Brian Job

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2021)
Rough Peace: Understanding the Avoidance of Armed Conflict in Bolivia (2016)

Why and how does peace persist in some contentious political contexts, but not others? I argue that certain forms of locally embedded governance institutions can play an important role in mitigating the likelihood of armed violence. Specifically, I find that inclusive communities equipped with governance institutions capable of resolving collective action problems—which I refer to as “Ostromian communities”—are, under a range of conditions, less likely to engage in armed conflict with other communities or the state. The research employs a method of process tracing on the basis of 70 participant and expert interviews, primary document collection and analysis and other archival research in the primary case of contestation over coca eradication in the Chapare region of Bolivia from 1982 until 2004. First, I illustrate how the coca growers’ federations constituted an Ostromian community. Second, I show how the federations’ inclusive political institutions encouraged and enabled high levels of coordinated and contentious non-violent political activity, but stopped short of armed resistance. This outcome resulted despite a repressive state presence in the region and regular instances of violence directed against the community occurring over a period of more than two decades. The dissertation makes several contributions to the civil conflict literature. It provides a novel explanation for why and how some countries at risk of civil conflict—such as those with unconsolidated political regimes or limited state capacities—tend to persist indefinitely in a state of rough, yet durable peace, while others experience conflict.

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Mobilization in Civil War: Latent Norms, Social Relations, and Inter-Group Violence in Abkhazia (2015)

What explains individual and small group mobilization for inter-group violence? How does participation in inter-group violence inform high-risk action in subsequent cycles of mobilization? This dissertation poses four puzzles of violent mobilization across the pre-, civil war, and post-war stages in the conflict cycle to analyze mobilization in civil war. These puzzles place the question of civil war mobilization in a historical trajectory of conflict and include pre-war violent mobilization despite the risks of state repression and inter-group opposition; immediate mass mobilization on a weaker side in the war at the stage of civil war onset; retention of fighters in the course of civil war; and protracted violent mobilization in the post-war period.Analysis is based on over 150 in-depth interviews with participants and non-participants in mobilization and extensive archival and secondary material gathered through fieldwork over 2010-2013 in Abkhazia—a case of civil war and Georgia’s breakaway territory,—Georgia, and Russia. The wide scope of Abkhaz mobilization in the pre- (1921-1992), civil war (1992-1993), and post-war (1993-2008) periods allows examining within-case temporal and spatial variation, tracing the process of mobilization across the conflict cycle, and drawing generalizable conclusions.The study adopts a normative, socially-embedded approach to mobilization in civil war and critically engages with rationalist approaches to civil war. Explanation of mobilization is achieved through the conceptual and theoretical development of the latent normative framework activation mechanism. This normative framework for action, comprising underlying social norms, emergent understandings of history and identity, and resultant prescribed action, forms in the pre-war period, to be activated at the civil war onset stage through threat-framing triggers at the micro, meso, and macro levels of the social structure. Individuals and small groups adopt varying mobilization roles depending on whether threat perception is self- or collectivity-oriented. The normative framework transforms and continues to affect mobilization in the course of the war and in the post-war period.This research contributes to our conceptual and theoretical understanding of participation and organization of inter-group violence, the interaction between norms and social relations in civil war mobilization, research methods in conflict zones, and the understudied case of Abkhazia.

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Institutional change in regional organizations: The emergence and evolution of ASEAN norms (2014)

In November 2007, the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed their first Charter, and hailed it as a ‘milestone’ for regional cooperation. The Charter was designed to provide the ‘legal and institutional framework’ for ASEAN, and to give it a ‘legal personality’. It refers to ‘strengthening’ the principle of democracy and to ‘promoting and protecting’ human rights. It also states that ASEAN ‘shall establish an ASEAN human rights body’. The Charter raises an empirical puzzle given the ASEAN norms of sovereignty and ‘non-interference in the internal affairs of one another’, which are reiterated in ASEAN declarations and agreements (including the Charter). Moreover, the significant political, ethnic and cultural diversity among member states traditionally underpins the understanding that regime type and human rights are ‘off the table’ in (official) ASEAN dialogue. Thus, why did ASEAN member states adopt text in the Charter referring to democracy and human rights? Further, why was the debate about the references to human rights far more contentious than that about the references to democracy? This dissertation traces the negotiations leading to the ASEAN Charter, and explores the processes through which member states accepted the references to democracy and human rights, and agreed to establish an ASEAN human rights body. I argue that perceptions of legitimacy influence states’ positions on regional ‘normative statements’. The emergence and evolution of regional norms are shaped by political elites’ perceptions of how members of a regional organization view the legitimacy of the organization and its norms (which I call ‘internal regional legitimacy’). These are in turn shaped by elites’ perceptions of how their societies regard the legitimacy of their national governments (‘domestic political legitimacy’). Regional norms are also shaped by elites’ perceptions of how those outside the region view the legitimacy of the regional organization and its norms (‘external regional legitimacy’). The dissertation’s exploration of various actors’ perceptions of legitimacy in the adoption of the Charter helps to explain the diverse understandings of norms by member states. Moreover, it contributes to theoretical understandings of the emergence and evolution of norms in an environment of ‘normative contestation’.

