THE LUTETIAN SPRING 2013 Volume 1
Cities are bibles of stone. This city possesses no single dome, roof or pavement which does not convey some message of alliance and of union, and which does not offer some lesson, example or advice. Let the people of all the world come to this prodigious alphabet of monuments, of tombs and of trophies to learn peace and to unlearn the meaning of hatred. Let them be confident. For Paris has proven itself. To have once been Lutèce and to have become Paris -- what could be a more magnificent symbol! To have been mud and to have become spirit! Victor Hugo
L E T T E R F RO M T H E E D I TO R S
Take a look around. There is no denying that the American University of Paris is unique; even just a quick flick through our journal will tell you that we have students from all over the world who are passionate about an important and expansive range of issues and questions concerning the social sciences. As our university President Celeste Schenck says, we are “one of the most demographically diverse educational institutions on the planet.” Naturally, that makes our journal one of the most diverse too. So go on, take a look inside. Read it on your plane journey home. Pass it on to a friend. Let someone read it over your shoulder on a train. Take a picture of you with it anywhere in the world and send it to us. We will smile knowingly; because the diversity of work published here already tells us that our own home-grown social sciences journal will be read by students, family, and friends all around the world. Welcome to the very first edition of the The Lutetian, the new academic journal for the social sciences at the American University of Paris. The 2012 – 2013 academic year has seen many exciting changes in AUP Student Media, and amongst them has been the rethinking of the structure of the university’s academic journals. Through weekly meetings with students and faculty, outreach to the university’s department heads, and coordination with the Dean of the university, The Lutetian was conceptualised over the Fall 2012 semester. It was created to consolidate and bring new life to the numerous departmental journals that had fallen by the wayside. The journal remains committed to AUP Student Media’s primary goal: to publish and highlight students’ best work. To this end, we have harassed our professors and our peers, bombarded email inboxes, and decorated university buildings with flyers and posters. The Lutetian represents the work of undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni, within a range of departments including Computer Science, Economics, Global Communications, History, International Politics, Business, Entrepreneurship, and 3
Psychology. The Lutetian is complemented by Paris Atlantic, AUP’s arts and humanities journal. While the two journals differ in subject matter, the editors of both journals have worked closely together in building and rebranding the two journals. Our common aim is to show continuity across the two journals and build bridges among the distinct subjects. At the American University of Paris the students have learned their English in many different countries and settings. Our decision not to change our contributors’ works to a standardised form of English (such as American or British) was a technical one that we also believe is reflective of the university’s cosmopolitan philosophy. It is important for students to be able to have a place where their work can be both enjoyed and reflected upon by others. After all, part of the aim of academic writing is to create and maintain intellectual dialogue, in order to provide the kind of material that Claude Lévi-Strauss would eloquently call (in French), “good to think with.” Finally, we would like sincerely to thank the wonderful faculty members and students who have dedicated their time to us, given us their unwavering support and who, most importantly, have believed in the need to continue publishing the best of student work from the American University of Paris. Ella Cooper and Genevieve Shea Editors, The Lutetian
S TA F F ELLA COOPER AND GENEVIEVE SHEA
Editors in Chief DA N G U N N , M I C H A E L D O R S C H , A N D R O B E R T PAY N E
Academic Advisors MADI RILEY AND MAXIMILIAN SCHLEICH
Content Editors RIEKO WHITFIELD
ASM Publishing 31 Ave Bosquet 75007 Paris France firstname.lastname@example.org 4
TABLE OF CONTENTS NICOLE SWEENEY The Pottermore Identity Crisis: Fan Identity Formation Through Shifting Media Texts
SYMONNE TORPY The Wikipedia Model of Epistemology: Growing The Global Identity by Feeding the Global Knowledge Database
KILIAN ORDELHEIDE Digitization of Art: A Threat to the Museum or its Inevitable Future?
ELLA COOPER The Chamberlain Case: From Folk Devil to Folklore The National Museum of Australia as a Space of Mediation for Moral Panic and Public Trauma
CAROLINE NORDSTRAND IUEL 21st Century Aesthetics
SVEN VAN MOURIK The Prince and the Courtier: Two Ways to Power
FA N I E C O L L A R D E AU Confucianism and Democracy
JESSICA PROETT Islamic Feminism: Promoting Women’s Rights in an Islamic Frameworkw
KIMBERLEY BEEBE Conflict Resolution as Sustainable in Track Two Diplomacy: A Cohesive Strategy Through Civil Society Empowerment
JUSTINE DAVIS Weak Civil Society as a Precursor for Political Manipulation of Ethnicity in Cote D’ivoire
KARLA HOOVER Public Policy Meets Human Right: A Gap Study of the Dublin Regulation and the Greek Asylum Crisis
MICHAEL MORALES French Sovereign Debt: The Eurozone’s Next Problem?
DAVID BLOOM Regulating Entrepreneurship
B E T H A N Y K I R K PAT R I C K Reshaping the Environmental Kuznet’s Curve
N I C O L E
S W E E N E Y
T H E P OT T E R M O R E I D E N T I T Y C R I S I S : FAN IDENTITY FORMATION THROUGH SHIFTING MEDIA TEXTS
INTRODUCTION Kristina Horner talks to snakes. At least, that is the (joking) claim that her username on YouTube makes. Horner is a twenty-three year-old Seattle native whose five-year-old presence on YouTube has garnered her 119,857 subscribers. Between the revenue generated from advertising placed on her videos and the various opportunities having an audience has afforded her, this channel has become her job. She has Harry Potter to thank for that – at least partially. The username “italktosnakes” is a reference to the fictional boy wizard’s ability to speak Parseltongue, an obscure language in the Potter universe. Aside from the channel name itself, Harry has played a big role in that project. Her videos are mainly vlogs, filmed in her bedroom, creating a backdrop filled with Potter memorabilia, ranging from a post of Harry Potter’s filmic incarnation, Daniel Radcliffe, to a plethora of banners and other artifacts that show her affiliation – like her username – with Slytherin house at Potter’s magical school. She produces Harry Potter music and videos, and has toured the country, playing for thousands of people at events like LeakyCon, a Harry Potter fan convention. In short, Harry Potter has played a significant part in Kristina Horner’s career. Fan cultures appropriate media texts in a range of ways to form both communities and particular individual identities. In the world of “fandom,” these appropriations often extend well beyond the official canon of the original media texts, through fan fiction, fan art, and a range of other expressions that build upon and expand the world created by the original authors or artists. Across the media studies sub-discipline of fan studies, a range of work has been done to explore the different ways that fans connect with media artifacts as a means of understanding and projecting themselves. Fans perform their identities as fans in ways ranging from the purchase of clothing and other items to the creation of derivative works like fan art and fan fiction. As these identity performances have moved online, the narratives that are self facilitated by these media texts become more expansive and have a greater need for cohesion. In many ways, the presence of a larger community is beneficial: fans are utilizing and appropriating not only the original media text, but an ever-growing edifice built upon that text by fellow fans. The existence of wiki projects dedicated to specific fandoms help fans keep track of their constantly expanding universe and provide them with new rhetoric with which to understand themselves. For media creators and rights holders, these dedicated fans are complicated: they are both a blessing for their loyalty to the product and a curse for challenging established logic surrounding media ownership. The rise of convergent cultural practices and transmedia storytelling have 7
created new opportunities for savvy and adaptable enterprises to make better use of these affinities. Media rights holders must constantly walk the line between protecting their properties and engaging, rather than alienating, their core constituencies. Indeed, as long tail economic logic takes hold, much of the work of media producers has shifted towards targeting these particularly dedicated consumers just as copyright wars are also increasing and heightening opportunities for media rights holders to alienate these constituencies. Where vibrant fan communities exist, media creators attempt to exploit affinities without challenging or alienating consumers. Unfortunately, their interventions can have exactly that effect as they introduce new terms to the discourse that may conflict with the fandom’s established understanding of that media text. This paper analyzes fan identity formation, the implications of media owners intervening on that process, and the way in which fans respond to that intervention. POTTERMORE AND THE WORLD OF HARRY POTTER In the summer of 2011, J.K. Rowling and Sony launched a new product to expand the economic potential of the Harry Potter franchise now that all seven books and eight movies have been completed and released. Pottermore is an online “reading experience” (not to be confused with a “video game,” an entity that would conflict with Warner Brothers rights in the franchise) that would introduce a range of additional information, all provided by Rowling, on the Harry Potter world and allow fans the opportunity to not only continue their experience with the franchise in terms set by J. K. Rowling and Sony (rather than by uncontrolled grassroots fan community spaces like forums and fan fiction websites) but also to actively engage with the franchise (again in terms set by the rights holders). Early on in a user’s experience with Pottermore is the “sorting” into one of the four houses of Hogwarts – just as the experience at Hogwarts begins for Harry Potter and all of the fictional school’s other students. Pottermore presents users with seven questions selected semi-randomly from a pool of thirty. When the site was launched this was the element most discussed by fan communities. In the established Harry Potter canon, much is made of the characteristics and attributes of the four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Students are placed into a house by a “sorting hat” which, before being worn by each new student in turn, sings a song that discusses the characteristics – bravery, loyalty, cunning, etc. – associated with each of the four houses. These affiliations between house and character traits are further developed throughout the series by connecting different characters with their Hogwarts houses. Children who grew up reading this series often learn to invest a great deal of themselves in these descriptions; they come to see themselves as brave Gryffindors like Harry or amiable Hufflepuffs like Nymphadora Tonks. The various products made available by Warner Brothers over the years have since populated bedrooms across the globe – Hufflepuff ties and Slytherin banners. Harry Potter fans often take their house allegiances and performances quite seriously as they became central to their understanding of themselves as they came of age alongside Harry. What happens, then, when the media rights holder introduces a “sorting” opportunity, well after many of the 8
most dedicated fans have spent years sorting themselves – and defining themselves on those terms? Many users found themselves in that situation; Kristina Horner was not sorted as a “cunning” Slytherin, but a “just and loyal” Hufflepuff. There are additional implications for these fan performances in spaces like Facebook or YouTube, where there is little or no anonymity and fans view their online presentations as extensions of their offline performances, much like Horner. Many fans of the series recorded their experiences with the sorting and uploaded their reactions. A quick search for “Pottermore sorting” on YouTube revealed over 200 such videos in March of 2011. By May, after the site went live for non-beta testers, that number was over 700. This paper analyzes the contents of thirty of these videos. Those videos are analyzed for the particular terms the vloggers use to describe themselves and the way in which their experiences with Pottermore’s sorting process confirmed or challenged their own identities. Particular attention is paid to their desired versus actual sorting, the presence of house-affiliated material items, and the way in which Rowling’s involvement in the project is discussed, if at all. The core research questions forming that analysis are: In what ways are the words and images of this media text appropriated into the presentation of self? How do the interventions of media owners restrict or co-opt this process of identity formation? Finally, to what degree to fans challenge or negate that intervention? That last question yielded the most unexpected answer (in short: not much) and forced the introduction of an analysis of the way these vloggers discuss Rowling, which was not an intended part of this research at the outset. Ultimately, Pottermore serves as another element to the way in which Harry Potter structured both their understanding and performance of themselves. Partially as a way to manage the scale of this project, the videos were limited to uploads from Fall 2011 (as in, only Pottermore beta testers); the assumption is that those who were interested in and able to carry out the time sensitive riddle-solving process to be selected for beta are among the most dedicated, and therefore most invested fans of the series. Further, videos that were not vlogs were removed from the sample because they did not contain discussion of the user’s response to the sorting (there are a number of videos that simply film the question and answer process of the sorting). Within those constraints, the thirty videos were selected at random. After narrowing the selection to thirty – a number chosen because it was large enough to discuss certain aspects of the videos numerically, while small enough to incorporate specifics from individual videos – all videos were watched again to verify that they met the minimum criteria: vlogs about the Pottermore sorting process in which the user discusses their expected or desired house assignment as well as their Pottermore house assignement. Next, they were coded for a few specific elements: the desired/expected house; the Pottermore house, yes/no on whether those two were the same; whether the vlogger presented material items they had purchased in association with their chosen house (such as Kristina’s banner); whether the vlogger mentions J. K. Rowling’s role in creating Pottermore; and whether the vlog serves as an acceptance or rejection of their house assignment (this was omitted for the videos where sorting matched expectations). Finally, the videos were reviewed 1-3 more times for the particular rhetoric used by each vlogger to discuss their reaction to the sorting, with emphasis on those who were sorted contrary to their wish or expectation. Fifteen of the thirty vlogs were from users who were not sorted as they wished or expected, two were coded as unclear, and thirteen were as expected. There is no attempt here to account for those percentages; this inventory was taken chiefly to contextualize the way they discuss the sorting process. Given the popularity of the Harry Potter franchise, it is unsurprising that much has been written about its implications for all manner of cultural concerns, including 9
identity formation. Andrew J. Frank and Matthew T. McBee wrote one such piece as an outline for how educators can employ Harry Potter to facilitate identity discussions with their students. Following Harry’s journey through adolescence can help young people frame their own analysis of self-definition and understanding as “coming of age” themes permeate the series. Similarly, David Nylund uses Harry Potter as an example of a popular culture practice that can have therapeutic implications for not just youth identity, but specifically queer youth identity. Alison Phipps uses the discussion of “parseltongue” and the references to foreign lands as a framework for understanding the role of language in identity formation. The fact that Harry Potter speaks this obscure language is, throughout the series, a source of conflict for his own sense of identity because it is associated with a house other than the one to which he belongs. This is one of many examples that demonstrates the importance of the four houses of Hogwarts in identity affiliations throughout the series. What all of these examples illustrate, however, is the vast ways in which engagement with popular culture generally – and Harry Potter specifically – can play a critical role in identity formation, particularly youth identity formation. FAN IDENTITY PERFORMANCE Erving Goffman’s work on identity presents a number of useful terms for identity formation and expression in fan communities. Goffman’s theory of impression management describes the way in which individuals perform attributes of an identity in order to define the impression that others make of the individual. “Taking communication in both its narrow and broad sense, one finds that when the individual is in the immediate presence of others, his activity will have a promissory character.” 1 The promise is made through a series of demonstrations of identity. Goffman’s theory heavily employs the aesthetics of the theater – front and back stages representing that which is expressed and concealed; costumes that work in conjunction with dialogue to create the sense of a particular character; props that help to express and convey ideas of identity just as they convey themes and actions in a play. This rhetoric is also profoundly useful in understanding the expressions of fan cultures, as many theatrical elements are used in both literal and figurative ways – Harry Potter fans purchase and display a number of literal costumes and props from the franchise that demonstrate their affinity for the series to the casual outsider, but also represent symbolic ideals to those within the fandom. Paraphernalia for a particular Hogwarts house will be recognizable as being from the world of Harry Potter to most casual observers, based on the pervasiveness of franchise, but the range of ideological associations the books and fandom ascribe to each house adds another layer of meaning to these expressions for members of the fandom. The construction of identity through media text is both an external performance and an internal understanding. Giddens writes, “In the post-traditional order of modernity, and against the backdrop of new forms of mediated experience, self-identity becomes a reflexively organized endeavor.” 2 Part of what media texts and the acts of engaging in fandom do is contribute to the language of understanding for that reflexive endeavor. The language and terms put forth by particular media texts – in this case the Harry Potter 10
books – then contribute to the way in which individuals come to understand themselves. Foucault’s “Technologies of the Self ” discusses the rhetorical shift, over the course of history, from “caring for the self ” into “knowing the self,” and the function of discourse as essential to that transition. The modern world deals heavily in rhetoric of self-knowledge and this established discourse is simultaneously limiting and empowering: individuals are restricted to the language they are given to construct and present themselves, while simultaneously being empowered by that language to do so. Sandvoss writes about the way in which the process of reading and internalizing the content is itself the process by which meaning is made for fans: “In this process of dialogue between text and reader, meaning is created as the reader ‘concretizes’ the text.” 3 Giddens continues, “Modernity is a post-traditional order, in which the question, ‘How shall I live?’ has to be answered in day-to-day decisions about how to behave, what to wear and what to eat – and many other things – as well as interpreted within the temporal unfolding of self-identity.” 4 One of the vloggers in this sample discussed the way in which her personal sorting – prior to the intervention of Pottermore – not only gave her an understanding of herself, but helped to construct it: “The more I thought about the fact that I was a Hufflepuff, the more it really came true: I’m not really a confrontational person; I’m a better listener than I am really a talker; and I have way too many friends to count.” The identity conceptions in Rowling’s story grounded her understanding of her behavior in seemingly unrelated contexts and situations that extend beyond the world of her fandom-specific activities. Turning back to Foucault, “The main point is not to accept this knowledge at face value, but to analyze these so-called sciences as very specific ‘truth games’ related to specific techniques that human beings use to understand themselves.” 5 As the example of said vlogger (lizlikestolaugh) points out, popular media texts can be a formative and instrumental technique in this process. The language of Rowling’s Hogwarts houses becomes an essential part of the rhetoric fans use to understand themselves. As an individual participates in the fandom, they engage in on-going practices to project and uphold their identity through these displays. Goffman regards these as both offensive and defensive maneuvers in the performance of identity. “Together, defensive and protective practices comprise the techniques employed to safeguard the impression fostered by an individual during his presence before others.” 6 There is an elaborate process of self-presentation performed, both consciously and unconsciously to establish and reify an individual’s identity in the eyes of those they interact with. Importantly, there is also a tacit agreement between participants to accept portions of the performance as given: Each participant is allowed to establish the tentative official ruling regarding matters which are vital to him but not immediately important to others, e.g., the rationalizations and justifications by which he accounts for his past activity. In exchange for this courtesy he remains silent or non-committal on matters important to others but not immediately important to him. We have then a kind of interactional modus vivendi. Together the participants contribute to a single over-all definition of the situation which involves not so much a real agreement as to what exists but rather a real agreement as to whose claims concerning what issues will be temporarily honored. 7 This logic applies to exchanges among members of a fandom just as it does in broader 11
societal contexts. In the case of constructing a fan community, it becomes an important part of the community’s internal logic. In Henry Jenkins’ account of a particular Harry Potter fan community, he notes that other fans often acquiesce to divergences from the given story world in order to accommodate identity performances of other members of the community. Fan profiles create wizard schools in countries not mentioned in the official series and those schools are often incorporated into the narratives of other members of the group, including those who identify with the existing narrative (the European schools presented in Rowling’s books). This inclusiveness is, in many ways, part of the fan community’s sense of its own collective identity. 8 While Goffman’s work is useful in framing the broader discussion and establishing key terms, Martin Lister – who references Goffman several times himself – helps narrow that discussion to the online exhibitions of identity in fan communities. Lister details the ways in which the web marked a new space for the performance of identity, and how the nature of that performance expanded as rapidly as changes in the environment of the web itself. In the early days of the web, home pages were among the first markers and expressions of self-identity online, and the rhetoric of these pages themselves came to be part of the identity formation inherent to these spaces. “Just as incomplete web pages are often labeled as ‘under construction,’ so too are the identities of their designers.” 9 Lister goes on to discuss the process of “making private practices of identity construction public,” on these homepages through a process of bricolage, likening the deployment of posters and other appropriated cultural artifacts on a bedroom wall (private) to the displays of similar imagery on a homepage (public). 10 Just as teenagers might put a great deal of care into selecting particular posters for their bedroom wall to demonstrate certain kinds of affinities (or adults selecting certain art or coffee table books) the “curators” of personal homepages were managing a particular representation of their identity. This process has been largely expanded with the arrival of Web 2.0 technologies, with the displays of identity formation no longer limited to the construct of single pages, but the narrative created through posts across a range of networks and spaces. Vlogger MattiHeartsHP begins her discussion of Pottermore by pointing out the redesign of her YouTube profile: she has changed the colors and background to reflect the colors of her new Hogwarts house, Slytherin (presumably changed from the aesthetic of the house she previously identified with, Ravenclaw). Her updated background is the Slytherin crest with green and silver accents throughout the page. In the space of YouTube at least, her Hogwarts house identification is an important part of the way she presents herself and the new house necessitated a corresponding aesthetic change. “If web home pages were sites of self-presentation or identity construction through the bricolage of interests, images, and links, then personal blogs and social network profiles could be seen to add an ongoing identity performance both individually and collectively, driven by Web 2.0 technologies of multimedia, content management, network building, and persistent communication.” 11 Participation in fan communities via Web 2.0 environments thus entails a collaborative effort towards this identity formation. First, fans possess an ever-growing list of spaces (profiles, blogs, vlogs, message boards, fan fiction websites, etc.) to perform their identity affiliations. A fan can reference their attachment 12
to a particular Hogwarts house by using profile pictures of them in house-related gear, record videos discussing their affinities, and write fan fiction that expands upon the lives of characters from their houses who may only receive a passing mention from Rowling. In the case of these vloggers, many had usernames that directly reflected their Harry Potter affiliations; having only read the books once, at least twelve of the thirty vloggers sampled had usernames with recognizable allusions. Users like italktosnakes and aimeelikescheese have written songs and recorded music videos about their house identification. (Both were among the users whose Pottermore sorting challenged that identification.) THE FANDOM’S LOGIC In outlining the history of fan studies, Jonathan Gray and his colleagues note that fandom (and fan performance) became, “more than the mere act of being a fan of something: it was a collective strategy, a communal effort to form interpretive communities that in their subcultural cohesion evaded the preferred and intended meanings of the ‘power bloc.’” 12 As much as any of those individual items might express a fan’s identification with a particular house, the sum of the whole is greater than its parts; fans create a body of evidence both for themselves and others of this particular identity. Further, other fans play an essential role in this identity formation. “Social circumstances are not separate from personal life, nor are they just an external environment to them. In struggling with intimate problems, individuals help actively to reconstruct the universe of social activity around them.” 13 House affiliation is a means of forming kinship among Harry Potter fans – vlogger microbless begins his video by explaining that he was a friend of Kristina Horner’s and that they bonded over their shared connection to Slytherin house. (Unlike Horner, his affiliation was confirmed by the sorting process in Pottermore.) Also important to the way in which the community participates in the creation of individuals is the way in which it gives individuals an “other” to consider in relation to their understanding of themselves. Microbless discussed his friendship with Horner as partially developed around antagonizing mutual friends for being in houses other than Syltherin. In Rowling’s novels, characters in each house are in constant competition with one another on behalf of their house, as the school awards “house points” (Pottermore reflects this; activities subsequent to the sorting give users the chance to earn house points). Though it is antagonistic on the surface, it is also part of the collaborative effort to build and reaffirm the various identifications. They solidify their status as Slytherins just as much as confirming a friend’s house identification through this sort of play. The role of otherness in understanding the self is discussed in both Appadurai and Beck, though in somewhat different ways. Appadurai describes minority otherness and inferiority as being necessary to bolster the majority group, while Beck’s work discusses the way cosmopolitans identify themselves in part by the way they are able to internalize the other. In both instances, though, globalization forces individuals to internalize and incorporate “others” previously understood as distinct and perhaps inferior. House affiliations for Potter fans represent not only pride in what that house is, but for what it is not – namely, the other three houses. 13
Even on a more individualistic level, the larger fandom is important to the way fans understand themselves in relation to the media text. The presence of others to support these expressions is necessary to build networks and engage in persistent communication. Participants in these fan culture environments form the tacit agreements (explored in Goffman’s work) to accept and support each others’ identities. Additionally, the examples Jenkins raised in which fans accept and reappropriate deviations from the canon – like the addition of other schools – give fans additional rhetoric for their own identity formation. As Nick Mansfield notes, “the problem of interior life is best understood in terms of culture and politics.” 14 Fan communities participate in and perpetuate a set of cultural norms that contribute to their own individual identity formation process. This process is not only expanded to a range of platforms, but also conducted largely through collaboration. Some of the videos came from collab channels – that is, collaboratively produced vlogs, where vloggers talk back and forth to one another as much as to a generalized audience – specifically about Harry Potter. These vloggers, as well as those in Harry Potter bands are not only part of an individual identity partly shaped by the world of Harry Potter, but also a collective identity that is perhaps even more deeply rooted in that world. Fully half of the vloggers showed off physical items that they had purchased to reflect their house identity in their videos (this does not include non-house affiliated objects shown in the videos, nor does it discount the possibility that the other half own such paraphernalia but did not display it in their vlog). Still, some of these fans may never have to abide by their house affinity in an offline setting. However, they will often have to express it across a range of digital platforms: YouTube, Twitter, message boards, etc. A cohesive narrative must be constructed across these platforms in order to uphold the performance. The fact that information posted to these sites is generally archived and retained over time also contributes to the need for that cohesion. Wandel and Beavers note the way in which identity formation as a process, conducted over time, becomes apparent to Facebook users. – that is, they become aware of the narrative constructed by their profiles. 15 The same applies across most online identity performance. Individuals do not simply make statements to be heard and then potentially forgotten, or at least left open to debate; statements and performances are made publicly and then retained to be presented at any later date. This identity formation then becomes part of an on-going process. “The line of development of the self is internally referential: the only significant connecting thread is the life trajectory as such.” 16 The way in which lizlikestolaugh came to understand herself as a Hufflepuff was part of a larger “story” of who she is as a person. Several of the vloggers make reference to past videos noting that while they may be prepared to accept the sorting hat’s decision, anyone who has seen the vlogger’s past videos will know he or she has a preference. The work of Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder on fan fiction talks about the process of creating derivative works from a fan culture. Here, again, there are a number of expressive practices that have important implications for how individuals define themselves. What is also important about fan fiction is the push back from media rights holders. In the case of fan fiction, media rights holders tend to claim copyright 14
infringement for one of two motivations: either they are concerned that someone else is profiting from their properties or they are concerned with loss of control of their narrative. As Henry Jenkins outlines, particularly in the case of Harry Potter, Warner Brothers largely backed down from copyright infringement claims made for fear of lost revenue – the same holds true for a number of other properties. The debate continues to wage, however, primarily with material that is seen as explicit because of its potential implications for the kid-friendly brand; across many examples, “slash” fan fiction tends to attract more negative attention from media rights holders. 17 However, as Chander and Sunder note, many of these divergences are important for the construction of identities that are more inclusive, such as fan fiction that turns the female supporting character Hermione Granger into the main protagonist, or fan fiction that is set in alternative locations like Calcutta, India. 18 THE MEDIA OWNER’S LOGIC AND INTERVENTIONS Goffman’s idea of the mutual agreements that individuals come to in their identity performances and exchanges has further implications when media owners get involved and change the terms of the conversation: Real agreement will also exist concerning the desirability of avoiding an open conflict of definitions of the situation. I will refer to this level of agreement as a “working consensus.” It is to be understood that the working consensus established in one interaction setting will be quite different in content from the working consensus established in a different type of setting. Thus, between two friends at lunch, reciprocal show of affection, respect and concern for the other is maintained. 19 Goffman’s example goes on to note that in economically motivated exchanges, such as a waiter and restaurant patron, that reciprocal show of affection, respect, and concern is transformed or even eliminated. In fan communities (both online and off ) interactions are generally social rather than economic. For a large media rights holder, however, interventions are largely dictated by economic concerns. New instruments are introduced in order to further commercial fan involvement in the rights holders’ properties. Media rights holders enter the conversation with a set of objectives that is unrelated to and potentially inconsistent with those of fans and fan communities. Given that, media rights holders often violate the “working consensus” already in place within the fan community. While the importance of dedicated fans is not lost on rights owners, they are only wooed – as the above examples demonstrate – “as long as their activities do not divert from principles of capitalist exchange and recognize industries’ legal ownership of the object of fandom.” 20 However, in these identity formation spaces it is unclear who owns what – certainly Rowling created the houses of Hogwarts, but emotional affiliations embedded in the world of Harry Potter would tend to blur that distinction in the eyes of fans. Part of the problem with retroactive interventions from media rights holders is that in their quest to pursue their economic logic, they are challenging their core constituencies and defying the rather different sharing economy logic on which these interactions are predicated. Lawrence Lessig dedicates the bulk of his last book on the cultural logic of the internet, Remix, to a discussion of this phenomenon. The launch of Pottermore was, 15
in many ways, an example of a media rights holder trying to include its fans and engage in the sort of hybrid economy interaction that Lessig would champion. In Fall 2011, the site was gradually launched for one million beta testers before its official public release in April of 2012. The fandom’s most dedicated participants were given access to a special experience which would extend the story past the books and films now that they have all been released. This space would be the very sort of “community” and “public square” that should, in theory, lend itself well to expanding the franchise in a hybrid economic model. 21 The potential problem arises when the new information put forth is at odds with a decade’s worth of identity formation – half of a lifetime or more for many of Pottermore’s beta testers. An important part of understanding the role of Pottermore in the identity formation of its users rests in understanding the particular implications of game play as a performance. Although this paper deals chiefly with the sorting itself, the sorting is part of a promise to achieve a particular kind of performance within the Harry Potter universe. Several of the videos discuss the way the sorting changes the aesthetic of the game – its colors match the user’s house after the sorting. Garry Crawford and Jason Rutter discuss the importance of breaking old notions of conventional media texts as static and game play as fluid. Those roles can often be reversed, depending on the amount of autonomy given to consumers of different media texts – some games give consumers less control than others and some books invite greater participation than others; the Harry Potter fandom is itself an example of such fluidity with an old media text. 22 In theory, Pottermore is meant to provide fans with a richer level of engagement with the franchise. In practice, however, it may foreclose upon existing relationships with the media text. FANS RESPOND “I am another victim of the Pottermore identity crisis,” laments “Firebolt” of the collaboration channel, ThePotterwatch6. In earlier examples, media rights holder interventions and challenges of existing practices were met with varying degrees of backlash, depending largely on the practice and the nature of the challenge/intervention. Pottermore largely presents a challenge to an internal logic of self, rather than a practice. In that sense, it does not become a source of legal contestation, like the fan fiction “Potter Wars” with Warner Brothers, but a space for individuals to reevaluate deeply held beliefs about themselves. The affinity that fans often feel with their chosen “house,” has often been a significant part of their adolescent development. Most of Kristina Horner’s early popularity can be attributed to the songs that she wrote about the series and her house affiliation. At twenty-three, this series, and the discourse it has given her for defining herself, has been with her for a decade. What does it mean when a computer program tells her that she has been “sorted” elsewhere? Throughout the videos of fans sorted into “the wrong house” (a song by another Harry Potter themed musician, “What if Pottermore Sorts Me in the Wrong House?” is featured as background music in several of the videos in this sample) they develop a discourse for understanding this new, challenging information. Of the fifteen videos where fans were sorted into a house that they did not agree 16
with, only two maintained their disagreement with that sorting. Some of the other videos expressed shock or disappointment upon learning the Pottermore sorting outcome, but by the end of their video they expressed that they had yielded to this new information. After Giddens discusses the reflexivity of identity brought on by modernity, he goes on to discuss the way reflexivity produces a perpetual state of radical doubt. “The reflexivity of modernity actually undermines the certainty of knowledge, even in the core domains of natural science.” 23 Although Giddens is here discussing doubt in understanding the world at large, the same principle can be applied to the way in which individuals come to understand themselves in this knowledge environment. Giddens also discusses, “a process of ‘finding oneself ’which the social conditions of modernity enforce on all of us. This process is one of active intervention and transformation.” 24 Given that all information remains perpetually uncertain, always open to contestation from new information, the same goes for the way in which individuals conceive of themselves. This can help explain why most of these fans were willing to accept outside judgment of themselves over their own. After being sorted into Ravenclaw instead of Hufflepuff, oliverandermo adds, “I just think that all along I was a Ravenclaw.” She expresses (though perhaps more enthusiastically) something that most users who were “re-sorted” by Pottermore did: that Pottermore is right and she was wrong. Of course, there are degrees of acceptance. Although Bhabha’s work on living at the interstices of cultural difference is more inherently political and macro in its concerns than the case of these Harry Potter fans, it is useful to consider here. Bhabha asks a similar question, albeit of a different phenomenon: “How do strategies of representation or empowerment come to be formulated in the competing claims of communities where, despite shared histories of deprivation and discrimination, the exchange of values, meanings and priorities may not always be collaborative and dialogical, but may be profoundly antagonistic, conflictual and even incommensurable?” 25 In the case of individuals with multiple cultural identifications, Bhabha explains that individuals tend to exist in the space between the two (or more), rather than squarely in one or the other. “This interstitial passage between fixed identifications opens up the possibility of a cultural hybridity that entertains difference without an assumed or imposed hierarchy.” 26 This concept was already part of the fandom’s understanding of house identification prior to the introduction of Pottermore. One of the two videos coded as “uncertain” for whether the Pottermore sorting challenged the vlogger’s initial understanding was that of “thesunsgonewibbly” who described herself as a “Slytherclaw.” Of course, it is worth mentioning that she only introduces this term after expressing some shock that she was sorted into Ravenclaw (and not Slytherin). Still, this hybridization of house identification is part of the fandom’s established rhetoric and was thus employed as a strategy for negotiating the new information. Even those who did not previously consider themselves in this hybrid fashion relied on the rhetoric as part of their acceptance of the Pottermore sorting. Just as the initial process of identity formation in conjunction with Hogwarts house affiliation was partly a communal activity, the shift in the aftermath of new information must follow suit. “These new forms of extended family ties have to be established by the 17
very persons who find themselves most directly caught up in them.” 27 Kristina Horner filmed her Pottermore sorting with a group of friends. They got together and took turns sitting down at the computer to sign-in to their Pottermore accounts and complete the sorting. After the screen changed to inform her that she was sorted into Hufflepuff, she pulled the sorting hat she wore for the occasion down over her head and slumped down in her chair. She then turned to the camera to ask, “What am I going to do?” The rest of the video focuses on Kristina’s sorting in particular as her friends attempt to extol the virtues of Hufflepuff house and the way it they can associate it with her. They are primarily comforting – reminding her of Hufflepuff characters who worked for the greater good or making claims like, “Hufflepuffs are always hot.” One friend was perhaps a little less helpful by pointing out how cocky a well-known Hufflepuff character was. The entire conversation then becomes a process wherein the whole group begins to renegotiate Kristina’s house affiliation. The role of the community in negotiating the new information is especially present in two of the videos which are primarily dedicated to encouraging other users to accept Pottermore’s sorting. Both TheHogwartsdiva, MissLiss7213, and animelover597 were sorted as expected (Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin respectively) but each addresses their video to those who were not. TheHogwartsdiva discusses what she calls “The 5 Stages of Changing Your House on Pottermore” – playing on the stages of grief, and walking other users through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her video ends with the text, “Just remember, we’re all here for you.” MissLiss7213 uploaded a considerably less sympathetic video asking people to “stop complaining.” “If you answered all the questions correctly, then you’re obviously in the right house,” she begins. She extols the virtues of each house in turn and reminds viewers that Pottermore was created by J. K. Rowling. Animelover597 takes up a similar trope, focusing chiefly on the fact that Rowling created both the Harry Potter universe and Pottermore itself, adding that the sorting was “a very accurate way to get sorted into the house that you should be in.” In all three cases, fans are offering their commentary on the legitimacy of the Pottermore sorting both to reaffirm their own sorting and to insist that other members of the community do the same. The strategy is partially self-serving; Pottermore reaffirmed their sense of identity. It is also, however, a contribution to the larger fandom narrative surrounding the site. Speaking of that narrative, the Harry Potter fandom has long functioned as a sort of knowledge community in many ways. The Potter Wars that Jenkins details in Convergence Culture were waged around a fan site that presented “news” from the Harry Potter universe. Countless wikis have been established to help fans keep track of the glut of information presented on the world of Harry Potter. After Pottermore was released, a site called “Pottermore Sorting and Wand Analysis” was launched on microblogging site Tumblr, as a means of deconstructing and understanding the way in which Pottermore’s sorting takes place. This site collects sorting data submitted by hundreds of users – which questions they got, the answers they gave, and the results of their sorting – and uses that data to break down and analyze the sorting process. Answers are analyzed both in terms of the numbers (what percentage from each house gave each answer) and possible references to the series itself. In this way, fans engage in a sort of reverse intervention. 18
The site’s creator (a self-identified and Pottermore confirmed Ravenclaw; this is part of how she explains why she would undertake this in the first place, as it is the house most associated with intellectual curiosity) is not only arguing the legitimacy of the sorting, but establishing terms on which other fans can come to understand the sorting. This reverse intervention is not rejecting the Pottermore sorting, but it is creating a space in which fans can begin to understand the sorting on their own terms, as they had before the introduction of Pottermore. CONCLUSIONS: RIGHTS HOLDER OR CREATOR? The fact that these kinds of interventions served as the bulk of fan rebuttal to the Pottermore sorting was something of a surprise. Going back to Giddens and applying the idea of radical doubt to self-identity, perhaps this should not have been so unexpected. Still, the Harry Potter fandom does have a history of defending itself against activity that it feels infringes upon its territory. Further, Potter has long been a space in which fans heavily reappropriate the text’s elements to exert their own autonomy over the narrative. That is a key part of the argument made on Harry Potter and identity performances by Frank, McBee, Nylund, and others mentioned earlier in this paper. The clearest explanation for this can be found in fans’ own words. After watching each of the videos through once, it became clear that the way in which fans discussed J. K. Rowling needed to be part of the analysis of these videos. While fans were eager to fight back and defend themselves against the interventions of Warner Brothers when it appeared that their actions were not connected to Rowling and her wishes, they have yet to come into disagreement with Rowling herself. Here, then, it becomes important to make a distinction between rights holders and creators. This discussion is central to Larry Lessig’s arguments in favor of copyright reform; pervasive across modern media is a disconnect between the artistic creation of a work and the legal ownership of it. Similarly, the chapter Jenkins dedicates to Star Wars fan creativity often shows that fans speak of George Lucas himself in different terms than those used for Lucas Films and its legal team. Fans develop a degree of kinship with the creators of their beloved works. More importantly, they recognize that person as the work’s rightful owner, a recognition not necessarily extended to any additional legal rights holders. It is in this way that many fans who were perhaps disheartened by Pottermore’s assessment were ultimately accepting of it. Of the fifteen vloggers who were sorted into a house other than the one they anticipated, only two did not end their video on a note of acceptance. (Of those two, one advises future Pottermore users: “Maybe honesty is not your best friend when taking this quiz.”) Ten of those fifteen explicitly mention that Rowling created Pottermore as part of their explanation for the legitimacy of the sorting. “I always thought I was a Ravenclaw, but apparently Pottermore and J. K. Rowling disagree, and who am I to argue with her? So, thanks Jo for my slight identity crisis,” says MattiHeartsHP, after Pottermore placed her in Slytherin. Each vlogger is reticent to disagree with the results of the sorting because they know that Rowling helped create the system. The fan behind the site that analyzes the answers explains in her FAQ, “I didn’t 19
think the quiz could be rigged; I didn’t think JKR would do that to fans.” She began her analysis, at least in part, to confirm not only the legitimacy of the Pottermore sorting, but also the legitimacy of fans’ faith in Rowling. The way that all of the vloggers discuss Rowling’s role in the site (or don’t – “Firebolt” of ThePotterwatch6 is one of the two users to abide by her personal sorting over Pottermore’s, but she does not mention Rowling in her video) shows a degree of deference to her as the author of the Harry Potter universe. It is on those terms that animelover597 chides those who are dissatisfied with the sorting: “A few of those people have actually said that they know what house they belong in more than the actual creator of the Harry Potter universe…If you answer all of the questions honestly and get put into a house, my opinion is that if Hogwarts were real life, that is the house you would get sorted into.” Where fans defended their creative expression when challenged by Warner Brothers, they become deferential to the opinion of Rowling because of her status as the actual creator of the work in question. It is clear that many fans of the Harry Potter series have developed strong connections with their house, and have demonstrated those affinities through a range of means both outwardly and inwardly. The process of negotiation between the intervention of the media rights holder and the fans came as something of a surprise, but this appears to be largely a consequence of the distinction between rights ownership and the creator of the original media text. Due to Pottermore’s affiliations with the latter, it was able to exert a considerable degree of intervention into fan relationships with the media text and how they view themselves through it. Pottermore presented many fans with affirmation of their existing affinities, but those fans who were challenged by it have largely found a way to incorporate that challenge into their new understanding and narrative of themselves. For rights owners, this example would seem like a victory, though it is important to note Rowling’s importance in facilitating that. Although largely accepting of the substantive change in information about themselves, fans did seek to adapt that information to their own established logic – that is, they gathered this information from the outside and then returned to their communities to discuss and absorb it.
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. pp. 2. Carden City: Doubleday, 1959.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. pp. 5. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991.
Sandvoss, Cornel. “The Death of the Reader?: Literary Theory and the Study of Texts in Popular Culture.” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World. Ed. Jonathan Gray. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Kindle.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. pp. 14.
Foucault, Michel. “Technologies of the Self.” Technologies of the Self: a Seminar with Michel Foucault. Ed. Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman and Patrick H. Hutton. pp. 17. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. pp. 24
Ibid, 9, 10
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. pp. 181 – 183. New York: New York University Press, 2008
Lister, Martin, et al. New Media: A Critical Introduction. pp. 267. New York: Routledge, 2009.
Ibid, 267, 268
Ibid, 268, 269
Gray, Jonathan, Cornel Sandvoss, and C. Lee Harrington. “Introduction: Why Study Fans?” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World. Ed. Jonathan Gray. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Kindle.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. pp. 12.
Mansfield, Nick. Subjectivity: Theories of the self from Freud to Haraway. pp. 12.Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2000.
Wandel, Tamara and Anthony Beavers. “Playing Around With Identity.” Facebook and Philosophy. pp. 95. Ed. D. E. Wittkower. Chicago: Carus, 2010
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. pp. 80
Chander, Anupan and Madhavi Sunder. “Everyone’s a Superhero: A Cultural Theory of ‘Mary Sue’ Fan Fiction as Fair Use.” California Law Review. 95.2 (2007): 597-626.
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. pp. 10
Gray, Jonathan, Cornel Sandvoss, and C. Lee Harrington. “Introduction: Why Study Fans?” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World.
Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. pp. 221. London: Penguin, 2008.
Crawford, Garry and Jason Rutter. “Playing the Game.” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World. Ed. Jonathan Gray. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Kindle.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. pp. 21.
Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. pp. 2. Oxon: Routledge, 2004.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. pp. 13
WORKS CITED: Appadurai, Arjun. Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Beck, Ulrich. “The Cosmopolitan Society and Its Enemies.” Theory Culture Society. 19.1-2 (2002): 17-44. Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. Chander, Anupan and Madhavi Sunder. “Everyone’s a Superhero: A Cultural Theory of ‘Mary Sue’ Fan Fiction as Fair Use.” California Law Review. 95.2 (2007): 597-626. Crawford, Garry and Jason Rutter. “Playing the Game.” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World. Ed. Jonathan Gray. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Kindle. Foucault, Michel. “Technologies of the Self.” Technologies of the Self: a Seminar with Michel Foucault. Ed. Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman and Patrick H. Hutton. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988. Frank, Andrew J. and Matthew T. McBee. “The Use of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Discuss Identity With Gifted Adolescents.” The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. 15.1 (2003): 33-38. Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991. Gray, Jonathan, Cornel Sandvoss, and C. Lee Harrington. “Introduction: Why Study Fans?” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World. Ed. Jonathan Gray. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Kindle. Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Carden City: Doubleday, 1959. Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2008 Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. London: Penguin, 2008. 21
Lister, Martin, et al. New Media: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2009. Mansfield, Nick. Subjectivity: Theories of the self from Freud to Haraway. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2000. Nylund, David. “Reading Harry Potter: Popular Culture, Queer Theory, and the Fashioning of Youth Identity.” Journal of Systemic Therapies. 26.2 (2007): 13-24. Phipps, Alison. “Languages, Identities, Agencies: Intercultural Lessons from Harry Potter.” Language and Intercultural Communication. 3.1 (2003): 6-19. Sandvoss, Cornel. “The Death of the Reader?: Literary Theory and the Study of Texts in Popular Culture.” Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World. Ed. Jonathan Gray. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Kindle. Wandel, Tamara and Anthony Beavers. “Playing Around With Identity.” Facebook and Philosophy. Ed. D. E. Wittkower. Chicago: Carus, 2010
S Y M O N N E
T O R P Y
T H E W I K I P E D I A M O D E L O F E P I S T E M O L O G Y: GROWING THE GLOBAL IDENTITY BY FEEDING THE GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE DATABASE
“Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment” Wikimedia Foundation, Vision, 2007
GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE, GLOBAL IDENTITY Contemporary citizen identity is defined by a shifting equilibrium between the national and the global. 1 On the one hand, globalisation processes have diminished temporal and spatial boundaries, establishing a global community; on the other, national identities are being fortified in response to the threat of cultural homogeny. 2 Karlberg characterizes the ‘citizen’ as a participant in self-governance through identification and choice. 3 The way in which people understand and interpret their experiences constitutes this notion of citizenry; knowledge and discourse shape this understanding. 4 Karlberg suggests that knowledge discourses are the ‘productive scaffolding, or matrix, of human culture and consciousness,’ thus highlighting the strong links between knowledge, expression and identity. 5 Importantly, Farrell asserts that common knowledge is strongly linked with values and practices that bind communities together. 6 The process of knowledge creation is intensely unifying, as citizens experience satisfaction gained from contributing to a greater whole. 7 This essay will explore Wikipedia as a site within which knowledge and discourse formation occurs as the life-blood of citizen identities. It will posit that as an arena constituted by a consensus structure of global input, it underscores the possibility of an emerging global identity in the 21 st century. The argument is two-fold: 1) that Wikipedia provides a global ‘version’ of events, which is increasingly utilised in the conception and the expression of global ideas; 2) that the process of knowledge generation undertaken by the active Wikipedia editing community is immediately binding, allowing a growing Wikipedia population to identify with a global cosmopolitan identity. This essay will question the role of Wikipedia in relation to epistemology in a general sense, and then explore the anarchist roots of the institution. The essay will conclude that conceiving of Wikipedia as an ideal site for global identity is facile; Wikipedia remains dominated by representational imbalances. 23
THE IMPORT OF WIKIPEDIA AS A GLOBAL INSTITUTION
The power of Wikipedia as a constitutive force in both creating a global version of knowledge and perpetuating its own extra-national identity norms is enhanced by its global reach and growing credibility. Wikipedia is an immensely successful entity in terms of citizen reach and cultural permeation. In April 2011, 1 136 849 global users contributed to Wikipedia content 10 times or more. 8 Of these global users, only 0.9% contributed more than 100 times, showcasing a population of regular, but not dominant users. 9 An average of over 11 million edits occur per month to Wikipedia content, which acts as evidence of the dynamic evolution of knowledge and the continuous additions to changing global perspectives. 10 The site is published in over 270 languages, which indicates that its scope spans globally. 11 Within English Wikipedia, almost 50% of registered users identify as secular, highlighting a balance in religious views within this language sector. 12 The proliferation of sub entities has broadened Wikipedia’s reach into ‘Wikinews’, ‘Wikisource’ and ‘Wiktionary.’ 13 The importance of plurality in defining a global discourse resonates in the billions of competing worldviews that exist and which are expressed both on and offline; without accounting for a variety of perspectives, it is difficult to conceive of a ‘global perspective.’ The credibility of Wikipedia as a global source of information is important in evaluating its impact within the global community. An independent study conducted in 2005 by Nature, an international journal of science, compared the accuracy of Wikipedia content with the reputable Encyclopedia Britannica Online. The study employed a blind review of 50 pairs of articles from Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica websites. 14 Staff compiled lists of factual errors, omissions and misleading statements identified by a set of independent scholarly reviewers. 15 123 errors were identified in Britannica articles, 162 in Wikipedia. 16 Britannica contested the study results, however, the study is still upheld as an indicator of Wikipedia’s reliability. 17 The majority of Wikipedia entries are stylistically aligned with traditional print entries, reinforcing a stylistic as well as contentfocused authenticity. 18 The site has adopted features such as reviews and the ‘citation needed’ function, in order to increase the verifiability of content on the site. 19 These measures contribute to an evolving reliance on Wikipedia as a credible world resource for information. 20 A PETRI DISH FOR GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE In its dual role as an encyclopedia and a community, Wikipedia is defined by a series of institutionalised norms that have organically evolved since its launch in 2001. Three of its key tenets define its capacity as an anthology of global knowledge. These are: a lack of contributor regulation (in most cases), a consensus-based collaborative model, and an ideological aversion to elite governing bodies. A lack of regulation purports to shift historical asymmetries in the expression of knowledge. 21 Traditionally anthologised and published by an academic elite, printed encyclopedias have over time, reinforced the citizen/elitist divide. In addition, the heavy financial and temporal burden of producing 24
printed encyclopedias has meant that they exist in relatively few languages and account for only the most important world events and prominent views. 22 In contrast, there is no physical limit on the number of pages Wikipedia can contain; disc space diminishes in cost as technology advances. In addition, alphabetical ordering has become irrelevant, as web technology has created methods of key-word identification. It is perhaps the first time in history that there is a medium within which the ever-expanding corpus of global knowledge may be expressed. Importantly, Wikipedia users do not require an account or even an email address in order to edit content. As the best-known incarnation of the wiki, Wikipedia places the editing functionality on the server; thus if a page can be read, it may be edited. 23 Legally, no single entity owns a restrictive copyright over content. 24 In addition, the ease with which users may manipulate content is a feature of the plurality of the institution; basic computer literacy will render any citizen able to contribute to the site. These conditions facilitate unprecedented access to a global knowledge database. ‘Neutral Point of View’ (NPOP) is an institutionalised expectation of Wikipedia content. Contrary to the notion that free editing is conducive to bias the site facilitates a forum within which biased content may be openly contested, discussed and accounted for. The result contains an implicit acknowledgement that no single account, particularly in written discourse, may be free from bias; true neutrality is only achieved when a broad variety of accounts are built into the expression of knowledge. 26 In addition, articles are continually open to change, as ongoing events shape the context within which global knowledge is conceived. This establishes an ideal definition for ‘global knowledge’ as inherently susceptible to cultural and temporal nuance, opinion, contestation and evolution. 25
A system defined by a profusion of differing ideas achieves relative harmony by encouraging and rewarding identification via pseudonym, and transparency in the edits made to content. Users choose the way that they wish to be identified, and receive gratification for their contribution to the knowledge database. 27 Every edit is both recorded and available for viewing, contestation or reversal. Citizens receive notifications of edits in ‘watch lists’ and updates integrated into browsers; changes cascade throughout the entire community, creating a binding effect in line with Farrell’s claim that group knowledge creation is an exercise in interconnectivity. 28 Wikipedia also has a strong commitment to collaboration and consensus in instances of contested knowledge representation. 29 ‘Discussion boards’ facilitate debates, held over the validity of user contributions, a process that falls under Benkler’s unifying conception of ‘commons-based peer production.’ 31 The Wikipedia ‘good faith’ norm carries the assumption that debate or contestation will only occur in the spirit of achieving content of the highest quality. 32 The ethos sustains a positive, collaborative culture linked to knowledge creation over geographical barriers. Thus, the cultural community is defined by interconnectivity; the global knowledge database not only generates a combined global ‘version’ of events, but also, the epistemological process generates a feeling of international intellectual unity. Ideologically free from the constraints of what could reasonably be considered nationalistic conceptions of governance (democracy, autocracy, theocracy), the Wikipedia 25
model is closely aligned with an anarchist model, which well suits the amalgamation of a wide range of ideas and attitudes encompassed in the emerging global identity. A consensus-based approach which leans on both individual virtue and the power of critical mass, is positioned in opposition to elite regulation, and has organically created a series of rules which self-regulate the user environment, to optimise its usability. Citizens are informed about environmental changes through the ‘Recent Changes’ page, which provides general parameters for operation, without top-down direction. 32 Benkler and Nissenbaum theorise that the lack of overt power exercised by an elite results in the opportunity for people to engage in ‘virtuous behaviour.’ 33 In turn, they provide evidence that adopting virtuous practices within a single forum may lead to the broader practice of these virtues, which become ingrained into morality and identity. 34 The self-governing citizen is highly active under the Wikipedia model, because there is both opportunity and motivation to act virtuously. Herein, the Wikipedia model supports global citizenship via a virtuous anarchic system, and this is transferable beyond the site community. Wikipedia discourages voting, in favour of discussion and incremental compromise. In fact, the initial proclamation ‘Voting is evil,’ underscores a clear aversion to democratic process, traditionally associated with democratic governance entities. 35 A trivial example is held in the variation of word spellings when presenting culturally neutral topics such as ‘potato chips’; the word ‘flavour’ is avoided to distance the article from overt American (‘flavor’) or British (‘flavour’) bias, instead of privileging one cultural representation on the basis of voter preference. However, some areas of the site have unavoidably implemented democratic procedures. ‘Votes for Deletion’ is a public ‘chopping block’, wherein the number of people for and against the deletion of Wikipedia content are taken into account over a set time period, before an administrator finalises the change. 36 The vote is far from traditionally quantitative, as users are able to state a case on the site, mirroring an open court approach rather than a ballot. In this way shared identity is further encouraged, through the act of entering into debate with other global users, to reach a common consensus goal. 37 AN IMPERFECT ENVIRONMENT Wikipedia is far from an ideal site for cultivating the global identity, due in part to disparities in the level of access to the Internet platform and internal structural features that paradoxically facilitate and constrain its pillars of freedom and plurality. The slogan, ‘the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit’, underpins Wikipedia’s operation as a site for global knowledge participation. 38 Herein, according to founding father Jimmy Wales, ‘free’ refers ‘not to the price…to access it, but rather the freedom… to take it and adapt it and use it however you like.’ 39 However, the digital divide must be accounted for in assessing the validity of claims of freedom in the Wikipedia environment. 40 ‘Wikipedia Statistics’ highlights a clear gap in site usage between the first and developing worlds. As of April 2011, approximately 52% of articles were presented in English – the traditionally dominant language of scholarly process. 8.4% of articles appeared in German, almost 5% in French and 4.2% were written in Japanese. 41 O’Sullivan 26
asserts that any encyclopedic account originating in the West has cultural limitations. 42 Importantly, this weighted imbalance is inherent to a lack of Internet access for many citizens in the developing world. The threat of Western dominance in the global account of knowledge as perpetuated by Wikipedia is certainly troubling. However, for many communities, Wikipedia represents the first site for encyclopedic content produced in their language; “there has never existed an encyclopedia in Swahili, nobody bothered to do it before, but now we have nearly 30,000 entries.” 43 This represents an increase in access to global knowledge and identity for peripheral communities. Importantly, little information is available about the split between city and rural contributors. It is reasonable to assume that citizens dwelling in global cities have better access to the Internet, which in turn would facilitate greater Wikipedia participation. This raises key questions about the right to contribute to the global narrative and the underrepresentation of particular demographics in the 21 st century cosmopolitan identity. Another key flaw in conceiving of Wikipedia as an ideal site for global knowledge and identity is internal to the institution. A relative demise in Wikipedia’s anarchist structure has occurred: as rules and norms have been organically institutionalised, a hierarchy has been established. The elite/citizen divide has emerged through patterns of regular editors, and a tight knit elite editing community. 44 Despite the fact that editing occurs across a broad spectrum of users, approximately 10% of users author 90% of original content, meaning that content direction is initially dictated by a select few. 45 However, it must be remembered that the Wikipedia community rewards persistence, thus ensuring barriers between novices and the elite are porous. 46 A final critique is aimed at the salience of particular issues within the Wikipedia community. An overwhelming focus on popular culture has emerged in analyses of site content. 47 For example, the majority of articles in the ‘music’ category do not relate to theory or performance, but to popular bands. 48 Both the active contributor and passive viewer markets are clearly orientated towards the pop culture focus. A simple comparison of Wikipedia page views highlights the disparity; in May 2011, the ‘Salem Witch Trial’ entry received 68,325 page views, compared with 585, 740 for ‘Harry Potter’; more topically, the ‘earthquake’ entry – an issue salient in traditional news media at the time – received 243,474 views in April 2011, compared with the ‘Rebecca Black’ article, which commanded an astronomical 1,768,268 views. 49 The question as to whether global identity is heavily constituted by these essentially frivolous narratives is an interesting one. However, the role of popular culture as a global unifier must not be underestimated, both in terms of it’s reach and it impact; pop culture content is both globally pervasive and considered indicative of Western homogeny. 50 In this way, Wikipedia both actively reflects and reiterates imbalance in the foundations of global cultural identity. CONCLUSION Wikipedia is an imperfect example of an entity that has facilitated the growth of a global identity, both through its pervasive role as a generator of ‘global knowledge’ and an internal culture of plural consensus and free access. The demographic asymmetries 27
perpetuated in the site’s operation are reflective of deeper global inequalities, which pervade international discourse and fracture the ideal of a balanced global community to which all citizens may be party. It is important to remember that Wikipedia is a site wherein the confluence of multiple ideas has led to alternative understandings of global events, and that this underscores the possibility of a credible global narrative as Internet access proliferates within the developing world.
Smith D., 1990. “Towards a Global Culture?” in Featherstone M. ed.,1990. Global Culture: nationalism, globalization and modernity, Sage Publications Ltd: California, ch.11 pp. 174
Bertossi, C. (2007). French and British models of integration: Public philosophies, policies and state institutions. [Working Paper] Available: <http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/files/pdfs/ WP0746-Bertossi.pdf.> [23/05/2011]
. Karlberg M., 2008. ‘Discourse, Identity and Global Citizenship’, Peace Review, 20 (3), pp. 310, Available: <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10402650802330139> [18/05/2011] Ibid
Farrell L., 2006. Making Knowledge Common: Literacy and Knowledge at Work, pp. 21. Peter Lang: USA .
Thomas J., 2011. The State of Wikipedia. [Youtube] Available: <http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=gXD1TRGafQ0> [22/05/2011]
Nature., 2006. Encyclopedia Britannica and Nature: a response, Available: <http://www.nature.com/ press_releases/Britannica_response.pdf> [21/05/2011]
Lih A ., 2009. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 28. Hyperion: USA .
Quoted in Bryant S.L., Forte A ., Bruckman A ., 2005. “Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a Collaborative Online Encyclopedia”, GROUP’05, November 6–9, 2005, College of Computing/GVU Center, Georgia Institute of Technology: USA .
Lih, A . The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 29
O’Sullivan D., 2009. Wikipedia: A New Community of Practice? pp. 80 - 82 Ashgate Publishing Ltd. UK.
Lih A . The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 54
Reagle J.M. 2010. Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, pp. 5 MIT Press: USA
. Lih A . The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 5
Lundberg A ., 2010. Anthropological Context [Tutorial], The University of Sydney: Australia.
Bryant S.L., Forte A ., Bruckman A . Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a
Collaborative Online Encyclopedia, pp. 5 – 7 28.
Farrell L., 2006. Making Knowledge Common: Literacy and Knowledge at Work, pp. 310
Lih, A . The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 108
Lih, A . The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 82
Benkler Y., Nissenbaum H., 2006. ‘Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, 14 (4), pp. 394. Available: <http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ papers/jopp_235.pdf > [22/05/2011]
Lih, A . The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, pp. 119
Bryant S.L., Forte A ., Bruckman A . Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a Collaborative Online Encyclopedia, pp. 5
Reagle J.M. 2010. Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, MIT Press: USA
O’Sullivan D., 2009. Wikipedia: A New Community of Practice?, Ashgate Publishing Ltd.: UK.
O’Sullivan D., 2009. Wikipedia: A New Community of Practice?, Ashgate Publishing Ltd.: UK.
Willsher K., 2011. “Rupert Murdoch uses eG8 to talk up net’s power to transform education”, The Guardian Online, 24/05/2011, Available: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/24/murdoch-eg8invest-education-technology>
Lih A ., 2009. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, Hyperion: USA .
Ortega F., Gonzalez-Barahona J.M., Robles G., 2010. On the Inequality of Contributions to Wikipedia, Available: <http://libresoft.es/oldsite/downloads/Ineq_Wikipedia.pdf> [22/05/2011]
Bryant S.L., Forte A ., Bruckman A ., 2005. “Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a Collaborative Online Encyclopedia”, GROUP’05, November 6–9, 2005, College of Computing/GVU Center, Georgia Institute of Technology: USA .
Lih A ., 2009. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, Hyperion: USA .
Halavais, Lackaff D., 2008, “An Analysis of Topical Coverage of Wikipedia”, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13 (2), Available: <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ j.1083-6101.2008.00403.x/full> [25/05/2011]
Henrik., 2011, Wikipedia Article Traffic Statistics, Available: http://stats.grok.se/
. Storey J., 2003. Cultural Studies and the Study of Popular Culture, 2 nd Ed., The University of Georgia Press: USA .
WORKS CITED: Benkler Y., Nissenbaum H., 2006. ‘Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, 14 (4), pp. 394–419. Available: <http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/papers/jopp_235. pdf > [22/05/2011] Bertossi, C. (2007). French and British models of integration: Public philosophies, policies and state institutions. [Working Paper] Available: <http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/files/pdfs/ WP0746-Bertossi.pdf.> [23/05/2011] Bryant S.L., Forte A ., Bruckman A ., 2005. “Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a Collaborative Online Encyclopedia”, GROUP’05, November 6–9, 2005, College of Computing/GVU Center, Georgia Institute of Technology: USA . CNet News., 2007, “Wikipedia’s Pop Culture Addiction”, CNet News, Available: <http://news.cnet. com/2300-1026_3-6174173.html> [25/05/2011]Farrell L., 2006. Making Knowledge Common: Literacy and Knowledge at Work, Peter Lang: USA . Halavais, Lackaff D., 2008, “An Analysis of Topical Coverage of Wikipedia”, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13 (2), Available: <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00403.x/ 29
full> [25/05/2011] Henrik., 2011, Wikipedia Article Traffic Statistics, Available: http://stats.grok.se/ Karlberg M., 2008. ‘Discourse, Identity and Global Citizenship’, Peace Review, 20 (3), pp. 310-320, Available: <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10402650802330139>[18/05/2011] Lih A ., 2009. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopaedia, Hyperion: USA . Lundberg A ., 2010. Anthropological Context [Tutorial], The University of Sydney: Australia. Nature., 2006. Encyclopedia Britannica and Nature: a response, Available: <http://www.nature.com/press_releases/Britannica_response.pdf > [21/05/2011] Ortega F., Gonzalez-Barahona J.M., Robles G., 2010. On the Inequality of Contributions to Wikipedia, Available: <http://libresoft.es/oldsite/downloads/Ineq_Wikipedia.pdf> [22/05/2011] O’Sullivan D., 2009. Wikipedia: A New Community of Practice?, Ashgate Publishing Ltd.: UK. Reagle J.M. 2010. Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, MIT Press: USA Smith D., 1990. “Towards a Global Culture?” in Featherstone M. ed.,1990. Global Culture: nationalism, globalization and modernity, Sage Publications Ltd: California, ch.11 pp.171-193. Storey J., 2003. Cultural Studies and the Study of Popular Culture, 2 nd Ed., The University of Georgia Press: USA . Thomas J., 2011. The State of Wikipedia. [Youtube] Available: <http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=gXD1TRGafQ0> [22/05/2011] Wikimedia Foundation., 2009, Vision, Available: <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Vision> [22/05/2011] Wikipedia., 2011. “Article Count (official)”, Wikipedia Statistics, Available: http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ TablesArticlesTotal.htm [22/05/2011] Wikipedia., 2011. “Active Wikipedians”, Wikipedia Statistics, Available: <http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm> [22/05/2011] Wikipedia., 2011. “Contributors”, Wikipedia Statistics, Available: <http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediansContributors.htm> [22/05/2011] Wikipedia., 2011. “Very Active Wikipedians”, Wikipedia Statistics, Available: <http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediansEditsGt100.htm> [22/05/2011] Wikipedia., 2011. “Wikipedia: Polling is not a substitute for discussion,” Wikipedia,available:<http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Polling_is_not_a_substitute_for_discussion> [22/05/2011] Willsher K., 2011. “Rupert Murdoch uses eG8 to talk up net’s power to transform education”, The Guardian Online, 24/05/2011, Available: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/24/murdoch-eg8-investeducation-technology>
K I L I A N
O R D E L H E I D E
D I G I T I Z AT I O N O F A R T A THREAT TO THE MUSEUM OR ITS INEVITABLE FUTURE?
Digitally (re)produced art has caused some commotion in the past decade. We are now at a point where the propagation of such work is likely going to change our experience of museums and the art they contain. Well-known institutions like the Musée de Louvre in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York already offer digital representations of their art collections. How are they doing this? Does not the digitization of art threaten the museum? To answer such questions, this study will a) investigate the influence of the digital age on the art world; and b) provide a perspective on the future of the museum and its visitors. Drawing information from two case studies investigating the museum-visitor experience (the “Hello H5” exposition at La Gâité Lyrique in Paris and a virtual 3D tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), the study will attempt to demonstrate that values and concepts such as authenticity, visitor experience and accessibility are in flux; hence the challenge to our understanding of museums and the art world. We will see that the virtual and the real do not have to be independent of one another, but may instead coexist. More and more museums are becoming interested in digitization as a means of preserving their collections and reaching broader audiences. This raises a number of questions. How will said development affect the museum itself? Is a virtual experience of art as fulfilling and satisfying as the real life experience? And will we ever surrender the known form of the museum as an exploratory space that preserves and presents art? Is the digital platform a fit medium to protect and display cultural heritage? In order to answer these questions one must first understand what digitization means and how a museum is currently understood both culturally and socially. Today, digitization is widespread. The term generally refers to the digital reproduction or transformation of information for the sake of storage and circulation. The Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication defines it as “the conversion of data from analogue to digital form.” 1 There is, however, an important distinction between production and reproduction. The latter refers to the conversion of pre-existing content into a digital format, while the former refers to generation of digital content. Not only do many museums offer their collections in a digital format, many no longer limit their exhibitions to what we refer to as fine art. Photography, video, and even video games have entered museum spaces and play an increasingly important role in the eyes of critics. Despite the relatively nugatory state of digital work, museums such as the Digital Art Museum [DAM] Berlin and the Austin Museum of Digital Art are successfully exhibiting it. Whether you understand digitization as the conversion of art to a digital format or the 31
production of digitally based art, it seems to be a development that, although not yet found in all museums, is becoming more and more popular each day. This change is already affecting the social and cultural dimensions of museums, and may very well redefine the way in which we currently make sense of museums. The question raised is whether or not a museum will still be able to fulfill its social obligations, obligations like the preservation of art and cultural heritage as well as the creation of a public space. A museum is a particular kind of sanctuary for both visitor and artwork. Ross Parry describes museums as something “outside of the everyday.” 2 They are part of the world, but at the same time removed from the world. The world is around them, and yet they contain the world.” 3 On the other hand, digitally reproduced art, being accessible online or stored in a database, lacks the charm of being placed in an institution which is singularly devoted to the presentation and preservation of works just like it—works that are often original. More than this, digitally reproduced artwork suffers from the problem of inauthenticity, which we will explore later on. Maria Roussou, drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin, writes “the virtual rather than simply being a mimetic mirror of reality, redefines it.” 4 She then argues that virtual reproduction increases authenticity, rendering the digital image into something real and making the viewer more familiar with the original. The question that this approach poses is simple: can we attribute the value of authenticity to a digital reproduction? One may liken a digital reproduction to forgery. Indeed, the concept of forgery might provide an important inroad into Roussou’s theory. A forgery is essentially a reproduction of an artwork in the same medium. Thus a forgery of an oil painting is an oil painting; a forgery of a photo is a photo. Evidently, a person who is aware that the work of art is a forgery will discredit it as inauthentic. In a sense, the same could be said of a digital reproduction. A digital image of the Mona Lisa is also a reproduction that does not have the exact same attributes as the original, as with a forgery. Ross Parry describes the fear of losing authenticity in the age of digital reproduction when he says: Crucially, it is in the act of reproduction that an object’s ‘aura’ is undermined and withered. This questioning of what was authentic and whether the ‘aura’ could (or should) be preserved within a digital surrogate appeared to bring into question all that was genuine, trustworthy, reliable and valid about the museum experience.” 5 But then what other than a) preserving and exhibiting cultural heritage; and b) the ‘aura’ of the original artwork defines the visitor’s experience? Besides the cultural sphere manifested in the uniqueness and history of a work of art in time and space, the museum also occupies a social sphere that shapes the visitor’s experience in and also outside the museum. This aspect of the museum experience can be understood as a common interest that one shares with a friend or a group that drives them to visit a museum and share their knowledge and passion about art. James M. Bradburne says this about the museum: A museum is a public space, a social space, and its effectiveness and that of its architecture must be understood in social terms. While a museum’s architecture serves other masters, it must first and foremost contribute to and support the social interaction that is the foundation of the skills of appropriating culture. 6 32
To further investigate the questions about authenticity and the visitor experience it is important to look at specific examples. A first visitor experience that might shed light on some of the questions raised so far is that of the “Hello H5” exhibition at La Gâité Lyrique in Paris. Hello is an imaginary brand that is displayed through various mediums in the exhibition. It symbolizes the marketing world and provides an ironic commentary on dubious traits of marketing that sometimes remain in the dark, unseen by the public eye. The most important question, when reflecting on the cultural heritage potential of VR [Virtual Reality], is whether the inherent and essential qualities that give an object, person, or environment their meaning and significance are transferred to their digital copy. 7 This was also the question that defined my visit to the virtual world of “Second Life.” As distinct from the digital production of the “Hello H5” exhibition, this case study examines a mixture of production and reproduction within a virtual 3D museum. One enters the virtual world with a virtual character or avatar and, through a search, is able to teleport oneself to the museum’s entrance. No entrance fee, no opening hours, no waiting lines. Meanwhile one simply sits in front of the computer, moves the mouse and presses a couple of buttons on the keyboard. At first, it seemed like a completely different experience compared to the metro ride and the walk through the rain to get to the Gaîté Lyrique. However, it also quickly showed some of the limitations of the traditional in terms of accessibility. The Gaîté Lyrique only offers its services between 2pm and 8pm and not on Mondays; my virtual visit took place on a Monday evening at 9pm. In the virtual US Holocaust Memorial Museum there are no opening hours, because one can simply visit it at any time of the day for as long as one wants. Walking into the first room, the museum invites you to become a journalist that travels back in time to report on what happened in the Kristallnacht in Germany in November 1938. Everything is interactive and intuitive. By clicking on highlighted objects in a recreated housing block from a town in Germany one can access videos, audio files, text information, photographs, and digital copies of files that were originally printed on paper—an almost overwhelming supply of information. I was not sure whether I had the time to look at everything without rushing through it. At that point I remembered that the museum does not close and I had all the time in the world. That immediately changed the experience in this fascinating space. One might ask whether or not this is still the humble experience that one feels in the presence of great art works in the Louvre or is this just like reading an article about the Kristallnacht? Neither. As Maria Roussou says, the virtual is not just a copy of the original but instead it redefines reality. Listening to eyewitnesses telling you about their experience from that night and reading original documents that are projected on virtual walls has a humbling and silencing effect on the viewer. It is very much like Roussou described. One would not imagine the museum experience in Washington to be the same but instead it is important to highlight that this experience is different, which does not necessarily mean it is worse. Despite the fact that one is in the safe environment of the own apartment, the virtual visit still influences the way in which you act both in the game with the avatar and in front of your computer. This enhances the level of interest due to the fact that neither time nor physical exhaustion restrict one from seeking more information. Towards the 33
last exhibition rooms of the visit one can even watch videos where survivors of that night tell their stories and add to the already incredible experience that this virtual visit has provided. At the end the character in game has only changed because he or she received a free T-Shirt, whereas the person behind the character who is sitting at the computer will definitely have changed. Both production and reproduction find a place in this visit and shape a memorable visitor experience: the production of a virtual world where the visitor is allowed to become a journalist who investigates the actions that took place during the Kristallnacht; the reproduction or conversion of original photos and documents that completed the journalistic visitor experience. The question whether or not this experience is able to convey a sense of cultural and social heritage can only be answered in the affirmative. Preservation of culture seems to be written all over this exhibition. Despite not seeing or hearing everything in person, the visitor experience in the end was just as real as though one visited the museum in person; maybe even more entertaining and engaging due to its interactive features and the entertaining nature of “Second Life.” In the end this still leaves one question unanswered. Do the results from the “Second Life” visit also indicate that one would enjoy an image of the Mona Lisa on the Internet just as much as the original? Is the reproduction in the end just as important and relevant as the original, authentic work of art? Probably not. There are still millions of people who come to Paris every year to see the great works of art in the Musée du Louvre. The aura of such a work cannot be replicated or reinvented through a virtual world. One positive aspect of a virtual museum is its ease of accessibility. Leaving out the digital divide, virtual museums and platforms allow people who cannot go to Paris to see the Mona Lisa and to access a virtual world where they can enjoy this masterpiece as well as many others. The same stands true for my experience in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that I will probably never get to visit in real life. At least I had the possibility to see and experience a part of it through a virtual world. And maybe in this lies the future of the museum. The digital age does not diminish or threaten the original institution; instead it increases its influence on the world and helps to spread the knowledge that helps preserve cultural and social heritage all over the world. Elisa Giaccardi accurately describes the virtual as a “‘repertoire’ – meant to sustain the whole system of knowledge and social relations responsible for heritage creation, transmission, and reproduction as a living system.” 8 While authenticity and cultural heritage cannot always be reproduced in a digital form, digital (re)production helps to preserve art in a timeless space. It seems that we are currently moving towards a new understanding of the museum. This does not mean that the traditional museum will be extinguished. Instead a virtual museum world would offer many new opportunities. Lesser-known museums would have a chance to present their collections to an audience that might be unaware of its existence. A virtual gallery could further enhance the visitor experience by giving him or her the opportunity to become a curator. One would be able to choose one’s favorite works of art from all over the world and create a personal art gallery. It would allow art to be freed from physical constraints, and art galleries to become spaces to experience art, rather than mere storerooms. The notion of authenticity cannot be rejected and will make the original relevant at all times. 34
Digital or not, the future of the museum holds endless possibilities that will ultimately help to keep the institution relevant and contemporary.
Chandler, Daniel, Munday, Rod. “Digitization.” Oxford University Press. Dec. 5 2012. Web. <http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199568758.001.0001/ acref-9780199568758-e-0715>.
Parry, Ross. “Recalibrating Authenticity.” Recording the Museum: digital heritage and the technologies of change. London and New York. Routledge. 2007. Print.
Roussou, Maria. “The Components of Engagement in Virtual Heritage Environments.” New Heritage: New media and cultural heritage. ed. by Yehuda E. Kalay, Thomas Kvan, Janice Affleck. London and New York. Routledge. Print.
Parry, Ross. “Recalibrating Authenticity.” Recording the Museum: digital heritage and the technologies of change. pp. 207
Bradburne, James M. “Space Creatures: The Museum as Urban Intervention and Social Forum.” The Journal of Museum Education. Vol. 25, No ½. Left Coast Press. 1999. Dec. 6 2012. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/40479149>.
Brown, Deidre. “Te Ahu Hiko: Digital Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Objects, People, and Environments.” Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage. ed. by Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine. Cambridge. MIT Press. 2007. Print.
Giaccardi, Elisa. “Cross-Media Interaction For The Virtual Museum.” New Heritage: New media and cultural heritage. ed. by Yehuda E. Kalay, Thomas Kvan, Janice Affleck. London and New York. Routledge. Print.
WORKS CITED: Bradburne, James M. “Space Creatures: The Museum as Urban Intervention and Social Forum.” The Journal of Museum Education. Vol. 25, No ½. Left Coast Press. 1999. Dec. 6 2012. Web. <http://www. jstor.org/stable/40479149>. Brown, Deidre. “Te Ahu Hiko: Digital Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Objects, People, and Environments.” Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage. ed. by Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine. Cambridge. MIT Press. 2007. Print. Chandler, Daniel, Munday, Rod. “Digitization.” Oxford University Press. Dec. 5 2012. Web. <http://www. oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199568758.001.0001/acref-9780199568758-e-0715>. Giaccardi, Elisa. “Cross-Media Interaction For The Virtual Museum.” New Heritage: New media and cultural heritage. ed. by Yehuda E. Kalay, Thomas Kvan, Janice Affleck. London and New York. Routledge. Print. Mast, Gerald, Cohen, Marshall, Brands, Leo. “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction.” Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. 4 th ed. New York and Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1992. Print. Parry, Ross. “Recalibrating Authenticity.” Recording the Museum:digital heritage and the technologies of change. . London and New York. Routledge. 2007. Print. Roussou, Maria. “The Components of Engagement in Virtual Heritage Environments.” New Heritage: New media and cultural heritage. ed. by Yehuda E. Kalay, Thomas Kvan, Janice Affleck. London and New York. Routledge. Print.
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THE CHAMBERLAIN CASE: FROM FOLK DEVIL TO FOLKLORE THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA AS A SPACE OF MEDIATION FOR MORAL PANIC AND PUBLIC TRAUMA
INTRODUCTION It would be difficult to find an Australian over the age of 30 who had never heard of the Chamberlain family. For a long time the Chamberlain case has been Australia’s unfinished business. For those unacquainted, parents Lindy and Michael and their children Aiden, Reagan, and Kahlia, are an Australian family whose lives were propelled into the media and legal spotlight following the death of their 9 week-old daughter Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (June 1980 – August 1980) at Uluru (formerly known as Ayer’s Rock) on a family camping holiday. Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were camping with their three children when their youngest, Azaria, disappeared from the family’s tent on 17 August 1980. An initial inquest into the disappearance supported the parents’ statement that a dingo (a native Australian dog, thought at the time to be relatively harmless) had taken the baby from the tent. A second trial that followed found Lindy guilty of the murder of her child and she was imprisoned for three years, though further investigations were prompted after a tourist found Azaria’s matinee jacket near a dingo lair. Ultimately, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were cleared of having any connection with the disappearance of Azaria. In 2012, a fourth coronial inquest found Azaria’s death was the result of her being taken and killed by a dingo. Former Sydney Morning Herald senior writer, Malcolm Brown was a key journalist in the Chamberlain case. When the jury gave their guilty verdict to the courtroom, he famously shouted, “you pack of bastards!” This comment reflects the divided, and often controversial, views about the death of Azaria Chamberlain. The many layers of the Chamberlain case mean that it is now looked at as being much more than just a single event that happened a long time ago; it is more so a complex piecing together of a multitude of events that can be seen as the aftermath of the death of Azaria Chamberlain, a story that now spans over 30 years. Australia’s interest in Lindy Chamberlain in particular, has not abated. One might argue that there is something about the story that resists closure. The National Museum of Australia boasts a collection of 250 items relating to the Chamberlain case, many of which are frequently on display to the public on a rotational basis. What is fascinating about the collection is the content of it, which will be detailed further on in the paper. Upon first glance of some of the items, one might wonder why 36
anyone would be interested in seeing such objects in a museum space. As this paper will show, however, that the meanings behind the objects go much deeper than general first perceptions of them, and furthermore that the space in which they are housed – the museum – is now used as a vehicle of mediation. Through an analysis of a selection of artefacts relating to the Chamberlain case that the museum owns, this paper will outline how a museum is used as a space of mediation for both moral panic and public trauma. Furthermore, the decision of the museum to purchase and exhibit items relating to the Chamberlain case in 1988 marked the transition of Lindy Chamberlain from a being what Stanley Cohen would call a “folk devil” to being immortalised as part of Australia’s national heritage, identity and folklore. THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA “You’ve already got the T-shirt and tea-towel and Joanne Black reports you can now pack up your prejudices and go to see the new exhibition, Lindy’s story, at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra” (Bay of Plenty Times Newspaper, New Zealand, October 29th, 1994) In 1988 the National Museum of Australia in Canberra purchased a series of artefacts relating to the Chamberlain case for a permanent exhibit called Eternity. The artefacts are categorised under the phenomenon of “mystery” within the exhibit, which the museum includes with emotive themes like passion, thrill and loneliness. The collection aims “not to examine the disappearance itself but to focus on the mystery of the public’s fascination with the case - just why did this one event cause such upheaval, disruption and attention.” 1 Lindy Chamberlain has worked with the museum for many years to help them document her story. The National Museum of Australia’s website claims that the museum holds “more than 250 items relating to the ordeal” including “courtroom sketches, camping equipment, the clothing Lindy wore during the trial and the number from her prison door” among other paraphernalia. 2 The National Museum of Australia’s official “statement of significance” (which can be found on the museum’s website) about the collection is as follows: The Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton 3 collection contains items relating to events surrounding the death of Azaria Chamberlain. This includes items of clothing worn by Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, props from the film ‘Evil Angels’ and gifts sent to Lindy and other objects relating to her time in prison. The National Museum holds the largest public collection of material culture relating to the case. Isa Menzies, who is a coordinator of public programs at the museum, says that it is categorized this way because the exhibit “focuses on the mystery of the public’s fascination with Azaria Chamberlain’s disappearance, and with Lindy herself.” 4 Menzies claims that from the time that Azaria disappeared it became quickly apparent that “Azaria sells” and believes this to be equally true to this day, though the collection is about more than just the commodification of the case. 5 The National Library of Australia claims that the 37
1980s is documented more than any other decade because of the large quantity of letters members of the Australian public sent to Lindy Chamberlain. 6 The curator of the exhibition, Sophie Jensen points out that the Chamberlain case is a “prism through which the decade of the ‘80s can be explored and interpreted” and that “connections have been made between aspects of the case and a number of issues, including gay rights and women’s liberation” and that the artefacts “speak to issues of public opinion, media, ethics, life behind bars, family relationships, religious intolerance, as well as attitudes towards the Australian environment, women and justice.” 7 She states that, “perhaps a new generation of Australians will not recognize the name (Lindy Chamberlain), but the ramifications for Australian law - and Australian history - will continue for years to come.” 8 Belinda Middleweek argues that the Eternity exhibition follows “widespread media and public reflection on the place the Chamberlain story occupied in the national consciousness” and that the exhibition showed “a sense that an inevitable process of mythologisation was taking place.” 9 Mythological themes that emerge from the Chamberlain case and its related artefacts will be discussed in more depth further on in this paper. Although though the significance of the artefacts relating to the Chamberlain case is multifaceted, through an analysis of a selection of the items in question, this paper will attempt to unravel some of the meanings and reasons behind their place in a museum space and how they relate to moral panic and public trauma. MORAL PANIC AND PUBLIC TRAUMA IN THE CHAMBERLAIN CASE Gossip and rumour plagued the Chamberlain family. In Attention! Rumor Bombs, Affect, Managed Democracy 3.0, Jaysin Harsin discusses how rumours can be used as weapons because of their “powerful viral efficacy” and in the Chamberlain case, the media published dangerous claims that ultimately hindered the public’s ability to separate rumour from fact. 10 Harsin describes rumour as a “keyword” and a “particular rhetorical strategy” in contexts of “media and politics in many societies.” 11 Harsin highlights how rumours produce what he calls “vertiginous democracy,” a phenomenon that he says, “benefits elites more than citizens.” 12 On Lindy Chamberlain’s official website, it says that “thousands” wrote to say that, “they were fooled by the media reporting what the Northern Territory government wanted the public to believe.” 13 Michael Chamberlain claims that there was an “obsession” that the Northern Territory had with finding Lindy guilty. In his book Heart of Stone, he says, “such was the obsession of the Northern Territory; one member of the Government team was reported to say later, ‘I don’t care if Azaria walked into the courtroom right now. I would still say the bitch is guilty.’” 14 A photo in the Sunday Telegraph from November 7 th 1982 shows anti-Chamberlain protestors in Brisbane holding signs saying “the jury heard all the evidence, did you,” “don’t shoot animals over peoples lies,” and “free her? No! Hang her!” Michael Chamberlain says of the sentiments at the time; “we were at the mercy of any innuendo that the media chose to print portraying Lindy as a murderer. A vicious element was emerging in Brisbane: people wanted to lynch or hang Lindy. Placards were seen in the street: ‘Dingoes have suffered a great injustice. Why shouldn’t Lindy suffer injustice?’ 38
Signs appeared with a hangman’s noose.” 15 The photo is a selective piece of evidence but a significant one nonetheless as it represents some of the strong feelings that many people had against Lindy Chamberlain and their unwavering belief that she was guilty, which was fuelled by media speculation. Michael Chamberlain says of the newspaper articles from the time “cold and calculating, if not sinister intent, permeated these staged reports. The words of one AAP reporter from Alice Springs echoed in my mind. ‘News is a luxury.’ It is not a necessity. When there is none, newspapers create it, if the facts don’t suit.” 16 He also says, “the media were fearless and presumptuous.” 17 In Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Stanley Cohen describes how “societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to periods of moral panic” which can be described as occurring when a “person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.” 18 Cohen refers to these individuals in particular, as folk devils. Cohen proposes three definitional questions in “addition to the stock set of behavioural questions which the public asks about deviance.” 19 These questions can be used to guide and frame the question of the function of moral panic in the Chamberlain case. Cohen asks why a particular rule, “the infraction of which constitutes deviance” exists in the first place. 20 In the case of Lindy Chamberlain, it was not so much a rule, but more subtle social conventions that she broke. Many of the issues that people raised about Lindy were to do with her gender, her looks and demeanour and her religion (these will be outlined further in the paper). Cohen’s second question involves the processes and procedures that are involved in “identifying someone as a deviant and applying the rule” to them. 21 In Lindy Chamberlain’s case, it was the media who both identified and persecuted her as a deviant. Cohen calls the mass media an “especially important carrier and producer” of moral panic. 22 Lastly, Cohen asks what are the “effects and consequences” of the application of the deviant label, for both “the society and the individual.” 23 For Lindy Chamberlain, the labelling of her as a folk devil by the media not only lead to one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in Australian legal history, but it also meant that she would become valuable to Australia’s sense of national heritage through the institutionalisation and therefore immortalisation of some of the very aspects (both material and intangible) of the case for which she was vilified. MUSEUMS AS SPACES OF MEDIATION FOR MORAL PANIC AND PUBLIC TRAUMA Susan Crane argues that “museums organize the significance of what we already knew – the archives we carry in our minds, the ineffable as well as the rigorously conscious memories that comprise our knowledge.” 24 There is a paradoxical element to the Chamberlain collection at the National Museum of Australia, and I will explain this paradox by giving an example of a particular artefact in another museum that represents public trauma. Though the example is different in terms of the nature of the public trauma it symbolises, there are parallels that can be drawn between the artefacts. In 1994 the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) based in Washington DC made known that it intended to hold an exhibit featuring the Enola Gay. The Enola Gay was the aeroplane that dropped the world’s first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan. The exhibit 39
happened to coincide with the 50 th anniversary both of the atomic bomb and the end of the World War II and the proposal was met with intense controversy. For military veterans the plane and its role in the bombing was “incontestable: it had brought a swift end to a bloody conflict and saved at least a million American lives, serving as appropriate retribution for the devastating and shocking attack on Pearl Harbour and the brutality of the ensuing war in the Pacific.” 25 However the exhibit intended to focus on the plane’s mission as “bearer of the bomb, destroyer of innocent lives, initiator of the Cold War and the atomic age of fear.” 26 In this example, the museum acts as a mediator for a subject that produces a diverse range of feelings. The paradox is that the plane represents one idea for some, and something very different for others. The artefacts in the Chamberlain collection are at once a reminder of a tragic event, of a horrendous act of public shaming and vilification and a celebration of a fight for justice that was eventually won, among other things. For some, it may even invoke a re-affirmation of their presumption of Lindy Chamberlain’s guilt. In both cases, the museum mediates cases of moral panic and public trauma through making tangible objects accessible to the people touched by these subjects. These types of artefacts force museum visitors to the face the challenge of processing their feelings and reactions towards them. At the Chamberlain Collection Symposium at the University of Sydney in 2007, it was said of the collection that it was “not without controversy” and that “a number of people expressed the opinion that the case too recent, the wounds to raw for the Museums to have anything to do with it” and that “when news of the National Museum of Australia’s collection made it to the press there was initial outrage with the Sydney Morning Herald declaring on the 7th October 1993, ‘Azaria’s jacket sold by Lindy’ - seemingly another crime to add to the list.” 27 According to Cohen, the modern mass media still “provide the most effective spark for the creation of moral panics, as well as an engine for their conveyance” and he maintains that they also have the ability to “visualise deviance, concentrate and publicise public outrage about wrongdoing.” 28 It was once the mass media and the courts that were responsible for the mediation of the Chamberlain case, but now that the larger ‘events’ are fragments from the past, it is the museum that now has the role as mediator. Just as Cohen maintains that the mass media had the ability to “visualise” deviance for the public, a museum can have the same function. Fyfe argues, “the significance of the museum is now apparent in the study of visual depiction.” 29 For the Chamberlain case, the museum now provides a space where the public can experience a visualisation of moral panic. This space allows the public to experience the trauma (personal or public) relating to the event through the visual material that the museum provides. Cohen says “in the gallery of types that society erects to show its members which roles should be avoided and which should be emulated, these groups have occupied a constant position as folk devils: visible reminders of what we should not be.” 30 The museum provides visible reminders of what the public thought Lindy Chamberlain should and should not have been during the trial. Cohen claims that the media have “an institutionalised ‘need’ for moral panics.” 31 It could be argued that in the aftermath of a public trauma, such as Lindy Chamberlain’s 40
ordeal, the public have a ‘need’ for a space where they can essentially ‘purge’ any feelings about that event. The public have an institutionalised ‘need’ for museums in these circumstances. What is interesting in this instance, though, is that in the Chamberlain case it was not solely a public trauma, but also a period of moral panic for the Australian public. The narrative was that of a classic Greek tragedy involving infanticide. Cohen says, “the media are an expression of panics as well as their spark or cause.” 32 The museum as the contemporary mediator acts as a vehicle of expression for a panic that once existed. The National Museum of Australia’s collection of artefacts relating to the Chamberlain case not only validates this period of panic, but also asks the public to recognise a somewhat shameful event in the country’s history. For others it was the “immediacy itself ” that gave the display such power. Playwright and author Robyn Archer comments “what the exhibition does for me, is remind me of my immediate history - this was something that I lived through.” 33 It is significant that the Chamberlain collection artefacts are accessible in a public museum. Michael Chamberlain says, “from the moment Azaria died, she became public property” and that “the publicity given to our private experience” removed “our ‘ownership’ of Azaria.” 34 John Thompson argues that the “concepts of the public and the private are an inextricable part of the language we use as social and political actors – they are part of the conceptual architecture through which we live our lives as social and political beings.” 35 He says that these concepts can “provide valuable analytical tools for making sense of phenomena – such as scandals – that have become pervasive features of contemporary social life.” 36 The public nature of the exhibit and its success is testimony of the need for a collective social healing process. Just as Michael Chamberlain claims, Azaria has always been considered public property, so it is natural that people would want to know that there are items relating to her that are accessible in a public space. By categorising the Chamberlain collection under the heading ‘mystery’ in the Eternity collection, the museum suggests that the case still remains a mystery, or at least, that it is for the spectator to decide. As well as being categorised as mysterious, the exhibit also acts as a counter-memorial. Crane states that counter-memorials “defy conventional expectations of celebratory moments to past glories, by insisting on representing loss, trauma, and failure to comes to terms with the past.” 37 The Chamberlain case is an example of how a folk devil and by extension moral panic, became institutionalised culture. The museum as an institution mediates these issues in such a way that their importance remains dictated by the public as opposed to the institution itself. AZARIA’S BLACK DRESS There are a few particularly iconic items of clothing related to the Chamberlain case. One of them is a black dress that Lindy Chamberlain originally made for her son Reagan that was then later handed down to Azaria to wear. The dress was purchased as part of the Chamberlain collection in 1988. Before it was in the context of a museum, Azaria’s black dress was the subject of intense speculation and it fuelled popular opinion about Lindy’s 41
