In 1978, Edward Said, a Palestinian scholar established in the United States, published an immensely controversial book entitled 'Orientalism'. The controversy surrounding this piece of work was extremely vivacious, and its arguments are still, nowadays, at the core of intense academic debate. In this book, Said takes up a very critical and virulent standpoint against Orientalism, understood as the western academic literature that is, in one form or the other, interested in the study of the 'Orient'. The purpose of this essay is to expose and analyse the main arguments made by Said and its followers as well as its counterparts, in order to understand how relevant it is to talk about an 'Orientalism Debate' not only after the publication of the book, but also today, in the light of some empirical events. Therefore, the first two parts of this essay will be focused on the crucial arguments made by Said-and further developed by some scholars like Kabbani writing on Europe's Myths of Orient - followed by the criticisms that have emerged in response to the formulation of Orientalism as a “Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient » . Then, in a final part, we will see in what aspect Said's assumptions seem relevant or irrelevant in today's international context when the Middle East, the so-called Orient, is more than ever under the limelight.
Considering the tremendous reactions Said's book provoked, one can not deny the importance of this piece of work in the realm of political thought, but also, more broadly in the field of Social Sciences, as it has influenced various domains including sociology, anthropology, or, even, history . But what is interesting is that Said was not the first to take such a virulent standpoint against Western scholarship, yet its impact had no precedent. Indeed as Prakash notes “the critique of Western knowledge of the Orient is at least as old as modern Orientalism itself and has been recurrent” . He for instance quotes Abd-al-Rahman al-Jabarti, an Egyptian chronicler who witnessed Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, and “had no doubt that the expedition was as much an epistemological as a military conquest.” But Orientalism has brought to the field a whole new perspective on Western scholarship following some of the major post-structuralist ideas developed by authors like Foucault. “What accounts for the extraordinary impact of Orientalism is its repeated dissolution of boundaries drawn by colonial and neocolonial Western hegemony” Prakash further argues. Indeed, in Said's mind, Orientalism is not just a set of idea concerned with culture, arts and ideology, it is understood as an actual discourse, “an institutionalized discipline that possessed authority, that involved descriptive and analytical practices, that projected construction of the Orient in imaginative, sociological, military and political terms” , describes Thomas, one of Said's advocate in the field of Anthropology. 'Construction of the Orient in imaginative terms': that is the starting point of Said's analysis of Orientalism. According to him, Western scholars have 'created' the notion of Orient themselves, and this creation is of prime importance because it 'has helped to define Europe as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience' especially during the 19th century when the idea of Europe as a collective notion was emerging. Those creations are then crucial to the West as it is a way of defining itself in contrast with the 'Other': the Oriental. In that sense, Orientalism represents “a way of coming to terms with the Orient that is based on the Orient's special place in European Western experience." But this conception of the 'Other', which is essential to the acquisition of Western identity, relies on imaginary knowledge, what Said calls 'imaginative geography'. “In "our" mind the territory of the "other" can be filled with pure imagination, but never with purely "objective" knowledge. This is the realm of "imaginative geography," a fundamental concept of Orientalism” claims Mussalam. The Orient is then pictured and associated with the 1001 nights, Scheherazade's sensuality and when « The West is social stability; the East ⎨is⎬ pleasure, unrestricted by social dictates » . Furthermore, notions of Orient and Occident have been man-made, Western-man-made and are interdependent, with the former being constructed as a negative image of Western culture. The Orient and the Oriental man are actually what the Occident and the Occidental man, “virtuous and mature” ... are not. The Westerner is then 'rational, peaceful, liberal, logical” while the Oriental man is 'none of these thing” From these concepts, Said, inspired by Michel Foucault's notion of discourse in The Archaeology of Knowledge and in Discipline and Punish as well as Gramsci work on cultural hegemony quickly associates Western knowledge, or constructed knowledge of the 'Orient' as a source of power, politically motivated. “The relationship between the Occident and the Orient is a relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of a complex hegemony” he claims. Said's intention is then to point out how Orientalism has been transformed by the Western academic community into a doctrine, and even an institution, for exercising its domination on the Orient, because in Said's mind Orientalism and imperialism are « metaphors of each other. Orientalism is a manner of imperialism; imperialism is a manner of Orientalism ». Taking the empirical examples of Lord Balfour and Lord Cromer, the colonial manager of Egypt, he further argues that Orientalism has created a “core of essential knowledge both academic and practical” which they “inherited from a century of modern Western Orientalism and used to control colonial affairs”.
Thus, in Said's analysis, the Western academic community, especially in the 19th and 20th century, has created an image of the Orient, based on false and 'prototypical' propositions, in opposition to its own self-perception. This image is based on assumption of weakness on the part of the created 'Oriental man' and has allowed the discourse, which was first interested in artistic and cultural depiction, to develop itself towards a source of power justifying colonialism and imperialism.
Those notion of 'imaginative geography', creation of the 'Other' in order to define itself, false and created perception of the Orient, as well as the intertwined relation between knowledge (a constructed knowledge) and power, and eventually, Orientalism and Imperialism, lie at the core of Said's -and other scholars critical towards Western perception of the Orient- argumentation. Its novelty, notably the references to Foucault's work, has brought up a lot of reactions, and as Thomas has noted “what is conspicuous is not just the amount of comment the book has prompted, but also the polarization of views and the level of vituperation” . We can for instance quote Ryckmans (Simon Leys), who described Said's book as '300 pages of twisted, obscure, incoherent, ill-informed and badly-written diatribe' in his article entitled 'Orientalism and Sinology' . Many criticisms have then emerged, and one of the most famous critics of Said's work is Bernard Lewis, an Orientalist historian. Shortly after the publication of 'Orientalism,' a debate between the two intellectual figures emerged in the New York Review of Books. Lewis main argument was that Said's historical analysis is rather poor and notably forgets that the West has had an interest in the Orient longer before expressing some imperialist views and wills of control. His point of view is that Orientalism does not stem from imperialist concerns but rather from Humanism, and therefore, as a rational academic framework, is not overwhelmed by imperial interest of the rulers. Indeed, as Prakash explains, for many scholars a crucial point 'is the conviction that imperial interests could never possibly be so overwhelming as to vitiate the writings of scholars drawn from different centuries, nations, institutions, academic fields, and cultural sensibilities. The persistence of racist stereotypes and politically-motivated distortions is readily conceded, but not the indictment of the Orientalist tradition as a whole of being complicit with Western power.' By making them complicit of power-seeker rulers, Said is then denying the approach of German Orientalists, for instance, whose work have been very influential without being associated to an imperialist power. Others have also stressed the lack of actual historical analysis, which, in the end, undermines Said's point as it does not provide a clear empirical background. This is the case of Talal Asad, though adhering to Said's argumentation, who regrets he had not "rooted his analysis more firmly in the particular conditions within which this authoritative discourse was historically produced." Besides, some have criticised Said's emphasis on imperialism. According to Windschuttle, 'at most, Said establishes that Orientalism provided the West with a command of Oriental languages and culture, plus a background mindset that convinced it of its cultural and technological advance over Islam. But these are far from sufficient causes of imperial conquest since they explain neither motives, opportunities, nor objectives.' Richardson talks of a 'banal equation with imperialism' without any historical support and Mussalam, if he recognises the existence of political motives driving Western powers, is opposed to too much emphasis on the equation: Orientalism=imperialism, and acknowledges the danger this can bring as 'to speak of imperialism as mature Orientalism gives such importance to Orientalism and Orientalists that it allows for the fiction that by combating Orientalism you are combating imperialism. It may also shut the door effectively against any attempt to salvage anything from Orientalism. To salvage something from Orientalism is possible, and for scholars of the Middle East, especially native scholars, it is an important task.' Finally, a claim that has often been made against Said's argumentation is that “his own conceptualization of 'Orientalists' is as pure an example of 'Orientalism' as one could wish for!” This idea of reciprocity in Said's argument is often advanced as 'his own critique relies on just as much mis-representation of Orientalists as he accuses them of making in their representation of the Orient' . It is the idea that the essentialist character that Said identifies within the Western academia, picturing all Orientals as the same “gullible, devoid of energy and initiatives” individuals can actually be found and levied in his own argument, picturing all Western scholars as the same ductile individuals, complicit of Western hegemonic powers.
As seducing as Said's, Kabbani's, Hourani's and others figures of the critical stance towards Orientalism, arguments are, it seems that they actually lack of historical ground as well as constituency in the methodological construction of the essentialist argument, as it can easily but turned against them. The debate between Humanism and subordination to imperialist ruling powers, in the academic community is also at stake when taking a closer look to the arguments developed by Said.
Then, does it mean that Said's argument against Orientalism as 'a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient' is irrelevant and should be abandoned? The answer given here is much more nuanced. Indeed, it is worth looking at today international political and academic stage and see how Said's critique fits into this complex configuration, both at the Middle East and the global level. Said has had an impact, this is not challengeable. First of all, some of his arguments still make a lot of sense today, besides the critics that can have been made. For instance, one could argue that the notion of Western hegemony on culture and knowledge is still accurate as Europe and the US still maintain a sort of domination in terms of culture, knowledge and especially, scholarship. As I have said before, 'To salvage something from Orientalism is possible, and for scholars of the Middle East, especially native scholars, it is an important task' , but the problem faced today, is that, too often, the elites of these countries are still heavily influenced by the US and Europe. In that sense, we can say that Said's argument that 'the Orient participates in its own Orientalising' is still firmly applicable in today's world context, even if things are starting to change slowly. Secondly, if we take a look at today's post 9/11 representation of the Arab-Islamic world on the international stage, especially through the lens of media, a question covered in Said's work Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World first published in 1981, we can say that it still firmly embodies Orientalist issues. Thus, the essentialist argument find its place here, where we can say that media tend to cast Muslim and Arabs as the same, unique, often fundamentalist individuals with a strong resentment against the West. This image, is not, fortunately, shared by all Westerners (and, once again, we ought not to fall in the reverse essentialist argument that would cast all Westerner as the same), but it is currently the most broadcasted one and Islam still seems misunderstood, defined under Crusade terms and distorted. Thus, most of Said's conclusions, especially on the hegemonic appetite of Western governing powers “hardly needs demonstration today, when near Eastern policy at high ranks of United States decision-makers is challenged as being undertaken 'to gain empirical evidence to test an assumption' that 'the Arab-Islamic world is inherently allergic to democracy' “ reminds us Peter Marcuse. Then, apart from claims directly formulated by Said and that are still accurate in today's world context, there are also more indirect influences that can be noted: influences on the theoretical framework, the articulation of ideas of some authors and domains. For instance, some scholars have advocated for his claims to be taken into account in disciplines that have a tradition of ignoring such kind of critical theory work. This is the case of Rotter writing about Diplomatic history, and more especially US diplomatic history and emphasizing that « Said, cited or not, has had some influence on the field, and suggest that there exist opportunities to employ his insights further. There has been, in other words, Saidism without Said, and there may yet be a good deal more » . This influence is shown mainly by a growing recognition that 'realms of culture and politics, attitudes and behaviours, are related in important ways and are at least mutually constitutive' . Finally, we can say that Said's stand on Orientalism has influenced a whole community of scholars interested in dynamics of power and domination. Thus it is often acknowledged that post-colonialist writings find their origin in his work on Orientalism. Bearing this in mind, it is worth noticing Marcuse's theory on the existence of a parallel between Orientalism and Globalism. Marcuse's main argument is that “the richness of Said's approach can be extended quite directly to an analysis of the concept of Globalism, which in this sense is the inheritor of Orientalism's mantle.” In his conception, then, Orientalism has been sort of overridden by Globalism a new form of justification for a new form of imperialism. “As Orientalism paralleled and legitimated colonialism and imperialism and the domination of Western over ''Third World'' countries, so Globalism parallels and legitimates the priority of global capitalism over all forms of social organization, and the domination of capital over labour “ , he further argues. In his mind, Said's argumentation has been of prime importance for highlighting the structure of West/Orient relations in terms of imperialism, colonialism and mainly domination and therefore can easily be transferred to another kind of (socio-economic) hegemonic domination: capitalism over social organization.