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Non-traditional security in the post-cold war era: Implications of a broadened security agenda for the militaries of Canada and Australia (2013)

The growing salience of non-traditional security concerns for the post-Cold War national security of western states has led this author to ask: What implications does the post-Cold War proliferation of “security” threats, and therefore, the securitization of non-traditional challenges, hold for the primary security institution of the state, namely, the military? Using the research design of a heuristic case study, this project seeks to answer this question through the methodology of process tracing, relying on document analysis and semi-structured elite interviews for data. This dissertation first argues that the category of “non-traditional” security concerns can be separated into three “types”: (1) Fragile and Failing States, (2) Global Terrorism, and (3) Transnational Political Challenges. Using this framework, the dissertation then examines two cases, which are the national security strategies of Canada and Australia throughout the post-Cold War Era. For each case, the impact of the securitization of non-traditional security concerns is analyzed with relation to defence policy, military doctrine, force structure, and operational outputs. It concludes that both militaries have been significantly impacted by the securitization of non-traditional security concerns during the post-Cold War Era, although the securitization processes and policy outcomes have been different in each case.

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A Right to Leave: Refugees, States and International Security (2008)

No abstract available.

A study of movement and order : the securitization of migration in Canada and France (2008)

This dissertation is about the movement of people and the system of orderunderpinning the movement. In undertaking a comparative study of Canada and Francebetween 1989 and 2005, the study explores a widespread phenomenon that securitystudies and migration scholars would have considered an anomaly only two decades ago:understanding the movement of people as an existential security threat.How is it that nation-states around the globe are cracking down on migration forsecurity reasons? How do we know if migration has been securitized - and which criteriashould we employed to guide our analysis? What are the social mechanisms at play in theinteraction between movement and order? Does a variation in levels of securitizedmigration exist - and if so, what are the key determinants of the variation? Thesequestions are at the heart of the present study.My argument is twofold. First, I contend that a constructivist perspective is useful ingaining a better understanding of the social mechanisms involved in the securitization ofmigration as it highlights discursive power, ideational factors, and cultural/contextualelements. Second, I argue that securitization theory - the current benchmark insecuritization research - remains silent on the issue of variation in levels of securitizedmigration. As such, securitization theory, as currently applied and organized, cannotexplain empirical findings of my study - a weak securitization in Canada versus a strongsecuritization in France. Underscoring the necessity to amend securitization theory, Iinvestigate the impact of cultural factors - and especially the role of domestic audience -to account for the variation.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2020)
The impact of right-wing populism on security: the case of the Philippines (2018)

With populism becoming a political buzzword after the recent elections of Right-Wing Populist leaders, discussion over the impacts the rhetoric has on security decisions becomes vital. This work aims to explore a correlational connection between Right-Wing Populism and security decisions made by populist leaders by use of a single case study analysis, focusing on the political history of the Philippines and their current President, Rodrigo Duterte. By stating working definitions for both Right-Wing Populism and security, a frame for analysing security issues and subsequent decisions made by Duterte is set, which can then be further projected into generalisations that can be carried into further research. While certain decisions by leaders may be viewed as being impulsive, this work looks to illustrate that these decisions are in fact strategic under a specific Right-Wing Populist agenda.