presumed guilt. Now presumably these views are superseded by a more rational public knowledge, but it is important to recognise the significance of why this now iconic dress was chosen for display in the Eternity collection. Azaria’s black dress is a pivotal starting point for discussing how small objects and furthermore, aspects of the Chamberlain’s lives were targeted as being evidence of “deviance.” For example, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were Seventh-day Adventists. Michael Chamberlain says, “because we were Seventh-day Adventists, and I was an ordained pastor, there was reason enough according to some press reports, to link Azaria’s death with sacrificial ritual and witchcraft.” 38 Lindy Chamberlain’s role as a mother was scrutinised as the public questioned why anyone would dress his or her child in black. Middleweek argues, “anxieties about a minority religion were projected on to a “small thing”, such as Azaria’s black dress, to substantiate claims that Lindy was an “unnatural” mother who “performed gender inadequately.” 39 From the National Museum of Australia’s website on the infamous black dress: “For Azaria’s six-week check-up, both of us were dressed in our matching black and red outfits. It was the first time I had ever taken her out publicly in a little black cotton dress I had made for Reagan and it caused quite a bit of comment. People either loved or hated it.” Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, Through My Eyes, 1990, pg. 16 Though the public comment that it generated on its first outing was nothing compared to what followed when Azaria disappeared. Michael Chamberlain says, “Lindy’s quirky dress sense for Azaria, even if it was exquisite, created a backlash. Her design of a black dress, laced in dramatic red ribbon and boots, originally designed for Reagan, and worn by Azaria, created more grist for the rumour mill.” 40 The National Museum of Australia describes the dress as a “powerful illustration of the frenzy of speculation which surrounded the story.” 41 Middleweek cites Susan M. Pearce who, in her study of material culture writes that “objects are message-bearing entities which encase the attitudes of varying time frames and cultural contexts: objects have the power, in some sense, to carry the past into the present by virtue of their ‘real’ relationship to past events… for they bear their own ‘real’ relationship to the impulse which created them, and have their own place in the history of perception and taste.” 42 Her view is that “museum objects have a transcending quality for being able to revive in the present their originating social and cultural contexts.” 43 The black dress is a symbol of moral panic that dates back to the social context of Australia in the 1980s and continues to be a reminder of that period. To coincide with the National Museum of Australia’s 25 th anniversary in 2005, a temporary exhibition called Captivating and Curious was assembled and featured a collection of items associated with famous Australians. Among the items was Azaria’s black dress. The museum says of the artefacts chosen for the exhibition; “their authenticity as objects, combined with their connection with famous figures, gave them significant power within the exhibition space” which was “reinforced by a design treatment that 42
used internal lighting and a red background to convey an ‘iconic’ status for each item.” 44 The museum states that the, “interpretative objective was to demonstrate the national significance of the collection.” 45 In the Chamberlain case there were certain objects that were essential to the course of events. In February 1986, the matinee jacket that Lindy Chamberlain had always maintained Azaria was wearing at the time of her disappearance was discovered, and Lindy was then released from prison shortly afterwards. This is an example of how, whilst some objects had the power to condemn the Chamberlains (such as Azaria’s black dress) others, like Azaria’s matinee jacket, had ultimately vindicated them. “The black dress was and is such a powerful symbol of the ability of the public to judge, not judgements based on fact but judgements of people, of behaviour and of their own perceptions of what is right and wrong and therefore who is guilty and who is innocent.” 46 LINDY CHAMBERLAIN’S CLOTHING Another feature of the exhibition is Lindy Chamberlains clothing, items such as dresses she wore to different court hearings. The display of Lindy’s clothing at the National Museum of Australia is symbolic of the extraordinary amount of interest that the public had and continues to have in the case. Sophie Jensen, a senior curator at the National Museum of Australia said during an interview with Lindy Chamberlain about the collection in 2007, “as the majority of content within the Eternity gallery is delivered electronically, we can see on any given day how often people are accessing stories. Without fail Lindy’s story is the second-most accessed story on any given day. She’s beaten only by the Wiggles (a popular children’s television show) and there are four of them, so it is really not a competition.” 47 Not only do Lindy Chamberlain’s dresses show how the Chamberlain case gathered a level of interest that escalated to such a degree that people are interested in seeing these items (as the museum has been in collecting and archiving them) it also represents another aspect of why Lindy Chamberlain was vilified, this time for her gender. “Lindy’s clothing was closely scrutinised during the inquest and it was noted that people in the Southern parts of Australia judged her clothing as being too skimpy or informal to be appropriate to wear to court. By contrast, in the more informal North, her clothing was seen as being too dressy.” 48 Presumably, the public or the media would not be equally enthralled seeing or reporting on Michael Chamberlain’s wardrobe. Michael Chamberlain says, “the clothes Lindy wore and the determined look on my face were being reported, as the days began to wear us into the ground, in what was being touted as ‘Australia’s most celebrated, most expensive and most bizarre murder trial.’” 49 There were many aspects of Lindy Chamberlain’s femininity that the media pounced on and subsequently brought into question. Lindy Chamberlain was judged by her failure to conform to society’s expectations of the “normal” behaviour that could be expected of a grieving woman, wife and mother. On 24 August, 1980 the Brisbane Sunday Mail gave columnist Sylvia Da Costa Roque opportunity to vent how she was hoping that Michael and Lindy Chamberlain “would have cried all week: ‘I want to know that they were filled with anguish that they screamed in torment because such a dreadful thing happened.” 50 43
Michael Chamberlain states that Ian Barker QC “ alleged” that “his behaviour was ‘inconsistent’ with ‘what would be expected of parents if they believed their child had been carried off into the night by a wild animal.” 51 Indeed there were many social forces at play that involved social and gender stereotypes. Lindy Chamberlain was vilified for being what Stanley Cohen refers to as a folk devil for a number of reasons as a result of the way that the media framed her. Michael Chamberlain says “the belief that Lindy appeared not to cry over the loss of Azaria, but could clinically discuss the way a dingo would have peeled her clothes off, led her to being judged as callous and cold. Such ingredients in the cauldron of public ferment changed her from the victim to be victimised in a medieval like witch hunt.” 52 The nature of a folk devil, Cohen says is “presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media” and that the “moral barricades are manned by editors, bishops, politicians, and other right-thinking people” and that “socially accredited experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions.” 53 Middleweek argues that there was no “one” overarching interpretation of Lindy Chamberlain’s persona but rather it was a matter of “a series of competing discourses framing her image for different ends.” 54 She argues that Lindy’s image “was not simply a product of a homogenous media or stereotypical manipulation, but a complex intertwining of legal, feminist, academic and media discourses.” 55 She suggests that the Australian media described her as physically attractive in an attempt to force her into an acceptable image of femininity. She says that certain “feminists arguments about the impropriety of Lindy’s media representation appear value-laden in their determination of the way femininity should and ought to be portrayed.” 56 Rebecca Feasey argues that celebrity gossip magazines provide women with a medium or channel through which they can commune. 57 I argue that the displaying of Lindy Chamberlain’s dresses creates an imagined community for women who look at them. Benedict Anderson uses the phrase “imagined communities” to explain how certain phenomena have the ability to create a sense of community. These communities are imagined in the sense that they do not exist physically. Fashion is, of course, something that speaks strongly to women, but the imagined community that I refer to has deeper roots in the female psyche. In an interview with museum curator Sophie Jensen about the Eternity collection, Lindy Chamberlain explained that she still receives letters from parents with babies who suddenly hit the nine-week mark and they think that it could have been their baby. She also received hundreds of letters from people simply wanting to connect with her. Lindy Chamberlain says of the letters she received, “you told me what you paid for things, what your kids thought, which schools they were going to, what you thought of all the politicians, where the sales were, what you thought of housing prices.” 58 “More than anything else what objects serve to do is to connect us with an immediacy and intimacy to real people, to actual events, and they often do this with a greater power than any number of words can manage. As a visitor stands before a case that contains possessions of a family that could have belonged to them, they are reminded that these events are not fiction, these people felt, suffered and survived.” 59 Within the Eternity gallery there exists an area where people are about to record a oneminute story about themselves and their own lives. This is another example of how the 44
museum space builds community. Sophie Jensen, in her forum conversation with Lindy Chamberlain at the National Museum of Australia, claims that in 2001, when a nine-year old boy died from being mauled by dingoes on Fraser Island, a number of “stories” were recorded in the gallery space at that time, of people “essentially apologising” to Lindy Chamberlain, saying things such as “I had no idea and never believed that a dingo would do that” or “could kill” along with similar sentiments. THE FORENSIC ELEMENT Many of the artefacts from the Chamberlain case have been analysed, speculated about and criticised, by the police, public and the media to make judgements about Lindy Chamberlain. At the Chamberlain Collection Symposium, the forensic artefacts from the case were described as “another strong element” in the collection and that many of the items “still bear their evidence and inquest tags” and that “a number of items bear the scars of dismemberment for scientific analysis.” 60 One of the pieces of evidence used in the case, and which is on display at the museum, is a part of the car (a Torana) that the Chamberlains had at Uluru during the camping trip. In the case, it was said that there was blood found on it, though this was later proven to be brake fluid. This piece of forensic evidence represents the fallibility of science and the possibility that humans, even scientists, can make mistakes. As Lindy Chamberlain points out, “because people still have that sense that science will give us the truth in a case; the forensic science will sort this out. When you hear that DNA evidence was found at the scene of a case, immediately you think, ‘Oh well, that is sorted.’ People still have a lot of faith in forensic science to sort it, yet your own experience is one that must make you shudder when you see things like CSI and this kind of thing, because they are all still people?” 61 In this instance the mistakes had serious consequences for the people involved, which makes the artefact all the more intriguing. The museum displays this artefact along with a magnifying glass that invites the spectator to see the red markings on the piece of metal for themselves. The simple fact that the car piece appears with a magnifying glass allows the artefact to speak for itself without needing for it to be accompanied by a lengthy explanation as to its significance. The magnifying glass invites the spectator to taken on an investigative role. The presence of forensic material that was used in the case also means that the spectator is reminded of the criminal aspect of the case, the fact that it was a criminal investigation that took place as a result of the panic that ensued after Azaria’s disappearance. It is interesting that the inquest turned into a criminal one because despite the media’s involvement, it still exposes how little Australians knew about their environs in 1980. Indigenous Australians’ perspectives of the event were completely disregarded despite their culture’s 40,000 year history lived in the Australian outback environment. Phillipa Sawyer cites an article by Martin Flanagan (1995) who says that, “both Chamberlain and aboriginal people have encountered discrimination from the dominant culture, and that Australians in general can learn from their experiences.” 62 He argues that Lindy was “burnt at the stake of a nation’s fearful imaginings” and that “Aboriginal people 45
said all along that a dingo took the baby.” 63 The fact that it appeared inconceivable to police and the public that a dingo took Azaria proves that even before the faulty forensic evidence entered the situation that there was already an unwillingness to accept that this was possible. Strangely, the Australian public were unwilling to buy into the well-known “big bad wolf ” narrative. Another artefact from the Chamberlain collection is a chewed biscuit tin that was given to Lindy Chamberlain after dingoes tried to eat it during the filming of Evil Angels. This artefact is representative of the inordinate amount of evidence that the public can now see that could have been in favour of Lindy Chamberlain’s testimony, though it was dismissed at the time. Other evidence that aided the final coronial inquest involved the deaths of other children due to dingo attacks over the past few decades. The chewed biscuit tin that was sent to Lindy Chamberlain during the filming of Evil Angels also shows how at that time, the film was mediating the Chamberlain’s story which they were still struggling to conclude. It could only be imagined that the biscuit tin was sent to Lindy Chamberlain to suggest that it was so obvious that dingoes were capable of harming a baby, even though it could not be used as formal evidence. It was especially poignant that this ‘proof ’ came in the form of a tin manufactured on the other side of the world in Denmark, as if to say: “Don’t you Australians know anything about your own wildlife?” This poses further interesting questions about the role of the museum as the current mediator of the Chamberlains’ story. The film was mediating the subject at a time when the case was very much unresolved. The museum was playing that role, but is now mediating the subject in the resolution phase, at least from a formal legal sense. But, is the museum claiming resolution; has the collection changed since the legal reversal? The collection is still categorised under the heading of ‘mystery,’ which does leave the notion of resolution open to interpretation. In fact, it is essential to the allure of the Chamberlain exhibit that mystery remains. It is also noteworthy that the High Court, where Lindy Chamberlain unsuccessfully appealed her innocence, is just a dinghy boat’s ride across Lake Burley Griffin from the museum in Canberra. The two institutions reflect their own interpretations of the story across the unspectacular brown water that separates them, both unmoved by the finding of innocence in the Northern Territory. THE “HORROR” GENRE “Souvenir” t-shirts that were being sold in Darwin during the early 80s feature in the National Museum of Australia’s collection. The t-shirts represent not only the commodification of some aspects of the case at the time but also to an extent how there existed a morbid fascination with the Chamberlain narrative, one which echoes the Horror genre in cinema (and indeed, one of the t-shirts featured imagery of the name Azaria written in fake blood and a representation of Lindy Chamberlain wearing a dingo-suit). Newspaper headlines also played an important role in the dramatization of the case. Chamberlain says “the headlines kept coming and looked dreadful: ‘Blood in the car’; ‘Handprint’ on the jumpsuit; ‘Foetal blood’ on the carpet; a ‘spray under the dashboard’; ‘a throat cut by scissors’; ‘blood stains on a knife’ and on the camera bag.” 64 He further 46
states that the headlines heralded statements such as, “‘New Leads,’ ‘New Clues,’ ‘Azaria’s Father Tells,’ the theme was always the same. The news was that someone was about to break his or her silence. Get ready for the next serial instalment,” which shows how the media were trying to thrill their enthralled audience. 65 Chamberlain says “the police preferred to run with a much more bizarre and unrealistic horror genre theme, influenced no doubt by films in vogue at the time, including The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and Omen, where religious-type symbols were associated with supernatural powers” and that “perceptions predominated over fact; fantasy was preferred to reality; and truth was condemned as stranger than fiction.” 66 The Chamberlains have produced endless newspaper copy, including a particular genre of jokes. Chamberlain says, “the satire and sarcasm of the ultimate dingo’s insults, published in a book of jokes about Azaria’s death, was obscene and unforgivable. T-shirts were produced to portray disgusting and dehumanising images declaring the dingo’s innocence. These were symptoms of the underlying psyche of the mob.” 67 Dave Hansen and Mark Trounce produced a book called Dingo Lingo, which was “concocted as a kind of ‘instruction’ book on a hundred ways a dingo could kill a baby: you can toast it, mince it, turn it into hamburgers or shish kebab. This was one of many joke books, passed off in the tradition of irreverent Aussie humour, which profiteered from our tragedy.” 68 THE EMERGENCE OF MYTH, HERITAGE AND IDENTITY AS A RESULT OF MORAL PANIC IN THE CHAMBERLAIN CASE “Australia was uneasy. The mysticism of Ayers Rock, long recognised by Aboriginal people, was only slowly starting to filter through to other Australians. Somehow, especially to urban people, this symbol of the continent’s fundamentals seemed related to Azaria’s disappearance ... Ayers Rock and the dingo, had to join thongs, barbecues, the Sydney Opera House and Vegemite as national icons.” (Advertiser, 16 September 1988) 69 Middleweek argues that “the myths surrounding the Chamberlain case did not originate in 1986 or cease to exist in 1988, but evolved through ever-changing patterns of repetition, renewal and reinvigoration” and that the Chamberlain case occurred “at a tipping point in the renegotiation of Australian national identity as symbolic characters of earlier media coverage the dingo, “the Rock”, the victim, the mother and religion emerged in the mid to late 1980s as mythical objects.” 70 There are multiple ways in which Lindy was described by various journalists and newspapers within the realm of mythology. Dianne Johnson shows several ways in which journalists identified elements of Lindy’s physical and emotional character that could be construed to make them appear folkloric particularly in relation to witches and sorcery within a historical context. Johnson outlines how these actions contributed to the “making of Lindy the witch,” as she describes it. 71 Along with the media’s use of humour and satire, it is these types of mythological 47
elements that played a fundamental role in the creation of folklore in the Chamberlain case. Michael Chamberlain says that “by 1982, we were already household names, and the views about us were well on their way to creating a national myth.” 72 Objects relating to the case that seem mundane are suddenly rendered fascinating because of what they once meant to people and the impact they had on people’s circumstances and lives. Among the Chamberlain collection is one particularly mundane artefact: the number from Lindy Chamberlain’s prison cell at Berrimah Prison, outside of Darwin. According to Roland Barthes, objects like these constitute the mythological process, in which meaning is conveyed through “the decoration, consumption and imagining of certain objects”. Roland Barthes says that when material objects become symbolised they lose their everyday functional existence and become part of a socially constructed mythology. 73 Middleweek says that on a cover of Good Weekend magazine from the Sydney Morning Herald on the 7 th September 2002, a photograph of Azaria’s black dress appeared with a caption that read, “Shall we say $500,000? How the bean-counters forced us to price our priceless treasures – from the Azaria collection to a flea from Darwin’s Beagle.” 74 She claims that in recent years, attempts have been made by Australian state governments to assign financial value to material cultural goods, including artefacts from the Chamberlain case, which she says, “suggests the impact of museological discourse in shaping national identities.” 75 She argues even though artefacts from the Chamberlain case were valued in financial terms, their “symbolic value” was defined by the objects they were featured with, which included “Phar Lap’s heart, a splinter from the Southern Cross aeroplane flown by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and a Tasmanian tiger carcass.” 76 It is evident that artefacts from the Chamberlain case remain of high cultural importance to Australia and the formation of its national identity. Crane writes that we “bring (to museum exhibitions), accumulated life experiences and maturity, those constantly changing iterations of the personal which construct our daily identities. We possess knowledge, which we deploy in the midst of the museum, equally as much as we gain knowledge and experience from the information and objects presented.” 77 In 1988, the same year the that the National Museum of Australia bought the Chamberlain artefacts, there was a travelling Australian Bicentennial Exhibition that included a collection of objects such as Captain Cook’s telescope, armour from the Kelly gang, Dame Nellie Melba’s tiara, an Aboriginal breastplate, a stump-jump plough and a dingo trap. Middleweek argues that “while they marked different occasions and were acquired for different purposes, the Chamberlain and Bicentennial exhibitions were linked by time and a desire to project a progressive Australian identity, one that had moved on from its past.” 78 Both the Eternity and the Bicentennial exhibits “contained artefacts that highlighted the evolution of mainstream Australian sentiment towards marginalised groups, such as Aboriginals and Seventh-day Adventists.” 79 THE CREATION OF MEMORY AND FOLKLORE On their website, the Australian government describes Australian folklore as consisting of the “stories and experiences of people in ways that factual accounts cannot – conveying emotions, hopes and fears through time and place.” Sophie Jensen points out that many 48
people forgot or continue to forget that there were many witnesses at the campsite who never questioned that a dingo took Azaria, but that people don’t or didn’t realise that such people even existed. “What they remember is the arterial spray, the supposed bloody handprint on the back of the jumpsuit that turned out to be sand, and that a dingo can’t slice a jumpsuit this way. They were the elements that people took up and remembered. They forget the people, which is really interesting about the way that people remember the case now.” 80 Middleweek argues that through the assemblage of artefacts of national significance, such as those at the National Museum of Australia, “values of the time” can be displayed through “material and tangible objects which serve as monuments to the past and reminders for the future.” 81 The first exhibiting of the artefacts from the Chamberlain case in 1988 forced the public to confront their views regarding the case and arguably represented a shift from sentiments of vilification to a more reflective standpoint. At the Chamberlain Symposium it was said of the museum collection, “there was a high level of discomfort and a feeling this was too recent an event to be true history. The case had gone from flavour of the month to something that left a bad taste in the mouths of many Australians who would have preferred to forget. Most particularly people were keen to forget their own fascination and participation in the frenzy of speculation that surrounded the case.” 82 In part, the artefacts became a testament to the shell of a former folk devil. Middleweek argues that the Azaria artefacts exhibited in 1988 “evoked memories of the past in an effort to define and contour the current social framework” and represented an “overwhelming desire to represent injustices of the past in order to package the vision of a tolerant and multicultural, present and future.” 83 According to Middleweek, the exhibition of Azaria artefacts was an “attempt to promote a progressive nation that had moved on from its past.” 84 Lindy Chamberlain’s ordeal is constantly being told and retold, which has transformed and secured her place in Australian folklore, though even from the beginning Lindy Chamberlain was a folkloric figure in the making. CONCLUSION Cohen argues that “sometimes the panic passes over and is forgotten, except in folklore and collective memory” but that other times it “has more serious and longlasting repercussions and might produce such changes as those in legal and social policy or even in the way society conceives itself.” 85 In the case of the Chamberlains, the panic surrounding the initial event and the aftermath has abated over a long period of time however it has not been forgotten. As Cohen stipulates, sometimes the panic is immortalised in folklore and in the collective memory, and this is true of the Chamberlain case. On the other hand, the case has also had an impact on the Australian legal system. It has forced lawyers to reflect on an example of a trial process that was fundamentally flawed in order to avoid further potential miscarriages of justice. The assumption that the Chamberlain case has changed the way Australian society conceives itself is rather more delicate and difficult to gauge. Since the official death certificate was handed to Lindy and Michael in 2012, there has been a certain amount of 49
remorse shown by individuals and to an extent the media, though one would not be able to conclude that this sentiment is entirely unanimous. What is more certain is that the legacy of the Chamberlain family’s ordeal has been and will continue to be immortalised in Australian culture under the guise of “national heritage,” in all the possible forms, bearing the full brunt and weight of this piece of Australian history. How interesting it is that the High Court of Australia and the National Museum of Australia, both monuments perched on a man-made lake in Australia’s national capital, continue to prefer the mystery, rather than the facts. The High Court has an excuse; nobody ever asked it – Lindy Chamberlain’s last appeal against her criminal conviction was unsuccessful. Our National Museum, on the other hand, prefers to mediate in a different way: “Look at artefacts and decide for yourself ” seems to be the motif. A very Australian museum indeed.
«The Chamberlain Collection at the National Museum of Australia - Chamberlain Symposium.» NMA & University of Sydney, 14 Aug. 2005. Web.
The National Museum of Australia – Collections. NMA . 10/2012. <www.nma.gov.au>
Lindy Chamberlain remarried, and now goes by Chamberlain-Creighton
Menzies, Iza. “Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton in Conversation.” National Museum of Australia - Public Programs, Mar. 2008. Web.
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” Department of English, University of Sydney (2007): 174-78. Print.
Harsin, Jaysin. “Attention! Rumor Bombs, Affect, Managed Democracy 3.0 Working Paper.” The American University of Paper Department of Global Communications.1-25. Print.
Lindy Chamberlain. Rick Creighton. 10/2012. www.lindychamberlain.com
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. Chatswood, N.S.W. New Holland, 2012. Print.
Cohen, Stanley. “Chapter One: Deviance and Moral Panics.” Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. pp. 1. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.
Macdonald, Sharon & Crane, Susan. A Companion to Museum Studies. Chapter Seven: The Conundrum of Ephemerality: Time, Memory and Museums. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2006. 102-05. Print.
«The Chamberlain Collection at the National Museum of Australia - Chamberlain Symposium.» NMA & University of Sydney, 14 Aug. 2005. Web.
Cohen, Stanley. “Chapter One: Deviance and Moral Panics.” Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. pp. 81
Macdonald, Sharon & Fyfe, Gordon. A Companion to Museum Studies. Chapter Three: Sociology and the Social Aspects of Museums. pp.33
Cohen, Stanley. “Chapter One: Deviance and Moral Panics.” Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. pp. 2
Chamberlain Symposium, 2005
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. pp. 52
Thompson, John B. «Shifting Boundaries of Public and Private Life.» Theory, Culture & Society. pp.51 SAGE, 3 Aug. 2011. Web.
Macdonald, Sharon & Crane, Susan. Seven: The Conundrum of Ephemerality: Time, Memory and Museums. pp. 51
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. pp. 71
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 176
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. pp. 45
National Museum of Australia (NMA)
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 175
Chamberlain Symposium, 2005
Lindy Chamberlain in Conversation with Sophie Jensen, Senior Curator, National Museum of Australia. National Museum of Australia. 14 Oct. 2007. Web.
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. pp. 112
Cohen, Stanley. “Chapter One: Deviance and Moral Panics.” Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. pp. 1
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 114
Ibid, 115 51
Feasey, Rebecca. “Reading Heat: The Meanings and Pleasures of Star Fashions and Celebrity Gossip.” Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.5 (2008): 687-99. Print.
Lindy Chamberlain in conversation with Sophie Jensen
Chamberlain Symposium, 2005
Lindy Chamberlain in conversation with Sophie Jensen
Sawyer, P. «’Naming Whiteness’: An Inquiry into Lindy Chamberlain’s Through My Eyes and Australian Nationalist Discourses.» Law Text Culture. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. pp. 92
Ibid, 28, 124
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 143
Ibid, 144 Johnson, Dianne. «From Fairy to Witch: Imagery and Myth in the Azaria Case.» From Fairy to Witch: Imagery and Myth in the Azaria Case 2.2 (1984). Print.
Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. pp. 186
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 174
Macdonald, Sharon & Crane, Susan. Seven: The Conundrum of Ephemerality: Time, Memory and Museums. pp. 102
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 174
Lindy Chamberlain in conversation with Sophie Jensen
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 175
Chamberlain Symposium, 2005
Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” pp. 176
Cohen, Stanley. “Chapter One: Deviance and Moral Panics.” Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. pp. 5
WORKS CITED: Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso, 1991. Print. Australian Folklore. The Australian Government. 11/2012. www.australia.gov.au
Black, Joanna. «New Display Turns Spotlight on Azaria.» Bay of Plenty Times [New Zealand] 29 Oct. 1994: 1. Web. Branston, Gill, and Roy Stafford. The Media Student’s Book. 5th ed. London: Routledge, 2010. Print. Chamberlain, Michael. Heart of Stone: Justice for Azaria. Chatswood, N.S.W. New Holland, 2012. Print. Chandler, Daniel, and Rod Munday. A Dictionary of Media and Communication. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. 106. Print. Cohen, Stanley. “Chapter One: Deviance and Moral Panics.” Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. London: Routledge, 2002. Print. Feasey, Rebecca. “Reading Heat: The Meanings and Pleasures of Star Fashions and Celebrity Gossip.” Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.5 (2008): 687-99. Print. Goode, Erich, and Nachman Ben-Yehuda. “Chapter 5: The Media Ignite and Embody the Moral Panic.” Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1994. Print. Harsin, Jaysin. “Attention! Rumor Bombs, Affect, Managed Democracy 3.0 Working Paper.” The American University of Paper Department of Global Communications.1-25. Print. Hubbard, Phil. “Fear and Loathing at the Multiplex: Everyday Anxiety in the Post-industrial City.” Capital & Class 27.2 (2003): 51-75. Print. Johnson, Dianne. «From Fairy to Witch: Imagery and Myth in the Azaria Case.» From Fairy to Witch: Imagery and Myth in the Azaria Case 2.2 (1984). Print. Lindy Chamberlain. Rick Creighton. 10/2012. www.lindychamberlain.com Lindy Chamberlain in Conversation with Sophie Jensen, Senior Curator, National Museum of Australia. National Museum of Australia. 14 Oct. 2007. Web. Macdonald, Sharon & Crane, Susan. A Companion to Museum Studies. Chapter Seven: The Conundrum of Ephemerality: Time, Memory and Museums. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2006. 102-05. Print. Macdonald, Sharon & Fyfe, Gordon. A Companion to Museum Studies. Chapter Three: Sociology and the Social Aspects of Museums. Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2006. 102-05. Print. Menzies, Iza. “Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton in Conversation.” National Museum of Australia - Public Programs, Mar. 2008. Web. Middleweek, Belinda M. “Dingo Media? R v Chamberlain as a Model for an Australian Media Event.” Department of English, University of Sydney (2007): 174-78. Print. O’Leary, Veronica. “Lindy Chamberlain - Madonna or Witch?” Northern Perspective. 1996. ser. 19.1. Print. Sawyer, P. «’Naming Whiteness’: An Inquiry into Lindy Chamberlain’s Through My Eyes and Australian Nationalist Discourses.» Law Text Culture. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. «The Chamberlain Collection at the National Museum of Australia - Chamberlain Symposium.» NMA & University of Sydney, 14 Aug. 2005. Web. The National Museum of Australia – Collections. NMA . 10/2012. <www.nma.gov.au> Thompson, John B. «Shifting Boundaries of Public and Private Life.» Theory, Culture & Society. SAGE, 3 Aug. 2011. Web. Young, Norman H. Innocence Regained: The Fight to Free Lindy Chamberlain. Annandale, NSW: Federation, 1989. Print.
C A R O L I N E
N O R D S T R A N D
I U E L
21ST CENTURY AESTHETICS
INTRODUCTION “During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence. The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well.” Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1937. How do we come to a sound understanding of aesthetic experience in the 21 st century? Considering that most of us spend an increasing amount of time immersed in digital environments, this question is not as simple as it sounds. Being digital or virtual is now as common as simply being: the boundaries between the two domains have blurred. New media forms offer distinct modes of experience and supra-human ways of perceiving the world, and in modern technological society these modes operate side-by-side with our natural way of experiencing the world. From industrialization and the rise of the mass media, the pace at which we adapt to new, altered modes of perception has changed in accordance with technological innovations. If media and technology shape human perception, as Benjamin suggests, then 21 st century aesthetic theory should take new media as its starting point. AESTHETICS AND NEW MEDIA Historically, aesthetics has been tied to the field of art and to traditional media forms devoted to representing reality. Until the invention of the camera in the 1840’s, the only forms of available media were variations of painting and sculpture; and after this time, new aesthetic forms grew out of the arts. However, an attempt to apply qualities of sculpture to painting would be a misapplication, and this demonstrates the way different media forms call for qualitatively different aesthetics. As technology develops, new media forms emerge, and aesthetic conceptions must adapt to these forms. NEW TECHNOLOGY, NEW MEDIA, NEW WAYS OF SEEING Media products are objects to be looked at, but they also offer particular ways of seeing. They propose particular visions that shape our perception of reality, and this is 54
what Benjamin means when he says, “the manner in which human sense perception is organized (…) is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well.” 1 We look with both our eyes and our brain. Seeing is culturally determined and historically situated, and only theoretically can we deduce the meaning our brain infers from the specific object being looked at. I shall outline three major historical changes in perception brought about by technological progress. 3 The first is the development of perspective in painting around the mid-15 th century, which introduced a new organizational paradigm and as such a new way of seeing. The perspective ordered the world in accordance with mathematical principles, and placed man in the center of the universe. It introduced a fundamentally new way of looking at and understanding reality. As a media form this pictorial tradition is highly embedded in the discourse about imitation and the struggle between the real and the simulacrum. It imitates the human eye’s way of seeing the world, and with the illusion of depth it constitutes an early attempt at creating virtual images. 4 The second interval of technological change developed in connection with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of modernism, which is what Benjamin explores in his essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Benjamin stresses the advent of photography and film as crucial to this change. How did these new media forms bring about a new aesthetic? One of Benjamin’s central arguments is that the aesthetics of these reproducible media is no longer about artistic cult value. The authenticity and originality embodied in the physical materiality of a unique object constitute what Benjamin calls its “aura.” “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art,” he argues, “is lacking one element: [the original artwork’s] presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” 5 As an example, the aesthetic experience of being in front of an original Picasso painting or being at the Louvre is incomparable to seeing either one in a photo; the thrill of the presence of the object is not intrinsic to photography or film. This has of course been challenged by the entrance of photography into the domain of art, with limited edition prints and the hierarchic distinction between analogue and digital photography. However, the aesthetic appreciation of photography and film should, Benjamin argues, be understood in terms of their exhibition value, a category fundamentally different from those of traditional media forms. It is the content of the products, which these new media offer, and how they present the content, from which value is derived. This calls for a revaluation of the aesthetic apparatus, which is a key point for Benjamin. His essay is an important defense of the then new media, which still are the target of much criticism today. In highlighting that the invention of mass media does not simply indicate a loss – of aura and cult value – but also gives birth to new aesthetic qualities and visions, Benjamin formed an important counterargument to the derogatory Greenbergian conception of mass media. According to Greenberg, all that mass media does is imitate higher arts forms, and he eventually termed it “kitsch” to completely prohibit it from participating on an equal level with traditional media forms. 6 The question of real versus imitation interests Benjamin less than what these new media forms bring to the table, and in his exploration of the new media he simultaneously gave it a raison d’être in its own right. Benjamin uses the metaphor of “the surgeon” to illustrate the pioneering 55
new ways in which photography and film work: the camera taps into reality, freezes, cuts out, reassembles and presents anew otherwise ungraspable moments in time and space. Camera techniques amplify this by rendering visible details of objects otherwise impossible for human sight. As an example, the camera can present detailed close-ups of objects smaller than what the eye can see, and as such the lens has super-human qualities. In a similar vein, film allows a further playing-around with the dimensions of time and space: it can speed up time, e.g. by presenting the transition of a flower from seed to full bloom in a minute, or slow down time, e.g. by applying a slow motion effect to present at a lengthened pace what in real time lasts merely a second. Writing a couple of decades after Benjamin, Susan Sontag too points out these qualities of the camera. She draws attention to the camera’s ability to play between the extreme poles of proximity and distance; the familiar and unfamiliar. The camera can bring us close to, and make us familiar with, strange facets of nature – e.g. photos of planets –, but it can also distance us from things, and make them seem unfamiliar. An example is when we see photos of ourselves that generate ambiguous feelings of alienation. “Is that really me?” Certainly, most would argue that the real me is the one looking at the photo, not the me represented in the photo, but for Benjamin and Sontag this question of real versus unreal is not of aesthetic interest. The value of a photography and film should be understood within the framework of the specific ways of seeing which they offer, and how these are accomplished. With the advent of photography and film, modern societies have become imagesaturated environments. With the technological development of the second half of the 20 th century, however, we enter into yet another, newer, aesthetic era. This period of technological development is associated with postmodernism, and is characterized by the entrance of electronics, digital image production, microprocessors, and computers. Images and visual information generate new media in which to be created and performed. What are the aesthetics associated with this new media era? With the advent of computer technology and the digitalization of image production, images no longer exist as entities we can hold in our hands. They take on a life of their own in digital worlds: they are uploaded, posted, circulated in endlessly extending networks, saved on one computer, used in a certain context and for a particular purpose. If an image is disposed in a virtual bin, it has no consequence, for it still exists in the world that unfolds as soon as one hits the Internet explorer button. The very virtual space that is created by the computer screen, and in which digital images flow, also presents itself as a kind of image. Some of these computer-generated images are virtual environments in the sense that they simulate real space, but others, such as websites, are often entirely fictitious. In both cases new ideas of performing and interactivity as opposed to simply seeing and receiving come into play. The object to be perceived is no longer fixed, but often something the digital “prosumer” actively participates in creating. Tony Wilson has coined this new type of user the playful audience, indicating how the image screens “prompt their viewers’ ludic comprehension.” 7 Computer-generated image-worlds no longer merely offer mediations of reality and thereby new ways of looking at the real world. For often the digital worlds have no equivalent in the real world. Digital image technology and virtual space do not just 56
offer us new ways of seeing and perceiving the world, but can in fact open up entirely new worlds and fundamentally new ways of being. THE VIRTUAL REAL The boundaries between reality and mediated reality blur as we rely more and more upon computers and digital technology in our everyday lives. Changes in technology and new media have not only changed the ways we perceive the world, but have also offered us entirely new digital worlds. Still, even if we acknowledge the potency of photography, film and computer-generated image-worlds, they are often devalued as unreal. What measure do we apply when we call media products unreal? One answer is a Platonic ontology, according to which the material world is a simulacrum, an imitation, a copy, and a fake. In this scheme, media products imitate what is already an imitation. But if we look at, e.g., Facebook, it becomes clear that this measurement does not apply. The “real” equivalent of Facebook is not hanging out with your friends in real time and space; it is an entirely new way of being within the scope of social activity. In other words, virtuality is Facebook’s reality; and insofar as this holds, the virtual and the real are one. Susan Sontag has advocated a need to break with these Platonic bonds. As she states, it is “less and less plausible to reflect upon our experience according to the distinction between images and things, between copies and original.” 5 Images – in fact all media products, I would add – are material realities in their own right, and in Sontag’s words, “potent means for turning the tables on reality.” 8 CONCLUSION Understanding 21 st century aesthetics should start with recognizing the interdependence of mediated reality and reality, as well as abandoning Platonic ontology. Judging media forms and products by measuring them against reality is erroneous. Instead, what should be highlighted is the persistent effort of new media technologies to give us new, augmented experiences and ways of perceiving the world that not only provide pleasure and beauty, but which also serve as vital tools for progress and our understanding of the world.
NOTES: 1. Benjamin, Walter (1936): “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Gerald Mast, Marshal Cohen & Leo Brandy: Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Reading, 4 th edition, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992. 2. Krug, Don H. “Electronic Media and Everyday Aesthetics of Simulation” in Visual Arts Research, Vol. 28, No. 2 (56), University Illinois Press, 2002. 3. It should be noted that by ”changes in perception” I do not mean that our senses as such change. 4. Virtual image: an image in which the outgoing rays from a point on the object always diverge. 5. Greenberg, Clement: “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” in The Partisan Review 6, 1939 57
6. Wilson, Tony: The Playful Audience, Cresskill, Hampton Press, 2004. 7. Sontag, Susan (1977): “The Image-World” in Sunil Manghani, Arthur Piper & Jon Simons: Images: A Reader, Thousand Oaks & New Delhi, Sage Publications, 2006. 8. Ibid
WORKS CITED: Benjamin, Walter (1936): “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Gerald Mast, Marshal Cohen & Leo Brandy: Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Reading, 4 th edition, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992. Greenberg, Clement: “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” in The Partisan Review 6, 1939. Krug, Don H. “Electronic Media and Everyday Aesthetics of Simulation” in Visual Arts Research, Vol. 28, No. 2 (56), University Illinois Press, 2002. Sontag, Susan (1977): “The Image-World” in Sunil Manghani, Arthur Piper & Jon Simons: Images: A Reader, Thousand Oaks & New Delhi, Sage Publications, 2006. Wilson, Tony: The Playful Audience, Cresskill, Hampton Press, 2004.
S V E N
V A N
M O U R I K
THE PRINCE AND THE COURTIER: TWO WAYS TO POWER
In a period of violent struggles for power between the city-states of Renaissance Italy, with the infamous writer and political strategist Niccolò Machiavelli writing a guide for princes and statesmen to assert their power through arms, war, and fear, diplomat Baldassare Castiglione writes his book on the behavior and requirements of the ideal courtier. An intricate set of rules to be followed by those at court, The Book of the Courtier rivals The Prince in the scope of its contemporary readership, yet it depicts an entirely different world than that of Machiavelli’s treatise. How did the courteousness and consideration of Castiglione’s courtier coexist with the political violence and amoral behavior of for example Cesare Borgia, whom Machiavelli considered to be, “the perfect model of a new prince” ? How could manuals for ‘courtly’ and ‘princely’ behavior, in such different terms, coexist in the same sphere of Renaissance Italy? It appears that both, despite their differences in application, show the way for two distinct groups of political players working towards the same end: power. When striving to reconcile ideals of courteousness with the reality of Italy’s political conflicts, it is hard to avoid diving in headfirst with preconceived illustrations of the “complicated deviltry, hypocrisy, intrigue, secret murders, and public treacheries” , or, in other words, the Machiavellian side of politics of the Italian Renaissance. Descriptions abound of the great Italian wars that ravaged the Italian city-states in the first half of the 16th century, as well as the many cruelties of Machiavelli’s inspiration, Cesare Borgia. Although it is undeniable that much of the Renaissance was utter misery for the ordinary man, to many princes and popes large numbers of casualties had little significance. War and death have been active phenomena of every civilization, or as Leonardo da Vinci so aptly stated: “Creatures shall be seen upon the earth who will always be fighting one with another with very great losses and frequent deaths on either side” . The intriguing question then lies with the ruler’s personality and the extent to which traits of cruelty were dominant in his actions: was there any place at all for courteousness in the minds of princes? An object of study in his own right, Cesare Borgia, although he “was not much more typical of the princes of Italy in his time than Caligula was a typical Roman emperor” , still represents the central, if not somewhat extreme, example of a political player in Machiavelli’s book on political strategy. Son of Pope Alexander VI, Cesare Borgia seemed the living contradiction to the consideration and tact of Castiglione’s courtier. He was most likely the murderer of his brother, the Duke of Gandia, and quite certainly of the husband of his sister Lucrezia, and indeed “it was a dull week when one... did not chalk up another murder to Cesare’s credit, sometimes by poison, sometimes by the 59
hands of hired assassins, sometimes by his own dagger” . Strangely, Machiavelli refers to this inhuman cruelty in princes such as Cesare Borgia as one amongst “many other virtues” . How this murderous cruelty, how a man such as Cesare Borgia could ever have become an inspiration to Machiavelli, he explains in The Prince: “Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; nonetheless, this cruelty of his brought order to the Romagna, united it and restored it to peace and loyalty. If we examine this carefully, we shall see that he was more merciful than the Florentine people, who allowed the destruction of Pistoia in order to avoid being considered cruel” . Thus, it becomes clear how the individual victims of a prince’s cruelty could ultimately be considered pawns in the strategies of state, leading to ‘mercy’ at the level of cities and city states. Nor was Cesare the only one to act on this, the world Machiavelli described contained many more such figures, like Lodovico Sforza, “hardly a gracious man [, with] sinister directness, [and a] naked drive to power” , who, “notwithstanding the profound immorality of the means he employed... used them with perfect ingeniousness” . Indeed, princes, on behalf of their states, “were at all times ready to use against one another any weapon which their evil conscience might suggest” .Therefore, true courtly behavior should be sought not in the cruel face of the Renaissance’s rulers, but rather at their courts. To what extent can one expect to find courtly manners in those courtiers closest to the prince’s inhuman cruelty? The prince directs armies, ever looking over his borders at other city-states and at times acting with audacious brutality, whereas courtiers seem to have lived very different lives; lives of grace and culture at the courts of the very princes Machiavelli wrote of. Indeed, Baldassare Castiglione’s courtier “moved in a polished society [where] the harsh and violent face is absent” . To understand how prince and courtier could relate to one another and even more importantly, direct their efforts to achieve the same goals, one must understand the courtier’s duty to amuse a prince, serve as his loyal companion, and his motivation for such servitude. As a companion to a prince who was not only cruel and shrewd, but also often took a surprising liking to culture and the arts – as Lodovico Sforza was patron to Leonardo da Vinci for many years – a courtier had to possess a broad knowledge of the arts, classics, and humanities. Perhaps the most striking aspect pervading the many facets of the ideal courtier, is his bearing, his gestures, and his inner sense of grace, best characterized through Castiglione’s magnificent rule of sprezzatura. Reflected in the world of art, the term means effortlessness, bordering on nonchalance, which a courtier must exhibit in hard works. Just as painter and biographer of artists Giorgio Vasari “was opposed to any artistic style that exhibited... unusual laborious effort” (Vasari, Conaway and Bondanella xii), courtiers had to make grand gestures with lighthearted ease and nonchalance: sprezzatura and grace prevented the delusion of work successfully accomplished by an obvious excess of effort. Again, this is reflected in Vasari, as: “one of the highest compliments he pays to an artist is that his works possess grazia or grace” (Vasari, Conaway and Bondanella xii). Alternately, where a prince could afford a large extent of ‘hubris’ and could often act howevrer he liked to whomever he liked, the courtier was expected to act with grace and “use continually...the reverence and respect that becommeth the servant toward the 60
maister” . The divide between the ways of the prince and the courtier is evident on field of battle. Even in the instance when a courtier took up arms, the difference between him and the prince is pertinent. In jousting, for example, Castiglione’s advice for the courtier is that: “He will take care that his horse is bravely caparisoned, that his attire becomes him, that his mottoes are appropriate and his devices clever, so that they may attract the eyes of the bystanders” . By contrast, the fights of a prince, less frivolous and appealing in appearance, were necessarily brutal for, as Machiavelli put it: “when princes have given more thought to delicate refinements than to military concerns, they have lost their state” . The absence, of this courtly consideration in a prince’s actions is evident in the case of Cardinal Francesco Alidosi, who “was murdered in cold blood” by Francesco Maria I della Rovere, the Duke of Urbino, and the very same individual upon whom Castiglione had based his rules of courtly behavior. Although “the harsh and ugly had no part in the background against which the courtier moved” , even in Castiglione’s ideal court, a prince could still afford cruelty and was not afraid to break the façade of courtliness. Where, then, does that delicacy and destruction come together and Machiavelli and Castiglione find common ground? The possible desired connection lies in their common ground: the pursuit of power. It is the quest for power that drives Machiavelli to describe the path of cruelty and war the prince needs to take to gain, hold, and apply power. Certainly, it might be argued that in the matter of the power of men and the rule over a city “Fortune is the arbiter of one half of our actions” , but regardless “she is fickle and unstable, now aiding the wicked, now punishing the good” . It is with the other side of the coin of power that truly the role of princely prudence comes into play: for the ruler not willing to risk the ruin of a changing fortune, there is The Prince, which will help him adapt his method of procedure to the nature of the times and “prosper” . The same applies, although through different ways and with different means, to the more subtle play of the courtier, where the goal in mind is power as well. Increasingly, at the time Castiglione wrote The Book of the Courtier, the many city-states of Italy started to conglomerate into bigger territories in order to hold power in the political landscape, a gentleman had to please a ruler or prince at his court. Machiavelli’s power, although directly accessible through murder and violence on the battlefield, was nonetheless a privilege of princes or rulers alone; others had to take a more subtle road to gain political power, that of the scheme and charm of a courtier. Through creativity and cleverness, courtiers followed an unspoken code of graceful appearance that showed the path to the power of influence on those that held the power of the sword or the throne: the princes. Once in this position, courtiers could advise and assist rulers in their political actions and decisions: “now a days Princes are so corrupt… the Courtier… ought to… allure unto him the mind of his Prince [and]… little by little distil into his mind goodnesse” . Through “those honest qualities” outlined in The Book of the Courtier, it was possible for a courtier to get close to his prince and gain secondary, but nonetheless potentially very potent, political influence: Castiglione’s guide points out to a courtier how to become the prince’s favorite, thus potentially also subtly moving out of the way other competing courtiers or nobles (Castiglione considered nobility an advantage for a courtier, but not 61
a necessity).This pursuit of power can even be found in Castiglione’s sprezzatura, the importance of which goes beyond the illusion of elegance and which Castiglione found “essential to a courtier’s perfection… [and] not an exterior graciousness but a strength at the core of character” . How could this grace, this virtue of being ‘unaffected’, be part of a courtier’s scheming mind? Quite simply, the courtier needs “to practice in everything a certain nonchalance that shall conceal design and show what is done and said is done without effort and almost without thought” .Thus, grace and sprezzatura, which would appear to be but the summum of courteous composure, turns into a political strategy on the level of courts: by hiding intentions and ‘concealing design’, one’s political aspirations remain hidden and can thus be carried out in peace. Thus, it can ultimately be argued that: “Castiglione’s purpose… in compiling the whole treatise… was an attempt to give a purpose to that perfection of court life, namely to influence one’s political master” . This relationship of power between prince and courtier was, of course, tense. As Castiglione points out: “I believe therefore that it is well done to love and beare with one more than an other... but not for all that so to assure a mans selfe, with this sweete baite of friendship, that afterward it should bee too late for us to repent” . It is exactly this careful detachment that Machiavelli warns the prince of: “when, cunningly and influenced by ambition [the nobles] refrain from committing themselves to you, this is a sign that they think more of themselves than of you. The prince should be on guard against them and fear them as if they were declared enemies” . Indeed, the balance of power in Italian city states was a fickle one, in which nobles and courtiers could play key roles and rulers had to take measures to protect themselves. An example of this can be found in the turbulent rule of Florence under the Medici family in the form of Diotisalvi Neroni, a Florentine ambassador to Milan and Venice. Partaking in three major anti-Medici plots against Cosimo and Piero de’ Medici, the grandfather and father of Lorenzo the Magnificent respectively, Neroni is a striking example of why Machiavelli urges rulers to “know how to protect themselves from the nobles” . The impact on European history of the prince’s and the courtier’s ways to power, finally, is widespread: hereafter, Machiavelli’s thoughts on power were to have a profound impact on rulers from Henry VIII of England to Catherine de’ Medici. In a similar, but subtler, way, the proper ways of demeanor at court became increasingly important, as slowly, “Barons and clergy… lost their medieval functions and degenerated into courtiers” . In France’s absolute monarchy, for example, the ways of the courtier were to have an important future, as Louis XIV liked to keep his nobles at his court at Versailles for parts of the year, so as to reduce their power. Thus, the King of France successfully diminished the power of nobles, which in Machiavelli’s time, he specifically could not have done “without endangering himself ” . As the importance of kings increased in Europe in the 1500s and the 1600s, the king’s choice of servants were narrowed to those with “the arts which distinguished one man from another... the arts of a courtier”. The paradox of Castiglione’s courtliness and Machiavelli’s naked princely might, then, finds its resolve in a long history of the interplay between courtier and prince: the endless endeavor for princes and rulers to find power through the sword and scheme and the continuous pursuit of courteous perfection by the courtier to gain influence over his 62
political master. NOTES 1. Sydney Anglo and Niccolò Machiavelli. Machiavelli: A Dissection. London: Gollancz, 1969. Print. 2. Plumb, J. H. The Italian Renaissance. Boston: Mariner, 2001. Print. 167. 3. Ibid. 237 4. Ibid. 180 5. Ibid. 182 6. Ibid. 59 7. Ibid. 57 8. Ibid. 229 9. Jacob Burckhardt , S. G. C. Middlemore, Ludwig Geiger, and Walter Goetz. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Kitchener, Ont.: Batoche, 2001. Print. 38 10. Ibid. 76 11. Edward Williamson. “The Concept of Grace in the Work of Raphael and Castiglione.” Italica 24.4 (1947): 316-24. Print. 322. 12. Baldassarre Castiglione and Thomas Hoby. The Book of the Courtier. London: Dent, 1974. Print. 107 13. Ibid. 82 14. Niccolò Machiavelli and Peter E. Bondanella. The Prince. Oxford ; New York: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. 50 15. Beck, James. “Cardinal Alidosi, Michelangelo, and the Sistine Ceiling.” Artibus Et 16. Historiae11.22 (1990): 63-77. Print. 63 17. Edward Williamson. The Concept of Grace. 322 18. Niccolò Machiavelli. The Prince. 84 19. Sydney Anglo. Machiavelli. 219 20. Niccolò Machiavelli. The Prince. 85 21. Baldassarre Castiglione. The Book of the Courtier. 264-265 22. Ibid. 264 23. Edward Williamson. The Concept of Grace. 317 24. Edward Williamson. The Concept of Grace. 320 25. John Robert Woodhouse. Baldesar Castiglione: A Reassessment of The Courtier. [Edinburgh]: Edinburgh UP, 1978. Print. 145 26. Baldassarre Castiglione. The Book of the Courtier. 120 27. Niccolò Machiavelli. The Prince. 36 28. Ibid. 83 29. Mattingly, Garrett. Renaissance Diplomacy. New York: Cosimo, 2010. Print. 224 30. Niccolò Machiavelli. The Prince. 31. Mattingly, Garrett. Renaissance Diplomacy. New York: Cosimo, 2010. Print. 224
WORKS CITED Castiglione, Baldassarre, and Thomas Hoby. The Book of the Courtier. London: Dent, 1974. Print. Machiavelli, Niccolò, and Peter E. Bondanella. The Prince. Oxford ; New York: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. Secondary Sources Anglo, Sydney, and Niccolò Machiavelli. Machiavelli: A Dissection. London: Gollancz, 1969. Print. Beck, James. “Cardinal Alidosi, Michelangelo, and the Sistine Ceiling.” Artibus Et 63
Historiae11.22 (1990): 63-77. Print. Burckhardt, Jacob, S. G. C. Middlemore, Ludwig Geiger, and Walter Goetz. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Kitchener, Ont.: Batoche, 2001. Print. Mattingly, Garrett. Renaissance Diplomacy. New York: Cosimo, 2010. Print. Plumb, J. H. The Italian Renaissance. Boston: Mariner, 2001. Print. Vasari, Giorgio, Julia C. Bondanella, and Peter E. Bondanella. The Lives of the Artists. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991. Print. Williamson, Edward. â€œThe Concept of Grace in the Work of Raphael and Castiglione.â€? Italica 24.4 (1947): 316-24. Print. Woodhouse, John Robert. Baldesar Castiglione: A Reassessment of The Courtier. [Edinburgh]: Edinburgh UP, 1978. Print.
