Issue 2 Volume 1

Page 1



Introduction from the Editors We are even prouder than ever of the diversity, quality and ambition of the collection of essays in the second issue of the journal this academic year. Juncture is a crossroads for the ideas, projects and visions of society and contemporary politics in Manchester and the range of ideas on display reflects this exceedingly well. We pointed out 6 months ago that the journal surpassed our expectations. For the second time, it has not only continued to do so, but it has cemented itself as part of the opportunities and experiences available to students to grow, develop and learn at The University of Manchester. With printed copies available on display in the Politics Department and for loan in the University Library, as well as two new, experienced and passionate students leading the team from September we can only see the breadth and depth of the journal's impact expanding. Once again, a massive thank you goes out to every staff member in the Politics Department for their support and particularly to Dr Carl Death and Professor Francesca Gains for their additional time and enthusiasm. While the student team is the source of the journal's energy, the Department is its backbone, allowing it to show the professionalism it does. The feedback received by both students and staff, which is always welcome and always positively built upon, is phenomenally encouraging. Our biggest thanks goes out to everyone who submitted work and the contributors themselves for allowing us the honour of featuring their essays. How do we decide which of the numerous submissions we receive to include? There are three criteria we deeply value: analytic rigor, variety and original perspectives. Every piece of work submitted to us is critically read by a minimum of two of our undergraduate student board members, who impartially deliver their honest opinion of the quality of the work and its fit for our criteria. After making notes on the piece, we discuss the submission as a team and the reviewers justify their thoughts to us - and debate them if necessary! Only after this long process, does every team member anonymously vote on which pieces they'd like to see in the final issue, based on the merit of the work and our three criteria above. Not only do we believe this makes everything fair and unbiased for everyone involved, but it means student work is selected by and for students based on quality alone. This doesn't make the process easy, though. Rejecting a submission is an extremely difficult decision to make. Nonetheless, it allows us to become more and more curious about and close to the ideas present in the pieces we do select. Siobhan O'Neill starts us off by critically examining one of the most important questions a social scientist can ask: Who do we think we are? Her exploration of Ron Haviv's photographic collection Children of Darfur, produced for UNICEF, provides us some crucial insights (pp.1-10). In a similar vein, Matipa Mukondiwa places ethnic identity in an empowering perspective with regards to the negative experiences many receive from international politics (pp.11-22); and Emma Schicker analyses the thought processes and group psychology behind violence against women, rooting it in an inferiority framework escalated by the heterosexual normativity imposed upon gender identity (pp.23-35). Moving from identity to memory politics, Kรกroly Gergely provides us with a re-examination of how we commemorate and speak about historical wartime relationships and the importance of the underlying structures around which we build the 'frames of remembering' we utilise (p.36-43).


Contemporary politics is placed in the foreground through four topical pieces. Firstly, John Ayshford looks at the crisis of representation in Southern Europe as a catalyst for the popularity of antisystemic parties (pp.44-51), while Rhiannon Orton analyses more closely what the reasons behind certain people voting for Donald Trump in the American presidential election were (pp.52-63). Moses Seitler emphasises the transformation in how we have come to understand and respond to refugee disasters through two parliamentary debates between 1938 and 2015 (pp.64-85) and, finally, Matthew Perry critically asks whether nations should even be able to arbitrate over whether immigrants are permitted entry across their borders (pp. 86-107). Politics turns to comment on economics with Holly Clarke's piece on the role of Bitcoin in cementing the ideologies of global capitalism in our minds, while simultaneously providing a shroud for capital's essential contradictions (pp.108-124). Further, Anna-Maria Kรถhnke takes recent research on nudge theory to conceive of a revolution in the way informal economies are handled in India (pp.125-131). Sam Sayer takes the pressure off market forces as blameworthy for diminishing the cultivation of intellectual virtues; the real cause, he contends, being government policy (pp.132-139). Finally the applied ethics of three diverse issues force us to reconsider our responsibilities and opinions in university, about government and in family life. First, the ethics of cognitive enhancing smart drugs are given consideration, whereby Olivia Flett contends that the need for fair competition does not justify restrictions on the use of such substances (pp.140-146). Next, Toby Zambardino interrogates the level of importance we put on knowing about the lives of the politicians we elect, exploring the tension between their right to privacy and our need for responsible governing (pp.147-154). Lastly, Annabel Newton argues that, because the burden of adoption is only rarely outweighed by the importance of providing children with a family to grow up in, all of us have a duty to adopt - even non-aspiring parents (p.155-163). We hope that this overview goes to show exactly how varied, ambitious and engaging the ideas being produced at Manchester are. Yet we urge you to read on: explore the pieces that have caught your eye and discuss them with others. If you would like to get in contact with us to provide comments, feedback or receive details about the authors, then we would love to hear from you. As an undergraduate, you can submit your work anytime by filling out the submission form available on our website and emailing it to us with your work. Once more, a huge thank you goes out to everyone involved. We hope you enjoy reading. Sincerely,

The Juncture Team www.junctureuom.co.uk juncture.editor@gmail.com


Contents Who Do We Think We Are? - The Politics of Constructing Identity

1 - 10

Siobhan O'Neill From Negative Experiences to Positive Experiences-Ethnic Identity, Difference and Subjectivity

11-22

Matipa Mukondiwa Understanding Violence Against Women: Heterosexual Normativity and the Inferiority Framework

23-35

Emma Schicker Frames of Remembering: The Ongoing Re-Examination of Collaboration in Eastern Europe during World War II

36-43

Károly Gergely Anti-Systemic Parties in Southern Europe and the Crisis of Representation: the Rise of SYRIZA, Podemos and the 5-Star Movement.

44-51

John Ayshford Why Did Individuals Vote for Both Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016? An in-depth study of Wisconsin

52-63

Rhiannon Orton From ‘pitiful people’ to ‘security situation’: The transformation in meaning of ‘refugees’ amongst Britain’s political elite, 1938-2015.

64-85

Moses Seitler Closed Borders, Open Immigration: Can Nationalism Ground the Right to Exclude?

86-107

Matthew Perry Crypto-Utopia, Crypto-Apocalypse: Technological Global Capitalism, the Bitcoin Ideology and its Utopian Manifestations in ‘Puertopia’

108-124

Holly Clarke Nudging India’s Black Economy into Formality Anna-Maria Köhnke

125-131


Market forces in education aren’t to blame for shallow learning; government policy is

132-139

Sam Sayer The Freedom to Pursue Peak Performance: An Argument Against the Restriction of Cognitive Enhancing Smart Drugs within Universities

140-146

Olivia Flett Are Politicians Entitled to a Private Life?

147-154

Toby Zambardino Could There Be a Duty to Adopt?

155-163

Annabel Newton

Editorial Team Chief Editors Matthew Perry - Editorial Review Emma Schicker - Development Board Members Lioui Benhamou Vorlette Fakhri Olivia Flett Anna KĂśhnke Luke Land James Rogers Joshua Wakeford Toby Zambardino



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Who Do We Think We Are? The Politics of Constructing Identity

Siobhan O'Neill, 2ndYear Essay BSocSc Politics and International Relations

©All photographs courtesy of Ron Haviv/VII The above is the most famous photograph from the ‘Children of Darfur’ series and was used as a Darfur symbol for both UNICEF and Amnesty International. https://www.ronhaviv.com/children-of-darfur


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Abstract: This essay is a critical reflection that hopes to address the question, ‘who do we think we are?’ and unpack the politics of identity construction through an analysis of photography.Through analysis of the work of photojournalist Ron Haviv, the essay begins to explore some of the challenges this question raises in international politics.The project ’Children of Darfur’ was created for UNICEF and it drew attention to a country-in-crisis where it had previously been difficult to raise such attention. The project resulted in a landmark policy paper called ‘Child Alert Darfur’ which is available online and a United Nations exhibition. Focusing on Haviv’s project, ‘Children of Darfur’, allows for an in-depth exploration of the politics of identity construction and grounds the obscurities and complexities in ‘everyday’ artefacts of popular culture. In answering this question the essay discusses three themes: (1) the process of ‘Othering’; (2) what it means to have an identity; and (3) the relationship between identity and power.

The question ‘Who do we think we are?’ raises a series of challenging issues in international politics, one of the most challenging being who counts as ‘we’. In order to critically address the broad question ‘Who do we think we are?’ I will reflect upon the work of photojournalist Ron Haviv, in particular his project titled ‘Children of Darfur’, documented on behalf of UNICEF and resulting in a policy paper called ‘Child Alert Darfur’.1 Ron Haviv is dedicated to documenting conflicts, shedding light on issues of human rights globally and recording injustice. ‘Children of Darfur’ is a collection that will allow exploration of the question by presenting visions of international politics that are “everyday” and embedded in popular culture that we can all easily access and consume. Looking at Haviv’s work provides an epistemological tool that challenges the dominant and narrow positivist understanding of international politics. 2 It is a means to challenge the orthodox mechanisms on international politics and consider an alternative perspective. In order to seek an answer to such a broad and complex question I will discuss the process of ‘othering’, what it means to have an identity, and the link between the identity and power.

1 2

Available online at: https://www.unicef.org/childalert/darfur/Child%20Alert%20Darfur.pdf. Bleiker, R. (2009), Aesthetics andWorld Politics (Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies), Palgrave Macmillan, p.27.


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Children of Darfur © Courtesy of Ron Haviv /VII In order to address the question ‘who do we think we are’ it is firstly vital to consider the process of ‘othering’ as a means of identifying ourselves and identifying ‘others’. Eli Zaretsky introduces this notion within a post-structuralist philosophy; he claims that ‘the notion of identity involves negation or difference – something is something, not something else.’ 3 Creating identity by defining what we are not creates a dichotomous relationship between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, the characteristics that are not shared create difference and at the site of difference we can locate the elusive ‘other’. ‘Identity politics’ is at work where social identities are essential in the process of creating a collective or national identity; 4 this means that in order to form collective identities of ‘who we think we are’ we contrast ourselves with those outside of the collective. Relating this process of the ‘other’ to Haviv’s work one might look at a photograph presenting a distinct identity marker. In this first photograph Haviv has chosen to capture a girl in a headscarf, for a viewer who does not share this distinct identity marker the headscarf becomes a symbol of difference. The headscarf is a particularly strong and evocative identity marker. The girls in the background of this image are both shown in headscarves, but their faces are blurred. This might suggest that identity becomes difference 3

Zaretsky, E. (1994), "Identity Theory, Identity Politics: Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Post-Structuralism", in Calhoun C. (ed.), Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Blackwell Publisher, p.200. 4 Hill, J. and Wilson, T. (2003), "Identity Politics and the Politics of Identities", Identities, Vol. 10, No.1, p.4.


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and once marked as the ‘other’ they become almost invisible. Alternatively, a post-positivist response to this view of international politics would challenge this notion of ‘othering’ because, as Jim George succinctly puts it, it ‘reproduces cultural, political and gendered privilege, and narrowly conceives images of global reality’.5 Moore and Shepherd pursue a holistic aesthetic to resist these narrow images of global reality and move towards a fluid and plural understanding of international politics.6 Thus, Haviv does not engage with the process of ‘othering’, the goal of his work is to spread awareness and express the humanity of what we might perceive to be the ‘other’. His photojournalism is a tool; Vivienne Jabri acknowledges the use of art as a tool for ‘forcing’ the subject or audience to take a stance. 7 What was once an invisible ‘other’ becomes a visible fellow human through photography.

Children of Darfur © Courtesy of Ron Haviv /VII This photograph is reminiscent of Steve McCurry’s world-renowned ‘Afghan Girl’; Haviv captures this image of a child living through the tragedy of war in a similar way. The photograph is multifaceted, as Ken Burns recognises ‘the power of a single image to convey complex information… it has the power to 5

In Moore, C. and Shepherd, L. J. (2010), ‘Aesthetics and International Relations: Towards a Global Politics’, Global Society, Vol. 24, No. 3, p.309. 6 Ibid. 7 Jabri, V. (2006), ‘Shock and Awe: Power and the Resistance of Art’, Journal of International Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp.819839.


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shock and arrest us. To make us stop for a second and interrupt the flow.’ 8 Haviv’s photograph shows the viewer something haunting, whilst also portraying a child who seems resilient and brave. This photograph challenges the psychoanalytic approach of forming our own identity based on the other and helps us to construct who we think we are based on universal claims of humanity. It is important to consider here that making universal claims on what it means to be human can be problematic itself. These universal ‘truths’ are a source of the production, and the reproduction, of unequal relations of power and identity. Edward Said recognises this in the process of Orientalism, he writes that formulating a ‘science of concrete’ – defining and ordering the world around us - may seem logical and be taken as ‘truth’, but it is in fact ‘neither rational nor universal’. 9 Why is this problematic? It means that what we take to be a universal truth about what it means to be human is arbitrary and subjective. Thus, the unequal relations between different identities are wholly unjust because they are not based on ‘truths’; they are based on subjective constructions of identity. Hence, these claims to humanity that are made ‘universal’ are an expression of the exercise of social power. Secondly, answering the question ‘who do we think we are’ requires an understanding of identity and what it means to identify or be identified. Somers and Gibson argue that it is ‘through narrativity that we come to know, understand and make sense of the social world, and it is through narratives and narrativity that we constitute our social identities.’10 Constituting identity through narratives means that identity and ‘who we are’ is socially constructed, others impose our identities on us as much as we impose them on ourselves. Furthermore, Debbie Lisle11 stresses the importance of acknowledging that all information is mediated.

8

In Kasbekar, S. (2016), "Photojournalism: Journalistic Reality and Necessity", IRA International Journal of Education and Multidisciplinary Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.94-95. 9 Said, E. (2003), Orientalism, Vintage Books, p.54. 10 Somers, M. R. and Gloria, D. G. (1994), "Reclaiming the Epistemological "Other": Narrative and the Social Constitution of Identity", in Calhoun, C. (ed.), Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Blackwell Publisher, pp.58-9. 11 Lisle, D. (2013), "How do we find out what is going on in the world?", in Edkins, J. and Zehfuss, M. (eds.), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Taylor & Francis, pp.154-175.


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Children of Darfur © Courtesy of Ron Haviv /VII With this narrative of identity and mediation in mind, we can apply this to Haviv’s photojournalism. His aesthetic choices of angles, compositions, and depth of field allow him to tell us how he identifies the children of Darfur. An example of this ‘narrativity’ can be seen in this photograph showing how Haviv identifies the children. The out-of-focus, menacing foreground subject contrasts with the innocence of the children in the background. Haviv has constructed the children’s identities and suggests that they are shaped by a context of conflict; they are displaced children of war. This piece of work tells the viewer a story about the children; the children are in the looming presence of war portrayed by the gun. The viewer does not know how the children identify themselves, but they can construct an identity for them. However, if the viewer ‘reads’ cultural artefacts such as this with a critical approach they become aware of the narrative they have created as the viewer, the narrative Haviv has portrayed, and perhaps start to question the narrative or identity of the children themselves. Shapiro claims 'the critical attitude presents a challenge to identity politics in general: it encourages self-reflection rather than capitulation to the already-institutionalised identity spaces available within prevailing power arrangements'.12 This critical approach allows us to deconstruct the binaries or limitations of identity; rather than prescribing an identity to the children in these photographs the viewer can become aware of a variety of narratives about the children, the viewer can make

12

Shapiro, M. J. (2012), Studies in Trans-Disciplinary Method: After the Aesthetic Turn, Routledge, p.8.


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universal claims about what it means to be human. Haviv is critical himself, acknowledging a critical approach to his photojournalism, saying that 'photographs open themselves to interpretation, but this does not mean that one’s interpretations are accurate.' 13 As a result of this the viewer can begin to explore the question of ‘who do we think we are?’ by asking further questions, such as ‘who do I think they are in relation to me?’ and ‘what is Haviv showing me about who they are and who he is?’ Finally, identity and power are inextricably linked, so in order to answer the question of ‘who do we think are’ it is important to consider where we might be situated in a power ‘hierarchy’ or what kinds of power our identity gives us. Calhoun argues that 'socially sustained discourses about who it is possible or appropriate or valuable to be inevitably shape the way we look at and constitute ourselves, with varying degrees of agonism and tension'.14 In this way Calhoun suggests that identity is a powerful and highly political tool. Our identity prescribes to us a social mandate; it dictates what we should and should not do, where we can and cannot go and who we are within a hierarchy of power. The link between ‘identity politics’ and power is recognised by many scholars; Stuart Hall argues, for example, that ‘othering’ and ‘Orientalism’ created a discourse of ‘The West and the Rest’. 15 This ideology is extremely powerful in international politics today; the language of Western superiority allows the West to inflict its power over the ‘Rest’. This is particularly pertinent in this piece by Haviv; the composition of the photograph balances a young boy with an in-motion, yet slightly distant, UN helicopter.

13

Haviv, R. (2016), "Photojournalist Ron Haviv's Response to Martin Lukk and Keith Doubt: Bearing Witness and the Limits of War Photojournalism: Ron Haviv in Bijeljina", Human Rights Quarterly, Volume 38, No.1, p.208. 14 Calhoun, C. J. (1994), 'Social Theory and the Politics of Identity", in Calhoun, C. (ed.), Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Blackwell, pp.20-21. 15 Hall, S. (2006), "The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power", in Maaka, R. and Andersen, C. (eds.), The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives, Canadian Scholars Press, pp.165-173.


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Children of Darfur © Courtesy of Ron Haviv /VII Haviv once again utilises juxtaposition to convey a sense of identity and difference. The boy, in this case, an example of the ‘other’ or ‘the rest’, is placed lower in the frame than the powerful machine that represents the West. This composition is suggestive of both the boy’s identity and the representation of the Western identity within his context. In this way identity becomes an instrument of power, the UN helicopter has the power to help the children of Darfur and offer aid, or it can choose to leave and simply forget the children. On the other hand, the boy has no choice; he does not have the power to choose if he stays or goes, he is displaced and vulnerable. This photograph by Haviv depicts this power relationship poignantly. It is important to remember, however, that Haviv does not necessarily want to reinforce and accept this relationship between identity and power – his work challenges it. As Ken Burns says, Haviv '…makes us stop for just a second and interrupt the flow.' 16 In answering the question ‘who do we think we are’ there is undeniably a link between identity and power; however, this does not mean we have to consign ourselves to this power relationship and accept our fate. Haviv’s work is an example of how we can deconstruct and challenge the assumptions about who we think we are and who others think we are.

16

In Kasbekar, S. (2016), "Photojournalism: Journalistic Reality and Necessity", IRA International Journal of Education and Multidisciplinary Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, p.95.


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In conclusion, the question ‘who do we think we are?’ cannot be answered in isolation, it creates a complex breadth of challenging concepts and further questions that need to be answered. Wibben suggests that 'if we cannot agree on how identity should be conceptualised… we can maybe ask better questions about the occurrence of identity politics and its material effects.' 17 Furthermore with this understanding and critical approach to identity politics 'we can begin to recognise how our own privilege oppresses others, but also how it gives us the power to promote change'18 Ron Haviv’s work does just this; he addresses the importance of identity in global politics, he challenges a variety of ideas about identity such as ‘othering’ and offers the world a look into something they may not have been exposed to before. Bleiker expresses how crucial aesthetics such as photojournalism are in answering questions like ‘who do we think we are’: 'such direct encounters with the political can contribute to a more inclusive and just world order, for they challenge the very notion of common sense by allowing us to see what may be obvious but has not been noted before.'19 It is vital when looking at such questions in international politics to look at academic literature and traditional forms of information, but it is equally vital to look at the cultural artefacts in our everyday lives adopting an aesthetic gaze towards these questions about international politics. Ron Haviv’s full work may be found at www.ronhaviv.com.

References Bleiker, R. (2009), Aesthetics and World Politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan UK. Calhoun, C. (1994), 'social Theory and the Politics of Identity", in Calhoun, C. (ed.), Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, pp.1-36. Hall, S. (2006), "The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power", in Maaka, R. and Andersen, C. (eds.) The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives, Toronto: Canadian Scholars" Press, pp.165-173. Haviv, R. (2016), "Photojournalist Ron Haviv's Response to Martin Lukk and Keith Doubt: Bearing Witness and the Limits of War Photojournalism: Ron Haviv in Bijeljina", Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp.208-210. Hill, J. and Wilson, T. (2003), "Identity Politics and the Politics of Identities", Identities, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp.1-8. Jabri, V. (2006), ‘Shock and Awe: Power and the Resistance of Art’, Journal of International Studies, Vol. 34, No.3, pp.819-839.

17

Wibben, A. T. R. (2013), "Who do we think we are?", in Edkins, J. and Zehfuss, M. (eds.), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Taylor & Francis, pp. 104-105. 18 Ibid., p.105. 19 Bleiker, R. (2009), Aesthetics andWorld Politics (Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies), p.34.


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Kasbekar, S. (2016), "Photojournalism: Journalistic Reality and Necessity", IRA International Journal of Education and Multidisciplinary Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.93-100. Lisle, D. (2013), "How do we find out what is going on in the world?", in Edkins, J. and Zehfuss, M. (eds.), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxford: Taylor & Francis, pp.154-175. Moore, C. and Shepherd, L. (2010), "Aesthetics and International Relations: Towards a Global Politics", Global Society, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp.299-309. Said, E. (2003), Orientalism, New York: Vintage Books. Shapiro, M. (2012), Studies in Trans-Disciplinary Method: After the Aesthetic Turn, Abingdon: Routledge. Somers, M. and Gibson, G. (1994), "Reclaiming the Epistemological "Other": Narrative and the Social Constitution of Identity", in Calhoun, C. (ed.), Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publisher, pp.37-99. Wibben, A. (2013), "Who do we think we are?", in Edkins, J. and Zehfuss, M. (eds.), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxford: Taylor & Francis, pp.85-107. Zaretsky, E (1994), "Identity Theory, Identity Politics: Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Post-Structuralism", in Calhoun C. (ed.), Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publisher, pp.198-215.