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Rethinking Securitization: Water Scarcity and Energy Security in China (2016)

This thesis explores the seriousness of the impact of water resource scarcity on China’s energy security. It starts from the premise that water resources are necessary for coal-fired energy production, which is itself crucial for maintaining China’s required power generation, and shows how increasing coal-energy demands and diminishing water resources have combined to threaten China’s energy security. To assess the seriousness of the threat it employs the securitization analysis frameworks proposed by the Copenhagen School and Mely Caballero-Anthony and Ralf Emmers, arguing that water resources were securitized in relation to energy in China’s ‘Three Red Lines’ Number One Document in 2011. Subsequently it analyses whether and to what degree securitization resulted in policy action and policy success with respect to two important topic areas: (i) geographical distribution of water resources vis-a-vis coal-fired energy production; and, (ii) efficiency of water resource use. It argues that consideration of such factors makes for a better understanding of the empirical situation and finds that securitization resulted in significant and degrees of policy action in both topic areas, and moderate and insignificant degrees of policy success in geographical distribution of water resources vis-a-vis coal-fired energy production and efficiency of water resource use respectively. In light of this, it argues that China is very concerned about the impact of water resource scarcity on its energy security. Moreover, in order to explain the discrepancies between securitization and degrees of policy success, it introduces new additions to the aforementioned securitization frameworks - potential constraints, structural feasibility issues, timeframes, and uncertainty - which the paper argues helps explain such discrepancies as well as improve understanding of the empirical landscape. As a result of this, it argues that these additions to the theoretical frameworks should be used in future studies of securitization.

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To Drone or Not to Drone: A Comparative Analysis of the Effectiveness of the US's Drone Policy of Targeted Killing in the Contexts of Pakistan and Yemen (2015)

Drones are the new game in the town of counter-terrorism. For their proponents, drones do the dirty job of killing the “bad guys” without causing much harm to the civilians. For their critics, drones desensitize the killing of human beings by creating a “PlayStation mentality.” In a world where the threat levels from transnational terrorist organizations are continuously evolving, and the mistakes of the past policies continue to haunt, it is important to critically analyze the effects of the new tools of counter-terrorism before arguing for or against their continuous use. For the purposes of this paper, I review the existing literature on the issue of targeted killing (the primary reason for which drones are employed), and build up on those arguments to formulate a drone-specific theoretical framework. In order to test my hypotheses, I conduct a “structured, focused case comparison” of the US’s drone policy of targeted killing in the contexts of Pakistan and Yemen. I find that drones are an effective tool of targeted killing against a hierarchical organization which has a predatory and violent relationship with the population in which it operates. However, due to the secrecy surrounding this issue and its high political salience, current datasets are incomplete and suffer from significant errors, making this study only a start of a future project which will look into this issue more rigorously. I conclude this paper by mentioning these caveats, along with the suggestions on which variables future research should focus on, in order to thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of the targeted killing strategy using drones.

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North Korea: Cyber Threat Perception and Metadata Analysis (2014)

Since the turn of the century, the increasing relevance of the Internet and non-traditional security concerns has been visible in the East Asian context. On the Korean peninsula, there have been starkly different approaches to cyberspace. South Korea, a developed economy and liberal democracy has made significant strides in adopting the Internet while its northern counterpart still remains largely unconnected. In such a context, this paper uses metadata and big data sources to delve into the American threat perception of North Korean cyberspace. Recent trends indicate that the American government and media have a growing interest in cyber security issues. As the target of historical North Korean cyber attacks, the United States should have considerable interest in the cyber attack capabilities of North Korea. A theoretical framework on threat perception is used to estimate that the American threat perception of North Korean cyber capabilities is high. However, an analysis of data that was collected with Python scripts and web APIs shows that the American government and media often associate the threat from North Korea with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles rather than cyber warfare. As a result, the use of big data and metadata technologies reveal nuances in the American threat perception of North Korea. For the United States, North Korea’s cyber attack capabilities should be seen as an emerging threat in objective terms, but nuclear weapons and missile capabilities still dominate in threat perceptions.

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Middle Power theory, change and continuity in the Asia-Pacific (2013)

This paper recalibrates the definition of ‘middle power’ and applies it to a comparative case study of Canadian and Australian foreign policies in the most dynamic region in the world, the Asia-Pacific. It is argued that the middle power concept remains a useful analytical tool in understanding the foreign policy behavior of states with a particular subset of material, institutional and identify characteristics. According to the refocused definition developed here, middle powers are states that possess all three of the following attributes: (i) medium sized material capabilities; (ii) perceive multilateralism and soft power as the optimal ways to maximize their foreign policy interests; and (iii) self identify as middle powers to domestic and international audiences. The particular value of the middle power concept advanced here, is the explanatory power it provides in the case of Canada and Australia in the contemporary Asia-Pacific: two states formerly classified as middle powers, possessing similar material capabilities, yet behaving in fundamentally different ways. This foreign policy divergence is accounted for by differences in ideational factors between the two states. Canada, it is argued, has socially deconstructed its own status as a middle power in the Asia-Pacific region, while Australia has bolstered its middle power identity.

