Institute of the Americas
|UCL Americas Research Student Network|
The Inequality of Security in Rio de Janeiro
This research elaborates a new concept called the “Inequality of Security” which shows how security is a societal good and human right that is inequitably distributed among Rio de Janeiro’s different social classes and geographic areas. The most important variable to consider for the Inequality of Security concept are the security providers – namely armed forces, police, UPPs, private security companies, drug trafficking factions and militias. Organised in a complex security network, these state and non-state actors deploy violence in multiple forms for their economic and political ends, forcing us to reconsider notions of citizenship and the rule of law.
The Southern Policy of Ulysses S. Grant
My thesis is
a revisionist history of the Southern policy of
Ulysses S. Grant. Focussing almost entirely on the Grant
Papers, my intention it to account for policy choices,
and define Grant's Southern policy, primarily through an
interpretation and analysis of his own words. My thesis analyses issues
along racial and political lines so as to account for key policy choices made
by Grant. Each chapter focuses on a specific stage in his public career linking
personal beliefs or political aims to specific actions. By following a
chronological order my thesis identifies a certain evolution within the policy
but also emphasises a continuation of Civil War era ideals.
Indigenous Political Participation and Institutional Continuity and Change in
My PhD thesis is a comparative study of indigenous political participation in Peru. It aims to demonstrate the pattern of indigenous political participation at the sub-national level, taking the Andean departments of Huancavelica and Puno and the Amazonian department of Loreto as case studies. It then attempts to explain this pattern using a tri-dimensional analysis that looks at state-indigenous relationships, intermediary-indigenous relationships and local community relationships in the three regions. Peru is chosen as a ‘deviant case’ due to its less evident ethnically based political participation compared to the recent political history in neighbouring countries such as Ecuador and Bolivia.
‘double movement’ in the Andes: agrarian reform & indigenous development in
highland Ecuador, 1964-2006
My research investigates the evolution of agrarian reform and land commodification in Highland Ecuador and explores the socioeconomic consequences of these processes for the indigenous peoples of the region. Drawing on Karl Polanyi’s concept of the “double movement”, I argue the orientation and application of state and market based agrarian reform provided few opportunities for indigenous peoples to secure productive plots of land and embedded existing inequalities in the agrarian structure. My analysis calls into question studies which posit structural adjustment and neoliberalism as the principal factors behind the upsurge of indigenous mobilisation in Ecuador during the 1990s and 2000s.
Ethnic voting in the Andes
My research focuses on the role of ethnicity, race and racism in contemporary Andean politics. Specifically, I am interested in how ethnic identity and racial attitudes may influence voters’ electoral decision-making – the ways in which voters construct, and evaluate, socio-political profiles of electoral candidates, their parties and political projects during electoral campaigns – and how such (stereotypic) profiles, or images, impact on voters’ electoral preferences. It is hoped that the combination of ‘macro-level’ cross-country comparative analysis (largely based on existing survey data) with a more ‘micro-level’ investigation of how voters gather and process political information (drawing on data from a computer-based ‘election simulation’ and a series of focus groups and interviews), will provide important insights into how (and perhaps why) race and ethnicity are drawn into, and may shape, electoral politics in the region today.
The Shape of the State to Come: Transnationality and the Social Imaginary of the Welfare State in Argentina, 1930-1952
focuses on the social imagery of the welfare-state in Argentina between 1930
and 1952. I am particularly interested in the productive space between the
knowledge production in the social sciences of the time, and the political
realm across the whole political spectrum in issues of welfare and the
regulation of the social. Additionally, I will focus on the transnationality of
the discourse about the formation of a modern welfare state in Argentina. Both
the diffusion of ideas about modern social policy from different, nationally
organized societies, the translations of concepts and debates about the
relevance for the Argentine reality, as well as the mobility of social actors
in the Atlantic world are of interest.
A Debt to Democracy? Media Regulation
and Reform in Argentina and the Southern Cone
My research investigates recent controversial changes to media regulation in Argentina, and I am interested in what such reforms may tell us about the current relationship between the state, media and the consolidation of democracy in the region. I will be undertaking fieldwork in the 2012-2013 academic year, basing myself in Buenos Aires, where I plan to interview government officials, academics, and those working in the media to better understand the political environment in which regulatory reform is taking place, and the potential implications of this reform for democracy in Argentina.
Migration and Return: A St. Kitts-Nevis Perspective
My research aims to discover how people migrate and re-migrate into societies and how integration is facilitated at both destinations along the cycle of migration: in Britain and in St. Kitts-Nevis. The thesis investigates the support network created among migrants in Britain and considers the role of informal and formal institutions, such as the associations and the churches, in bringing about such adjustment. In exploring the adaptation of St. Kitts-Nevis migrants to Britain and on their return to the home country, the thesis touches on issues of integration and assimilation, issues of home and belonging, identity and transnationalism.
Carmen G. Sepulveda Zelaya
The Legal and
Political Battles Behind the Distribution of Emergency Contraception in Chile
under Ricardo Lagos (2000-2005) and Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010)
My research focuses on the legal and political battles behind the distribution of emergency contraception in Chile -- under the Concertación governments of Ricardo Lagos (2000-2005) and Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010). I am interested in the role of institutions and actors in the policy process, particularly feminists, lawyers, and doctors, as well as judges and courts within a context of increasing judicialisation of women’s reproductive rights. I believe my research contributes to current debates on feminist political science and sociology of law. My thematic interests include: feminism, women’s movements, sexual and reproductive rights, gender and health, abortion, public health, democratisation, judicialisation processes.