This essay has examined the different arguments involved in the 'Orientalism debate'. As a starting point, we looked at Said's three main claims, developed in his book Orientalism. The first one is the idea that the notion of Orient has been created by the European mind in order to construct itself. Then, it is important to remind that Orientalism has tended to cast the Orient and the Oriental man, along false and prototypical lines as a unique and most of all inferior individuals, this is the essentialist critics. Finally, Orientalism's critics such as Said emphasize the political ends involved in this construction of knowledge, when Orientalism is understood as a ground of colonialism and imperialism. Naturally, those criticisms have themselves brought up many criticisms based on historical weaknesses, ideological difference towards the independence of scholars, and most of all on the methodological constituency of the essentialist argument, that can quickly be turned towards Said. But this does not mean that those claims should be totally abandoned and the last part has showed us that they are still extremely relevant to understand the dynamics in the politics between the West and the Middle East. To conclude, we have seen that Orientalism can be taken as a masterpiece in the context for West/East relations of dominations, and its analysis, theoretical framework and conclusions are extremely pertinent and can be shifted for the analysis of other forms of social domination, those implied by Globalism for instance: “in the ongoing conflict between the forces of exploitation and domination, Edward Said's many-facetted contributions have been a potent weapon on the side of social justice and the struggle for a humane world. The struggle against Globalism, exemplified by movements such as those represented in the World Social Forum, is not a replacement but a continuation of the struggle in which Said played such a prominent role.”
Kabbani, R, Europe's Myths of Orient, London: Pandora Press, 1986
Marcuse, P, « Said's Orientalism: A Vital Contribution Today » on http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2004.00455.x?cookieSet=1
Mussalam, B 'Power and Knowledge', MERIP Reports, No. 79. (Jun., 1979)
Prakash, G, 'Orientalism Now', History and Theory, Vol. 34, No. 3. (Oct., 1995)
Richardson, M, 'Enough Said: Reflections on Orientalism', Anthropology today, vol 6 n°4, (August 1990)
Rotter, A, « Saidism without Said: Orientalism and U.S. Diplomatic History", The American Historical Review, Vol. 105, No. 4. (Oct., 2000)
Ryckmans, P, 'Orientalism and Sinology', Asian studies Association of Australian Review 7 (3)
Said, E, Orientalism, New York: Pantheon Books, 1978
Talal A, 'Review of Orientalism' English Historical Review 95 (July 1980)
Thomas, N, 'Anthropology and Orientalism', Anthropology Today, vol 7 n°2, (April 1997)
Windschuttle, K 'Edward Said's “Orientalism revisited”' on http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/17/jan99/said.htm
ESSSAY QUESTION: Is rationality or psychology a better framework for explaining decision-making?
Decision-making lies in the very heart of politics, and this is why it is the object of high scrutiny among a wide range of intellectuals. Decisions are made daily and they are routine most of the time, but occasionally, they prove to be decisive for the national survival of the state, especially in the field of foreign policy. These are the types of decisions that rational and psychological analyses focus on in order to explain decision-making. At first glance, decision-making seems to be best explained by rationality since its very process implies a mental activity appealing to our rational thoughts in order to choose among an array of alternatives and outcomes. In other words, the decision-maker has to make the choice of the best means to achieve some goals. However, the more concealed but ubiquitous psychology also plays an important role in the making of decisions. So in order to examine whether rationality or psychology is a better framework for explaining decision-making, it is necessary to assess a number of issues, such as what levels are studied or who is called the decision-maker, and whether foreign policy is best determined by its content or by its context. It is to be remembered finally that given the complexity of the environment in which decisions are made, it is impossible to assess every single influence fomenting choices, so generalization remains the major tool, independently of the rational or psychological frameworks. The various declinations of rationality provide a clear framework for explaining decision-making but they fail in exploring the prime motives for such or such a choice. That is what psychology does by focusing on more internal constraints or influences. So the best understanding that we can acquire on the process and outcomes of decision-making is the combination of both frameworks.
Explaining decision-making through the concept of rationality is naturally sensible since making a decision implies rational reasoning. Therefore, the individual, as a reasonable creature, must be the actor under scrutiny. But in foreign policy decision-making, the rational analysis assumes that the decision-maker's interests coincide with the state's interests. It then focuses on the state as a unitary actor, mirroring the decision-maker's choices and regardless of its components. Rationality refers to the consistency and coherence among goals, among means and among the relations between means and ends. Indeed, according to Herbert Simon, rationality “denotes behaviour that is appropriate to specified goals in the context of a given situation”. Accordingly, the actor is assumed to have rational reasoning in the economic sense, that is, to be able to weigh the costs and opportunities of any action taken in order to make an optimal choice among various alternatives, and to implement them in a clearly defined framework. In other words, the actor pursues his goals through the choice he makes among a variety of alternatives for actions and their outcomes. The objectives consist in “the interests and values of the agent [which] are translated into “payoffs” or “utility” or “preference” function, which represents the desirability or utility of alternative sets of consequences.” This rationality is what Christopher Hill calls “procedural rationality”, namely, the rationality that focuses on the process of decision-making where “the focus here is on identifying the best means by which any given value may be optimized” . One of the most representative models which baseline is rationality is Graham Allison's Rational Actor Model (RAM), in which “rationality refers to consistent, value-maximizing choices within specified constraints” . It explains decision-making by studying the behaviour of the nation-state as the reflect of its purpose and by assessing its chosen reasonable action. The rationalist analysis of the American response to the Cuban Missile Crisis illustrates how rationality explains decision-making: when confronted to the stunning discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba in October 1962, the Kennedy administration had to make a decision while avoiding the escalation to war, which was to be the blockade. In order to explain this response, the rationalist analysts assess the strategic situation of the United States (their problem, their interests, their commitments, and their capabilities), which results in “placing the blockade in a pattern of purposive response to the strategic problem.” Thus, we can see the extent to which procedural rationality assesses the goal-maximising choice within an evaluated framework, in decision-making. By contrast, substantive rationality is another tool for the explanation of decision-making which “tells us what is the “correct” outcome, given specified goals” , rather than focusing on the best means to achieve a state's goal.
However, sheer rationality, whether it be procedural or substantive, is difficultly applicable empirically in the field of foreign policy decision-making, mainly because of the overloading and complexity of information and the difficulty in verifying its reliability, as well as because of the natural limits to human brain which impede it to successfully scan everything like a computer. Consequently, the idea of bounded rationality has proved attractive; it “refers essentially to the futility of trying to “maximise” one's values. Instead, it is preferable to “satisfice”, or accept the first outcome which approximates to one's preferences.” This model thus, is less demanding on decision-makers because of the admitted loopholes previously described. As such, they are not expected to generate the probability of outcomes or processes that would maximise their utility, but rather to choose and implement the best policy within a feasible set of means and goals. What is more, because of the ever-evolving characteristic of international relations, “disjointed incrementalism” , another form of bounded rationality, has been recommended. It explains the division of decision-making into small steps which allows for the implementation of some degree of an impossible goal in its totality, that would have been a bone of contention, had it been wholly launched. As an example, the development of the European Community has been extremely gradual, though triggering tremendous, even beyond-expectations changes in the long run. Ultimately, rationality explains decision-making in the cases of “non-decision” . It can be chosen rationally for some reason not to act despite pressures, or to exclude some possibility from choices, or finally to fail in acting because of an ailing decision-making process, or because of inadequate times. Even though these models give us new approaches to rationality as the explanation of decision-making that seems more consistent with the reality of politics than adamant rationality can be, major flaws comprised in the concept of rationality as a whole still can be raised. First of all, the rationalist assumption according to which the state is a unitary actor bears a limit since it first dismisses the values and beliefs of the decision-maker (though to a lesser extent in bounded rationality) and second, it eludes the various levels of analysis forming networks of interactions within the state, as well as on the regional, international, and trans-national scales, making of foreign policy no longer an elite activity. Furthermore, the concept of rationality bears a particular viewpoint of the world, and gives therefore an outline of how one should act rather than why one acts in a certain way. In other words, “the coherence view of rationality rests on well-established norms about how one should make decisions where a good decision is one that rests on logic and adheres to the principle of statistical inferences.” Finally, rationalists wrongly eliminate the mind from their analyses since what motivates decision-making is highly related to desires and beliefs, so this very part of explanations of decision-making lacks, as reveals the psychology approach.
In order to thwart the various criticisms of rationality, of which mainly oversimplification, some more specific models, still consistent with the notion of rationality, have been taken into account in order to seize the different facets of decision-making. These are political models, since foreign policy decision-making fits in the game of politics, a game of constant bargaining between actors of diverse levels. In that sense, rationality remains of prime importance, but in the light of far more complex approaches. The most influential have been Allison's “organizational” and “governmental politics” models. First, the organizational model gives an important hindsight that the rational model omitted: whereas the latter gives a bright explanation of how choices are made, the former focuses on “the conditions under which choices are made.” Indeed, in this framework, the influences on decision-making are numerous: lack of information, communication failures, precedent, perception, scarce resources... In short, “governmental behaviour can therefore be understood [...] less as deliberate choices and more as outputs of large organizations functioning according to standard patterns of behaviour.” Finally, the governmental politics model explains government behaviour “as results of bargaining game” since the players all share different conceptions of national and personal goals and “make government decisions not by a single, rational choice but by pulling and hauling that is politics.” According to David Mitchell, the structure of the decision-making unit, as well as the degree of centralization, gives a hint on the way the president manages its advisors, which results on implications for the outcomes and processes of decision-making. For example, as a result of the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs, and because of the emergency of the situation in the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy privileged a collegial structure rather than a formal one as he “brought together an informal group of individuals he thought could provide best advice.” Therefore, the structure in which decisions are made is a relevant field of study for it triggers notable influences on the process and outcomes of decision-making. Rationality remains a decisive key in these models but it affects differently the actors who have changed their order of priorities, with for instance, the survival of the very structure to which they belong as the prime objective. In other words, these models show “how "rational" foreign policymaking can be upended by the attempt to work with and through large organized governmental groups.” Finally, the clarity of rationality, all together with the more complex understanding of the political models provide a large part of the explanation of decision-making; it fails nonetheless to explore the values and beliefs of the decision-makers both acquired from their environments and projected upon them. The work of psychology fills in these lacks.
The psychological model provides a complementary explanation of decision-making: starting from the rational model, it focuses on the internalized values and beliefs of the decision-maker which will influence his choice, as well as on the impact of his personality; starting from the political model, it refers to the importance of the individual and group psychology as an explanation of decision rather than to the mere dynamics of the system itself. The psychological theory explains decision-making through two main perspectives: the cognitive process and the emotional process. “Cognition is the representation of reality that the person experiences as reality itself.” Cognitive psychology, therefore, explains the differences between the rational model expectations and the apprehension of the world by the human mind with “the need for simple rules of information processing and judgement that are necessary to make sense of uncertain and complex environments.” The psychological analysis has distinguished various characteristic traits of the human mind, as described by Janice Gross Stein, which are to be taken into account for the understanding of decision-making explanation. Indeed, simplicity is the privileged way that humans, and thus decision-makers, use to order the world, the information they get from it, along with the complexities it bears. As such, we tend to reason through analogies. For instance, the calling of Saddam Hussein “another Hitler” by President Bush Senior, gave him an established perspective on how to cope with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The need for consistency is another feature: because our beliefs act like a prism in our perception of the world, we tend to keep certain coherence between them, dismissing any new information that would not fit within them. Indeed, long-term beliefs are difficult to change, which can explain that “in foreign policy, conflict persists because images are so difficult to change.” Moreover, probability thinking that requires the rational model is in fact quite deficiently used, because of heuristics and biases. These show how decision-makers react to an uncertain environment using their own short-cuts and common sense as evaluations of the external and how their evaluations can be wronged by their previous expectations of the other. Another type of bias comes from the internalization of values and beliefs: clearly, culture has an impact on cognition. Since the decision-maker is a “culture bearer [, then] any conceptual scheme for analysing state behaviour must attempt to account for the impact of cultural patterns on decisions.” This very often results on egocentric biases, since we tend to give to our culture a certain universal legitimacy. Finally, because of the feature of loss aversion, “people systematically overvalue losses relative to comparable gains.” Not only does the cognitive process affect the decision-maker in his choice, but so does the affective process. Psychology indeed provides an interesting focus on the role of emotions in decision-making: because of certain pressures, emotions like anxiety understandably give rise to a conflict between rational calculations and emotions and might impair a choice. Finally, the cognitive and affective processes explain the perceptions and misperceptions of the external world, and their subsequent responses in decision-making. The psychological environment, referring to the perception of things, is then distinct from the operational environment, where things happen objectively and independently from a person's perception. “Misperceptions may be regarded as the most common form of psychological pathology affecting decision-making.” They arise from the cognitive and affective process as it has been seen, and can apply to the situation, intentions, capabilities and others. What is more, they are fuelled by the use of analogies, images, stereotypes (like the clinching image of the bad communist enemy attached to the Soviets, which highly conducted the American foreign policy during the Cold War) and the role of History which ideally teaches lesson, but is also misleading as shows the constant justification of the American aggressive foreign policy in Vietnam as the lesson of the failure of the Munich Agreement, where a policy of appeasement failed to prevent World War Two. As such, the wide range of features of the psychological model gives a different and needed hindsight of decision-making so as to understand it.
