Below, please find links to two pieces Professor Driscoll circulated ahead of the round table.
Jesse Driscoll Kicks Off the First CPRD Meeting with a Round Table Discussion on Fieldwork in Conflict-Affected Regions
The CPRD workshop opened the fall 2017 semester with a round table discussion on fieldwork in conflict-affected regions featuring Professor Jesse Driscoll (UCSD) and hosted by Professor Chris Fariss (UM-CPRD). With expertise in comparative state-building and civil war settlement dynamics, particularly in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, Professor Driscoll led a fascinating discussion about how to approach field work in conflict-affected areas, as well as about the challenges and opportunities inherent in the endeavor. What are the difficulties of doing this work? What kind of toll does it take on you as a scholar and human being? Is IRB sufficient to protect researchers as well as those being studied/interacted with? How can/should we talk about this topic when the discipline writ large tends not to? These were all discussed.
Below, please find links to two pieces Professor Driscoll circulated ahead of the round table.
Carly Wayne: Rationalizing Conflict: The Polarizing Role of Accountability in Ideological Decision Making
Donald Trump is now officially the 45th President of the United States of America. Throughout his tumultuous political campaign, Trump’s supporters and opponents alike repeatedly claimed that, if elected, the weight and accountability of the office of the President would likely cause Trump to have a change of heart and ‘pivot’ – moderating both his rhetoric and policy agenda. However, results from my recently published research in the Journal of Conflict Resolution suggest that the opposite is likely to happen – accountability can trigger significantly more polarized political attitudes, rather than more moderate ones.
And indeed, five days into his Presidency, Trump has signaled that, not only does he plan to stick to his policy guns, but if anything, these proposals have simply grown more central to his policy agenda. He has thus far followed through on several of his most polarizing campaign promises: reinstating the global gag rule on abortion, ending US consideration of the TPP, freezing grant-making at the EPA, restricting immigration and refugees from at least seven countries, and issuing an executive order to start construction on the southern border wall.
The long-awaited ‘pivot’ has not arrived. Indeed, accountability does not appear to have moderated his ideological policy preferences in any way. In fact, it appears to have had the opposite effect. Why is this? My research offers some answers.
Often, political scientists view accountability as inherently tied to political office—accountability to voters implies that representatives can be voted out of office if they do not satisfy their audience. However, accountability can also be conceptualized at a more basic psychological level—as a primarily social phenomenon in which individuals seek to maintain prestige and avoid losing face to any potential observers of their actions. This is the premise underlying the contingency model of accountability – that accountability works to the extent that individuals seek the approval and respect of those to whom they are accountable.
Thus, the effects of accountability are critically dependent on both the social goals of the individual and the audience to whom the individual perceives they are responsible. If, as is likely the case with our new President, the social goals include a need for adulation and praise from a small base of supporters, accountability can serve as a powerful motivating factor to amplify ideological decisions and attitudes rather than moderate them.
This is indeed exactly what I find in a series of studies, conducted in a completely different political context: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Using a well-established accountability manipulation in which respondents are told their responses are either anonymous (the control) or identifiable and subject to a post-survey meeting with an interviewer, I find that Israeli Jews made accountable for their political views become much more polarized in their policy preferences. After receiving the treatment (or control), subjects were asked a series of questions that asked them to privilege militancy versus compromise in Israel’s political interactions with the Palestinians. Self-described leftists become significantly more supportive of compromise with the Palestinians, particularly when presented with a negotiations scenario (the Palestinians have introduced a new peace treaty), while self-described rightists become significantly more supportive of militancy, particularly when presented with a military scenario (the Palestinians have increased rocket attacks against Israel).
This demonstrates not only that accountability polarizes, but that the polarizing impact of accountability is dependent on the relative issue ownership each ideological groups feels toward the scenario at hand. Leftists are moved more by a negotiations scenario than they are by a security one; the opposite is true for rightists. This suggests that, indeed, accountability is functioning in a social context – leftists and rightists feel more pressure to conform to their ideological viewpoints when presented with an issue over that they consider central to their ideological beliefs.
This study suggests some important practical implications for the role of accountability in shaping political preferences. To begin, the results of this study suggest that practitioners should use caution in advocating accountability as a universal factor for encouraging moderation and cooperation in political processes. Accountability may work to hinder self-critical decision making and moderate policy choices, instead encouraging individuals to rely on familiar, more readily defensible ideological arguments when formulating their political attitudes.
In the case of President Trump, this likely means that the accountability of the Presidency is unlikely to moderate some of his more radical policy goals, unless he believes that his core constituencies’ views on these issues have changed. Otherwise, the social pressures of accountability will likely drive him to maintain consistency between his ideological campaign pledges and his ongoing policy agenda.
Carly Wayne is a PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan researching foreign policy decision-making, the psychology of political violence and strategies of modern war.
