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    Courts against backsliding: Lessons from Latin America
    (Law & Policy, 2024-05-24) Gamboa, Laura; García-Holgado, Benjamín; González-Ocantos, Ezequiel
    The recent wave of autocratization in Latin America has put courts at the center of debates about regime and regime change. Much of the literature on the judicial politics of democratic backsliding focuses on incumbents' efforts to capture judiciaries and weaponize them against the regime. Our approach is different. We provide illustrations of independent courts in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico that successfully fought back when presidents pushed for reforms that jeopardized democratic stability. With the goal of furthering our knowledge of how judges can also complicate autocratization, the paper thus focuses on a type of horizontal accountability intervention that we refer to as “constitutional balancing.” We also shed light on the reasons why constitutional balancing is well-equipped to slow down or stop backsliding via a comparison with another type of horizontal accountability intervention: public administration policing. These interventions are increasingly common in Latin America, usually in the form of high-profile corruption prosecutions. Unlike constitutional balancing, however, public administration policing has proven highly disruptive, and ultimately unable to settle regime-threatening political conflict.
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    The consolidation of putin’s power through legal and political means: implications for identity construction
    (Socrates. Rīga Stradiņš University Faculty of Law Electronic Scientific Journal of Law, 2024-05-28) Vrobļevska, Elīna; Rātfelders, Toms
    The sources of identity for the state are subjected to a constant process of change dependent upon, but not reduced to the aspect of who is creating the collective consciousness of the state’s self-awareness at the specific point in time. This paper traces and analyses the legal and political changes made in Russia’s legislature and governance model over the course of the past 20 years. This article argues that constitutional and legal changes have promoted and identify the president of Russia as a ‘curator’ of foreign policy—controlling the decisions made and the state identity that supplements them or enables them. As a result, it can be argued that although in the Russian political elite, several key agents can be identified as the ones shaping and influencing Russia’s foreign policy and constructing its identity, President Vladimir Putin, from a legal and political perspective has the most legal power and authority and thus can be considered the main agent of Russia’s identity construction.
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    The psychological costs of behavioral immunity following COVID-19 diagnosis
    (Scientific Reports, 2024-04-30) Spangler, Derek P.; Li, Evaline Y.; Revi, Gabriela S.; Kubota, Jennifer T.; Cloutier, Jasmin; Lauharatanahirun, Nina
    Prior COVID-19 infection may elevate activity of the behavioral immune system—the psychological mechanisms that foster avoidance of infection cues—to protect the individual from contracting the infection in the future. Such “adaptive behavioral immunity” may come with psychological costs, such as exacerbating the global pandemic’s disruption of social and emotional processes (i.e., pandemic disruption). To investigate that idea, we tested a mediational pathway linking prior COVID infection and pandemic disruption through behavioral immunity markers, assessed with subjective emotional ratings. This was tested in a sample of 734 Mechanical Turk workers who completed study procedures online during the global pandemic (September 2021–January 2022). Behavioral immunity markers were estimated with an affective image rating paradigm. Here, participants reported experienced disgust/fear and appraisals of sickness/harm risk to images varying in emotional content. Participants self-reported on their previous COVID-19 diagnosis history and level of pandemic disruption. The findings support the proposed mediational pathway and suggest that a prior COVID-19 infection is associated with broadly elevated threat emotionality, even to neutral stimuli that do not typically elicit threat emotions. This elevated threat emotionality was in turn related to disrupted socioemotional functioning within the pandemic context. These findings inform the psychological mechanisms that might predispose COVID survivors to mental health difficulties.
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    Originalism and Its Discontents
    (Perspectives on Political Science, 2024-04-08) Goldstein, Leslie F.
    Edwin Chemerinsky’s book is as much an attack on the defenses of originalism as it is an attack on the theory itself. People who call themselves “originalists” defend it with the simple argument that the Constitution is meant to be a law adopted by “the people” of the United States that not only establishes their government but restrains it. Like other laws, the Constitution can be amended. But until it is, say originalists, it must mean what it always meant. Otherwise, if subsequent officials, such as Supreme Court Justices, willfully alter its meaning on their own, then they are ruling by personal fiat rather than following law. And such rule is wrong; it violates the sovereignty of the people, which the Constitution was meant to establish.
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    Populism and State Capture: Evidence from Latin America
    (European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 2023-10-27) Carrión, Julio F.; Korman, James G.