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From Negative Experiences to Positive Experiences Ethnic Identity, Difference and Subjectivity

Matipa Mukondiwa, 2nd Year Essay BSocSci (Hons) Politics and International Relations

Abstract: In this paper I look at oppressed ethnic identities in relation to subjectivity and difference. I look at how initially these ethnic identities have a negative experience of international politics. I then argue, through the illustration of Palestinian-Israeli students in Israel and African ethnic identity, that these negative experiences can serve to empower the ‘Other’ to rediscover and achieve subjectivity and thus turn their experience of international politics into a positive one. In the case of African identity especially, this process of coming into being through Pan-Africanism, Negritude and Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance, is important for Africans to redefine being “African” on their own terms rather than from the negative precedent set by colonialism. The paper continually positions itself against one of the dangers of identity politics: ethnic essentialism. Ultimately, I conclude that the ethnic ‘Other’ can always try to resist the hegemonic discourse in their own way

In this paper, I will first argue that through the institutionalisation of markers of difference based on ethnic identity, a negative experience of international politics is shaped for the ethnic ‘Other’. Difference here refers to what establishes the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘Other’ and ‘self’. Negative refers to the subjugation of the ‘Other’ which makes them experience international politics from an inferior position. I will then argue that this negative experience of international politics can serve to instil a desire for change in the ethnic ‘Other’ and act as an opportunity for mobilisation and solidarity of ethnic ‘Others’, and thus create a positive experience of international politics. I will take the dynamic approach on identity whereby identity is considered fluid and constantly evolving. I will begin my essay by illustrating how ethnic identity can constitute a tool of the oppressor due to the oppressor institutionalising markers of difference and thus making experiences of international politics negative by placing the ethnic ‘Other’ at the margins. I will then discuss another negative experience of international politics based on ethnic identity clashing with national identity in certain countries, thus again leading to a negative experience of international politics


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because the ethnic ‘Other’ is not being recognised. After this, I will illustrate how the negative experiences discussed can be turned around sometimes and used to create a positive experience. Through subjectivity, which is the coming into being of the ‘self’, ethnic identity can be used to empower the disenfranchised. Identity is constantly evolving through time and space and plays out differently in different contexts, so I will be drawing examples of ethnic ‘Others’ from various places, but I will mainly be focusing on Black, African and African diaspora ethnic identity. I will adopt a broad definition of ethnicity following Horowitz, “ethnicity is an umbrella concept that ‘easily embraces groups differentiated by colour, language, and religion; it covers ‘tribes’, ‘races’, ‘nationalities’, and ‘castes’”.1 At times my definitions of race and ethnicity will intersect; race can be a sub-group within ethnicity but is also something that can be completely different from ethnicity in other contexts. I will now discuss how ethnic identity can constitute a tool of the oppressor due to the oppressor institutionalising markers of difference and therefore making experiences of international politics negative for the ethnic ‘Other’ and placing them at the margins. Ethnic identity can be used as a way of controlling society as Inayatullah and Blaney explain, “The other within the boundaries of the political community is ‘managed’ by some combination of hierarchy, eradication, assimilation or expulsion, and tolerance.”2 An example of this ‘hierarchy’ is the racial profiling used at airports on Muslims and other minorities. “Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, including those assumed to be Muslim based on their appearance, are frequently pulled aside by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and questioned about their faith, friends, family, and even political opinions.”3 The marker of difference here is the appearance of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians. The institutionalisation is manifested through the routine nature of Customs and Border Patrol stops of ethnic minorities which violate their privacy thus shaping a negative experience of international politics for them. Another instance where the institutionalisation of difference based on ethnic identity creates a negative experience of international politics for the ‘Other’ is in the United States of America (USA). Patricia Hill Collins

4

explains how the triangle of American national identity is centred around Black,

White and indigenous peoples. The paradox is however, that the black and indigenous citizens are almost

1

In Chandra, K. (2006), “What is Ethnic Identity and does it matter?”, Annual Review of Political Science, 9(1), pp.397-424. Inayatullah, N. and Blaney, D. L. (2004), International Relations and the Problem of Difference, New York and London: Routledge, p.7. 3 American Civil Liberties Union (2009), The Persistence of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States: A Follow-Up report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [Online], p.34. 4 Collins, P.H. (2001), “Like one of the family: race, ethnicity, and the paradox of US national identity”, Ethnicity and Racial Studies, 24(1), pp.3-28. 2


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second-class citizens and there are ethnic groups who live in America who are not fitted into this triangle. This can be seen through the fact that, “Actual population groups have never fitted smoothly into these categories”, 5 for example the Latino/a population. This institutionalisation of what the American identity is supposed to be, without it recognising numerous other ethnic groups and identities creates a negative experience of politics for the Latino/a and other minorities as they are not even acknowledged. Hill Collins 6

explains that there is internal racism present in the American society whereby structures of society uphold

the position of the powerful race over the less powerful race. This institutionalisation of markers of difference based on race creates a negative experience for the second-class citizens in the triangle of American national identity and those not even included in the triangle. This negative experience based on ethnic and racial difference can be manifested in politics as well as in the economic sphere as, “The process of the production of cultural difference…occurs in continuous, connected space, traversed by economic and political relations of inequality.”7 A possible intersection of economic and political relations of inequality due to race is in the search for employment and how this is sometimes tainted by institutionalisation of markers of difference based on race. Similarly, France refers to itself as a colour-blind country but this refusal to acknowledge racial and ethnic difference perpetuates institutional racism and the systemic marginalization of those who do not have fair skin. Within this “society that does not recognise racial and ethnic difference,”8 a young boy Nassar, “acknowledges that he has been treated differently from others because he is not white and is a racial and ethnic minority.”9 The French society looks at Arabs and Africans as carrying “whole cultures in their heads, cultures that are said to be incompatible with and dangerous for that of France.”10 Therefore, even though France purports to not see racial or ethnic difference, those who are in racial or ethnical minorities are still treated differently, because the institutions and society do not recognise their identities to be legitimate. The institutionalisation of the markers of difference being used to suppress the ethnic ‘Other’ are manifested in the case of France through, “a variety of discourses, state administrations, and rituals [which] operate in France to reduce religious, regional and linguistic diversity to manageable aspects of a culturally

5

Ibid., p.9. Ibid. 7 Gupta, A. and Ferguson, J. (1992), “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference”, Cultural Anthropology, 7(1), p.16. 8 Beaman, J. (2017), Citizen Outsider: Children of North-African Immigrants in France, Oakland, California: University Press, p.85. 9 Ibid. 10 Beriss, D. (2004), “Culture-as-Race or Culture-as-Culture: Caribbean ethnicity and the ambiguity of Cultural Identity in French Society”, in H. Chapman and L.L. Frader (eds), Race in France: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Difference, New York, Oxford: Berghan Books, p.128. 6


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homogenous whole.”11 Ironically, a “culturally homogenous whole”12 cannot be achieved because of the amount of different identities in French society, some of which are not recognised. This effort to achieve a “culturally homogenous whole”13 is what shapes a negative experience of politics for those whose identities are clearly not homogenous but rather heterogenous. The lack of recognition for these heterogenous identities in France is what perpetuates the negative experience for the ethnic ‘Other’. I will now discuss how ethnic identity can sometimes conflict with national identity thus again leading to a negative experience of international politics due to the ‘Other’ not being recognised. This lack of recognition leads to a similar result of the minorities in France mentioned above. Ethnic identities clashing with national identities can lead to those ethnic minorities experiencing international politics as what I have termed ‘floating people’. A perfect example of this is the case of the Palestinian-Arabs who are living in Israel who, “On the one hand, they feel themselves to be Palestinians and identify with the people in the West Bank and Gaza, who are fighting the Israeli’s, and at the same time they are Israeli citizens who suffer from attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants.”14. This shows that national identity can fail to align with ethnic identity, in this case, the national Jewish-Israeli identity is not in line with the ethnic identity of the Palestinian-Arabs who live in Israel. This shows the complex nature of identity and how within one identity there can be many intersecting identities. This complicated nature of identity in the case of the PalestinianArabs living in Israel leads them to experience international politics as a conflict between their national and ethnic identity and thus shaping a negative experience for them because of the identity conflict. Their identity being complex is an example of identities being “increasingly fragmented and fractured”.15 It is here where I will apply Bhabha’s notion of the “Third space”.16 The Palestinian-Arab ethnic identity conflicting with the national Israeli identity is an example of hybridity, of “subaltern identities as existing between two competing identities.”17 which leads to an existence that is “‘in-between’”.18 The two competing identities here is the national Jewish-Israeli identity and the ethnic Palestinian-Arab identity. The Palestinians living in the state of Israel are in a state of being ‘in-between’ Palestinian-Arab identity and Israeli national identity. 11

Ibid., p.124. Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Litvak-Hirsch, T., Bar-On, D., and Chaitin, J. (2008), “Whose House Is This? The Palestinian ‘Other’ and the Construction of Jewish Israeli Identity”, in B. Peterson and K. Tyler (eds), Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is This?, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p.220. 15 Hall, S.(1996), “Introduction: Who Needs ‘Identity’?”, in S. Hall and P.du Gay (eds), Questions of Cultural Identity, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE, p.4. 16 Rutherford, J.(1990), “The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha”, in J. Rutherford (ed), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, London: Lawrence and Wishart, p.211. 17 Grossberg, L.(1996), “Identity and Cultural Studies: Is That All There Is?” in S. Hall and P.du Gay (eds), Questions of Cultural Identity, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE, p.9. 18 Ibid., p.91. 12


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This ‘in-between’ existence or ‘Third Space’ is where the Palestinian-Arabs are and what enables them to have a negative experience of international politics where they, as Palestinian, sympathise with those on the Gaza strip and yet suffer from attacks from Palestinian militants as Israeli citizens. It is in this sense that they become floating people. As such, Palestinian-Arabs living in Israel assume the role of second-class citizens whose identity is not recognised by the Israeli state. Furthermore, their ‘floating’ identity places them in a situation where internationally their identities and their struggles are sometimes not recognised as legitimate by certain nation-states and other countries. Nationally and internationally they face institutionalisation of markers of difference which causes them have a negative experience of international politics. I now shift my focus from the negative experiences of international politics based on ethnic identity to the positive experiences of international politics based on ethnic identity which are a result of the ‘self’ coming into being and achieving subjectivity.

The transition from negative experience to positive

experience can be achieved by instilling a desire for change in the ethnic ‘Other’ and a desire to resist the hegemonic discourse which has placed them and their difference in the category of the ‘Other’. I thus illustrate how, through subjectivity, ethnic identity can constitute an empowered experience of international politics for an ethnic minority. Identifying with an ethnic minority group can provide a sense of comfort and be a coping mechanism for the marginalisation and discrimination that one may face. Wibben acknowledges this, “Identity politics are comforting as they promise security and meaning”.19 Through resistance and re-defining who one may want to be, those on the margins empower themselves. This idea of becoming who we want to be and, in the process of actively doing so, achieving subjectivity can be seen in the analysis of Foucault’s work whereby “in the activity of finding oneself, the self divides itself into (a) a subject actively seeking and (b) an object passively being sought.”20 It is through this act of becoming and subjectivity that the “assertions ‘Black is Beautiful’, ‘Sisterhood is Powerful’” 21 came into being. This desire to create your own story line after your negative experience with international politics can be seen with the African identity movements which will be addressed later in this essay and the ‘Black Power’ movement. The ‘Black Power’ movement was “an effort to reverse the script of racism, being

19

Wibben, A. T. R. (2014), “Who do we think we are?” in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics: A New Introduction, London: Routledge, p.88. 20 McGushin, E. (2011), “Foucault’s theory and practice of subjectivity”, in D. Taylor (ed), Michel Foucault: Key Concepts, Durham: Acumen, p.128-129. 21 Rutherford (1990), “A Place Called Home: Identity and the Cultural Politics of Difference”, p.22.


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Negro is reconstructed as being Black.”22 It is therefore clear that negative experiences of international politics can be turned around through resistance into an empowering experience for the ethnic ‘Other’. A critique of this kind of identity politics which is based on an affirmation of difference, is that in the case of ethnic identity, a result can be ethnic essentialism. Ethnic essentialism refers to groups becoming fundamentalist if they focus too much on their own identity at the expense of others. Being so engrossed in your own specific identity can either lead to movements ignoring the different sub-identities within the collective identity or alienating that group’s identity from other outside identities. It is therefore important to avoid “essentializing difference or isolating it from other positionalities”23 because this is detrimental and could create a negative experience of international politics for other ethnic identities. However, despite the above-mentioned critique of identity politics, I will now provide an example of where discussing difference and different experiences based on ethnic identity resulted in those involved having a more nuanced understanding of their identity and to some involved being empowered through the discussion of their ethnic identity. During research conducted at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by Litvak-Hirsch et. al. in 2000-2001, seminars were conducted with some Palestinian and Israeli-Jew students who all resided in Israel.24 The students discussed their personal family experiences in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is an example of different ethnic identities discussing their experience in a very politicised conflict in international politics and using their focus on their identity to achieve subjectivity and therefore creating a positive experience of international politics. As a result, “On a collective level, the Palestinian students expressed anger and frustration in being an unprivileged minority in Jewish Israeli institutes. However, on a personal level, during the year friendships between Jewish and Palestinian students were formed.”25 This is not only an example of the complexity of ethnic group identity, due to there also being personal identity, but an example of where focusing on difference did not lead to ethnic essentialism but to a greater understanding of the ‘Other’s’ experience. Furthermore, Nur a Palestinian, “achieved self-actualization by taking on the role of a narrator for her family and the collective Palestinian experience of suffering.”26 Therefore, discussing markers of difference based on differing experiences due to ethnic identity constituted an empowering experience in a site of

22

Wibben (2014), “Who do we think we are?”, p.102. Olson, G. A. and Worsham, L.(1998), “Staging the Politics of Difference: Homi Bhabha’s Critical Literacy,” JAC, 18(3), p.362. 24 Litvak-Hirsch et al. (2008), “Whose House Is This? The Palestinian ‘Other’ and the Construction of Jewish Israeli Identity”. 25 Ibid., p.213-214. 26 Ibid., p.216. 23


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conflict in international politics for participants like Nur. Litvak-Hirsch et. al. acknowledge this, “learning about their collective identity as Palestinians and enhancing their power as a Palestinian minority was one of the major contributions of the seminar.”27 Palestinian identity is being constructed here as a performative identity. Through the act of Nur discussing her and her family’s experiences as ethnic minorities, through this reflection she is becoming a “self-performing animal”.28 In a “reflexive”29 manner she reveals herself to herself. This performance is her ethnic identity determining her experience of international politics to be a positive one where she comes to know herself and through that process becomes empowered. I now further elaborate on how ethnic identity itself, as well as examination of one's own identity and those one favours, can act as a platform that allows one to have a positive experience of international politics. For the North-African Maghrebi in France, ethnic identity determines their ability to exercise, “transnational blackness”30 and therefore shape a positive experience of international politics for themselves despite whatever they may face in France. The election of Barack Obama as President in America was a “positive and encouraging symbol to minorities in France and throughout the world.”31 This was so much the case that a French Maghrebi said they identified with President Obama as “‘more my President than Sarkozy!’”32 This speaks volumes about the effects of being able to unite and share solidarity over shared oppressions of disenfranchisement and marginalization. The ethnic identity that is uniting across shared oppressions here is the fact that President Obama and the North-African Maghrebi in France share the same race, if race is to be considered a sub-identity group within ethnicity. Therefore, “By connecting to other racialized populations, they [the North-African Maghrebi] construct a sense of solidarity and community.”33 This facilitates an empowered experience of international politics for the ethnic ‘Other’ based on them purely using their identity as a source of common ground to relate with others who may not necessarily be in the same country as them. Furthermore, I argue that the concept of ‘Transnational Blackness’ can avoid one of the major critiques of identity politics, mentioned above, based on group identity essentialism. This is possible because even though the Maghrebi are connecting with an ‘Other’ who is like them racially, they have differing nationalities and even cultures with that ‘Other’ who they are still connecting to. This shows that despite the many intersecting groups within ethnic identities, there can still be overall unity which can 27

Ibid., p.218. Yuval-Davis, N. (2010), “Theorizing Identity: Beyond the ‘us’ and ‘them’ dichotomy”, Patterns of Prejudice, 44(3), p.269. 29 Ibid., p.269. 30 Beaman (2017), Citizen Outsider: Children of North-African Immigrants in France, p.90. 31 Ibid., p.87. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid., p.91. 28


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create a positive experience of international politics. The idea of ‘Transnational Blackness’ is similar to the idea of transversal politics. According to Yuval-Davis, “Transversal politics developed as an alternative to identity politics and are often aimed at establishing a collective ‘us’, across borders and boundaries of membership, based on solidarity with regard to common emancipatory values.” 34 For the Maghrebi, this coping mechanism for the marginalization they may face in France, gives them agency and allows them to look elsewhere for support and shared experiences. This therefore turns their experience of international politics into a positive one based on their ability to use their ethnic identity and race as a point of mobilization. I now focus on the African identity and how from a postcolonial perspective African ethnic identity shapes how Africans experience international politics through their constantly trying to assert a positive ethnic identity that is different to the precedent set by the negative colonial narrative. This argument focuses not only on the positive experience of Africans trying to constantly engage with, get to know, create and re-create their African identity but also on the paradox of African identities that have been set up in the recent past particularly, Pan-Africanism, Negritude and Thabo Mbeki’s ‘African Renaissance’. The African ‘self’ is making their own markers of difference through Pan-Africanism where Kwame Nkrumah “used the concept to portray the continent as a paradigm of difference vis-à-vis its colonial powers.”35 The African ‘self’ has also created markers of difference through Negritude and the ‘African Renaissance’. Negritude was a movement that “emerged from the works and operations of students, intellectuals and writers from the French colonies and was also linked with Afro-American blacks in Europe.”36 Thabo Mbeki’s ‘African Renaissance’ is based on a speech of his in 1996 where, “Mbeki launched a cultural and political plan for Africa”.37 These movements are the African ‘self’ performatively achieving subjectivity. Through the act of Kwame Nkrumah and Thabo Mbeki and the French-African diaspora saying what it is to be African, they are not only empowering themselves but actively seeking the ‘self’ they want to be. This constitutes a positive experience of international politics because this illustrates the African ‘self’ engaging with their identity and redefining themselves as contrary to the negative experiences they are known to be subjugated to and, through this process, empowering themselves. This is important for those with an African ethnic identity to establish these markers of difference not only from the West, the former colonizers, but from their own previous identity of themselves as the 34

Yuval-Davis, (2010), “Theorizing Identity: Beyond the ‘us’ and ‘them’ dichotomy”, p.277-278. Kalua, F. (2009), “Homi Bhabha’s Third Space and African Identity”, Journal of African Cultural Studies, 21(1), p.28. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 35


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colonized and the conquered. This is similar to what Black liberation theologian James H. Cone argued, “‘What is needed is not integration but a sense of worth in being black, and only black people can teach that. Black consciousness is the key to the Black man’s emancipation from his distorted self-image.’”38 How and what African identity is constructed as today is based on making it the antithesis of the deeply rooted colonial narrative and psychological effects of colonisation. This “Black consciousness”39 can only be taught by the Black man to the Black man, or in this case it can only be taught to the African by the African. Stuart Hall elaborates on this, “Not only, in Said’s ‘Orientalist’ sense, were we constructed as different and other within the categories of knowledge of the West by those regimes. They had the power to make us see and experience ourselves as the ‘Other’.”40 With this background there is an ardent desire for Africans and African leaders alike to get to know and create an African identity on their own terms not only to liberate Africans in the realm of international politics but for Africans themselves to be liberated psychologically from the shackles of colonialism. This was the point of Pan-Africanism, Negritude and the ‘African Renaissance’. Through this process, the African ‘self’ achieved subjectivity and was thus empowered in international politics. However, as I will illustrate, the African identity created in these movements is not as homogenous and static as the creators would have liked. Keeping in mind the empowering assertions of African ethnic identity through Pan-Africanism, Negritude and the ‘African Renaissance’, even in its empowered state the African ethnic identity is constantly evolving, in a state of liminality, whether that is recognised by the African leaders or not. By liminality I mean something that is transitioning or in “the middle ‘state’”.41 This affects how one experiences international politics because it leads one to constantly grapple with ethnic identity. That is what the movements of Pan-Africanism, Negritude and the ‘African Renaissance’ illustrate. For Homi Bhabha, liminality is the “moment when people reject structures and hegemonies and occupy any one of the heterogenous spaces where they negotiate narratives of their existence as well as of particular spaces of meanings and different identities within the postcolonial condition.”42 So even though liminality is a zone of transition filled with confusion, for the African ethnic identity it is still an empowering position to occupy. The ‘Self’ is rejecting the hegemonic discourse of the colonial era and trying to create a new identity in

38

In Kang, N. (2014), Diasporic Feminist Theology: Asia and Theopolitical Imagination, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, p.52. 39 Ibid. 40 Hall, S. (1990), “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”, in J. Rutherford (ed), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, London: Lawrence and Wishart, p.225. 41 Kalua (2009), “Homi Bhabha’s Third Space and African Identity”, pp.23. 42 Ibid., p.25.


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international politics through the above-mentioned movements of Pan-Africanism, Negritude and the ‘African Renaissance’. Using the concept of liminality and the African ethnic identity, being in a transitioning state or “border zone” ,43 the paradox of the African ethnic identity and these empowerment movements in Africa and international politics is that they mostly assert one way of being African, despite there being no one way. Many conceptions of African identity are viewed through such a static approach to identity, where things do not change. This can be seen in how some perceive that “a true and pure African identity is not only possible but realizable, even in today’s globalized and globalizing world.”44 Yet, this perception limits and constricts our understandings of African identity in the present. At a continental level, those in the North are very different from those in the South. However, even amongst those in the South, there are just as many similarities as there are stark differences. Hence, the African identity wholesale is in a state of liminality because it is still in a state of continued transition, but also because it is not straightforward, at this stage its evolution could lead it to take on numerous different forms. Despite this, the efforts and ability to even assert an ethnic identity that is different from that prescribed by the colonial precedent has still influenced an empowering experience of international politics for those with an African ethnic identity. Yet, African ethnic identity movements, as empowering as they were, are not immune from essentialism critiques. According to Kalua, “This celebration of African identity-first, through the excessive glorification of the charm of blackness, secondly, the appeal to the continent’s mystique, and finally the spatial location-may be seen as simplistic and in danger of reducing African identity to forms of racial essentialism or chauvinism.”45 My response to this critique is that because identities are constantly changing, and the African ethnic identity is in a constant state of liminality, there is hope that as the identity evolves in the future it will accommodate at least the main heterogeneous identities of the continent and still empower the African ‘self’ to have a positive experience of international politics. In this paper I have argued that ethnic identity can shape two experiences of international politics, one being a negative experience of international politics based on the institutionalisation of markers of difference. The other experience is positive, where the ethnic ‘Other’ use their negative experiences as a reason to transform their experience of international politics into a positive one through one form or another of resisting the hegemonic order. Through this experience, the ethnic ‘self’ achieves subjectivity in the process of being the ethnic ‘self’ that they are and becoming the ‘self’ they want to be. I provided 43

Ibid., p.23. Ibid., p.25. 45 Kalua (2009), “Homi Bhabha’s Third Space and African Identity”, p.28. 44


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numerous examples within these two arguments. I tried to anticipate the critique of ethnic essentialism. I responded to the critique by illustrating the case of the Palestinian students in Israel who focused on their difference to create dialogue between them and their Israeli peers in a seminar and thus had a positive result of focusing on difference. In concluding I believe that it is unfortunate that there is institutionalisation of difference based on ethnic identity which leads to negative experiences of international politics. However, by showing that these negative experiences can be transformed into sites of resistance and empowerment I believe that the ethnic ‘Other’ can always try to resist the hegemonic discourse in their own way. On an everyday level the ethnic ‘Other’ can challenge the hegemonic institutionalisation of markers of difference by letting their story be heard, as in the case of Nur the Palestinian or on the large scale like Kwame Nkrumah and Thabo Mbeki and their respective Pan-African and ‘African Renaissance’ movements. References American Civil Liberties Union (2009), The Persistence of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States: A Follow-Up report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, [Online] Available at https://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/humanrights/cerd_finalreport.pdf [Accessed 08/01/18], Beaman, J. (2017), Citizen Outsider: Children of North-African Immigrants in France, Oakland, California: University of California Press. Beriss, D. (2004), “Culture-as-Race or Culture-as-Culture: Caribbean ethnicity and the ambiguity of Cultural Identity in French Society”, in H. Chapman and L.L. Frader (eds), Race in France: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Difference, New York, Oxford: Berghan Books, pp.111-140. Chandra, K. (2006), “What is Ethnic Identity and does it matter?”, Annual Review of Political Science, 9(1), pp.397424. Collins, P. H. (2001), “Like one of the family: race, ethnicity, and the paradox of US national identity”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 24(1), pp.3-28. Grossberg, L. (1996), “Identity and Cultural Studies: Is That All There Is?”, in S. Hall and P. du Gay (eds), Questions of Cultural Identity, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE, pp.87-107. Gupta, A. and Ferguson, J. (1992), “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference”, Cultural Anthropology, 7(1), pp.6-23. Hall, S. (1990), “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”, in J. Rutherford (ed), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, London: Lawrence and Wishart, pp. 222-237. Hall, S. (1996), “Introduction: Who Needs ‘Identity’?”, in S. Hall and P. du Gay (eds), Questions of Cultural Identity. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE, pp.1-17. Inayatullah, N. and Blaney, D.L. (2004), International Relations and the Problem of Difference, New York and London: Routledge. Kalua, F. (2009), “Homi Bhabha’s Third Space and African Identity”, Journal of African Cultural Studies, 21(1), pp.2332.


