focus here on conversations that highlight global-local tensions in food justice work, the pressures of extractive economy, and pressures arising from climate crisis – challenges that some participants framed at the level of global extractivism and colonial-capitalism, others at the level of the soil. As the conversations reveal, there was more common ground than conflict in shared histories of dispossession, shared predicaments of extractive capital and its government allies, and shared concern to renew and reinvigorate ancestral practices of care for territory.