F A N I E
C O L L A R D E A U
CONFUCIANISM AND DEMOCRACY
INTRODUCTION Confucianism is a cultural and philosophical tradition more than a religion, even though it has been analyzed as a religious tradition in many texts. 1 It has influenced China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan to different extents 2 and is a key factor in understanding the chances of implementing and maintaining democracy in East Asia. At a theoretical level, some Western scholars have targeted Confucianism as an opponent of democracy, while some Asian thinkers have tried to reconcile the two traditions together in order to keep the better of the two. The debate often turns on the definition of democracy involved. Opponents of Confucianism have retreated to liberal democracy in its strictest sense while other thinkers have defended communitarian democracy and shown its capacity to incorporate Confucian values. In this essay, two underlying assumptions are at work in the theoretical section. First, democracy is defined following Robert Dahl, by minimal procedural requirements: frequent and fairly conducted elections, the right to vote for all or most members of the society, freedom of expression, of the press and of civil society. 3 Second, culturally defined concepts such as the notion of personhood or identity should not be forced upon a people in the name of democratic transition. Democracy, although it has procedural minimal conditions to respect, should not be restricted to liberal democracy as it needs some flexibility to adapt to the cultural traditions of each country in order to last. At an empirical level, an analysis based on the World Value Surveys will be carried out. This analysis will come as a complement to and a test of the theoretical argument. It will be enriched by the examination by Inglehart and Baker of the move from traditional to secular values in modernizing countries. Further, it will be complemented by an example of leaders’ use of Confucian values in order to support or attack democratic changes in East-Asian democracies. THEORETICAL APPROACH Cultural tradition is an important factor if one wants to understand the values that shape public opinion and inform the behavior of individual actors from state leaders to simple voters. In their study on cultural change and modernization, Inglehart and Baker note “we find evidence of both massive cultural change and the persistence of distinctive cultural traditions.” 4 As such, cultural traditions cannot be ignored when investigating the chances of democracy’s being implemented and maintained in a particular culture. In this essay, we will focus on the relationship between Confucian tradition and democracy. 65
Samuel Huntington is one among many 5 to argue for the uniqueness of Western democracy and to consider Confucianism and Islam to be antidemocratic. He distinguishes between two conceptions of the “cultural obstacle argument” for democracy. The first is that democracy is simply unsuited to people from a different cultural background, while according to the second some cultural traditions prove particularly adverse to democracy. Samuel Huntington, investigating the relationship between Confucianism and democracy, finds “almost no scholarly disagreement (…) regarding the proposition that traditional Confucianism was either undemocratic or anti-democratic.” 6 Confucianism emphasizes “the group over the individual, authority over liberty, and responsibilities over rights.” 7 As a result, Confucian societies are conceived always to be repressing opposition groups and dissenting opinions, quashing the desire of its subjects to engage in behaviors that would challenge the state or the majority. However, this simplified view of Confucianism can been challenged. Alfred Stephan suggests that we should look at “multi-vocal” components of religion: Roman Catholicism, for example, has not always been pro-democratic. On the contrary: it perpetrated major human rights violations during, e.g., the inquisition. 8 Our bias toward Western culture and Confucian culture might just blur our understanding of both traditions and allow the creation of a myth around liberal democracy. Even Western polities might not be as secular as the church-state division would lead one to believe. Indeed, in 1990, state-established churches could be found in five European Union countries; and Norway’s constitution lists the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a religion of the state. 9 Even Portugal, whose constitution separates the church and the state, has a highly religious political party: the Centro Democratico Social, a member of several Christian organizations. 10 It seems, then, that secular Western democracy is embedded in and influenced by religious tradition. Could Confucianism therefore play a similar role in creating another type of democracy? Several theoretical attempts to reconcile Confucianism and democracy have been made. Confucianism, when considered multi-vocally, can be understood in all its complexity. Some of its elements are compatible with democracy; others are not. Confucianism “places high value upon family-oriented moral qualities such as filial piety and deference to authority” 11 whereas liberal democracies emphasize the individual and his freedom. Confucius was interested in forming benevolent moral rulers or “chüntzu” rather than institutions that secure freedom. He underlined the need for individuals to respect social obligations, and to create a stable, harmonious and prospering society. 12 Social obligations “have moral force because fulfilling them involves exercising moral dispositions that are integral to (…) the cultivation of the self.” 13 It is by cultivating moral values and virtues that individuals come to help others and become benevolent. The implication is twofold. First, there is only one path to achieving benevolence, which goes against the liberal understanding of freedom. Second, the ideal ruler is one who has been educated in a certain manner and is virtuous, which implies a meritocratic process. Meritocracy is not necessarily compatible with democracy. It doesn’t automatically imply voting, even though it is not incompatible with it. Moreover, the Confucian definition of the person is very different from the liberal 66
one. Cohen underlines that democracy necessitates equality between its members where all members are “entitled to participate in making fundamental judgments about society’s future course.” 14 He continues to say that democracy, in order for members to be equal, needs to be based in a liberal understanding of free and equal individuals. Each individual pursues her own version of the good life and her own “sense of justice.” 15 Democracy is conceived as a deliberative process in which individuals make concessions in order to reach a political agreement. 16 Cohen argues that Confucian societies cannot be democratic for several reasons: communitarian values restrict the members’ individual freedoms, members see themselves as members of a group instead of “separate individuals deserving equal representation” 17 —both of which are features of Confucianism. Moreover, Confucianism sees the creation of “the authentic self through active preservation or retrieval of the moral mind,” which implies a singular conception of the good. 18 On the other hand, changes in value and society are based on pre-existing cultural values. “Ren” in Confucian theory advocates the relief of suffering and can be understood, alongside benevolence, as similar to the Western conception of human rights. 19 It is inscribed in a different logic, but still promotes values that accord with democracy: relief of suffering and benevolence are not too far away from protection of human rights. The subordination of the subject to the sovereign should not preclude the possibility of equality in Confucianism. “Confucian persons are equals in their possession of the moral mind or their moral capacity to cultivate themselves to realize their authentic moral selves. This constitutes the Confucian idea of equality.” 20 As such, Confucianism sees all members of society as having the potential to arrive at “authentic moral selves.” Based on this principle, Herr underlines that people are not forced to accept their leaders, and can indeed reject them if the leaders do not follow moral principles. Moreover, “if Confucian persons equal in their moral capacities are conferred equal respect and thereby participate equally in ‘making fundamental judgments about their society future course,’ then Confucian participatory politics is democracy in Cohen’s sense.” 21 Interestingly, Albert H.Y. Chen takes us back to January 1958 and underlines that four modern Confucian thinkers advocated China’s undergoing a “genuine democratic reconstruction” in their manifesto to the world on the behalf of Chinese culture. 22 Democratic rulers can learn, from Confucian principles, to exert virtue and benevolence and to educate themselves in order to improve morally. The paternal and elitist vision of government is certainly harder to reconcile with democracy but it is not impossible to do so. Some Chinese thinkers call the shift from benevolence to the demand for complete submission and obedience the “fallacy of the misplaced Dao,” 23 suggesting that imperial powers in Ancient China might have debased the tradition. Chen underlines the need, advocated by some Chinese thinkers, to promote the former type of Confucianism and to allow for a transformation of Confucian tradition (with more focus on objective norms and institutions to guarantee a benevolent use of power) while keeping its most valuable notions. Confucianism can be compared with the West in its promotion of benevolence and restraint of power. The difference is that it puts forward intentionality while the West emphasizes “extentionality,” or the institutional framework. 24 As such the two can be seen as different faces of the same coin. 67
Chen argues that in order to implement democracy, a transition should happen in which objectivity is central. 25 The forced implementation of democratic values seems impossible. Culture cannot be forgotten and the forced replacement of cultural traditions by newer practices amounts to a coup-d’état and must use coercion to last. It is likely to lead to uprisings and chaos or to a contrived adherence to democratic norms. It is not sustainable or desirable in the long run. It is more likely that modernization will mobilize the values congruent with democracy and allow the other values to fade into the background, no longer rehearsed by institutions and public discourse. It is to be hoped the notions of benevolence and moral virtue will be kept. Arguments can also be taken from the tradition following Confucius or the one following Mencius. The multiplicity of values advocated in Confucianism should not come as a surprise, as many thinkers have shaped the tradition. Basing himself on the Mencian tradition, Bell underlines that Confucianism advocates constraints on the market in order for all to have their basic needs provided for. “Among the constraints imposed by Confucian policy makers to secure people’s basic ‘material welfare’ was the so-called ‘well-field system’ designed by Mencius, a system allowing farmers to make productive use of their land while ensuring that enough food is supplied to the non-farming population.” 26 What is the best way to ensure the fulfillment of basic rights such as those outlined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1976? Although Chen mentions that some liberal thinkers will be wary of Confucianinfluenced democracy in Asia, this should not be the case. 27 The complete separation of Confucianism and the state in democracy is not needed, as the examples of Norway and other European Countries suggest. If European countries are considered democratic despite the still-present role of the Christian church in shaping subjectivity and in mobilizing political action, there should not be a double standard where Asia is asked to leave Confucianism behind. The best combination of Confucianism and democracy may be a combination of the realpolitik understanding of power of the West (sovereigns act according to their own interests) coupled with a cultivation of the moral values and virtues of Confucian tradition. In fact, citing Chen: “Some of the ills of modern liberal democracies have now become apparent. Examples include excessive claims of rights, excessive litigation, excessive consumerism, overemphasis on economic growth.” 28 While modern democracies seem unable to solve those issues of over-emphasis and instrumentalisation of freedom in order to justify “selfish interests and the satisfaction of unlimited cravings and desires,” 29 Confucian virtues could provide a way of curbing excessive individualism and of promoting self-restraint in modern East Asian democracies. 30 The direction of social change and the discourse of the elite seem, at a theoretical level, to be agents in shaping the relation between Confucianism and democracy in each particular country. Confucianism can be used both against and for the promotion of democracy. Some of its values can support and even ameliorate democracy and others can defeat it. 68
EMPIRICAL APPROACH Recent scholars have underlined that “South Korea and Taiwan have not only maintained stable governance and economic development, but have made full-fledged transitions to democracy with all that implies in the way of free and regular elections, peaceful handovers of power, a vibrant civic life proceeding freely under freely made laws, and the panoply of rights and liberties that make democracy liberal and distinguish it from a mere dictatorship of the majority.” 31 Because South Korea and Taiwan have achieved democracy, the evolution of their Confucian and political values provides insight into the question of the relationship between Confucianism and democracy. Have Confucian values simply faded into the background? Have they been incorporated at the level of public opinion, or at the level of leadership? Has there been a popular adoption of socalled secular values, on the one hand, and an espousal of Confucian ones by leaders, on the other? Chae-bong explains that Confucius’s thoughts were abandoned after an initial surge against Western values, because of the blame of Confucianism for humiliation by the West and of its diffused influence being sustained mainly by the state (which becomes a problem for Confucianism when democracy calls for the separation of state and religion) and the family. 32 Nevertheless, he mentions the use of Confucian values repeatedly by East Asian leaders such as “South Korea’s Park Chung Hee, Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew.” 33 The appeal to values of loyalty to the state and to the family suggests that Confucian values must have exerted more influence on the population than Chae-bong thinks. We should not equate the lack of institutions outside the state, or the movement of states toward democracy, with a weakening of Confucian values. Only an analysis of value surveys and the use by leaders of Confucian values can give us a better idea of the current situation in these countries. In the surveys, answers highlighting or hinting at loyalty to the family and to the state will be considered as markers of Confucian tradition in East Asian countries. To see the difference with Western values, a European country will be added to our analysis. Looking at the 2005-2006 survey on the World Values Surveys Website, one can see several trends suggesting that Confucian values have been adopted. I compare Taiwan, South Korea and France: two Confucian countries and one Western country. Since all three are democracies, the difference in values is attributable to different cultural traditions. Because South Korea and Taiwan are two very different Confucian countries, their similarities are likely due to their century-long Confucian tradition. Ranking the priorities of citizens in each country, we find that 69.9% of Taiwanese and 57.9% of Koreans but only 40.4% of French choose economic development as the first concern. Moreover, 40.4% of French citizens want more political say, but only 23.9% of South Koreans and 4.9% of Taiwanese wish for the same. Nevertheless, about 30% of Koreans and French put as a second choice more say in politics (Taiwanese 13.9%). Koreans and especially Taiwanese are less interested in changing the way things are done 69
and more interested in improving the economic condition of their society, while the French have a more mixed reaction. Involvement in political debate is a good indicator of loyalty to the state, insofar as opposition to public policy indicates a departure from the view of the government. 66.7% of the French but only 34% of South Koreans and 10% of Taiwanese had signed a petition before 2006. Furthermore, over 70% of Taiwanese indicated that they would never sign a petition. Similarly, while in France 40% of individuals had already attended a peaceful demonstration and 30% indicated they “might do” one, 43.6% of South Koreans and 74.9% of Taiwanese indicated that they would never attend to a peaceful/lawful demonstration. This kind of opposition to involvement in political contests indicates that Confucian values are still at work in Taiwanese and Korean populations. Paradoxically, levels of confidence in government in the three countries were quite similar. Very few people trusted their government a great deal and around 40% of the population in each country responded “not very much.” Koreans indicated relatively higher (“quite a lot”) trust than Taiwanese and French. Nevertheless, lower participation in open political contests in East Asian countries cannot be attributed totally to higher trust in government; other factors like cultural norms are likely to account (at least partially) for the difference. Regarding the duties of the government, participants were asked to rate on a continuum how much government should provide for individuals versus how much individuals should be responsible in providing for themselves. A 10 point scale was regrouped into three categories: 1) people seeing it more as a governmental duty, 2) neutral, and 3) people seeing it as their own responsibility. 27.4% of French, 73.5% of South Koreans and 41.2% of Taiwanese declared that government should take more responsibility. 54.8% of French, 18.7% of South Koreans and 40.4% of Taiwanese declared that persons should take more responsibility in providing for themselves. Interestingly, when asked if greater respect for authority would be a good change, Koreans and Taiwanese were more opposed to it than the French. Only 3.8% of French thought it would be a bad thing, compared to 41.3% of Koreans and 43.5% of Taiwanese. Confucianism emphasizes respect for authority. It is interesting therefore that Taiwanese and Koreans are relatively opposed to more of it. It may be that levels of respect for authority are already quite high in these countries. The positive response from the French may be taken to mean that people in Western liberal democracies are dissatisfied with some of their values—a dissatisfaction which could invite Confucian input. Also, when directly asked about democracy, Koreans and Taiwanese were less enthusiastic than the French, although the majority supported it. While only 21.9% of Koreans and 31.6% of Taiwanese think a democratic political system is very good, 55.2% of Koreans and 61.4% of Taiwanese rate democracy as “fairly good.” Moreover, in another instance, as much as 43.7% of French, 38.4% of South Koreans and 56% of Taiwanese rated democracy a matter of “absolute importance” (i.e. 10 on scale whose lowest rating was 1). Finally, around 75% of respondents from all three countries declared having voted in recent parliamentary elections, suggesting that Koreans and Taiwanese took advantage of 70
democratic processes just as much as French citizens. Inglehart and Baker observe a mix of values on a larger scale. Although they underline that “economic development seems to have a powerful impact on cultural values,” they also find religion to be a strong predictor of attitudes toward a wide range of subjects, from abortion to respect for authority. 34 They link the move from tradition to secularism with the move from an agrarian to an industrial society; and change from survival to self-expression with the growth of the service economy. 35 The USA , as a democracy, “is a deviant case, having a much more traditional value system than any other advanced industrial society.” 36 Inglehart and Baker underline that similar cultures share the same basic values, despite some anomalies and the complexities of different cultural traditions. Changes in value are linked to economic conditions, with economic development leading to more secularism and self-expression. Economic collapse is associated with regression to traditional values (as in ex-communist countries). 37 More importantly for the issue at hand, “the data has revealed two contrasting trends: the decline of attendance at religious services throughout the world, on one hand, and on the other, the persistence of religious beliefs and the rise of spirituality.” 38 It therefore seems that modern citizens are less invested in institutional religion. This idea is supported by Inglehart and Baker’s finding that the importance of God in advanced societies decreased by only 1 percentage point, and increased in other parts of the world. 39 It appears that our analysis of World Values Survey questions and the findings of Inglehart and Baker point in the same direction. While modernization brings about change, culture is still a strong predictor of value. Our findings suggest that East Asian democracies find ways to incorporate Confucian values. South Koreans and Taiwanese appear to be both committed to the protection of democracy and to loyalty to the state as advocated by Confucianism. They participate in parliamentary elections as much as the French but avoid peaceful protests and petitions. Although Confucianism is often used to justify authoritarian rule, it can also be used to advocate democracy. South Korea and Taiwan demonstrate this. For example, Sungmoon Kim focuses on the May struggle of 1991 to show how “Confucianism was neither in itself an obstacle nor an unquestionable contributor to the democratization of Korea; rather, it furnished both authoritarian and democratic sides with symbolic weapons.” 40 Competing tendencies within Confucianism explain its simultaneous use on either side of the democratic-authoritarian divide. The May struggle of 1991 began with the killing of a young university student by the police and saw several demonstrations taking place during two months. The newly founded Sixth republic had not yet become a fully-fledged democracy. 41 According to Sungmoon Kim, the uprising in favor of democracy at the time was triggered by the death of the student and took its force in “rigorous moral standards” stemming from South Korea’s Confucian tradition. On the pro-democratic side, the burial of the young man gave rise to demands for part of the ceremony to be located at the City Hall Plaza, an emblem of democratic martyrdom. In order to prevent the ceremony’s taking place there, the government appealed to the special bond between parents and sons. 42 Thus Confucian morality was used to avoid the ceremony’s taking place at a site symbolic of democracy. The pro-democratic side 71
responded by appealing to the sanctity of the funeral procession. Sungmoon Kim explains: “In the Confucian ethico-religious and political tradition, funeral rites are thought to best represent the spirit of “ren” (benevolence), the Confucian ethical virtue par excellence, and filial piety.” 43 As a result, an ostensibly private event became highly politically charged. Of course, if a government lacks benevolence, then in the eyes of the populace it lacks its right to govern. Understanding this, the state made some minimum democratic gestures and attempted to “persuade the Korean public of its qualitative difference from Chun’s dictatorship by strategically adopting the traditional Confucian governance of benevolence.” 44 The author points out that the government agreed to the change in order to avoid being targeted for “moral failure,” not because of its pro-democratic sentiments. Notions of moral righteousness surfaced during this complex event that ended in the disadvantage of the pro-democratic party after the latter was perceived to be immoral and a threat to authority. 45 Nevertheless the May Struggle of 1991 seems to show Confucian values were not more favorable to one side. Rather, they influenced the perceived legitimacy of actors, informed the population about who they should trust in ruling the country; and those values could be used by both pro-democratic and anti-democratic force to change the balance of power at a crucial time for democratic implementation and consolidation. CONCLUSION The relationship between Confucianism and democracy is complex both theoretically and empirically. Confucianism is a strong living philosophical tradition that is best understood in terms of “multi-vocality.” 46 The evidence appears to suggest that modernization and democracy do not result in an abandonment of Confucian values; nor should this be the case. On the contrary, modernization and democracy cause changes in value but can at the same time be incorporated into Confucianism to create culturally particular East Asian democracies. Such democracies might just give us a coherent answer on how to best address certain problems of Western democracies. Although some scholars will argue that such Confucian societies contain the germs of authoritarianism, it is unfair to regard them as unworthy of consideration on such grounds. Some Western democracies have given rise fascism and as such contain the similar risks. Instead, factors such as leadership, modernization, and economic development will determine how Confucian values are used or changed in order to solidify the social changes brought about by democracies.
Alfred Stephan, Arguing Comparative Politics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 181-199;213-253.
Shaun O’Dwyer, «Democracy and Confucian Values,» Philosophy East & West, 53, no. 1 (2003): 39-63
Schmitter, Philippe C., Karl, Terry Lynn 1991: What Democracy Is…and Is Not, in: Diamond, Larry/ Plattner, Marc F. (eds.): The Global Resurgence of Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 39-52.
Ronald Inglehart, and Wayne E. Baker, «Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values,» American Sociological Review, 65, no. 1 (2000): 19-51
Georges Kennan emphasized that democracy was created in Western communities and that it had not yet proven it was suitable for other cultures. Huntington, Samuel P. 1993: Democracy’s Third Wave, in: Diamond, Larry/ Plattner, Marc F. (eds.): The Global Resurgence of Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 5-25
Huntington, Samuel P. 1993, Democracy’s Third Wave, in: Diamond, Larry, Plattner, Marc F. (eds.): The Global Resurgence of Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 5-25
Alfred Stephan, Arguing Comparative Politics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 181-199;213-253.
Shaun O’Dwyer, «Democracy and confucian values,» Philosophy East & West, 53, no. 1 (2003): 39-63
Ranjoo S. Herr, «Confucian Democracy and Equality,» Asian Philosophy, 20, no. 3 (2012): 261-282
Fred Dallmayr, «Exiting Liberal Democracy: Bell and Confucian Thought,» Philosophy East & West, 59, no. 4 (2009): 524-530
Ranjoo S. Herr, «Confucian Democracy and Equality,» Asian Philosophy, 20, no. 3 (2012): 261-282
Albert H.Y. Chen, «Is Confucianism Compatible with Liberal Constitutional Democracy?,» Journal of Chinese Philosophy: 195-216,
Fred Dallmayr, «Exiting Liberal Democracy: Bell and Confucian Thought,» Philosophy East & West, 59, no. 4 (2009): 524-530
Albert H.Y. Chen, «Is Confucianism Compatible with Liberal Constitutional Democracy?,» Journal of ChinesePphilosophy: 195-216
Ham Chae-bong, «The Ironies of Confucianism,» Journal of Democracy, 15, no. 3 (2004): 93-107
Ronald Inglehart, and Wayne E. Baker, «Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values,» American Sociological Review, 65, no. 1 (2000): 19-51,
S. Kim, «Confucianism in Contestation: the May Struggle of 1991 in South Korea and its Lesson,» New Political Science, 31, no. 1 (2009): 49-68,
Alfred Stephan, Arguing Comparative Politics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 181-199; 213253.
WORKS CITED: Albert H.Y. Chen, “Is Confucianism Compatible with Liberal Constitutional Democracy?” Journal of Chinese Philosophy: 195-216 Chae-bong, Ham. “The Ironies of Confucianism.” Journal of Democracy. 15. no. 3 (2004): 93-107. Huntington, Samuel P. 1993: Democracy’s Third Wave, in: Diamond, Larry/ Plattner, Marc F. (eds.): The Global Resurgence of Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP Fred Dallmayr, “Exiting Liberal Democracy: Bell and Confucian Thought,” Philosophy East & West, 59, no. 4 (2009): 524-530 Kim, S. “Confucianism in contestation: the May struggle of 1991 in South Korea and its lesson.” New Political Science. 31. no. 1 (2009): 49-68. O’Dwyer, Shaun. “Democracy and confucian values.” Philosophy East & West. 53. no. 1 (2003): 39-63. Ranjoo S. Herr, “Confucian Democracy and Equality,” Asian Philosophy, 20, no. 3 (2012): 261-282 Ronald Inglehart, and Wayne E. Baker, “Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values,” American Sociological Review, 65, no. 1 (2000): 19-51 Schmitter, Philippe C., Karl, Terry Lynn 1991: “What Democracy Is … and Is Not” in: Diamond, Larry, Plattner, Marc F. (eds.): The Global Resurgence of Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 39-52. Stephan, Alfred. Arguing Comparative Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. The World Values Survey 2005-2008 (fifth wave of the World Values Surveys) for the empirical analysis and the graphs. Countries selected: South Korea, Taiwan, France.
I S L A M I C F E M I N I S M : P R O M OT I N G W O M E N ’ S R I G H T S I N AN ISLAMIC FRAMEWORK
DEFINING ISLAMIC FEMINISM Islam was originally a revolutionary egalitarian message that greatly improved the situation of women of its time. Yet why is it that today we often hear and read about the opposite taking place in Muslim countries? Islamic feminists are trying to change this by reviving what they believe was the original spirit of Islam. Much like Christians and Jews who have gone back to study the Bible and Torah in recent times to contextualize its patriarchy, Islamic feminists are going directly to Islam’s original sources to promote the status and rights of women. Islamic feminism is a global movement, which in the last decade has gained considerable momentum. It “incorporates the ideas of numerous Muslim (and nonMuslim) intellectuals and activists” who intend to show that “Islamic law evolved in ways inimical to women not due to any inevitability or intention in its core beliefs, but due to misinterpretation, misuse, and corruption of the Prophet’s original message. 1 Islamic feminists stress that women’s rights are violated only when power lies in the hands of those who misuse the religion. When put in the right context—i.e. divorced from misogyny—Islam ensures that women have full rights. Curiously, however, even though Islamic feminism seeks to correct false notions and highlight common misperception at a general level, the movement is not addressed to non-Muslims. Instead it is a movement within Islam, which addresses who speaks for the religion and what form it takes vis-à-vis women.
ISLAMIC FEMINISM: A CONTROVERSIAL TERM The term “Islamic feminism” is problematic. Western critics who are ignorant of the precepts and context of Islam have a problem with the term “Islamic” as a prefix to “feminism,” and label the phrase oxymoronic or paradoxical; while many Muslim critics take issue with the word “feminism” because of its association with secularism, colonialism, materialism, and Western decadence. 2 Islamic feminists are “routinely attacked as being servile imitators of the West,” and as “agents of Western cultural imperialism who aim to destroy sound customs and morality.” 3 Islamic feminists have argued in response that overtones of oppression and corruption surrounding the word “feminism” often stem from Western cultural ideals imposed upon subjugated populations during periods of colonialism. 75
Many Islamic feminists avoid labeling themselves as such because they see themselves merely as Muslims living up to their duties and rights. Islamic feminists are many different types of people: regular citizens, lawyers, teachers, artists, sheikhs, and a great deal of those who advocate Islam from a progressive point of view. Indeed, for many Muslims, Islam and feminism are inseparable. In both concept and movement, Islamic feminism is connected with issues of human rights. In Muslim-majority countries where religious traditions are strong, human rights issues are argued in Islamic terms, and human rights workers in Muslim-majority countries often work hand-in-hand with Islamic feminists. How this takes place will be explored later on. BRIEF OVERVIEW OF WESTERN FEMINISM In order to understand Islamic feminism we must examine its similarities and contrasts with Western feminism. Western feminism is traditionally divided into three waves. The first wave took place in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, and was concerned with the right to vote. Before American women gained this right in 1920, culture and religion had made the notion nearly impossible. Yet, through the first feminist wave, “women’s suffrage shifted from inconceivable to requisite in a matter of decades.” 4 The second wave, commonly referred to as the women’s liberation movement, took place in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time the terms “feminism” and “feminist” came to prominence. After the right to vote had been achieved, feminists focused on greater legal and social rights. These included equal working rights, rights to inheritance, different divorce and domestic abuse laws, and reproductive rights. The third wave, beginning in the 1990s, carried the women’s liberation movement through to the 2000s and third wave feminists continue to expand on many of the concepts of equality that were addressed in the second wave. These movements were peculiar to the West, even though the rights they were fighting for were rights that women lacked the world over. Except for small branches of these three main waves, feminism in the West is primarily secular and largely the province of intellectuals. These two reasons, along with Western cultural hegemony, explain the difference of approach in Muslim societies. HISTORY OF ISLAMIC FEMINISM: HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTORS TO PRESENT MOVEMENTS Islamic feminism is rooted in the Prophet’s own time. As previously mentioned, most Muslim “Islamic feminists” would not necessarily call themselves as such. Many see themselves simply as Muslims following the historical example of the Prophet who radically improved the situation of women during his time in a way that even until the second Caliph Umar perceived as revolutionary. Since the Prophet’s death, however, Islam has been used the world over to serve the idiosyncratic purposes of those in power, usually to the detriment of women. Nonetheless, foundational egalitarian aspects of Islam can still be found in interpretations of the Quran and the Sunnah which promote a return to the 76
Meccan and Medinan ideal of egalitarian justice, which is fairer to women. Muhammad’s wife, Aisha, was an important female contributor to early Islamic society. She led an army in the Battle of the Camel, and many hadith can be traced back to her. 5 Also, “Karima bint Ahmad (d. 1069) and Fatima bint Ali (d. 1087) are regarded as two of the most important transmitters of the Prophet’s traditions, while Zaynab bint alSha’ri (d. 1220) and Daqiqa bint Murshid (d. 1345) were textual scholars who occupied an eminent place in early Islamic scholarship.” 6 One could go far back into early Islamic history to cite important contributions to feminism from other early Islamic societies, yet for the sake of brevity, the Umayyad society in Al-Andalus will be given as the most noteworthy example. Many women played active roles in Al-Andalus, including Itimad al-Rumaykiyya, poetess and wife of taifa king al-Mutamid of Seville, and scion Walladah bint Mustakfi (d. 1091 CE) who challenged the upper-class convention of veiling. 7 There were also numerous Muslim scholars in AlAndalus who promoted women’s status, such as Ali Ibn Hazm (died 1064 CE), who said women should take on leadership roles. 8 The seeds of Islamic feminism can be found in certain intellectual movements of the 19 th century. For example, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his protégée Mumtaz Ali made women an important part of their reformation writings. Khan “ached for an Islamic Renaissance” and “believed that the issue was the way [Islam] had been interpreted over the ages.” 9 He approached the subject of Muslim women through a comparison with British laws regarding women in the 1870s and pointed out that a British woman who marries forfeits her “personal possessions, wealth, cash and property that were hers before marriage.” 10 He then contrasts this with how “women are honored in Islam, and their rights and authority are equal to those of men; that even after marriage Muslim women can own property, execute contracts, and control inheritance.” 11 Moreover, Mumtaz Ali wrote a treatise in 1898 called Rights of Women relying on the Quran and the Sunnah to talk about inheritance, marriage, divorce, girls’ education rights, polygamy and purdah (separation of men and women), arguing against their being sound Islamic traditions. 12 However, such ideas remained largely abstract and were often denounced by conservative Muslim scholars of the time. Around the same time, an Egyptian modernist movement emerged, which included such proponents of women’s rights as Muhammad Abduh and Qasim Amin. Abduh urged the practice of ijtihad when he became Egypt’s grand mufti in 1899, and promoted women’s rights long before the West, while Qasim Amin made women’s rights “a central feature of his scholarship” when he wrote The Liberation of Women in 1899. 13 In Tunisia, Tahar Haddad (1899-1935) wrote an important feminist treatise on women’s rights in 1930 called Our Women in Muslim Law and Society, which used the Quran and the Sunnah to condemn injustices perpetrated against women by society in the name of Islam. “The book is a powerful, and often moving, indictment of the condition of woman in traditional society, as well as of the injustice suffered by the poor in the Tunisia of the day,” and is based on Quranic sources. 14 Haddad was very clear that he believed abuses against women were the faults of men, not God. He says: “If we examined our tendency 77
to deny progress to women, we would see that this is primarily due to the fact that we regard them as an object to satisfy our desires,” and continues, “I, without a doubt, do not consider Islam to be an obstacle in the way of progress.” 15 Haddad’s work was a platform for future Islamic feminist movements, mainly in North Africa. Today, Tunisia and Morocco are two of the only Muslim countries to have restricted polygamy, interpreting it as unIslamic in agreement with the views of Haddad. Morocco has even begun to allow women to be trained as sheikhs. 16 Morocco is also home to Fatema Mernissi, a professor of sociology who began publishing her thoughts on women and Islam in the 1970s. Mernissi was one of the founding members of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights. 17 She questions common interpretations of the Quran and hadith by returning to the original sources and reexamining them through a feminist lens. Her book The Veil and the Male Elite was banned in Morocco, yet her insistence on equality as the basis of Muhammad’s message is shared by many others. 18 Asma Barlas, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, and Leila Ahmed have all worked extensively with Islamic sources in a similar way, stripping both the Quran and hadith practices of patriarchal overtones. A central tenet of this work is that “Muslim women should not have to choose between their faith and their rights.” 19 Margot Badran is credited with coining the term “Islamic feminism,” which she claims is neither “Western” nor “Eastern” but a universal feminist discourse grounded in the Quran (Badran). Other notable women currently engaging in this field include, but are not limited to, Zainah Anwar, co-founder of Sisters in Islam in Malaysia, Asra Nomani and Nasreen Amina in the Spanish-speaking world, and the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi. Another important name is Musdah Mulia, an Islamic scholar from Indonesia who produced “a detailed counterpoint to Indonesia’s Islamic legal code” in 2004, in which she stressed that the law “is not a fax from heaven.” 20 Others include Sakena Yacoobi, an activist who runs schools and clinics for refugee children, and has convinced many local clerics to educate girls through her knowledge of the Quran and Sundus Abban Hasan who heads the Women’s Leadership Institute, an Iraqi organization that prepares women for public roles in society. 21 In one of the most conservative Islamic countries known for not allowing women to drive, Saudi Arabian Manal Alsharif became leader of the Women2Drive Campaign when she videotaped herself driving and uploaded the footage to YouTube using her real name and showing her face in the spring of 2011. Since the incident, she has become a full-time activist for women’s rights, and recently spoke at the San Francisco Freedom Forum. Additionally, many Saudi artists, such as Manal Al-Dowayan, Deya Yousef, Haneen Alemam, and Shurooq Amin, are making bold feminist statements. Numerous Twitter campaigners such as Eman Al-Nafjan and Ahmed Al-Omran regularly comment on Islamic feminist themes relating to the KSA . “We need to develop a Muslim perspective that truly reflects the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) and leaves behind any cultural add-ons that spawn intolerance, hatred, and unnecessary restrictions on women,” says Samar Fatany. 22 Dr. Haifa Jamal al-Lail, Dean of Effat University, Saudi Arabia’s first private women’s college, aims above all to teach critical thinking skills to help the girls interpret the Quran for themselves. “If we can 78
produce students here with big ideas, then they will have a big impact on our country. . . . The walls for women in Saudi Arabia will shatter. . . . in time.” 23 TOOLS OF ISLAMIC FEMINISM: I. REINTERPRETING ISLAMIC SOURCES Muslim feminists must promote women’s rights by going back to the Quran and the Sunnah. When looking at these sources they often use the same process that formed Islamic Law in its early centuries: ijtihad (using critical reasoning in Islamic law to arrive at conclusions), even though more orthodox Islamic schools claim that the gates of ijtihad were closed in the reign of the Abbasids and the tafseer interpretations of verses are set. Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner, says of this process: In an ideal world, I would choose not to be vulnerable to the caprice of interpretation, because the ambiguity of theological debates spirals back to the seventh century… If I am forced to ferret through musty books of Islamic jurisprudence and rely on sources that stress the egalitarian ethics of Islam, then so be it. Is it harder this way? Of course it is. But is there an alternative battlefield? Desperate wishing aside, I cannot see one.” 24 Through engaging with the religion’s original sources, Islamic feminists have shown that “not only did the Qur’an dismantle existing institutions that contributed to women’s degraded and vulnerable status, but Islam conferred rights on women in the seventh century that women in the West were unable to obtain until relatively recent times.” 25 The Quran banned the common and accepted practice of female infanticide, limited polygamy, gave women inheritance rights, the ability to own and manage property, ownership of the dowry (previously given to the bride’s father), and “curbed abuses of divorce by husbands” 26 . Also, according to the Sunnah, Islam enabled women to defend their interests within the family and to “participate in public and religious affairs on a footing of approximate equality with men.” 27 Going back to the original sources of Islam is of utmost importance for Islamic feminists. Fatima Mernissi was particularly successful in “demonstrating how widely circulating hadith [inimical to women] are weak or spurious and how some, which are of more solid provenance, have been read out of context.” 28 “The key is fighting medieval interpretations of the Koran with modern scholarship,” says an article discussing the position of Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini, an Iranian professor and legal anthropologist on Islamic law at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. 29 On the same note, Zainah Anwar, co-founder of Sisters in Islam, says, “Sharia is interpreted by humans and therefore subject to change.” To demonstrate the way in which Islamic feminists are reinterpreting Islamic sources and applying them to the sphere of human rights, take the most problematic verse in the Quran for women as an example: Surah 4 verse 34. This verse is referred to by Mir Hosseini as “the DNA of patriarchy.” 30 It is translated in English by Pickthal as the following: 79
Men are in charge of women [qawwamuna ‘ala an-nisa], because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them [adribuhunna]. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. (Surah An-Nisa, QuranExplorer.com) This verse is known for being used to condone violence against women and for solidifying men’s status above women’s. It rationalizes the curtailment of women’s economic and social rights throughout the Islamic world, influences civil laws and inhibits some countries from either signing or fully implementing the CEDAW. 31 However, Islamic feminists are busy reinterpreting such difficult passages. With the first part of this verse, the Arabic qawwamuna ‘ala an-nisa can be translated in a number of different ways. The Arabic traditionally interpreted as “be in charge of women” can equally be “watch over,” “protect,” “support,” “attend to,” or “look after” women. 32 In the second part of this verse, the word adribuhunna in its worst form is translated as “beat them,” but it can also mean “turn away from them,” “go along with them,” and even “have consensual intercourse with them.” 33 II. SEPARATING RELIGION FROM CULTURE Many Islamic rules that curtail women’s rights date back to medieval interpretations of the Quran. “The pre-modern jurists generally treated women as needing male tutelage and control, imposing many disabilities on women, putting them in a distinctly subordinate role vis-à-vis men within the family.” 34 Fazlur Rahman argues “the influence of social conditions and the interpenetration of many diverse cultural traditions led to the inferior status of women being written into Islamic law.” 35 Ghada A .D., an employee at the Saudi Human Rights Commission in Riyadh, demonstrated the importance of separating culture from religion in an email exchange in October 2012: Some Islamic societies don’t give women their full rights, like Saudi Arabia for example. We can explain problems with human rights violations in Muslim countries; that it’s not because of Islam, but Muslims who do not follow Islam completely and only live according to some old traditions and wrong and ignorant thinking. There is a big difference between Islam of the Quran and Sunnah and old traditions and customs, and in the human rights field these are what we have to fight against. The passage recalls the way Aisha drove a camel and how many women were granted status, respectability, and the ability to make decisions in early Islam. She stressed the way that in modern Saudi, religion and culture frequently overlap, blur and even superimpose. The same could be said for other Muslim societies that fail to give women rights as equal members of the human race for reasons they claim to be God’s. Too often the line between God and man becomes indistinguishable when culture gets named as religion, and since nobody will argue with God, invoking God’s name can become a powerful tool of manipulation. This is why Islamic feminism focuses on what the religion really dictates without taking anybody’s word for it, and then names what is 80
culture and what is religion. Further, they disprove justifications for abuses against women in the name of religion through their scholarship. INTERSECTIONS WITH AND CONFLICTS BETWEEN WESTERN AND ISLAMIC FEMINISM The main difference between traditional Western feminist theory and that of Islamic feminists is the Quranic basis of the latter. Both movements desire equal rights and legal protections for women. They often overlap in this respect; yet sometimes clash in their approach. The debate often becomes one of “equal but different” or “equal meaning the same.” Cultural relativism comes into play, and both sides start to suggest that the other holds different ideas about women’s rights. Still, there is equal evidence to deconstruct this notion that the two definitions of women’s rights are essentially different. Both approaches strive for the same dignity that comes with equality. It is only in the details where conflicts sometimes arise. The Islamic clothing issue is a perfect example of the problems of cultural relativism. Interpretations of Islamic dress code often conflict. One side views it as an unnecessary restriction and breach of freedom of expression; the other as an enhancement of dignity and a protective measure. “Under Islamic law, clothing is generally for the enhancement of human dignity,” says lawyer and professor Mashood A . Baderin. 36 The point that the Western approach misses in saying that the veil is a symbol of subjugation is that most women who cover themselves do so moderately and, more often than not, it is a conscious choice that is either a form of worship, or in other cases, a symbol of faith akin to wearing a crucifix or Jewish kippah. For many it is worn out of strength of opinion or cultural or religious pride, and does not resemble weakness. For some, the veil is even a reactionary symbol of resistance against colonialism, Westernization, and against verbal attacks on Islam. Besides cultural relativism, cultural imperialism is also at the forefront of a clash between these two approaches to feminism. Colonialism economically and politically oppressed subjugated populations while forcing democratic ideals upon them at the same time. For this reason, Western feminism has met with mistrust and even hostility, and women’s rights in the Middle East have suffered due to its association with colonial imperialism. Unfortunately, linking feminism to the West in this way has “helped turn patriarchy into patriotism” and has caused a backlash that the Islamic feminists are attempting to undo. 37 Also problematic is the tendency to homogenize. It goes without saying that each woman’s cultural and societal baggage is different depending on geographical, religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. The homogenization and secularization of the female experience by Western feminists will only alienate women from different backgrounds, so it is crucial to look at women’s rights through a pluralistic multidisciplinary lens. ISLAMIC FEMINISM IN THE CONTEXT OF HUMAN RIGHTS 81
The principle of equality is recognized in Islamic theology and law, yet the relationship is recognized under the principle of “equal but not equivalent.” 38 Because of this, the roles of women do not include absolute equality in terms of “sameness” within the family. In the OIC Cairo Declaration relating the ICCPR to Muslim countries, the provision in Article 6 (b) “seems to foreclose women’s right of equality in responsibility within the family under Islamic law.” 39 The differentiated gender roles create room for unbalance in terms of treatment and duties. This goes against the individual’s right of self-determination. For example, the husband is the one who is legally bound to support the family financially, not the woman. This creates distinct gender roles that come with limitations for both sexes. The position of the internationally recognized Human Rights Committee is clear that gender equality should be non-discriminatory. Article 3 of the ICCPR ensures the equality of rights between men and women by applying this principle of nondiscrimination. The concept is developed further in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. In its preamble and 30 articles it “defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. 40 It “provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life” and is legally binding by those countries who have adopted it. 41 It also requires each country to send in a national report every four years regarding the upholding of the treaty obligations. 42 “Several countries have ratified the Convention subject to certain declarations, reservations and objections. Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Nauru, Palau, Tonga and the United States have not ratified CEDAW.” 43 With regards to Muslim-majority states, some countries “ratified CEDAW without reservations” while others have failed to do so. 44 “Gross disparities in Muslim countries’ responses to CEDAW are evidence that factors other than the Islamic tradition define Muslim countries’ positions on women’s rights.” 45 Yet even some of the most liberal countries had reservations about marriage and family matters due to the importance of the family and societal structures as institutions in Islam. 46 The wording of the CEDAW potentially allows for change of the family structure, which is interpreted as a disservice to the whole society. “Even Muslim countries, such as Tunisia, considered today as having adopted a most liberal approach in their interpretation of Islamic law, entered reservations” to CEDAW because of its denial of separate gender duties and responsibilities. 47 However, Articles 7, 9 and 15 were objected to “on grounds of national laws and not on grounds of Islamic law per se.” 48 In the HRC General Comment 28 of the ICCPR, equality between men and women raises issues with Islamic law regarding such subjects as non-discrimination, punishment (corporal and other), liberty of movement, clothing requirements, and marriage and family issues such as equal divorce grounds, the right to choose one’s spouse and equal authority within the family. 49 It also raises issues with court representation and women acting as witnesses since according to Islamic law based on Quran 2:282 one male witness is equal to two female witnesses, a law that some Islamic scholars say is precautionary rather than 82
discriminatory due to the context of women’s lack of knowledge in business affairs during the Prophet’s time. However, article 19 of the OIC Cairo Declaration upholds women’s equality by stating that all people are equal before the law. 50 Pages 133-153 of Professor Mashood A . Baderin’s book International Human Rights and Islamic Law argues many of the same points as the Islamic feminists regarding marriage, divorce, polygamy, endogamy, and inheritance and equality rights in marriage. This shows the crossover between the fields of human rights and Islamic feminism. Many principles held by Islamic feminists appear in the human rights field, e.g. the right to vote and participate in public affairs, which is not prohibited by Islamic law. 51 “The purpose of international human rights law is to afford protection for human rights” and to uphold human dignity. 52 Unfortunately, many interpretations of Islamic law “afford the legal basis to restrict or deny rights, including women’s right to equality and to equal treatment under the law.” 53 For most religious devotees, given the choice between something their religion advocates and something secular, the former would be chosen even if it goes against one’s personal rights and interests, because in denying oneself one believes she is choosing God. CONCLUSION The invocation of God can be used for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, many human rights abuses against women in Islamic contexts are due to people claiming God’s authority in defense of perverse practices. Thus, many of the things outsiders criticize about Islam regarding women also directly conflict with the Quran. Islamic feminists are re-engaging with the Quran and drawing important cultural and historical distinctions in order to redefine their place within Islam and to gain their rights in society. Islamic feminism is a grassroots movement implementing change from the bottomup by working within a religious framework. Instead of pitting religion against science, or secularism against faith, Islamic feminism uses the religion itself as both the lens through which all progressive ideals are seen and as a tool for advancing those same ideals. In this way it weds progress to religion, i.e. to the very foundation of the societies in question. Within the field of human rights this movement is laying a foundation for further engagement. Western human rights sources need to realize their advantages and utilize and support this foundational work without hindering progress by stressing secularism. When both sides focus on how best to advance dignity and equality, progress can be made. Islamic feminism is an important step towards achieving this goal.