Another main contribution of psychology is the focus on the role of the personality of the decision-maker which proves to be crucial in the explanation of decision-making. Since the personal characteristics of the individuals differ, their perception of the situation and their response to a given situation understandably differ as well, to such an extent that it is assumed that a change in the leader of a country would change its foreign policy. A case in point is the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachev at the head of the Soviet Union, which shifted the Russian foreign policy towards the end of the Cold War. The analysis on the personality does not pretend to give the whole reason for such changes, but at least part of it. The way the personality of the decision-maker influences foreign policy depends highly on the position of the decision-maker –whether he is the leader or not-, his concentration of power, the stability of the country and the general context of international relations. Stephen Benedict Dyson shows “how Blair's personality and leadership style did indeed shape both the process and outcome of British foreign policy toward Iraq.” According to him, Blair's main traits of personality as a leader, namely a high belief in his ability to control events, a somehow Manichean vision and a high need for power designed a proactive foreign policy within an established black and white frame while privileging an insulating decision-making process. Even a typology of the main styles of leadership has been depicted: crusaders, strategists, pragmatists, opportunists...Depending on the situation, a leader will pass from one to another. Therefore, the psychological analysis of the personality gives some consistent explanations of decision-making. But what also gives some relevance is the group psychology. Its main contribution has been brought by Irvin Janis' groupthink. It “essentially consists in the tendency of groups to seek rapid internal agreement even at the expense of the merits of a problem, and then to stick to their consensus even when the evidence seems to demand it.” However, whereas Janis pins the suboptimal result in decision-making on the group, Jonathan Mercer stresses the importance of trust, based on emotion, as the solution to the collective action problem: “a strong feeling of identity leads to sharing, cooperation, perceived mutual of interests, and willingness to sacrifice personal interests for group interests.” Thus, as it has been seen, in order to explain foreign policy decision-making, psychology provides a lens both on the individual and the group levels, which rationality omitted.
Finally, in order to gauge the contributions of the rational and the psychological approaches in the explanation of decision-making, it is necessary to assess their relations. The traditional view contends that psychology only is useful for explaining the irrationality of the actors and their mistaken judgements. But it is misleading. Indeed, according to Mercer, rationality depends on psychology. For example, rationalists take for granted that incentives explain the behaviour, but what is missing here is the explanation of the incentives; effectively, the motive for action is driven by beliefs and desires, as show psychologists. Moreover, he shows that psychology does not only explain mistakes; on the contrary, sometimes mistakes emanate from the rational model itself and analysts prefer using the psychology model to prevent such mistakes. Furthermore, he contends that psychology, just like rationality, also explains accurate judgments: truly, emotion is also part of rationality and is indispensable for making choices. Finally, “the key difference between rationality and psychology is not over what they explain, but over how they explain it. Rationalists rely on deduction, statistics and probability theory, whereas psychologists rely on induction and description of how the mind works.” Ultimately, the best way to explain foreign policy decision-making is through the combination of these different approaches since all are more or less accurate depending on the circumstances: “rational actor assumptions may be best in examining decisions of high national security that involve a small elite; political approaches more beneficial in situations where FPM involves multiple organisations and groups and the presentation of numerous options [...]; and psychology approaches of merit in situations of stress and uncertainty.” Since decisions must be made in situations that usually combine such circumstances rather than fragment them, then both rationality and psychology bring their contributions to the explanation of decision-making.
As a conclusion, it would not be fair to exclude any of the two approaches as they provide different but complementary frameworks for explaining decision-making. On the one hand, rationality provides a clear understanding of the situation, presenting an array of coherent alternatives and outcomes that decision-makers should weigh and choose in order to maximize their goals, or at least to approach the best practicable outcome. Psychology, on the other hand, takes largely into account the impact of the values and beliefs of the decision-maker on his choice, as well as the characteristics of the personality of the leadership and the peculiarities of the group dynamics that also influence perceptions and therefore are relevant for decision-making. Since foreign policy decision-making comprises both rationality and psychology as necessary guidelines for choices, then the combination of both is essential for a complete explanation of decision-making.
Although published respectively seventeen, fourteen and twenty two years ago, Governing the Commons, Making Democracy Work and Ethnic Groups in Conflict discuss important political issues that are still high on the international agenda. Elinor Ostrom uses small scales CPR to prove that individuals can govern themselves without the necessary intervention of the State or the Market. Robert Putnam studies the impact of social capital on institutional performance in Italy. Finally, Donald Horowitz analyses the political dynamics of ethnicity and their impact on ethnic conflict.
Although all three books come together through their analysis of a long-lasting important political problem, they differ concerning the approach and aims of each study. While Ostrom and Horowitz focus their work on developing a new aspect of the theory in their respective area of expertise and offering solutions to the problem they tackle, Putnam seeks to draw lessons from his experiment. Hence Putnam's work contains much more empirical data from which he extracts his conclusions. We also notices that if Ethnic Groups in Conflict and Governing the Commons have titles that fit the content whereas Putnam's title is not clearly related to the body of the book. His book entitled Making Democracy Work, analysis how institutions should perform well thus making democracy work. But institutions can also perform well in undemocratic regimes so good institutional performance is not a factor of democracy. The other two books have titles that fit the content.
Ostrom's case selection is based on worldwide small scale CPR with no externalities, whose appropriators are dependant on the resource. Putnam's study is built upon the implementation of the Italian regions; he didn't choose Italy because it was Italy but because the opportunity arose to study the evolution of the regional institutions. Horowitz based his study on countries in Africa, Asia and Caribbean Islands, he justifies this using the idea of shared experiences such as colonialism, military rule, and low levels of development which strengthen ethnic affiliations and therefore produce ethnic conflict outcomes.
This portfolio regroups book reviews of all the above books. Each review synthesises the theory, the definitions and the methodology touched upon by each author and the critics the work received by other academics. The total amount of work was divided equally between the three group members by each reviewing one book. XX reviewed Horowitz's Ethnic Groups in Conflict, XX assessed Making Democracy Work written by Putnam and XX deliberated about Ostrom's work on the Commons
GOVERNING THE COMMONS
Governing the commons, published in 1990, is the conclusion of Elinor Ostrom's work under the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. Professor Ostrom is specialised on 'how institutional rules affect the structure of action situations within which individuals face incentives, make choices, and jointly affect each other.' Through her book, Ostrom seeks to resolve the ongoing question of 'whether and how the exploration of common-pool resources [CPR] can be organized' to avoid overexploitation of the resource
Ostrom states clearly her objectives: 'the central question of this study [is] how a group of principals who are in an independent situation can organize and govern themselves to obtain continuing joint benefits when all face temptations to free-ride, shirk, or otherwise act opportunistically.' Her book is organized in five chapters: in chapter 1, she describes the traditional rational-choice games on CPR and why, as a new institutionalist, she picked small-scale CPR situations. In chapter 2, she develops her own definitions of CPRs and addresses the main problems facing individuals when dealing with CPRs and their traditional solution. Chapters 3 to 5 describe three different types of cases: long-term successful ones (chapter 3), ones once faced with institutional change and how they manage to create new rules and, finally, less successful examples. In her last chapter, Ostrom asses how relevant her new framework is. This book can also be divided into two parts: the theoretical framework and the methodological part. The former involves chapter 1-2 and 6, where Ostrom comes back to the theory while by methodology I mean the entire case study.
Theory and definitions: This book is an example of institutional analysis of solutions to the problems of collective action. As she herself defined in later works, 'institutions are the prescriptions that humans use to organize all forms of repetitive and structured interactions including those within families, neighbourhoods, markets, firms, sports leagues, churches, private associations, and governments at all scales. Individuals interacting within rule-structured situations face choices regarding the actions and strategies they take leading to consequences for themselves and for others' (Ostrom 2005: 3).
In chapter 1, Ostrom uses three classical rational-choice models used to theorise the CPR problem: Hardin's tragedy of the commons, the prisoners' dilemma and Olson's logic of collective action. All of these games refer to a negative image of the CPR: 'helpless individuals caught in an inexorable process of destroying their own resource' . Individuals will choose to defect from cooperation every time because, according to Ophuls, environmental problems cannot be solved by cooperation. Thus the tragedy of the commons will happen: degradation of the environment when the individual uses a scarce resource because individuals are not incited to cooperate to maximise their results. They will act rationally and take as much as possible every time. This problem isn't new as intellectuals as far as Aristotle have noticed this human behaviour. Although collective action is an evolving theory, the games stayed the same and are still applied every time even when the traditional models have a negative impact on policy prescription: accepted without many criticisms, they aren't considered as metaphors anymore but as actual solutions. The solutions preached by all three models is intervention – either trough a central authority or through a private enterprise. But these two solutions also bring their shares of problems: how to implement external control if the external authority doesn't have the right or enough information, how to divide equally a resource between all appropriators if the resource is non-stationary? Ostrom concludes that one should not be locked in the same models or try to force them onto all situations. And thus justifies implicitly why she chose to expand the under-developed self-organizing theory.
In chapter 2, Ostrom seeks to define the different notions, the individual behaviour in CPRs and the general problems facing CPRs. A CPR is 'a natural or man-made resource system that is sufficiently large as to make it costly (but not impossible) to exclude potential beneficiaries from obtaining benefits from its use' . Each CPR creates a resource system – that is the 'stock of variable' from which appropriators can take a certain number of 'resource units' from without endangering the long term survival of the system. The two solutions offered by the former games have created two distinguished theories: the theory of the state and the theory of the firm. The latter is a voluntary choice made by the appropriators to engage an external actor to monitor the CPR. The external actor is motivated to be as efficient as possible since all residuals benefits go to him. In the theory of the state, a public institution seeks to increase the level of economic being. The positive points of these two theories are that threats of sanctions are credible. However, all CPR management solution is faced with 3 problems: supply, commitment and monitoring. The supply problem is about what rules to choose that will be appropriate to the CPR and will gather the maximum appropriators. Only mechanisms of trust and community building between the appropriators can solve the supply problem. But to avoid free-riding or any rule-breaking, coercion through sanctions must be imposed thus creating a credible commitment atmosphere. Finally on must figure out how a set of rules can create mutual monitoring: it is presumed that individuals will not monitor themselves, even if they created the rules for them.