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Navigating the great powers: Myanmar and Southeast Asian security strategies (2013)

Small states face a unique predicament in the international system, and have been faced with the necessity of developing a range of strategies to ensure their survival in the midst of great power struggles. In the literature on Southeast Asia, scholars have developed a number of ways of conceptualizing the complex strategies used at the individual and regional level by small states in this region to pursue their security, including triangular politics, complex balancing, omni-enmeshment, and hedging. Through an examination of the case of Myanmar, this thesis finds that in certain situations, the actions taken by states simply do not fit with these conceptualizations; moreover, the pursuit of these security strategies at the bilateral level may be in tension with their pursuit at the multilateral level. This paper argues that the lack of fit and bilateral-multilateral divide are due to assumptions of homogeneity related to the goals and circumstances of states found in the literature on Southeast Asia. In particular, these models of state strategies in do not leave adequate room for countries with different conceptualizations of security and regional order. Similarly, they do not anticipate or explain actions in a country where China is both the main economic and security partner, but rather assume partnerships with the United States. These gaps must be addressed and the models of state strategies extended if analysts are to have a full understanding of countries like Myanmar, as well as broader regional dynamics.

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Roadmap to Ethnic Strife: Economic Reform in Myanmar and Enduring Conflict in the Kachin Region (2013)

In 2011, fighting resumed between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar military in the Kachin region of Myanmar. This fighting came after Myanmar established and carried out its “Roadmap to Democracy,” after the new Constitution in 2008 was ratified, and after the first elections in twenty years took place. In light of these reforms, why has fighting reignited now when western observers display more optimism for the future of Myanmar than ever before? This paper intends to illustrate that the competition over access to the economic flows of the Kachin region is fuelling this eruption of military conflict. What is more, Myanmar’s economic transition to a liberalized economy favours persistent tensions in the Kachin province. Since the rapid economic liberalisation of the Myanmar economy, which is a fundamental aspect of the “Roadmap to Democracy,” the Myanmar Government has begun intense exploitation of the Kachin region for its vast natural resources and trade routes. In light of its economic objectives for the Kachin region, the Myanmar Government has changed its approach towards the Kachin insurgency to instead favour the protection and exploitation of its investments. What complicates matters more is the involvement of China, who is pursuing its own objectives in the region. This conflict is now being shaped by the intricate and ever changing relations between various actors that struggle to control the empowering economic assets of the Kachin region; all of which has assured enduring tensions in the Kachin region.

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The water margin: security and securitization in China's water crisis (2013)

It is increasingly apparent that China’s freshwater availability and supply are becoming a serious constraint upon its developmental and human needs – to the point of internal crisis, as supply is set to peak by 2030. This has been a running trend alongside other environmental problems caused by the economic boom. Whilst China has made significant inroads in tackling water and environmental issues, this paper argues that water has been treated as a security issue in rhetoric and action. This paper employs the Copenhagen School framework to analyse how the government has securitized water resources, and also attempts to analyse the rationale and interests behind its response, using the lens of fragmented authoritarianism to explain the diverse emergent responses to water shortage within the state. The supply-side strategies the Chinese state has espoused as part of the securitization of water are also shown to be detrimental to its other environmental goals and political interests.

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"Korean wave" in China: its impact on the South Korean-Chinese relations (2012)

The “Korean Wave” refers to the love of South Korean cultural products. The wave has started in East Asia and swept over Southeast Asia. More recently, it has even landed in the Middle East and part of Europe. In particular, this thesis looks at the Korean Wave in the context of China, where the Korean Wave first started and the term was coined. It aims to answer the following research questions: 1) To what extent the Korean pop culture has influenced the public sentiment in China? 2) How the government and political leaders have responded to the Korean Wave in China? In response, it is argued that Korean soap-operas, in particular, have boosted the Chinese public’s interest in Korea and created positive national images of Korea. This effect can be explained by the Korean media and government’s active support and the timely development of the internet. However, the high-level response to the phenomenon has also reflected the Chinese government’s concern over foreign cultural imports and their unwillingness to utilize the Korean Wave as a tool of promoting South Korea-China relations. Finally, this thesis also argues that the Korean Wave has a potential to become the cornerstone of “soap-opera diplomacy” based on the cultural familiarity that could improve the declining state to state bilateral relations.