NOTES: 1. Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Random House, 2010. Print. 2. Ibid. 22, 17, 49, 51 3. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. pp. 117. Print. 4. Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the 5. Aslan, Reza. No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. pp. House Trade Paperbacks, 2006. Print. 6. Ibid, 70. 7. Unity Productions Foundation 8. Ibid 9. Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the
Middle East. pp. 19. New York: Boulder, CO: Westview, 2007. Middle East. pp. 27. 130 – 131. New York: Random
Middle East. pp. 42
10. Ibid, 43 11. Ibid, 43 12. Ibid, 45 13. Ibid, 47 14. Karim, Maha. “Tahar Haddad - The Precursor of Women’s Rights in Tunisia | Culture.” Global Arab Network. Global Arab Network, 03 Mar. 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.english.globalarabnetwork. com/201003035045/Culture/taher-haddad-the precursor-of-womens-rights-in-tunisia.html>. 15. Husni, Ronak, and Daniel L. Newman. Muslim Women in Law and Society: An Annotated Translation of AlTahir Al-Haddad’s Imra’tuna fi ‘l-shari’a wa ‘l-mujtama, with an Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2007. Taylor & Francis e-Library, EPUB file, Kindle. 16. Massat, Fadoua. “It’s Time for Women to Break Male Monopoly over Fatwas.” Zawaya: A Service of Magharebia. Zawaya, 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://zawaya.magharebia.com/en_GB/zawaya/opinion/326>. 17. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. pp. 116. 18. Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East. pp. 40 19. Ibid, 40 20. Ibid, 61, 62 21. Ibid 162, 260 22. Fatany, Samar. Saudi Women Towards a New Era. pp. 15. Riyadh: Ghainaa Publications, 2007. Print. 23. Quoted in Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East. pp. 208 24. Ibid, 275 25. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. pp. 114 26. Ibid, 114 27. Ibid, 114 28. Baderin, Mashood A . International Human Rights and Islamic Law. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. 29. Anderson, Lisa. “Muslim Women Attempt to Reinterpret the “DNA of Patriarchy” in Koran.” Musawah: Equality in the Muslim Family. TrustLaw, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.musawah.org/muslimwomen-attempt-reinterpret-dna-patriarchy-koran>. 30. Ibid 31. Ibid 32. Aslan, Reza. No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. pp. 70. 33. Ibid, 70 34. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. pp. 115 35. Ibid, 115 36. Baderin, Mashood A . International Human Rights and Islamic Law. pp. 64 37. Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East. pp. 22 38. Baderin, Mashood A . International Human Rights and Islamic Law. pp. 60 39. Ibid, 60 40. Unitednations.org 41. Ibid 42. Ibid 43. GWANET 44. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. pp. 118 45. Ibid, 119 46. Baderin, Mashood A . International Human Rights and Islamic Law. pp. 61 - 62 47. Ibid, 61, 62 48. Ibid, 61, 62 49. Ibid, 61, 62 50. Ibid, 100, 103 51. Ibid, 158 84
52. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. pp. 143 53. Ibid, 143
WORKS CITED: A .D., Ghada. “Human Rights, Women and Islam.” 10 Oct. 2012. E-mail. Anderson, Lisa. “Muslim Women Attempt to Reinterpret the “DNA of Patriarchy” in Koran.” Musawah: Equality in the Muslim Family. TrustLaw, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.musawah.org/ muslim-women-attempt-reinterpret-dna-patriarchy-koran>. Anwar, Zainah (Levin Center). “Zainah Anwar: Shari’a law is interpreted by humans and therefore subject to change. Change is necessary and possible. #SLSIntlPI” October 13, 2012. Tweet. Twitter.com Aslan, Reza. No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006. Print. Baderin, Mashood A . International Human Rights and Islamic Law. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain. Rep. Unity Productions Foundation, 2007. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.islamicspain.tv/Andalusi-Society/WomenofAl Andalus.htm>. Coleman, Isobel. Paradise beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East. New York: Random House, 2010. Print. “Contact | Equality in the Muslim Family.” Musawah.org | Equality in the Muslim Family. Musawah, 2012. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.musawah.org/aboutmusawah/contact>. “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” United Nations: Division for the Advancement of Women: Department of Economic and Social Affairs. United Nations, 2000-2009. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/>. Fatany, Samar. Saudi Women Towards a New Era. Riyadh: Ghainaa Publications, 2007. Print. “History and Theory of Feminism.” Network “GWANET — Gender and Water in Central Asia”. GWANET, 2008. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.gender.cawater info.net/knowledge_base/rubricator/feminism_e.htm>. Husni, Ronak, and Daniel L. Newman. Muslim Women in Law and Society: An Annotated Translation of Al-Tahir Al-Haddad’s Imra’tuna fi ‘l-shari’a wa ‘l- mujtama, with an Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2007. Taylor & Francis e-Library, EPUB file, Kindle. “Islamic Feminism Is a Universal Discourse: Interview with Margot Badran.” Interview by Yoginder Sikand. Islaminterfaith.org. Qantara.de, 2005. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://en.qantara.de/Islamic-Feminism-Is-a-Universal-Discourse/9550c9649i0p/>. Karim, Maha. “Tahar Haddad - The Precursor of Women’s Rights in Tunisia | Culture.” Global Arab Network. Global Arab Network, 03 Mar. 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201003035045/Culture/taher-haddad-the-precursor-ofwomens-rights-in-tunisia.html>. Massat, Fadoua. “It’s Time for Women to Break Male Monopoly over Fatwas.” Zawaya: A Service of Magharebia. Zawaya, 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://zawaya.magharebia.com/en_GB/ zawaya/opinion/326>. Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2007. Print. Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and International Law. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1996. Print. Surah An-Nisa. Quran Explorer. Quran Explorer Inc., 2006-12. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/>.
C O N F L I C T R E S O LU T I O N A S S U S TA I N A B L E I N T R A C K T W O D I P L O M A C Y: A C O H E S I V E S T R AT E G Y T H R O U G H CIVIL SOCIETY EMPOWERMENT
Conflict resolution is an analysis of the solutions for confronting conflicts in international relations through means of activities and knowledge of the issues surrounding these conflicts. Conflict resolution within track two diplomacy is a distinct methodology which utilizes nontraditional actors to provide solutions for conflicts. This paper argues that track two diplomacy must facilitate a comprehensive strategy of the methods of conflict prevention, state-building, peace making, peace building, and peace keeping. This holistic approach accomplishes its solution not only through these methods, but also through the acknowledgement of an interdependence of many bodies, both official and unofficial; these are of nation-states and civil society intersecting in the international community. CONFLICT RESOLUTION The nature of unofficial actors in track two diplomacy is a significant aspect of their distinctive solution to conflicts. To understand how these agents are able to act, as well as study their character in diplomacy, we must begin with studying the forms these actors materialize. Unofficial actors may include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), transnational corporations (TNCs), citizen diplomats, faith-based actors, and grassroots groups. While this list may not be entirely inclusive, it does provide a foundation to build a study of these actors. These unofficial, or nontraditional, agents are unique in their ability to understand the underlying causes and behaviors beneath conflicts, such as identity, “human nature, human behavior, and social structures.” 1 Nontraditional actors are not affiliated with government organizations or the stratification of nation-states and different groups, such as indigenous peoples (in an official capacity). These distinct factors allow these actors to approach conflict resolution in an unofficial capacity wherein they can communicate uniquely, influence the public sphere, consequently, they are more trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of groups affected by conflicts. Conflict resolution (CR) has traditionally been defined in ways relating to the cessation of war and violence, however a comprehensive definition must include the history of conflict and analyze the root causes and underlying issues of conflicts. Firstly, CR must be defined from a holistic perspective, which takes into account the depth of violence beyond the physical character of violence in conflicts. Rather, that there is violence at “structural and cultural levels.” 2 In order to address both structural 86
levels, such as political groups, legislature, and education systems, as well as cultural levels, such as ethnicity and religion, there are many resolution processes. This paper asserts there must be analyses of the same processes and initial causes of conflict. Secondarily, CR includes these processes both official and unofficial by different parties which can and should work interdependently in coordinated efforts. Bercovitch states that these processes are “designed to limit and reduce the level of violence in conflict, and to achieve some understanding of the key issues in conflict.” 3 While an analysis of the violence and a reduction of the immediate conflict is necessary, there are certain activities which may also preclude conflict, such as conflict prevention and peace building. Furthermore, gaining a knowledge of issues can lead to deeper understanding that may prevent and maintain positive peace. Peace is not simply an absence of violence, but a deeper concept that implies knowledge of the history which instills a positive peace, not simply a negative peace, or lack of current war or conflict. Finally, in order to analyze the issues beneath conflicts, there must also be a recognition of peace as a sustainable goal. The objective in conflict resolution should be beyond mere knowing and accepting these issues of conflict, but achieving a sense of long-term sustainability that prevents and creates strategy to keep resolution. One of the important aspects of CR focuses on security and how to protect groups, states, and peoples. In studying conflict, scholars have written extensively on the development of security as a concept that has changed from state sovereignty and state security to human security. This ‘paradigm shift’ in international relations has affected the methods and activities used to define conflict resolution as a much more complex solution. “This paradigm shift has different elements and ramifications. The first is the emphasis on the transnational nature of threats in the global era, and hence the indivisibility of security across borders…another element is that there are many new nongovernmental actors in the security field.” 4 Since the entrance of these new actors, they have been able to find solutions in international relations which confront the transnational threats found in these conflicts. The importance of confronting transnational threats with transnational actors is apparent. In the transnational nature of security threats, the need for agents which can transcend geographical, socioeconomic, political, and official boundaries is necessary. Hence, unofficial actors may have a significant advantage in resolving conflicts and using unique resources and competencies. In track two diplomacy, unofficial actors have the capacity to resolve conflict through mediation. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), for example, work well in multilateral diplomacy because their ability to act as a third party gives them this natural role of mediation. Atwood asserts this point when discussing NGO engagement: “These roles include the important functions of generating public awareness; building constituencies at the national and transnational levels; reframing issues for more appropriate types of engagement by actors, both governmental and non-governmental; advancing the development of new norms for national behavior; conducting advocacy work necessary to build political commitment; providing research and expert policy advice; monitoring and evaluating actors; facilitating dialogue; and actually implementing some dimensions of policy decisions.” 5 87
While all of these nontraditional roles of NGOs make these agents highly qualified to address aforementioned transnational threats, certain roles Atwood mentions may have more influence to create a modern and relevant approach to CR. Generating public awareness is one of the key elements of track two diplomacy as it reveals the ways in which nontraditional actors can shape the consciousness of groups affected by conflicts directly and groups affected indirectly. In addition, public awareness includes the involvement of international citizens who are able to absorb and analyze information, while the media and other intermediaries disseminate the facts. Next, unofficial actors can reframe key issues for engagement with new agents by acting sympathetic to specific factors of conflict such as identity issues. Since unofficial actors are not necessarily affiliated with political motivations or power structures in the same way that nation-states, government organizations, and other official groups are, they are placed in a unique identity of their own. This identity often motivates marginalized peoples and other groups affected by conflict to create trust and promote reliability in diplomacy and other conflict resolution measures. Thirdly, unofficial actors conduct advocacy work which builds political commitment to solve conflicts and creates new norms of behavior. As civil society becomes more conscious of transnational conflicts, a dialogue begun by NGOs and other actors can be facilitated through unofficial channels. The conflicts then become accepted and in a sense, are owned by the public sphere. This ownership builds commitment to finding solutions and influencing political perspective and decisions for conflict resolution. The participation of the civil society may build political commitment through grassroots groups, citizen diplomacy and other channels of advocacy. Civil society is now empowered to make changes and find solutions. FINDING RESOLUTION FOR ISSUES OF IDENTITY Among a range of modern conflicts are a number of ethnic, religious, and/or cultural conflicts which are associated with identity. Identity is often a sensitive issue, and a deeprooted concept involved with self introspection, cultural values, perceptions of the self, and perceptions of danger or threat to the same. Despite the complexities surrounding identity, there are significant advantages to resolving identity conflicts (as opposed to resource conflicts, for example). While resources can be disputed over interests, goals, and parties, there is also a finite amount that can be reached. Identity is plentiful, however, and there is no lack of these intangibles. Therefore, if conflict resolution is able to approach identity in a way that capitalizes on their ubiquity, identity can be considered an invaluable asset to a solution when designing the means of CR approaches. Setting this aside for the moment, identity conflicts arguably cause more human suffering than others because of their potential for strong psychological damage in addition to physical violence. This potential for suffering makes addressing these conflicts even more relevant in CR planning and implementation. The causes of identity conflicts often run much deeper than other kinds of conflicts. When studying the roots of conflict in ethnic cleansing, for example, one must consider the non-state levels in which conflicts 88
began. Idealism is an example of a theoretical approach to CR which has, at times, given dangerous tools to actors in conflict. Franks asserts this in his discussion of Kant’s theory of interdependence among states: “Idealism as a state perspective is motivated by the desire to prevent war, and focuses on the concepts of interdependence, collective security, and the establishment of international institutions…this was his theory of ‘perpetual peace’ and was based on the principle that liberal democracies do not fight each other.” 6 In advocating the principles of ‘liberal democracy,’ actors may promote self-determination among other governing principles. When self-determination creates a desire in ethnic groups or certain peoples for a need for representation, 7 in these cases, conflict can occur based on CR approaches meant to prevent rather than incense violence. The question to ask is rather how to utilize a CR approach that addresses the multiplicity of factors in interdependence. This idealism as a means to prevent violence should always consider the history of the peoples involved, which may advocate a strong desire for conflict prevention as primary to successful CR. In order to understand how to stop a conflict before it begins, one must understand all the peoples, structural elements, and the history of the problems and issues at hand. In these cases, it can often be deemed necessary to point the finger at an identity issue, such as ethnicity, as the cause. In spite of the obvious nature of the importance of identity, these conflicts must again be analyzed at their structural and cultural levels. Smith approaches this when discussing armed conflicts in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The CR argumentation herein asserted that the root causes could not simply be found in ethnicity, although many scholars claimed that the cultural personality of the peoples of the Balkans made them predisposed to an aggressive nature. This line of reasoning deliberately leaves out “the importance of economic conditions and of the political system…ethnicity is very often a central component of group identity and therefore also a powerful component of common prejudice. As such it can be manipulated by political leaders.” 8 Therefore, when discussing these cases, one cannot simply make an ad hominem argument stating that the cultural personality has influenced the character of the Balkan conflict while disregarding the political exploitation possibilities. If specific ethnic groups are marginalized because of or in spite of their solidarity as a community, a despotic or authoritarian leadership could use this to create or encourage more prejudice. Despite the fact that there may be a pre-existing history of prejudice, the potential for exploitation can multiply the influence and future destructive nature of this discrimination. Conflicts which are dormant in times of negative peace, or lack of apparent violence, can materialize after manipulation of this prejudice is used in political will. Finding resolutions for issues of identity must take address the multiplicity of factors involved in a successful CR approach. Track two diplomacy is uniquely placed to address these kinds of conflicts as they often play a role in third party engagement when placed in conflict resolution activities such as mediation, negotiation, and peace keeping. Their unofficial capacity and ability to influence civil society gives them power: “NGOs ‘power’ comes from the public pressure they can marshal and bring to bear on decision makers.” 9 Since nontraditional actors are not regulated by government and other official organizations, they often create alliances and enter into relationships successfully 89
with groups who may otherwise feel hesitant or less willing to risk exploitation by other political or government channels. Therefore, their power to motivate conflict resolution through building relationships and motivating public opinion opens new channels in CR approaches. THE NORM OF COEXISTENCE IN TRACK TWO DIPLOMACY Conflict approaches to CR in international relations include several of the following activities: problem solving workshops, peace building, peace keeping, conflict prevention, negotiation, mediation, entering into alliances, and peace sustainability. In track two diplomacy, the use of several of these processes must result in multidimensional efforts in a collective solution to be successful. While each of these approaches can be useful, there must be flexibility in the use of CR activities as coordinated efforts. One cannot simply prioritize one means of conflict resolution over another as there must first be a recognition of the inter-connected character of these processes and parties involved in coexistence. The international community is a holistic community in which nation-states; civil society; media; national, regional, and indigenous territories; official actors; and unofficial actors are within this sphere of influence. Conflict resolution must address all parties. In understanding the roots of conflict as well as finding the best processes for resolution, there must be a recognition of these actors and their interdependence. The modern conflict is one of many dimensions and cannot be analyzed symmetrically. It is a paradox of another kind. This new type of conflict is asymmetric and the nationstate is “inadequate in dealing with certain forms of conflict as insurgency, belligerency, secessionism, irredentism, revolt, and other forms of political violence.” 10 Since the contemporary conflict is one which addresses issues of representation, identity, prejudice, and markers of ethnicity or religion, the best processes should be asymmetric to combat these underlying sources of conflict. A sensitivity to the multiplicity of the conflict elements is one of the key ways in which track two diplomacy is often more equipped in these CR conflicts. While the nation-state may lack resources or influence because of political constraints, for example, nontraditional actors may not. Not only can track two diplomacy allow the convenience of a third-party mediation, but is uniquely placed to work throughout the parties involved in these interdependent relationships. International law has been drafted since the 20th century world wars to construct new norms for finding solutions. These new norms are meant to resolve the discrepancies between differing nation-states and the asymmetry of their linkages. In creating solutions which address the asymmetry of these structures, the solution must also be asymmetrical and confront the multidimensional levels of the problem. Constituencies which raise the importance of the coalition above the nation-state have been successful in organizations such as the European Union (EU). “Within the EU framework and institutions the privileges and liabilities of power asymmetries have been minimized, democracy has been deepened…the rule of law has been both embedded in and raised above nation-states, and human rights have been strengthened as an intra-, inter-, and transnational regime.” 11 As noted earlier, conflict resolution must confront the transnational nature of the threats 90
by utilizing transnational actors and coordinated efforts of these actors. While the EU is an example of a transnational actor working to coordinate efforts of CR in international relations, there are often limitations of large international organizations. In peace making processes, the United Nations works successfully throughout the world to protect and secure peoples and nations. The UN Charter states in Article 2.3, “All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered.” 12 Their willingness to involve the organization directly in peacekeeping means allows the UN to motivate CR approaches in very important ways. However, the UN has restrictions of its own as noted in Article 2.7: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.” 13 Whereas the UN is a body of significant power, its influence is interrupted by its allowance of the freedoms and governance of an individual nation-state. In modern conflicts, nontraditional actors can work with UN bodies directly to fill this gap: “Although the UN has taken significant steps in the realm of conflict resolution, its limitations require the involvement of several nongovernmental organizations and civil society groups to support the peacemaking process.” 14 This reveals the need for unofficial actors to work with the international political process for a cohesive CR effort. Conflict resolution must be a sustainable solution that can provide a foundation peace can be built upon. This foundation might utilize peace building and conflict prevention, for example, to build relationships which can maintain strategies of long-term sustainability. Berdal asserts that communities which do not understand fully-realized peace still can build significant relationships: “War-torn ‘post-conflict’ societies in which the distinction between peace’ and ‘war’ is blurred do not collapse into complete anarchy. Alternative systems of coping, even governance, emerge that are built on bonds of loyalty, trust and mutual interest at a local level.” 15 Nontraditional actors build relationships through their natural character of empathy and the ease with which marginalized or oppressed groups may feel more willing to cooperate in an unofficial channel. As Berdal states, the relationships are often built not on a large scale, but even so much as at the local levels, where NGOs and other nontraditional actors are able to motivate solutions and promote peace. These actors can form peace keeping and peace building efforts that may be difficult to construct within the political structures of official bodies, such as the United Nations. Therefore, the coordinated efforts of both bodies are needed to provide a holistic conflict strategy for solution. MOBILIZING DOMESTIC POLITICAL WILL In order for scholars and practitioners to understand the best practices in CR, there should be a deeper knowledge about mobilization of public opinion and political will, as well as promotion of conflict resolution. As previously discussed, the norm of coexistence requires differing bodies to work together. These efforts rely on the interdependence of unofficial and official groups, organizations and peoples as this is a prerequisite for the 91
understanding of resolution. Finally, conflict resolution is a range of processes that is dealing with human issues so the focus should be on the human being. “A key element in CR rapprochement processes and dialogue in both symmetrical and asymmetrical conflicts is the focusing of attention on the human dimension of conflict… induced a humanizing process of conflict transformation. Such a process has always tended to occur at the very juncture when traditional belligerents mastered the courage to confront the demoralizing and dehumanizing nature of violence irrespective of the agent that induced it and the original rationale that ‘legitimized’ it.” 16 When all groups recognize the interconnected roots of the conflict and the source of the suffering as a human experience, this raises the consciousness of the public. Conflict resolution begins with the rise of the international consciousness, first and foremost. The significance of this aspect of CR approaches is that differing groups can coexist in peace with the recognition of the conflict, and the acceptance of their mutual dependence upon one another. Unofficial actors in track two diplomacy can raise awareness about the pre-existing conditions, development and history of conflict, as well as the current ramifications and potential consequences. The media is a transnational actor without the use of the official channels of track one diplomacy. Television broadcasting, print publication and other forms of media awareness raise the consciousness of an empowered civil society. While consciousness can mobilize public opinion, there is also a danger in the assumption that awareness of conflict provides solutions. So, we must also be careful not to presume awareness will result in solutions. Secondarily, a newly empowered civil society must now use its influence to mobilize political will. In the modern age of social activism in grassroots groups, social networks online, and the proliferation of information in all digital, print and televised forms, civil society has knowledge of the global sphere in which we all live. When conflicts develop, any number of unofficial actors may absorb, analyze and frame the issues. Thus, unofficial actors can approach and resolve conflicts, whether NGOs, TNCs, coalitions, faith-based organizations or even individuals. Track two diplomacy asserts that individuals can and should create advocacy, reframe issues and create new norms of behavior. “Track one diplomacy may be supplemented with track two diplomacy, which refers to everything from citizen diplomacy, pre-negotiation, interactive problem solving to back channel negotiation. Track two diplomacy is frequently used to resolve deep-rooted and complex, identity-based conflicts and conducted by informal intermediaries, such as NGOs, academics, and private citizens.” 17 Knowing that the world we live in presides under the norm of coexistence, when framing conflict resolution we can and should recognize these interdependencies. Conflict resolution is not just one, but several processes working in cohesion with the efforts of civil society, official organizations and, even private citizens. The significance of this cohesion cannot be understated as it addresses some of the most complex issues in today’s contemporary society and provides the opportunity for sustainability of these resolutions.
NOTES: 1 Bercovitch & Jackson (2009), Conflict resolution in the twenty-first century: Principles, methods, and approaches, University of Michigan Press 2
4 Glasius 36 NOT IN BIBLIOGRAPHY 5 David Atwood (2006), NGOs and Multilateral Disarmament Diplomacy: Limits and Possibilities, in: Borrie, J. & Martin, V. (ed.), Thinking Outside the Box in Multilateral Disarmament and Arms Control Negotiations, 39 6 Jason Franks (2006), Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism, Palgrave. 61 7 Ibid 8 Smith, Dan (2004), Trends and Causes of Armed Conflict, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management. 11 9 David Atwood. NGOs and Multilateral Disarmament Diplomacy. 40 10 Jason Franks. Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism. 52 11 Harry Anastasiou (2009), Encountering Nationalism: The contribution of peace studies and conflict resolution, in: Sandole, Dennis J.D., Sandole-Staroste, Ingrid, Senehi, Jessica & Byrne, Sean. Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, p. 32-44 8 Charter of the United Nations: Purposes and Principles, United Nations, 2012. Web. 1. Nov 2012. http:// www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml 9 Ibid. Chapter I 10 Bercovitch & Jackson. Conflict resolution in the twenty-first century. 13 11 Mats Berdal (2009), Building Peace After War, Routledge. 173 12 Harry Anastasiou. Encountering Nationalism. 38 13 Jonsson 45 NOT IN BIBLIOGRAPHY
WORKS CITED: Anastasiou, Harry (2009), Encountering Nationalism: The contribution of peace studies and conflict resolution, in: Sandole, Dennis J.D., Sandole-Staroste, Ingrid, Senehi, Jessica & Byrne, Sean. Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, p. 32-44 Atwood, David (2006), NGOs and Multilateral Disarmament Diplomacy: Limits and Possibilities, in: Borrie, J. & Martin, V. (ed.), Thinking Outside the Box in Multilateral Disarmament and Arms Control Negotiations, p. 33-54 Bercovitch / Jackson (2009), Conflict resolution in the twenty-first century: Principles, methods, and approaches, University of Michigan Press Berdal, Mats (2009), Building Peace After War, Routledge Bercovitch / Kadayifci-Orellana (2009), Religion and Mediation: The Role of Faith-Based Actors in International Conflict Resolution, in: International Negotiation, 2009, issue 14, p. 175-204 Charter of the United Nations: Purposes and Principles, United Nations, 2012. Web. 1. Nov 2012. http:// www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml Doucey, Marie (2011), Understanding the root causes of conflicts: Why it matters for International Crisis Management, in: International Affairs Review, Fall 2011, vol. XX, number 2, p. 1 Franks, Jason (2006), Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism, Palgrave Kadayifci-Orellana (2009), Ethno-Religious Conflicts: Exploring the Role of Religion in Conflict Resolution, in: Bercovitch, Kremenyuk, Zartman (ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Conflict Resolution, p. 264 Kelman, Ilan (2006), Acting on Disaster Diplomacy, in: Journal of International Affairs, Spring/Summer 2006, vo. 59, no. 2, p. 215 Nincic, Miroslav (2006), The Logic of Positive Engagement: Dealing with renegade regimes, in: International Studies Perspectives, 2006, vol. 7, p. 321 93
Smith, Dan (2004), Trends and Causes of Armed Conflict, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management Strand, Arne (2010), Sustained Peacebuilding: The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations and researchers, in: Constantinou, Costas M. / Der Derian, James, Sustainable Diplomacies, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 173 Thakur, Ramesh. The United Nations, Peace and Security: From Collective Security to the Responsibility to Protect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Zartman, I. William (ed.) (2007), Peacemaking in International Conflicts, U.S. Institute of Peace
J U S T I N E
D A V I S
WEAK CIVIL SOCIETY AS A PRECURSOR FOR P O L I T I C A L M A N I P U L AT I O N O F E T H N I C I T Y I N C O T E D’IVOIRE
The study of social capital and its relationship with democracy 1 has opened the door to attempts at understanding the relationship between social capital and conflict. However, in examining conflict, it becomes clear that there is more to democratization and peace than only having a vibrant civil society, especially if we take the example of Rwanda, which had the most vibrant civil society in Africa prior to its infamous genocide 2 . Scholars have shown that having a civil society where strong bridging ties cross ethnic lines diminishes the level of violent inter-ethnic conflict 3 . They do not discount the positive contribution of intraethnic relationships and networks; in fact, social capital does exist within these organizations and is manifested in group trust and cooperation, the pursuit of collective aims, the pooling of resources, solidarity and efficiency 4 , and low cost access to information about other’s behavior 5 . These ethnic groups with bonding social capital are part of civil society and can contribute to democratic values, despite their inward looking and exclusive nature, as they can participate in democratic politics, encourage reciprocity, build trust and connect individuals 6 . However, “what matters for ethnic violence is not whether ethnic life or social capital exists, but whether social and civic ties cut across ethnic groups 7 .” These crosscutting ties provide for contact between groups, which leads to more tolerance, generalized trust and an encompassing sense of community 8 . By expanding upon the already existing bonding social capital fostered within intraethnic relationships, social capital that bridges ethnic groups can contribute to lasting democracy and political integration. Schenkler 9 reinforces this idea stating that “a well functioning associational life which cuts across ethnic boundaries can back up liberal institutions” 10 allowing for political integration via organizations. Fearon and Laitin 11 argue that increasing the availability of information about ethnic others diminishes interethnic conflict and Narayan 12 contends that when crosscutting ties occur, they help people connect to different information and resources, mending any divisive social cleavages. Glaeser 13 found in an economic study of hatred that information costs decline for people who have contact with others, as interaction makes it easier to acquire the truth. However, preventing interethnic conflict goes beyond just having crosscutting ties between individuals. Varshney 14 argues that both “associational forms of engagement” and “everyday forms of engagement” promote peace if they cross ethnic lines, but it is the associational forms of engagement, through civil society, that can withstand exogenous communal shocks:“countervailing forces are created when organizations…are 95
communally integrated.” 15 In his study on Hindu/Muslim integrated civil society in India, Varshney 16 found that organizations that served the economic, cultural and social needs of both populations had a stake in informing the public of the threat of communal violence because they represented both sides. These organizations promote communication between members, which makes neighborhood level peace possible. In order to reduce the likelihood of conflict, Narayan 17 states that “a transition has to occur from exclusive loyalty to primary social groups to networks of secondary associations whose most important characteristic is that they bring together people who in some ways are different from self.” 18
The scholarship has demonstrated that lacking crosscutting ties can lead to ethnic conflict, but how is this manifested? Varshney 19 argues that “the more associational networks cut across ethnic boundaries, the harder it is for politicians to polarize communities.” These groups act as a restraint on politicians, even if polarization is in their interest. When only intra-ethnic social capital exists, this capital can be perverted and used by elites to mobilize grievances in the form of ethnic hatred 20 . Exclusive social networks can reinforce inequalities and create boundaries that exclude others 21 . When there is little to no communication or interaction between ethnic groups, political elites can capitalize on fear of the other, spreading rumors that go uncontested. Politicians capitalize on already existing bonding social capital to mobilize groups to use violence against each other. Fear and survival then lead to the destruction of any bridging ties that may have previous existed 22 . In this paper, I will examine these strains of thought by looking at the build up to civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire. Cote d’Ivoire, once a prospering nation welcoming immigrants with open arms, fell into xenophobic rhetoric after economic declines in the 1980s and 1990s, leading to ethnic stratification and strife. Politicians were able to manipulate ethnicity in Cote d’Ivoire because of the lack of inter-ethnic social capital and a weak civil society based on vertical, bonding social capital. COTE D’IVOIRE: A CASE STUDY In 1960, Cote d’Ivoire received their independence from France and inaugurated their founding father, Felix Houphouet-Boigny. His rule was based on two principles: a oneparty state and a policy of openness towards foreign investment and immigration to foster economic growth in his newly independent nation. Under his strong hand, the country prospered, becoming one of the wealthiest nations in West Africa, with an economy based primarily on cocoa and coffee exports. Houphouet-Boigny encouraged immigration, primarily to the farms and plantations in the south of the nation, stating whoever toiled the land, owned it. The primary immigrants were from Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea, and were mostly Muslims. Until the late 1970s, Cote d’Ivoire witnessed growth and prosperity and very little strife within its borders. However, when the price of cocoa dropped drastically in the 1970s and 1980s, the once prospering economy began to suffer. Coupled with crippling structural adjustment policies and calls for democracy, Houphouet-Boigny held multi-party elections in 1991, though his party had an overwhelming victory. In 1993, 96
Houphouet-Boigny died, leaving a power vacuum in his wake. CIVIL SOCIETY UNDER HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY Within Houphouet-Boigny’s one party system, all political parties (other than his own, PDCI) were banned. Organizations were allowed to exist at a local level, but with the specific purpose as party subcommittees dependent on the state where a vertical line of communication was established to pass down party directives in local languages 23 . Any organizations that were independent of the state machinery were banned in order to prevent villagers from organizing a revolution 24 . Houphouet-Boigny wanted to portray PDCI as a pan-ethnic party, and thus prohibited ethnic affiliations present within organizations, favoring associations based on class 25 . However, class identification was weaker than ethnic affiliation, and the political elites relied on ethnic communities to gain votes, so ethnicity still played a role in local politics. Though most of Cote d’Ivoire was ethnically heterogeneous, these associations tended to be dominated by the historic majority ethnicity in the region. Elites set up hometown associations that relied on ethnic solidarity and guaranteed their election and continued representation within the state system in exchange for benefits to their ethnic groups back home. This led to a vertical system of associations, with local individuals accessing the political apparatus only through their relationship with political elites. As Woods 26 (1994) puts it, “the vertical integration of local communities by national elites…did not put an end to the horizontal contradictions and tensions in Ivoirian society… .” 27 Woods 28 argues that these hometown associations, through their ability to vertically integrate ethnic communities into the political system, as essential in lessening ethnic conflict in pre-democratic Cote d’Ivoire. However, this vertical integration did not leave room for the horizontal, crosscutting ties between ethnic groups necessary to prevent violent conflict 29 . Furthermore, since these organizations were limited in their autonomy, they were not strong actors in countering the non-democratic tendencies of the state. Under international pressure and a wave of democratization crossing West Africa, Houphouet-Boigny opened the political sphere to democratic competition in 1991. “In Africa’s multiethnic and multi-religious societies, democratic openings are often associated with heightened sectarian conflict and communal violence….[because groups] use ethno-regionalist or sectarian appeals in order to mobilize sentiments against authoritarian incumbents.” 30 Elites who were once guaranteed support from their home towns were now faced with competition, and many began to use ethnic rhetoric to increase support within associations. Ethnic associations began to sprout up throughout the country, “becoming a locus of competition by urban elites in their struggle to gain a clientele base .” 31 Civil Society from 1990s until Now MacLean 32 found in her study that in the late 1990s the approach to associational life as “top-down paternalism” continued to persist, even 10 years after the demise of the one-party system. In comparing associations in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, she found 97
that the Ivoirian organizations lacked cross-ethnic cooperation and were more likely to have an exclusive reliance on vertical and ethnically based patronage networks than their Ghanaian counterparts. Within the organizations, membership was structured hierarchically, with little to no democratic participation, which hardened social and political exclusion along ethnic lines, despite the perceived heterogeneous nature of their memberships. 33 The organizations MacLean studied did not meet frequently and often had impressive goals, but were less effective than the comparative Ghanaian groups. Malanhoua 34 in his report on Ivoirian civil society’s role in conflict resolution, stated that “associations are characterized by a fatal amateurism and mediocrity…the president is at the same time treasurer, secretary, and accountant… 35 .” 36 Non-indigenous members were often not integrally incorporated in the hierarchy of organizations, and conflict would often occur over how often or how much nonindigenous groups participated in the organizations’ functioning 37 . As less active organizations, they tended to strengthen only ties between members of the same family or ethnic group, with vertical ties extending to urban elites. This did not provide an adequate space for associations to participate in local politics. MacLean found that there was not much local participation across ethnic groups, which meant that many village residents simply assumed that their ethnically diverse neighbors held party loyalties based on their ethnicity or place of origin . 38 “Despite the greater ethnic, religious and regional heterogeneity of the membership of Ivorian organizations, their limited activity and opportunity for social interaction combined with the greater rate of organizational failure…undermined trust of other groups instead of increasing it.” 39 Instead of fostering democratic values, the vertical patronage networks in Ivoirian associational life make Ivoirians less connected to their community and rely on relationships to patrons in their ethnic groups, creating ethnically based exclusion for the “other.” Today, one of the most persistent complaints about Ivoirian civil society is its nonneutrality as far as political parties go. Political science experts in Abidjan complain that Cote d’Ivoire does not have a strong civil society with an ability to mobilize populations because there is a perception that they have “etiquettes politiques.” 40 For example, FESCI, the student group, has aligned itself with the Gbagbo regime, mobilizing youth under its umbrella. The credibility of these organizations is thus diminished if individuals perceive them as politically affiliated 41 . Members of civil society complain that the political class is stronger than civil society and has more influence. As the president of the Ivoirian Human Rights League says, “civil society never managed to impose itself within the political class, to act as a foil to the powers-that-be.” 42 Furthermore, the media is in the hands of the state, so they do not have a voice to speak out 43 . Obviously, not all organizations are politically affiliated, and in the 2010 elections, various civil society actors played an active role in attempting to guarantee free and fair elections. As members of civil society themselves noted, “It is not that civil society is muzzled, it just doesn’t have a big enough platform to talk from… 44 ” Gyimah-Boadi’s assessment of civil society in Africa found that associational life is dominated by groups that are unwilling, or unable, to enter into alliances with other groups, one of the leading cause of the pervasive fragmentation of civil society in Africa. 45 98
This is consistent with Malanhoua’s 46 findings that, in Cote d’Ivoire, there is significant distrust between organizations, as one sign of the weakness of the Ivoirian civil society is the “multitude of coalitions” that do not work together. ETHNICITY AND POLITICAL MANIPULATION IN COTE D’IVOIRE Cote d’Ivoire is made up of over 60 ethnic groups, and like its neighbors, its territorial boundaries were drawn arbitrarily by colonial powers. A UN report in 2004 found that Cote d’Ivoire does not have a tradition of xenophobia; mono-ethnic families are a minority in the ethnically diverse nation and there is a high level of peaceful coexistence based on intercultural values. It argues this is a product of communities being thrown together through migration 47 . One must be hesitant to ascribe a primordial theory of ethnicity to conflicts in Africa, as in many situations, ethnic groups live together peacefully without major conflict. Having a multi-ethnic society does not guarantee conflict, especially if we consider that the most devastating conflicts in Africa have occurred in countries that only had one or two ethnic groups (Rwanda and Somalia as prime examples.) However, since the early 2000s and perhaps earlier, the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire has been characterized as one with strong ethnic overtones. What pulled apart the inter-ethnic peace that Houphouet-Boigny succeeded in maintaining for 30 years? Although Houphouet-Boigny preached a pan-ethnic state, he still used his own ethnic origins, Baoule of the Akan, as justification for his right to power. He built a myth that the Akan were more historically prepared to rule as they were more aristocratic, and thus negatively characterized other groups as culturally incompatible to rule, especially those northerners who were Muslim. The myth perpetuated that the Akan people were sincere, noble and endowed with conviction, establishing the belief that HouphouetBoigny was pre-destined, by ethnicity, to govern the state 48 . In reality, anthropologists have demonstrated that this is nothing more than a myth and a complete manipulation of ethnicity in order to justify his authoritarian rule. These ideas “heavily structured the way in which the members of communities perceived each other 49 .” Furthermore, Houphouet-Boigny had no scruples in manipulating the system to guarantee his continued control of power; in the 1991 elections, he gave the right to vote to ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) citizens, the immigrant population, in order to assure an election that would go in his favor 50 . This led to a massive presence of foreigners in the political sphere, and as the economic situation began to deteriorate, it made it easier for a scapegoat rhetoric to emerge against immigrant populations 51 . Ethnically, PCDI was not a one-group party; in fact, Houphouet-Boigny made special effort to have diversity represented in his cabinet, including Alassane Dramane Ouattara, an economist from the north, who served as his prime minister during the harder economic times. Constitutionally, when Houphouet-Boigny died in 1993, Ouattara was supposed to take power. However, there was dissent within the party, particularly with Henri Konan Bédié, a prominent party member who believed that because of his ethnic ties with Houphouet-Boigny and status within the party, he should obtain the position as president. The transition to democracy was not fully complete, so the judiciary was 99
very much still under the influence of the PCDI machine. Using this to his advantage, Bédié was able to manipulate the election rules to question Ouattara’s ethnic origin as an Ivorian, confirming that both parents were not born within the Ivorian state. Through this manipulation of law, Bédié was able to prevent Ouattara from running in the 1995 elections, and thus became the second president of Cote d’Ivoire. Gyimah-Boadi states that governments “determined to stay in power exacerbate such [ethnic] strife as a way of undermining the credibility of democracy and its advocates. 52 ” The “Cellule Universitaire de Recherche et de diffusion des idées et actions politiques de Président Henri Konan Bédié (CURDIPHE) », a group of intellectuals loyal to Bédié, released a manifesto entitled « Ivoirité or President Henri Konan Bédié’s New Social Contract », in 1996. The manifesto laid the foundation for an ideology that established Ivoirité as “the set of socio-historical, geographical and linguistic data which enables us to say than an individual is a citizen of Cote d’Ivoire or an Ivoirian… The person who asserts his Ivoirité is supposed to have Cote d’Ivoire as his country [and] be born of Ivorian parents belonging to one of the ethnic group’s native to Cote d’Ivoire…. 53 ” 54 Such citations as “the Ivoirian people should affirm their sovereignty …facing the menace of dispossession and subjection that stems from immigration… 55 ” further implicates the role of immigrants in the Ivoirian economic situation. The fact that an academic group defined the term gave it legitimacy, and shortly after its publication, other commissions in the Bédié government published reports on the impact of immigration on demographics, security and social cohesion, further perpetuating the notion that Cote d’Ivoire’s decline was due completely to a lack of adherence to the principle of Ivoirité. Ivoirité was manifested in various laws that took away the rights of non-native Ivoirians, such as the “loi foncière” that, in 1998, restituted all land formerly owned by foreigners (those who could not prove their parentage as Ivoirian) to Ivoirians by descent 56 . Bédié also limited access to public sector jobs to Ivoirians, as “weeding out ‘foreigners’ made it easier to ration civil service jobs, school admissions and business licenses 57 .” Ivoirité created a number of dichotomies of Ivoirian citizenship: “Ivoirians by descent” and “Ivoirians of circumstance”, natives and foreigners, southerners and northerners 58 . In short, Bédié used Ivoirité to decide who had a right to the increasingly scarce national resources, and it justified the “Ivorianising” of certain economic sectors 59 . Bédié was overthrown in 1999 by General Guei, who advocated going back to a Houphouet-Boigny-esque system of pan-ethnicism, encouraging unity amongst the population. However, as dissidence increased against his iron fisted style of rule and his inability to fix the economy, Guei began to complain about the hold of foreigners over important sectors of the economy and adapted a rhetoric surprisingly similar to Bédié’s. “With a good understanding of the strength of nationalist discourse for political mobilization in the absence of an economic alternative 60 ” Guei took up the Ivoirité flame like his predecessor. After coming to power, Guei ushered in a new constitution, which established that any person running for president must have two parents of Ivoirian origin, thus once again denying Ouattara the ability to become president of the nation 61 . Despite his attempts to use ethnicity to maintain power, Guei lost the elections in 2000 to Laurent Gbagbo and was forced to flee the country. Gbagbo did not use Ivoirité, 100
per se, to consolidate his power, but he did initiate a program to issue identity cards to all citizens, which fostered accusations of discrimination and human rights violations by the police, especially in the north 62 . In 2002, disgruntled soldiers formerly under Guei and supporters of Ouattara attempted a coup d’état against Gbagbo. This was the perfect opening for Gbagbo to mobilize his support base along ethnic lines, claiming that the coup d’état was initiated by foreigners attempting to attack Ivoirian unity. His supporters and the police/army began to attack foreigners, framing them as terrorists, and anyone who did not support Gbagbo’s regime were considered sympathizers 63 . Since he controlled the media and a large swath of the youth in Abidjan (called the “jeunes patriotes”), it was easy to mobilize against perceived northern traitors. Akindes 64 puts it best when he states “Ivoirité sowed the seeds of mutual paranoia, impoverished the foundations of community life, and produced an Ivoirian society increasingly marked by fear, because it included communities who began to be frightened of each other on the basis of identities that used to be permeable but which were gradually becoming fixed 65 .” LACK OF CROSS-CUTTING TIES, WEALTH OF STEREOTYPES Duffy and Lindstrom 66 demonstrated that politicians issue solidary incentives – the promise of relational goods that individuals derive from associating with others whom they identify, a definition remarkably similar to that of social capital – to encourage action along ethnic lines. In doing so, leaders encourage interpersonal payoffs, such as social approval, within social networks 67 . Politicians fortify positive in-group self-concept, tying personal fates to that of the larger group, by vilifying or demonizing their adversaries through negative stereotypes. In Cote d’Ivoire, “the various political rivals…speak in such a way as to effectively take the population hostage, giving the groups and communities whose interests they claim to be defending the impression that they have no choice but to go along with their proposals and give them if not their active support, at least a degree of approval 68 .” The Cote d’Ivoire government perpetuated that “despite their low level of education, the immigrants have a hold on the trade in the country…native Ivoirians have higher rates of unemployment 69 .” Individuals began to internalize the rhetoric preached by politicians, as can be demonstrated by the following citations: “the man who came on foot to farm your land, now you go to his home to take out credit!... 70 ” 71 “they [Burkinabe residents] have no respect for us…they earn too much money!...look at this guy, when he [Burkinabe] arrived, I employed him to weed my fields, and now he drives a truck! ” 72 Gbagbo’s government perpetuated the myth of northern terrorists, but takes this further by stating that the president of Burkina Faso was one of the facilitators of the coup attempt. This led to an increase of violence against Burkinabe immigrants, or those perceived to be so. Government agents again reinforced this myth with statements such as “they [Burkinabés] are home owners [in Burkina Faso], that’s why Blaise Compaore 101
[president of Burkina Faso] is involved in Cote d’Ivoire’s affairs 73 .” The magnitude of these charged statements can be seen in Colin, Kouame and Soro’s study where the young people in the region stated that they were only waiting for a Burkinabe to make a foolish mistake; if this occurred, immediately all the Burkinabe would be attacked 74 . Fearon and Laitin 75 call this a “spiral regime” where individual defections trigger an escalation and complete breakdown of intergroup relations, noncooperation spreads immediately to all interactions between members of the group. The spiral regime exists primarily when there is an asymmetrical level of information about the out-group and no communication channels are present to find who is the actual perpetrator 76 . After the coup attempt in 2002, Colin, Kouame and Soro 77 found that Burkinabe in their study area began to “reduce their movements outside the village to a minimum as well as contacts with Ivoirian people. A wall of silence seems to surround the region.” 78 This isolation builds strong ties, but severely hurts bridging ties and communication channels between groups, both of which can result in disastrous effects on social cohesion. Diene 79 reiterates this stating “the extent of xenophobia has caused a withdrawal into ethnic isolationism, where cultural signs such as names, styles of dress, symbols/ expressions of cultural diversity become a stigmata of a hostile identity…” 80 Further, villagers even recognized that there was a deficit of communication between them and foreigners. 81 THE STATE’S ROLE TODAY Narayan 82 maintains that “a strong civil society founded on cross-cutting ties that operates in a weak state environment substitutes for the state’s inadequacies and hence is not a model case for growth.” 83 According to her study variables, Cote d’Ivoire would be considered a conflict, dysfunctional or collapsed state with limited crosscutting ties, where income inequality, isolated primary groups and a governance structure co-opted by a few can lead to violence 84 . Coletta and Cullen 85 argue that when certain structural conditions are present, such as state weakness and lack of institutional capacity to manage conflict and a weak civil society, conflict engendering large-scale violence is more likely to occur 86 . As demonstrated above, civil society actors in Cote d’Ivoire do not feel that they are in dialogue with the state, as the state denies them access to media and the political sphere. Creating crosscutting ties between ethnic groups through associations will thus not necessarily eliminate the horizontal inequalities and problems persistent in Ivoirian society. As Narayan 87 puts it, “it is civil society that is interaction with the state through contentious politics and public policy measures…to create new opportunities for those previously excluded from full participation in society…hence nurturing social capital for public good requires far more than volunteerism and public policy support of voluntary organizations. 88 ” Brachet and Wolpe 89 found in their study of post-conflict Burundi that the population was deeply alienated and cynical of its leaders and that the rebuilding of public confidence in the institutions of government will take considerable time and effort 90 . Cote d’Ivoire is now finding itself in this very similar situation. In order to build confidence in peace 102
process and begin to build those incredibly crucial crosscutting ties 91 , there has to be substantial changes in the Ivoirian government, primarily in the realm of support for civil society and an independent press. Furthermore, horizontal economic inequalities amongst the Ivoirian population must also be addressed, as this can contribute to the ease in which politicians can manipulate vulnerable populations. Duffy and Lindstrom 92 demonstrate that it is easy for politicians to mobilize strong intraethnic social capital to commit ethnic violence, but it is exactly this mobilized social capital that makes peace difficult, as people tend to retain the hatred that they have fostered. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS One of the main questions to be posed here is whether there was a deficit of crosscutting ties prior to the conflict or if these ties were eroded once the conflict began, a classic chicken and egg problem. Furthermore, without on the ground experience, this paper could be charged with not adequately proving its thesis. Nonetheless, what this paper attempts to demonstrate is that ethnic issues were latent, but easily manipulated primarily due to the vertical nature of social capital existing within Ivoirian associations. The conflict itself further exacerbated this problem and drove individuals into their families/ethnic groups, creating more bonding capital, but destroying bridging capital. This coupled with a weak civil society made the Ivoirian population vulnerable to political manipulation of ethnicity. The Ivorian reconciliation government will be responsible for transforming the hate rhetoric and the previous abuse of bonding capital into something positive. Thus, creating bridging social capital, unfortunately, will not be enough to establish a multi-ethnic peaceful society in Cote d’Ivoire. However, if civil society can divorce itself from political allegiances and work together through networks, it is more likely to be able to counter the effects of the state and contribute to long lasting peace. NOTES: 1. See for example, Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Putnam, Robert D. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2. N. Coletta & M. Cullen (2000). The Nexus between Violent Conflict, Social Capital and Social Cohesion: case studies from Cambodia and Rwanda. Social Capital Initiative Working Paper No. 23 , pp. 1-46. 3. Shenkler 2010; Fearon and Laitin 1996; Colleta and Cullen 2000; Varshney 2001; Narayan 1999 4. A . Schlenker. Ethnic Conflict or Civil Peace: the Contribution of Associations. 5. J. Fearon and D. Laitin. Explaining Interethnic Cooperation. 721 6. Lauren Morris MacLean. “Mediating Ethnic Conflict at the Grassroots: the Role of Local Associational Life in Shaping Political Values in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 42, no. 4 (2004): 589-617. 7. A . Varshney. Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society India and Beyond. 392 8. Ibid. 9. A . Schlenker. Ethnic Conflict or Civil Peace: the Contribution of Associations. 10. Ibid. pg. 20 11. J. Fearon and D. Laitin. Explaining Interethnic Cooperation. 721 1-52.
