Ph.D Dissertation

Ph.D Dissertation-38
Drawing from John, I describe transformation of the self in terms of virtue, vice, and practices of attentive receptivity.

Drawing from John, I describe transformation of the self in terms of virtue, vice, and practices of attentive receptivity.

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I engage questions about how historical actors envisioned the best way to approach “the local” as outsiders as they grappled with the collateral damage of processes of urban-industrial modernization.

I use multi-archival research in the United States, England, Israel, and the West Bank to track how American private voluntary organizations (or PVOs) and British colonial authorities deployed a shared strain of rural development among Palestinian Arabs amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Advocates of rural development were ambivalent about modernization and sought ways of nation-building that enabled local societies to retain their integrity and some measure of control over socioeconomic change.

Towards this end, advocates promoted a rural development that was practical: immediately relevant for daily life and therefore very dependent on local contexts and the experiences and abilities of the students themselves.

How does gender-based solidarity operate among women peacebuilders coming from multiple ethnicities, religions, and classes?

I pursue these questions both empirically and normatively, using an ethnographic study of women peacebuilders in the diverse and conflict-ridden state of Manipur, India, as the basis for sustained engagement with two schools of feminist political theory.This dissertation takes a prospect theory approach to understanding these questions, diverging from the typical expected-utility framework presented in the existing literature.The primary argument is that governments decide to perpetrate violence against their citizens based on whether that government is operating from a domain of gain or a domain of loss.I take women’s peacebuilding practices as an articulation of feminist theory—as praxis—and I use them to challenge aspects of Martha Nussbaum’s liberal feminist approach to women's human development and Brooke Ackerly’s critical feminist framework of universal human rights.My dissertation explains how activist groups’ foci of attention and interaction patterns generate different stylistic orientations toward action.Paper 1 explores the causes of state repression, arguing that a government’s domain influences how it frames threats and the level of risk it will accept to eliminate those threats.A statistical analysis of government responses to dissent among African countries supports this argument, showing that governments in the domain of loss repress low levels of dissent at higher rates than governments in the domain of gain.It finds that civil resistance in Egypt operated through multiple mechanisms that interacted dynamically over time and were sensitive to changes in the wider structure of political relations. My dissertation combines the history of the Capuchin mission and the construct of the Long Sixties in a novel way to explain that the change in missionary behavior is related to this distinct time period.How do women build peace in contexts of extreme diversity?This study addresses my broader theoretical interest in the power of cultural practice to affect group identity and collective behavior.My dissertation is based on 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Mindanao, Philippines, in the immediate aftermath of signing the historic peace accord that put an end to four decades of armed conflict.


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