    This paper shows that, on average, populism in power produces a decrease in state capture. However, (unconstrained) populism in power that reduces existing levels of rule of law generates greater state capture than (contained) populism that has no negative effects on rule of law. The moderating effect we theorize is that the strength of the rule of law on state capture will show decreased effects at controlling state capture when a country is populist relative to non-populist. Populist leaders may seek to rid the old corruption networks, but once they aggrandize their power and weaken the rule of law, they have incentives to establish corrupt linkages with opportunistic economic elites who are willing to work with them, increasing state capture as a result. To test this theory, the paper employs a random effects model with 6 different specifications across 18 different Latin American countries, throughout the time period 1996-2017.
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    Social media analysis reveals environmental injustices in Philadelphia urban parks
    (Scientific Reports, 2023-08-03) Walter, Matthew; Bagozzi, Benjamin E.; Ajibade, Idowu; Mondal, Pinki
    The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 11.7 calls for access to safe and inclusive green spaces for all communities. Yet, historical residential segregation in the USA has resulted in poor quality urban parks near neighborhoods with primarily disadvantaged socioeconomic status groups, and an extensive park system that addresses the needs of primarily White middle-class residents. Here we center the voices of historically marginalized urban residents by using Natural Language Processing and Geographic Information Science to analyze a large dataset (n = 143,913) of Google Map reviews from 2011 to 2022 across 285 parks in the City of Philadelphia, USA. We find that parks in neighborhoods with a high number of residents from historically disadvantaged demographic groups are likely to receive lower scores on Google Maps. Physical characteristics of these parks based on aerial and satellite images and ancillary data corroborate the public perception of park quality. Topic modeling of park reviews reveal that the diverse environmental justice needs of historically marginalized communities must be met to reduce the uneven park quality—a goal in line with achieving SDG 11 by 2030.
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    War, Revolution, and Failed Democratization in Bolivia and Ecuador
    (Latin American Research Review, 2023-10-02) Carrión, Julio F.
    This essay reviews the following works: The FBI in Latin America: The Ecuador Files. By Marc Becker. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books, 2017. Pp. vii + 322. $27.95 paperback. ISBN: 9780822369080. The CIA in Ecuador. By Marc Becker. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books, 2021. Pp. xi + 317. $27.95 paperback. ISBN: 9781478011385. Movilidad y poder en el sur del Ecuador, 1950–1990. By María Mercedes Eguiguren. Quito: Editorial FLACSO Ecuador, 2019. Pp. viii + 274. Open access e-book. ISBN: 9789978675199. Peasant Wars in Bolivia: Making, Thinking, and Living the Revolution in Cochabamba (1952–64). By José M. Gordillo. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2022. Pp. xiv + 337. $34.99 paperback. ISBN: 9781773854014. A Concise History of Bolivia. 3rd ed. By Herbert F. Klein. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021. Pp. xix + 380. $34.99 paperback. ISBN: 9781108948890. Indigenous Struggle and the Bolivian National Revolution: Land and Liberty. By James Kohl. New York: Routledge, 2021. Pp. xii + 413. $64.95 paperback. ISBN: 9780367471392. Historical Dictionary of Ecuador. By George M. Lauderbaugh. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2019. Pp. xlviii + 322. $96.84 hardcover. ISBN: 9781538102459. ¡Vamos a avanzar! The Chaco War and Bolivia’s Political Transformation, 1899–1952. By Robert Niebuhr. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2021. Pp. xii + 260. $60.00 hardcover. ISBN: 9781496207784. Los inconformistas del Centenario: Intelectuales, socialismo y nación en una Bolivia en crisis (1925–1939). By Pablo Stefanoni. La Paz: Plural Editores, 2015. Pp. 383. ISBN: 9789995416430. The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Edited by Sinclair Thomson, Rossana Barragán, Xavier Albó, Seemin Qayum, and Mark Goodale. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. Pp. xx + 719. $35.95 paperback. ISBN: 9780822371526.
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    Corporate Social Irresponsibility, an Elastic Wall, and a Fragile State: Sign of Hope’s Unfinished Quest to Mitigate Human Rights Violations in South Sudan
    (Business and Human Rights Journal, 2023-10-06) Kinderman, Daniel; Stieglitz, Klaus; Almairac, Laure
    This piece recounts the efforts by NGO Sign of Hope (SoH) to rectify human rights violations in South Sudan, which manifested themselves as drinking water pollution by the oil industry. Committed to exposing and remediating this water contamination, SoH was able to prompt the automobile company Daimler’s CSR to engage in extended dialogue with the oil industry stakeholders in Unity State. Despite a tactful use of various methods ranging from cooperation to confrontation, SoH’s campaign did not lead the oil producers to reverse the harm inflicted on the people of Unity State. When SoH tried to hold these companies accountable, SoH had the impression that it was hitting an elastic wall. This piece identifies lessons which may help to counter corporate human rights violations and compensate for the weakness of CSR in fragile states and in the face of corporate irresponsibility.