Finally, as I said earlier, Ostrom comes back to the theory in her final chapter. She accurately proved that private property or public regulations are not the only solutions to the CPR problem: if the Prisoners' dilemma game, the logic of cooperation and the tragedy of the commons are applicable to large scale CPR problems, they do not apply to all situations. One must not generalise these games. If necessary, self-governed CPR can also be larger scale CPR since every large scale CPR has several levels: to solve the problem, one must go down to the smallest level, find a solution to it and then only start building up. By starting on the smallest level, it enables the appropriators to build a social capital. To summarize her framework, Ostrom created a clear diagram [figure 1], which is divided in two parts: the 'internal world' and the 'external world'. The 'internal world', the summary variable, is the process through which all individuals go through before changing the rules of the CPR. They are unconsciously influenced by internal norms (i.e.: the value accorded to a promise) and by discount rates. Individuals translate information about new benefits and costs (situational variables) into expected benefits and costs, thus allowing them to accurately balance the new set of rules against the old one and to choose the best one.
Figure 1. Summary of variables affecting institutional choice
** Methodology: In this study Ostrom applies the inductive approach. This is not that surprising since Ostrom is a rational-actor scholar. She extracted empirical patterns and theoretical insights on how CPR can be collectively managed and finds an underlying design. Ostrom 'constantly moves between theoretical and empirical observations' which makes her arguments even more credible.
Ostrom chose from a very wide selection of cases to illustrate her theory: different CPRs (fisheries, water basins, high grazing mountains, irrigation systems) in different countries (Spain, Switzerland, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, the US, Turkey, Canada). This is very positive as it out-rules over-fitting. Her selection is based on four criteria: (1) the structure of the CPR, (2) the attributes and behaviours of the appropriators, (3) the rules and finally (4) the outcome. The structure of all her cases are CPRs with a small number of appropriators dependent on the CPR's resource but producing no externalities (the actions taken on the CPR do not have consequences on a third party). Paul Sabatier argues that Ostrom chose the easy side of the problem because such CPR are relatively easy to organise. There is just one flaw to her case selection. Ostrom herself writes, in the preface, that she got the information about the cases from older studies made by sociologists with the exception of the Californian groundwater basins cases as these are already from Ostrom's previous studies. Given the amount of time she would have needed to collect such information, Ostrom's choice is understandable. Nevertheless, the author still is obliged to discuss the reliability, viability or validity of methods used in the original studies. This is never the case in Governing the Commons. As a result, Governing the Commons has a major lack of empirical data to support Ostrom's arguments.
In chapter 3, the first devoted to her case study, Ostrom analyses high mountain grazing CPRs in Switzerland and Japan and irrigation institutions in Spain and the Philippines. All four cases share similarities such as complex environment, a high level of complexity, low discount rates and perseverance. From these four case, Ostrom deduces eight design principles, present in all CPRs, that could be accounted for a successful self-governing organization: (1) clear boundaries and memberships, (2) congruent rules, (3) collective choice arenas, (4) monitoring, (5) graduated sanctions, (6) conflict resolution mechanisms, (7) recognizes rights to organize and (8) nested units. According to Daniel Bromley, professor of applied economics at Wisconsin University, Ostrom concludes that the viability of an institutional system depends on the 'operation of an authority system that can command compliance with an agreed-upon set of rules and conventions' .
In chapter 3, Ostrom addressed long-standing CPR that did not need to change their rules. However in chapter 4, she analyses CPR that managed to change their institutions to become more efficient. This chapter focuses on the underground water basins in Los Angeles. Ostrom noticed three games that helped solve the CPR dilemma. The main game was the litigation game as it was starting point of the institutional change: Californian courts had the authority to resolve the appropriators' problems, but not always for the best of all. But by taking the problem to court, the appropriators would have a set deadline to resolve their issues and create a new set of rules that could benefit all and still avoid saltwater intrusion in the basins or overdrawing (Ostrom, 1990: 111-126). Still in some cases, like for the West Basin, the litigation game did not solve all the problems. So they put into place another game – the entrepreneurship game – by creating a single central agency for both West and Central basins to lower costs and find new solutions. After the creation of this overarching agency, decisions were taken, not by 'one central governmental enterprise' but by several agencies thus creating a polycentric public-enterprise game (Ostrom, 1990: 127-136).
In chapter 5, Ostrom focuses on failed or fragile cases, mainly fisheries. But the interesting part is when, at the end of the chapter, she comes back to the eight principles she drew from the long-lasting successful CPR and applies them to each of her cases. We notice that in all the successful CPR, Japanese and Swiss high mountain pastures, Spanish and Sri-Lankan irrigation systems and underground basins in California, every single design principle are strongly present. But it would be over-fitting to concentrate only on the successful cases. The non-successful CPR are divided in two groups: 'failure' and 'fragile' . The difference between the two is the presence or not of the principles: in the failure cases, one notices that the design principles are a minority (between one and three principles present) while in the fragile cases a majority of the principles are present and the missing ones are often categorised as 'weak'. By studying such a variety of cases, Ostrom is entitled to conclude that the eight design principles she defined in chapter two are to some extend highly related to the success of a self-governed CPR. It is also interesting to note the case the Raymond, West and Central basins which appears twice in the table: at an earlier failed stage and at the current successful stage. This proves that failing CPR can change their rules to include the design principles and become a successful self-governed CPR. Ostrom explores self-governed situations and factors increasing chances of success and factors enhancing institutional sustainability.
Critique: Many authors agree that Ostrom's analysis of the commons is a very useful addition to the debate. Although this is only an intermediate study, Ostrom managed efficiently to centralise all the problems of governing a common in 200-odd pages and provide the academic community with a new approach and a challenge. As she puts it herself, 'We in the social science face as great a challenge in how to address the analysis of CPR problems in their day-to-day lives. The theoretical enterprise requires social scientists to engage in model-building, but not limit theoretical inquiry to that specific level of discourse. [Other social sciences] are making important contributions that need to be carried forward [...]'
Not only does Governing the Commons meet all the objectives Ostrom assigned herself, but it also moves beyond conventional wisdom as the subtitle – the evolution of institutions for collective action – promises : by analysing in depth how the underground basins CPR managed to fight free-riding and counter-prove the traditional games, Ostrom demonstrated that public or private control are not always the best solution and that often, a CPR needs a bit of both to be efficient and fair for all the appropriators. The conclusion Ostrom draws from her comparative studies – the design principles – are definitely a good analysis since scholars have applied them to other CPR and found that they explained why a self-organised CPR was a success or not. As R. Bish puts it, 'what was especially useful about these applications was that the theoretical framework helped me to examine solutions, as well as to understand why a highly professionalized and scientifically strong national bureaucracy could not successfully manage very simple fishery resources.'
However good this book is in some areas, it is not perfect: the first critique I whish to make is that it is nor easily accessible to all. One must already be familiar with the problems of common-pool-resource or have some general knowledge about the logic of collective action. I think it is possible to understand some parts of it quite easily but to get the full impact of her findings the reader must be one a political economist. Moreover, all readers, whether experts or not, do not have access to all ethnographies and the conclusions must be taken on faith.
Finally this study doesn't answer one significant question. That is how institutional structures arise . Could the Mojave groundwater basins CPR have applied to same solutions as the Californian groundwater basins and solve their problem? It is very unlikely because the institutional change in California was feasible because of the presence of an external factor; in this case the reliable court system which could force a solution on the appropriators if necessary and make sure it was put into practise.
Altogether, I think that Governing the Commons is an interesting book. It allows us to broaden our culture to international problems that could touch any of us. The analysis of institutional change is an important aspect of broader political economy that underlies meaningful economic policy advice .
ETHNIC GROUPS IN CONFLICT
Donald L. Horowitz is Professor of Political Science at Duke University (North Carolina, USA). He specialises in ethnic conflict and has earned great respect for his work as a consultant of policies for conflict reduction in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Russia and others parts Europe, and other books including: “Democratic South Africa? Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society” (University of California Press, 1991), and “The Deadly Ethnic Riot” (University of California Press, 2001). 'Ethnic Groups in Conflict' was first published in 1985 and it is an exploration of the global phenomenon that is ethnic conflict through analysis and comparison. The author aims to surpass the provision of material related to conflict, which is today sufficiently extensive, and provide a framework for comparing cases subjected to ethnic conflict in order to facilitate explanation and implement resolution techniques accordingly . The central point of his study is a structural approach to ethnic conflict and the hypotheses tested here are firstly, the idea that one may find 'regularities and recurrent patterns' in ethnic conflict, and secondly that the fact that ethnicity is strongly related to conflict does not undermine its positive influence on societies . Furthermore, Horowitz identifies and explains a link between ethnic conflict and democracy by showing how behaviours and struggles lead to ethnic conflict and hinder development . This review will provide a summary followed by a critique of 'Ethnic Groups in conflict' firstly regarding the theories advanced by Horowitz, secondly patterns he identifies through comparative analysis, and finally policies regarding the resolution of ethnic conflicts.
*** Theory and definitions: Horowitz' explains his theoretical approach in parts I (Ethnic Relations and Ethnic Affiliations) and II (The Theory of Ethnic Conflict) of the book. In part I (Chapters 1-2) he begins with the argument that ethnicity is a universal and consistent product, enhanced by shared experiences such as post-imperialism and decolonisation. Ethnic conflict has gradually gained a political structure, whereby the state system provides a framework allowing for its emergence . Such state systems are mostly present in deeply-divided societies identified in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, where the link between identity, political behaviour and ethnicity are stronger and ethnic affiliation to politics overruling . Differentiation is emphasised between ranked and unranked groups in relation to group inferiority, co-existence, and the direction of conflict , centralised and dispersed groups in respect to the political centrality or dispersion ethnicity and their impact on the magnitude of cleavages , and colour against other indicators of ethnicity in respect to the reliability of group relations on the basis visible (colour) and birth-determined traits against mutable traits such as class or religion. Horowitz defines ethnicity as a usually invariable ascriptive and birth-related concept . He uses this definition to explain the correlation between kinship and ethnicity, arguing that ethnic group members will tend to consider each other as part of a family. However, Horowitz notes that the ascriptive nature of ethnicity and considerations on the basis of kinship can change over time, and similarly, the extent to which group boundaries may change will show flexibility, dependant of process of assimilation or differentiation . The author also emphasises that state structures often illustrate strong ethnic affiliations and argues that ethnic affiliations are stronger than class affiliations .
In the second part of the book (Chapters 3-6), Horowitz identifies various important links between ethnicity and, modernization and traditionalism such as ethnic conflict being a reflection of traditionalist disaccord, ethnic conflict as an obstacle to modernization or as a product of modernization . He also discusses other approaches to ethnic conflict such as economic interests, cultural pluralism and their shortcoming before advancing the theory he believes is most effective in explaining motives for conflict; social psychological theory. Horowitz argues that group comparisons are most often the basis of individual identity and hence, important sources of tension between ethnic groups. He adds that group identities result from differentiations established by colonialists, which has in turn led to differentiations between backward and advanced groups - drawing a line between elite and mass behaviour-, their anxieties (fear of extinction) relative to the development of ethnic tension, and psychological stereotypes . The important theories advanced in Chapters 5 & 6 are 'group entitlement' and the 'logic of secessions and irredentas'. The former is a 'joint function of comparative worth and legitimacy...it explains why the followers follow, accounts for the intensity of group reactions...and clarifies the otherwise mysterious quest for public signs of group statues' with emphasis on features of conflict behaviour such as group legitimacy and worth, and symbolism . The logic of secession is a cause for separatism between groups which influences the formation and intensity of ethnic tension . Horowitz compares secessionist behaviours between groups and regions to show why backward groups in backward regions are more likely to secede, as opposed groups in advanced regions . Irredentism is 'a movement to retrieve ethnic kinsmen and their territory across borders' affected by state homogeneity and which creates defensive alliances within states with similar outcomes to secessionism such as the intensification of ethnic tension and conflict escalation .
** Patterns: Horowitz identifies recurrent patterns within party systems, and military politics using comparative analysis in Part III 'Party Politics and Ethnic Conflict' (Chapters 7-10) and Part IV 'Military Politics and Ethnic Conflict' (Chapters 11-13). Taken the length of the section on patterns in the book (Chapters 7-13), I will give a detailed analysis on patterns relating to 'Ethnic Parties and Party Systems'(Chapter 7) which I found most interesting and accessible to exemplify and then discuss his research design and method which are basically the same for all patterns throughout the book. I will briefly mention the other patterns spread across chapters 7-13.