Each year, approximately 10 million[i] people are affected by large scale development projects, including natural resource extractive projects. In Mozambique, local residents protested a coal mine in the northwestern province of Tete, blockading the railroad and costing the mining company millions of dollars. Yet not all extractive projects are met with resistance - only a few kilometers away another large coal concession avoided costly resistance. So why do some of these extractive projects experience resistance and others don't? And when, if at all, do governments side with the protestors over the likes of an extractive firm?
In a recent article published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, I answer this question by developing a formal model of the interactions among a natural resource firm, a local community and a government. The model provides a theory of the local politics of natural resource extraction.
Why should we care about these regions, and why is it necessary to have a theory just about them? The obvious answer is that we’d like to avoid some local version of the natural resource curse where natural resources coincide with violent conflict and low socio-economic development (recent works by Arellano-Yanguas, Arce, Arce and Miller, and Haslam and Tanimoune[ii] have paved the way for a closer look at a local resource curse). Having a generalizable theory about these regions can help us understand if and when such a local curse is likely to emerge.
But natural resource extractive regions are interesting for another reason: these are areas where tradeoffs between government access to revenue and political support are particularly acute. The fixed and somewhat random nature of natural resource deposits makes them particularly vulnerable to costly protest. The potential of costly resistance shapes the strategic incentives of the extractive firm and the state, and compels the state to manage tradeoffs between access to resource revenue and potential political consequences of resistance where natural resources and a politically relevant population occupy the same space. These regions reflect the outcome of a strategic interaction among a firm who may provide local goods and services to avoid costly protest, a government who may value the resource revenue provided by the firm more than any political support it might receive from engagement in the region, and a local population with the potential to offer support or impose costs on the firm or the state.
For a clear representation of this interaction, take a look at the figure.
So a theory of the local politic of natural resource extraction has implications for a broader question that has received little attention in the literature in comparative and world politics: how do non-state actors affect governance outcomes at the subnational level? The model tells us when a non-state actor, in this case an extractive firm, has incentives to provide goods and services in a defined region. It also outlines how a government can benefit from ensuring that such an actor does so. The government can thus leverage the potential costs of protest to the firm in order to garner regional support resulting from goods provision in the region.
Understanding extractive regions as strategic contexts in this way provides a lens for understanding subnational governance outcomes more broadly. The model allows us to explore how and why regions of limited state presence[iii] might be sustained, with specific reference to regions of natural resource extraction where we might most expect states to maximize their presence, given the revenue potential.
[i] Cernea, Michael M. 2000. “Risks, Safeguards and Reconstruction: A Model for Population Displacement and Resettlement.” Economic and Political Weekly, 3659–3678.
[ii] Arellano-Yanguas, Javier. 2011. “Aggravating the Resource Curse: Decentralisation, Mining and Conflict in Peru.” The Journal of Development Studies 47 (4): 617–38. doi:10.1080/00220381003706478.
Arce, Moisés, and Rebecca E. Miller. 2016. “Mineral Wealth and Protest in Sub-Saharan Africa.” African Studies Review 59 (3): 83–105. doi:10.1017/asr.2016.84.
Arce, Moises. 2014. Resource Extraction and Protest in Peru. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Haslam, Paul Alexander, and Nasser Ary Tanimoune. 2016. “The Determinants of Social Conflict in the Latin American Mining Sector: New Evidence with Quantitative Data.” World Development 78 (February): 401–19. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.10.020.
[iii] Krasner, Stephen D., and Thomas Risse. 2014. “External Actors, State-Building, and Service Provision in Areas of Limited Statehood: Introduction.” Governance 27 (4): 545–67. doi:10.1111/gove.12065.
Jessica Steinberg is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Indiana University, and Faculty Affiliate at the Ostrom Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis. She received her PhD from University of Michigan in 2014 and is a CPRD alumna. Her current book project, "Subcontracting the State: Extractive firms, local conflict, and the logic of governance in regions of natural resource extraction" builds on this formal model, testing it with qualitative and quantitative empirical analysis.
Seventeen CPRD members participated in the Peace Science Society's 2016 meeting at Notre Dame, making Michigan one of the best represented institutions at the conference. All who presented their work or joined a workshop enjoyed the opportunity to receive feedback on works in progress, engage with colleagues, and lead conversations on moving forward conflict studies as a discipline.
Michigan affiliated presentations were both substantively and methodologically diverse. CPRD members presented work on topics as varied as the use of militias in civil conflict, Kenyan electoral violence, and the process of negotiating the International Criminal Court's Rome Statute. Group members presented papers employing satellite data, experimental methods, formal models, and qualitative case studies.
CPRD members look forward to Peace Science 2017 at Arizona State University.
Michigan at Peace Science:
A Medley of Militias