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Kang, N. (2014), Diasporic Feminist Theology: Asia and Theopolitical Imagination, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers. Litvak-Hirsch, T., Bar-On, D., and Chaitin, J. (2008), “Whose House is This? The Palestinian ‘Other’ and the Construction of Jewish Israeli Identity”, in B. Peterson and K. Tyler (eds), Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is This?, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.206-225. McGushin, E. (2011), “Foucault’s theory and practice of subjectivity”, in D. Taylor (ed), Michel Foucault: Key Concepts, Durham: Acumen, pp.127-142. Olson, G.A. and Worsham, L. (1998), “Staging the Politics of Difference: Homi Bhabha’s Critical Literacy,” JAC, 18(3), pp.361-391. Rutherford, J. (1990), “A Place Called Home: Identity and the Cultural Politics of Difference”, in J. Rutherford (ed), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. (London: Lawrence and Wishart), pp. 9-27. Rutherford, J. (1990), “The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha”, in J. Rutherford (ed), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, London: Lawrence and Wishart, pp.207-221. Wibben, A.T.R. (2014), “Who do we think we are?”, in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics: A New Introduction, London: Routledge, pp.85-107. Yuval-Davis, N. (2010), “Theorizing Identity: Beyond the ‘us’ and ‘them’ dichotomy”, Patterns of Prejudice, 44(3), pp.261-280.


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Understanding Violence Against Women: Heterosexual Normativity and the Inferiority Framework

Emma Schicker, 3rd Year Essay BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Abstract: Echoing the resurgence of sexual harassment scandals, this paper offers to scrutinize the manifestations of violence against women and define hate against women using a men-in-group versus women-out-group perspective. It proposes to understand hate against women foundationally as the systematic depiction of women as inferior, identifying it as what Sternberg has termed “cold hate”. Building upon this claim, it notes that the combination of heterosexual normativity with this inferiority framework leads to the escalation of hate and the development of violence, as the in-group seeks to deny its reproductive dependence towards the out-group. The remainder of the paper focuses on analyzing obstacles to overcome this hate-based relation and drafting solutions to move forward.

In 2016, 113 women were killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.1 While femicide might be thought as the most appropriate example of hate crimes committed against women, the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990 defines hate crimes as violence committed against an individual on the basis of their “race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity”,2 hence seemingly leaving out identity as a “women” from the equation, whether this is defined as a gender category or an identity based on physical attributes. The aim of this paper is to assess the nature of hate committed against women, whether it leads to violent behaviour or not. It focuses mainly on a “women/men” binary, taking the former as the out-group and object of hate and the latter as the hate agent in-group, and heterosexual relations as the primary societal norm. While this approach knowingly simplifies the nature of hate against women, excluding violence against those who do not align with the binary gender distinction and refraining from extensive observation of non-heterosexual relations, it aims to establish a framework for understanding the vast topic of hate against women as a basis for more detailed exploration. 1

Brennan, D. (2017), Annual Report on Cases of Femicide in 2016, Femicide Census, p.2. Pendo, E. (1994), “Recognizing Violence Against Women: Gender and the Hate Crimes Statistics Act”, Harvard Women's Law Journal, 17, p.157. 2


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In this essay, I argue that hate against women is first and foremost a form of cold hate through the systematisation of women’s inferiority. I start by presenting the systematic depiction of women as inferior as a form of cold hate to show that this cold hate is intensified by heterosexual relations constituting a perceived “necessary” relation between the in-group and out-group. Having mapped out manifestations of hate through this framework, I expose two main obstacles to overcoming hate against women: the destruction of the inferiority framework understood as against the in-group’s interest and the high risk of hate becoming reciprocal. I conclude by considering alternative paths to overcoming hate. Hating Women: The systematisation of inferiority While gender inequality takes various forms depending on the culture or social context, it remains a widespread phenomenon.3 In this section, I interpret gender inequality and the depiction of women as inferior to men as a form of “cold hate”. The European Institute for Gender Equality defines gender inequality as a social context within which sex and gender determine unequal rights and dignity “as well as the assumption of stereotyped social and cultural roles”.4 Gender inequality takes various forms, including unequal access to opportunities, unequal mortality and natality rates or unequal distribution of responsibilities within the household. 5 Importantly, it relies on the belief that women and men have unequal capacities which should be reflected by, or at least which legitimise, unequal distribution. Studies, such as Kohlberg and Kramer’s on moral development, show that women typically reason at "conformist" stage 3 while adult men typically reason at a superior "legalistic" stage 4.6 Hidden behind the idea of a mere “scientific” approach, lies the normative assessment of where women’s place ought to be. As such, Eisenstein argues that Western liberal tradition suffers a male-bias:7 liberal thought has valued rationality, deliberation and contrasted it with perceived “female” attributes such as passion and impulsivity. As a result women have historically been identified primarily in terms of their biology and reproductive ability and contained within a “female” and “private” realm, excluded from the public sphere and the access to rights.8 Even though one might not be 3

Sen, A. (2001), “The Many Faces of Gender Inequality”, The New Republic, [Reprinted], pp.466-477. European Commission (2004) Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in EC Development Cooperation: Section 1: Handbook on Concepts and Methods for Mainstreaming Gender Equality. 5 Sen, A. (2001), “The Many Faces of Gender Inequality”, The New Republic, [Reprinted], pp.466-467. 6 Kohlberg, L. and Kramer, R. (1969), "Continuities and Discontinuities in Childhood and Adult Moral Development," Human Development, 12, pp.93-120. 7 Eisenstein, Z. R. (1981), “Patriarchy, Motherhood and Public Life”, in The Radical Future of Feminism, London: Longman, p.14. 8 Ibid. 4


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willing to go as far as to argue that liberal rationality is a gendered concept which cannot apply to women, it remains the case that women have been systematically captured as different and inferior to men whether or not they are actually equal in capacities. This is the thesis defended by Beauvoir in The Second Sex, where she argues that women have become the “Other”, which is not only not man, but which is not as good as man.9 Recalling Aquinas, women are the “imperfect man” or an “incidental being”. Humanity is male and women are only considered with regards to men rather than in themselves.10 From this generalised perspective, the burden of proof has fallen upon women to show that they are as worthy as men, whether by proving their equality or demonstrating the intrinsic bias and illegitimacy of the very framework which depicts them as inferior. I argue that this systematic depiction of women as inferior with regards to men rather than merely different from men should be identified as a manifestation of cold hate. The nature of hate is complex: it has been depicted as a mere emotion or a holistic symptom, which affects the perception of an “other” whether attributing them blame, or qualifying them as monstrous or simply lacking value.11 Sternberg presents a triangular theory of hate, as potentially comprising three components: passion (fear or anger), negation of intimacy (repulsion or disgust) and decision/commitment (devaluation or contempt for the targeted group).12 The presence or absence of each component in varying degrees leads to different types of hate: from cool hate (disgust alone) to seething hate (all three components). In the case of women, I relate the systematic inferiorisation of women to what Sternberg terms cold hate:13 the targeted group is undermined and devalued, provoking contempt and coming to be considered as barely human or “subhuman”. The depiction of women as necessarily inferior hence registers as hate and causes several damages to their condition. It impairs women’s sense of worth14 and access to opportunities,15 and becomes the legitimisation mechanism for an unequal power relation and form of domination. Women are perceived as unable to support themselves fully: they lack the capacity for autonomous decision-making, and should rely 9

Beauvoir, S. de (1949), “Introduction” in The Second Sex, translated by H.M. Parshley, Vintage Classics, pp. 13-34. Ibid., p.16. 11 Royzman, E. B., McCauley, C. and Rozin, P. (2004), “From Plato to Putnam: Four Ways to Think about Hate”, In Sternberg, R. J. (ed.) The Psychology of Hate, Washington: American Psychological Association 12 Sternberg, R. (2003), “A duplex theory of hate and its development and its application to terrorism, massacres, and genocide”, Review of General Psychology, 7, pp.299-328. 13 Ibid. 14 Barry, A. D. (1979), “The Survival of Domination: Inferiorization and Everyday Life”, Contemporary Sociology, 8(3), p. 465. 15 Lorber J. (1994), Paradoxes of Gender, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 10


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on their father or husband to choose for them as exemplified by the ceded autonomy to their husbands upon marriage.16 They should in turn, be thankful for men’s protection and income by further adopting a submissive role and fulfilling the man’s need, whether it is taking care of household’s chores or being sexually available. MacKinnon understands gender as a social construction based around the sexual objectification of women in which masculinity is associated with sexual domination while femininity is a form of sexual submissiveness and compliance.17 To summarise, hate against women has at its foundation in a form of a cold hate: the systematic depiction of women as inferior. This in turn reinforces the assumption of a legitimate domination by men, the necessary “availability” of women as well as the dismissing of women as truly capable altogether. In the following, I assess how this primary cold hate is reinforced by the necessary relation between men and women through heterosexual norms. Path to Violence: Heterosexual norms and the Inferiority Framework The emphasis on “othering” in hate-based relation, directly relates to the identification of one’s ingroup to which we belong and an out-group where the target is placed. In case of men/women ingroup/out-group relations, I argue that the presence of the heterosexual norms acts as a fuel for further hate which may then manifest itself through physical violence as well as the psychological violence of the inferiority framework above. There is contention over whether in-group love and out-group hate are necessarily correlated: in one case, in-group love directly leads to contempt and hostility towards the out-group and in the other, ingroup love works as a fertile ground for out-group hate.18 In both cases, what matters is the distinction in identity: Allport notes that to construct its identity the in-group relies on a demarcation with the surrounding social context and set boundaries of what belongs to the group and what does not.19 Characteristics of the out-group, such as race, gender or class are used by the in-group to define itself against and gain a stronger grasp of its own identity. This search for distinction feeds into Sternberg’s second component of hate as the negation of intimacy. Following this desire for distinction, hate can be powerfully constructed on the depiction of the target as monstrous. In her studies on British Muslims, Abbas demonstrates how White Terror imposed on Muslims uses Gothic discourses, the imagery of the monster, 16

Perry, B. (2001), In the name of hate: understanding hate crimes, London: Routledge. MacKinnon, E. (1987), Feminism Unmodified, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p. 22. 18 Sumner, W. G. (1906), Folkways, New-York: Ginn, p.12; Brewer, M. B (1999), “The Psychology of Prejudice: InGroup Love or Out-Group Hate?”, Journal of Social Issues, 55:3, pp.429-444. 19 Allport, G. W. (1954), The Nature of Prejudice, Cambridge: Addison-Wesley. 17


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to legitimise itself and cover up its own recognition as terror.20 Violence against Muslim British is no longer violence in so far as it is the mere protection of the “us” against an alien threat. This example cannot be used to fully depict the case of hate against women however, due to the existence of a heterosexual normativity. Whilst British Muslim Women may be othered as part of a Muslim out-group by a non-Muslim in-group, violence against women exists within a uniform race-based in-group. The key complexity of violence against women from a men’s in-group perspective lies within the necessary relation between both groups. Indeed recalling Eisenstein women are identified as the key to reproduction and the survival of the human species.21 As such this violence differs from Abbas’ interpretation above; women cannot be fully cast as “other” for they are essential to the survival of men as in-group: they may be considered sub-human but not inhuman. So while heterosexual relations as a societal norm may be a fertile ground for violence against those who do not fit within its criteria, it also transforms the nature of hate against women. This necessary union of in-group and out-group under a heterosexual, reproductive-based reasoning threatens the negation of intimacy as a component of hate against women. The mutual dependence of men and women for reproductive purposes entails that men may despise women (cold hate) but cannot desire their complete annihilation – unless the reproductive necessity is solved differently. As a result, the foundational cold hate may escalate when the in-group, men, actively assert its independence and differences with the out-group in ways which do not completely undermine the necessary relation. In other words, cold hate escalates through the assertion of the in-group’s domination. Violence becomes the means by which the man reasserts his domination and his position as superior.22 Within this patriarchal context of male superiority, wife beating is a way to maintain the identity of the man as the one in control.23 Similarly, rape becomes a tool to assert the man’s complete control over the woman victim and a way to suppress her self-determination.24 Using Sternberg's first component of hate as passion (anger or fear),25 I note also that the necessary relation between men and women might become a source of frustration for men, leading to anger and the development of what he terms “seething hate” or revilement. If women are necessarily inferior, men must ensure that they indeed show their superiority in order to comply with the in-group: 20

Abbas, M. (2013), “White Terror in the ‘War on Terror’”, Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, 9(1). Eisenstein, Z. R. (1981), “Patriarchy, Motherhood and Public Life”, In The Radical Future of Feminism, London: Longman, p.14. 22 Perry, B. (2001), In the name of hate: understanding hate crimes, London: Routledge. 23 Messerschmidt, T, J. (1993), Masculinities and Crime, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, p.147. 24 Griffin, S. (1979), Rape: The Power of Consciousness, New-York: Harper and Row, p.242. 25 Sternberg, R. (2003), “A duplex theory of hate and its development and its application to terrorism, massacres, and genocide”, Review of General Psychology, 7, pp.299-328. 21


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violence can become a way to assert one’s belonging to the superior class and fit with the standards established by the inferiority framework. So far, I have mapped out the manifestation of hate against women as relying on the inferiority framework, that is the systematic depiction of women as inferior. I note that unlike cases of racial or other non-binary gender based hate; hate against women is complexified by the existence of a heterosexual norm which establishes a necessary relation between men as the in-group and women as the out-group. In this way, the initial cold hate against “inferior” women may escalate, fuelled by the in-group’s desire to mark its fundamental difference despite a mutual dependence: men must assert their superiority to fit within the patriarchal ideal, potentially resorting to violence in order to assert their place and women’s submission. In the remainder of this paper, I turn to strategies to move away from hate-based in-group/out-group relations. I start off by presenting two main obstacles to overcoming hate against women and conclude with potential solutions. Moving forward: Difficulties with overcoming hate-based relations between men and women I outline two main obstacles to overcoming hate against women as originating from men as an ingroup. First, I show that hate against women is a strategy which functions in favour of the in-group and creates a reluctance to abandon the inferiority framework. Second, I evoke the ease with which hate against women may transform into reciprocal hate, further undermining the relations between the in-group and the out-group. More than just a complex set of emotions, hate is a powerful tool of political strategy. The aim of political strategy may be to gain support, be re-elected or change the perception of initially disliked reforms.26 As seen, hate can be used to legitimise the use of abusive power or terror, by framing violence against the stranger as a form of legitimate defence.27 Without directly relating it to physical violence, hate may be used in speech either blatantly, to align and appeal to a specific part of the population, or through “dog-whistling” and the use of coded language to echo to a targeted group while the rest of the population remains unaware.28 In the 2016 American election, Trump used appeal to misogyny and echoed the inferiority framework both to undermine his opponent as a valuable candidate altogether and to harness the 26

König, P. D. and Wenzelburger, G. (2014), “Toward a Theory of Political Strategy in Policy Analysis”, Politics & Policy, 42:3, pp.400-430. 27 Abbas, M. (2013), “White Terror in the ‘War on Terror’”, Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, 9(1). 28 Calfano, B. R. and Djupe, P. A. (2009), “God Talk: Religious Cues and Electoral Support”, Political Research Quarterly, 62:2, pp. 329-339.


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ideologies of the Internet and other subgroups within the American population.29 Over the years, men have gained significant advantages compared to women through the inferiority framework. In Western society, women may have accessed to civil rights and property rights, but gender inequality is still reflected in income, access to health, education, job role and responsibilities in the workplace. The World Economic Forum remarks that on current trends, the gender gap defined as the difference between men and women in social, political and economical contexts will be closed in 100 years.30 Therefore, as long as hate is proven helpful to the interest of its users, there remains a reluctance to abandon it. In the case of the inferiority framework especially, this is further reinforced by a “zero-sum perspective”: the idea that an advantage to the in-group is necessarily correlated with a loss for the outgroup and inversely.31 Just as arguments against migration have been based on the idea that they would worsen the situation for natives in the country, 32 a similar fear could apply in the case where women are suddenly allowed to escape the inferiority framework. If women are allowed to work, attaining positions of responsibility, they might take away jobs from men but also no longer be available to fulfil men’s needs. This fear of change has been exemplified by the rejection of feminists in the 1990s: Moi notes how feminism has come to be increasingly depicted as irrational and extreme by both sides of the political spectrum leading to reluctance in women themselves to associate with a movement designed to empower them.33 Feminists, as women who do not wish to fit within the inferiority framework, have been distinguished from regular women, the boundary of the necessary heterosexual dependence removed such that they become depicted as “hateful”, monsters, or “nazis, gleefully fuelling the holocaust of unborn children”.34 As such, the zero-sum perspective of the inferiority framework as an advantage for the male in-group leads to women trying to overcome it being perceived as a threat and becoming the object of increased hatred. A second obstacle to overcoming hate is the reaction of the out-group to being the object of hate and the risk of reciprocal hate. There are multiple consequences of hate, depending on both the victim and the type of hate considered. Nonetheless, hate has been considered especially harmful because it represents an 29

Stephens, M., Tong, L. Hale, S. and Graham, M. (2018), "Misogyny, Twitter and the Rural Voter", in Robert H. Watrel, Ryan Weichelt, Fiona M. Davidson, John Heppen, Erin H. Fouberg, J. Clark Archer, Richard L. Morrill, Fred M. Shelley, Kenneth C. Martis (eds) Atlas of the 2016 Elections, p.55. 30 World Economic Forum(2017), The Global Gender Gap Report. 31 Brewer, M. B (1999), “The Psychology of Prejudice: In-Group Love or Out-Group Hate?”, Journal of Social Issues, 55:3, p.431. 32 Agunias, D. R. (2006), From A Zero-Sum to a Win-Win Scenario? Literature Review on Circular Migration, Migration Policy Institute, pp.5-6. 33 Moi, T. (2006), ““I Am Not a Feminist, But . . .”: How Feminism Became the F-Word”, The Modern Language Association of America, pp.1736-1739. 34 Ibid., pp.1736-1737.


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offense to the target’s dignity, an attempt to undermine its legitimate position and reputation within society.35 Similarly, hate crimes are believed to necessitate stronger punishment than regular crimes as a way to condemn certain opinions and values which aimed to demonstrate the victim’s lower or marginal value.36 Overall, psychological studies have demonstrated hate crimes to have a relatively stronger impact on the targeted group than regular crimes.37 As responses to hate are often described as a strong emotional reaction including anger, fear or sadness, being the target of hate might become a fertile ground for the development of reciprocal hatred.38 In the case of women and the systematic depiction of inferiority, power relations being perceived as unjust might lead to increased anger towards the superior (men) along with the frustration of one’s own inability to rebel.39 This creates a paradoxical ambiguity in the victim of hate which feel anger both at the perpetrator and oneself, for an inability to change the situation. While Sternberg clearly places anger and fear as one of the components of hate,40 it might also be the case that reciprocal hate in the case of women is based on a fundamental feeling of injustice. If women (or men) have identified the current inferiority framework as morally condemnable, the identification of a group with opposite moral values acts as an intensifier for hatred and could further fuel reciprocal hate against men.41 As a result, victims of hate might easily slip into the desire for retaliation: the #MeToo has been identified as an attempt to unify victims of sexual assault but simultaneously as a naming and shaming initiative echoed by several movements which depicted sexual perpetrators as repulsive monsters such as the French “Out Your Pig”.42 In such cases, the perpetrator of sexual assault may become the object of hate because they are blamed for one's maltreatment or that of someone one cares about, as well as their potential for being a future threat.43

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Iganski, P. and Lagou, S. (2006), “Hate Crimes Hurt Some More Than Others: Implications for the Just Sentencing of Offenders”, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(10), pp.1697-1698 36 Ibid; Lawrence, F. M. (2006), “The hate crime project and its limitations: Evaluating the societal gains and risk in bias crime law enforcement” (Working Paper No. 216), Washington, DC: The George Washington University Law School. 37 Ibid. 38 Barnes, A. and Ephross, P. H. (1994), “The Impact of Hate Violence on Victims: Emotional and Behavioral Responses to Attacks”, Social Work, 39(3), pp. 247-251. 39 Fitness, J. and Flechter, G. J. O. (1993), “Love, hate, anger, and jealousy in close relationships: A prototype and cognitive appraisal analysis”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, pp.942-958. 40 Sternberg, R. (2003), “A duplex theory of hate and its development and its application to terrorism, massacres, and genocide”, Review of General Psychology, 7, pp.299-328. 41 Parker, M. T. and Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013), “Lessons from Morality-Based Social Identity: The Power of Outgroup ‘‘Hate,’’ Not Just Ingroup ‘‘Love’’”, Social Justice Research, 26:1, pp.81-96. 42 Wexler, L., Robbennolt, J. and Murphy, C. (2018), #MeToo, Time’s Up, and Theories of Justice, University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-14 [Working Draft], p.2. 43 Royzman, E. B., McCauley, C. and Rozin, P. (2004), “From Plato to Putnam: Four Ways to Think about Hate”, In Sternberg, R. J. (ed.) The Psychology of Hate, Washington: American Psychological Association, p.7.