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    Political Awareness and the Identity-to-Politics Link in Public Opinion
    (Journal of Politics, 2023-03-07) Jones, Philip Edward
    Members of different social groups often hold distinctive political attitudes. Research shows substantial divides based on characteristics like religion, race, gender, and sexuality, suggesting a straightforward identity-to-politics link. But making that link requires some knowledge and understanding of politics, which not everyone has. As a result, I show, political awareness often moderates the link between social identity and political views. Among the least engaged, identity is only weakly related to politics, and the differences between groups are muted. As awareness increases, the connection between group membership and political attitudes tightens, and the magnitude of identity gaps grows. The substantive impact of awareness varies across groups, and there are notable exceptions to these findings. In general though, the identity-to-politics link—and thus many of the divisions attributed to demographic characteristics—is conditional on political awareness.
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    Putting the Political in Political Interest: The Conditional Effect of Politics on Citizens’ Interest in Politics
    (American Politics Research, 2022-11-14) Miller, Joanne M.; Peterson, David A. M.; McClurg, Scott D.; Sauncers, Kyle L.
    Given that political interest is one of the best predictors of political participation, it remains curious that the causes of interest are undertheorized and understudied. Notably absent from much of the research on political interest is an exploration of how variations in the nature of politics itself might have an impact on individual-level political interest. We develop a theory and a set of testable predictions about how partisanship interacts with the presence of a presidential (vs. midterm) election, the party of the sitting president, and elite polarization, to affect political interest. We report multilevel models that use ANES measures of political interest and partisanship and the DW-NOMINATE Senate polarization measure (from 1960 to 2008) and discuss the implications of our findings for the long-term prospects of an interested electorate.
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    Is the U.S. Heading for a Civil War? Scenarios for 2024-25
    (Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2022-10-25) Kaufman, Stuart J.
    This article applies symbolic politics theory to assess the risk of a new civil war in the U.S., finding that all of the factors making civil war likely are currently present. Narratives promoting hostility toward the other party are prominent among Republicans and Democrats alike, as are hostile predispositions and hostile feelings toward the other party. The Republican Party’s rejection of Trump’s 2020 election loss and its links to the January 6 coup attempt and to militia groups position it to organize a more violent insurrection in a scenario in which Trump is again the unsuccessful presidential nominee in 2024.
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    The US chamber and chambers of commerce respond to Black Lives Matter: Cheap talk, progressive neoliberalism, or transformative change?
    (Business and Politics, 2022-10-17) Kinderman, Daniel
    This article examines the responses of the US Chamber of Commerce and state- and local-level chambers of commerce to Black Lives Matter (BLM). The US Chamber of Commerce's Equality of Opportunity Initiative stresses the business case for racial equity and the economic benefits that can be attained by overcoming race-related inequalities. Many chambers are adopting racially progressive positions, often at some cost to themselves. This article contributes a typology of stances and actions and draws on interviews with American business leaders to characterize American business organization responses to BLM. There is some movement beyond a progressive neoliberal vision of nondiscrimination to acknowledge that it is necessary to “level the playing field.” And the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives of state- and regional-level chambers suggest that they are making genuine and, in some cases, bold and meaningful attempts to advance the cause of racial equity. The evidence suggests that popular mobilization and social pressure following George Floyd's brutal murder played a critical role in enabling this progress. However, the parallels and similarities between current chamber and business DEI efforts and business stances in the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s raise the question: Can current efforts succeed where previous efforts have failed?
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    Parliamentary Primaries After Democratic Transitions: Explaining Reforms To Candidate Selection In Ghana
    (African Affairs, 2022-04-24) Dodsworth, Susan; Alidu, Seidu M.; Bauer, Gretchen; Bukari, Gbensuglo Alidu
    Candidate selection procedures play a crucial role in shaping parliaments and influencing the quality of democracy. Yet, our understanding of what motivates parties to reform candidate selection mechanisms at specific points in time is limited. To address this gap, we examine the experience of Ghana’s National Democratic Congress (NDC), which reformed its selection procedures in 2015 allowing all party members to vote in primary elections for parliamentary candidates. We ask what triggered these reforms and identify four motivations—the confluence of which explains why the reforms were adopted in 2015. These motivations were: making the party more democratic by expanding participation, reducing the cost of the primary process, building the party’s organizational capacity, and keeping up with the party’s main competitor. Together, these led NDC leaders to believe that reforms would benefit the party. However, a divergence between actual and intended effects meant some of these benefits were not realized, so the NDC reversed its reforms. This case suggests that the current shift towards more inclusive candidate selection mechanisms across parts of Africa will not be linear: party leaders will adopt such reforms when they believe it is in their party’s interest.