12. D. Narayan (1999). Bonds and Bridges: Social Capital and Poverty. Poverty Group of the World Bank , 13. Glaeser 2004 103
14. A . Varshney. Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society India and Beyond. 15. Ibid. 378 16. Ibid. 17. D. Narayan. Bonds and Bridges: Social Capital and Poverty. 18. Ibid. 12 19. A . Varshney. Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society India and Beyond. 20. N. Coletta & M. Cullen. The Nexus between Violent Conflict 21. S. A . Nan (2008). Social Capital in Exclusive and Inclusive Networks: Satisfying Human Needs through Conflict and Conflict Resolution. Creating and Resolving Conflict with Trust and Social Networks. Edited by Michaelene Cox Routledge 2009 Pages 172–185 22. J. Brachet & H. Wolpe (2005). Conflict-Sensitive Development Assistance: The Case of Burundi. The Wilson Center: Social Development Papers, Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction . 23. D. Woods (1994). Elites, Ethnicity, and ‘Home Town’ Associations in the Côte d’Ivoire: An Historical Analysis of State. Society Links. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute , Vol. 64 (4), 467 24. Malanhoua, K. A . (2008). Societe civile et resolution de conflits en Cote d’Ivoire, Penser le changement ou changer le pansement? Retrieved March 2011, from Global Development Network: http://www.gdnet.org/CMS/ submissions/1200871873_article-GDNET.doc 25. D. Woods. Elites, Ethnicity, and ‘Home Town’ Associations 26. Ibid 27. Ibid. 478 28. Ibid. 29. Schlenker 2010; Narayan 1999; Nan 2008; Varshney 2001 30. Gyimah-Boadi, E. (1996). Civil Society in Africa. Journal of Democracy. 121. 31. D. Woods. Elites, Ethnicity, and ‘Home Town’ Associations. 479. 32. MacLean. Mediating Ethnic Conflict. 33. MacLean. Mediating Ethnic Conflict. 599 34. K. A . Malanhoua. Societe civile et resolution de conflits en Cote d’Ivoire. 35. “ Les associations sont caractérisées par un amateurisme fatal et la médiocrité…le président est à la fois trésorier, secrétaire, commissaire aux comptes… 36. K. A . Malanhoua. Societe civile et resolution de conflits en Cote d’Ivoire. 7-8 37. MacLean. Mediating Ethnic Conflict. 605 38. Ibid. 607 39. Ibid. 611 40. F. Zamblé (2010, August 24). La société civile peut-elle pousser les politiciens aux élections? . Inter Press Service News Agency , p. http://ipsinternational.org/fr/_note.asp?idnews=6058. 41. Ochieng, Z. (2008, January 14). Cote d’Ivoire: Civil Society, media stand accused in Political Crisis. Retrieved March 2011, from www.afrika.no/detailed/15781.html 42. U. O. IRIN (2011, January 26). Cote d’Ivoire: Voices of reason sidelined in the crisis. Retrieved March 2011, from http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/ASAZ-8DGC3P?OpenDocument 43. Ibid. 44. Ibid. 45. E. Gyimah-Boadi (1996). Civil Society in Africa. Journal of Democracy. 46. K. A . Malanhoua. Societe civile et resolution de conflits en Cote d’Ivoire. 47. D. S. Diene (2004). Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and all Forms of Discrimination. Commission on Human Rights, United Nations. 48. J. P. Dozon (2000). La Cote d’Ivoire entre Democratie, Nationalisme, et Ethnonationalisme. Politique Africaine , 45 - 62. 49. F. Akindés (2004). The Roots of the Military-Political Crises in Cote d’Ivoire. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet . 50. O. Dembele (2003). Cote d’Ivoire: La Fracture Communautaire. Politique Africaine , 89, 34 - 48. 51.F. Akindés (2004). The Roots of the Military-Political Crises in Cote d’Ivoire. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet . 52. Gyimah-Boadi 53. L’Ivoirité…c’est l’ensemble des données socio-historiques, géographiques et linguistiques qui permettent de dire qu’un individu est citoyen de Côte d’Ivoire ou Ivoirien…. L’individu qui revendique son Ivoirité est supposé avoir pour pays la Côte d’Ivoire, né de parents ivoiriens appartenant à l’une des ethnies 104
autochtones de la Côte d’Ivoire 54. CURDIPHE. (2000). L’ivoirité, ou l’esprit du nouveau contrat social du Président H. K. Bédié (extraits). Politique Africaine. 55. Le peuple ivoirien doit d’abord affirmer sa souveraineté… face aux menaces de dépossession et d’assujettissement: qu’il s’agisse de l’immigration… 56. O. Dembele. Cote d’Ivoire: La Fracture Communautaire. 57. S. Mitter. (2003). Ebony and Ivoirité. Transition (94), 48. 58. Akindes 2004; Dembele 2003; Mitter 2003 59. F. Akindés. The Roots of the Military-Political Crises. 27 60. Ibid. 21 61. O. Dembele. Cote d’Ivoire: La Fracture Communautaire. 62. Ibid. 63. S. Mitter. Ebony and Ivoirité 64. F. Akindés. The Roots of the Military-Political Crises. 65. Ibid. 30 66.G. Duffy & N. Lindstrom (2002). Conflicting Identities: Solidary Incentives in the Serbo-Croatian War. Journal of Peace Research , 39 (1), 69-90. 67. Ibid. 68. D. S. Diene. Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia. 15 69. F. Akindés. The Roots of the Military-Political Crises. 27 70. “L’homme qui est venu a pied pour s’installer chez vous, vous partez prendre crédit chez lui.” 89, 24
71. J.-P. Chauveau & K.S. Bobo (2003). La situation de guerre dans l’arene villageoise. Politique Africaine ,
72. J.-P. Colin, G. Kouame, & D. Soro (2007). Outside the autochthon-migrant configuration. Access to land, land conflicts and inter-ethnic relationships in a former pioneer area. The Journal of Modern African Studies , 45, 29 73. “Ils sont des propriétaires de maisons et c’est pourquoi Blaise Compaore est dans les affaires de la Cote d’Ivoire.” 74. J.-P. Colin, G. Kouame, & D. Soro. Outside the autochthon-migrant configuration. 75. J. Fearon and D. Laitin. Explaining Interethnic Cooperation. 76. Ibid. 77. J.-P. Colin, G. Kouame, & D. Soro. Outside the autochthon-migrant configuration. 78. Ibid. 34 79. D. S. Diene. Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia 80. Ibid. 16 81. J.-P. Chauveau & K.S. Bobo. La situation de guerre 1-52.
82.D. Narayan (1999). Bonds and Bridges: Social Capital and Poverty. Poverty Group of the World Bank , 83. quoted in N. Coletta & M. Cullen. The Nexus between Violent Conflict. 3. 84. D. Narayan. Bonds and Bridges. 29 85. N. Coletta & M. Cullen. The Nexus between Violent Conflict. 86. Ibid. 6 87. D. Narayan. Bonds and Bridges 88. Ibid. 12 89. J.Brachet & H. Wolpe. Conflict-Sensitive Development Assistance 90. Ibid. 14 91. D. Narayan. Bonds and Bridges 92. G. Duffy & N. Lindstrom. Conflicting Identities
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Brachet, J., & Wolpe, H. (2005). Conflict-Sensitive Development Assistance: The Case of Burundi. The Wilson Center: Social Development Papers, Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction . Chauveau, J.-P., & Bobo, K. S. (2003). La situation de guerre dans l’arene villageoise. Politique Africaine , 89, 12 - 32. Coletta, N., & Cullen, M. (2000). The Nexus between Violent Conflict, Social Capital and Social Cohesion: case studies from Cambodia and Rwanda. Social Capital Initiative Working Paper No. 23 , pp. 1-46. Colin, J.-P., Kouame, G., & Soro, D. (2007). Outside the autochthon-migrant configuration. Access to land, land conflicts and inter-ethnic relationships in a former pioneer area. The Journal of Modern African Studies , 45, 33-59. CURDIPHE. (2000). L’ivoirité, ou l’esprit du nouveau contrat social du Président H. K. Bédié (extraits). Politique Africaine , 65-70. Dembele, O. (2003). Cote d’Ivoire: La Fracture Communautaire. Politique Africaine , 89, 34 - 48. Diene, D. S. (2004). Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and all Forms of Discrimination. Commission on Human Rights, United Nations. Dozon, J.-P. (2000). La Cote d’Ivoire entre Democratie, Nationalisme, et Ethnonationalisme. Politique Africaine , 45 - 62. Duffy, G., & Lindstrom, N. (2002). Conflicting Identities: Solidary Incentives in the Serbo-Croatian War. Journal of Peace Research , 39 (1), 69-90. Fearon, J., & Laitin, D. (1996). Explaining Interethnic Cooperation. American Political Science Association , 90 (4), 715-735. Gyimah-Boadi, E. (1996). Civil Society in Africa. Journal of Democracy , 118-132. IRIN, U. O. (2011, January 26). Cote d’Ivoire: Voices of reason sidelined in the crisis. Retrieved March 2011, from http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/ASAZ-8DGC3P?OpenDocument Malanhoua, K. A . (2008). Societe civile et resolution de conflits en Cote d’Ivoire, Penser le changement ou changer le pansement? Retrieved March 2011, from Global Development Network: http://www.gdnet. org/CMS/submissions/1200871873_article-GDNET.doc Mitter, S. (2003). Ebony and Ivoirité. Transition (94), 30-55. Nan, S. A . (2008). Social Capital in Exclusive and Inclusive Networks: Satisfying Human Needs through Conflict and Conflict Resolution. Creating and Resolving Conflict with Trust and Social Networks Edited by Michaelene Cox Routledge 2009 Pages 172–185 Narayan, D. (1999). Bonds and Bridges: Social Capital and Poverty. Poverty Group of the World Bank , 1-52. Ochieng, Z. (2008, January 14). Cote d’Ivoire: Civil Society, media stand accused in Political Crisis. Retrieved March 2011, from www.afrika.no/detailed/15781.html Schlenker, A . (2010). Ethnic Conflict or civil Peace: the Contribution of Associations. ECPR Standing Group on International Relations Conference (pp. 1-30). Stockholm: University of Stockholm. Varshney, A . (2001). Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society India and Beyond. World Politics , 53 (3), 362-393. Woods, D. (1994). Elites, Ethnicity, and ‘Home Town’ Associations in the Côte d’Ivoire: An Historical Analysis of State. Society Links. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute , Vol. 64 (4), 465-483. Zamblé, F. (2010, August 24). La société civile peut-elle pousser les politiciens aux élections? . Inter Press Service News Agency , p. http://ipsinternational.org/fr/_note.asp?idnews=6058.
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P U B L I C P O L I C Y M E E T S H U M A N R I G H T: A GAP STUDY OF THE DUBLIN REGULATION AND THE GREEK ASYLUM CRISIS
INTRODUCTION Europe has long been sought out as a destination for those seeking refuge from protracted conflicts and war in neighboring countries and continents. However, beginning in the early 1990s, many Western European governments began to take a restrictive approach to refugees. The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) attributes this turning point to an influx of refugees following the conflicts in the Balkans and the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. 1 Indeed, in Western Europe the number of asylum applications was 150,000 in 1985, and by 1992 the number had risen sharply to more than 600,000. 2 This influx of refugees and immigrants into Europe has continued since the early 90’s, and contributed greatly to the waning European support for asylum seekers. In the past few years, the EU has received on average 1.8 million immigrants a year, 3 and Europe receives by far the most asylum applications out of any industrialized region. To put it into perspective, out of every 100 asylum seekers in the industrialized world, 68 seek protection in Europe. 4 In 2011, 301,300 asylum seekers were accepted into European countries. In the United States, it was 74,000. The creation of the Schengen Area and open borders within Europe only compounded the concerns about Europe’s growing responsibility to asylum seekers. Solutions to relieve the burden soon began to find their way into EU legislation. At the Tampere European Council in 1999, the EU committed itself to establishing a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The principal aim was to restrict unfounded and multiple asylum claims, and harmonize asylum procedures throughout the EU. Among the legislation created to reach this goal was the Dublin Regulation. Under the criteria of this Regulation, only one Member State can be responsible for processing an asylum claim. This responsibility is determined based on a list of hierarchical criteria. The most applied (although not the first) is article 10.1, which places the burden on the Member State where the asylum seeker has irregularly entered the European Union. In theory, the Dublin Regulation was created to decrease the numbers of manifestly unfounded asylum claims in Member States, and to equally assure that every asylum claim is fairly processed in at least one State. In reality, it has placed an unfair burden on countries on Europe’s periphery, aggravated the disparities between Member States, and exacerbated difficult situations in border countries. More importantly, it has trapped 107
asylum seekers in a state of limbo in countries where asylum systems are completely overwhelmed and nearly impossible to navigate. Reports show that 90% of illegal immigrants are now entering Europe through Greece. 5 This includes a large number of asylum seekers from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, who are fleeing wars and protracted conflicts in their home countries and in need of international protection. Over the past several years, regular reports by NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have shown that the Greek asylum system is completely overwhelmed and unprepared for the vast numbers of asylum seekers there. Moreover, these reports clearly show that conditions in detention centers and throughout the asylum procedure are in violation of many basic human rights. However, due to the restrictions of the Dublin Regulation, countless asylum seekers are trapped in Greece. The Greek government has largely been forced to shoulder this extra burden alone. Additionally, the current Greek financial crisis has done nothing to improve the situation, and in fact has made the Greek government and its citizens even more unsympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers stuck in administrative limbo in Greece. Using the situation in Greece as a case study, this thesis will offer a detailed analysis of every stage of the Greek asylum procedure, from the moment an immigrant crosses the border into Greece until they have received an answer to their asylum claim and/or appeal. CASE STUDY: GREECE “Will fled the Democratic Republic of Congo when he was eighteen years old, when he and his brother became the targets of his parents’ political enemies. After fleeing he had one thought in mind - to find his brother who had fled to France. Having been able to get a visa to South Africa, he traveled on to Greece via Zurich and from there to Belgium, Luxembourg and finally France. On being reunited, Will and his brother went together to apply for asylum. It was at this point that their lives diverged dramatically. Having escaped the same situation, the different papers they presented determined their claims would be processed in different countries according to the EU Dublin procedure. Will was told he would be transferred to Greece within a week. On arrival in Greece, Will was handcuffed and taken to a detention centre where he stayed for seven days. He spoke French but not Greek, he did not understand the procedure and received no information. He was given a ‘pink card’, released and told to come back after six months. He was forced to rely on the charity of fellow asylum seekers who gave him somewhere to live. Will was granted refugee status five years after being sent back to Greece.” 6 (Greek Council for Refugees) SITUATION IN GREECE Since the implementation of the Dublin system in 2003, dozens of reports have been published by NGOs and international organizations, documenting the abhorrent conditions for asylum seekers in Greece. Nevertheless, until 2011, Member States continued to regularly transfer asylum seekers back to Greece under the criteria of the Dublin Regulation. Due to the implications of the ECtHR case of MSS vs Belgium and 108
Greece, numerous States have suspended transfers to Greece. However, this step is only temporary and fails to address the real weaknesses of the Dublin Regulation. In addition, recent reports about the asylum system in Greece show minimal improvements in the asylum procedure, despite European solidarity efforts. This chapter seeks to address this issue, and answer the question: does sending an asylum seeker back to Greece amount to non-refoulement? ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CRISIS After four years of recession, two bailouts, an unemployment rate rise to 24% and speculation of a possible “Grexit” from the Euro zone, one would assume that the most pressing debate in Greece these days would be about the economy. However, the biggest story currently coming from Athens is the recent police sweep of run-down apartment blocks in Athens, which led to the detaining of some 6,000 immigrants and subsequent arrest and deportation of 1,400 of them. 7 In fact, it seems that for many Greeks, illegal immigration is more troubling than the economy. 8 The Citizen Protection Minister in charge of organizing the mass sweep, Nikos Dendias, was reported telling a private television channel, “The immigration problem is perhaps even greater than the financial one.” 9 He also said that he would resign if he were obstructed from completing the search for irregular immigrants in Athens. Greece’s immigration issue is relatively new. Until the early 1990s, Greece was characterized by its large-scale emigration - as large communities of Greek migrants around the world bear witness to. However, with the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, the collapse of communist regimes in 1989, Greece’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1981 and the Schengen Area in 1992, Greece has rapidly transitioned into an immigration receiving country. A quick glance at a map shows why. Positioned at the southeastern periphery of the EU, Greece is considered a “gateway” into Europe for unauthorized immigrants from SE Europe 10 , Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. 11 Restricted visas and high carrier sanctions have made air travel to the EU virtually impossible. 12 In addition, as “traditional” routes through Italy and Spain have been blocked by strengthened maritime security and repatriation deals with several African countries, immigrants are increasingly looking to Greece’s extensive coastlines and its land border with Turkey to enter Europe. GREEK-TURKISH BORDER The Greek border with Turkey consists of 1,170 kilometers of porous land borders and 18,400 kilometers of coastline, including islands in close proximity to Turkey. 13 As HRW points out, Greece’s geography and topography does nothing to discourage immigrants from entering Europe through its borders. “With an eastern frontier bounded by the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea in the north and the Mediterranean in the south, Turkey effectively funnels migrants traveling overland from the Middle East and South Asia into Greece, while Africans are increasingly coming to Greece via Egypt.” (HRW, 19) 109
Since 2006, officials have registered a total of roughly 100,000 irregular immigrants per year entering Greece. 14 In 2011, it was home to nearly 1.1 million migrants, or roughly 10 percent of the Greek population. Of these, it is estimated that nearly 400,000 were undocumented. 15 The majority of these immigrants come from Asia and Africa, mainly through the Greek-Turkish border. According to the Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS), there is now an estimated $8 billion illegal trafficking industry between Turkey and Greece, to included the trafficking of humans, narcotics and arms. 16 Moreover, RIES estimates that there are currently 1 million irregular immigrants “in transit” from Turkey to Europe. 17 According to a 2010 report from Frontex, the EU borders agency, 90% of all illegal border crossings into the EU are now happening through Greece. In addition, there has been “a continued and intensified shift from the Greek sea border to the Greek land border with Turkey.” 18 Over 85% of Greek’s illegal migrants are entering the country through the land routes in the northern Evros region, bordering Turkey. XENOPHOBIA/NATIONALISM In the context of the economic crisis and high unemployment rates, many Greeks feel threatened by the colossal numbers of foreign nationals living and seeking work in their country. 19 Social tensions between Greeks and migrants have increased, as has the belief that irregular immigrants are stealing jobs from hard-working Greek citizens. According to the UNHCR, the economic crisis in Greece has exacerbated an already existing problem of xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. 20 Couple all of these factors with a sharp rise in crime rates and the reintroduction of diseases such as tuberculosis, 21 and you have breeding ground for extremism. According to Athanasios Kourkoulas, a member of the group “Deport Racism,” between 2009 and 2010, the official number of racist attacks against immigrants more than tripled. 22 The far-right extremist group largely responsible for the wave of anti-immigration and for encouraging the nationalistic violence is known as Chrisi Avgi (Golden Dawn). The party has gained significant support in Greece in the past few years. In 2009, Golden Dawn received a mere 0.29 percent of the Parliamentary vote. 23 In May 2012, it won 6.97 percent of the vote, garnering 21 seats in Parliament. It campaigned under the slogans “remake Athens a Greek city,” “Greece for Greeks,” and, “let’s rid this country of the stench.” 24 Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the founder and leader of the party, won a seat on the Athens city council in 2010. In a rare interview with the film crew of Dublin’s Trap, he stated: “We are not the Klu Klux Klan, and we do not have cotton fields with slaves. If we were these kinds of racists, we would want the Pakistanis to stay in our country. On the contrary, we just want our country to be cleaned. …. But the Greek media play a dirty game….The journalists here should remember what they used to say: when a dog bites a human, its not newsworthy. But when a human bites a dog, it’s newsworthy. In the same way, when a foreigner murders a Greek nobody says a word. But when a Greek injures a foreigner then it’s all over the news.” 25 In July 2012, HRW released its most recent report on Greece, entitled Hate on the 110
Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece. 26 The report summarizes the wave of antiimmigrant violence spreading through Greece, with stories of masked Greeks taking the “law” into their own hands. During an interview with Yunus Mohammadi, an Afghan man who runs an association for Afghans in Greece, he showed HRW a map of Athens that he gives to new arrivals. On the map, there is a red line around areas migrants should avoid. He revealed, “This is exactly what I used to do in Afghanistan with the Red Cross about places people shouldn’t go because of fighting. And here I am doing the same thing in a European country.” 27 ASYLUM CRISIS What does this mean for asylum seekers? Firstly, it is important to remember that Greece has ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and the subsequent 1967 Protocol. As an EU Member State, Greece is also bound by the six EU directives and regulations in the EU asylum acquis, including the Dublin Regulation. Secondly, it is crucial to understand how closely linked the immigration crisis is to refugees in Greece. Due to the mixed migration flows entering Greece, it is very difficult to separate irregular immigrants from asylum seekers. The two groups are treated as one and the same until an actual asylum application has been made – which Greek police have been heavily criticized for preventing access to. As many refugees travel overland without visas, a large part of the immigrants entering Greece are in fact refugees in need of international protection. They come from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and more recently Syria, to which forced return or deportation are in direct violation of non-refoulement. Moreover, the widely documented rights violations against asylum seekers in Greece have been largely overshadowed by the concerns about illegal immigration. Asylum seekers have been lumped into the larger national debate about irregular immigrants, which makes it very difficult to form policy or gain support in favor of asylum seekers. As previously mentioned, the current Greek immigration discourse largely centers on promises to reclaim Greek cities from irregular immigrants, regardless of whether or not they are potential asylum seekers. 28 In September 2010, The UNHCR declared the Greek asylum situation a “humanitarian crisis,” which has “important implications for the wider EU.” 29 The crisis that the UNHCR describes is not new, and in fact has been building for several years. Since 2005, a vast amount of reporting literature has accumulated, which clearly documents the deficiencies of the Greek asylum system during every stage of the experience. 30 In the landmark case of M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece, the ECtHR listed 23 main reports, written between 2006 and 2010, by national, international and nongovernmental organizations, deploring the conditions in Greece. 31 These reports formed the basis of the court’s decision that, due to the conditions for asylum seekers in Greece, transfers to Greece were in direct violation three separate articles of the ECHR. A large number of these reports will form the basis of the next section, along with several more recent reports from 2010 to July 2012. The author’s goal is to homogenize the 111
reports and thus provide a clear analysis of the condition for asylum seekers in Greece, from the moment they cross the border until a determination has been made on their asylum claim. CONDITIONS FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS ACCESS TO TERRITORY Greek police have identified three main entry points for migrants into Greece: the Evros region in the northeast, the Greek islands off the coast of Turkey, and Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. Normally, Greek border police and the Greek Coast Guard patrol these areas. However beginning in October 2010, Frontex, the EU borders control agency, began deploying teams to Greece to aid in guarding Greek’s porous borders. On November 2, 2010, Frontex deployed an additional team of 175 RABIT (Rapid Border Intervention Team) “guest officers,” to Greece, in Joint Operation Poseidon Land. The team was deployed for six months to Evros, in order to assist Greece in managing the influx of migrants along the Turkish border. According to Arias Fernandez of Frontex, the RABIT deployment was set up “because of a drastic increase of numbers [of detected migrants] and because the humanitarian situation also made the European Commission encourage Greece to ask for our help.” 32 Along with the additional border guards, Frontex sent a helicopter, four buses, five minibuses, 19 four-wheel-drive patrol cars, and nine vans with thermo-visual equipment, all provided by participating EU states. 33 HRW condemned the mission, accusing EU member states of being ‘complicit in Greece’s shameful conduct’ by helping to apprehend and detain illegal migrants. 34 In addition to the remaining Frontex border guards, on July 30, 2012, Nikos Dendias, the Minister for Public Order and Citizen Protection, announced that 1,800 police officers would be transferred to the Evros Region to strengthen the numbers of border patrol forces. 35 A large majority of these police officers will be transferred from their roles as personal guards for politicians and other high-ranking officials. 36 In addition to these guards and police forces is the construction of a 10,310-meter 37 razor wire fence along Greece’s northern border with Turkey. The head of the construction firm anticipates that it will be completed in October 2012. 38 The EU, EC, UNHCR and IOM have heavily criticized the fence, due to concerns that it will only make migrants more vulnerable and dependant on human smugglers. 39 Moreover, as Greece’s land border with Turkey is over 200 km long, the estimated cost of 3.2 million Euros for the fence is seen as unnecessary and frivolous – especially for a country with such deep financial troubles. SCREENING In its 2008 report, HRW stressed that Greek border-enforcement officials usually make no effort to communicate with migrants, or do any screening to determine their possible needs for protection. 40 In both the Evros region and in the Aegean Sea, reports show that the Greek border police make no distinction between irregular migrants and 112
those seeking asylum. 41 The initial interrogation procedure consists of a nationality determination interview, which is considered to be a screening procedure, and intense questioning on smugglers and organized crime. 42 RETURNS/DEPORTATIONS The HRW report also revealed that police are guilty of taking groups of irregular immigrants to the Evros River at nightfall and forcibly expelling them to the Turkish side. Between 2002 and 2007, the Turkish General Staff reported that Greece unlawfully expelled nearly 12,000 third-country nationals back to Turkey – and that only includes those who were actually apprehended. 43 This practice is considered by HRW and FRA to be a violation of non-refoulement, as Turkey does not allow migrants coming from outside of Europe to apply for asylum, and in fact has yet to establish an asylum system. 44 Moreover, this puts asylum seekers at risk of chain refoulement, as they may be subjected to onward return to their countries of origin from Turkey. To make matters worse, there have been regular reports by migrants and asylum seekers of “push backs” of boats by the Greek coast guard, which not only violate nonrefoulement but run serious risks of potential deaths by drowning. 45 DETENTION CENTERS “I am originally from a land of war, but I never saw suffering like I see here.” -Iraqi detainee, Tychero detention center, November 2010 46 The principle legal framework that governs non-citizens in Greece is Law 3386 (2005), on “entry, residence and social integration of third-country nationals in the Hellenic territory.” 47 According to article 76, the police and border guards are authorized to apprehend non-citizens and either imprison them or expulse them from the territory. The police are also responsible for security arrangements in detention facilities. 48 Officially, Greece has two types of immigration detention facilities: police and border guard stations for short-term detention, and long-term detention centers for foreign nationals awaiting deportation. 49 Due to a lack of official documentation, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how many detention facilities are actually being used at any given time. In 2008, the Global Detention Project was able to verify that nine specialized immigration detention centers and one police and border guard station were being used on a regular basis for detaining immigrants, at a total detention capacity of around 2,500. 50 To put this into perspective, the Greek Ministry of Interior determined that in 2008, around 146,337 migrants were apprehended while attempting to enter Greece. 51 Due to the large numbers of immigrants being apprehended and the severe overcrowding in official detention centers, Greek police and border guards have resorted to detaining migrants in old police facilities and other ad hoc buildings, which were never meant to be used as detention facilities. Since 2001, the CPT and multiple human rights organizations have identified up to 36 different sites throughout Greece that are 113
being used as detention facilities. 52 Most of these buildings were not originally designed for detention and are well beyond their holding capacities. In addition, although these buildings should be used for short-term detention, many migrants are being held there for long periods of time (several months in some cases) – to include those with severe health problems, unaccompanied minors, single women, pregnant women and mothers with children. 53 A visit to four detention centers in the Evros region by Human Rights Watch in December 2010 showed overcrowded, unsanitary, inhuman, abusive, and degrading conditions in all four centers. 54 Interviews with detainees revealed regular beatings and a complete lack of access to clean water, toilets and medical attention. At the detention center in Feres, HRW found that the police were detaining 97 migrants in a former police station, which had a maximum capacity of 30. They were told that during the “high season” of the summer, up to 120 people were held there, men and women together. 55 At the Soufli police station, a Greek policeman told an HRW interpreter that two days before the visit, a woman had been raped by another detainee, and an investigation was never filed by the Greek police. 56 The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has warned about conditions in Greek detention centers since as early as 1997. 57 On March 15, 2011, the CPT issued a “Public Statement Concerning Greece.” 58 According to the statement, not only has the Greek government failed to improve detention centers, but also conditions may have worsened during Frontex’s RABIT deployment. 59 Based on a visit to Greece in January 2011, the CPT reported that conditions at the Soufli police and border guard station were some of the worst they had ever seen. “…members of the Committee’s delegation had to walk over persons lying on the floor to access the detention facility. There were 146 irregular migrants crammed into a room of 110m, with no access to outdoor exercise or any other possibility to move around and with only one functioning toilet and shower at their disposal; 65 of them had been held in these deplorable conditions for longer than four weeks and a number for longer than four months. They were not even permitted to change their clothes. At times, women were places in the detention facility together with the men. Similar conditions existed at almost all the police premises visited by the CPT’s delegation.” 60 Frontex representatives have defended their RABIT mission in Greece by stating that matters of immigration and asylum fall outside of its mandate. 61 Contrary to these statements, Frontex has also made some attempts to alleviate the overcrowding problem by offering tents to use as detention centers, and suggesting renovating a former military base and a sugar factory into detention centers. 62 As of February 2011, the Greek authorities had yet to make a decision on these suggestions. 63 Lastly, there is still no migrant reception center or detention center in the port town of Patras. This is despite the thousands of undocumented migrants living there, hoping to make their way further west into Europe on passenger ferries and trucks. 64 Until 2009, up to 2,000 immigrants, mostly Afghans, lived in a makeshift camp near Patras. In September 2009, the police demolished it. 65 Local residents have regularly protested against the 114
creation of a detention or reception center in their city, arguing that it would encourage more migrants to come to Patras. Despite these protests, on June 11, 2012, Apostolos Katsifaras, the governor of Patras, made a motion during a meeting of local authority officials in favor of the construction of a migrant detention center. 66 This motion followed violent clashes between members of the Golden Dawn party and migrants in late May 2012, when members of the party tried to storm an old factory where immigrants were living. 67 Mr. Katsifaras told the newspaper Ekathimerini, “Events are surpassing us, and their dynamic is creating a new set of circumstances which must be dealt with.” 68 ACCESS TO ASYLUM PROCEDURE Under article 79 of Law 3386, asylum seekers are exempt from expulsion from the Greek territory, but can be detained for up to 60 days. 69 However, this stipulation matters little to the police and border guards, as reasons of flight are not a part of the interview when processing of irregular migrants. As mentioned previously, the only screening carried out by the police or Frontex officers is the nationality screening, which is done to obtain information about smuggling and organized crime. 70 A 2011 report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) notes that even in cases where migrants do request international protection, an extremely heavy workload, absence of translators, and absence of NGOs able to provide legal counsel severely hinder any efforts to lodge an asylum claim. 71 In addition, due to the abusive and degrading conditions in detention centers, most asylum seekers are deterred from lodging asylum claims while in detention, as they do not wish to stay in the centers during the determination or appeal process. According to Human Rights Watch, the police told an Iranian detainee in the Venna detention center that if he wanted to apply for asylum, he would have to stay in the center for six more months. 72 The 2011 FRA report concisely sums up the situation: “…..persons who submit an asylum request at the border are likely to be held in detention for much longer, as they need to wait for the first instance procedure to be completed before being released. Although a considerable number of persons come applications were lodged in Evros in 2010. This situation contributes further to the impacting on the Greek asylum system as a whole.” 73 ASYLUM DETERMINATION PROCEDURE Until 1999, UNHCR examined asylum claims in Greece, referring those identified as refugees for resettlement. Since the establishment of “Presidential decree 61/1999 (PD 61/99),” specialized staff within police directorates now handles every stage of the asylum procedure. 74 However, as NOAS points out, the actual practice throughout the procedure continues to cause serious concern, as it is mostly contrary to the legal provisions. 75 According to the website for the Ministry of Citizen Protection, asylum seekers can 115
submit their applications at the first port of entry or at the closest police directorate. 76 However, as the previous section clearly showed, a large majority of asylum seekers are reaching Greece by crossing its borders illegally, and in turn being held in detention centers in appalling conditions. Many are pushed back, deported, or simply not being given access to the asylum determination procedure at all. When they are given the possibility to claim asylum from detention, most refuse because they do not want to stay in detention while waiting for their claim to be processed. For asylum seekers in this situation, one of the few choices they have is to refuse to apply for asylum from detention and continue on their journey to apply elsewhere. The majority of asylum seekers choose to apply in Athens. The Greek capital city is the center of Greece, with over four million of its ten million total inhabitants living there. The arrival of so many asylum seekers in Athens has led to severe overcrowding of the Attica Police Asylum Department, as previously mentioned in the FRA report. In 2008, NOAS reported that approximately 95% of asylum applications in Greece were being registered in Athens. 77 At the time, the police department only opened on Sunday mornings and accepted around 200 people merely to make an appointment to lodge an application. On an average Sunday, around 1,000 people could be found waiting in line at the police station. 78 A March 2012 report by UNHCR showed that the situation has actually gotten worse. 79 Now, the line of hopeful asylum seekers waits, usually overnight, at the Aliens and Immigration Directorate of Athens. 80 It only opens on Saturday mornings, at 6am. Approximately twenty people are let into the building, always chosen â€œrandomly.â€? Often it is only strongest who can push their way in that are let in. One Eritrean woman claimed she had waited every Friday night for eighteen months to get in, but was always pushed to the back by the men. 81 PINK CARD Once an asylum seeker finally manages to register their asylum application with the police, they are given the notorious and coveted pink ID card (roz karta), which allows them to legally reside in Greece. 82 On the card is a picture and basic information such as name, nationality, date of birth and address. 83 It is good for six months at a time and is renewable until a decision has been made on their asylum claim. In theory, it allows the asylum seeker to have access to free healthcare from the National Health System and to apply for a temporary work permit. 84 According to numerous reports and interviews with migrants in possession of the pink card, it is clear that the Greek government is not restricting possession of the pink card only to asylum seekers. Heather Cabot noted that during her time with Bangladeshi migrants in Greece, many clearly explained to her that they had come to Greece for work and money, due to economic problems in Bangladesh. 85 However, many had obtained a pink card upon release from detention or at the recommendation of police or friends. They all considered it to be a residence permit, with no connection to asylum. 86 Mrs. Cabot questioned a former NGO lawyer about the situation, and he revealed: â€œWith so 116
many people entering Greece, there is no way for the state to know who is in its territory, so the police have begun to use the pink card to document “economic” migrants.” 87 It will never be possible to ascertain exactly how many economic migrants in Greece receive pink cards, as compared to asylum seekers. However, the conclusion can be drawn that the Greek government is unofficially using the pink card as an informal census of undocumented migrants in Greece, to deal with the overwhelming issue of illegal migration. 88 These actions also reveal the Greek state’s assumption that most of the migrants entering Greece are not true refugees, and thus not in true need of international protection. Lastly, by issuing pink cards to economic migrants, Greece is disrupting the regulatory functions of the asylum procedure. 89 THE ASYLUM INTERVIEW Authorities make their decision in an asylum case based on the asylum interview. Therefore it is vital that the interview is carried out in a qualitatively appropriate fashion, so that the grounds for applying for asylum appear as clearly as possible. 90 As per article 2.3 of Presidential Decree 61/1999, in Greece the asylum interview is conducted by police officers. According to NOAS, in 2007 there were 11-13 police officers at the Attica Police Asylum Department. That year, they were responsible for interviewing over 25,000 asylum seekers. 91 According to numerous NGOs and asylum seekers, the interviews are brief and superficial, and the asylum seekers are often confused about the process due to a severe lack of interpreters, legal advisors, and privacy. Most reports state that asylum interviews last an average of a few minutes, and focus on smuggling routes rather than reasons for flight. PROCESSING ASYLUM CLAIMS Due to severe understaffing and an overwhelmed system, asylum applications in Greece are processed at a sluggish pace. Moreover, compared to other Member States, Greece has seen a daunting increase in asylum applicants in the past five years. Human Rights Watch gives the numbers: “As recently as 2004, Greece received a modest 4,500 asylum applications, but by 2007 the number of asylum claims had increased fivefold to more than 25,000, of whom 5,500 were Iraqi claimants. In 2007, Greece was the fourth largest recipient of new asylum claims in the EU, exceeded only by Sweden, France, and the United Kingdom (UK). Although EU member states saw an 11 percent increase in the number of asylum seekers from 2006 to 2007, Greece saw a 105 percent increase during this period.” 92 All of these factors have contributed to create an enormous backlog of applications waiting to be processed. At the end of 2010, the backlog of unprocessed claims and pending appeals was at over 47,000. 93 As of August 2012, UNHCR website shows that there are still 43,942 pending asylum or appeals applications in Greece. 94
PROCESSING TIME Once an asylum seeker has been interviewed, there is no way to know how long they will have to wait for a determination on their application. There are countless stories of asylum seekers who have been stuck in Greece for several years while waiting for a decision. One Iranian man claimed to have been waiting for an answer to his claim for over twelve years. 95 Many asylum seekers have chosen to protest the delay through hunger strikes, often in front of Athens University. Some has gone as far as to sew their mouths shut. 96 The most recent hunger strike took place in Feb-Mar 2011, lasted for six weeks, and involved over 300 protesters. More than 100 of them were taken to the hospital, and according to a BBC analyst, “a compromise was reached after a public prosecutor instructed state doctors to take all necessary medical actions to prevent the strikers from dying.” 97 ASYLUM RECOGNITION RATES For those who eventually do receive an answer to an asylum claim, the outlook is still extremely grim. The reality is, asylum recognition rates in Greece are notoriously low, by far the lowest in Europe, and an asylum seeker in Greece has almost no chance of being granted asylum. According to figures provided to UNHCR by the Greek authorities, Greece accepted only 0.05% of applications in 2006 and 0.04% in 2007 (a total of 8 granted requests, out of 20,692) . 98 In 2008, out of 20,000 applicants, asylum was accorded to only 379, or .01%. 99 In 2009, the total recognition rate was .3%. 100 The most current UN Statistical yearbook shows that in 2010, the acceptance rate was 1.7% for first instance applications, and 2.8% for second instance (appeals). 101 According to NOAS, the police officers interviewing the asylum seekers do not decide the decision on asylum cases themselves. However, based on the short interview, they do make a recommendation to the Ministry of the Interior. Marianna Tzeferakou from Greek Group of Lawyers told NOAS that the police officers seem to be ordered by their superiors to write a negative recommendation in every single case. 102 The typical conclusion in many asylum reports is, “came for economic reasons.” 103 An HRW report confirms this, citing the story of a lawyer from the Greek Ecumenical Refugee Program who went to the asylum interview with an unaccompanied child from Eritrea. The boy was a torture survivor, and clearly explained his story to the police officer. However, the police officer’s recommendation was, “manifestly unfounded, came for economic reasons.” 104 In late 2007, UNHCR analyzed 305 rejected first-instance decisions from Greece, and found that “none of these decisions contained any reference to the facts and none contained any detailed legal reasoning.” 105 The rejected claimants included Somalis, Afghans, Sudanese, Sri Lankans, and Iraqis. The files showed consistent use of phrases such as: “It is obvious that s/he abandoned his country in order to find a job and improve his living conditions.” 106 HRW attributes this problem to an institutional culture that takes a presumptively negative view of asylum seekers. 107
ACCESS TO APPEALS According to article 10(e) of the Procedure Directive, Member States are obligated to inform asylum seekers of the result of their decision “in a language that they may reasonably be supposed to understand.” 108 In addition, if the result is negative, they are to be given information on how to challenge the decision and file for an appeal. 109 However, Greek authorities have long been criticized for failing to abide by this standard, and not properly notifying asylum seekers of the decision on their application. As asylum seekers are unaware that a decision has even been made, they loose their right to appeal the decision. The NOAS has narrowed this down to one of three reasons: 1) the applicant is given the decision in Greek and cannot understand it or his/her right to appeal. 2) the applicant isn’t given the decision because he/she wasn’t at his/her declared address. 3) the applicant receives the decision but doesn’t know where or how to lodge an appeal. 110 An appeal against a rejection has to be sent to the Ministry of Interior. This has to be done within a deadline of 30 days if the case is treated according to Standard Procedure, and within 10 days if it is treated according to the Accelerated Procedure 111 . The deadline is calculated from the day the decision was given to the applicant or posted on the public notice board. 112 For those who do manage to receive a decision on time and are able to process an appeal, the process is long and expensive, and often as characterized by the same superficiality and problems as in first instance claims. The percentages of accepted second instance applications are only slightly higher than first instance. It has also become apparent that the likelihood of receiving refugee status in Greek is dependent on nationality. In 2003, Iraqi asylum appeals were frozen and not unfrozen until mid-2007. In 2008, HRW reported the discrepancy. “Despite horrendous sectarian violence and widespread generalized violence in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, Greece neither granted refugee status nor subsidiary protection based on generalized violence to a single one of the 5,474 Iraqis who lodged asylum claims in 2007.” 113 SOCIAL SUPPORT Receiving a pink card does not give an asylum seeker the right to any social support besides health care. That includes accommodation, any form of economic support, food, or even the right to language training. 114 In order to eat, they are often dependent on food donated by aid organizations and supermarkets. 115 There are fewer than 1,000 places at official reception centers, and these limited places go to women and unaccompanied minors. 116 The rest are left to live on the streets, in abandoned buildings, or in makeshift housing. There are several institutions that provide shelter specifically to unaccompanied minors, often in hostels. This includes GCR, the Social Work Foundation, and the Association for Childcare. 117 There are no provisions in Greek legislation to provide asylum seekers with legal aid. Thus, the only legal assistance that is offered to asylum seekers throughout the asylum process is the few lawyers that are provided by NGOs. According to information obtained by NOAS in 2008, there were about 15 lawyers and 10 volunteers offering free 119
legal assistance for asylum seekers. 118 These lawyers were procured by NGOs with grants from the European Refugee Fund. 119 Compared to the large number of asylum seekers, the total number of persons offering legal assistance comes nowhere near answering asylum seekers’ urgent needs for aid. TRANSFERS TO GREECE As a consequence of the way cases are handled in Greece, and the low number of granted applications, it is not unusual that many asylum seekers attempt to travel on to other European countries to seek protection. However, since 2003, the best efforts of those trying to escape the Greek system have been desperately shattered by the EURODAC system. When the Greek police or border guards fingerprint an asylum seeker, those fingerprints are registered in the EURODAC system. This means that later on in their journey, no matter where they attempt to claim asylum in Europe, the person’s fingerprints will always be traced back to Greece. Under the criteria of the Dublin Regulation, thousands of people have been sent back to Greece to apply for asylum due to the EURODAC system. 120 Many people report that they had already been living in another country for years, and had begun to establish a new life there - including learning a new language. Oftentimes, asylum seekers, including families, are taken from their homes in the middle of the night with no warning and deported back to Greece. Upon return to Athens, they are once again placed in police custody, given a pink card, and then released with no housing, food, or information on how to continue the asylum procedure. 121 Beginning in 2008, Member States began reacting to stakeholder’s reports about the conditions in Greece, and suspending transfers there. On February 7, 2008, Norway was the first country to officially suspending transfers of asylum seekers to Greece. 122 The next month, the EC initiated an infringement procedure against Greece for breaching Article 3 (1) of the Dublin II regulation. 123 In May 2008, the Swedish Migration Board suspended returns of unaccompanied children to Greece. In April, Finland also announced its intention to suspend transfers to Greece unless it received written confirmation from Greece that asylum claims would be fairly processed. Following the verdict of MSS v Belgium and Greece, Belgium, the UK, Netherlands and Germany all suspended transfers of asylum seekers to Greece. Germany was the only country to give the suspension a time limit, until January 2013. Since then, Austria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Iceland, and Ireland have also followed suit. 124 In total, 14 Member States have temporarily suspended the transfer of asylum seekers to Greece. 125 CHANGES TO THE GREEK ASYLUM SYSTEM The European Commission took its first steps to hold Greece accountable for its violations of EU law in 2009 and 2010 126 , when it issued two formal letters to Greece in a process known as an infringement proceeding. 127 If ignored, an infringement can ultimately lead to action in the ECJ. In reaction, Greece enacted new legislation, Presidential Decrees 90/2008 and 96/2008, to bring its qualifications for refugee status and other forms of international protection into conformity with EU standards. This law adds a new ground 120
for protection, subsidiary status, for persons who would face “serious harm” if returned.” 128 In December 2008, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, visited Greece. The Commissioner “noted with interest” the positive developments in the Greek refugee legislation. 129 However, he also expressed “serious concern at the lack of evidence indicating any positive developments in the practice relating to refugee protection.” 130 The Commissioner cited the low asylum recognition rates and regular reports of human rights violations in Greece. He concluded by recommending that the Greek authorities create “a coherent, comprehensive and adequately resourced action plan on asylum, preferably in the context of a national human rights action plan.” 131 In September 2010 the Greek government presented an “action plan on migration management.” The plan was finalized following an intensive one-month consultation with key stakeholders in migration and asylum issues in Greece. 132 The Greek Parliament adopted the plan on 18 January 2011, “Establishment of an Asylum Service and a First Reception Service (Law 3907/2011).” It establishes a new asylum authority, the Asylum Service, with civilian staff, which is responsible for the processing of first instance asylum applications. 133 This will replace the role previously assumed by the police, and is to be implemented by the end of 2012. Its other main priorities are to modernize screening procedures, increase reception capacity for children and vulnerable groups, and upgrade detention conditions. 134 Human Rights Watch issued a harsh response in reaction to the Greek Action Plan, and Greece’s stated intention to reform its asylum system. HRW underlines the fact that the Greek government has repeatedly promised “to overhaul the asylum system and to support those in need of protection,” 135 citing its reports from 2008 and 2009 and of the scale of the asylum crisis in Greece. In fact, the organization has so little faith in the promises of the Greek government that it insists on intervention by the UNHCR to control the situation. Bill Frelick, Refugee Program director at Human Rights Watch, scolded: “Despite its formal commitments, the Greek government has utterly failed to meet its most basic responsibilities to protect refugees. The UN refugee agency has a mandate to protect refugees when a government is unable or unwilling. It needs to step in now and take over processing asylum claims.” 136 EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY EFFORTS The implementation of the Greek Action Plan would be impossible without financial support by the European Union. Cecilia Malmström, the current EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, announced in a joint statement with Christos Papoutsis, Minister of Citizen Protection of Greece, that the European Commission would provide support to Greece for this purpose. 137 The statement reads, “The Commission has offered a package of financial and practical assistance in support of the Greek efforts.” 138 Financial support will primarily be channeled through the EU funds and operational support provided through the EASO. The majority of EU and EC solidarity efforts to aid Greece remain focused on 121
protecting the Greek borders. This effort is closely linked to the Schengen area and the lack of border controls within the EU – more so with the suspension of transfers to Greece. Over the past two years, the EC has poured €255 million ($331 million) a year into border protection for Greece, which includes funding for the FRONTEX and RABITs deployments. 139 Financial solidarity efforts come in the form of grants from one of four funds: the EU Refugee Fund (ERF), the EU External Borders Fund, the EU Return Fund and the 140 While the funding is more than generous, Greece has experienced severe problems in receiving the funding. In 2007, the award from the External Borders Fund was decreased by 30% (from 17,955,556€ to 12,320,436€) and in 2008 by 40% (from 18,324,110€ to 10,762,342€). 141 The use of ERF funds has been highly problematic as well, due to slow processing times. The FRA reported in 2011 that ERF funds envisaged for 2009 were only transferred to the beneficiaries at the end of 2010. 142 This is highly problematic for NGOs who cannot afford to front the costs of their projects. CONCLUSION The foundation of the Dublin system is mutual trust between Member States. 143 When the Dublin Convention was approved, the EC and Member States assumed that international obligations concerning non-refoulement were not implicated, as all Member States were party to relevant treaties. 144 However, the conditions in Greece for asylum seekers and the ruling by the ECtHR in the case of M.S.S. clearly show that that assumption is erroneous. The principle of non-refoulement in international law forbids the expulsion or return of a refugee to a place where his or her life or freedom would be threatened. This is a non-derogable right and must be strictly observed. Both international refugee law and human rights law carry obligations of non-refoulement. 145 It is enshrined in the Geneva Convention, which the EU has committed itself to respecting.