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As a result, while men as an in-group might be reluctant to abandon cold hate against women due to the inferiority framework, the overcoming of hate is complicated by the target group’s potential to develop reciprocal feelings of hate. To understand further why this is an obstacle to overcoming hate, I turn to restorative justice and detail how reciprocal hate contradicts with its aims. Expanding on the example of the #MeToo movement, I highlight the importance of recognising the wronging done to the victims of hate while maintaining an understanding of the hate agent. Overcoming hate: the objectives of restorative justice In its aim and method, restorative justice distinguishes itself from retributive justice, which is usually applied within the legal system. The former identifies a wrong according to the harm done to the victim rather than solely as a violation of law; it therefore aims to restore harmony between the offender and the victim and thus privileges dialogue as well as the recognition of the offender’s responsibility.44 Wallis understands restorative justice as focusing on closing the gap left by crime, a lack of empathy between the offender and the victim, who each focus on their own perception and hold the other in low regard, or in fear and anger.45 In the case of hate against women, either cold hate or violence which was associated with it, the aim is to move forward towards ensuring that both the in-group and out-group establish a non-hatebased relation. With this restorative goal in mind, a first step towards overcoming hate is to work on the motivation of both the in-group and out-group to move forward and abandon hate-based relations. In the case of the initial in-group, men, this entails giving particular attention to deconstructing the zero-sum perspective and showing that hate may damage the in-group too. This could be done through the use of empirical findings to show that abandoning the inferiority framework will not harm the in-group’s economic situation. Simultaneously, it might be emphasised that hate against women harms men as well as women, one example being that it forces them to fit within constraining standards of masculinity and restricts their choice. As such Connell and Messerschmidt note that hegemonic masculinity imposes standards which regulate the position of men with regards to women but also sets an ideal which men are unlikely to attain and may be damaging to the man’s self-esteem.46 With regards to the out-group, it should be demonstrated that reciprocal hate, although tempting, might not be to the out-group’s advantage. Contra restorative justice, reciprocal hate may further damage the gap between both groups and remove the possibility for a 44

Wallis, P. (2014), Understanding Restorative Justice, Bristol: Bristol University Policy Press. Ibid. 46 Connell, R. W. and Messerschmidt, J. (2005), Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept, Gender & Society, 19(6)6, pp.829-859. 45


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restorative dialogue. Further, reciprocal hate might act against building a cohesive understanding of hate against women and the violence which ensues. Ahmed shows that depicting the sexual assault offender as monstrous, contributes to the illusion that sexual assault is committed by the stranger and covers over the fact that most victims of sexual assault knew or were in fact acquainted with their offender.47 Having shown that it is in the interest of both groups to overcome hate-based relations, I note this should be established conjointly with an adequate attribution of responsibilities. In the case of hate, or crime which arise from it, the victim's sense of self-worth is damaged.48 It is essential to work towards the reconstitution of this self-respect, which lies at the basis of life pursuits.49 This entails recognition from the offender that the victim has been illegitimately wronged, and although forgiveness might be offered, it should not trump accountability.50 Alongside the recognition that one did not deserve the offense, regaining agency can contribute to re-establishing the victim's self-respect. This can be done through speaking up, as exemplified by the #MeToo movement on social media, to draw a line between events of the past which should never happen again, but also highlighting how victims may regain control over the traumatic experience. As a result, overcoming hate should be interpreted as a balancing act between re-establishing positive relations between both parties and recognising the harm caused. When approaching hate, it is important to recognise hate not as an irrational emotion but rather as a complex relation established between two groups and which might serve to each group's advantage. As such, while education is essential in deconstructing the myths on which hate might be based, for example that women are naturally inferior to men, understanding the hate agent is essential to better addressing the obstacles to reconciliation. Similarly, this goal of understanding reveals that the depiction of hate should attempt to be as inclusive as possible, in order to make sure that harm is not ignored, nor victims silenced which could eventually build resentment. This is the approach highlighted by critics of the #MeToo movement which, while presenting it as a respectful initiative, highlights that some women were excluded from social media as a platform for regaining agency. To conclude, I argued that hate against women manifests itself primarily as Sternberg’s cold hate, through the development of an inferiority framework which depicts women as necessarily inferior and thus legitimately dominated by men. I showed how this cold hate is constrained and transformed by the existence of heterosexual norms which establish a necessary relation between men as an in-group and 47

Ahmed, S. (2013), “Strange Encounters : Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality”, Taylor & Francis Group, p.36. Wallis (2014), Understanding Restorative Justice, p.27. 49 Rawls, J. (1971), A Theory of Justice, Cambridge: Havard University Press, pp.440-442. 50 Wexler, L., Robbennolt, J. and Murphy, C. (2018), #MeToo, Time’s Up, and Theories of Justice, p.39. 48


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women as an out-group. As a result, the in-group, rather than holding negation of intimacy as a given, must reassert its independence and superiority which may lead to the development of violence. Moving towards overcoming hate-based relations between men and women, I highlighted two obstacles: first, cold hate against women might be perceived by the in-group as a way to maintain a privilege who will then be reluctant to abandon this framework. Second, hate against women is a fertile ground for the development of reciprocal hate against men. In the remainder of the essay, I used the restorative justice framework to assess how hate against women could be overcome. I argued in favour of developing an understanding of both the victims (out-group) and the offender (in-group) and the re-establishment of self-respect as the ground for further positive relations. I noted the importance of putting forward a holistic understanding of hate which allows all victims to regain agency while presenting hate as against both groups’ interests. While this paper established the basis to understand hate against women and highlighted strategies to overcome it, I reiterate the importance of questioning hate in the case of individuals who do not fit the binary gender distinction and the way this heterosexual normativity might fuel further forms of hate. References Abbas, M. (2013), “White Terror in the ‘War on Terror’”, Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, 9(1) Agunias, D. R. (2006), From A Zero-Sum to a Win-Win Scenario? Literature Review on Circular Migration, Migration Policy Institute, [Online] Available at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/CircularMigrationLitReview_9.06_DAgu nias.pdf, [Accessed on: 10/05/18] Ahmed, S. (2013), “Strange Encounters : Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality”, Taylor & Francis Group, pp.23-37 Allport, G. W. (1954), The Nature of Prejudice, Cambridge: Addison-Wesley Barnes, A. and Ephross, P. H. (1994), “The Impact of Hate Violence on Victims: Emotional and Behavioral Responses to Attacks”, Social Work, 39(3), pp. 247-251 Barry, A. D. (1979), “The Survival of Domination: Inferiorization and Everyday Life”, Contemporary Sociology, 8(3), p. 465 Beauvoir, S. de (1949), “Introduction” in The Second Sex, translated by H.M. Parshley, Vintage Classics, pp. 13-34 Brennan, D. (2017), Annual Report on Cases of Femicide in 2016, Femicide Census [Online] Available at: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigning-and-influencing/femicide-census/ [Accessed on: 10/05/18]. Brewer, M. B (1999), “The Psychology of Prejudice: In-Group Love or Out-Group Hate?”, Journal of Social Issues, 55:3, pp.429-444. Calfano, B. R. and Djupe, P. A. (2009), “God Talk: Religious Cues and Electoral Support”, Political Research Quarterly, 62:2, pp. 329-339.


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Connell, R. W. and Messerschmidt, J. (2005), Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept, Gender & Society, 19(6)6, pp.829-859. Eisenstein, Z. R. (1981), “Patriarchy, Motherhood and Public Life”, In The Radical Future of Feminism, London: Longman, p.14. European Commission (2004), Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in EC Development Cooperation: Section 1: Handbook on Concepts and Methods for Mainstreaming Gender Equality, [Online] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/toolkit-mainstreaming-gender-section-1-part-1_en.pdf [Accessed on: 10/05/18]. Fitness, J. and Flechter, G. J. O. (1993), “Love, hate, anger, and jealousy in close relationships: A prototype and cognitive appraisal analysis”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, pp.942-958. Griffin, S. (1979), Rape: The Power of Consciousness, New-York: Harper and Row. Iganski, P. and Lagou, S. (2006), “Hate Crimes Hurt Some More Than Others: Implications for the Just Sentencing of Offenders”, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(10), pp.1696-1718. Kohlberg, L. and Kramer, R. (1969), "Continuities and Discontinuities in Childhood and Adult Moral Development," Human Development, 12, pp.93-120. König, P. D. and Wenzelburger, G. (2014), “Toward a Theory of Political Strategy in Policy Analysis”, Politics & Policy, 42:3, pp.400-430. Lawrence, F. M. (2006), “The hate crime project and its limitations: Evaluating the societal gains and risk in bias crime law enforcement” (Working Paper No. 216), Washington, DC: The George Washington University Law School. Lorber J. (1994), Paradoxes of Gender, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. MacKinnon, E. (1987), Feminism Unmodified, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p. 22. Messerschmidt, T, J. (1993), Masculinities and Crime, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Moi, T. (2006), ““I Am Not a Feminist, But . . .”: How Feminism Became the F-Word”, The Modern Language Association of America, pp.1735-1741. Parker, M. T. and Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013), “Lessons from Morality-Based Social Identity: The Power of Outgroup ‘‘Hate,’’ Not Just Ingroup ‘‘Love’’”, Social Justice Research, 26:1, pp.81-96. Pendo, E. (1994), “Recognizing Violence Against Women: Gender and the Hate Crimes Statistics Act”, Harvard Women's Law Journal, 17, pp.157-183. Perry, B. (2001), In the name of hate: understanding hate crimes, London: Routledge. Rawls, J. (1971), A Theory of Justice, Cambridge: Havard University Press. Royzman, E. B., McCauley, C. and Rozin, P. (2004), “From Plato to Putnam: Four Ways to Think about Hate”, In Sternberg, R. J. (ed.) The Psychology of Hate, Washington: American Psychological Association. Sen, A. (2001), “The Many Faces of Gender Inequality”, The New Republic, [Reprinted], pp.466-477.


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Stephens, M., Tong, L. Hale, S. and Graham, M. (2018), Misogyny, Twitter and the Rural Voter, in Robert H. Watrel, Ryan Weichelt, Fiona M. Davidson, John Heppen, Erin H. Fouberg, J. Clark Archer, Richard L. Morrill, Fred M. Shelley, Kenneth C. Martis (eds) Atlas of the 2016 Elections, pp.55-57. Sternberg, R. (2003), “A duplex theory of hate and its development and its application to terrorism, massacres, and genocide”, Review of General Psychology, 7, pp.299-328. Sumner, W. G. (1906), Folkways, New-York: Ginn, p.12. Wallis, P. (2014), Understanding Restorative Justice, Bristol: Bristol University Policy Press. Wexler, L., Robbennolt, J. and Murphy, C. (2018), #MeToo, Time’s Up, and Theories of Justice, University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-14 [Working Draft], pp.1-54. World Economic Forum(2017), The Global Gender Gap Report, [Online] Available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf [Accessed on: 10/05/18].


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Frames of Remembering: The Ongoing Re-Examination of Collaboration in Eastern Europe during World War II

Károly Gergely, 3rd Year Essay BA(Hons) Politics and Modern History

Abstract: This essay analyses the re-examination of collaboration in Hungary and Romania after 1989. In studying public commemoration and scholarly discourse, the paper concludes that in Eastern Europe, despite the continuous reexamination of wartime collaboration, the debates are stuck in a framework which is not suitable to describe the multifaceted nature of wartime relationships. This argument reflects not only on the issues of memory politics in Eastern Europe and its contemporary understanding but also on the importance of underlying structures in constructing ‘frames of remembering’.

The Eastern-European landscape of remembering the Second World War attracted scholarly attention since the fall of communist regimes in 1989. Collaboration with Nazi Germany was similarly widely discussed and experienced continuous re-examination. This essay will analyse these re-examinations in Hungary and Romania. In both countries, debates mainly focused on the political collaboration of wartime regimes, the administration and the victims of the Holocaust. Building on the works of Roni Stauber, Jan T. Gross as well as economic historians, the essay will analyse the historiographical and public debates around collaboration in order to interrogate the limits of the conceptual framework of ‘collaboration.’1 The essay will do so in a chronological structure. The first part will analyse the postcommunist emergence of nationalistic narratives which contested the ‘judgement’ of the previous regime. The second section will analyse the appearance of a more ‘progressive’ narrative which was motivated by the rise of oppressed memories and external pressure.2 The third part will question the re-emergence of 1

Frøland, H. O.; Ingulstad, M. and Scherner, J. (eds.) (2016), Industrial Collaboration in Nazi-occupied Europe: Norway in Context, Palgrave Studies in Economic History; Gross, J. T. (2000), “Themes for a Social History of War Experience and Collaboration”, in eak, I., Gross, J. T., Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton University Press, pp.15-36; Stauber, R. (2011), “Introduction” in Stauber, R. (ed.) Collaboration with the Nazis: Public Discourse After the Holocaust, Routledge, pp.1 – 22. 2 Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (2013), “Introduction” in Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (eds.), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, University of Nebraska Press, p.8.


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nationalistic discourse which seeks to revisit the ‘westernised’ memory of wartime collaboration. Through this time period in both countries, both scholarly and public debates remained largely focused on groups identified as important by the communist regimes (the governments) or by the West (Jewish victims of the Holocaust). This essay argues that despite the continuous re-examination of wartime collaboration, the debates are stuck in a framework which is not suitable to describe the multifaceted nature of wartime relationships. After the fall of communism, Eastern Europeans experienced an unprecedented freedom to reassess their history. In communist Romania and Hungary, ultimate blame was placed on the regimes of Admiral Miklós Horthy and Conducător Ion Antonescu, while the ‘average’ Romanians and Hungarians were incorporated into the narratives of ‘Communist resistance’ and ‘Soviet liberation.’3 After 1989, through a ‘powerful dichotomy,’ governments and societies tended to construct communists as the ‘other,’ bringing about a reassessment of the pre-war history throughout the region. 4 After 1989, the newly created democratic systems were aiming at reassessing their history of collaboration for multiple reasons. The ‘nationalisation’ of history played an important role in both Romania and Hungary.5 The emergence of suppressed, unofficial memories, however, did not challenge these narratives and the governments were more concerned about the victims of communism than the victims of Nazism.6 In both Hungary and Romania, a tendency towards the rehabilitation of wartime regimes started.7 This re-examination could have also been motivated by anti-communism: by discrediting their narrative and re-examining the trials of war criminals after 1945, the new narrative became an illustration of the perceived unjust nature of communism. As the original opinions towards collaboration were formed during the communist period, the reexamination of these took place, naturally, in the same framework. In the case of Hungary, over 27,000 3

Deák, I. (2000), “A Fatal Compromise? The Debate Over Collaboration and Resistance in Hungary”, in eak, I., Gross, J.T., Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton University Press, pp.39-40. 4 Gross, J. T., (1995), “Resistance and Collaboration in Europe, 1939-1945: Experience, Memory, Myth and Appropriation”, East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 9, No. 2, p.207; Michlic, J. B. (2015), “The Path of Bringing the Dark to Light: Memory of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Berghahn, p.117. 5 Gyáni, G. (2016), “Hungarian Memory of the Holocaust in Hungary”, in Braham, R. L. and Kovács, A. (eds.), The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later, Central European University Press, p.216. 6 Braham, R. L. (2015), “Hungary: The Assault on the Historical Memory of the Holocaust”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Berghahn, p.272. 7 Blutinger, J. C. (2010), “An Inconvenient Past: Post-Communist Holocaust Memorialization”, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1, p.86; Waldman, F. and Chioveanu, M. (2013), “Public Perceptions of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Romania” in Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (eds.), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, University of Nebraska Press, p.457.


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individuals were put on trial – while in total 300,000 Hungarians suffered some kind of punishment.8 In Romania, the People’s Tribunals tried 2700 individuals and condemned 668 of them. 9 The People’s Courts aimed at prosecuting ‘war criminals’, which meant ‘recognising’ as collaborators those who assisted the Nazis either by joining them or by supporting their policies in high-level decision-making. After 1989, nationalistic movements were quick to reclaim these ‘national’ figures. This re-examination took multiple forms: scholarly debate on the roles of people’s courts, reburial of Admiral Horthy or the official commemoration of Conducător Antonescu. 10 The blame was also often externalized and deflected away from the previously officially condemned figures.11 In the quest to rehabilitate these figures, one can see a quest for national salvation. If it is proven that they were not (willingly) collaborating with the Nazis, then the nation was not guilty, either. This approach, therefore, follows the communist logic of ‘collaboration’ on two levels. First, this view identifies the ‘nation’ with certain key figures; secondly, these figures must be either morally wrong or morally righteous – there is no middle ground. Thus, the first re-examination, reactionary in nature, left the terminology of collaboration untouched and focused on the same figures who were blamed under the previous regimes. Due to the emergence of a multiplicity of memories and external pressure from the international community (especially the European Union), the (ethno)nationalist narrative could not remain dominant following the immediate post-1989 years.12 In both Hungary and Romania, and generally in Eastern Europe, the ‘Holocaust has become the contemporary European entry ticket.’13 In Hungary, recognition of responsibility occurred earlier than in Romania, where after the findings of the Wiesel Commission, the

8

Karsai, L. (2000), “The People’s Courts and Revolutionary Justice in Hungary, 1945-46”, in eak, I., Gross, J. T., Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton University Press, p.233. 9 Clark, R. (2012), “New Models, New Questions: Historiographical Approaches to the Romanian Holocaust”, European Review of History: Revue Européenne D'histoire, Vol. 19, No. 2, p.304. 10 Blutinger (2010), “An Inconvenient Past”, p.86; Karsai, L. (2000), “The People’s Courts”, p.248; Waldman and Chiovenanu, “Public Perceptions”, p.457. 11 Blutinger (2010), “An Inconvenient Past”, p.83; Hanebrink, P.and Portuges, C. (2013), “The Memory of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Hungary”, in Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (eds.), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, University of Nebraska Press, p.274. 12 Assmann, A. (2015), “The Transformative Power of Memory”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Berghahn, p.26. 13 Michlic, J. B. (2015), ’The Path’, p.120.


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government officially acknowledged the responsibility of Romanian authorities.14 This fits into the Western turn from ‘triumph to trauma’ regarding the memory of the Second World War.15 As we can see, in terms of terminology and focus, this approach differs in bringing in the victims’ perspective, but it does not challenge the concept of collaboration. In accepting responsibility for the acts of the state, the respective governments effectively condemned those members of the administrations who participated in the deportation of Jews. However, they did not address the responsibility of their states prior to the war in helping war efforts. The German influence in Eastern Europe was running deep – economic, social and political links connected the nations of Eastern Europe to the Third Reich. 16 For Hungary and Germany, the Nazi Empire was the single biggest driver of their economy.17 Some scholarly discussion addressed this issue, however, it did not become part of larger, national narratives.18 Similarly, blame was not assigned and during the accession process, it was not a requirement that countries were confronted with the multi-layered collaboration which occurred prior to the start of the war. The important aspect was the condemnation of the political aspects of the war, signalling out politics as the most important factor. The narrow focus of taking responsibility for ‘collaborators’ also blurs the lines between the allies of Germany and the National Socialist groups, which were hostile towards their own governments in Romania and Hungary.19 It also fails to distinguish between those actively collaborating (which implies a voluntary assistance) and those conforming to the regime. With collaboration remaining limited for those in decisionmaking positions, the general population gained a form of ‘amnesty’. Contrary to the (ethno)nationalist narrative, the blame, in this case, is externalized on those being guilty of collaborating. Majority of the scholarly and public discourse around collaboration remained focused on the role of wartime governments, administration, the remembrance of the Holocaust and the (forgotten) stories of victims.20 The multifaceted 14

Clark, ’New Models’, p.305; Kovács, H. and Mindler-Steiner, U. K. (2015), “Hungary and the Distortion of Holocaust History: The Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year 2014”, Politics in Central Europe, Vol. 11, No. 2, p.55. 15 Nowak, A. (2015), “Political Correctness and Memories Constructed for “Eastern Europe”’, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Berghahn. 16 International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania (2004), “Final Report”, in Friling, T., Ioanid, R., Ionescu, M.E. (eds.), p.197. 17 Gross (2000), “Themes for a Social history of War Experience and Collaboration”, p.20. 18 The Wiesel Commission discusses some economic motives but does not assign blame; Drapac, V. and Gareth, P.(2015), “Beyond Resistance and Collaboration: Towards a Social History of Politics in Hitler’s Empire”, Journal of Social History, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp.865-91. 19 Deák, I. (2000), “Introduction”, in eak, I., Gross, J. T. and Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton University Press, p.8. 20 Braham (2015), ‘Hungary’, p.266; Cesereanu, R. (2008), “The Final Report on the Holocaust and the Final Report on the Communist ictatorship in Romania”, East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 22, No. 2, p.278; Shafir, M. (2014), “Unacademic Academics: Holocaust eniers and Trivializers in Post-Communist Romania”, Nationalities Papers, pp.1-23.


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nature of collaboration was not addressed through this top-down approach which resulted in a continuation of the pre-1989 focus and dichotomy of resistance and collaboration. Public opinion and scholars heavily discussed memory politics in Hungary after the 2010 election of Viktor Orbán as Prime Minister. In Romania, a similar change has not occurred as the Social Liberal Union retained power both in 2012 and 2016. Discussions in both the political sphere and the scholarly field regarding collaboration in the post-accession period experienced some changes. In Romania, Roma victimhood attracted more attention, alongside with Holocaust education and the ideological resistance of anti-semitism. 21 Extending the attention to non-state actors is a sign that there is some development in terms of the focus of collaboration. Besides a wider understanding of ‘victims’, contemporary historiography also addressed geographical limits, analysing borderlands, in both Hungary and Romania.22 Therefore, in certain regards, scholarly discussions successfully transcended prior frameworks. However, there is a large difference between the two case studies. In Hungary, since 2010, most of the attention was centred around the memory politics of the government, symbolised by the erection of the Memorial to the Victims of the German Occupation in 2014. The monument is often regarded as a return to the ‘nationalisation’ of the Holocaust.23 As a result of the past debates on collaboration, ‘the historical and memory policy debate on the Hungarian Holocaust burgeoned into a debate about the entire Horthy era.’ 24 The scale of controversy which memory still generates, the current political debates and the past frameworks of collaboration add up to an intellectual field which is polarized and without nuances. The differing post-accession trajectories of Hungary and Romania largely account for the difference in contemporary politics. Official commemoration practices are easier to analyse and attract wider attention than unofficial ones. Scholarly works (especially from non-native researchers) tend to focus on themes which gain attention in the West. In this regard, the overtly nationalistic memory politics of the Hungarian

Sik, . (2015), “Memory Transmission and Political Socialization in Post-socialist Hungary”, The Sociological Review, Vol. 63, No. 2, p.58. 21 Dumitru, D. and Carter, J. (2011), “Constructing Interethnic Conflict and Cooperation: Why Some People Harmed Jews and Others Helped Them during the Holocaust in Romania”, World Politics, Vol. 63, No.1, pp.1-42; Kelso, M. (2013), “And Roma Were Victims, Too.’ The Romani Genocide and Holocaust Education in Romania”, Intercultural Education, pp.1-18.; Kelso, M. and Eglitis, . (2014), “Holocaust Commemoration in Romania: Roma and the Contested Politics of Memory and Memorialization”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp.487-511. 22 Hanebrink, P.(2016), The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust: The Borderlands of Romania and the Soviet Union, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.; Segal, R. (2014), “Beyond Holocaust Studies: Rethinking the Holocaust in Hungary”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol.16, No. 1, pp.1-23. 23 Kovács and Mindler-Steiner (2015), ‘Hungary’. 24 Kovács, A. (2016), “Hungarian Intentionalism: New Directions in the Historiography of the Hungarian Holocaust”, in Braham, R. L. and Kovács, A. (eds.), The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later, Central European University Press, p.14.


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government differs from that of Romania. However, in both countries, the debate on collaboration largely remained trapped in a ‘perpetrator-victim’, ‘collaborator-hero’ dichotomy. Although there are many cases when Eastern Europe follows the lead of Western Europe in historiography, it seems to be lagging behind in the case of the memory of collaboration. Although several scholars in Western Europe have already discussed both the many shades between collaboration and resistance, Hungary and Romania find it hard to locate a place for the complex memory of their respective wartime governments. The attempts of constructing these regimes as positive examples or condemning them as collaborators highlight the special importance which history and memory play in these countries. The politicising of memory does not allow the public discourse to break free from the collaborationresistance duality of the Communist era. The recurring condemnation of the previous regimes manifests itself through the manipulation of public discourse on wartime collaboration. The essay traced the reexamination of collaboration through the immediate post-1989 period, the pre-accession years and analysed the changing attitudes after Hungary and Romania joined the European Union. This essay, albeit limited in scope, identified some recurring key themes and overlooked issues. A larger sample and an analysis of public discourse would be needed to support the hypothesis put forward in this essay but it can serve as a springboard inasmuch as it identifies the issues which so far largely escaped scholarly attention. References Assmann, A. (2015), “The Transformative Power of Memory”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Oxford: Berghahn, pp.23 – 37. Blutinger, J. C. (2010), “An Inconvenient Past: Post-Communist Holocaust Memorialization”, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 29, No.1, pp.73-94. Braham, R. L. (2015), “Hungary: The Assault on the Historical Memory of the Holocaust”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Oxford: Berghahn, pp.261 – 310. Cesereanu, R. (2008), “The Final Report on the Holocaust and the Final Report on the Communist Dictatorship in Romania”, East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp.270-81. Clark, R. (2012), “New Models, New Questions: Historiographical Approaches to the Romanian Holocaust”, European Review of History: Revue Européenne D'histoire, Vol. 19, No.2, pp.303-20. Deák, I. (2000), “Introduction” in eak,I; Gross, J. T.; Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, pp.3-14. Deák, I. (2000), “A Fatal Compromise? The Debate Over Collaboration and Resistance” in eak,I; Gross, J. T.; Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, pp.39-73.


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Drapac, V. and Gareth, P.(2015), “Beyond Resistance and Collaboration: Towards a Social History of Politics in Hitler’s Empire”, Journal of Social History, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp.865-91. Dumitru, D. and Carter, J. (2011), “Constructing Interethnic Conflict and Cooperation: Why Some People Harmed Jews and Others Helped Them during the Holocaust in Romania”, World Politics, Vol. 63, No. 1, pp.1-42. Frøland, H. O.; Ingulstad, M. and Scherner J. (eds.) (2016), Industrial Collaboration in Nazi-occupied Europe: Norway in Context, Palgrave Studies in Economic History. Gross, J. T. (1995), “Resistance and Collaboration in Europe, 1939-1945: Experience, Memory, Myth and Appropriation”, East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 9, No.2, pp.207. Gross, J. T. (2000), “Themes for a Social history of War Experience and Collaboration” in eak,I; Gross, J. T.; Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, pp.15-36. Gyáni, G. (2016), “Hungarian Memory of the Holocaust in Hungary” in Braham, R. L. and Kovács, A. (eds.) The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later, Budapest, Central European University Press, pp.215- 130. Hanebrink, P.and Portuges, C. (2013), “The Memory of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Hungary”, in Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (eds.), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, London: University of Nebraska Press, pp.261-299. Hanebrink, P.(2016), The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust: The Borderlands of Romania and the Soviet Union, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (2013), “Introduction” in Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (eds.), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, London: University of Nebraska Press, pp.1-24. International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania, (2004), “Final Report”, Friling, T.; Ioanid,R.; Ionescu, M. E. (eds.), 2004, available: http://www.inshr-ew.ro/ro/files/Raport%20Final/Final_Report.pdf, accessed: 09.12.2017. Karsai, L. (2000), “The People’s Courts and Revolutionary Justice in Hungary, 1945-46” in eak,I; Gross, J. T.; Judt, T. (eds.), The Politics of Retribution in Europe World War II and Its Aftermath, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, pp.233-251. Kelso, M. (2013), “And Roma Were Victims, Too.’ The Romani Genocide and Holocaust Education in Romania”, Intercultural Education, pp.1-18. Kelso, M. and Eglitis, . (2014), “Holocaust Commemoration in Romania: Roma and the Contested Politics of Memory and Memorialization”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 16, No.4, pp.487-511. Kovács, A. (2016), “Hungarian Intentionalism: New Directions in the Historiography of the Hungarian Holocaust” in Braham, R. L. and Kovács, A. (eds.) The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later, Budapest, Central European University Press, pp.3-24. Kovács, H. and Mindler-Steiner, U. K. (2015), “Hungary and the Distortion of Holocaust History: The Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year 2014”, Politics in Central Europe, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.49-72. Michlic, J. B. (2015), “The Path of Bringing the Dark to Light: Memory of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Oxford: Berghahn, pp.115-130.