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    ‘Inspired to Action’: Immigrants’ Faith-Based Organizations’ Responses across Two Pandemics
    (Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 2022-02-12) Maduka-Ezeh, Awele; Bagozzi, Benjamin E.; Gardesey, Mawuna; Ezeh, Ikwesilotuto T.; Nibbs, Farrah; Nwegbu, Somawina; Mai, Ryan; Horney, Jennifer A.; Trainor, Joseph
    Sources of disaster resilience represent important (but understudied) dimensions of the interplay between immigrants and disasters, as do immigrants’ disaster response activities. Using key informant interviews, we examine immigrant faith-based organizations’ (FBO) responses to two contemporary pandemics. Additionally, we assess for the presence of disaster-relevant social capital in immigrant FBOs. FBOs were found to possess key components of social capital and to actively engage in pandemic response activities, including provision of health risk communication, education, leadership, infection control measures, cash and in-kind contributions, advocacy, and psychosocial support. For immigrant communities, FBO-based social capital contributes to effective disaster and pandemic responses.
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    Human Rights Violations in Space: Assessing the External Validity of Machine-Geocoded versus Human-Geocoded Data
    (Political Analysis, 2021-12-15) Stundal, Logan; Bagozzi, Benjamin E.; Freeman, John R.; Holmes, Jennifer S.
    Political event data are widely used in studies of political violence. Recent years have seen notable advances in the automated coding of political event data from international news sources. Yet, the validity of machine-coded event data remains disputed, especially in the context of event geolocation. We analyze the frequencies of human- and machine-geocoded event data agreement in relation to an independent (ground truth) source. The events are human rights violations in Colombia. We perform our evaluation for a key, 8-year period of the Colombian conflict and in three 2-year subperiods as well as for a selected set of (non)journalistically remote municipalities. As a complement to this analysis, we estimate spatial probit models based on the three datasets. These models assume Gaussian Markov Random Field error processes; they are constructed using a stochastic partial differential equation and estimated with integrated nested Laplacian approximation. The estimated models tell us whether the three datasets produce comparable predictions, underreport events in relation to the same covariates, and have similar patterns of prediction error. Together the two analyses show that, for this subnational conflict, the machine- and human-geocoded datasets are comparable in terms of external validity but, according to the geostatistical models, produce prediction errors that differ in important respects.
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    Media Coverage of Female Candidates’ Traits in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary
    (Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, 2021-11-29) Cassese, Erin; Conroy, Meredith; Mehta, Dhrumil; Nestor, Franchesca
    The 2020 Democratic presidential primary featured more female candidates than any prior race of its kind, presenting a unique opportunity to analyze media coverage of women running for this distinctively masculine office. In this article, we explore themes in trait coverage for female candidates in 2020. Using a natural language processing (NLP) approach, we analyze a sample of print and online media coverage of the Democratic primary field just prior to the Iowa Caucus. We find that trait coverage largely emphasized warmth and competence, with a tendency to criticize female candidates for displaying insufficient warmth. Comparing white women to women of color, we find coverage of Harris, but not Gabbard, emphasizes racial and gender identifiers. The themes emerging from our trait analysis suggest women candidates continue to face obstacles in the form of gendered and sometimes racialized media coverage on their paths to the presidency.
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    Candidate Preference, State Context, and Voter Turnout: Comparing Non-Voters and Voters in the 2016 Presidential Election
    (The Forum, 2021-09-07) Medenica, Vladimir E.; Fowler, Matthew
    While much attention has been paid to understanding the drivers of support for Donald Trump, less focus has been placed on understanding the factors that led individuals to turn out and vote or stay home. This paper compares non-voters and voters in the 2016 election and explores how self-reported candidate preference prior to the election predicted turnout across three different state contexts: (1) all states, (2) closely contested states won by Trump, and (3) closely contested states won by Clinton. We find that preference for both candidates predicted turnout in the aggregate (all states) and in closely contested states won by Clinton, but only preference for Trump predicted turnout in the closely contested states won by Trump. Moreover, we find that political interest is negatively associated with preference for Clinton when examining candidate preferences among non-voters. Our analysis suggests that non-voters in the 2016 election held meaningful candidate preferences that impacted voter turnout but that state context played an important role in this relationship. This study sheds light on an understudied component of the 2016 election, the attitudes and behavior of non-voters, as well as points to the importance of incorporating contextual variation in future work on electoral behavior and voter turnout.
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    ReOrienting the World System
    (University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, 2015) Denemark, Robert A.; Gills, Barry K.; Robert A. Denemark, Barry K. Gills; Denemark, Robert A.
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