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Looking Forward from the Past: Using Burma's History of Military rule to Understand Its Future (2012)

Burma's transition to civilian rule marks a significant development in its history. But while the burden of responsibility for the state now rests in the hands of elected officials, the relevance of the Burmese military, which ruled the state for decades, has not significantly diminished. The ability to understand the military's behaviour, both its reasons for capturing the state and its current commitment to allowing civilian rule, contribute to understanding how it will behave in the future. This paper will sort out the development of the institutional ideology that animates the Burmese military, namely a focus on preserving the territorial unity of the state; and it will identify the opportunity this has afforded military elites to pursue their own goals. From Ne Win to Than Shwe, the Burmese military has served as a powerful political vehicle that has allowed them near despotic control of the state while simultaneously constraining their behaviour. The use of purges and promotions to build internal loyalty and incentivize ambitious officers to heed the commands of leadership was instrumental in preserving solidarity within the military, but it also limited the autonomy of military elites to pursue personal goals. The continued use of such strategies within the military is indicative of the influence military elites continue to have on the behaviour of the Tatmadaw, but the separation of state and military have also tempered the incentives of military leadership to act counter to the interests of government. In order to realize their political ambitions, military leaders must now build partnerships with elected politicians, creating a new restraint on military behaviour. But this cooperative relationship will face future tests, as the desire of the military to remain autonomous will have to be reconciled with the government's natural inclination to increase oversight over the use of force within its territory. Such challenges to the institutional role of the military pose a risk to Burma's future, and the ways in which political and military elites will respond to this is key to whether civilian rule in Burma is here for good or another transitory experiment.

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The Ineffective Securitization of Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia: Puzzles and Problems (2012)

Human trafficking is a serious and growing global concern, and Southeast Asia has emerged as a particular trafficking hub. Many actors, both internationally and on a state level, have responded to this concern with securitization: in other words, they have presented human trafficking as an existential threat which should be responded to with extraordinary measures. However, successful rhetorical securitization does not always translate to policy effectiveness, and Southeast Asia’s notorious problems with human trafficking remain pressing and relatively unattended to. The clear disjuncture between rhetorical and effective securitization in the region challenges the traditional assumption within the Copenhagen School that speech acts are sufficient to securitize a given issue. Furthermore, the School’s western orientation and inattention to local contexts is problematic when applying it outside of a western context. A revised model that accepts a differentiation between rhetorical and effective securitization and distances itself from a Euro-American conception of the state is far more useful in understanding the securitization of human trafficking in the region. To demonstrate my arguments, I will investigate the cases of Thailand and Cambodia, primarily relying on archival evidence, internet sources, and official documents.

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China's South Asia policy through a domestic sovereignty perspective (2011)

China’s South Asia Policy is currently perceived mostly from realist geopolitical and to a lesser degree, commercial liberalism perspectives. These frameworks ignore China’s own vulnerabilities in its restive periphery which are significant factors in determining policy towards its neighbours. This is especially true in South Asia since Xinjiang and Tibet, the two most volatile minority areas, border this region. The ‘core-periphery structure’ offers a useful tool to fathom China’s contradictory dichotomy where it exists as a strong state at its ‘core’ while being insecure and weak in the ‘periphery’. This dichotomy is seen in dealings with its neighbours as well. As a result, the realist geopolitical analysis offers a sufficient framework to understand China’s interactions with nations bordering its ‘core’, for example in Southeast and Northeast Asia, where it projects itself as a strong, unified state. Yet such an analysis will fall short when explaining the PRC’s interactions with states neighbouring its periphery, in this case in South Asia, due to a perceived ‘insecurity dilemma’. An economics-driven commercial liberalism perspective would also fail to capture the internal complexities and perceived vulnerabilities faced by the PRC in its interaction with South Asia. Therefore it is useful to explore an alternative framework taking account of domestic sovereignty factors. The perceived ‘insecurity dilemma’ in the periphery have been addressed by the PRC since 1949 through policies that sought to assimilate these regions with the ‘core’ of the country. Initially these policies attempted assimilation through coercion but since the late 1970s, a softer approach has been applied through economic empowerment and reduction of disparities. An extension of these domestic policies in Xinxiang and Tibet are reflected in the PRC’s dealings with nations that border these regions. With regard to South Asia, a closer scrutiny reveals such interconnections in the PRC’s policies towards Afghanistan and Pakistan with relation to Xinjiang and similarly towards India, Nepal and Bhutan with relation to Tibet. Such an assessment that takes note of domestic sovereignty considerations offers a more comprehensive analysis of China’s South Asia policy and would contribute to alleviate tensions resulting from misinterpretation of these policies.