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Nowak, A. (2015), “Political Correctness and Memories Constructed for “Eastern Europe”, in Pakier, M. and Wawrzyniak, J. (eds.), Memory and Change in Europe: Eastern Perspectives, Oxford: Berghahn, pp.38-59. Shafir, M. (2014), “Unacademic Academics: Holocaust Deniers and Trivializers in Post-Communist Romania”, Nationalities Papers, pp.1-23. Sik, . (2015), “Memory Transmission and Political Socialization in Post-socialist Hungary”, The Sociological Review, Vol. 63, No.2, pp.53-71. Segal, R. (2014), “Beyond Holocaust Studies: Rethinking the Holocaust in Hungary”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 16, No.1, pp.1-23. Stauber, R. (2011), “Introduction”, in Stauber, R. (ed.) Collaboration with the Nazis: Public Discourse After the Holocaust, New York: Routledge, pp.1 – 22. Waldman, F. and Chioveanu, M. (2013), “Public Perceptions of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Romania” in Himka, J. P.and Michlic, J. B. (eds.), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, London: University of Nebraska Press, pp.451 – 486.


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Anti-Systemic Parties in Southern Europe and the Crisis of Representation: the Rise of SYRIZA, Podemos and the 5-Star Movement

John Ayshford, 2nd Year Essay BA Politics and Modern History

Abstract: This essay discusses the rise of Podemos, Syriza and the Five Star Movement following the Great Recession. It asserts that the rise of these anti-systemic parties in southern Europe spawned from a “crisis of representation”. This crisis emerged because the Greek, Italian and Spanish governments, under the Troika’s orders, undemocratically implemented austerity policies. This led to the frustration of citizens which was compounded by revelations of corruption. Consequently, millions of citizens lost their faith in established political parties. The essay then discusses how this crisis of representation spurred popular struggles against austerity and corruption or, as in Italy, coincided with them. It illustrates how the parties’ success derived from their involvement or origin in these struggles, as they became synonymous with citizens’ anger at the crisis of representation. I hope this study provides an insight into the success of anti-systemic parties across Europe, which are now increasingly influential in politics.

In this essay, I will assert that the recent success of the anti-systemic parties, SYRIZA, Podemos and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) lies in a “crisis of representation”. Such an investigation into their rise is very much admissible because their growth has been exponential and unprecedented and has dramatically changed the political situation in all three countries since 2012. In Greece, SYRIZA, a party that previously would only poll 3%, replaced the once dominant centre-left PASOK party and has twice been elected to government.1 In Italy the (M5S) Movement, formerly just a protest party founded by a comedian, has, not once, but twice decisively won at the two previous general elections. Podemos, a party only founded in 2014, has helped to transform the rigid Spanish two-party political system into a three-party one, in a

1

Ovenden, K. (2015), SYRIZA: Inside the Labyrinth, London: Pluto Press, p.23.


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country where it is notoriously difficult for new parties to succeed.2 In order to explain the recent success of these anti-systemic parties, I shall first explain how a crisis of representation emerged. I will argue that such a crisis emerged because the Greek, Italian and Spanish governments implemented unpopular austerity policies in an undemocratic fashion, which voters had no means to overturn. Moreover, I will assert that this led to the frustration of citizens which was compounded by revelations of corrupt politicians. Together this frustration created a crisis of representation whereby millions of citizens lost their faith in established political parties. Second, I will write how this crisis of representation spurred national and local struggles against undemocratic austerity and the corrupt political “caste” or, as in Italy, coincided with it. I will also illustrate how the parties were involved in or, in Podemos’ case, evolved out of such campaigns. I will assert that this provided the means for their success, because, as a result of this involvement, they thus came to represent millions of citizens’ frustration with this crisis of representation. The recent success of anti-systemic parties in Greece, Italy and Spain stems from how citizens faced a crisis of representation. This crisis of representation was in part due to painful austerity measures which citizens had no means to reject. Since 2010 austerity has hit the living conditions of millions in Greece, Italy and Spain. It compounded socio-economic problems caused by the recession and at the same time arguably deepened it as well.3 In Greece where the austerity measures were the largest, household income decreased by over a third from 2007 to 2013.4 Oxfam has calculated how ‘average net financial wealth has reduced by 40.5 per cent’ for Italian families.5 In 2012, in the three countries over a third of all children were living in poverty.6 Moreover, there were exceedingly large numbers of unemployed people, many of whom, in Greece and Spain, did not receive any unemployment benefit at all.7. It was pivotal in creating a crisis of representation as citizens found that mainstream parties in government which had originally stood on antiausterity manifestoes reversed their policy or that they had no opportunity to vote against austerity measures. Furthermore, citizens were confronted with the imposition of technocratic governments and external control of the state’s economic policy by the Troika (the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF). Thus, there was a “crisis of representation” which provided the opportunity for new anti-austerity 2

Anduiza, E. et al (2018) ‘Economic Crisis, Populist Attitudes, and the Birth of Podemos in Spain’, in Citizens and the Crisis Experiences: Perceptions, and Responses to the Great Recession in Europe ed. By Marco Giugni and Maria Grasso, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp.67-68. 3 Varoufakis, Y. (2017), Adults in the Room: My battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment, London: Bodley Head, pp.33-34; Summers, L. (2012), ‘Growth not austerity is best remedy for Europe’. 4 della Porta D. et al (2017), Movement Parties Against Austerity, Cambridge: Polity Press, p.51. 5 Petrelli, F. (2013) ‘The True Cost of Austerity and Inequality: Italy Case Study’. 6 UNICEF Office of Research, (2014) ‘Children of the Recession, Innocenti Report Card 12' 7 Iglesias, P. (2015), Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of a Democratic Europe, London: Verso, p.119; Varoufakis, Y. (2017), Adults in the Room, p.127.


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parties to succeed in their respective nations. Therefore, in this first part of the essay I shall detail how a “crisis of representation” in each country emerged. This crisis of representation was most profound in Greece. Given Greece’s huge debt the Greek government applied for a bailout loan from the IMF and the EU. As a result, between 2010 and 2012, the Greek government signed two “Memorandum’s of Understanding” whereby the Greek state promised, under the supervision of the Troika, to implement austerity measures.8 During this period the Greek people were denied a vote over the process and thus austerity measures which hurt much of the population were implemented without their consent. The preliminary austerity measures were introduced by the PASOK government led by Papandreou, in contradiction to the party’s pledge to increase state spending to heal the economy. 9 Secondly, whilst Papandreou originally planned a referendum on the second bailout, he lacked the support from his cabinet and dropped the idea. The referendum would have offered a chance for voters to give (or not) their consent to the bailout but as well to ‘the government strategy of resorting to international loans and implementing their accompanying conditions’.10 Instead the government fell and the President appointed Papademos as an unelected technocratic Prime Minister to lead a grand coalition in order to oversee the passing of the second bailout agreement. Moreover, new elections were only held after the bailout agreement was passed by Parliament. Following the election in May 2012, Samaras, the victor who had previously opposed the bailouts, became Prime Minister and led a grand coalition in maintaining the agreed austerity measures under the tight control of the Troika.11 A similar occurrence happened in Italy. Whilst Italy did not have to apply for a bailout, its similarly high level of debt meant that it came under supervision of the Troika. In 2011, the Berlusconi government received a letter from the ECB which demanded that the government take measures to reduce expenditure and liberalise public services. The Berlusconi government was unable to fulfil all the measures and following his government’s fall the President appointed Mario Monti as an unelected technocratic Prime Minister.12 No new elections were held as, like Greece, ‘new technocrat-led governments commanding ‘super

8

The First (2010) and Second (2012) Economic Adjustment programmes for Greece . Varoufakis, Y. (2017), Adults in the Room, p.31. 10 Verney, S. and Bosco, A. (2013), ‘Living Parallel Lives: Italy and Greece in an Age of Austerity, Southern European Society and Politics 18, pp.403-405. 11 Varoufakis, Y. (2017), Adults in the Room, pp.44-47. 12 della Porta et al, D. (2017), Movement Parties Against Austerity, pp.64-65; Verney, S. and Bosco, A. (2013) ‘Living Parallel Lives’, pp.402-408. 9


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majorities’ were considered the only way to pass unpopular legislation’.13 This crisis of representation was further compounded by the fact that the first Monti government was entirely composed of unelected technocrats.14 Moreover, Monti implemented the austerity measures unilaterally without the traditional negotiation with the political parties and other important bodies in civil society.15 In Spain, whilst there was no technocratic government, voters there were twice unable to realise their wishes to not face austerity in the wake of the recession and the sovereign debt crisis. First, despite the Zapatero government being elected on a manifesto which explicitly pledged not to reduce expenditure and to stimulate the economy through increased spending, it capitulated to the demands of the EU. It therefore implemented cuts to public services and to the wages of public-sector employees as well as the weakening of labour rights. The austerity measures compounded the derisory effects of the economic crisis and resulted in victory of the People’s Party (PP) in 2011 who stood on an anti-austerity platform. The PP, however, upon election refuted this platform and continued to implement austerity measures. 16 This frustration of citizens with the undemocratic implementation of austerity was accentuated by a spate of corruption scandals in all three countries which coincided with it. Consequently, there was a complete loss of faith in political parties by voters. In Greece a series of corruption scandals between 2007 and 2009 combined with the debt crisis that followed soon afterwards created ‘a complete collapse of citizen trust in government and parliamentary politics in general’.17 Between 2011 and 2015 corruption scandals came to light in Spain and Italy which decreased public trust in politics to very low levels.18 Together the undemocratic austerity policies and the malfeasance of politicians in these countries created a distrust in parliamentary institutions which far outweighed the EU average.19 The extent of this crisis of

13

Verney, S. and Bosco, A. (2013) ‘Living Parallel Lives’, p.421. Hooper, J. (2011), ‘Mario Monti’s technocrats: profiles of the new Italian cabinet’, 15 Culpepper, P. (2014) ‘The Political Economy of Unmediated Democracy: Italian Austerity under Mario Monti’, West European Politics 37, pp1265-1266; della Porta, D. et al, Movement Parties Against Austerity, p.65. 16 Anduiza et al, ‘Economic Crisis, Populist Attitudes, and the Birth of Podemos in Spain’, pp.63-65; Walter Kickert and Tamyko Ysa, ‘New Development: How the Spanish government responded to the global economic, banking and fiscal crisis’, Public Money and Management 34 (2014), pp.453-456. 17 della Porta et al, Movement Parties Against Austerity, p.53. 18 Anduiza et al, ‘Economic Crisis, Populist Attitudes, and the Birth of Podemos in Spain’, pp.65-67; Stefano Fell and Carlo Ruzza (2013), ‘Populism and the Fall of the Centre-Right in Italy: The End of Berlusconi or a New Beginning?’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies 21, pp.38-52 (p.50). 19 della Porta, D. et al, (2017), Movement Parties Against Austerity, p. 49. 14


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representation can be further demonstrated by the ‘remarkably stable’ levels of support before the economic recession.20 The rise of the anti-systemic parties did not occur automatically following the crisis of representation but following several years when large social movements and local struggles had been active.21 These campaigns were part of, or coincided with, as was the circumstances in Italy, a reaction of hundreds of thousands of people against this crisis of representation: the undemocratically imposed austerity and an out of touch political class. The parties in question became synonymous with these campaigns as they actively supported them or, as in the case of Podemos, sprung directly from them. In turn the frustration of citizens from a lack of representation translated into support for these anti-austerity parties. Thus, in this next part of the essay I shall discuss these campaigns and how they provided the catalyst for the success of antisystemic parties. In Greece, there was a diffusion of local initiatives and nation-wide campaigns that came to represent a ‘symbolic role as struggles against austerity’. 22 There were, for example, several struggles supported by SYRIZA that gained national awareness. One particularly notable example was when, in 2011, the Samaras government decided, in order to reduce state expenditure, to close down the public broadcasting company ERT. In response some of the workers decided to occupy the workplaces across the country and continued to broadcast. It gained mass public support and the government’s reputation was hurt when it forcibly removed workers from the workplace in Athens. SYRIZA actively supported the ERT workers and people turned towards the party in the hope of resolving the situation.23 Another example included the “I’m not paying movement”, the civil disobedience movement in which Greeks actively avoided paying tolls on roads and charges for public transport out of protest against austerity and an unrepresentative political class. 24 Resistance to austerity also took the form of the creation of a ‘grassroots solidarity economy’. This included worker cooperatives and social hospitals which treated vulnerable people.25 In such struggles against the

20

Diego Muro and Guillem Vidal, ‘Political mistrust in southern Europe since the Great Recession’, Mediterranean Politics 22 (2017), pp.197-217 (p.213). 21 della Porta, D. et al, (2017) Movement Parties Against Austerity, p.59; Markou, G. (2017), ‘The Rise of Inclusionary Populism in Europe: The Case of SYRIZA’, Contemporary Southeastern Europe 4, p.60. 22 della Porta D. et al, (2017), Movement Parties Against Austerity, p.55. 23 Ovenden, K. (2015), SYRIZA, pp. 59-62. 24 Panaviotakis, M. (2015), ‘The Radical Left in Greece’, Socialism and Democracy 29, p.37; Chrisafis, A. (2011), ‘Greece debt crisis: The ‘we won’t pay’ anti-austerity revolt’, The Guardian. 25 Panaviotakis, M. (2015), ‘The Radical Left in Greece’, p.38; for an example of a notable worker cooperative at the time see the Vio.Me factory: http://www.viome.org/2013/06/viome-self-organization-in-greece-short.html [accessed on 24/03/2018]


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crisis of representation many Greeks had come into contact and had been influenced by the radical left and this was pivotal in SYRIZA’s victory.26 Central to both the rise of Podemos and SYRIZA, was also the “indignant citizens” anti-austerity movements (Indignados/ 15-M in Spain and Aganaktismenoi in Greece). These twin movements were a direct result of the crisis of representation. Millions mobilised to protest against ‘the glaring unresponsiveness of state institutions and existing parties’ and how this “unresponsiveness” had enabled ‘financial and political oligarchies’ to implement austerity policies. These movements claimed that as a result their rights as citizens had been stolen by these oligarchies and they demanded that citizens’ rights should be enhanced to protect people’s welfare and to include direct-democracy. The “Indignant citizens” to a large extent “fueled” the success of SYRIZA and Podemos and their programmes were influenced by them.27 In fact Podemos’ formation was based on the 15-M.28 As the leader of Podemos put it: ‘the principal expression of this regime crisis was the 15-M movement… its principal political expression has been Podemos’.29 Whilst there was no “Indignant citizens” movement or any other similar nation-wide anti-austerity protests in Italy on an equivalent scale to Spain and Greece, the M5S’ rapid growth owes much to its involvement in local campaigns. The M5S’ success was based on how it supported local campaigns and related this local frustration to the wider national public discontent with the crisis of representation. The M5S, on the one hand, campaigned against the “political caste” and the undemocratic technocratic government as well as neoliberal reforms and austerity, salient arguments which reflected the interests of many Italians. Whilst, on the other, it would support local campaigns, often concerning the environment. One particular example was the M5S’ involvement in protesting against the construction of a high-speed railway in Piedmont, a long-running campaign there. The M5S exploited this local issue and framed the project ordered by the technocratic government as a corrupt scheme of the political caste.30 Furthermore, the M5S’ debt to engagement with local campaigns is pivotal to its success as well because it attracted many

26

Ovenden, K. (2015), SYRIZA, pp.63-64. Gerbaudo, P. (2017) ‘the indignant citizen: anti-austerity movements in southern Europe and the anti-oligarchic reclaiming of citizenship’, Social Movement Studies 16, pp.37-38 and 46-48; Panaviotakis, M. (2015), ‘The Radical Left in Greece’, pp.35-36. 28 della Porta, D. et al (2017), Movement Parties Against Austerity, p.62. 29 Iglesias, P. (2015), ‘Understanding Podemos’, New Left Review 93, p.10. 30 Lanzone, L. and Woods, D. (2015), ‘Riding the populist Web: Contextualising the Five Star Movement (M5S) in Italy’, Politics and Governance 3, pp.57-61; Conti, N. and Memoli, V. (2015), ‘The Emergence of a New Party in the Italian Party System: Rise and Fortunes of the Five Star Movement’, West European Politics 38, pp.522-525 and p.529; Hooper, J. (2012), ‘Italy’s high-speed train under the Alps gather pace’. 27


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of its members from local activists. There was very much a ‘convergence’ between campaigners and the M5S.31 In conclusion, I have asserted that the recent success of anti-systemic parties derives from a crisis of representation which severely hurt voters’ support for established political parties. I first detailed how this crisis arose from the undemocratic implementation of austerity, as all three states succumbed to pressure from supranational bodies, and how it was further exacerbated by political corruption. Secondly, I described how in turn, a number of struggles and social movements emerged which were the product of or occurred at the same time as large-scale public frustration at this crisis. In doing so I illustrated how these campaigns provided the catalyst for the parties’ success. The parties became synonymous with the movements and thus the mass popular support of the movements transferred to support for the parties and provided the means for their electoral success. References Anduiza, E et al, (2018) ‘Economic Crisis, Populist Attitudes, and the Birth of Podemos in Spain’, in Marco Giugni and Maria Grasso, eds., Citizens and the Crisis Experiences: Perceptions, and Responses to the Great Recession in Europe ed. By Marco Giugni and Maria Grasso London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 61-81. Chrisafis, A. (2011), ‘Greece debt crisis: The ‘we won’t pay’ anti-austerity revolt’, The Guardian, [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/31/greece-debt-crisis-anti-austerity [Accessed 24/03/2018]. Conti, N. and Memoli, V. (2015), ‘The Emergence of a New Party in the Italian Party System: Rise and Fortunes of the Five Star Movement’, West European Politics 38, 516-534. Culpepper P. (2014), ‘The Political Economy of Unmediated Democracy: Italian Austerity under Mario Monti’, West European Politics 37, 1264-1281. Della Porta, D. et al (2017), Movement Parties Against Austerity, Cambridge: Polity Press. Fell, S. and Ruzza C. (2013), ‘Populism and the Fall of the Centre-Right in Italy: The End of Berlusconi or a New Beginning?’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies 21, 38-52. Gerbaudo, P. (2017), ‘the indignant citizen: anti-austerity movements in southern Europe and the anti-oligarchic reclaiming of citizenship’, Social Movement Studies 16, 36-50. Hooper, J. (2011), ‘Mario Monti’s technocrats: profiles of the new Italian cabinet’, The Guardian, [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/nov/16/mario-monti-cabinet-members?newsfeed=true [Accessed 23/03/2018].

31

Mosca, L. and Calderoni, V. (2012), ‘A Year of Social Movements in Italy: From the “NO TAVs” to the Five Star Movement’, Italian Politics 28, pp.278-279 and p.281.


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Hooper, J. (2012), ‘Italy’s high-speed train under the Alps gather pace’, The Guardian, [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/09/italy-high-speed-train-line-alps [Accessed 27/03/2018]. Iglesias, P. (2015), ‘Understanding Podemos’, New Left Review 93, 5-22. Iglesias, P. (2015), Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of a Democratic Europe, London: Verso. Kickert, W. and Ysa, T. (2014), ‘New Development: How the Spanish government responded to the global economic, banking and fiscal crisis’, Public Money and Management 34, 453-457. Lanzone, L. and Woods, D. (2015) ‘Riding the populist Web: Contextualising the Five Star Movement (M5S) in Italy’, Politics and Governance 3, 54-64. Markou, G. (2017), ‘The Rise of Inclusionary Populism in Europe: The Case of SYRIZA’, Contemporary Southeastern Europe 4, 54-71. Mosca, L. and Calderoni, V. (2012), ‘A Year of Social Movements in Italy: From the “NO TAVs” to the Five Star Movement’, Italian Politics 28, 267-285. Muro, D. and Vidal, G. (2017), ‘Political mistrust in southern Europe since the Great Recession’, Mediterranean Politics 22, 197-217. Ovenden, K. (2015), SYRIZA: Inside the Labyrinth, London: Pluto Press. Panaviotakis, M. (2015), ‘The Radical Left in Greece’, Socialism and Democracy 29, 25-43. Petrelli, F. (2013), ‘The True Cost of Austerity and Inequality: Italy Case Study’, [Online] Available at:https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cs-true-cost-austerity-inequality-italy-120913en.pdf [Accessed 22/03/2018]. Summers, L. (2012), ‘Growth not austerity is best remedy for Europe’, [Online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/dbb65da8-9062-11e1-8adc-00144feab49a [Accessed on 27/03/2018]. The First Economic Adjustment programme for Greece (May 2010), [Online] Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/occasional_paper/2010/pdf/ocp61_en.pdf [Accessed on 24/03/2018]. The Second Economic Adjustment programme for Greece (March 2012), [Online] Available at:http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/occasional_paper/2012/pdf/ocp94_en.pdf [Accessed on 24/03/2018]. The Vio.Me Factory, [Online] Available at: http://www.viome.org/2013/06/viome-self-organization-in-greeceshort.html [Accessed on 24/03/2018]. UNICEF Office of Research (2014), ‘Children of the Recession, Innocenti Report Card 12’, [Online] Available at: https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc12-eng-web.pdf [Accessed on 21/03/2018]. Varoufakis, Y. (2017), Adults in the Room: My battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment, London: Bodley Head. Verney, S. and Bosco, A. (2013) ‘Living Parallel Lives: Italy and Greece in an Age of Austerity, Southern European Society and Politics 18, pp.397-426.


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Why Did Individuals Vote for Both Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016? An In-Depth Study of Wisconsin.

Rhiannon Orton, 2nd Year Essay, BA Politics and International Relations

Abstract: This research project studies the 2016 Presidential Election. It focuses on voters in Wisconsin who voted for both Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016, as it seems surprising that these two candidates would share voters. It takes a case study framework using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data and analysis to discover both the characteristics of these voters and the reasons behind their vote. It finds that the majority of these voters are white, educated to high school level, and in employment, or in other words, the white working class. Reasons behind their vote are predominantly down to economic issues. It is centred more around their personal experience of the economy e.g. house prices and jobs, rather than national economic circumstances. Trump’s campaign effectively latched onto this whereas Clinton’s fell short. The Democrats are no longer seen in Wisconsin as the party which helps the working class.

The 2016 USA Presidential Election took place within highly emotional and turbulent social and economic conditions and confronted the US electorate with an exceptionally important political choice. The vastly different policy proposals and ideological stances of the opposing candidates gave rise to many significant

issues

and

will

have

huge,

long-lasting,

domestic

and

global

impacts.