Ethnic Parties and Party Systems:
Horowitz finds that as opposed to Western countries where party systems can moderate ethnic conflict, they tend to deepen ethnic conflict in divided societies from developing countries. He notes that the distribution of support (party support over ethnic support) drives the ethnic affiliations of political parties. Differentiation is made between ethnically based parties - external imperatives, incompatible claims to power, state control and therefore group exclusion - and broadly based parties - competing demands higher than ethnic demands, and priority of common/public interests over particularistic interests, to show that ethnic parties are prone to conflict because interests are conflicting and the party outcomes are ascriptive . Patterns are also discussed by showing that deeply divided societies will usually manifest ethnic voting: 'voting for the party identified with the voter's own ethnic group, no matter who the individual candidates happen to be' He illustrates these regularities by comparing data from Guyana and Trinidad in the 1950/60's to show the way ethnic party systems and electoral behaviours develop and manifest themselves. He uses the case of Guyana to demonstrate 'merger and split' dynamics for example, whereby different ethnic groups (rural Creoles and Indians) joined to make a strong opposition party (DLP) to the ruling party dominated by urban Creoles (PNM). However, when DLP won elections over PNM, it realised that rural Creole votes were necessary to compete with DLP and they needed to be given leadership positions to maintain their support to the party. However, the Indians found this was too high a risk of loosing East Indian support, which caused a split within the group and gradually its dissolution .
In the following chapters, Horowitz identifies patterns relating to 'Competition and Change in Ethnic Party Systems' (Chapter 8) such as centrifugal dynamics displayed by ethnically based parties in party competition, whereby there are no voters between parties for them to compete for, therefore competition takes an outward direction and divides parties . Other patterns relate to different types of multiethnic coalition (convenience/commitment/alliance) and their respective effects on electoral processes and party dissolution (Chapter 9), 'Multiethnic alliances and Parties' (Chapter 10), and chapters 11-13 which discuss regularities with regard to the relationship between ethnic conflict and the military. Relating to the latter, Horowitz suggests that ethnic ends are often justified by military means and that there is a link between civilian politics and the military, which is strengthened through respective ethnic compositions . He also demonstrates using the case of Sierra Leone and its history of coup d'état from 1967 to 1974 , how the military can be used as self-defense against ethnic exclusion through coup d'état .
** Policies: In the last part of the book, Horowitz identifies the limitations and prospects of ethnic policies, and mechanisms used in ethnic conflict reduction (Chapter 14). Limitations are associated with the invariability of ethnicity, which means that ethnic conflict can remain indifferent to policy change , and the diverse nature of ethnicity as an obstacle to integration . Horowitz identifies five techniques to reduce interethnic conflict: (1) dispersion of interethnic conflict through the spread of power, (2) intraethnic arrangement of interethnic conflict (which is more dangerous), (3) creating incentives for interethnic cooperation through territorial arrangements, electoral policies, (4) switching the focus of alignments from ethnicity to interests, and (5) reducing disparities by restructuring conflict attitudes through interethnic redistribution . Through these techniques Horowitz stresses the need to create cooperative group relations using structural and territorial techniques to encourage federalism and regional autonomy . I generally found his proposals well-thought, relevant and applicable, particularly those on reducing majority-minority problems caused by ethnic voting through party fragmentation by splitting a given majority-party into two groups so that part of a majority-group is forced to form an interethnic coalition with a minority-group . Horowitz also provides limitations of the techniques, which allows one to understand why conflict regulation is problematic and context-specific. Horowitz also makes an interesting debate around his concept of integrated power sharing, which emphasises on the dispersion of power and group cooperation to create new cross-cutting cleavages other than ethnic (e.g. Religion) and Lijpart's consociationalist method of conflict resolution which encourages ethnic groups to delegate elites, which would then co-operate to form a 'Grand Coalition' allowing coalition the internal autonomy of groups and minority veto . Horowitz criticises the consociationalist method arguing that its relevance is limited to consolidated democracies and its application to cases which experience less intense conflict (Western countries) and cross-cutting cleavages. However, his own integrated power sharing scheme is not effective in deeply divided societies because the share of power faces problems of credible commitment due to ethnic mistrust and shortcomings of third party involvement for example. Finally, Horowitz discusses the incompatibility of democracy and ethnic division explaining that democracy is not the main outcome ethnic party arrangements direct towards; therefore it tends to be sacrificed for ethnic harmony . However, Horowitz closes his piece reflecting hopes despite the intractability of ethnicity, and reminding readers that the conflictive nature of ethnicity is not a representative of hostile human nature in relation and problems of ethnic party dynamics in relation to democracy are not a result of ignorance.
Firstly, I would note that Horowitz' theoretical approach is an indicator to the complexity of his study and to the accessibility of the book which requires a reader specialised in ethnic conflict or a researcher in the area. This is because the theories he explains are quite specific and would necessitate a reader who already has experience with the topic. Although Horowitz points out specific points, there are too many; this makes the study seem broad and extensive, which can confuse the reader.
The author substantiates every theory he defends, with a wide range of examples from the padi-growing villages in the Kedah state of the Sik district in rural Malaysia to show kinship-related behaviours, to the country of Zanzibar to show the influence of history (prior occupation) and geography on group legitimacy and tension between the Arab and African occupants of the country. While this can be informative and helpful in term of support and illustration for theories, it is difficult for the reader to stay focused with examples that are extremely specific and continuously varying across space and time.
On a more positive note, Horowitz often outlines other perspectives and critiques to his argument before providing counter-critiques, which I found reflected a certain objectivity in his approach. This allows the reader to acquire knowledge on other theories and gain awareness on their limitations.
Because Horowitz' hypothesis is not causal it was quite confusing to determine variables, despite this, one cay see conflict as the dependant variable, ethnicity as the independent variable, and ethnic party systems, and ethnic affiliation as intervening variables. Relating to case selection, Horowitz uses configurative-ideographic case studies which are by nature an interpretative approach to test his theories and acquire patterns using developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean as units of observation. Fair enough, he justifies his choice explaining that these are more prone to ethnic conflict due to common experiences of colonialism and military rule, as opposed to Western countries, which embody institutions that are more autonomous and the case of identity is related to factors other than ethnicity . However, because ethnic conflict has been common in the 3rd world for centuries, an analysis on the possible formation of conflict or research on transferable factors which account for the infrequency of ethnic conflict in the West could be useful for ethnic conflict management.
Horowitz uses a comparative cases strategies design in his method to show recurrent patterns relevant to the evolution and dynamics of ethnic conflict across space and time, and addresses the need of supporting heavy amounts of information regarding ethnic conflict with explanation of behaviours in order to classify cases and provide 'data containers'. I found he was quite successful in providing ways to classify between deeply divided societies and less divided societies such as ranked/unranked groups and advanced/backward groups in advanced/backward regions, but also within deeply divided societies with different forms of multiethnic coalitions for example. However I found his comparative method had limitations because the fact that he used such a wide range of cases made it harder to produce generalisable findings due to the specificity of each case. I find the mode of analysis used by Horowitz is qualitative analysis based on case studies, which makes statistical measurement of outcomes more difficult . Furthermore, such analysis can be seen as biased because conclusions are subjective to interpretations which greatly vary.
Altogether, 'Ethnic Groups in Conflict' is an essential study in ethnic conflict analysis. Although the book is heavy in material, it is far-reaching and allows us to engage in the study of ethnic groups from numerous perspectives. Considering the book was published in the late 80's, it outstandingly contributes to the enriching of the comparative approach to ethnic conflict by combining theory with experience.
MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK
Making Democracy Work, published in1993, is an in-depth study that took place over twenty years. It revolves around a significant political moment, the inception of regional governments in Italy in 19710, which was promised in the post-war Italian constitution in 1948. Robert Putnam is a prominent political scientist and comparativiste who's main interest are the political sociology of political and bureaucratic elites and international negotiations and their connections with domestic politics. This book as we shall see later on tackles a series of big questions in history and political theory and was followed by the emergence of the core concept of 'social capital'. ***
Aims and Design:
Entrenched in the empirical study of the development of regional-level government in contemporary Italy Making Democracy Work was researched collaboratively by political scientists Robert Putnam, Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Nanetti. Making Democracy Work is an attempt by Robert Putnam to draw lessons for the explanation of Italy's « southern question » that is why there are such differences between the North and the South, and more generally for the bases of successful democratic institutions in Italy and elsewhere. In fact, Putnam asked « why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? » . Putnam's book is organized in six chapters. Each chapter in the book starts with one question and end with another as Putnam says in his last chapter .
In chapter one, which is an introduction of the book, he explains the aim of his book, which we have stated above and explains that Making Democracy Work will attempt to draw lessons from the « unparalleled opportunity » that the creation of regional governments in Italy constituted as an experiment. Chapter one also constitutes an overview of the book. Robert Putnam chose Italy as his case study not because it was Italy, but because it was a natural experiment that presented « a rare opportunity to study systematically the birth and development if a new institution » . He points out that this study was so unique because there were sharp economic, social, political and cultural differences in the regions but that the regional institutions were identical. In fact, the North is more developed than the South. In chapter two, he examines change through time and asks « how did the new regional institutions affect the practice of politics? » . This chapter walks us through the creation of the regions and their development. In this chapter he also comes to conclude that « the regional reform appears to be exacerbating , rather than mitigating, the historical disparities between the North and the South » . Chapter three asked how successful each regional institutions were at governing and attempts to measure government performance by setting itself « four severe tests » . He states four conditions for the measurement of 'good governance': comprehensiveness, internal consistency, reliability, and finally the correspondence to the objectives and evaluation of the institution's protagonists and constituents. In this chapter he also composes an index of twelve indicators, which he argues reflect institutional performance. He then concludes the chapter by arguing that some regional governments are consistently more successful than others based on the data and the index he composed. In chapter four, Robert Putnam uses his finding from the previous chapter and asks why some institutions are working well and others aren't. He attempts to explain the differences in institutional performance across regions and introduces the concept of 'civic-ness' and socio-economic modernity. His conclusions to this chapter's question are that « the most important factor in explaining good government is the degree to which social and political life in a region approximates the ideal of the civic community » . In chapter five, he asks « why are some regions more civic than others? ». In this chapter Robert Putnam talks about Italy's history and assessed the importance of the past history of Italy. And finally in Chapter six, the last chapter of making Democracy Work, he explicates « the vicious and virtuous circles that have led to contrasting, path dependent social equilibria » . In this final chapter, Robert Putnam quotes Elinor Ostrom and her work on CPR cooperation. He noticed that the south is faced with the same collective action problems that the CPR face. He argues that this lack of cooperation in the south is due to a weak social capital: he makes his case that social capital should be steadily built on to foster cooperation. Like Ostrom, Robert Putnam talks about dilemmas of collective action and uses four game theories to explain the story behind the vicious and virtuous circles of civic Italy. ** Theory and definitions:
The conventional wisdom, before Robert Putnam wrote this Making Democracy Work, was that « prospects for stable democratic government depend on [...] social and economic transformation » . In chapter two, in his quest to find whether « rewriting the rules of the game will produce the intended effects » , Putnam refers to the new institutionalism, which argues that institutions structure politics and points out that this is a hypothesis and not an assertion . He also confirms Nicolo Machiavelli's theory that « whether free institutions succeeded or failed depended on the character of the citizens, or their « civic virtue» » Robert Putnam claims that Making Democracy Work's « intent is theoretical » and that its « method is empirical » . In fact, throughout the book he asks questions to which he answers with empirical data. The last chapter of Making Democracy Work points out that the importance of social capital as a pre-requisite for democracy. ** Methodology:
Making Democracy Work contains a sustained and detailed attention to empirical data. Each of Putnam's chapters are based on empirical data. His study is a cross-sectional and cross-temporal one based on the study of twenty regions but which focuses on six regions. Chapter two as we said earlier comprises a cross-temporal comparative study while chapter 3 and the ones that follow use cross- sectional comparisons.