NOTES: 1 ECRE, 15 Aug 2012 <http://www.ecre.org/topics/areas-of-work/introduction/194.html>. 2 Eiko R. Thielemann, “Why Asylum Policy Harmonisation Undermines Refugee Burden-Sharing,” European Journal of Migration and Law (2004): 47-65. 3 CIVITAS Institute for the Study of Civil Society, “Immigration and Asylum,” July 2011, 2012 15 September <http://civitas.org/uk/eufacts/FSEXR/EX1.htm>. 4 European Parliament Web Team, “Huffington Post,” 25 June 2012, Gimme Shelter: A European Approach to Asylum Seekers, 20 July 2012 <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/european-parliament-web-team/ gimme-shelter-a-european-_b_1623752.html>. 5 Ibid. 6 European Council on Refugees and Exiles, “The Dublin Regulation: Twenty Voices - Twenty Reasons for Change,” 2007. (pg 3) 122
7 France 24, Greece arrests thousands in mass migrant sweep, 7 Aug 2012, 10 Aug 2012 <http://www.france24. com/en/20120806-greece-human-rights-mass-migrant-sweep-arrests-deportation-invasion>. 8 Nick Maltkoutzis, Why Immigration is troubling Greece more than the Economy, 3 April 2012, 1 July 2012 <http://www.social-europe.eu/2012/04/why-immigration-is-troubling-greece-more-than-the-economy/>. 9 Niki Kitsantonis, As Greece Rounds Up Migrants, Official Says ‘Invasion’ Imperils National Stability, 6 Aug 2012, 7 Aug 2012 <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/world/europe/vast-police-operation-targetsmigrants-in-athens.html>. 10 It was estimated in 2008 that between 60-65% of immigrants to Greece are from Albania. 11 Charalambos Kasimis, Greece: Illegal Immigration in the Midst of Crisis, March 2012, 1 Aug 2012 <http:// www.migrationinformation.org/Profiles/display.cfm?ID=884>. 12 Paul and Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi McDonough, “Putting Solidarity to the Test: Assessing Europe’s Response to the Asylum Crisis in Greece,” Research Paper No. 231, pg 7. xsl:call-template name=”templ_ prop_Comma”/> Jan 2012.7 13 HRW, Stuck in a revolving door, pg 3 14 Andreas Ulrich, Illegal Immigrants in Greece: At the Mercy of the People Smugglers, 24 May 2012, 2 Aug 2012 <http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/thousands-of-illegal-immigrants-enter-europethrough-greece-a-834415.html>. 15 Ibid. 16 RIEAS, Strategic Analysis: Destabilization through Illegal Immigration in Greece, 15 July 2012 <http:// q rieas.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=812&Itemid=89>. 17 Ibid. 18 Human Rights Watch, “The EU’s Dirty Hands: Frontex Involvement in Ill-Treatment of Migrant Detainees in Greece,” 2011. (pg 20) 19 Malkoutzis, 1 20 UNHCR, Refworld, 28 June 2012, 20 July 2012 <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4fedb3re32.html>. (pg 2) 21 RIEAS 22 Dublin’s Trap, 27:00-27:20 23 The Independent, Extreme right leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos lashes Greece’s ‘traitors’, 6 May 2012, 1 Sep 2012 <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/extreme-right-leader-nikolaos-michaloliakoslashesgreeces-traitors-7718581.html>. 24 Ibid. 25 Dublin’s Trap, 30:00-30:10 26 Human Rights Watch, “Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece,” 2012.27 Ibid, pg 6. 28 Malkoutzis, 2 29 HRW, The EU’s dirty hands, 19 30 McDonough, 1 31 MSS v Belgium and Greece, pg 387-388 32 Ibid, pg 20 33 Ibid, pg 23. 34 UNHCR Refworld, pg 2 35 Athens News, 30 July 2012, 15 August 2012 <http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/9/57344>. 36 Ibid. 37 The fence was originally anticipated to be 2.5 km long. 38 Ibid. 39 UNHCR Refworld, pg 1 40 HRW, Stuck In a Revolving Door, pg 3-4. 41 Ibid, 32. 42 HRW, The EU’s Dirty Hands, pg 24. 43 HRW, Stuck in a revolving door, pg 3. 44 FRA , pg 21. 45 Pro Asyl, “The Truth May be Bitter But it Must Be Told: The Situation of Refugees in the Aegean and the Practices of the Greek Coast Guard,” Oct 2007. (pg 6) 46 Ibid, pg 29. 123
47 Global Detention Project 48 Ibid. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. 53 Minority Rights Group International, “State of the World’s Minotiries and Indigenous Peoples 2012-Greece,” 28 June 2012, UNHCR Refworld, 20 July 2012 <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/ country,,,,GRC,,4fedb3fe32,0.html>. 54 The four detention centers visited were Fylakio, Tychero, Feres and Soufli. 55 HRW, The EU’s Dirty Hands, pg 33-34 56 Ibid, pg 35. 57 Ibid, pg 25. 58 Ibid, pg 24. 59 The FRA report suggests that this is because of a decrease in illegal push backs over the Turkish border, and consequentially the overcrowding of detention centers. (FRA , 20) 60 HRW, The EU’s Dirty Hands, pg 25. 61 Ibid, pg 26 and 27. 62 Ibid, pg 27. 63 Ibid. 64 Ekathimerini.com, Ekathimerini, 12 June 2012, 16 August 2012 <http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_ articles_wsite1_1_12/06/2012_446532>. 65 The Guardian, 27 Sep 2009, 18 Sep 2012 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/27/greek-islandsimmigration-tensions-soar>. 66 Ibid. 67 Clandestina, Migration and Struggle in Greece, 23 May 2012, 16 Aug 2012 <http://clandestinenglish. wordpress.com/2012/05/23/patras-clashes-as-residents-chysi-avgi-supporters-try-to-storm-immigrants-shelter/>. 68 Ekathimerini. 69 HRW, Stuck in a Revolving Door, pg 73. 70 FRA , pg 32. 71 Ibid, pg 24. 72 HRW, The EU’s Dirty Hands, pg 37. 73 FRA , pg 6. 74 McDonough, pg 6. 75 Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers, “A gamble with the right to asylum in Europe: Greek asylum policy and the Dublin II Regulation,” 2008. (pg 12) 76 Ibid. 77 NOAS, pg 15. 78 Ibid. 79 UNHCR, Dozens queue every week in Athens to apply for asylum, 23 Mar 2012, 16 Aug 2012 <http://www. unhcr.org/4f6c8b6a6.html>. 80 Asylum seekers and NGO workers often refer to the Athens police station as “Allodapon,” meaning “for/ of aliens” in Greek. (Cabot, pg 14) 81 Ibid. 82 Heath Cabot, “The Governance of Things: Documenting Limbo in the Greek Asylum Procedure,” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 35.1 (2012): 11–29. (pg 11) 83 NOAS, pg 15. 84 Cabot, pg 17. 85 Ibid, pg 20. 86 Ibid. 87 Ibid, pg 21. 88 Ibid. 89 Ibid, pg11. 124
90 NOAS, pg 18. 91 Ibid. 92 HRW, Stuck in a Revolving Door, pg 20. 93 McDonough, pgs 3-4. 94 UNHCR, Greece: Working Environment 2012, 7 Aug 2012 <http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e48e726. html>. 95 France 24, Iranian Asylum Seekers Sew Mouths Shut to Protest Greek Mistreatment, 25 Oct 2010, 20 Aug 2012 <http://observers.france24.com/content/20101025-iranian-sew-mouths-shut-athens-protest-greece-asylumhuman-rights>. 96 Ibid. 97 BBC: Fortress Europe. 98 Ibid. 99 The Guardian, Greece struggles to cope as immigration tensions soar, 27 Sep 2009, 18 Sep 2012 <http:// www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/27/greek-islands-immigration-tensions-soar.> 100 UNHCR, “UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2009,” 2009. 101 UNHCR, “Statistical Yearbook 2010,” 2010. 102 NOAS, pg 20. 103 Ibid. 104 HRW, Stuck In a Revolving Door, pgs 94-95. 105 UNHCR, “Asylum in the European Union. A Study of the Implementation of the Qualification Directive.,” Nov 2007, 20 Aug 2012 <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/473050632.html >. 106 Ibid, 32. 107 HRW, Stuck In a Revolving Door, pg 93. 108 Procedure Directive, article 10(3) 109 NOAS, pg 25. 110 NOAS, pg 26. 111 The accelerated procedure is intended for claims that are deemed to be “manifestly unfounded.” Although this procedure is not treated in this chapter, it is important to note that a large percentage of claims in Greece are incorrectly treated under the accelerated procedure. 112 NOAS, pg 26. 113 Ibid. 114 NOAS, pg 15. 115 Ulrich 116 Ibid. 117 Ibid. 118 NOAS, pg 28. 119 Ibid. 120 In 2009, Greece received 9,506 requests to “take back” asylum seekers. 2010, Greece received 6,822 requests for take back transfers. While actual transfers were substantially smaller (1,202 persons in 2009 and 949 persons in 2010), they continued until late 2010, following the MSS ruling. (FRA , pg 37) 121 NOAS, pg 24. 122 W2eu, Deportations to Greece are stopped in most countries of the EU, April 2012, 18 September 2012 <http://www.w2eu.info/dublin2.en/articles/deportationstop-greece.en.html>. 123 Ibid. 124 Ibid. 125 Ibid. 126 The letters were sent on November 3, 2009, and June 24, 2010. 127 The Commission may initiate an infringement procedure when it detects a failure to comply with Community law. 128 HRW, Stuck in a revolving door, pg 95.129 Thomas Hammarberg, “Human rights of asylum seekers in Greece,” Visit xsl:call-template name=”templ_prop_Comma”/> 2008.130 Ibid.131 Ibid.132 McDonough, pg 7.133 International Commission of Jurists, “International Commission of Jurists submission to the Committee against Torture on the combined 5th and 6th Periodic Reports of Greece,” 2011. (pg 3) 134 McDonough, pg 7.135 HRW, Greece: Asylum Reform Delay Unacceptable, 20 Sep 2010, 5 Sep 2012 <http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/09/20/ 125
128 HRW, Stuck in a revolving door, pg 95. 129 Thomas Hammarberg, “Human rights of asylum seekers in Greece,” Visit xsl:call-template name=”templ_prop_Comma”/> 2008. 130 Ibid. 131 Ibid. 132 McDonough, pg 7. 133 International Commission of Jurists, “International Commission of Jurists submission to the Committee against Torture on the combined 5th and 6th Periodic Reports of Greece,” 2011. (pg 3) 134 McDonough, pg 7. 135 HRW, Greece: Asylum Reform Delay Unacceptable, 20 Sep 2010, 5 Sep 2012 <http://www.hrw.org/ news/2010/09/20/greece-asylum-reform-delay-unacceptable>. 136 Ibid. 137 EUROPA , Joint statement by Mr Christos Papoutsis and Cecilia Malmström, MEMO/10/450, 27 Sep 2010, 10 Sep 2010 <http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/10/450>. 138 Ibid. 139 Matina Stevis, The Other Greek Crisis, 19 Sep 2012, 20 Sep 2012 <http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/ article/2715161-other-greek-crisis>. 140 FRA , pg 38. 141 Ibid. 142 FRA , pg 39. 143 Battjes, 92 144 Battjes, 160 145 HRW, Stuck In a Revolving Door, pg 67.
M I C H A E L
M O R A L E S
F R E N C H S O V E R E I G N D E B T: THE EUROZONE’S NEXT PROBLEM?
INTRODUCTION With public debt continuously growing and a stagnant economy not indicating much promise, France finds itself at a monumental crossroads whose outcome may end up shaping the country’s future. A founding member and pillar of the European Union, the “hexagon” is beginning to show some cracks in its foundations and is becoming a potential threat to the future of the Euro. While the world is still considering the PIIGS as the nations that will determine the fate of the single currency as well as the outlook of the global economy, recent economic and political events in France have brought up the question of whether the world’s fifth largest economy is heading towards a crisis of its own. In May, Francois Hollande became the country’s first socialist president since Mr Mitterand’s 14-year tenure ended in 1995. In September, his government released its budget for 2013, including an austerity package of spending cuts and tax increases, growth forecasts for next year and beyond, and the beginning of a plan to bring the government’s budget balance to equilibrium by 2017. This paper analyzes France’s sovereign debt situation as well as the overall state of its economy, in an attempt to conclude whether it will be able to avoid creating a crisis and further reducing the chances of the Eurozone’s survival. HISTORY OF FRENCH DEBT France has never defaulted on its debt during the last 200 years, unless we count its default on its WWI debt to the United States, which accounted for only a small amount of its total debt 1 . Besides this instance, up until 1973, the French government never experienced a debt problem and the national budget was balanced. “Indeed, the state could borrow directly from the Bank of France to finance the building of schools, road infrastructures, ports,..., something that was possible to do without being required to pay an exorbitant interest rate” 2 . This remained the case until January 3, 1973, when President George Pompidou, a former general director of the Rothschild Bank, adopted Law no.73/7, which stipulates that “the State can no longer demand discounted loans from the Bank of France.” Nicknamed the “Rothschild law” because of heavy lobbying by the banking sector, this law prohibited the state to finance the public treasury with zero-interest loans from the Bank of France, forcing it to get financing through the open financial markets. As a result, the state was “forced to borrow from and pay interest to private financial institutions, when until 1973, it could create the money it used to balance its budget from 127
Figure 1: French Government Yearly Budget Balance as a Percentage of GDP (1960-2010) (Source: INSEE)
Figure 2: Evolution of French Public Debt as a Percentage of GDP (1978-2009) (Source: INSEE)
the Central Bank.” Creating money henceforth became a power of commercial banks through credit - making them richer off the backs of taxpayers. Furthermore, thanks to the Fractional Reserve System, private banks got the ability to lend up to six times more than the amount they have in reserve, and could now “also borrow as much money as needed from the Central Bank at a rate of 0 to 18 percent” 3 . This law has been the subject of much debate recently due to the continuing growth of French debt, which has surpassed 90 percent of GDP this past summer. Arguments in favor of the law include that it has prevented inflation and that the Maastricht Treaty was what forced France to borrow from financial markets. Arguments against it include that France would have never been in the debt position it is today if this law had never passed, and that the creation of money should be a power exclusive to the state because only banks benefit when they are the ones creating money. Today, “money creation through credit accounts for 90 percent of all money in circulation in the Eurozone” 4 . France’s debt now stands at over €1.8 trillion, with its last budget surplus occurring in 1974, the year after the Rothschild law was signed. Between 1980 and 2010, French taxpayers paid more than €1.4 trillion to private banks on debt alone. Calculations show that without the Rothschild law, as well as the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties, French debt today would be no greater than €300 billion. Figure 1 illustrates the French government’s yearly budget balance as a percentage of GDP from 1960 to 2010. The dark line measures the balance every year, averaged over 3 years, and the light line measures the annual balance. Figure 2 describes the evolution of French public debt, as the amount in billions of Euros and as a percentage of GDP. France currently pays €50 billion annually in interest, making it the largest item in the national budget, over education. This represents paying over €1 billion weekly, with all the benefits going to private banks. To the point of those against the law of 1973, “this system allows the financial world to subject the political class to its interests and dictate economic policy through the rating agencies, which in turn are financed by private banks.” And when the state and the ECB have to bail out private banks, “they do so with interest rates lower than those same financial institutions charge the state,” and the state is not consequently granted any authority within the banks 5 . BOND YIELDS After years where the yield spread between French and German 10-year bonds was close to zero, the spread started widening at the start of the world financial crisis of 20072008, and increased dramatically throughout 2011, following growing tensions in Greece and the eurozone, along with France’s continuously increasing sovereign debt. The 20year high premium before this sharp rise was 116.9 basis points - or about 1.17 percentage points, going back to the the time introduction of the Maastricht Treaty, which, as described by Michael Shaoul (chief executive at brokerage firm Oscar Gruss), was “designed with the specific aim of removing the traditional risk premium placed on France’s sovereign debt versus Germany and readers with long memories may recall the endless debate as to whether the Euro would create a Franc out of the Deutsch-mark or 129
vice-versa (no one dared suggest it would create a Deutsch-mark out of the Drachma)” 6 . The premium on French debt eventually shattered the 20-year-old record, reaching 190 basis points on 15 November 2011, as indicated on Figure 3. This consequently led S&P to remove France of its AAA credit rating in mid-January 2012, downgrading it to AA+. (Moody’s recently followed suit, by also dropping the nation from Aa1 to Aaa this past November). Surprisingly, the downgrade did not make it further complicated for the French government to acquire funding in the following months. Instead, the country is borrowing at record-low rates, and the yield spread between French and German 10-year bonds is currently at just 65 basis points. And while the the socialist Mr Hollande points this to be a result of the market’s positive reaction to his government’s recently adopted and much questioned austerity measures, signs point to different reasons for such low rates. With continuing uncertainty in the Eurozone, investors have flocked to French bonds, which are still considered relatively safer and more liquid than Spanish or Greek bonds for instance, but which still offer higher return than German bonds. Consequently, the demand has driven up prices of France’s bonds and “sent yields to their lowest level since the creation of the euro almost 14 years ago” 7 . The yield on 10-year French bonds has reached a Euro-era record-low of 2.002 percent on 3 August 2012, and is continuing to break records as it is currently hovering at just under two percent. The country is even able to to sell short term debt at negative rates, meaning that buyers are paying more for debt than the amount they will be repaid if held to maturity. Besides finding itself in a sweet spot because of Europe’s actual economic context, another, less-discussed but still decisive, factor has made French yields decrease over the past year, which is the Swiss National Bank’s purchase of over $80 billion of debt belonging to Eurozone countries (including France, Germany, Holland, Finland, and Austria), in the first seven months of 2012. As part of an effort to limit the CHF/EUR exchange rate at a maximum of 1.20, the SNB purchased these Euro-denominated debts to resist the influx of cash coming from the Eurozone and reduce the risk of recession and deflation in Switzerland, related to the strength of its currency. To put in perspective this massive purchase, S&P reported that the purchases of debt in the Eurozone by the SNB during the first seven months of 2012 represents 48 percent of deficits accumulated by the countries in the heart of the Eurozone for all of 2012, versus 9 percent in 2011. Furthermore, the rating agency stated that this de-facto euro-recycling of funds, as they call it, from the outskirts of the Euro area to its heart, via the Swiss National Bank, “exacerbates the tendency of divergence of market conditions for sovereign bonds in the Eurozone” 8 . Overall, Switzerland has accumulated €418 billion of active foreign debt, representing 71% of their GDP, holding 60% of its reserves in Euro-denominated assets, mostly invested in highly-graded debt, including French debt. This trend is not expected to change, as central banks tend to hold debt to maturity. If it does change, the result would be an increase in rates for the countries that are currently borrowing at very low rates compared to other Eurozone members, ceteris paribus.
Figure 3:Yield spread between French and German 10-year bonds (January 2011 - present) (Source: Datosmacro.com)
Figure 4: Franceâ€™s exposure to Greek debt.
The two aforementioned points, along with the ECB ploughing 1 trillion euros of liquidity in the Eurozone back in February, have largely benefitted France but have also led investors to conclude that French debt is colossally underpriced, especially when considering its exposure to the Eurozone crisis and Greece in particular. As Figure 4 illustrates, France is by far the country most exposed to Greek debt, both in terms of bank and private lending as well as government debt exposure, owning almost $40 billion (€30.68 billion) of Greek debt. This largely explains the French government’s strong position in trying to avoid a Greek default, which, in addition to leading to yet another historical crisis perhaps featuring the breakup of the Euro, would have a greater impact on France than in any other country. The mounting pressures in Greece were the main underlying cause for French yields to rise sharply at the end of 2011. At that time, Crédit Agricole, France’s third largest lender, provided the perfect example of the consequences of a Greek default, when its “third-quarter profits fell 65 percent on the back of a £542m write down of Greek sovereign debt” (Rising French bond yields). Another write-down or a default from Greece would lead to a monstrous banking crisis in France, featuring a credit crunch that will dry up bank lending. This will put the French government in an unprecedented situation in its history, because if investors stop buying its bonds, it will in turn not be able to repay its creditors and raise the question of default by Europe’s second largest economy. CURRENT STATE OF FRENCH DEBT The biggest underlying threat to France’s economy and to its ability to finance itself nevertheless remains its worsening debt position. Having not experienced a surplus since 1974, the country’s debt to GDP ratio has surpassed 90% this past summer, a post-war record and a level at which Reinhart and Rogoff find to be “associated with an average slowdown of GDP of 1 to 3 percentage points for developed countries and 0.5 percentage point for France.” Egert follows this point in his paper for the OECD by suggesting why this has yet to impact France’s cost of borrowing: “...history suggests that countries with increasing indebtedness may not face an immediate rise in long-term interest rates if financial markets are developed and if their fiscal institutions have a solid reputation. This allows the build-up of substantial fiscal imbalances. Then, if market sentiment turns, interest rates may rise sharply, putting public debt substantially in danger” 9. The French deficit level for 2010 was 7.1 percent, a record-high in now 28 consecutive years of experiencing a deficit. The following year witnessed improvement in this figure, as then-president Nicolas Sarkozy announced last March that France beat its deficit target for 2011, with the INSEE statistics office putting it at 5.2 percent of output. This number is lower than the 5.7 percent forecasted in France’s 2011 budget, and is furthermore “the biggest fall on record.” Some of the factors that contributed to this large drop were “better than expected growth (1.7 pct last year) and tax increases. Public spending bill as a proportion of GDP also fell slightly for the second straight year - although at 56 percent, it’s one of Europe’s highest” 10 . Mr Sarkozy iterated during last spring’s presidential 132
campaign that this reduction in the deficit level was the first step towards bringing the deficit down to zero percent in 2016. He was not re-elected however, and his successor Mr Hollande has a similar objective, as he aims to eliminate the structural deficit by 2017 11 . The socialist government released their budget for 2013 in September, and while Mr Hollande campaigned against austerity, the budget is in effect an austerity plan, which many economists fear will shrink the economy and not reduce the deficit. THE BUDGET The budget for 2013 is a €36.9 billion plan, including a split up between a tax increase of €20 billion (divided evenly into corporate and income taxes) and €10 billion in spending cuts. It also originally featured a temporary and largely symbolic supertax on the wealthy, meant to impose a 75% marginal rate on earners of at least €1 million and a 45% marginal rate on earners of €150,000 or more, an increase in capital gains and dividends taxing, and a limit on tax deductions for households and firms. The plan projects to reduce the deficit down to 3 percent of GDP (the government’s objective for this year’s deficit is 4.5 percent) and relies on a 0.8 percent growth of GDP to get there. Overall, the government will need to have acquired between 6-10 billion euros this year and €33 billion in 2013 in order to meet the European deficit limit of 3 percent, according to the state’s Court of Auditors, the body responsible for overseeing the state’s public accounts (France needs €43 billion, 2012). While not very significant financially, the increase in taxes for the rich have made international headlines. The two supertax rates were supposed to raise only half a billion euros, and their costs were seen to largely outweigh their benefits. Considered to be a symbolic measure more than a way of raising money, they have created a fear that established business moguls as well as young entrepreneurs may be on their way to leaving the country to avoid paying these rates. The average Eurozone maximum tax rate is 43 percent, and several wealthy French individuals have already taken their fortunes and talents elsewhere. Of the 300 richest residents in Switzerland, 44 are French and are the owners of some of the most prestigious French brands. Ultimately, this supertax was believed to not being able to raise as much money as expected and would leave France with less talent. Numerous top French chief executives, including jan-Paul Agnon, chief executive of L’Oreal, have acknowledged that attracting top executives to the country is going to be a lot more difficult, and therefore further hurting competitiveness in France. This past December, the Constitutional Council of France, the highest constitutional authority in the nation, has rejected the 75% tax, citing that it is contrary to French constitution. The dominant reaction from economists, financial analysts, executives and international institutions alike has been that this budget’s projections are too optimistic. Critics of the budget argue that it lacks the fundamental reforms required to jumpstart economic growth and that spending cuts and tax increases will not prevent unemployment from increasing. As seen with southern Europe, more austerity equals less growth, unless the country has a strong export sector to support such measures 12 . This is a luxury that 133
France clearly does not possess, and in fact has an export sector that is continuously shrinking compared to its competitors. Furthermore, the low-growth environment that France faces will likely weigh on fiscal revenues and make it harder to achieve deficit targets. As a result, economists predict lower growth numbers than what the government is projecting for both 2012 and 2013. The Bank of France is expecting the economy to shrink by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, and after a year of quasi-stagnation, it is hard to imagine reaching the 0.3 percent growth promise maintained by the new government and required to bring the deficit down to 4.5 percent for 2012. In 2013, the OECD is projecting that growth will fall short of 0.8 percent and reach 0.3 percent, suggesting that the three percent deficit will not be met. Furthermore, Figure 5 shows that growth for 2014 will be 1.3 percent, less than the 2 percent that France is betting on for every year after 2013 in order to bring its deficit level down to almost zero in 2017. The outlook given by the IMF is also pessimistic, as the institution is foreseeing growth not exceeding 0.4 percent and expects Franceâ€™s deficit to be 3.5 percent at the end
Figure 5: OECD: France growth projections until 2014
of 2013 (France: 2012 Article, 2012; Dalton, 2012).While it looks more and more like 2012’s target will not be met, there is also much uncertainty for 2013, as economists say that 0.8 percent growth will require at least 0.2 percent growth per quarter. And each tenth of a percent below the growth forecasts for this year and the next represent an additional €1 billion that the government must find to still get to a ratio of debt to GDP of 3 percent by the end of next year 13 . The government obviously doesn’t agree with these projections, as they indicate that potential deviations from their numbers will be less fluctuating than the numbers reported by economists and will be due to factors outside of France’s borders. The pessimistic scenario presented in the budget sees 0.5 percent of growth in 2013, equivalent to the best-case scenario in the eyes of economists, and states that it will be caused by strong budgetary consolidation in the United States as a result of the fiscal cliff, leading to slower growth and less demand in the US and therefore less demand worldwide, especially in emerging and BRIC countries. This scenario foresees that demand will consequently weigh on growth in the Eurozone because of less demand in emerging nations. The end result in this case is a decrease in French exports, a deficit of 3.1 percent and debt increasing to 91.8 percent of GDP 14 . Next year’s budget includes an optimistic scenario as well, in which France will benefit from 1.1 percent of growth, relying on a net decrease in interest rates in the southern countries of the Eurozone, leading to a confidence boost and better access to capital markets across Europe and making it easier for firms to invest and grow. Specifically, rates on sovereign debt for Portugal, Italy, Spain, and Ireland (and not Greece) will have to decrease for 1 percent, albeit the budget does not precise the maturities of these debts in question. This scenario also assumes an increase of investments made in the United States. The final outcome of this projection is a deficit of 2.9 percent and debt increasing to 90.9 percent of GDP 15 . While the budget was able to determine how external factors would affect France’s growth projections for next year, it does not include any specific measures or reforms for how the French government expects to solve the ongoing problems at the heart of its economy that many fear will prevent it from reaching its objectives. FACTORS IMPACTING GROWTH The budgetary measures taken by the new government have been imposed despite France recently experiencing an entire year of practically full stagnation in 2012. To the surprise of many, the country has just avoided entering a recession when INSEE recently announced that GDP for the third quarter of 2012 has increased by 0.2 percent compared to the previous quarter, when the French economy contracted by 0.1 percent. The reasons for this increase in output include a slight boost in consumption thanks a small increase in the minimum wage and in allocations to families for the beginning of the new school year. Such factors will not reoccur in following quarters, and the implementation of higher taxes and growing unemployment will put pressure on purchasing power. The unemployment rate is currently at 10.8%, its highest since 1998, and marginal growth as experienced in the 135
Figure 6: Evolution of employment in the commercial sector (1st quarter 2009 - 3rd quarter 2012)
third quarter is insufficient to decrease unemployment. Figure 6 shows that French firms have eliminated 50.4 thousand jobs in the commercial sector in the third quarter, a 0.3 percent decline compared to the previous quarter. This rate of job destruction is more than twice the amount of jobs that were lost in spring 2012 (22.4 thousand), at a period when the economy was still stagnant. Furthermore, INSEE points out that we must go back to mid-2009, when the economy was just coming off a recession, to find a comparable decrease in unemployment 17 . The ministry of labor admitted that there is a risk that these “figures could get worse and that measures taken so far had yet to produce results” 18 . Consumption is expected to suffer as well, as INSEE predicts that the combination of high unemployment and an increase in energy prices and taxes will result in a decrease in consumption of 1.1 percent for 2012, whereas it dropped only by 0.1 percent in 2011 (Croissance: la France, 2012). Investments are not exempt from a decline either, since they have declined by 0.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012 and INSEE has predicted that they will fall by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter 19 . Profit margins for firms have been projected to drop to 27.9 percent by the end of 2012, one of the lowest levels in the past thirty years and further reducing the country’s competitiveness. Indeed, among all the economic indicators that are declining, France’s growing trade deficit highlights that lack of competitiveness is France’s biggest economic weakness. Figure 7 illustrates an analysis conducted by the European Commission to describe the 136
Figure 7: Why France is lagging behind its competitors (Source: Les Echos)
reasons causing France’s declining competitiveness relative to other countries, especially its principal rival, Germany. With a continuously growing trade deficit (€73 billion in 2011), the country faces the risk of significant macroeconomic disequilibriums, due to the deterioration of several factors, with the first two related to competitiveness linked to costs of production (e.g. costs of labor, capital, etc.). The first factor is the increase in production costs. The commission observes a positive relationship between losses in market shares and increases in costs of production. In the past ten years, unit labor costs (taking productivity into account) in France have increased slightly more quickly than the Eurozone average, but much more than in Germany, as in terms of comparable salaries, the French have lost their competitive advantage against the Germans. The second factor is the decline in profit margins, due to the SMIC (the French minimum wage), which Germany and Italy do not have and which is much smaller in Spain, as well lower prices across French industries, compared to their European rivals. As a result, profit margins were at 28.6 percent in 2011, and as already mentioned, are expected to decrease by almost another percentage point by the end of 2012. This figure is among the lowest in Europe, and lower than Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Eurozone average. Having never had profit margins that reached 35 percent in the past 20-plus years, French firms therefore rely heavily on external financing, while wage moderation in the other European nations previously mentioned has allowed firms in the hexagon’s neighboring countries to have profit margins approaching 40 percent or more. The next two factors shown in the diagram are linked to competitiveness unrelated to costs (quality, innovation, technology, services, etc). The first of these is that spending in research and development has not increased since 15 years. This is mainly due to the fact that increases in production costs and, as a result, lower profit margins, have not enabled firms to expand in R&D. When looking at Germany, R&D expenses as a ratio of their GDP has increased from about 1.4 to 1.9 percent from 1995 to 2010, while France has slightly receded in this category, sitting almost exactly where it did in 1995, at 1.4 percent of their GDP. This spread is a reflection of the structure difference between the two economies, as most of R&D expenses go into manufacturing. This sector plays a much bigger role in Germany, making up 22 percent of its GDP, versus only 10 percent in France. The second factor unrelated to costs, and fourth overall, is that France specializes less and less in high-end products. A low level of investment in R&D results in a delay in innovation and, therefore, technological advancements. Over time, French specialization has consequently shrunk to just a few industries, highlighted by aeronautics and pharmaceuticals. The majority of French exports are mostly made up of medium or lowtech products, where competition in terms of prices is more intense and profit margins are thinner. Finally, the combination of these factors impacting French competitiveness result in signs of significant decline. The first of these is the plunging of the country’s trade deficit. After being in a surplus between 1993 and 1999, the current account came back to equilibrium in 2000 and started deteriorating violently starting in 2004, eventually 138
reaching a record €73 billion trade deficit. This is largely due to increasing energy costs and the widening manufacturing deficit. Germany on the other hand, has a trade surplus of €158 billion as of 2011, illustrating the difference of strategy and competitiveness of both nations. Second is French exporters losing market shares. French exporters have been unable to adapt to increasing demand worldwide. France’s share in global exports has decreased by 19 percent between 2005 and 2010, the largest drop in the Eurozone after Greece. France is not only suffering from the emergence of new competitors, but is also losing ground to its European neighbors. The majority of exports go to Europe and do not enter the more dynamic markets. The third and final sign of decline is the decreasing number of exporters. Except for 2010, the number of exporters has not stopped decreasing since 2000 and represent only three to four percent of French firms today. In ten years, 15,000 exporting firms have disappeared. Exporters are furthermore not able to establish their roots in other countries, as of the 30,000 French firms entering international markets every year, half of them are no longer there a year later. Exporting firms are also extremely small, with three fourths of them having less than 20 employees. To address this lingering and distressing competitiveness problem, the French Prime Minister Mr Ayrault has appointed Louis Gallois, former CEO of SNCF and EADS, as Investment Commissioner and handed in his report, coined ‘Gallois Report,’ in November. It addresses 22 points, including labor reforms and changes in labor costs, finance, energy and research, to sustain investments and prevent the competitiveness of French firms to continue slipping as they have in the past 10 to 15 years. However, Mr Hollande has publicly stated on numerous occasions that he will not adopt the measures proposed by the report, which has raised the question of why the entire government waited so impatiently for its release and why it was thus published in the first place. MORE TAXES OR LESS SPENDING? The question of whether to tax more or spend less has been subject to much debate since the release of the 2013 budget, in terms of which side to give more weight to in order to maximize the country’s potential for growth. The ratio for the upcoming budget is made up of two thirds on an increase in taxes (€20 billion), and one third on spending cuts (€10 billion). As mentioned by Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis, the majority of economists agree that a plan that has a bigger weight on spending cuts protects growth more than one with more tax increases 20 . One of the most recent studies showing this was released this past August by three Harvard economists, Alesina, Favero, and Giavazzi, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. They note that “Spending-based adjustments have been associated with mild and short-lived recessions, in many cases with no recession at all,” while “Tax-based adjustments have been associated with prolonged and deep recessions” (1). This follows another study of Alesina and Silvia Ardagna in 2009, that broke down 107 different budget plans aimed at reducing public deficits and that were put into effect between 1970 and 2007 in 21 OECD nations. Their findings were that over 70% of successful plans, meaning not having a negative impact on growth, put more weight 139
on spending cuts than on tax hikes 21 . The explanation for this effect seems to be coming from David Ricardo’s equivalence theory, which states that the negative impact coming from a reduction in public spending is compensated by an increase in private spending due to households and firms regaining confidence and therefore consuming and investing more in the anticipation of a smaller tax burden 22 . Despite the results of these studies, France still believes that in the short term, increasing taxes is less recessive than cutting spending, according to Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac. His argument is that two-thirds of growth projections rely on consumption by households, and that therefore an excessively strong restriction on public spending will have a major recessive impact 23 . A study by the IMF by Batini, Callegari, and Melina released this past August supports this view. By analyzing budgetary measures in the United States, Japan, and the Eurozone since 2009, it observes plans that were applied in an international context of economic deterioration. By studying cases in the Eurozone, it is looking at scenarios where currency devaluation is not an option, as in the case of France. This study’s results are completely opposite of the one made by the Harvard economists, as it validates the Keynesian theory in which at least in the short term, public spending is the best option to get the economy to grow 24 . Furthermore, it indicates that in the Eurozone, the probability of falling into a recession in the three months following the application of the budgetary plan is 15 percent higher if it puts more weight on spending cuts. When talking about France, these IMF economists note that France would benefit, more than other countries would, from a tax increase in the short term: “for Japan, France and the euro area (in the expansion regime), a tax increase initially (and for France persistently) raises output marginally, although for Japan and the Euro Area the long-run cumulative output effect of tax hikes is negative as expected and as in other countries in our sample. One reason may be that the tax hike is accompanied by a rise in government expenditure in the short run that propels output momentarily (Batini, Callegari, et al., 2012: 22). The explanation for this differing result is due to the assumption that Ricardian Equivalence does not hold in France. This involves a rare and limited case of spending cuts by the state that does not consequently lead to households and firms spending more. Indeed, economists in this study mention that France is the only country among those studied where spending cuts did not lead to lower taxes 25. . Drawing conclusions from these two different studies remains complicated, as their results depend largely on the time periods and the countries selected, not to mention that they may be using different statistical methods. Whether there really exists an exception for France in terms of the effect of an austerity budget featuring more taxes remains to be seen. “Recognizing that there is one would lead to admitting, pragmatically, that the government’s philosophy is a rational one. However, it would also infer, conceptually, that France’s economic model is quite unhealthy” 26 . IS FRANCE BECOMING THE NEW GREECE? With unsustainable debt levels and no sure solution to control public debt and lower 140
government’s deficit while ensuring growth, France’s outlook looks more like Greece than Germany, or even Spain and Italy. A 2010 paper by the Bank of International Settlements attempts to model the likely effects of three separate policy paths by European governments in their attempts to contain the growth of their sovereign debt. These paths range in severity from governments essentially carrying on as they currently are, to the most extreme austerity measures that the authors believe to be politically possible, which involve a gradual downward movement in government spending while age related entitlements are frozen. The results, as shown in Figure 8, illustrate public debt to GDP projections for the next 40 years. The projections for France are much more pessimistic that its German rival and almost congruent to the ones of Greece. Furthermore, they are also much more negative than the four other nations making up the PIIGS. Under the most savage austerity measures applied, France’s debt to GDP in 40 years would be almost at 200 percent, greater than the one of Greece. Such measures in Italy and Germany would create decades of budget surpluses and a debt to GDP level of 50 percent or under, and they would practically flatten the growth of debt in Spain and Portugal, keeping the debt at approximately 100 percent of GDP. In the baseline scenario, where the countries follow their current course, French debt in 40 years would be identical to that of Greece in that same period, reaching a hardto-imagine level of 400 percent to GDP. In the meanwhile, Germany and the rest of the PIIGS would reach about 250-300 percent of debt in four decades. It is also worth noting that the countries in this study that are outside of Europe and therefore not using the Euro, like the United States and the United Kingdom, whose baseline scenarios could lead to debt to GDP levels of about 450 and 500 percent, respectively, have possibilities to deal with their debt that France and the rest of the Eurozone does not have. In other words, the US and the UK always have the option of printing money, which although will “devalue the savings and wages of their citizens”, will enable them to honor their debts that would, as shown in the figure above, be unrealistic and unsustainable 27 . These countries could also use the unconventional monetary policy of quantitative easing, giving them “the option of canceling the bond issues purchased by their central banks”, which “would reduce public debt back to less than 50pc of GDP” 28 . Figure 8 therefore suggests that compared to other members of the Eurozone, France, along with Greece, has the least control of its destiny, as it has the smallest room for improvement to reduce its level of sovereign debt. This is mainly due to “relatively high structural unemployment, perpetual over-spend in government, and an aging population” 29 . Now with one of the highest income and corporate tax rates in Europe, and with several of the rich already on their way out of the country, France is not going to be able to increase taxes further and therefore will have to rely on spending cuts to try to contain its debt from further exploding. And while France just announced €10 billion in spending cuts that should signify a first step towards this direction, the government’s calculation for getting such a figure has been heavily questioned and even rejected by analysts. iFRAP, a French policy institution, recently conducted a study on the 2013 budget, in which they found that spending cuts of €10 billion are not mentioned on the budget, and that there will be at most €5.7 billion in savings 30 . This discrepancy is due to the government aiming 141
Figure 8: France and Greece: Quasi-identical outlooks
a reduction in the rate at which spending will increase next year, and not in absolute value. Indeed, spending will increase from €369 billion to €370 billion in 2013, and the government is being accused of virtual savings as a result, unlike the German budget for 2013, which includes a reduction of spending in absolute value, from €312 billion to €302 billion 31 . Therefore, the entirety of the budget is now put into doubt, as the €20 billion in tax revenues relies on growth that most economists see as unattainable, and the €10 billion in spending cuts represent simply a slowdown in spending growth. CONCLUSION France seems to be taking a ‘me-against-the-world’ approach in trying to avoid falling into economic turmoil. While its current policies do have the sole support of a paper by three IMF economists, this did not prevent the IMF’s official projections for France in 2013 to be at 0.4 percent growth and a deficit of 3.5 percent. Even though the government did mention that “the balance of tax and spending curbs will shift to 50-50 from 2014 compared with a ratio of 67 to 33 in 2013” 32 , an underperformance of growth in 2013 will definitely not put the country on track to grow by two percent every year in order to eliminate the country’s structural deficit by the end of Mr Hollande’s first term in 2017. No one is criticizing the socialists government’s intention to contain its sovereign debt, but its methods lack the faith of economists, as no signs are pointing to France getting the necessary growth, if any, to reduce the deficit. “There will be tax increases, there will be spending cuts, but I reject any talk of austerity,” said Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici 33 . Perhaps he is saying this because the budget does not include as many true cuts in spending as the government is advertising, or to buy more time from the financial markets. Even if the government does not call it as such, a plan of greater taxes and less spending is fundamentally representing austerity measures. Mr Moscovici also explicitly said that if next year’s growth objectives are not met, more spending cuts will be required. This will undoubtedly bring the Greek vicious cycle to France, featuring the continuous process whereby low tax revenues will lead to more spending cuts, ultimately stalling growth further, which in France’s case would have to result in a recession, and making it much harder to fill the deficit gap, at a point at which France will have no choice but to ask to be bailed out. The state is currently borrowing at record-low rates and is not taking advantage of this opportunity to implement structural reforms to solve its handicapping labor and competitiveness issues, while Spain and Italy were quick to follow Germany in launching reforms to try to reduce their deficit and lower their costs of borrowing. Right now, investors are buying French bonds against their will, knowing that France is walking on thin ice and that once it breaks, there will be a violent storm of capital flowing out of the country, which will sink France in a credit crisis and cause its yields to soar to at least as high as the ones of the PIIGS. The burst of such a French bond bubble will undoubtedly lead to the country going bankrupt, and bailing out the world’s fifth largest economy, worth €2.6 trillion, requires a lot more than bailing out a country like Greece, whose GDP is not even €300 billion. 143
Figure 9: Spending cuts will not reach â‚Ź10 billion
Paying its debts will require printing currency, which will only be possible if it leaves the Eurozone. France is currently still able to resist negative effects, but it will take little time for markets to realize that the government is in trouble if its objectives for next year are not attained. Mr Hollandeâ€™s inexperience, unrealistic projections and reluctancy to reform may end up costing the future of France, and ultimately, of the survival of the Euro.
NOTES: 1. Fry, Eric. A Look at the Troubling Trend in French Bond Yields. The Daily Reckoning. N.p., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. <http://dailyreckoning.com/a-look-at-the-troubling-trend-in-french-bond-yields/>. 2. Salim Lamrani. Public Debt in France and Europe. Huffington Post. N.p., 11 July 2012. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/salim-lamrani/public-debt-in-france-and_b_1663567.html>. 3. Salim Lamrani. Public Debt in France. 4. Salim Lamrani. Public Debt in France. 5. Salim Lamrani. Public Debt in France. 6. Phillips, Matt. Germany Vs. France, in Bond Yields: 1980-2011. WSJ Blogs - WSJ. N.p., 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.<http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/10/24/germanyvs-france-in-bond-yields-1980-2011/>. 7. William Horobin and Neelbah Chaturvedi. French Bonds Still Hold Broad Appeal. The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324352004578130 410893827362.html#project%3DFRBOND1121%26articleTabs%3Darticle>. 8. Horbin and Chaturvedi. French Bonds Still Hold 9. Comment la Suisse soutient la dette francaise. Challenges. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <www. challenges.fr/economie/20120926.CHA1205/comment-la-suisse-soutient-la-dette-francaise.html>. 10. B. Egert, (2011), Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation, OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 858, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kgdpn1hhc7k-en 11. Henry Samuel,. France election 2012: debt and deficit - a glass half empty . Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 31 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2012. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9177182/Franceelection-2012-debt-and-deficit-a-glass-half-empty.html>. 12. Hugh Carnegy. France unveils tough budget measures. Financial Times. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/239eac8a-094c-11e2-a5e300144feabdc0.html#axzz2F9LbQnAo>. 13. Mark Deen, and Anchalee Worrachate. ìHollande Struggles to Match Sarkozy Budget-Gap Wins.î Bloomberg. N.p., 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-27/hollandestruggles-to-match-sarkozy-budget-gap-wins-euro-credit.html>. 14. “Plus d’impôt ou moins de dépense, quelle est la bonne recette?.” Challenges.fr. N.p., 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.challenges.fr/economie/20121005.CHA1653/reduction-des-depenses-ou-hausse-desimpots-comment-epargner-la-croissance-en-reduisant-dette-et-deficit.html>. 15. Ibid. 16. Frederic Schaeffer. “Croissance : la France résiste mais ne repart pas.” Les Echos. N.p., 15 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/france/actu/0202387692706-le-pib-s-estlegerement-redresse-au-troisieme-trimestre-selon-l-insee-511101.php>. 17. Ibid. 18. Reuters. “French jobless total hits 14-year high.” Reuters. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012.<http:// www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/27/france-economy-jobs-idUSP6E8MC00320121127>. 19. “Croissance: la France va continuer à faire du surplace.” Challenges. N.p., 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2012. <http://www.challenges.fr/france/20121005.CHA1649/croissance-la-france-va-continuer-a-faire-du-surplace. html>. 20. “Plus d’impôt ou moins de dépense, quelle est la bonne recette?.” Challenges.fr 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Ibid. 27. Thomas Pascoe. “Why France is on the road to becoming the new Greece.” The Telegraph . N.p., 23 July 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/thomaspascoe/100018992/why-france-is-on-theroad-to-becoming-the-new-greece/>. 28. Ibid. 29. Ibid. 30. Conesa, Elsa . “Budget 2013 : la réalité des économies est contestée.” Les Echos. N.p., 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/france/actu/0202419394684-budget-2013-larealite-des-economies-est-contestee-515980.php>. 31. Ibid. 145
32. Ibid. 33. Hugh Carnegy. “France unveils tough budget measures.” Financial Times. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/239eac8a-094c-11e2-a5e3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2F9LbQnAo>. 34. Ibid. 35. Bruce Crumley. “France to Cut Budget Deficit, but Don’t Call It Austerity | TIME.com.” TIME.com. N.p., 3 July 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://world.time.com/2012/07/03/france-needs-43-billion-to-meet-debttargets-but-rejects-austerite/>.