The election of Trump, a highly controversial political figure, came as a shock to much of America, along with the international community. Poll data had predicted a clear and decisive victory for Clinton. This has prompted many scholars to research how and why Trump won the 2016 election from different ontological and epistemological stances. They have credited different factors to explain why individuals voted for Trump. These range from sexism and leadership to particular demographics, to name a few. Undeniably, each would have had an impact on the election. However, this research project intends to focus on which issues, or combination of issues, were the biggest decisive factor for those who had previously voted for Obama (in 2012) voting for Trump in the vital rustbelt states. This is a particularly interesting phenomenon as it previously would have seemed highly unlikely that an individual would vote for two such diametrically opposed candidates. They come from


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opposing political parties and hold vastly different political stances on issues, e.g. Obama tried to advance climate change policy whereas Trump denies that climate change is occurring; Trump openly opposes Obamacare; Obama believes women have the right to an abortion, Trump does not. However, it should be made clear that this study will not be comparing the two elections, nor will it be searching for similarities between the two candidates. The fact that these voters cast their two ballots in two opposing ways is interesting in itself, but also their actions potentially altered the course of the 2016 election. This margin of voters could have made the difference between a Trump or Clinton presidency. The rustbelt states are a group of states in the northeast that once had thriving commerce, but economic and industrial decline, urban decay and population loss have led to deprivation. The rustbelt can be a key region in US presidential elections because it contains a number of swing states. Furthermore, it was of importance in 2016 due to the nature of the US’s electoral system. Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. This is because Trump won the necessary amount of electoral college votes. The rustbelt states were instrumental in helping him achieve this. Wisconsin is of interest as it has a strong recent history of voting Democrat and prior to the event was viewed as a certain Clinton stronghold, a ‘blue curtain’ state. However, in 2016 it voted Republican for the first time since 1984. Trump won this state by a small margin of less than one percent, therefore, Obama/Democrat defectors could have changed the outcome of this result. This report will consider the scholarly literature to lay the foundation for the project; discovering the different and main themes being discussed in academia as to why individuals were persuaded to vote for Trump. It will then identify and justify the methodological approach to be used when analysing data from which additional conclusions will be drawn. Literature Review Trump’s success has attracted many scholars to research the broader question of why and how individuals were persuaded to vote for such a controversial figure. Some solely focus on Trump, but many approach the question from the other side of the coin, analysing why citizens didn’t vote for Clinton. The approach taken can give an initial insight into whether they believe that Trump won the election, Clinton lost it, or if it was a mixture of the two. Numerous factors have been put forward and as many of these as possible were examined to select a number of reasons, which look both justifiable and which regularly appear in the literature. These include sexism, the working class, the campaigns and the personalities of the opposing candidates although as yet there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on any one factor.


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Bock, Bryd-Craven and Burkley focused on the obstacles facing female candidates, but particularly Clinton, when running as a 2016 presidential candidate.1 They analysed the role sexism played in voting behaviour from a poststructuralist feminist standpoint. Though significant strides have been made in the representation for women in government in recent history, it is still pitifully low. Women currently make up 19.6% of Congress.2 Therefore, the authors surmise that many associate leadership with men but see women as caregivers. This fits in with general gender studies. Spike-Peterson writes that religions and patriarchal states view women as loving caregivers and devoted dependants.3 It is not taken well when these norms are violated and a ‘backlash effect’ can be felt. For example, there was much rhetoric of people questioning whether a woman i.e. Clinton, would be temperamentally fit to hold a position in office. ‘There’s got to be some downside to having a woman president, right? Something – something that may not fit with that office, correct?’

4

Trump utilised this. Devinatz points out that his campaign featured rhetoric containing

racist, sexist and misogynistic pleas.5 ‘Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?’.6 However, Devinatz goes onto highlight that there were many failings in Clinton’s campaign which allowed Trump to gain the vote of what became a significant demographic.7 It is important to distinguish between people being prejudiced against Clinton due to her being a woman and simply not liking her as a candidate or not agreeing with her policy proposals. This may be hard to judge due to the tendency of some to use derogatory language towards an individual who has different views and opinions. Paul F. Clark calls attention to the key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where Clinton only lost by 107,105 votes out of a total of 14 million cast.8 He claims that evidence suggests that a defection of white working -class voters to Trump from Obama, caused her to lose. Her campaign failed to attract this demographic, particularly in the economically stagnant rustbelt states as she failed to address economic issues sufficiently. Instead, according to Devinatz she focused upon creating a coalition of ethnic minorities and white-college educated voters. ‘Either Clinton believed that she did not need the support of white

1

Bock, J., Byrd-Craven, J. and Burkley, M. (2017), “The Role of Sexism in Voting in the 2016 Presidential Election”, Personality and Individual Differences, 119, pp. 189-193. 2 Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics (2018), “Women in the US Congress 2018”. 3 Spike Peterson, V. (2005), “How (the Meaning of) Gender Matters in Political Economy”, New Political Economy,10:4, pp.499-521. 4 Benan, S. (2014), “MSNBC: O’Reilly ponders ‘downsides’ to women presidents”. 5 Bruno, R. (2017), “Organized Labor, the Working Class, and the 2016 Presidential Election”, Labour Studies Journal, 3:42, pp.200-206. 6 Solotaroff, P. (2015), “Rolling Stone: Trump Seriously: On the Trail With the GOP's Tough Guy”. 7 Bruno, R. (2017), “Organized Labor, the Working Class, and the 2016 Presidential Election”. 8 Ibid.


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workers to attain the presidency or she took their votes for granted’.9 Trump’s commitment to attracting industry and bringing manufacturing back to the rustbelt won him important votes. Conversely, although Fording agrees that the white working-class votes were important (especially in the Rustbelt states), he disputes the reasons behind their supporting Trump.10 He provides empirical evidence to demonstrate that Trump’s campaign successfully managed to exploit low-information voters (including the white-working class) who had little prior knowledge of politics and so based their vote upon emotions rather than fact, e.g. the fear of immigrants and refugees. If we are to accept Bock, Bryd-Craven and Burkley, then Trump was able to exploit those already prejudiced against Clinton due to her gender, and it may therefore follow that he was also able to tap into the average citizen’s fears.11 However, it should be noted that this appears to assume that there is a certain, correct way to conduct politics; when voting one should be making a rational, rather than emotional choice. To say someone has little knowledge of politics you have to have an idea of what politics is. Even if his claims are based upon evidence they have conducted e.g. interview data, the questions asked will still be based on a model of politics that has already been predetermined. Nai and Maier claim that the 2016 election showed unprecedented levels of scrutiny of the candidates themselves and so in this election the perception of their personalities was crucial. 12 Qualities such as openness, agreeableness and emotional stability were measured and cross-examined with another study. Both had similar conclusions adding validity to the study. Both Fording’s work and Nai and Maier’s demonstrate that politics is changing. Political analysts and commentators predicted a victory for Clinton so perhaps their view of how people understand politics is too narrow and hasn’t adjusted quickly enough to comprehend modern elections.13 To conclude, the sources analysed above give a range of reasons for why individuals voted for Trump. Though their focus is different e.g. sexism or campaign failure, often some overlap can be found. Common aspects such as the importance of the white working-class can be identified, even though different reasons for this are given. Some say how interesting it is that people voted for Obama and Trump but don’t go into detail. A number of factors raised in these sources could have contributed to this, but it will be interesting 9

Ibid. Fording, R. (2017), “The Cognitive and Emotional Sources of Trump Support: The Case of Low-Information Voters”, New Political Science, pp.1-17. 11 Bock, J., Byrd-Craven, J. and Burkley, M. (2017), “The Role of Sexism in Voting in the 2016 Presidential Election”. 12 Maier, J. Nai, A. (2018), “Perceived Personality and Campaign Style of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump”, Personality and Individual Differences, 121, pp.80-83. 13 Fording, R. (2017), “The Cognitive and Emotional Sources of Trump Support: The Case of Low-Information Voters”, New Political Science, pp.1-17; Maier,J. Nai, A. (2018), “The Role of Sexism in Voting in the 2016 Presidential Election”. 10


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to see which, or combination of which, was the biggest decisive factor. Many also give mention to the rustbelt states or base their work in this pivotal region, but, there is a tendency to discuss it as a homogenous block rather than analysing the states individually. A more direct and detailed analysis of this region could be of value. This is where this research project seeks to fill a gap in the existing literature; Wisconsin will be studied in detail. Methodology This research project will take a case study approach. It requires an in-depth analysis of one case, this being the Obama-Trump voters in Wisconsin. The subject is the voters and the object is why they voted the way that they did. This case has been chosen to study as it is exceptionally different from the norm. It was not expected that the two candidates would share voters. Thomas calls this an outlier case study.14 This research project is based on an empirical question and so will be conducted as an empirical study. It requires the analysis of data in order to provide an answer. This will be done by using a mixed method approach with both qualitative and quantitative data and analysis. This best fits the aims of the research project; it is not only important to find out who the people who voted for Trump and Obama are, but also why they made this decision. A mixed method approach allows for this expansion of the scope of study. Indeed, assumptions can be made about why individuals voted for Obama and Trump when researching such individuals e.g. race, education level, but, a qualitative analysis directly from one such individual will make conclusions more defensible and no longer just speculative assumptions. It can also provide answers that simple datasets may not be able to provide. The theoretical approach will also be multi-faceted. The section which identifies who the people who voted for both Obama and Trump are, will take a positivist approach. In order to do this, statistical data will be used and obtained objectively. Who they are will be recorded without the need for interpretation. However, when questioning why these individuals voted the way they did, an interpretivist framework will be used as the basis. This will be done using qualitative data and analysis. It is important to understand the meanings, motives and reasons of the citizens who voted for Obama and Trump in this study. The aim of interpretivist research is not to generalise and forecast causes and effects, rather to infer and understand the meanings in human actions.15 There will be a fundamental epistemological belief that social processes are not quantifiable and can be interpreted in many different ways. 14

Thomas, G. (2017), How to do your Research Project: A Guide for Students, London: Sage Publications, pp.159. Hudson, L. and Ozanne, J. (1988), “Alternative Ways of Seeking Knowledge in Consumer Research�, Journal of Consumer Research, 14:4, pp.508-521. 15


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Data collection/ Sources A nation-wide survey dataset has been selected to study. The survey was conducted by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group in partnership with YouGov. 8,000 voting-age people were interviewed from across all states. This survey included questions about who citizens voted for in both 2012 and 2016. It is possible with some manipulation, to identify those who voted for both Obama (in 2012) and Trump. This will make it a suitable piece of data for this specific research project. The survey data set also provided information about characteristics such as gender, ethnicity and level of education; variables which have been identified as important in terms of voting behaviour. In addition, voters were asked questions for reasons behind their vote. In a survey of 8,000 the figure for ObamaTrump voters is likely to be a small. Although this study wants to focus on such voters in Wisconsin, the figure of these voters in one particular state is likely to be too small for a valid and worthwhile analysis. Consequently, this data will only be able to provide a nation-wide result of Obama-Trump voters, but it will show the general pattern. However, it should be noted that these 8000 people will not be a perfect representation of the entire population. If this study were to be expanded, a primary collection of data, with a larger number of respondents in Wisconsin itself, should be conducted. A secondary interview conducted by the politics department of the University of Virginia will be examined. This data source was used and referenced by an article by the Washington Post read in preliminary research.16 It has been moderated by Public Opinion Strategies which is one of the nation's leading public opinion research firms. It is comprised of a focus group of 10 Obama-Trump voters in the state of (Oak Creek) Wisconsin. In the focus group all members fit the criteria of Obama-Trump voters. This means that answers are obtained from the people who are of relevance to the study. Using a focus group interview allows the research to draw directly upon such voter’s beliefs and attitudes surrounding the election and to help understand why they chose to vote the way they did. Finally, an online video interview of a Wisconsin farmer will be studied. It was conducted by journalist Nicolle Wallace for the Today programme. The Today programme is an American news and talk TV programme which airs on NBC. It was identified due to the subject fitting into the focus group of this study so well. The farmer works and resides in the state of Wisconsin and previously voted for Obama in 2012. The one-on-one scenario reduces the possibility that a participant might be led or intimidated by others taking part. It means that the interviewee has to rely upon their own thinking and information.

16

Blake, R. (2017), “Washington Post: 13 remarkable quotes from people who voted for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump”.


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However, the knowledge that it will be broadcast on national TV may mean that the interviewee censors himself and isn’t necessarily as open as he may be in a situation where he could guarantee his anonymity. Data Analysis: The statistical analysis software programme SPSS was used to create a new variable which identified those of the survey who had voted for both Obama and Trump. This was then used to cross-reference with other data such as reasons for voting. Firstly, the variables for voting in 2012 and in 2016 had to be split to discover how many of those surveyed had voted for each candidate. Once figures for those who voted for Obama and those who voted for Trump, in their respective years, had been obtained, the data could be examined to discover how many from such groups had voted for both candidates, i.e. the Obama-Trump voters. The new variable created from the Democracy Funds Voter Study Group’s survey dataset revealed that 3.2% or 254 people out of 8000 people surveyed voted for both Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016.17 Crosstabs were then carried out on SPSS in order to discover information about these voters. Crosstabs work well, especially for this study as the aggregation of data when cross examining the variable with another enables the study of the nature of relationship between the two, or lack thereof. The ObamaTrump variable could be cross-examined with others such as education level, ethnicity and ideology. This then allows a picture to be drawn of which traits or characteristics the average Obama-Trump voter possesses and additionally some explanation for why they voted the way they did. From this analysis it was found that the majority of respondents were white (87.7%). When asked about highest level of education, the category with the main response, 94 out of 254, (37%) were ‘high school graduates’, this was 41 points ahead of the second category of ‘some college’ (53). In terms of employment the two highest categories were ‘full time’ (86/254 -34%) and ‘retired’ (31%). Only 2 of the respondents were students. These statistics appear to be in tune with the white working-class theories put forward by academics such as Clark and Devinatz.18 They, along with other scholars, claim that the white working-class’s support was the most significant factor in getting Trump into office. This data suggests that the majority of people who switched from Democrat to Republican, fit this demographic. Respondents were offered 11 options for which issue they considered the most important when voting. 99 people (39%, the largest group) chose the economy. Therefore, this could also be drawn upon to build upon the white working-class theory. Devinatz argued that Clinton failed to sufficiently address 17 18

Democracy Fund Voter Study Group (2017), “Views of the Electorate Research Survey: December 16”. Bruno, R. (2017).


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economic issues, which would have affected this group, such as deindustrialisation. 19 However, a true correlation cannot be drawn here. Further research would have to be conducted to ascertain exactly what respondents meant by ‘the economy’.

Most important issue when voting in 2016 for Obama-Trump voters.

Economy

Immigration

The Enviroment

Terrorism

Education

Healthcare

Social Security

The budget deficit

Taxes

Medicare

Abortion

When analysing the group and online individual interview, discourse analysis will be used. Taylor describes discourse analysis as the ‘the close study of language and language use as evidence of aspects of society and social life’.20 It will use speech as evidence of current political context beyond the individual person and can be used as a means to access a collective, though not indubitably coherent, world view of society. This method will benefit the study as it offers a way to investigate meaning behind a person’s vote. However, meaning is never fixed, it is open to interpretation and so this interpretation of the data could differ to that of another. The group was asked at what point they thought that Trump would make a good President, before he became a presidential candidate, when he announced, or after he started running. The main answer was ‘after’. From this it could be inferred that his campaign did have an impact. It successfully brought round people that were at first dubious. ‘I thought it was funny when he announced he was running for President, to be honest with you. Yeah. I really chuckled. I was like is this seriously who we have to vote for?’ Some of the quotes below show what such voters drew from some of his key campaign slogans, messages which evidently

19 20

Ibid. Taylor, S. (2013), “What is Discourse Analysis?”, London: Bloomsbury Publishing”, p.4.


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resonated with them. The very fact that they use them as answers to questions that have not directly addressed the slogans shows how effective they were. ‘What makes him (Trump) different? What are some of the issues where he differs from traditional Republican issues?’ MAN: ‘I think he's looking to make America great as trying to help the middle class. I guess we're, you think of Republicans, they're always the ones that are looking out for the people that make the big money and the big corporations so that they can get their more breaks. I think, really, he's one, he's made his money. He knows, really, what's going on and maybe trying to help the middle class raise up a little more.’21 The term working class is often substituted with middle class in America, so it will be taken that this is what this man means when he refers to the middle class. When talking about this demographic he uses the term ‘we’ and so evidently places himself into this category. This individual has interpreted ‘make America great again’ as helping alleviate the concerns of the ordinary citizen (not other issues such as foreign policy). The quote above and the evidence from the survey data (economy the biggest factor) suggests that people voted for Trump as they viewed him as the best candidate to create an economy they wanted. ‘I hope so. I would like to see us all, like we were talking before, the House and the Senate, I don't care who's the President, the House and Senate rule this country. And until the President can get them on the same page somehow and work for the people, whoever is there, it's never going to change. They've got to start working for us, because we're the ones that put them there.’22 This is the answer given by a man when asked if he believed that Trump will change the way things work in Washington. One of Trump’s famous slogans was ‘drain the swamp’. This resonated with a lot of people as it was felt that there was a political class working for their personal benefit, which this man’s answer seems to support. It implies that there does need to be change, and could offer a potential reason for his vote for Trump.

21 22

Trump/Obama Voters Focus Group (2017), “Public Opinion Strategies for Sabato’s Crystal Ball”, p.43. Ibid., p.26.


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‘well we always thought the Democrat was for the working people, I don’t think that’s the case anymore. They forgot about us’.23 The word ‘thought’ implies that this man feels that he has been deceived. This could be down to the fact that over the period of Obama’s presidency a lot of Wisconsin’s population experienced declining industry, falling incomes and lack of jobs for their families. However, Obama’s message of ‘Hope’ conjures the opposite image. Obama’s policy of free trade agreements may have resulted in an increase in jobs and livelihood in other states but in Wisconsin it involved losses, i.e. the moving of industry. This type of action could have inspired the phrase, ‘they forgot about us’. It could also be fuelled by the fact that Clinton failed to visit the state. Conclusion The Obama-Trump voters may have been a small percentage of the population, but they were an important demographic in the election. Due to small margins, the Wisconsin voters could have potentially altered the outcome of their state’s vote. The majority of this group in Wisconsin seem to come from a traditional working-class background. Research shows that the main issue that these voters were concerned with in Wisconsin, but also nationally, was the economy. However, it wasn’t broader economic issues such as corporation tax it was the personal. Peston sums this mindset up well, ‘Their greatest ambition is owning a home, they feel ashamed at the thought of unemployment and going on benefits, they resent those that go on benefits’.24 In Wisconsin, these things are not as attainable as they once were due to deindustrialisation. Clinton and the Democrats failed to address this sufficiently. This left voters believing that they were no longer the party for the working people. Trump’s campaign managed to address these desires successfully. He spoke of bringing industry back and making the system work to benefit them. It managed to convert previously dubious voters, many of whom admitted to being life-long Democrats to vote for Trump. The use of soundbites such as, ‘make America great again’, seems to have been particularly effective. Obama-Trump voters switched allegiance due to specific economic issues which Trump’s campaign was successful at tapping. They felt more valued and understood in Trump’s campaign than Clintons. The Obama-Trump voters have often been labelled as ‘swing voters’, meaning someone who has no party affiliation and switches party allegiance at every election. However, this paper has demonstrated that many of these voters do not fall under this definition. In fact, many such voters in Wisconsin were lifelong

23 24

YouTube (2017), “Wisconsin Farmer Reveals Why He Abandoned Democrats: In Trump They Trust”. Peston, R. (2017), “WTF”, London: Hodder and Stroughton, p.123.


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Democrats who had begun to feel left behind and craved change. In part, this led to the unexpected election of Donald Trump. References Benan, S. (2014), MSNBC: O’Reilly ponders ‘downsides’ to women presidents. Available at: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/oreilly-ponders-downsides-women-leaders, (Accessed:28.12.2017). Blake, R. (2017), Washington Post: 13 remarkable quotes from people who voted for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/05/04/13-remarkable-quotesfrom-people-who-voted-for-both-barack-obama-and-donald-trump/?utm_term=.65411665cd84, (Accessed: 01.12.2017). Bock, J., Byrd-Craven, J., and Burkley, M. (2017), “The Role of Sexism in Voting in the 2016 Presidential Election”, Personality and Individual Differences, 119, pp. 189-193. Bruno, R. (2017), “Introduction: Organized Labor, the Working Class, and the 2016 Presidential Election”, Labour Studies Journal, 3:42, pp.200-206. Democracy Fund Voter Study Group (2017), Views of the Electorate Research Survey: December 16. Available at: https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publications/2016-elections/data, (Accessed: 15.12.2017). Fording, R. (2017), “The Cognitive and Emotional Sources of Trump Support: The Case of Low-Information Voters”, New Political Science, pp.1-17. Hudson, L. and Ozanne, J. (1988), “Alternative Ways of Seeking Knowledge in Consumer Research”, Journal of Consumer Research, 14:4, pp.508-521. Kitzinger, J. (1994), “The Methodology of Focus Groups: The Importance of Interaction between Research Participants”, Sociology of Health and Illness, 16:1, pp. 103-121. Maier,J. and Nai, A. (2018), “Perceived Personality and Campaign Style of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump”, Personality and Individual Differences, 121, pp.80-83. Peston, R. (2017), WTF. London: Hodder and Stroughton. Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics (2018), Women in the US Congress 2018, Available at: http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/women-us-congress-2018 (Accessed: 12/12/2017). Solotaroff, P. (2015), Rolling Stone: Trump Seriously: On the Trail With the GOP's Tough Guy. Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trump-seriously-20150909, (Accessed: 28.12.2017). Spike Peterson, V. (2005), “How (the Meaning of) Gender Matters in Political Economy”, New Political Economy,10:4, pp.499-521 Taylor, S. (2013), What is Discourse Analysis? London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Thomas, G. (2017), How to do your Research Project: A Guide for Students. 3rd edn. London: Sage Publications.


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Trump/Obama Voters Focus Group (2017), Public Opinion Strategies for Sabato’s Crystal Ball [Online] Available at: http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/taking-the-temperature-on-trump-part-2/ (Accessed: 10.12.2017). Van Elsas, E., Lubbe, R., van der Meer, T. and Van Der Brug, W. (2014), “Vote Recall: A Panel Study on the Mechanisms That Explain Vote Recall Inconsistency”, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 26:1, pp. 18–40. Wisconsin Farmer Reveals Why He Abandoned Democrats: In Trump They Trust (2017), YouTube video, added by Today [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAtp6wCbtqE (Accessed 29.12.2017).


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From ‘Pitiful People’ to ‘Security Situation’: the Transformation in Meaning of ‘Refugees’ Amongst Britain’s Political Elite, 1938-2015

Moses Seitler, 3rd Year dissertation BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Abstract: This paper examines how British parliamentarians have constructed and communicated the meaning of ‘refugees’. Adopting a discursive institutionalist approach, it investigates the nexus between this meaning and the institutional context that partly constitutes it. The method of investigation is a comparative discourse analysis of two parliamentary debates in the House of Commons, both of which served to legitimise policy decisions regarding refugee policy in 1938 and 2015. The analysis illuminates how specific ideas about refugees are constructed in their specific temporal contexts, and how they have changed or maintained in their orientation towards institutions. The results suggest a partial explanation for a policy discrepancy between the two periods. MP’s in 2015 discursively challenge the victimhood of refugees and construct them as a security threat, which serves to reconceptualize their interests and thereby the institution of refugee protection, such that resettlement in Britain is deprioritized behind indirect assistance. The results also suggest that the (verbal) elite political discourse in Britain regarding refugees has become less elaborate and more schismatic over time.

Introduction Addressing a small public event in March 2018, 92-year-old Leslie Brent rose to his feet to declare, ‘It’s a total disgrace. How can the government be doing this?’.1 Brent was criticizing the government’s decision to limit the number of child refugees resettled in Britain under the ‘Dubs scheme’ to 480.2 For Britain to take comparatively so few angered Brent and disappointed Lord Alf Dubs, whose parliamentary amendment established the scheme. Both men arrived in Britain on the Kindertransport in the 1930’s, when the then UK government relaxed visa controls for 10,000 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

1

New Israel Fund (2018), ‘For We Were Strangers: Asylum Seekers and the Jewish State’, New Israel Fund UK, [public event] 26th March 2018, 19:00, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London. 2 Home Office (2018), Policy Statement: Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016.