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Managing ECFA's Ideational transformative power in cross-strait relations: An exploration using the functionalist model of integration and two-level game theory (2011)

This thesis utilizes Robert Putnam’s two-level game theory to shed light on why, despite steady improvement of low political interactions between China and Taiwan, the functionalist spillover into cross-Strait high politics has yet to occur. In this context, this thesis examines how the recently signed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) can be managed to initiate an ideational (attitudinal) shift within the Taiwanese population towards cross-Strait integration. The thesis demonstrates that ECFA’s ideational transformative power is premised on its capacity to generate concrete benefits for the population and the extent to which these benefits fulfill the expectations that the population has come to hold towards ECFA. It also shows the importance of effective communication from Taiwanese elites to the Taiwanese population in building reasonable expectations about ECFA.

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The dragon with the blue beret: China's contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations (2011)

Recently, academics and policy analysts alike have taken note of the People’s Republic of China’s increasing participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations (UNPKO). Since 2003, the overall number of Chinese personnel in UNPKO has climbed dramatically: from 120 in early 2003 to over 2,000 at present. However, while it is relatively easy to determine how many Chinese personnel serve in UNPKO, it is much more difficult to accurately determine China’s motives for participation in the UN peacekeeping regime and its mission selection criteria. At present, there are three main schools of thought on this subject. Chinese officials and academics tend to argue that the PRC contributes to UNPKO because it is genuinely concerned about promoting international peace and security and alleviating human suffering. Other authors, primarily from the United States, argue that the PRC’s motives are purely instrumental in nature. China, they contend, sends personnel to missions when doing so can increase the PRC’s access to natural resources and markets or augment its overall diplomatic and military power. Finally, some authors vaguely contend that China’s concerns over its international legitimacy play a role in its peacekeeping strategy.This thesis advances a new version of the international legitimacy explanation of Chinese peacekeeping participation. Specifically, it uses case studies from China’s past and current participation in UNPKO to demonstrate how reputational concerns have and continue to be the primary determinants of China’s peacekeeping policy. It argues that China participates in UNPKO to improve its international image in two important ways. First, China wants to show other great powers that it supports the status quo international system, thereby undermining claims that it is a dangerous “revisionist power.” Second, the PRC wants to ameliorate concerns among the international community that it is behaving in an exploitative way toward the developing world.

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Witnessing the socially dead: testimony, violence and Sarah (2011)

This paper critiques the assumption, common in academic studies on survivor testimony, that trauma or pain renders the witness speechless. Through an in-depth analysis of Sarah, an extremely marginalised, socially dead, survivor-witness of multiple violences during times of war and peace in northern Uganda, I consider how such witnesses communicate in embodied ways to outline the nature of violences that they experience. Given that witnessing is a relational practice, I then explore the creative, empathetic, and imaginative ways that researchers or listeners should respond to such testimonies in order to do justice to the testimony told.

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Securitization of Chinese Migration in Kazakhstan (2010)

Kazakhstan experienced large population in- and outmigration during the first decade after independence. In particular, increased Chinese migration and presence in the country proved to be a focal point for debate for the Kazakhstani public, a fact reflected by the obsessive coverage in the local media. The theory of securitization of security threats is employed to examine the effects of Chinese presence in Kazakhstan and to dissect the varying perceptions of this phenomenon on the state and societal levels. Therefore, the media’s pioneering of the securitization of Chinese migration and the government’s response to it is analyzed in this paper. This paper concludes that though Chinese migration to Kazakhstan constitutes no real security threat to Kazakhstan, however Chinese presence and Chinese migration in Kazakhstan need further research.

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