Diasporic Argentinean and Chilean identities in
Britain: The traces of dictatorship in second-generation postmemory
My PhD looks at second-generation Chileans and Argentineans living in the UK, and their postmemories contained within their personal life narratives in relation to the last military dictatorships in those countries. It argues that within these individual memories formed in a familial terrain, we can also trace the contours of a much more collective memory that reflects a different and alternative memory landscape to that found in the Southern Cone. My research interests are in intergenerational memory, diasporic identities, exile, gender, oral history, and migration.
Youth Political Disaffection: Analyzing its historical trends
and its associated factors
This research aims to explain current high levels of political disaffection among Chilean youth. Since the return to democracy in 1990 Chile has experienced good levels of both economic development and political stability. However, with the pass of years the youth have increased their levels of hostility towards formal political institutions. Moreover, in recent times these feelings of disaffection have begun to be expressed through strong social movements. This dissertation intends to understand this problematic situation through both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the relationship between youth and the Chilean political system taking into account current popular mobilizations.
The Making of a Patronage Democracy: The Nature and Implications of Rampant Political Clientelism in Post-Independence Belize
Belize as an illustrative and critical national case study, the
thesis revisits the modern politics and democratisation experiences of the
Commonwealth Caribbean through the analytic lens of entrenched political
clientelism. It explores the origins of political clientelism in Belize since
adult suffrage and the emergence of political parties in the 1950s, tracks and
explains its rapid expansion and persistence in the post-independence (1981)
period, and critically assesses the implications presented for democratic
governance in Belize and other small states of the Commonwealth Caribbean. The research project is
being conducted with the support of a United Kingdom Commonwealth Scholarship.
US Foreign Policy
Towards Afghanistan: Political Culture, Stability and Violence
This study aims to further the study of US Foreign Policy in Afghanistan by explicating the factors that make up US identity and how this plays a role in the relationship between these two countries. A key motivational factor for being in Kabul has been to stabilise the country and have a regime that is friendly to US interests. At the same time, the US view of itself as a great power that is principled and determined to create a better global order, with Washington at the forefront, is also an important determinant for why it has stayed in Afghanistan. Therefore, both factors of interest and identity and how they mutually constitute one another will be key in driving the research process.
Michael J Espinoza
The Winning Combination: Conservatives and Socialism in Post-Cold War America
My PhD thesis focuses on conservative Republican criticism of Democrats in post-Cold War America. From the conservative perspective, Democrats support policies that favour government over the free-market. Conservative rhetoric uses key words to further bolster their assertions. This rhetoric accuses Democrats of supporting core ideals which are liberal, socialist and un-American in their tendencies. The intent of conservatives is to portray their party as the party that will defend true and authentic American values against the liberal values of big government Democrats. In each chapter I analyse how Republican conservatism now embodies a movement that is much more flexible and extremist in its language, and as a result makes modern day Democrats (and even Republicans of previous eras) out to be supporters of socialism.
María De Vecchi Gerli
Enforced disappearances in Mexico: State and relatives discourse and its relation to impunity
Enforced disappearances in Mexico are, nowadays, a public problem that needs to be studied. According to official sources, there are more than 26,000 people disappeared in the country. This research aims to analyse the discourses and the struggles of the relatives of the disappeared during the last presidential period (2006-2012) linking it with those of the disappeared in the 1970s. Through an analysis of public policies launched by the State, I will also try to understand why enforced disappearances have not been solved but rather have increased in a worrying proportion in Mexico. For this, I will use three theoretical frameworks: i) theories of memory and of dealing with the past, ii) discourse analysis and iii) Transitional Justice literature.
The failure to sell the U.S: Public diplomacy from 2000-2013
My research will analyse the effectiveness of the U.S. public diplomacy strategy in the 21st century. It will focus on whether the goals of U.S. public diplomacy are coherent, consistent and clear. It will subsequently identify, whether these goals are being attained and the major failings of U.S. public diplomacy.
Sacnicté Bonilla Hernández
During my life I have been related to rural life in different ways. Now, I have committed myself to do a research which aims to provide a wider understanding about rural life of young campesinos in Mexico. My main goal is to engage rural young people into a reflective process to analyze their decisions. They will then reflect on why have they decided to remain living in the countryside, which is their role in preserving traditional knowledge of food production and in Mexicans’ food sovereignty. The ambition of this study is to highlight the key features of the modern campesina life of those young woman and men who have chosen small food production as their way of life. I will also address the interaction between rural youth decisions and grassroots groups, civil organizations, peasant movements and social policies that are focused on rural youth.
Gonzalo Romero Sommer
The Armed Forces and the State in Twentieth Century PeruThe aim of this study is to understand why a considerable expansion of the state apparatus took place under military governments in twentieth century Peru. My working hypothesis is that the armed forces in the past century had a national project which consisted in expanding bureaucratic structures in order to create a nation- state. This expansion was centred on those branches of government which dealt with the less fortunate in Peruvian society. It followed the age - old conception that the armed forces had of themselves as the “tutelary forces” of the nation. And despite the clear differences among these military governments, there was continuity in political, ideological and economic terms.