In chapter one, Putnam writes about the « methods of inquiry » used in Making Democracy Work. He states that « the prudent social scientist, like the wise investor, must rely on diversification to magnify the strengths, and to offset the weaknesses, of any single instrument [and adds that this] is the methodological maxim that [his collaborators and himself] have followed in this study » . In fact, Putnam's research methods stretch from interviews conducted in the six regions on which he focused, to statistical analysis, surveys, and various case studies and mappings. Interviews were conducted with councilors and community leaders over a certain period of time. Putnam also did national mail surveys, other surveys constituted the questioning of voters nationwide.
Making Democracy Work uses the civic-ness as the independent variable, which Putnam says is composed of four factors: preference voting, referendum turnout, newspaper readership and finally density of associations. The dependant variable of course is the institutional performance of each of the Italian regions, which as we have seen earlier is based upon twelve indicators In order to validate his hypothesis that there is a connection between 'civic-ness' of a community and the quality of its governance, Putnam summarizes some of his findings from his researches in two maps. The first one figure 4.1 in chapter four represents the institutional performance in the Italian regions between 1978 and 1985 from the highest to the lowest performance; equally figure 4.4 in the same chapter, s a representation of the civic community in the Italian regions ranking the most civic to the least civic regions. A « casual comparison of the two figures indicates a remarkable concordance between the performance of a regional government and the degree to which social and political life in that region approximates the ideal of a civic community » . Putnam uses this method various times in the book, as it is an easy way to show correlations between variables. ** Findings:
In Making Democracy Work, Robert Putnam's findings are numerous and some are striking. Robert Putnam starts off with a hypothesis that he demonstrates throughout the book. He shows in chapter two and three how the regional reforms have changed the way politics were done in Italy and how Northern governments as a group have been more successful than their Southern counterparts , in other words he finds that patterns of institutional performance are highly stable over time. This led him to conclude that there were two possibilities that could explain these differences and then tests them (socio-economic modernity or civic community) and concludes that performance was strongly correlated with civic-ness. Civic-ness in 1970s and 80s strongly correlates with civic traditions in 1860-1920. Chapter five is interesting in terms of the findings Robert Putnam makes as it shows how the past influences the future of institutions. In this chapter he finds that civic traditions have a remarkable staying power and that the regions characterized by civic involvement in the late twentieth century are almost precisely the same regions where cooperatives and other civic types of engagement were most abundant in the nineteenth century, and where communal republics of the twentieth century were situated in Italy .
In the last chapter of Making Democracy Work, Robert Putnam explains his findings and argues that according to the findings of the experiment, civic-ness or what he calls social capital is a necessary pre-requisite of a working democracy. He also argues that social capital, which he defines as “features of social organization, such as trust, norms and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions” , is linked to economic success but it is more a pre-requisite to it rather than a consequence of it. He states that the variations in institutional performance are better explained by different amounts of social capital than by any other factor and that as we have mentioned previously, social capital is slowly built over time and is 'path dependent'.
The reactions to Robert Putnam's work in Making Democracy Work are divided into two types of criticisms the first being the methodology used in Making Democracy Work and the second reactions are those made towards Robert Putnam's theoretical claims. Putnam was praised for combining so many methodological instruments in his research and being so precise and meticulous. As we stated earlier, Putnam uses a wide range of skills in his experiment. As Sidney Tarrows says, « Putnam dared to traverse the gap between the presentism of much social science work and the less certain terrain of history and culture » . The fact that this was a natural experiment makes Putnam's achievement even more unique because he will be the only academic to be able to claim an experiment such as the one he conducted. Some people have criticised him and when reading the book one expects to find measures of democracy whereas throughout the book Putnam's dependent variable measures policy performance and institutional effectiveness not democracy, which according to the title of the book is misleading. Other points have been made about the fact that Robert Putnam draws lessons from this experiment and thinks of applying them to countries in the third world, but many have argued that the regional governments can not be compared to state governments. Some academics such as Goldberg have argued that some of the correlations that Robert Putnam shows in Making Democracy Work disappear when they are run separately. In the book, Putnam does not explain his reasons for choosing the late Middle Ages as the basis of part of his experiment which leaves us to wonder why he chose that part of the Italian history. On the theoretical aspect, Robert Putnam was criticised because he used history to his advantage by only selecting the periods in history that proved his argument, and ignored Italy's unification and the impact foreign domination had on the country.
Putnam's work is very well written, even though I found it difficult to comprehend at first, after a while the reading became clear and I found the book was very good in the sense that it takes the reader logically through the research process, stating very clearly what steps were to be taken. Putnam's evidence also coheres very well with his casual argument and even though some part of the book are confusing, because of so much data and history, the books finding were very interesting and gave me a new insight as to what social capital is and how it might affect institutions. Overall, since the publication of Robert Putnam's work Making Democracy Work in 1993, 'social capital' has become one of the key terms in politics and various other domains. Social capital remains a prominent concept but is still controversial these days.
Conclusion: All three books tackle the issues that they set themselves to quite thoroughly. Ostrom, whose aim was to see how individuals dependent on a resource can overcome individualistic behaviours and create institutions generating benefits for all, comes up with a new answer: self-governed CPR. Horowitz sought to highlight the regularities and patterns built in ethnic conflicts. He concludes that deeply divided societies embody party systems with strong ethnic affiliations; ethnicity is intractable and incompatible with democracy. Nonetheless he suggests policies for conflict regulation. Putnam's aim was to understand and draw lessons from democratic institutions and what influenced their performance. He found that social capital is the answer to a successful our failed institutional organisation in Italy and tried to apply it to other countries, like the US, since then. Elinor Ostrom and Robert Putnam both study institutions and how to design effectives ones that can foster cooperation between the individuals of a community. Both authors agree that the best way to enhance cooperation is to built up the community's social capital. If social capital is strongly present, the individuals trust each not to defect.
To sum up this portfolio, we think it is important to come back to the impact all three books had on the academic world: Ethnic Groups in Conflict by Donald Horowitz is the bible on ethnic conflicts: by covering so many cases, Ethnic Groups in Conflict is a very good comparative book. It gives the reader an extensive background to familiarise oneself with the issue. Some of the methods recommended might be to some extend outdated, the general concepts and analysis are still valid. Making Democracy Work is unique in its own way because it is a “natural experiment”. Putnam chose to investigate institutional change over two decades in Italy. This work is unique because Putnam was on the spot since the implementation of the Italian regions in the 1970s. In Governing the Commons, Elinor Ostrom tackles an old problem with a new insight. The best CPR governance has always been pulled between public governance or letting the market operate. However, Ostrom managed to prove that in some cases, neither are efficient; and that self-governed CPR are a third solution to the problem.
State Failure in Kyrgyzstan Has the Tulip Revolution strengthen Kyrgyz statehood?
'Having acquired independence Kyrgyzstan very quickly gained a reputation as an “island of democracy” located in a sea of dictatorships and countries ravaged by civil strife' . Kyrgyzstan gained this reputation when Askar Akaev was elected president as he was not part of the Communist Party during the Soviet Union. Additionally Akaev supported 'marketisation and democratisation' and was open to new emerging social forces . However, as early as 1993, this utopia status ended: impatient with what he called 'destructive criticism' , Akaev curtailed freedom of speech. For instance in mid-1994, the president closed down the Svobodny Domy newspaper. The reduction of freedom of press, the 2000 parliamentary elections were deemed unfair and not free by the OSCE. Opposition candidates were not allow to run on doubtful reasons while the state-controlled media fully supported candidates backed by the government. In 2005, again the parliamentary election results were disputed. Defeated candidates, mainly from the South of Kyrgyzstan, started mass protests that gradually overtook the entire country. This popular revolution led to the take over of the Kyrgyz White House (office of the government in Bishkek) on the 24th March and the early resignation of president Akaev followed on the 3rd April. This revolution was the third to come about in the ex-Soviet Union. After the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the events in Kyrgyzstan were to be named the Tulip Revolution. Revolutions supposedly change a regime completely. All three coloured Revolutions have put into place more democratic regimes and thus theoretically strengthened statehood in these countries. A strong state should provide subsistence, abundance, equality and security according to a liberal democratic definition of statehood. However, the Fund for Peace ranks Kyrgyzstan in the weak country category despite the Revolution. Excluding the 2006 data as it takes into account the revolution and its aftermath, Kyrgyzstan ranked 41st with a score of 88.2 in 2007. Whilst in 2005, before the Revolution, it ranked 65th with a total score of 80.4. Why has the Tulip Revolution failed to strengthen statehood in Kyrgyzstan? This essay attempts to answers this question in three parts: the first two will analyse the reasons why post-revolutionary Kyrgyzstan remained a weak state while the last part will elaborate on Pauline Jones Luong's 'strong-weak state' paradox.
As afore mentioned, this essay will first focus on the reasons why the Tulip Revolution failed to strengthen Kyrgyz statehood. These reasons can be categorizes into two: political reasons and socio-economic reasons. This paper will first focus on the socio-economic reasons.
Kyrgyzstan is Central Asia's Switzerland: a small mountainous country with no access to the sea surrounded by bigger states, like China and Kazakhstan. Its geographical situation does not always play to its advantage. The country is divided in two by the Tien Shan Mountains. This natural frontier marks the boundary between the North and the South of Kyrgyzstan. The northern population of Kyrgyzstan is in majority ethnic Kyrgyz, richer and more urbanised. The economy in the North is also more developed than the South where it is poorer and more backward. On the contrary, the southern population is known to be formed by 80 per cent of Uzbeks. This division is important because it has enhanced the importance of locality in Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyz citizens are more loyal to their clan, their village and even to their region than to the Kyrgyz State itself. This loyalty to local leaders creates a 'hyper democratic' state: politics is manipulated by the people in local power positions which consequently weakens state control. This manipulation is clearer when analysing the Tulip Revolution. A revolution has a better chance of changing a regime when three factors are involved: large urban population, strong civil society and a national-level student movement. But all three factors are weak in Kyrgyzstan: only 34 people out of 100 live in cities mainly in the north of the country, NGO did not originate the riots and only helped organise them afterwards . Concerning students, former president Akaev had undermined opposing youth groups forcing them to support the government by threatening their future at the universities. In fact, the 2005 events were more an insurgency than a revolution per se. The revolts were started by defeated candidates from the March elections with support from their local groups. After the events of the Revolution calmed down, most officials from the previous regime maintained their position and no new institutions were formed. Instead of a revolution from the bottom, Kyrgyzstan faced an insurgency from the top: only the names of the main figures changed. However, even this elite insurgency could not have happened if the Kyrgyz population had no grievances against Akaev's regime. The population of Kyrgyzstan, mainly in the South, was highly discontent due to of poverty and social inequalities. The Gini coefficient has been steadily increasing since the independence of the country up to the late 1990s and has remained at a high level since then. The richest fifth of the population detains almost a half of the total revenue. The Kyrgyz state hence fails to provide equality to all its citizens and cannot provide subsistence to 30 per cent of its population (level of general poverty in the country). This lack of efficient social redistribution is also enhanced by a high level of corruption. In 2005, Kyrgyzstan was 130th in the Corruption Perception Index with a corruption level of 2.3 . The Kyrgyz citizens had no confidence in their institutions and government and turned to sub-national groupings for assistance. After the Tulip Revolution, the provisional government lead by Bakaev put the fight against corruption as the highest priority on its agenda. But this anti-corruption policy was mainly aimed at the remnants of the old regime and not at the new one. For instance Bakaev pushed Suvaliev, the police chief, out of office to replace him with one of his own clan. Furthermore, A. Beknazarov the general prosecutor in charge of investigating the Akaev family's assets was sacked because of a personality conflict with the new president. This loss of confidence fragmented the Kyrgyz society even more and explains why locality is more than a tradition inherited from its nomadic past. Due to this fragmentation of society, the Akaev regime was never capable of creating a sense of national identity. Vanessa Rugel's study on citizenship in Kyrgyzstan proves that the majority of the citizens are proud to belong to Kyrgyzstan. This pride comes from Kyrgyz geography (Issyk Kuhl Lake and the Fergana Valley), culture, history and most of all their famous hospitality and kindness. But it is important to note that this pride in Kyrgyzstan is not a national identity because each group has its own special features. Hence why local networks, clans, ethnicity, regions have jeopardised any attempts to formulate and construct an official national identity, like Akaev's image of 'our common home' which sought to bring together all ethnic groups. The lack of unifying or defining values in Kyrgyzstan weakens the state. Ethnicity plays a major role in Kyrgyz society. In the 1999 census, the main ethnic group was the Kyrgyz with 64.9 per cent. They were followed by Uzbek (13.8 per cent), Russian (12.5 per cent), Dungan (1.1 per cent), Ukrainian (1 per cent), Uygur (1 per cent), and other (5.7 per cent) including Germans. The problem is that only the Kyrgyz ethnicity is integrated in the state, meaning that 40 per cent of the population is excluded. Ethnic competition, high unemployment and poverty facilitate clashes between ethnic groups, for example in the summer of 1990 in Osh were approximately 250 people were killed. Between 1990 and 2002, 600 000 people from minority groups emigrated. The problem for the Kyrgyz society is that the emigrants are often the ones with capital or knowledge. The Tulip Revolution did not change the situation for minority groups: for instance in February 2006, an inter-ethnic fight took place between the Dungans and Kyrgyz youth groups in Iskra, a city outside Bishkek.