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This paper helps to explain the policy discrepancy between now and then in terms of the ideas and discourse regarding refugees. It answers Brent’s question by demonstrating how political elites form the discursive landscape in which policy decisions are made and presented to the public. They do so with the political currency of ideas, which give definitions to (parliamentary) interests and meaning to political reality.3 Crucially, ‘ideas themselves do not determine the outcome’.4 Theorists are quick to clarify the fact that the causal relationship between discourse and policy change is muddied by the contested power of ideas, and the influence of other variables in instigating institutional change.5 As such, I focus on the nature of and change in the ideas and discourse as a distinct field of enquiry, analysing how they constitute the context in which policy is constructed and communicated. Some ideas (some of the time) become embedded in formal and informal institutions, while others are subject to revision, as agents discursively dispute their meaning.6 My specific research question, therefore, is how have British parliamentarians constructed and communicated the meaning of ‘refugees’, and how has that formed the institution of their protection? To answer this question, I employ a discursive institutionalist framework, which seeks to examine ‘the substantive content of ideas and the interactive processes of discourse in institutional context’. 7 The structure of the paper begins by establishing the discourse-theoretical basis on which the framework relies, and the analytical tools employed for analysis of this sort. The second and third chapters investigate the 1938 and 2015 debate respectively. My intention therein is to demonstrate how specific ideas have been presented at different times, and how those ideas have been reconceptualized over time. The final chapter summarizes the results of the analyses and discusses their ramifications for discursive institutionalism as a framework, and for elite British political discourse more broadly. Taken together, the

3

Béland, D and Cox, R.H. (2010), “Introduction: Ideas and Politics” In Béland, D and Cox, R.H (Eds), Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.3-19. 4 Blyth, M. (1997), ‘"Any More Bright Ideas?" The Ideational Turn of Comparative Political Economy’, Comparative Politics, Vol.29, No.2, pp.229-250. 5 Carstensen, M. and Schmidt, V.A. (2016), “Power through, over and in ideas: conceptualizing ideational power in discursive institutionalism”, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 23, No.3, pp.318–337; Schmidt, V.A. (2002), The Futures of European Capitalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Blyth, M. (2002), Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 6 Béland, D and Cox, R.H. (2010), ‘Ideas and Politics’, pp.3-19. 7 Schmidt, V.A. (2011a), “Discursive Institutionalism: Scope, Dynamics and Philosophical Underpinnings”, In Fischer, F. and Forester, J. (Eds.), The Argumentative Turn Revised: Public Policy as Communicative Practice, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, p.121.


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paper offers a contribution to the academic gangplank which connects new institutionalism and ideational analysis.8 Chapter One: Theoretical Foundations Discourse Theory Discourse theory is predicated on the constructivist notion of an ‘irreducible gap between objectivity and its representation’.9 As such, rather than seeking the essence of objects and calling that knowledge, theorists focus on the process of meaning construction of those objects. This process creates ‘historically specific systems of knowledge’,10 which include social realities and social identities.11. This paper investigates the specific social identity of ‘refugee’, as constructed (in part) by British parliamentarians over time. Michel Foucault’s specifically historically situated discourse analysis illustrates the fact that context is conceptually fundamental to discourse.12 A discourse on a particular object or action is not produced - and thus cannot be understood - without the particular historical and political context in which it exists.13 It is therefore essential that a piece of discursive analysis establishes the link between individual linguistic events and the context in which they occur. Discursive Institutionalism Discursive Institutionalism is ‘an umbrella concept’,14 which groups the diverse approaches that elucidate political reality with recourse to the substantive content of ideas, and the interactive process of

8

For other examples, see Blyth, M. (2002) Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; Schmidt, V. A. (2002), Futures; Peters, B.G., Pierre, J., and King, D.S. (2005), “The Politics of Path Dependency: Political Conflict in Historical Institutionalism’, The Journal of Politics, Vol.67, No.4, pp.1275-1300. 9 Howarth, D. (1998), “Discourse Theory and Political Analysis” In Scarbrough, E and Tanenbaum, E. (Eds.) Research Strategies in the Social Sciences: A Guide to New Approaches, p.283. 10 Ibid. 11 Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. and Yates, S. J. (2001), Discourse theory and practice: A reader, London: Sage, p.3. 12 Foucault, M. (1972), The Archaeology of Knowledge, (trans.) A.M Sheridan Smith, London: Tavistock Publications Ltd. 13 Keller, R. (2012), Doing discourse research: an introduction for social scientists, London: Sage. 14 Schmidt, V.A. (2011b), “Speaking of change: why discourse is key to the dynamics of policy transformation”, Critical Policy Studies, Vol.5, No.2, p.107.


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discourse in institutional context.15 The turn to ideas and discourse as objects of research themselves reflects an attempt from within the institutionalist approach in political science to explain institutional change.16 Schmidt’s theory relies on ‘a core logic of ideational explanation to account for actions’. 17 As above, ideas are understood as ‘a cause’, rather than ‘the cause’ of policy and institutional change.18 Ideas are causal ‘beliefs held or adopted by institutions that influence their attitudes and actions’.19 Schmidt argues that they exist at three different levels of generality. Specific ‘policy solutions’ address the problems that are defined and framed by ‘programmatic ideas’.20 Both are underpinned by ‘public philosophies’ that organize society’s values and repositories of knowledge.21 At this most basic level, agents are constrained by their ‘background ideas’,22 which give meaning to certain contexts and act as filters through which possible political action is conceptualized.23 Concurrently, however, agents utilize their ‘foreground discursive abilities’ to reinterpret and adjust those ideas.24 The interplay between these ideas is responsible, at least in part, for institutional change. In addition to the set of ideas and values that are shared by political actors, discursive institutionalism considers the agents themselves, and the methods of their discursive interaction.25 Within this process, ‘ideational elements’26 are employed by actors to understand the world, such as images, practices, symbols, myths, narratives, collective memories, stories, and frames.27 It is via these institutionalized structures of meaning that agents channel political thought.28 Beyond the discursive processes which carry them, the exchange of ideas necessarily takes place in specific institutional contexts. Importantly, new institutionalist theories such as discursive institutionalism

15

Schmidt, V.A. (2011a), ‘DI: Scope, Dynamics’. Schmidt, V.A. (2008), “Discursive Institutionalism: The explanatory power of ideas and discourse”, Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 11, pp.303–326; Béland, D and Cox, R.H. (2010), Ideas and Politics. 17 Carstensen, M. and Schmidt, V.A. (2016), ‘Power through, over and in ideas’, p.322. 18 Schmidt, V.A. (2002), Futures, p.212. 19 Emmerij, L., Jolly, R. and Weiss, T. (2005) In Béland, D and Cox, R.H. (2010), Ideas and Politics, p.6. 20 Schmidt, V.A. (2008) ‘Explanatory Power’, p.306. 21 Ibid. 22 Schmidt, V.A. (2016), “The roots of neo-liberal resilience: Explaining continuity and change in background ideas in Europe’s political economy”, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol.18, No.2, p.320. 23 Hay C. (2008), “Constructivist institutionalism”. In Binder, S.A., Rhodes, R. R. Rockman, B.A. (Eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions, pp. 56-74. 24 Schmidt, V.A. (2008), ‘Explanatory Power’, p.314. 25 Schmidt, V.A. (2015), ‘Discursive Institutionalism: Understanding Policy in Context’, In Fischer, F., Torgerson, D., Orsini, M., Durnova, A. (Eds.) Handbook of Critical Policy Studies. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp.171-190. 26 Parsons, C. (2007), How to Map Arguments in Political Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.96. 27 Carstensen, M. and Schmidt, V.A. (2016), ‘Power through, over and in ideas’. 28 Connolly W.E. (1983), The Terms of Political Discourse, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 16


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adopt a broader conception of what an institution is.29 In addition to formal institutions like national parliaments, institutions are ‘a relatively enduring collection of rules and organized practices, embedded in structures of meaning and resources’.30 These rules form ‘standard operating procedures that structure the relationship between people in various units of the polity’.31 For Schmidt, these rules and structures form the institutional context in which ideas and discourse have meaning. As above, the institutional context takes two forms. Primarily, ideas are expressed within external, formalized institutions. Pace Toulmin,32 Schmidt notes the significance of the ‘forum’ in which ideas are expressed. Such forums prescribe procedural rules that the discourse follows.33 Both my case studies feature the UK House of Commons as their formal institutional context. Therein, elected MP’s play a dual role. As well as representing the members of public who elected them, MP’s legislate for the state. The ideas exchanged in the text should therefore represent social attitudes towards the issue of refugee protection, but also detail specific and appropriate policy solutions for the political problem. In practice, the expression of these ideas is subject to the discretion of the speaker of the house, who determines which MP’s speak and (to a lesser extent) the length of their contributions. These formal rules exemplify the way in which formal institutions place structural constraints on ideas and discourse.34. Secondly, however, discursive institutionalism considers institutions as ‘internal to the agents themselves’.35 Building on Searle,36 Schmidt argues that institutions are socially constructed, and ‘contingent’ insofar as they evolve through the thoughts, actions and words of agents.37. Institutions are ‘structures and constructs of meaning’,38 which act themselves as the contextual setting in which discussion regarding them takes place. Schmidt explains that this is possible because agents’ foreground discursive abilities can operate at a ‘critical distance from the institutions in which they are situated’. 39 Institutions,

29

Burnham, P., Lutz, K.G., Grant, W., Layton-Henry, Z. (2008), Research methods in politics. (2nd edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p.23. 30 March, J. G. and Olsen, J.P. (2008), “Elaborating the New Institutionalism” In Binder, S.A., Rhodes R.A.W., Rockman, B.A (Eds.) 2008, The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions, p.3. 31 Hall, P.A. (1986) In. Peters, B.G. (2005) Institutional Theory in Political Science the ‘New Institutionalism’, (2nd Edition), London: Continuum, p.74. 32 Toulmin, S. (1958), The uses of argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 33 Schmidt, V.A. (2011a), ‘DI: Scope, Dynamics’, p.119. 34 Schmidt, V.A. (2017a), ‘Theorizing Ideas and Discourse in Political Science: Intersubjectivity, Neo-Institutionalisms, and the Power of Ideas’, Critical Review, Vol.29, No.2, pp.248-263 35 Schmidt, V.A. (2008), ‘Explanatory Power’, p.322. 36 Searle J. (1995), The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Free Press. 37 Schmidt, V.A. (2008), ‘Explanatory Power’, p.314. 38 Schmidt, V.A. (2011a), ‘DI: Scope, Dynamics’, p.86. 39 Schmidt, V.A. (2015), ‘Understanding Policy’, p.2.


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therefore, as well as being ‘constraining structures’, are also and at the same time ‘enabling constructs’. 40 It is on the basis of this dual conceptualization that I analyse the institutional context, at the beginning and end of the period, and in so far as it has changed over time. Chapter Two: Parliamentary debate, 1938 The ‘Racial, Religious and Political Minorities’ debate took place on the 21st November 1938 in the House of Commons. The purpose of the debate was to discuss whether parliament should sanction the government’s bill to relax immigration controls for certain refugees in Europe. The government's bill was a reaction to an appeal from British, Jewish and Quaker community leaders for government to take action following the ‘Night of Broken Glass’. Kristallnacht - which took place on the 9th of November 1938 - was a violent pogrom against Jewish people in Nazi Germany. Since Hitler’s ascendancy to power in 1933, a host of legislation had passed to restrict the economic, religious and political rights of Jews. The Nuremberg Laws, for example, dispossessed Jews of their state citizenship. This statelessness categorizes the minorities discussed in the debate as refugees. Kristallnacht, however, represented the fact that ‘Germany had entered a new radical phase in anti-Semitic activity’.41 The pogrom symbolized a fundamental change in the nature of Nazi anti-Semitism because it was at this point that the assault on Jews became acutely physical, rather than just political or economic. The debate therefore takes place at a critical point with respect to a policy problem – namely, following a major and pressing development in the state of international affairs. Construction: Victimization; Positive Reflexivity The predominant idea that parliamentarians use to construct refugees is that they are victims. The meaning content of such victimhood is that refugees are acutely and unfairly suffering, in myriad ways. In a physical sense, Mr. Noel-Baker (Lab) details the ‘nameless tortures’ that has affected ‘Jews of all ages’.42 Subject to pogroms and sent to concentration camps, they are presented as being ‘beaten in the streets’,43 and ‘lynched’.44 Noel-Baker specifically mentions a ‘young Jew’ who had been shot dead, being kicked as he

40

Schmidt, V.A. (2010), “Reconciling ideas and institutions through Discursive Institutionalism”, In Béland,D and Cox, R.H. (Eds.) Ideas and Politics, p.48. 41 Johnson, E.J. (1999), Nazi terror: the Gestapo, Jews, and ordinary Germans. New York: Basic Books, p.117. 42 House of Commons (1938), ‘Racial, Religious and Political Minorities’, Hansard, 21st November 1938, Vol.341, Col.1430-1432. 43 Ibid., c.1430. 44 Ibid., c.1429.


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lay deceased on the ground.45 The sense of imminent physical danger is also presented by Mr. Maxton (ILP), who describes the effort to move endangered Jews as one away from a ‘danger point’ in order that ‘their bodies can be safe’.46 Jews are also described as being ‘penniless’,47 which corroborates the sense of physical strife insofar as economic capability is a facet of physical welfare. The victimhood of refugees is also presented in a non-physical sense. For Jewish people, ‘every feeling of decency has been violated’,48 a fact particularly evident through the humiliation of Jewish children at schools in Nazi Germany.49 British parliamentarians also depict the ‘reign of terror’ inflicted on the Jews as constituting ‘spiritual torture’.50 The construction of refugees as victims is also validated by repeated mention of their innocence. Noel-Baker insists that ‘it is no crime, no disloyalty, no treason of the Jews which has brought this fate upon them’. 51 Mr. Mander (Lib) supports this presentation of the innocence of the Jews, ‘whose only crime is that they belong to a particular branch of the human family’. 52 The construction of refugees in the debate as innocent victims of suffering acts is undisputed, and therefore acts as a basic frame through which parliamentarians understood the meaning of a refugee. Parliamentarians also construct refugees reflexively, insofar as they discuss at length the idea that resettling refugees in the UK could bring economic and social benefit. Jews are portrayed as having ‘enriched the countries in which they have made their permanent home’.53 Similarly, Mr. Grenfell (Lab) notes ‘the handsome and generous contribution to the life of the community in which they have been allowed to participate’.54 They do so, according to parliamentarians, on the basis that they are a ‘very able, resourceful, educated people’ and as a collective are ‘as intelligent, as hard working, as pertinacious, and as docile as any body of workers that you would get in the world’. 55 This latter reference establishes the economic benefit refugees are understood to embody, an idea that is corroborated by the persistent use of economic language. Each refugee is understood as ‘a definite and positive [economic] asset’, as well as presenting ‘value not only as a producer but as a consumer’.56

45

Ibid., c.1430. Ibid., c.1460,1461. 47 Ibid., c.1463. 48 Ibid., c.1440. 49 Ibid., c.1431. 50 Ibid., c.1432. 51 Ibid., c.1432. 52 Ibid., c.1450. 53 Ibid., c.1450. 54 Ibid., c.1478. 55 Ibid., c.1439,1461. 56 Ibid., c.1451. 46


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Communication: Elaborate Discourse; Unified Agents Equally important as ideas to discursive institutionalism is how agents ‘[take] those ideas from construction to communication to the public’. 57 Schmidt argues that agents often ‘intersperse...arguments with accounts of events, emblematic cases and even doomsday scenarios to generate compelling stories’. 58 There is evidence of this practice in 1938. Mr. Noel-Baker (Lab) offers an extended argument about the nature of the persecution suffered by Jewish refugees. He details the story of ‘Grynspan’, 59 a Polish Jew who had assassinated a Nazi general on the 7th November 1938. This act, according to Dr. Goebbels who Noel-Baker paraphrases, incited the ‘spontaneous outburst of national anger’ that constituted the Night of Broken Glass.60 Noel-Baker condemns the assassination, but uses the story of Grynspan as a discursive instrument to illustrate the fact that Nazi persecution was discriminatory rather than reactionary. He does so by detailing cases of discrimination that preceded the Grynspan assassination, and suggesting this order of events requires government action rather than just strong words.61 The presence of Grynspan in the debate is thus an example of the use of ‘storytelling’ to clarify practical rationality. 62 Within the story, Noel-Baker directly juxtaposes the little Jewish boy with the powerful Nazi ‘tyrant’ as a means by which to establish and accentuate the positions of Jew as victim and Nazi as persecutor.63 Furthermore, Mr. Logan (Lab), who communicates the idea that Jewish refugees can socially benefit the UK, utilizes an emblematic case by ennobling the ‘great character’ of ‘Professor Albert Einstein’.64 By categorizing Einstein as Jewish, Logan constructs Jewish refugees as being amongst ‘men of that calibre’, 65 and communicates ‘the genius of the Jews’ through association with an established and well-respected figure.66 Similarly, Mr. Grenfell (Lab) details the story of Mathilde Rathenau, a Jew who wrote a consolable letter to a man accused of her son’s murder. Grenfell evokes ‘the spirit of the Jew mother’ to suggest that welcoming those who display such ‘forgiveness, toleration and understanding’ as Mrs Rathenau presents a

57

Schmidt, V.A. (2002), Futures, p.230. Schmidt, V.A. (2008): ‘Explanatory Power’, p.309. 59 House of Commons. (1938), ‘Racial Minorities’, c.1428,1429. 60 Ibid., c.1431. 61 Ibid., c. 1431,1440. 62 Forester, J. (1993) in Schmidt, V.A. (2011b), ‘Speaking of Change’, p.113. 63 House of Commons (1938), ‘Racial Minorities’, c.1440. 64 Ibid., c.1454. 65 Ibid. 66 Ibid., c.1433 58


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‘splendid opportunity of raising our own level’.67 The communication of reflexive benefit to the UK of resettling Jewish refugees in the UK therefore features factual stories and idealized myths. In terms of communicating the idea that refugees are victims of great suffering, parliamentarians employ ‘evocative phrases’.68 Primarily, ‘tragic’ refugees are subjected to ‘a reign of terror’,69 and are described as a ‘pitiful human wreckage’ as well as an ‘awful train of people’.70 These latter phrases are evocative - insofar as they are likely to bring strong feelings to mind - because they associate humans with non-human objects such as wreckages and trains. Besides these implicit processes of association, by explicitly using the word ‘pitiful’,71 the constructed meaning itself directly appeals to the emotions of parliamentarians. The communication of meaning also notably takes place amongst a unified parliament. Members are congratulatory over ‘the wonderful unanimity of sentiment and feeling’ present in the house.72 Mr. Logan describes the parliamentary mood as featuring ‘a common unity which we could never achieve under any conditions of political partisanship’.73 The presence of a ‘no party spirit’ means that the ideas discussed were not primarily interpreted on the basis of who presented them. 74 Rather, the evaluation of ideas is reasonable and thorough with respect to their content and plausibility. In other words, the unity in parliament ensures the construction of meaning is not corrupted by the nature of its communication. Moreover, beyond the interpretation of the meaning of the ideas, the bipartisan spirit protects the dissemination of different ideas, insofar as it prevents an adversarial discursive environment in which that process may have been restricted. Institutional Context: Financial Conditionality; International Action The informal institution of refugee protection is constructed as being qualified by its economic cost. Specifically, the ability to protect refugees is presented as in opposition to government finances. Mr. Mander (Lib) argues that ‘it is no good pretending that this problem can be dealt with by private finance’ 75, a view which is supported by Mr. Butcher (NLP) who claims the ‘the burden which the refugee

67

Ibid., c.1483. Schmidt, V.A. (2002), Futures, p.215. 69 House of Commons. (1938), Vol.341, c.1463,1429. 70 Ibid., c.1440,1457. 71 Ibid. 72 Ibid., c.1476. 73 Ibid., c.1456. 74 Ibid., c.1428. 75 Ibid., c.1447. 68


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organizations may be called upon to shoulder may prove to be too heavy’.76 The solution in this case ‘will require heavy and substantial finance’.77 To make refugee protection conditional on economic conditions symbolises the broader British response, which proceeded by ‘subordinating humanitarianism to Britain’s national interest’.78 The conditionality of refugee resettlement on the economic cost of doing so is exemplified by the case of child refugees. The Home Secretary makes it clear that ‘there will be children with whom we could deal in large number, provided they were sponsored by responsible bodies’. 79 The latter sentence clause is the key structural facet of the institution of refugee protection in 1938; if the cost of the operation is covered by a third party, resettlement in Britain is possible. Thus, the contributions of ‘generous individuals’ means that ‘all that will probably be necessary will be for the Home Office to give the necessary visas’.80 The case of child refugees reflects the broader role that economics plays as the fulcrum around which the institution of refugee protection operates. This interpretation is supported by parliamentarian’s attitudes towards ‘trans-migrants’.81 Such migrants - who are looked upon ‘sympathetically and favourably’ - are conceived as being welcomed ‘for a temporary period, provided they were eventually to be settled in some other part of the world’.82 Trans-migrants are positioned in positive contradistinction to the fact that ‘the absorptive powers of this country might be limited as far as permanent residents are concerned’.83 Such absorptive powers refer both to government finances and the ‘interests of our own workers, both as regards employment and the standard of living’.84 Much like child migrants, trans-migrants are seen as threatening neither of these economic variables. This forms the basis of their favourability and thus the structure of the institution. The scale and periodicity of the refugee migration was much smaller in the first half of the 20th century than it is now, and accordingly so was the institution of refugee protection. Despite the 1905 Aliens Act drawing a distinction between immigrants and refugees,85 there was no British legislation specific to the protection of refugees, nor had the international formal institutions such as the UNHCR been established. 76

Ibid., c.1451. Ibid., c.1453. 78 London, L. (2000), Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948; British Immigration policy, Jewish refugees and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.1. 79 House of Commons. (1938), ‘Racial Minorities’, Vol. 341, c.1473. 80 Ibid., c.1474. 81 Ibid., c.1472,1473. 82 Ibid. 83 Ibid. 84 Ibid., c.1451. 85 Cohen,R. (1994), Frontiers of Identity: The British and the Others. London: Longman Group Limited, p.73. 77


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Indeed, the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act of 1919 placed severe new restrictions on the immigration of refugees.86 The abolition of immigration boards to which rejected refugees could appeal meant that during the interwar period, there was ‘no trace of legal protection for refugees remained on the statute book’.87 Despite this, the debate features the idea that Britain ought to be a place of refuge. The basis of the obligation which informs the institution is the need to do what is ‘morally right’, 88 and thereby ‘recognize the inherent worth of ordinary men and women’.89 The institutions organizing principle in parliament, therefore, is to ‘appeal, not to material things...but to something higher and more spiritual than us’. 90 Furthermore, the Home Secretary mentions Britain’s ‘experience during the war, in which we gave homes here to many thousands of Belgian children’.91 Therefore, although the legal, legislative and historical basis for refugee protection was limited, the institution of refugee protection was nonetheless bourgeoning and alive in the latter two senses, and was established on a platform of moral obligation. Moreover, by contextualizing the UK’s institutional response amongst those that took place in other countries, Mr. Noel-Baker (Lab) highlights a central aspect of it. The UK’s duties are understood in conjunction with, and as constitutive of, an international response. The motion of the debate itself calls for an ‘immediate concerted effort amongst the nations, including the United States of America, to secure a common policy’ [emphasis added].92 Sir Archibald Southby (Con) insists that effective refugee protection ‘can only be properly done if there is successful collaboration between the nations of the world’. 93 The ‘international effort’,94 therefore, will require governments to ‘co-operate actively, with an effective international organisation’.95 The only exception to this understanding of the appropriate institutional response in the debate is Mr. Mander’s warning that ‘we do not spend too much time consulting with other countries who really have no right to be consulted except as members of the League of Nations’. 96 Although this implies that Britain’s effort to protect refugees could stand alone, the comment follows Mander’s

86

London, L. (2000), Whitehall and the Jews. Ibid., p.17. 88 House of Commons. (1938), ‘Racial Minorities’, Vol.341 col. 1456. 89 Ibid., c.1450. 90 Ibid., c.1456. 91 Ibid., c.1474. 92 Ibid., c.1428. 93 Ibid., c.1457. 94 Ibid., c.1465. 95 Ibid., c.1466. 96 Ibid. 87


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demand for a solution to the problem ‘at the earliest possible moment’. 97 His initial suggestion was therefore likely intended to express a sense of urgency, rather than a need to act independently from others. His use of the phrase ‘too much’ also suggests that at least some cooperation is vital in response. As such, the regularity of practice that characterizes the institution of refugee protection takes place not only over time and in accordance with a moral impetus, but also across international borders. Chapter Summary I have sought to explicate how ideas constitute this particular meaning context in three ways. Primarily, refugees are constructed as innocent victims of unjust persecution. This background idea serves as a basic frame through which parliamentarians understand refugees, and thus as a guidepost for future action. While agents’ foreground discursive abilities are used to scrutinize and place conditions on refugee protection (such as economic cost, potential benefit to the UK and the nature of temporary residence), there is unanimous agreement that such victimhood presents a political problem in need of considerable action. Second, the catalyst for such action is not solely representation of ideas but their exchange through the interaction of agents. The discourse responsible for this interaction is elaborate, featuring stories, myths, emblematic cases and evocative phrases. Finally, the meaning of the event is constituted by its institutional context. Specifically, the forum of the debate in Toulmin’s sense structures meaning insofar as the debate is formal and organised.98 The informal institutional context structures meaning by eliciting a sense of moral duty and economic responsibility that informs action. Such action is understood to be international in essential nature. Chapter Three: Parliamentary debate, 2015 The ‘Refugee Crisis in Europe’ debate took place on the 8th September 2015 in the House of Commons. The day before the debate, Prime Minister David Cameron told MP’s that Britain would expand its Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme by taking 20,000 refugees by the year 2020. The debate thus served to discuss and (de)legitimate the government’s decision. The policy change itself followed a positive change in and intensification of public opinion in the UK regarding the ‘European’ migration crisis. A major catalyst for this change was a viral photograph of the deceased three-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi, who had washed up on a Turkish beach having failed to cross the Mediterranean in an 97 98

Ibid. Toulmin, S. (1958), The Uses of Argument.