WORKS CITED Alesina, Alberto, Carlo Favero et al. (2012), “The output effect of fiscal consolidations”, NBER Working Paper, No. 18336. <http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/alesina/files/ Output%2BEffect%2BFiscal%2BConsolidations_Aug%2B2012.pdf>. Alesina, Alberto, and Silvia Adrian (2009), “Large changes in fiscal policy: taxes versus spending”, Tax Policy and the Economy, Vol. 24, The University of Chicago Press. <http://www.nber.org/papers/w15438.pdf>. Batini, Nicoletta, Giovanni Cellarage et al. (2012), “Successful Austerity in the United States, Europe and Japan”, IMF Working Paper, 12/190, International Monetary Fund. <http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ ft/wp/2012/wp12190.pdf>. Carnegy, Hugh. “France unveils tough budget measures.” Financial Times. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/239eac8a-094c-11e2-a5e3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2F9LbQnAo>. Cecchetti, Stephen G, M S Mohanty et al. (2010) “The future of public debt: prospects and implications”, BIS Working Paper, No. 300, Bank for International Settlements. <http://www.bis.org/publ/work300. pdf>. “Comment la Suisse soutient la dette française.” Challenges. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <www. challenges.fr/economie/20120926.CHA1205/comment-la-suisse-soutient-la-dette-francaise.html>. Conesa, Elsa . “Budget 2013 : la réalité des économies est contestée.” Les Echos. N.p., 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/france/actu/0202419394684-budget-2013-larealite-des-economies-est-contestee-515980.php>. “Croissance: la France va continuer à faire du surplace.” Challenges. N.p., 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2012. <http://www.challenges.fr/france/20121005.CHA1649/croissance-la-france-va-continuer-a-faire-dusurplace.html>. Crumley, Bruce. “France to Cut Budget Deficit, but Don’t Call It Austerity | TIME.com.” TIME.com. N.p., 3 July 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://world.time.com/2012/07/03/france-needs-43-billion-to-meetdebt-targets-but-rejects-austerite/>. Dalton, Matthew . “IMF Sees Euro-Zone Countries Missing Deficit Targets.” The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 9 Oct. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000087239639044402420457804583 2989908050.html>. Deen, Mark , and Anchalee Worrachate. “Hollande Struggles to Match Sarkozy Budget-Gap Wins.” Bloomberg. N.p., 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-27/ hollande-struggles-to-match-sarkozy-budget-gap-wins-euro-credit.html>. “Economy of France - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_France>. Égert, B. (2011), “Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation”, OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 858, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi. org/10.1787/5kgdpn1hhc7k-en “France - Economic forecast summary (November 2012).” Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. N.p., 28 Dec. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.oecd.org/eco/ economicoutlookanalysisandforecasts/franceeconomicforecastsummary.htm>. “France needs €43 billion to meet 2013 deficit targets.” France 24. N.p., 2 July 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <www.france24.com/en/20120702-france-economic-crisis-looming-large-euros-budget-cuts-austerityhollande>. “France risk Premium | Spread french bond / Bund.” Datosmacro. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. <http://www. datosmacro.com/en/risk-premium/france>. “France targets deficit with tax-hiking budget.” The Telegraph. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2012. <www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9573726/France-targets-deficit-with-tax-hiking-budget. html>. “France: 2012 Article IV Consultation--Concluding Statement.” IMF. N.p., 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2012/102912.htm>. “French bond yields: a 30-second guide | This is Money.” This is Money. N.p., 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 146
2012. <http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2060253/French-bond-yields-30second-guide.html>. “French jobless total hits 14-year high.” Reuters. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.reuters. com/article/2012/11/27/france-economy-jobs-idUSP6E8MC00320121127>. Fry, Eric. “A Look at the Troubling Trend in French Bond Yields.” The Daily Reckoning. N.p., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. <http://dailyreckoning.com/a-look-at-the-troubling-trend-in-french-bond-yields/>. Horobin, William, and Neelbah Chaturvedi. “French Bonds Still Hold Broad Appeal.” The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732435 2004578130410893827362.html#project%3DFRBOND1121%26articleTabs%3Darticle>. Lamrani, Salim. “Public Debt in France and Europe.” Huffington Post. N.p., 11 July 2012. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/salim-lamrani/public-debt-in-france-and_b_1663567.html>. “Loi du 3 janvier 1973 sur la Banque de France.” Wikipédia, l’encyclopédie libre. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. <http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loi_du_3_janvier_1973_sur_la_Banque_de_France>. Mnyanda, Lukanyo, and Garth Theunissen. “French-German Yield Spread Expands to Widest Since 1992 on Rating Concern.” Bloomberg. N.p., 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. <http://www.bloomberg.com/ news/2011-10-18/french-german-yield-spread-climbs-to-record-on-ratings-concern.html>. Pascoe, Thomas. “Why France is on the road to becoming the new Greece.” The Telegraph . N.p., 23 July 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/thomaspascoe/100018992/why-franceis-on-the-road-to-becoming-the-new-greece/>. Phillips, Matt. “Germany Vs. France, in Bond Yields: 1980-2011.” WSJ Blogs - WSJ. N.p., 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. <http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/10/24/germany-vs-francein-bond-yields-1980-2011/>. “Plus d’impôt ou moins de dépense, quelle est la bonne recette?.” Challenges.fr. N.p., 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.challenges.fr/economie/20121005.CHA1653/reduction-des-depenses-ouhausse-des-impots-comment-epargner-la-croissance-en-reduisant-dette-et-deficit.html>. “Projet de Loi de Finances pour 2013.” Site internet de la direction générale du Trésor . N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/File/375655>. “Q&A : Greek debt crisis.” BBC. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ business-13798000>. Samuel, Henry. “France election 2012: debt and deficit - a glass half empty .” Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 31 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2012. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9177182/Franceelection-2012-debt-and-deficit-a-glass-half-empty.html>. Schaeffer, Frederic . “Croissance : la France résiste mais ne repart pas.” Les Echos. N.p., 15 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/france/actu/0202387692706-le-pib-s-estlegerement-redresse-au-troisieme-trimestre-selon-l-insee-511101.php>. Schaeffer, Frederic. “Les destructions d’emplois accélerent nettement.” Les Echos. N.p., 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Dec. 2012. <http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/france/ actu/0202381207409-les-destructions-d-emplois-accelerent-nettement-510468.php>. “The new global economy.” CNNMoney. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://money.cnn.com/news/ economy/world_economies_gdp/>.
D A V I D
B L O O M
R E G U L AT I N G E N T R E P E N E U R S H I P
INTRODUCTION This paper will examine the validity of business entry deregulation as a model for significant and sustainable growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prevalent theoretical models and recent empirical analysis jointly support the idea that entrepreneurial activity benefits the economy, and that deregulating entry procedures is an effective way of encouraging that behavior. To date, even cross-sectional analyses have underrepresented Sub-Saharan Africa and left certain aspects of theory unaddressed, namely the supposed reduction of corruption. To achieve this insight, this paper will compile the theoretical framework on entry and compare to a patchwork of existing data 1 . ENTREPRENEURSHIP Theory and data indicate that entrepreneurial activity significantly and comprehensively benefits an economy. Recent studies show that higher rates of business entry are associated with better economic development, competition, and governance indicators 2 . This has proven true in several recent cross-sectional studies. Furthermore, surveys show that lower-income countries do not suffer lower levels of important selfperceived entrepreneurial characteristics 3 . This lends weight to the idea that other nonsocial factors are inhibiting potential entrepreneurship in low-income countries. Entrepreneurship has varying definitions but generally refers to the economic activity of the legal creation of for-profit business in order to generate wealth from the market 4 . This seems simple enough, but there are two important distinctions to keep in mind. First, entrepreneurship can exist both formally and informally. Second, following the study of Ardagna et al, entrepreneurs can be distinguished as two types: those attempting to follow up on a perceived business opportunity, and those in the remedial sense who have no better alternative 5 . Although both theoretically provide marginal benefit to aggregate competition and consumption, the former indicates more capacity towards an innovationbased economy and is not surprisingly more prevalent in developed economies 6 . Regardless of the distinction, firm creation has proven to have broad benefits across varying income levels. Studies have shown that new entry drives employment and economic growth. Business entry rates, regardless of any discriminating factor, correlate with the broadest indicator, higher GDP 7 (See Figure 1). Entry rate also corresponds to good governance, as measured by the Kaufman et al. indices 8 . A 2008 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research set out to compare the social characteristics of entrepreneurs with firm creation statistics. Using Global 148
figure 1 9
Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey and World Bank Data, three main self-described variables were shown to be linked to entrepreneurial behavior. These are skills, riskaversion, and social networks 10 . Of those three, the factor with the strongest link to entrepreneurship, perceived skills, is remarkably similar in all country income brackets 11 . This would seem to indicate that entrepreneurship, as a social phenomenon, does not need a great deal of development in low-income countries, it only remains to exploit it. The only characteristic of the three which low-income countries significantly lag behind in is social networks. Though this variable had the weakest connection to actual job creation, and its relevance is even less significant for remedial entrepreneurs 12 . DEREGULATION THEORY Deregulation is the relatively easy answer. Entrepreneurial behavior could likely be augmented through educational programs or development of infrastructure, but those would be costly, long-term measures. Deregulation, on the other hand, offers shorttimeframe reforms with negligible or even negative costs. For entry procedures, these reforms can include move to online forms that save time and money for the government, while centralizing data for inter-governmental sharing and analysis. The theoretical framework for and against entry regulation is outlined in figure 2. The case for State-sponsored barriers to entry was outlined by economist Arthur Cecil Pigou in 1932. His ‘Public Interest Theory’, stated that entry controls actually benefit competition by preventing ‘undesirable’ companies and products from entering the market 13 . Entry rules that more directly tie to these objectives include procedures like criminal background checks or requirements for minimum capital in registered accounts. ‘Public Interest Theory’, in the more general sense, also sees regulations as a force to prevent market failures and minimize negative externalities. Additionally, governments and societies clearly benefit from business registry, as it provides direct lines to tax revenue. It also provides useful data for analyzing public policy 149
effectiveness and the establishment of private business networks. Lastly, there is one type of entry regulation that has shown to encourage business registry, the addition of investor protections 14 . Deregulation in the general sense has its classical supporters in Adam Smith and David Ricardo, but also more modern theoretical reactions against ‘Public Interest Theory’. On one hand, George Stigler argued that incumbent businesses pressure politicians to erect and maintain barriers to entry as a means to inhibit competition 15 . On the other, Simeon Djankov et al invoked the ‘tollbooth’ analogy of regulations as engrained access to corruption for government officials. According to these two theories, deregulation should result in increased competition and decreased corruption. Lastly, the logical result of entry regulation schemes is not only a marked reduction of new business registries, but also the persistence of the informal economy. Depending on the type of business, the incentive to join the formal economy can vary, but as long as official entry costs outweigh estimated profits, the government is not likely to see tax revenue.
RECENT DATA Most recent studies support the idea of deregulation as linked with entrepreneurship and economic growth. But those have been cross-sectional and not exhaustive on a regional basis, with the possible exception of OECD countries. To gain this insight, the author has compiled data on regulatory reforms in all sub-Saharan African countries 16 to compare with various other data and indicators. This includes not only firm creation and broad economic trends, but also the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) produced by Transparency International. 150
These comparisons address the three branches of anti-regulatory theory, that entry barriers hurt competition, inhibit business creation, or facilitate corruption. Preliminary analysis supports deregulation as a benefit to sub-Saharan development. Nearly immediate benefits are documented in corruption perception, though firm creation and competition lack data and are less inconclusive. Firm creation and firm density 17 experienced greater improvement amongst the reformer countries than the ‘neutral’ or ‘non-reformer’ groups (see Figure 3), though more data is needed for a conclusion. Even stronger was the link with significant relative reforms and employment to population ratio (see figure 4). This also could be helped by the registry of previously unregistered businesses, as deregulation correlates with decreased informal economies 18 .
figure 5 19
figure 6 20
figure 7 22 152
Corruption had the most direct link of the three factors as it had the most complete data. In 2012, the region had an average CPI ranking of 111.18 out of 176 total countries, with an average score of 33.84 out of 100. But those countries that have enacted entry regulation reforms have improved dramatically in corruption perception (see figure 5). In line with the ‘tollbooth’ theory, the strongest link with improved CPI is procedures reform, since those are the most likely of the three kinds of entry reform (procedures, time, and cost) to be an opportunity for corruption. In total, the average CPI improvement in the reformer group was double that of the non-reformer group 21 . Importantly, more broad studies have shown that not all entry reforms are created equal. The relative size of a reform can be crucial, as “small reforms – in general less than 40% for procedures and 50 to 60% for costs and days – do not have a significant effect on new firm registration.” 23 Competitiveness has been more difficult to link to entry reforms. Data is lacking for many countries in the region, but the likely explanation is that the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) metric is remarkably deep in its structure. The GCI includes variables ranging from health care and education to broadband internet subscription rate. It was probably unlikely that such a complicated metric would be affected by one variable in only a few years. The author’s own study on Sub-Saharan Africa did show a link between firm creation and overall competitiveness improvement (See figure 6). The data indicates that a rough doubling of the entry rate corresponds to a 15% improvement in the GCI over that same period. Removing the outlier, Rwanda, would indicate that only a 50% increase in the entry rate would achieve the same GCI improvement. Though data points were limited and more data would be required to be conclusive. One example of overall success with entry deregulation was Rwanda. The time series data indicates a clear response in CPI and firm density (firm creation per 1,000 people) following business entry reforms, and also a noticeable nudge in GCI (see figure 7) . Rwanda’s new firm creation went up by over 1000% through the reform period, and CPI transparency score went up over 70%. Though it was the biggest regional reformer, more research is needed to account for other potential growth influences. CONCLUSIONS AND REMAINING QUESTIONS Entrepreneurship statistical studies may not be comprehensive for Sub-Saharan Africa, but they clearly demonstrate significant economic benefit regardless of development level. Even if it represents the remedial species of business creation, there is still opportunity for growth and ‘bridging the gap’ 27 . This is especially true given that deregulation also gives existing businesses incentive to register. In terms of corruption reduction, removing the procedures to business entry is sound policy for Sub-Saharan Africa. In this case, the ‘tollbooth’ theory is sound, as those kinds of procedural regulations are clearly adding to perceived corruption. Firm creation also shows positive trends but the data is not yet comprehensive. Here, the cross-sectional data from other studies lends support. Competitiveness, as currently measured by GCI, 153
is entirely too broad to evaluate policy impact in the short-term, though there is at least some link with firm creation. Amidst the current rush for entry deregulation in the region, a few things should be kept in mind for policy formulation. First, cosmetic deregulation may help a country move up rankings lists, but it may not provide the intended result if they are not significant in relative size and substance. Secondly, not all beneficial reforms are in the liberal deregulatory trend. Protecting investors is a helpful regulation for encouraging investment, and many regulations can be streamlined rather than simply eliminated. Online registration may be a new type of regulation, but it benefits not only the entrepreneur, but the state as well. Entrepreneurship is not merely employment; it’s access, competition, and innovation. As more data becomes available, it will be increasingly clear how and why the state needs to do everything is can to encourage this behavior in its citizens.
NOTES 1. Data sources include but are not limited to: the World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, and other various data disseminated by the World Bank’s data bank. 2. Leora Klapper. The Impact of Business Enviorment Reforms on New Firm Registration. 2010 3. Silvia Ardgana and Annamaria Lusardi. Explaining International Diffrences in Entrepreneurship:The Role of Individual Characteristics and Regulator Constraints. NBER Working Paper Series, Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008. 2008) 4. Leora Klapper. The Impact of Buisness. 5. Anamaria Lusardi. Explaining International Diffrences 6. Ibid. 7. Leora Klapper. The Impact of Buisness. 8. Leora Klapper. The Impact of Buisness. 9. Figure courtesy of: (Leora Klapper 2010) Source: World Bank Group Entrepreneurship Database (2007) and World Bank (2005). 10. Anamaria Lusardi. Surveys are self-administered with over 2,000 per country. ‘Skills’ are defined as the perceived ability to start a new business, ‘risk-aversion’ measures those whose fear of failure can prevent them from starting a business, and ‘social networks’ are defined as those know someone that has recently started a business. 11. Anamaria Lusardi. % Has Skills: Low Income (40.39), Upper Middle (40.49), High (40.2). 12. Anamaria Lusardi. “The probability of becoming involved in an entrepreneurial activity when knowing someone who has started a business increases by 3% for opportunity entrepreneurs and by 0.5% for remedial entrepreneurs”. 13. Arthur Pigou. The Economics of Welfare. 1932 14. Anamaria Lusardi. Explaining International Diffrences 15. George J. Stigler. The Theory of Economic Regulation. 1971 16. Procedures, days, and cost reforms from 2004-2013 via the World Bank Doing Business database. 17. Firm Density is a measurement of business ownership per 1,000 working-age citizens. 18. Djankov Simeon. The Regulation of Entry. 2002 19. World Bank Group Database (2004-2012) 20. Source: World Bank Group Database (2004-2012) 154
21. Top-15 reformers had an average CPI improvement of 24.34%, bottom-15, 12.44%. 22. Source: World Bank Group Database (2004-2012) and Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. R-Squared rises to .17 if Nigeria is removed. Days reform R-squared=.00969, cost reform insignificant. 23. Leora Klapper. The Impact of Buisness. 24. Source: World Bank Group Database (2004-2012) and World Economic Forum’s GCI (2006-2013). Removing the outlier, Rwanda, raises the R-squared to .10. 25.Score went from 3.99 to 4.24 in two years. Rwanda did not have previous GCI scores. 26. Source: World Bank Group Database (2004-2012) and the World Economic Forum. 27. Leora Klapper. The Impact of Buisness.
WORKS CITED Donna J. Kelley, Slavica Singer, and Mike Herrington. “2011 Global Report.” Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2011. Einbinder, Professor Fred. “The Legal Environment of Business.” BA 3075. Klapper, Leora. The Impact of Business Environment Reforms on New Firm Registration. Lusardi, Silvia Ardagna and Annamaria. Explaining International Differences in Entrepreneurship: The Role of Individual Characteristics and Regulatory Constraints. NBER Working Paper Series, Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008. Leora Klapper, Raphael Amit, Mauro F. Guillén. “Entrepreneurship and Firm Formation across Countries.” In International Differences in Entrepreneurship, edited by Josh Lerner and Antoinette Schoar, 129 - 158. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Pigou, Arthur C. The Economics of Welfare. London: Macmillan Co., 1932. Policy Research Working Paper, Development Research Group, The World Bank, The World Bank Group, 2010. Simeon Djankov, Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, Andrei Shleifer. “The Regulation of Entry.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics CXVII, no. 1 (2002). Stigler, George J. “The Theory of Economic Regulation.” The Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science 2, no. 1 (1971). Ted Baker, Eric Gedajlovic, and Michael Lubatkin. “A Framework for Comparing Entrepreneurship Processes Across Nations.” The Journal of International Business Studies, 2005. The World Bank. Doing Business Rankings. The World Bank Group, 2012. The World Bank. Starting a Business: Methodology. The World Bank Group, 2012. The World Economic Forum. Global Competitiveness Index. The World Economic Forum, 2012. Transparency International. Corruption Perception Index Report. Transparency International, 2012.
B E T H A N Y
K I R K P A T R I C K
R E S H A P I N G T H E E N V I R O N M E N TA L K U Z N E T ’ S C U R V E
INTRODUCTION Since the early 1990s, the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) has been a central issue in the environmental policy debate. The EKC hypothesis suggests that there exists an inverted U-shaped relationship between various indicators of environmental degradation and the level of per capita income (Figure 1). The implication of this hypothesis is that environmental degradation initially increases with per capita income, then levels off, and eventually declines. As low-income economies shift away from subsistence farming and enter a stage of industrialization and urbanization, the rate of resource depletion begins to exceed resource regeneration and environmental depletion increases at a decreasing rate. At a certain threshold of income per capita, referred to as the “turning point,” environmental degradation begins to level out. Structural changes towards information-intensive industries and services, cleaner technologies, increased demand for environmental quality, and better enforcement of environmental regulations are said to bring about a gradual decline of environmental degradation. At the 67th annual meeting of the American Economic Association in 1954, Simon Kuznets delivered the presidential address, “Economic Growth and Income Inequality.” Kuznets hypothesized an inverted U relationship between economic growth and inequality
figure 1: An estimated EKC for SO 2 1
in the distribution of income. It was for this hypothesized relationship, now known as the Kuznets Curve, that Simon Kuznets was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1971. In 1991, the Kuznets Curve took on a new meaning when Grossman and Krueger 2 first reported an analogous inverted-U-shaped relationship between levels of environmental 156
quality and measures of per capita income. Grossman and Krueger estimated EKCs for measures of air quality as a part of a study investigating the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the environment in Mexico. Grossman and Krueger acknowledged that the patterns they observed reflected the technological, political, and economic conditions of the time; there is nothing inevitable about the EKC relationship. A study by Shafik and Bandyopahyay 3 reported similar findings in support of the EKC hypothesis. They estimated EKCs for ten different environmental indicators as a background study for the 1992 World Development Report. The results from the study suggest an EKC relationship for localized water and air pollution. Lack of clean water and urban sanitation were found to decline uniformly with rise in per capita income. However, the broader range of indicators examined by Shafik and Bandyopadhyay reveal a more ambiguous relationship between environmental degradation and economic development. Shafik and Bandyopadhyay conclude that, It is possible to â€œgrow out of â€? some environmental problems, but there is nothing automatic about doing so. Action tends to be taken where there are generalized local costs and substantial private and social benefits. 4 The 1992 World Development Report 5 , based on the work of Shafik and Bandyopadhyay, set in motion the international debate on growth and environment relationships. It highlighted four determining factors of the impact of economic activity on the environment: structure; efficiency; substitution; clean technologies and management practices. The effectiveness of these factors, the report noted, would depend on the incentive structures facing agents and policy settings. The results of the report revealed that EKC correlations can only be observed for a limited number of environmental indicators, thus, proving largely inconclusive. Despite the mixed conclusions regarding the EKC hypothesis, many economists have persisted in attempting to replicate and validate the initial findings 6 . Most of the empirical studies that have produced results displaying EKC relationships have focused on the narrow relationship between local pollution output (as an inversely proportional proxy for environmental quality) and economic growth, measured by income per capita. However, aggregate global emissions of these pollutants are projected to rise over time. Thus, it cannot be taken for granted that economic growth alone is the solution to combating environmental damage; there is nothing at all inevitable about the EKC relationship. As Stern et al. 7 points out, Policies to achieve sustainable development must incorporate explicit incentives to reduce environmental degradation, rather than assume that the problem will take care of itself as the global economy continues along its current development pathâ€Ś EKC relationships offer very little in the way of guidance on the real policy choices concerning sustainable development 8 . The critical policy issue that arises from the EKC debate is whether economic growth should continue to be given priority, with protection of the environment a secondary concern, or whether explicit policies to mitigate environmental degradation are urgently 157
and immediately required. Taken to extremes, the EKC can be interpreted as suggesting that economic growth alone is the solution to combating environmental damage. Critics of the EKC argue that the existing literature offers an incomplete and imperfect picture of the relationship between environmental degradation and economic development. Studies that validate the EKC hypothesis are based on environmental indicators that are both restricted and local. The assumptions these studies depend on provide a skewed vision of the reality of the relationship between growth, as defined as income per capita, and the state of the environment. Recently, efforts have been made within the EKC literature to confront the limitations of the environmental data by using more comprehensive measures of environmental degradation. Two notable studies that use of the Ecological Footprint as a proxy for degradation to examine the EKC hypothesis include Boutaud, Gondran, and Brodhag 9 and Caviglia-Harris, Chambers, and Kahn 10 . These studies both yield results that contradict the EKC hypothesis. This paper aims to build upon this work, providing the EKC literature with a broader view of the impact of human economic activities on an aggregate indicator of environmental quality, by including intuitive controls to mitigate potential omitted variable bias. This paper proceeds as follows: Section 2 discusses the Ecological Footprint; Section 3 describes the role of natural capital in sustaining current rates of consumption; Section 4 defines the data used in the cross-section regressions; Section 5 describes the EKC regression estimates; Section 6 summarizes the empirical results; and Section 7 concludes. THE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT A critical empirical component is missing from previous studies of the EKC literature: the overall level of natural capital required to produce the material commodities consumed by humans. There is a dearth of empirical indicators in the current literature that take into account overall consumption levels as an anthropogenic cause of environmental destruction. Evidence of an EKC relationship has been found for only a few pollutants with short-term and local impacts. When aggregated, these emissions are expected to increase exponentially 11 . This paper uses a more comprehensive measurement that quantifies the effects of human consumption in order to accurately analyze the environmental implications of economic growth: the Ecological Footprint. The Ecological Footprint was introduced by Wackernagel and Rees 12 to examine the area of biologically productive land and water required to produce all the resources consumed, and to assimilate all the waste generated, by humanity. The Ecological Footprint of Consumption is calculated from the Ecological Footprint of Production, plus the Ecological Footprint of Imports, minus the Ecological Footprint of Exports (Figure 2). Its assumptions are derived from the seminal work of Paul R. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren 11 that introduced a useful framework for examining environmental impact know as the IPAT model. The model decomposes the driving forces of natural capital appropriation into three variables, population, affluence, and technology 13 . Of these three factors, most modern societies usually give priority to increasing affluence. 158
In their paper, Wackernagel and Rees appropriately compare the economy to a metabolism that must consume resources and later evacuate the corresponding waste.
figure 2â€? Calculation Methodology of the Ecological Footprint of Consumption 14
Thus, such a metabolism requires a certain surface of bioproductive land (per capita) to produce the necessary resources and absorb waste in order to maintain the living standard of a society. The main strength of the Ecological Footprint is that it aggregates a large array of heterogeneous environmental data into a single unit (global hectares per capita) that can be easily compared to a regions carrying capacity. This makes it a very communicative tool and as a result it has been increasingly applied within the sustainable development literature. Still, this same aspect of simplicity that marks its ease of interpretation has led to much of the criticism of the Ecological Footprint. Consequently, there has been an ongoing effort by the Global Footprint Network to improve the robustness of the metric through a continual process of scientific review and through the development of standards governing its application. Despite its shortcomings, the Ecological Footprint is a widely referenced measurement of sustainability, and has been used within a growing number of scientific, local governmental and international non-governmental arenas as a measure of ecological performance. The Ecological Footprint will be used in the paper as an aggregate measure of environmental quality because of the ongoing scientific review of the methodology it has benefited from. ACCOUNTING FOR NATURAL CAPITAL The role of natural capital in sustainable development divides economists into two contrasting perspectives, namely weak sustainability and strong sustainability. According 159
to the weak sustainability view, maintaining a single homogeneous total stock of capital is sufficient to attain sustainable development. Natural capital depletion must simply be replaced by physical or human capital. From the opposing strong sustainability point of view, the flows of ecosystem services are seen as the â€˜dividendâ€™ that society receives from natural capital. Maintaining stocks of natural capital allow the sustained provision of future flows to ecosystem services. The loss in human well-being due to ecological degradation often comes after a significant time delay, and is difficult to reverse once the stock of resources has been significantly depleted. Physical or human capital cannot substitute the unique and essential role natural capital plays to ensure enduring human welfare. Rates of consumption The average consumption of goods and services per person has dramatically increased over the past century, as evidenced by growth in GDP per capita. In the rich Western nations, consumption has risen more than six-fold. Even in Africa, the poorest region of the word, consumption has more than doubled 15 . With the view of GDP per capita as a proxy of human welfare, economic growth and increased ability to consume have been given priority by nearly all national governments in the past 60 years. This consumption on a mass scale has profound implications for the relationship between economic growth and the natural capital it depends on. The ecological creditor and debtor maps below (Figure 3 and Figure 4) compares the Ecological Footprint of consumption with domestic biocapacity. The number of debtor countries, those that consume beyond that natural biocapacity within their national boundaries, has dramatically increased over the last few decades. These debtor countries support their disproportionate levels of consumptions by importing natural resources from creditor countries, and to a greater extent through the use of global commons as a dumping ground for excessive waste 16 . Human consumption first exceeded the planetâ€™s ability to meet this demand around the 1970s and 1980s, and this state of overshoot has characterized every year since (Figure
figure 4: Ecological creditor and debtor countries in 1961 16 160
figure 4: Ecological creditor and debtor countries in 2007 17
5). Since 1961, the first year National Footprint Accounts were measured, North America’s total Ecological Footprint of consumption has grown by 160 percent 18 . This increase is almost entirely a result of growth in demand per person. The increasing flows of inputs and waste associated with relatively affluent lifestyles of many North American residents have been a major contributor to the increase in global overshoot. In 2007, half of the global Footprint was attributable to just 10 countries, with the United States of America and China alone each respectively using 21 and 24 percent of the Earth’s biocapacity. If everyone in the world lived like an average resident of the United States or the United Arab Emirates, the biocapacity of more than 4.5 Earths would be required to
figure 5: Humanity’s Ecological Footprint by country, 19612007 19
support humanity’s consumption rates 16. Put simply, humanity as a whole is not living within the natural means the planet provides. DATA
The data 19 used in this analysis include a cross-section of the Ecological Footprint (a proxy for environmental degradation) for 150 countries for the year 2010, and per capita GDP (expressed in constant PPP-adjusted 2005 international dollars) from the World Development Indicators. The units of measurement for the Ecological Footprint are global hectares (g ha) per capita, defined as hectares of bioproductive area with world average bioproductivity. It is constructed by aggregating human demand for ecological services in terms of six major land use types (cropland, grazing land, forest land, carbon Footprint, fishing grounds, and built-up land). The Ecological Footprint calculates the combined demand for ecological resources wherever they are located and presents them as the global average area needed to support a specific human activity. In its most basic form, the Ecological Footprint is calculated by the following equation:
where D is the annual demand of a product and Y is the annual yield of the same product. Yield is expressed in global hectares. The average global Ecological Footprint 20 for 2010 is 2.95 g ha per capita. TimorLeste has the lowest Ecological Footprint of 0.4 g ha per capita, while Luxembourg has the highest of 11.82 g ha per capita. The average global GDP per capita is $10,184.09 PPP(constant 2005 international USD). Zimbabwe has the lowest GDP per capita of $226.23 annually. Luxembourg has the highest GDP per capita of $63,686.70. The countries with the 10 lowest and the 10 highest levels of GDP per capita and their corresponding Ecological Footprints are summarized in Table 1. EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIORMENTAL KUZNETS CURVE Following the current EKC literature, a variety of baseline quadratic EKC models using OLS are estimated. The results display a robust relationship between per 162
capita GDP and the Ecological Footprint, exhibiting no sign of an inverted U-shaped relationship. To the contrary, a distinctly U shaped relationship is observed, seen clearly in Figure 6. Environmental degradation, proxied the Ecological Footprint, increases at an increasing rate with economic growth. Additional OLS estimations are performed to test the assumptions of the EKC hypothesis, few of which prove to be statistically significant. Baseline quadratic ECK model
figure6: Ecological Footprint vs. log capita GDP
Modeling the empirical analysis after the predominant methodologies of the EKC literature, all per capita GDP variables are expressed in their natural logarithmic form. Additionally, log GDP per capita in quadratic form is included in the following estimated EKC model: The OLS regression results are summarized in Table 2. The columns labeled Model
1 through Model 6 each report separate regressions. The entries in each column of Table 2 are the coefficient estimates, standard errors, adjusted R2 values, the number of observations N, and whether an EKC relationship is observed. The first column of regression results, labeled regression Model 1, is the initial baseline linear-log quadratic regression. The coefficients on the log of GDP per capita and the log of GDP in quadratic form are statistically significant at the 1% level. The estimated coefficient on the log GDP per capita variable is negative, whilst the estimated coefficient on the log GPD per capita variable in quadratic form is positive. Therefore the baseline regression model predicts a â€˜U-shapedâ€™ relationship between per capita GDP and the Ecological Footprint of Consumption. This is the exact opposite of the positive coefficient on the log GDP per capita variable and a negative coefficient on the log GPD per capita in quadratic form required to generate the inverted U-shaped relationship of the EKC hypothesis. The t-statistic on the coefficient on the quadratic term is 7.71 and the corresponding 163
The t-statistic on the coefficient on the quadratic term is 7.71 and the corresponding p-value < 0.001, so the null hypothesis that the true coefficient is zero is rejected with 99% confidence. The adjusted R2 = 0.7529 indicates that the variation in per capita GDP accounts for 75.29% of the variation in the Ecological Footprint. The estimated coefficients for the variables log GDP per capita and log GDP per capita in quadratic form are stable across all six regressions. Therefore the baseline estimates provided by the initial linear-log quadratic regression model are reliable.
Regression Model 2 controls for poverty 22 , expressed as the percentage of the population living on less than $2 a day. Counter-intuitively, the results reveal that a decrease in the number living below $2 by 1 percentage point will actually increase a countryâ€™s Ecological Footprint by 0.017 g ha, all else equal. The coefficient on the percentage living below the poverty line is statistically significant at the 10% level. Drawing from the traditional Kuznets curve literature, regression Model 3 includes the gini index to control for income inequality. The gini index is expressed as a percentage ranging between 0 and 100, where higher values represent greater inequality. Consistent with the results found in Model 2, the regression estimates that as inequality declines by 1 percentage point, the Ecological Footprint increases by 0.018 g ha, all else held constant. The traditional Kuznets curve suggests that income inequality decreases with high levels of economic growth. Therefore, if the EKC hypothesis and the traditional Kuznets curve hold, through the transitive property we would expect to see a direct relationship 164
between gini index and ecological footprint; higher levels of income inequality would be associated with higher Ecological Footprints. However, regression Model 3 suggests that an inverse relationship exists. Model 4 includes an interaction term with the continuous variable for a country’s democracy status score. The interaction term is introduced in order to examine whether the effect on the Ecological Footprint of an increase in log GDP per capita depends on how democratic a country is. This interaction is modeled by augmenting the initial linearlog quadratic regression model with the interaction term democracyxlog gdpc that is the product of democracy status and log gdpc.
The negative coefficient on the interaction term indicates that the more democratic a country is, the lesser the effect of log GDP on a country’s Ecological Footprint. Though the coefficient on the interaction term is just below the limit of statistical significance for predicting the Ecological Footprint of Consumption (p-value = 0.2), the model still has strong explanatory ability. The estimates in Model 4 are consistent with the log GDP per capita having a nonlinear effect. The null hypothesis that the relationship is log-linear is rejected at the 1% significance level (p-value<0.001). Regression Model 5 examines the commonly mentioned assumption that changes in the composition of an economy give rise to an observed EKC relationship. This assumption, upon which most of the Environmental Kuznets Curve literature is based, follows the Rybczynski theorem which states that human capital accumulation stimulates clean service-based industry, which in turn draws resources out of the dirty industry, effectively reducing environmental degradation. Stated simply, countries grow primarily via capital accumulation in the early stages of development and by human capital acquisition in later stages. Environmental degradation will thus rise and then fall with growth in per-capita income. Given this fundamental assumption, the share of the economy that stems from services should display strong explanatory ability for predicting the Ecological Footprint. However, the variable services’ share of economy proves to be highly statistically insignificant. An alternative widely cited explanation for the ECK is that its shape reflects changes in the demand for environmental quality as income rises. To control for the income effect of environmental quality, the variable environment vs. economy is introduced as a measure of a society’s preference to prioritize environmental or economic issues. This income effect that assumes environmental quality to be a normal good should therefore be reflected in a country’s Ecological Footprint. However, regression Model 6 demonstrates that the variable environment vs. economy is statistically insignificant. The number of observations in the regression is dramatically reduced due to survey responses that matters other that either the environment or economic should be given priority are recorded as 165
missing. SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS Departing from the current Environmental Kuznets Curve literature that typically uses localized measures of environmental quality (i.e. pollution), this analysis empirically investigates the EKC model using the Ecological Footprint as an aggregate index of environmental degradation. No evidence of an inverted U-shaped EKC relationship between per capita GDP and the Ecological Footprint is found. The results from this study reveal the opposite effect to be true; economic growth results in an exponential increase in environmental degradation. The Ecological Footprint is found to increase at an increasing rate for both high and low-income nations on average, displaying a clearly defined U-shaped relationship. At current rates of consumption, there appears to be no tendency for the trend to level off and reach a turning point. Contrary to the EKC literature which suggests that high-income economies will display the lowest levels of environmental degradation, the data show that nations with higher percentages of the population living below $2 a day, and high levels of income inequality tend to have lower Ecological Footprints. Taken at face value, the results of this study seem to suggest that income levels must decline in order to alleviate the strain on the environment, or that poverty reduction will result in greater environmental degradation. However, interpretation of the results that follows this line of reasoning risks misrepresenting the reality of the situation. CONCLUSION Natural resource wealth and material consumption are not evenly distributed worldwide. As the empirical results reveal, high-income countries, with relatively small populations, have disproportionately high per-person consumption rates. These countries have a net demand on the planet greater than their respective biocapacity. Many lowincome countries have an abundance of natural resources, yet their populations often suffer first and most severely when humanityâ€™s demand on the environment exceeds what the environment can renewably provide. For the regions of the world where the flow of usable resources is too small to meet basic needs, access to natural capital must increase if poverty, hunger, and disease are to be reduced. Yet with growing population and the rest of the worldâ€™s escalating resource consumption, this is becoming increasingly difficult to manage in a sustainable manner. Therefore, relying on a growing level of consumption to attain sustainable well-being for all is grossly unrealistic. While the EKC hypothesis has re-energized the debate over the environmental implications of economic growth, the dis-aggregated measures used in most papers provide distorted results. The danger of accepting the EKC model as the be-all end-all of the growth versus the environment relationship is the possible policy implications such a view may have. It offers policy makers a platform to argue that economic growth alone can solve the problem of environmental degradation, and that measures aimed at alleviating 166
environmental damage are unnecessary. When we explore the impact of human economic activities with a more potent measure of environmental quality such as the Ecological Footprint, new light is shed on the implications of unabated mass consumption. Ecological resources will play a crucial role in the success or failure to reduce poverty, hunger, and disease in the future. Given the flaws in our current understanding of how to promote human welfare, a new and urgent challenge is presented to the current and to future generation. We must address the question: How can enduring human development be achieved, given a world of increasing resource constraints?
NOTES 1. Panayotou, Theodore, “Empirical Tests and Policy Analysis of Environmental Degradation at Different Stages of Economic Development.” Working Paper WP238, Technology and Employment Programme, International Labour Office, Geneva, 1993. 2. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger “Economic Growth and the Environment.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 110.2 (1995): 353–377. 3. Nemut Shafik & Sushenjit Banyopadhyay “Economic Growth and Environmental Quality: Time-Series and Cross-Country Evidence.” The World Bank. 904 (1992): 1-50. 4. Ibid. 5. World Bank, 1992 6. See Yandle et al., “Environmental Kuznets Curves: A Review of Findings, Methods, and Policy Implications.” Property & Environment Research Center. April 2004: 1-38. for a comprehensive review of the contributions to the EKC literature. 7. David I. Stern, Michael S. Common & Edward B. Barbier, “Economic Growth and Environmental Degradation: The Environmental Kuznets Curve and Sustainable Development.” World Development. 24. 7 (1996): 1151-1160. 8. Ibid. 9. Aurélien Boutaud, Natacha Gonran, & Christian Brodhag, “(Local) environmental quality versus (global) ecological carrying capacity: what might alternative aggregated indicators bring to the debates about environmental Kuznets curves and sustainable development.” International Journal of Sustainable Development. 9.3 (2006): 297-310 10. Jill L. Caviglia-Harrism, Dustin Chambers, & James R. Kahn, “Taking the ‘U’ out of Kuznets: A comprehensive analysis of the EKC and environmental degradation.” Ecological Economics. 68.4 (2008): 11491159. 11. See Selden, Thomas M., and Song, Daqing, “Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 27.2 (1994): 147-162. 12. Mathis Wackernagel & William Rees. Our Ecological Footprint, Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1996. 13. The IPAT model suggests that Environmental Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology. 14. Global Footprint Network, 2010. footprintnetwork.org 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Refer to Table 3 for descriptions of the variables and the sources of the data used in the empirical analysis. 21. Refer to Table 4 for Summary Statistics. 167
22. Poverty is often cited as one of the main driving forces of environmental degradation. See Amechi, Emeka Polycarp, “Poverty, Socio-Political Factors and Degradation of the Environment in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for a Holistic Approach to the Protection of the Environment and Realisation of the Right to Environment.” Law, Environment and Development Journal, 5.2 (2009): 107.
WORKS CITED Boutaud, Aurélien, Gonran, Natacha, and Brodhag, Christian, “(Local) environmental quality versus (global) ecological carrying capacity: what might alternative aggregated indicators bring to the debates about environmental Kuznets curves and sustainable development.” International Journal of Sustainable Development. 9.3 (2006): 297-310 Caviglia-Harrism, Jill L., Chambers, Dustin, Kahn, James R., “Taking the ‘U’ out of Kuznets: A comprehensive analysis of the EKC and environmental degradation.” Ecological Economics. 68.4 (2008): 1149-1159. Copeland, Brian R., Taylor, Scott M., “Trade, Growth, and the Environment.” Journal of Economic Literature. 42.1 (2004): 7-71. Dasgupta, Susmita, Laplante, Benoit, Wang, Hua, Wheeler, David, “Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. 16. 1 (2002): 147-168. Ehrlich, P. R., and Holdren, J.P. “Impact of Population Growth.” Science, 171.3977 (1971) : 1217. Emeka Polycarp Amechi, “Poverty, Socio-Political Factors and Degradation of the Environment in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for a Holistic Approach to the Protection of the Environment and Realisation of the Right to Environment.” Law, Environment and Development Journal, 5.2 (2009): 107. Ewing B., D. Moore, S. Goldfinger, A . Oursler, A . Reed, and M. Wackernagel. The Ecological Footprint Atlas 2010. Oakland: Global Footprint Network, 2010. Grossman, Gene M., Krueger, Alan B., “Economic Growth and the Environment.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 110.2 (1995): 353–377. Jha, Raghbendra, Murthy, K.V. Bhanu, “An Inverse Global Environmental Kuznets Curve.” Journal of Comparative Economics. 31 (2003): 352-368. Kuznets, Simon, “Growth and Income Inequality.” The American Economic Review. 45.1 (1955): 1-28. Panayotou, Theodore, “Empirical Tests and Policy Analysis of Environmental Degradation at Different Stages of Economic Development.” Working Paper WP238, Technology and Employment Programme, International Labour Office, Geneva, 1993. Perce, David, and Barbier, Edward B. Blueprint for a Sustainable Economy. London: Earthscan, 2000. 24-29. Selden, Thomas M., and Song, Daqing, “Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 27.2 (1994): 147-162. Shafik, Nemut, and Banyopadhyay, Sushenjit, “Economic Growth and Environmental Quality: Time-Series and Cross-Country Evidence.” The World Bank. 904 (1992): 1-50. Stern, David I., Common, Michael S., Barbier, Edward B., “Economic Growth and Environmental Degradation: The Environmental Kuznets Curve and Sustainable Development.” World Development. 24. 7 (1996): 1151-1160. Yandle, Bruce, Bhattarai, Madhusudan, Vijayaraghavan, Maya, “Environmental Kuznets Curves: A Review of Findings, Methods, and Policy Implications.” Property & Environment Research Center. April 2004: 1-38. Wackernagel, Mathis, and Rees, William. Our Ecological Footprint, Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1996.
CONTRIBUTORS K I M B E R LY B E E B E Kimberly Beebe is an American graduate student studying International Affairs who moved to Paris from Hong Kong, where she lived for three years. Her thesis research analyses the causes of human trafficking in Southeast Asia. Kimberly currently works on an awareness campaign for violence against women with an AUP alumnus. DAVID S. BLOOM David hails from Ann Arbor Michigan and came to AUP via Washington DC, where he was a Senior Political Associate at a campaign consulting firm. This work will provide the background for a thesis project, where he will examine the business entry regulatory atmosphere of Morocco and project the potential results of reform. FA N I E C O L L A R D E AU Fanie Collardeau will be graduating from AUP in May 2013 with a double major in psychology and International and Comparative Politics. She is involved with AUP Student Media as one of the editors-in-chief of Paris/ Atlantic. Fanie is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. ELLA COOPER Ella Cooper, co-editor of The Lutetian, will graduate from AUP in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Communications, which includes a double minor in Comparative Literature and French Language and Culture. JUSTINE DAVIS Justine Davis holds a dual language Master’s degree in International Affairs, Conflict Resolution and Civil Society Development from AUP and the Sorbonne-Paris 1. Originally from North Carolina, Justine is currently working in Côte d’Ivoire as a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow. She is collaborating with the Ivoirian Ministry of Education on implementing and evaluating Human Rights and Citizenship Education curriculum. Justine is interested in civic participation and education as tools for resolving conflict and developing democracy in Africa. KARLA HOOVER Karla Hoover graduated from AUP’s 2-year MA International Affairs program in 2012. Originally from Oregon, though an avid traveller, she served seven years in the Army National Guard, including a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. Following her military service, she moved to Paris to learn French, and two years later enrolled in the bilingual MAIA program. She is currently living in Thailand and seeking work with refugees. 169
CONTRIBUTORS CAROLINE NORDSTRAND IUEL
Caroline Nordstrand Iuel is an Art History student (visual culture and communication track) and is currently writing her Bachelor thesis about photography and semiotics at the University of Copenhagen. Since 2008, she has being working in PR and communication in her hometown of Copenhagen. She is currently a journalism intern at COVER magazine. In 2012, Caroline started an arts and culture blog whilst living in Paris (parisparis.cover.dk). MICHAEL MORALES
Michael is a junior and double major in International Finance and International Economics. He is currently working on creating a student-run business on campus, offering services to the AUP community to facilitate different aspects of student life, with the objective of launching this coming fall. KILIAN THOMAS ORDELHEIDE
Kilian Thomas Ordelheide is a senior at the American University of Paris expected to graduate with honors in global communications, integrated marketing, and visual culture. His passion for subject area has led Kilian to focus his senior thesis on the branding of Middle Eastern city states in the 21st century. Originally from Germany, Kilian has lived Paris for the last three years and plans to continue his career in the city of lights once he graduates. JESSICA PROETT
Jessica Proett is an American student currently doing a master of arts in Middle East and Islamic Studies at the American University of Paris. For the last five years she has spent time living abroad in Saudi Arabia and in Andalusia, Spain. Jessicaâ€™s research interests include the Muslim history of Spain and modern interpretations of this period. GENEVIEVE SHEA
Genevieve Shea, co-Editor of The Lutetian, will graduate in May 2013 with a B.A . in International and Comparative Politics. As an student at AUP she has been an active member of ASM, serving as editor in chief of The Planet in the 2011-2012 school year. As an undergraduate she has held internships at the US State Department, US Helsinki Commission, and US Congress. Next year she will begin a double masters program in Russia, Central and East European studies at the University of Glasgow and Corvinus University in Budapest. 170
CONTRIBUTORS NICOLE SWEENEY
Nicole identifies with many parts of the United States, but calls Chicago and Los Angeles home. She is currently completing her thesis, which was inspired by this paper. Nicole works as a Media Outreach Coordinator, as well as a freelance web designer and community manager. SYMONNE TORPY
Before coming to Paris, Symonne Torpy completed a Bachelor of International and Global Studies at the University of Sydney. Symonne has a passion for fashion, media and culture and has pursued her skills in these areas in a range of ways, including through the experimentation with social media. Symonne is currently doing a Masters in Global Communications at the American University of Paris. SVEN VAN MOURIK
A Dutch student currently living in France, Sven van Mourik has for the past two years pursued a double degree in History and International Politics at AUP. His fields of interest include Anglo-Dutch relationships during the 17th and 18th centuries and the power politics of Renaissance Venice. Nearing the completion of his Bachelorâ€™s Degree, he is currently trying to find a publisher for the novel he has written, while also looking to apply for Law School in the United States.
The Lutetian is the social sciences journal of the American University of Paris.