One cannot help but notice that Kyrgyzstan failed to strengthen its statehood after the Tulip Revolution. This is because of the nature of its society, which is being several times divided between North and South, between different clans, between different ethnicities has weakened loyalty to the State itself and thus delegitimised democracy as a whole. Additionally, the Tulip Revolution was not a popular uprising but elite driven. Therefore the new regime is faced with the same socio-economic problems as the previous regime. This essay will now analyse what political factors were present before and during the Tulip Revolution that have enhanced state weakness in Kyrgyzstan.
Andrei Tsygankov made an extensive study of state weakness in the post-soviet states. According to this analysis, Kyrgyzstan had an overall score of stateness of 1 out of 3. It scored 0.5 on unity and security within the state. It received a mark of 0 on economic efficiency since the level of economy was not higher than before independence. At last 0.5 was awarded to Kyrgyzstan on political viability because power transferred occurred but only through a revolution that can be questioned in its legitimacy. This final score defines Kyrgyzstan as a weak state. Tsygankov points out three key explanatory factors to this poor score. The first one being exclusionary policies: Akaev, a northerner, favoured his personal groups through clan-exclusive policies. This explains why the Tulip Revolution started in Jalalabad, the second biggest city in the South of Kyrgyzstan. Secondly, Kyrgyzstan has no historical experience of statehood in a western sense: before being incorporated to the Russian Empire in 1876, Kirghizia was a nomadic clan-based society under the rule of the Khanate of Koland. This enhances the point made earlier about the importance of unifying the Kyrgyz society as a priority policy. The last factor concerns Kyrgyzstan's geopolitical location. Situated near Afghanistan and Pakistan it suffers from the regional instability there. Moreover because of its location, Great Powers like Russia, the US or China seek to increase their influence in the region. These often opposing pressures have consequences on Kyrgyz domestic politics and stability. The Tulip Revolution could only happen in Kyrgyzstan. It was the only Central Asian state to have a moderate authoritarian regime that tolerated political competition and allowed for some civil liberties . Hence, the government was not prompt to militarily crush down the first protests demanding Akaev's resignation on March 15th. If this was not the case, the Jalalabad protest might have become another Andijan Crisis. The Tulip Revolution has not strengthened statehood in the country. Ultimately it only replaced an elite with another without changing the institutions of the state. Several factors tend to argue that the Tulip Revolution has even 'sapped the strength of Kyrgyzstan's central government' . First of all, 'weak states are unable to maintain political order and security, to enforce laws, implement policies or deliver services' . Since March 2005, Kyrgyzstan has embodied this definition due to a number of reasons. The first one being that other groups contest the state's monopoly of force. Secondly, widespread corruption has captured the state institutions that now are obliged to private interests. Last of all the government is unable to provide security and social benefits to its citizens. For instance private militias dominate the political scene by organising demonstrations to force the hands of people in government on certain issues. In October 2005, these mobs pushed forward for a reform for land distribution by occupying private land near Bishkek. The government has coaxed the demonstrators to leave the land but has not addressed the issue as a whole. This proves that the new government remains weak. The government is very aware of its fragile situation as any side in any dispute can 'mobilize enough supporters to make any decision hard to enforce' . These demonstrations are often financed by local mafia groups who pay the protesters. The distinction between private and public interest is very blurred in Kyrgyzstan because of corruption: for instance, most MPs have more or less bought there seat and defend their private interests in parliament. Even the police force has no support from the population as it is closely tied to mafia groups and highly corrupted. Under the Bakaev government it has also use violence to break up the opposition rallies. Most importantly is the political instability present in Kyrgyzstan since the Tulip Revolution. In the aftermath of the insurrection, three politicians were assassinated between April and September 2005: Usen Kudaibergenov, a close ally to former Prime Minister Kulov, Jyrgalbek Surabaldiyev, pro-Akaev MP, and Bayaman Erkinbayev, an MP linked with local criminal groups. This criminalisation of Kyrgyz politics is a consequence of Bakaev's lack of desire (or inability) to impose formal control over the country's major economic sectors. This created an inter-governmental competition for economic dominance. As for the opposition to Bakaev and his party, it is constituted mainly by old allies who helped him overthrow Akaev, such as Rosa Otunbaeva or Felix Kulov (who resigned in December 2006). According to John MacLoed from the Institute for War and Peace, demonstrations are part of the Kyrgyz political culture. And as for the opposition, it places more hope in protest marches than in negotiations with the government. Hence policies are adopted in the street. Last December, Ak-Zohl – the president's party – won all 90 seats from the Zhogorku Kenesh (the national parliament). This election was seen as 'going backward' by the OSCE and the opposition denounced its results.
Only two years after the Tulip Revolution, President Kurmanbekov Bakaev faces outspoken criticism and the political situation in Kyrgyzstan resembles largely the final years of Akaev's presidency, if not worse. However, although the Kyrgyz State is weak, one cannot put it on the same level as the other Central Asian states. The latter might be more stable, have a stronger control of the use of force but Kyrgyzstan is for sure still the most democratic – or less authoritarian – of them all. In this final section, this essay will analyse this paradox in more detail.
Control of territory and the capability to ensure security for all citizens is one of the state's main prerogatives and defines a strong state from a failed one. Since 2005, the Kyrgyz government has failed to fulfil these obligations as mass protests, looting, illegal occupation of land have erupted regularly throughout the country. Indeed, Kyrgyzstan is 'unable to achieve social control because [it] encounters strong resistance' from its society. As a former soviet state, Kyrgyzstan has inherited two important factors that explain the general weakness of the state: blurred boundaries between state and societal actors and societal weakness. The Kyrgyz society mainly depends on what the State provides for them. For instance in Kyrgyzstan, the unmovable political and economic elite and its control over public property impedes the development of an independent sphere of social activity. Therefore Kyrgyzstan fits the factors defined by Jackson for the 'quasi-state': for instance the new Kyrgyz government is unable to implement effective and just policies ('deficient political will'). In addition, the concrete benefits of the state are still distributed to the elite (through corruption) and the population's general level of life has not improved. However, the Tulip Revolution has awarded the 'advantages traditionally associated with independent statehood' such as freedom of speech or the universal right to vote.
This essay has developed the factors and theories explaining why the Tulip Revolution failed to strengthen statehood in Kyrgyzstan. State weakness in Kyrgyzstan can always be traced back to two factors. The multiple divisions amongst the people of Kyrgyzstan (geographical, ethnical or clan based) that fragments the society and prevents it from forming a unified entity is the first founding factor. A Uygur from Bishkek will have very little in common with an Uzbek from Osh. The second factor that undermines the Tulip Revolution's potential is the non renewal of the political elite and the exclusionary policies it chooses because this only exacerbates the divisions within the society. Then again, Kyrgyzstan has a good possibility of becoming 'an island of democracy' once more. The Tulip revolution, despite all its trials and tribulations, has ended an authoritarian regime and has shed lights on the future reforms that the government will have to achieve.
J. Anderson. Kyrgyzstan: central Asia's island of democracy? (Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, 1999)
H. Carrere d'Encausse. L'empire d'Eurasie (Fayard, Paris, 2005)
P. Jones Luong. The transformation of Central Asia : state and societies from soviet rule to independence (New Delhi: Manas Publications, 2005)
E. Marat. The Tulip Revolution – Kyrgyzstan one year after (The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, 2006)
S. Radnitz. 'What really happened in Kyrgyzstan'. Journal of democracy 17.2 (April 2006), pp. 132-146
V. Rugel. 'The impact of state weakness on citizenship a case study of Kyrgyzstan' Communist and Post Communist Studies 40 (2007)
A. Tsygankov. 'Modern at last? A Variety of weak states in the post-soviet world.' Communist and Post Communist Studies 40 (2007), pp. 423-439
T. Tudoroiu. 'Rose, Orange and Tulip Revolutions : the failed revolutions' Communist and Post Communist Studies 40 (2007)
CIA. The world factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kg.html (19/03/08)
From a tsarist imperial foreign policy to a Bolshevik lead foreign policy: rupture or continuity?
'Culture is often synonym for continuity in nation-state foreign policy' argues Valerie Hudson. Culture is a vast concept and can be defined in different ways. In this essay, the definition of culture will be based on Kluckhohm's definition: 'culture consists in patterned ways of thinking, feeling and reaction, acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiments in artefacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values.' Valerie Hudson's argument is very true: culture is the only element that outlives government, head of states or regimes and it allows the state's foreign policy to be guided by something bigger than party ideology. Even a revolution within a state does not change the culture of it. The reason for this according to Kluckhohm is that culture is historically constructed. This essay will focus on the transition from the Tsarist Imperial Regime to the Soviet Union and its impact on foreign policy. The transition not only was accomplished trough a revolution but by a rejection of all imperial based values. Can, in this case, culture be a synonym to continuity in the foreign policy of Russia before and after the 1917 revolutions? Culture in foreign policy can be recognized by identifying the operational code of a country (its core beliefs and its preferred means of pursuing its goals). For instance the Bolshevik operational code is summarised in a maxim: 'maximise one's gains rather than satisfice them but avoid adventuristic actions where outcomes are either maximum payoff or maximum loss' . However, these operational codes can be blown apart if national culture is built around a specific actor (like the Tsar) and if internal changes render that actor unable to play. To answer the question, this essay will be divided into two parts. The first part will analyse how the tsarist operational code was blown apart by the Bolshevik one and why there is no continuity in foreign policy between the two periods. Secondly, this essay will argue in favour of Valerie Hudson's statement and prove that the Russian culture driving the national foreign policy has not profoundly changed after the abdication of the Tsar.
As afore mentioned, this essay will first examine how the Bolshevik revolution destroyed the tsarist operational code and why culture, in this political transition, is not synonym to continuity.
The tsarist operational code could be synthesised by 3 words: autocracy, orthodoxy and nationalism. After the Vienna convention in 1815, Russia took in her hands the security of Europe as a whole. It is by these three expressions that Nicholas I (1825-1855) defined the Russian Empire: in 1849, he sent 200,000 troops to Hungary to suppress the last remnants of the revolutionary wave of 1848 and to prevent it from arriving in Russia. The links between the Orthodox Church and the tsarist regime were extremely strong. As they had the same objectives for Russia, they complemented each other perfectly. For instance the conquest of Siberia was the most peaceful take-over thanks to missionaries. Nationalism was expressed through the 'lesser Slav idea' : the tsar saw Moscow as the third Rome (after Rome itself and Constantinople) and sought to defend the Slavic traditions and customs by bringing together all the Slavs of the world. This ideology is called the lesser Slav idea because it was based on the superiority of the Russian Slavs over for instance the Poles or the Ukrainians. However, once in power, the Bolsheviks rejected these principles. Autocracy was dismantled as it oppressed the working class for the benefit of only a few. State and religion were separated: Lenin, like Marx, believed that religion was part of the capitalist superstructure to justify the class exploitation. The same justification was used by the Communist Party for nationalism. Instead, the Bolsheviks replaced the old system ideology by Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism foreign policy builds upon two main points. The first one is of course the writings of Marx on foreign policy: the nature, function and use of state power must push towards the death of the capitalist state (in the transitional period, the country must be ruled by the dictatorship of the proletariat). The second point is Marxist internationalism, clearly stated in the Communist Manifesto under 'working men of all countries, unite!' . The principle was especially enhanced by Lenin's Imperialism where he argued that capitalism was an entire system that communism had to out root. Right after the October Revolution, Marxist-Leninist leaders believed that world revolution was going to be achieved in a matter of days or weeks. Thus establishing a long term foreign policy was unnecessary. As Trotsky, the first Narkomindel People's Commissar, puts it 'I will issue a few revolutionary proclamations to the peoples of the world and then shut up shop' . The soviet foreign policy based on world revolution is the complete opposite to the traditional heritage from the Tsarist Empire. The key foreign policy issues were decided on the basis of regional and international configurations of power but most of all, Russian foreign policy was carved by the ambitions of the individual Tsars. The wishes of the different leaders where exported throughout the world by one of the strongest diplomatic corps in Europe. The Russian diplomatic corps was, according to Engels, capable of overcoming the weaknesses of the Tsarist regime and achieves its goals despite the numerous obstacles. This faith towards the Tsarist regime was proved when the diplomatic staff stationed abroad refused to return to Moscow and waited for another revolution to overthrow the Bolsheviks.
Straight after their arrival into power, the Communists have sought to differentiate themselves from the disastrous foreign policies of the old regime that had brought famine, death and war to Russia. Not only did they replace the traditional Russian operational code in foreign policy but they sought to take apart all aspects of it. Nevertheless, 'foreign policy is never original' : at least up to 1919, soviet foreign policy was a blend of revolutionary and traditional factors. This essay will now focus on the traditional factors that validate Valerie Hudson's declaration: 'culture is often synonym for continuity in nation-state foreign policy' .
One of the main characteristics of Russian foreign policy, whether soviet or tsarist, that never has disappeared over time is expansionism although it had different goals. Tsarist expansionism was only aimed at filling the power vacuums around the state and never had a global aim. There are three factors behind this growth at all cost of the territory under Russian control. The simplest explanation is the nature of the tsarist regime itself. 'The absolute nature of the Tsar's powers enabled Russia's rulers to conduct foreign policy both arbitrarily and idiosyncratically' . The Tsar had at his hands unrestrained political power and a strong and devoted bureaucracy. The expansion of the Russian state was nonetheless very rational: it was always aimed at perceived weaker states. When faced with a stronger state, Russia would always try to talk itself out of a war. The First World War and the Crimean War are the only wars that Russian fought against stronger states. Thus World War I led the 500 years old regime to an end. Another advantage on the side of Russian expansionism is the fact that it could spread North, East, West or South, wherever its interest took it or wherever the neighbours were the weakest. The second explanation to the tsarist need for wider territory is concurrent with the State religion: Orthodoxy. The tsar also being the protector of the Orthodox Church, tsarist expansion has had a messianic urge to protect the Christians throughout Europe and especially in the Ottoman Empire. 'Russia perceived itself not as a nation state but as a cause beyond geopolitics, impelled by faith and held together by arms.' Finally the tsarist regime was haunted by vulnerability and thus obsessed with security. At the start, the Muscovite state had no naturally defendable borders: it was a wide plain open to nomadic tribes as well as foreign armies. This lack of natural frontiers explains why Russian foreign policy historically distrusts its neighbours. The two last factors (the messianic drive and the omnipresent threat to security) create a unique paradox in Russia: the fear that the empire would implode if the state didn't expand. Soviet foreign policy was also inherently expansionist, especially until the signature of the Brest-Litovsk Peace treaty, as it was aimed at spreading revolution to the entire world starting with Europe and Germany. Hence, foreign policy was centred around the 3rd International's and the Comintern's actions, who both work outside Russia towards the spreading of communism. 'In a year the whole of Europe will be communist' stated Zinoviev, a committed Bolshevik. This foreign policy is a logical and fitting counterpart of the domestic policy of war communism . The Decree on Peace emitted on the 8th of November 1917 was the first piece of Bolshevik foreign policy. It called for a global peace with no annexation and no indemnities. It was not only aimed at national governments but also to the people of belligerent countries. Through this decree, the soviet government made use of 'demonstrative diplomacy' . In demonstrative diplomacy, the aim of an act is not to promote freely accepted and mutually profitable agreements between governments but it seeks rather to stir up opposition among their own population. With this in mind, one must point out that most Bolsheviks were attached to the tsarist past, not because of its historical heritage but because the empire provided the best vantage point for future expansion. However, the Peace Treaty signed with Germany stripped Russia of its richest and most industrialised lands. It was Lenin who pushed for the ratification of this humiliating treaty against the wishes of the rest of the party. In a speech addressed to the Seventh Congress of the Russian Communist Party on the Brest-Litovsk Peace in 1918, he turns away from the foreign policy lead by Trotsky. Instead of believing in an immediate world revolution, he argues that 'revolution will not come as quickly as we expected' due to the capitalist system being too deeply anchored in the rest of Europe. Yet he still insists that Russia must work in favour of spreading communism because 'we [Russia] are doomed if the German revolution does not break out'. For now, Russia must concentrate on consolidating the soviet state from within and this is why it must accept the humiliation of Brest-Litovsk. Lenin skilfully compares their situation to the treaty of Tilsit imposed on Prussia and announces that the treaty will be broken when Russia is strong enough to fight back. This change in soviet foreign policy is why it can be seen as the heritage of the tsarist period: again Russian foreign policy has turned toward self-preservation and security. Once the words are put aside and the deeds of both regimes are put into the light, one can see definite patterns of resemblance in the frantic search for security and the messianic impulse. For instance both regimes are hostile to the West. In the case of the tsarist regime, this hostility is due to the superior civilization of Western powers as well as the raging internal debate between Westernisers, who place Russia in Europe, and Slavophils, who turn their back on Europe and turn to Asia. As for the soviet regime, Western Europe is the symbol of capitalist imperialism at its highest point. Regarding the expansion of the state, the justification of hunt for outlets and safe borders has only been replaced by the spread of Communism. In a nutshell, the communist only put new slogans to old foreign politics.
Continuity between the tsarist and the soviet foreign policy do not stop at territorial expansion and fear for the security and survival of the regime. The Soviet government has based most of its system on the same pillars that supported the tsarist environment. The Tsar's liberty in deciding and guiding the state's foreign policy was based on four pillars: unrestrained political power, a strong centralised bureaucracy and a secret police, economic and social order in the hands of the State and the Russian Orthodox Church. Since the Seventh Congress of the Russian Communist Party, Lenin had pushed for the adoption of several resolutions that gave him 'virtually plenipotentiary powers in the affairs of the state and party' . The communist part was already by the end of 1917 the only political party allowed and had its hands on all aspects of the emerging soviet state: bureaucracy, secret police (the KGB), economy through the collectivisation of lands and social order. The communists had abolished the Orthodox State Religion and replaced it with Marxism-Leninism and the worshipping of the soviet leaders. This complete control of the state by the Bolsheviks can be assimilated to the control exercised by the Russian aristocracy. Another facet of continuity shared between the two regimes is the 'deep, almost mythical belief in the special role in the world history which Russians are destined to play' . Under the tsarist regime, it was common belief that true salvation would come from Moscow after the capture of Constantinople. This was transformed in the politically strong influence of Pan-Slavism also present in soviet foreign policy, especially used to bring together, under Communist rule, all the Slavs of the world. Again, Moscow became the centre of communist dogma to which all communists worldwide referred to. As Max Beloff puts it, the Russian-Marxist alliance is strong because when one fails to bring together, the other takes over. Continuity in foreign policy between the tsarist and the soviet regimes can be put into light through national interest. 'The foreign policies of most countries can be simply described as maintaining their national interest' . Officially the soviet state does not have a national interest to pursue since national interest is a coercive tool used by capitalist states. However, in its actions, the Bolsheviks have defended the basic historical national interest present in Russian foreign policy since Ivan the Terrible: state survival. In order to avoid a clash between their words and their deeds, they have enclosed the Russian national interest with the goals of Marxism-Leninism. For instance, after the signature of the Brest-Litovsk peace, Russia lost many tsarist possessions. Although the treaty was nullified by the Versailles treaty, these lands were not surrendered to the motherland and instead the Allied forces created a strip of independent buffer states to prevent communism from spreading outside Russia. Russia was humiliated and it was in its national interest to get these territories back. This national interest was supported by the Marxist argument of world revolution. Finally Tsarist foreign policy had one main goal: expansionism to secure strategically defendable frontiers. We have already demonstrated that soviet foreign policy was continuous in that aspect. What is necessary to point out is the elitism present in both regimes: access to foreign policy was reserved to the highest aristocrats in the tsarist regime and to the highest party members in the Bolshevik regime. Public opinion or morality was not part of the concern of the lucky few. They viewed the international system in a traditional realist style through balance of power policies. Never have these elites, whether communist or imperialist, questioned the wisdom of expansion: ambition for more vital space reinforced the quest for security as well as the attachment to the state. This is a vicious (or virtuous circle) as the growing multinational feature in turn strengthens the need for an autocratic, strong, centralised state.
Contrary to common belief, the Bolshevik revolution is not an exception to Valerie Hudson's claim that 'culture is often synonym for continuity in nation-state foreign policy' . Its foreign policy clearly has its roots in Russia's historical past despite the Soviet attempts to cut it apart from the tsarist epoch. 'The reality of the Russian Revolution has revealed its intimate and indissoluble connection with all the Russian past'
On the transition from the Tsarist Imperial Regime to the Soviet Union, Russian culture has survived and continued to define state foreign policy despite the numerous soviet attempts to create a new communist culture. Culture is thus the only element of continuity between these opposing regimes. At least during the first decade of the Communist rule in Moscow, 'communism was tsarism in overalls' with the continued drive for expansion, security and international recognition. To conclude this essay, it is interesting to notice that the same patterns are still accurate in today's Russian foreign policy although through different means. Territorial expansion was replaced by a struggle against the US to retain its traditional sphere of influences in now independent countries such as Georgia of Kyrgyzstan. The drive for security is seen through Russia's war on Chechen terrorism. Finally international recognition was awarded to the new post-soviet Russia by its acceptance, for example, in the G8. Bibliography:
A. Adams. The Russian Revolution and Bolshevik victory (Washington DC: D.C. Heath and Company, 1960)
R. Debo. Revolution and survival : the foreign policy of soviet Russia 1917-1918 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1979)
J. Degras (ed). Soviet documents on foreign policy – volume I : 1917-1924 ( London: Oxford University Press, 1951)
R. Donaldson and J. Nogee. The foreign policy of Russia : changing systems, enduring systems (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005)
R. Goldwin. Readings in Russian foreign policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959)
V. Hudson. Culture and foreign policy (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997)
N. Petro and A. Rubinstein. Russian foreign policy: from Empire to Nation-State (New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1997)
B. Ward. Russian foreign policy (London: Oxford University Press, 1940)
V. Hudson and M. Sampson III. 'Culture is more than a static residual: introduction to the special section on culture and foreign policy'. Political Psychology 20.4 (1999), pp. 667-675
V. Hudson. 'Cultural expectation of one's own and other nation's foreign policy action' Political Psychology 20.4 (1999), pp. 767-801