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overcrowded dingy. The change in public opinion was predominantly evident on social media,99 but the image was also carried by numerous UK newspapers and sparked interest and outrage across the country. 100 This change in September 2015 mirrored the increasing scale of the migration crisis. The number of people attempting to enter the EU legally and illegally had increased exponentially since the beginning of year, and the number of recorded monthly attempts to cross the Mediterranean was second to its all-time peak.101 Construction: A Contested and Securitized identity As with the debate in 1938, the opening speaker constructs refugees as victims of severe suffering. Yvette Cooper recalls how refugees in camps live ‘without toilets or water’, 102 and that those in transit are often ‘forced into an airless hold, forced to pay to come up to breath’.103 As the debate progresses, however, the identity of refugees is challenged and contested. Primarily, the victimhood of refugees is undermined by their association with economic migrants. By the time of the debate, this association was commonplace in the British media.104 The difference between refugees and economic migrants is that refugees are by definition those that migrate because of persecution or war, whereas economic migrants do so for other reasons.105 The Home Secretary Theresa May (Con) closely associates the two; ‘some of those making the dangerous journey to Europe are refugees, but others are economic migrants simply hoping to improve their lot’.106 Stephen Doughty (Lab) argues that this association between refugees and economic migrants stretches to conflation, on the basis of ‘the constant blurring of those definitions’ in the debate. 107 His argument is supported by Edward Leigh’s (Con) contribution that ‘millions are displaced in Syria and there is...no limit to how many want to come here’.108 By suggesting that the people under discussion ‘want to come here’, Leigh implies that those migrating are doing so out of choice, as economic migrants, rather than as refugees. The same blurring of concepts is made explicit by Mr. Holloway’s (Con) suggestion that

99

Vis, F., & Goriunova, O. (2015), The Iconic Image on Social Media: A Rapid Research Response to the Death of Aylan Kurdi*, Sheffield: Visual Social Media Lab. 100 Blitz.B. (2017), ‘Another Story: What Public Opinion Data Tell Us About Refugee and Humanitarian Policy’, Journal on Migration and Human Security. Vol. 5, No.2, pp.379-400. 101 UNHCR (2018), ‘Mediterranean Situation’, [Operational Portal Refugee Situations > Mediterranean Situation > Sea Arrivals Monthly]. 102 House of Commons. (2015), “Refugee Crisis in Europe”, Vol.599 Col.252. 103 Ibid., c.245. 104 Threagold, T. (2009), The Media and Migration in the United Kingdom, 1999 to 2009. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. 105 Edwards, A. (2016) “UNHCR viewpoint: ‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’ – Which is right?”, UNHCR Online, 11th July 2016. 106 House of Commons. (2015), “Refugee Crisis”, c.261. 107 Ibid., c.269. 108 Ibid., c.246.


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‘it is quite possible to be both a refugee and an economic migrant’. 109 It is on this platform that the meaning of those migrating is shifted away from the idea of victimhood and towards the idea of economic opportunism. No such process takes place in the 1938 debate. Beyond association, the victimhood of refugees is negated via claims on their economic status. Those that have travelled across sea are presented as people who ‘have paid a hefty price to make the trip’. 110 Mr. Holloway suggests that some refugees ‘[claim] asylum in this country and then they go back on holiday to the places from where they have claimed that asylum’. 111 This suggestion encompasses both lines of challenge to the victimhood of refugees. First, by claiming that refugees are wealthy enough to go on holiday, Holloway undermines their position as desperate and in need of assistance, quite unlike the ‘penniless [and] destitute’ refugees discussed in 1938.112 Moreover, the suggestion that refugees return to their country of origin undermines their very definition of refugees as people who are unable or unwilling to do so. As in 1938, the construction of refugees is done so reflexively. Rather than assessing the impact of refugees on Britain in economic terms, parliamentarians construct refugees as a potential threat to national security. The clearest manifestation of the securitization in the debate is the suggestion that ‘some ISIS sympathizers might well be infiltrating this massive flow of refugees’. 113 The link between refugees and ‘the security situation’114 amongst parliamentarians had already been established the day before the event, when the Prime Minister announced a new policy in a House of Commons debate which was entitled ‘Syria: Refugees and Counter-Terrorism’. This association was also employed by UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the European parliament the day after the debate, claiming that ‘ISIS are using this route to put jihadists on European soil’.115 The same idea had consistently been encouraged in the UK press.116 Survey results suggest this construction of refugees as a terrorist threat extended to the general public; more than half of

109

Ibid., c.269. Ibid., c.268. 111 Ibid., c.269. 112 House of Commons (1938), ‘Racial Minorities’, Vol.341, c.1463. 113 House of Commons (2015), ‘Refugee Crisis’, c.279. 114 Ibid. c.280. 115 BBC News. (2015), “Migrant crisis: Farage says EU ‘mad’ to accept so many", BBC News Online. 116 Berry, M., Garcia-Blank, I., Moore, K. (2015), “Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries”, [Report prepared for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (December 2015)], Cardiff: Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies; Gabrielatos, C. and Baker, P. (2008), “Fleeing, Sneaking, Flooding: A Corpus Analysis of Discursive Constructions of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press,1996-2005”, Journal of English Linguistics, Vol. 36, No.1, pp.5-38. 110


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those asked thought refugees were either entering the country to cause violence, or weren’t refugees at all.117 This securitization of refugees, and the ensuing need to ‘balance our security with our generosity’,118 serves to reconceptualize the interests of parliamentarians.119 Rather than solely acting to protect refugees, MP’s must act to protect against them. This requires at the very least ‘the proper processing of people’.120 More broadly, however, the securitized notion of refugees is a catalyst for policy solutions other than resettlement in the UK. The Home Secretary details the alternative efforts government are taking (which wouldn’t pose a direct threat to the UK), such as providing aid to the area and attempting to end the conflict causing the migration through diplomatic means.121 The comparatively small number of 20,000 refugees resettled over five years (compared with Germany agreeing to take ‘up to 800,000’122) is defended on the basis of the government's large aid programme, which constitutes ‘the largest ever response [by anyone] to a humanitarian crisis’.123 Communication: Narrow Discourse; Dissenting Agents The discourse responsible for exchanging these ideas exhibits a narrower range of ideational elements. Rather than detailing the specific nature of the migration crisis, parliamentarians focus on the UK government’s response to it. The ideas presented as such are those that Schmidt categorises as ‘policy solutions’.124 The content of these ideas as specific solutions to clearly defined problems goes some way in explaining why the language used is basic and clear, rather than featuring elaborate stories and metaphors. Beyond this theoretical suggestion, the limited range of ideational elements can be explained by the power of the image of Alan Kurdi. Because the image appeared in numerous media outlets and was so shocking - it was ‘a bucket of cold water over the whole of our nation’125 - the need to verbally explicate the suffering of refugees in the debate was significantly reduced. This interpretation is supported by research which suggests that our perceptions of, and discussions regarding, refugees are significantly framed by

117

Ipsos MORI (2016), “Global study shows many around the world uncomfortable with levels of immigration’. House of Commons (2015), ‘Refugee Crisis’, c.291. 119 Schmidt, V.A. (2002), Futures. 120 House of Commons. (2015), ‘Refugee Crisis’, c.279. 121 Ibid., c.258-264. 122 Ibid., c.273. 123 Ibid., c.287. 124 Schmidt, V.A (2008), ‘Explanatory Power’, p.306. 125 House of Commons. (2015), c.289. 118


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related images.126 In this sense, the construction of refugees as suffering victims was taken as a given during the debate. This contrasts with the 1938 debate, in which government and parliament had far slighter access to images and media constructions of the situation in Nazi Germany, relying rather on telegrams from the British consulate in Germany.127 In that case, verbal construction of suffering was at a premium, whereas in 2015 they were discounted against such a powerful image. As in 1938, the relationship between MP’s significantly structures the nature of the debate. Yvette Cooper (Lab) specifically highlights the fact that ‘Parliament was united’ on the day that the debate in 1938 took place, whereas ‘Yesterday we were not united’.128 She refers to the Prime Minister’s statement the day before to which this debate responded. That partisan alignment significantly permeates the debate under investigation. Despite the fact that ‘this absolutely should not be a party-political issue’,129 there is a clear divide between Conservative MP’s supporting the government’s policy, and opposition MP’s who challenge it. Whereas a Tory MP argues that the government ‘are making the right noises and doing exactly the right things’,130 Joanna Cherry (SNP) insists the government’s position is ‘an absolute disgrace’.131 The adversarial relationship between MP’s is manifested through the aggressive juxtaposition of their party’s positions,132 which subordinates the exchange of different ideas to political point scoring. This division can in part be explained by the electoral context in which it took place. In the 2015 general election four months earlier, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won the third highest number of votes. They did so by mobilising nationalist and anti-immigration sentiment, and offered corrective policies such as leaving the European Union to address it. 133 There was therefore evidence of an electoral threat to the Conservatives - whose majority in the House of Commons was only 12 seats - if they were perceived by voters as not taking this sentiment seriously. To take a strong stance on immigration would also politically capitalise from its unpopular increase during Tony Blair’s second Labour government.134 To address the UKIP threat, therefore, the Conservative party sought to harden their stance

126

Bleiker, R., Campbell, R., Hutchison, E., Nicholson, X. (2013), “The Visual Dehumanisation of Refugees”, Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 48, No.4, pp. 398–416. 127 London, L. (2000), Whitehall and the Jews, p.98. 128 House of Commons. (2015), ‘Refugee Crisis’, c.245. 129 Ibid., c.293. 130 Ibid., c.292. 131 Ibid., c.273. 132 Ibid., c.278. 133 Ford, R. and Goodwin, M. (2014), Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right In Britain, Abingdon: Routledge. 134 Consterdine, E. (2015), “Managed Migration under Labour: Organised Public, Party Ideology and Policy Change”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol.41, No.9, pp.1433-1452.


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on immigration, which was measured by a net migration figure that includes refugees. 135 The support from Tory MP’s for policies other than resettlement should be contextualized amongst these facts. Institutional context: Broader Approach; International action The debate in 2015 takes place in the same formal institutional context as it did in 1938. There is nonetheless a difference in the constraints that were placed on the parliamentarians acting within it. Contributions from MP’s in 2015 are restricted by the large number of MP’s who contribute. 46 MP’s contribute to the debate, 27 of whom make an extended speech. This compels the speaker of the house to twice impose a time limit on contributions half way through the debate.136 There are also 18 occasions at which speeches are interrupted with requests to give way. The verbalized nature of the communication of ideas is therefore punctuated and disrupted. No such pattern is evident in the 1938 data, in which only 15 MP’s contribute to the debate. The appropriate institutional response is also conceptualized as much broader than in 1938. MP’s from all parties recognise the fact that ‘a huge task demands a comprehensive approach’,137 which is understood to require numerous policy branches rather than just one. The context is also structured by the historical development of refugee protection between the debates. The institution of refugee protection in 2015 is understood to be built on a policy history that includes the Kindertransport, the acceptance of Kosovan refugees in the 1990’s and refugees from Uganda and Vietnam in the 1970’s. 138 This historicism directly contributes to the sense of obligation which informs the institution; MP’s argue that policy should ‘live up to our history’ and ‘not dishonour our forebears’.139 Furthermore, as in 1938, there is unanimous agreement that ‘no country can do this alone’.140 This fact follows from the inherent nature of the crisis as involving people crossing national borders.141 The government are criticized for refusing to contribute to the European Commission’s resettlement scheme, but maintain that international co-operation is crucial, and that their financial support of ‘hot spots’ in Europe is evidence that ‘we have been working closely with other countries in Europe’.142

135

Hawkins, O. (2018), 'Migration Statistics', House of Commons Briefing Paper SN06077. House of Commons (2015), c.277,280. 137 Ibid., c.257. 138 Ibid., c.275 139 Ibid. 140 Ibid., c.246. 141 Ibid. 142 Ibid., c.261. 136


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Chapter Summary In sum, the meaning of a refugee in 2015 is contested; refugees are associated with economic migrants, and presented as not necessitous. The ideational elements employed are more limited in range, and the debate is staggered and thus constrained by the adversarial relationship between many contributors. The institutional response to protect refugees - which is informed by Britain’s historical tendency to do so is understood to require a broad policy approach, from many nations. Conclusion The analyses presented in Chapter 2 and 3 offer interpretations of individual examples of broad elite political discourses on refugees in Britain. Each debate is a specifically historically situated event in which meaning is constructed and communicated under unique conditions. Despite these two facts, the three main themes explored exhibit strands of continuity and change. The continuity evident is predominantly manifested in the basic nature of the institutional response to refugees. In both debates, the effort to protect is understood to be inherently international, and that appropriate policy should reflect that fact. (Genuine) refugees are constructed as victims of injustice who are in need of humanitarian assistance, which instigates the requirement for a considerable policy response. The most significant change in the content of ideas is the nature of the reflexivity with which refugees are constructed. Rather than being a potential economic and social benefit to the UK as in 1938, refugees are presented in 2015 as a potential security threat. This change relies on the contestation of the identity of refugees via association with terrorists and economic migrants. The basis of the requirement to protect refugees also changes. The moral impetus is superseded by the idea that Britain has historically protected refugees and should continue to do so on that basis. These results support the essential contention of discursive institutionalist research: that the interplay of agent’s background ideas and foreground discursive abilities gives rise to institutional change. The securitization of refugees is an example of agents’ foreground discursive abilities critically questioning the background idea that they are victims. That process serves to reconceptualize the interests of parliamentarians, whose responsibility to protect refugees is mitigated by the need to protect UK citizens from refugees. Despite the extension of the resettlement programme, its prominence in the broader policy approach was succeeded by policy solutions that weren’t seen to immediately threaten UK national security, such as overseas aid spending and international diplomacy. The scale of operation at which these


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forms of institutional refugee protection operate also serves to attenuate the impetus for refugee resettlement. The discourse which communicates these ideas has also changed. An elaborate discourse featuring a broad range of ideational elements in 1938 is replaced by a narrower range of elements that predominantly present specific policy solutions. The ensuing question for the framework is whether the relationship between the range of ideational elements and the level of generality at which ideas exist is one of correlation or cause. The relationship between agents is also considerably more oppositional in 2015, which incites communication that is more combative and less robust than in 1938. The 2015 debate also features the House of Commons speaker restricting the nature of MP’s contributions. Both these findings support the assumption of discursive institutionalism that meaning, through the exchange of ideas, is mitigated and constrained by the institutional context in which it takes place. Beyond theoretical considerations, my results substantiate and refine the recent discursive institutionalist research on British political discourse. The institutional impact of historical ‘policy legacies’143 as an ideational construct is evident in 2015, but their role in guiding policy in 2015 manifests as an enabling rather than a constraining force. Furthermore, the contested identity of refugees in 2015 supports the idea that elite discourse has ‘blurred the line between fact and fiction’.144 This coincides with the securitization of refugees exhibiting the use of language in ‘ways that play on the unconscious and emotions’,145 although the 1938 analysis suggests this practice is not novel. Beyond the political impact of these discursive processes, future research might focus on their determinants, and how the struggle for control over new modes of communication structures the meaning that is formed by political elites. References BBC News (2015), ‘Migrant crisis: Farage says EU ‘mad’ to accept so many’, BBC News Online, 9th September 2015 [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34197707 [Accessed 30th April 2018]. Béland, D and Cox,R.H. (2010), ‘Introduction: Ideas and Politics ’ In Béland,D and Cox, R.H (Eds.) 2010, Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.3-19. Berry, M., Garcia-Blank, I., and Moore, K. (2015), Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries, [Report prepared for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (December 2015)], Cardiff: Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, [online] Available at: http://www.unhcr.org/56bb369c9.pdf [Accessed 30th April 2018]. 143

Boswell, C. and Hampshire, J. (2017), “Ideas and agency in immigration policy: A discursive institutionalist approach”, European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 56, No.1, p.135. 144 Schmidt (2017b:260) 145 Ibid.


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Schmidt, V.A. (2008), Discursive institutionalism: The explanatory power of ideas and discourse, Annual Review of Political Science. Vol.11, pp.303–326, doi: 10.1146/annurev.polisci.11.060606.135342. Schmidt, V.A. (2010), ‘Reconciling ideas and institutions through Discursive Institutionalism’, In Béland,D and Cox, R.H (Eds.) 2010, Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.47-64. Schmidt, V.A. (2011a), ‘Discursive Institutionalism: Scope, Dynamics and Philosophical Underpinnings’ In Fischer,F. and Forester,J. The Argumentative Turn Revised: Public Policy as Communicative Practice, Durham,NC: Duke University Press pp.85-113. Schmidt, V.A. (2016), The roots of neo-liberal resilience: Explaining continuity and change in background ideas in Europe’s political economy, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol.18, No.2, pp.318-334, doi: 10.1177/1369148115612792. Schmidt, V.A. (2017a) Theorizing Ideas and Discourse in Political Science: Intersubjectivity, Neo-Institutionalisms, and the Power of Ideas, Critical Review, Vol.29, No.2, pp.248-263, doi: 10.1080/08913811.2017.1366665. Schmidt,V.A. (2015), ‘Discursive Institutionalism: Understanding Policy in Context’, In Fischer,F.. Torgerson,D., Orsini,M., Durnova,A. (eds.) 2015. Handbook of Critical Policy Studies, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp.171190. [online] Available at: http://blogs.bu.edu/vschmidt/files/2015/10/Discursive-Institutionalism-CPSHandbook-FINAL.pdf, [Accessed 30th April 2018]. Schmidt,V.A. (2017b), "Britain-out and Trump-in: a discursive institutionalist analysis of the British referendum on the EU and the US presidential election", Review of International Political Economy, Vol.24, No.2, pp.248-269, doi: 10.1080/09692290.2017.1304974. Schmidt,V.A. (2011b), Speaking of change: why discourse is key to the dynamics of policy transformation, Critical Policy Studies, Vol.5, No.2, pp.106-126, doi: 10.1080/19460171.2011.576520. Searle J. (1995), The Construction of Social Reality, New York: Free Press. Threagold, T. (2009), The Media and Migration in the United Kingdom, 1999 to 2009, Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Toulmin, S. (1958), The uses of argument, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. UNHCR (2018), Mediterranean Situation, [Operational Portal Refugee Situations > Mediterranean Situation > Sea Arrivals Monthly] [Online] Available at: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean [Accessed 30th April 2018) Vis, F., & Goriunova, O. (2015), The Iconic Image on Social Media: A Rapid Research Response to the Death of Aylan Kurdi*, Sheffield: Visual Social Media Lab, [online] Available at: https://research.gold.ac.uk/14624/1/KURDI%20REPORT.pdf [Accessed 30th April 2018] Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. and Yates, S.J. (2001), Discourse theory and practice: A reader, London: Sage.


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Closed Borders, Open Immigration: Can Nationalism Ground the Right to Exclude?

Matthew Perry, 3rd Year Dissertation BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Abstract: It is commonly supposed that the nation may determine whether or not immigrants are permitted entry into its territory. I challenge this "right to exclude" through interrogating its nationalist foundations in i) the prioritisation of one's (obligations to) co-nationals and ii) the protection of national culture. With the interest of rejecting these foundations as viable for grounding the right to exclude, I present challenges to each of them in turn. In order to do so I develop a novel interpretation of nationalism as immunisation against the foreigner, used to strengthen and unify national identity and cohesiveness. I apply this interpretation to examine i) and ii) in turn, which I systematically reject as viable groundings for the right to exclude. Ultimately, I conclude that nationalism cannot provide a foundation for the nation's right to close its borders to potential immigrants.

Before his election, Donald Trump shared a quote on social media supposedly attributed to Ronald Reagan: 'A nation that cannot control its border is not a nation.' 1 Discussions surrounding immigration are ripe with this kind of nationalist sentiment, which stems from the claim that the members of a national group should have a say in determining who to grant and who to deny national membership.2 I argue that this right to exclude potential immigrants on national grounds is justified by one of two foundational reasons. Either

1

Trump, D. J. (@realDonaldTrump), ""A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation." - President Ronald Reagan." 3 Jul 2015, 9:18AM, Tweet; Note that it is unclear whether Reagan actually said this, or indeed whether these were his exact words, see: Big Apple (2011), “A nation that cannot control its borders can’t control its destiny. 2 Walzer, M. (1983), Spheres of Justice, New York: Basic Books, p.32.


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i)

The group's desire to prioritise their (obligations to) co-member's,

or, ii)

The group's protection of its culture.

However, I also argue that neither of these reasons are successful in justifying the right to exclude. In short, a nation needn't have control over its borders to be a nation. In section 1, I discuss the concept of nationalism, and elaborate on i) and ii). I largely focus on non-civic rather than civic nationalism, simply because the latter, with its concerns for inclusivity, would have little reason to claim a right to exclude.3 In section 2, I posit a novel interpretation of nationalism as immunisation, which emphasises how non-national cultures strengthen and unify the national group. In sections 3 and 4 respectively I address the above two foundations for the right to exclude, making use of the interpretation provided in section 2. Firstly, I argue that if we wish to maintain the foundational value of liberal political philosophy—the moral equality of persons—then associative obligations, those duties prioritising co-nationals over non-nationals, cannot be accepted (section 3).4 Secondly, I demonstrate that the exclusion of immigrants does not actually support the aim of protecting national culture (section 4). Ultimately, I therefore conclude that there is no intrinsic grounding for the right to exclude. Unless practical reasons (such as economic or demographic circumstances) prevent it, international borders should therefore remain open. 1. Contextualising Nationalism In this section I make lucid the reasoning behind i) and ii), and their connection to the right to exclude. I outline the problem of immigration. I then elaborate on my understanding of the nation and expand on the two essential features of nationalism. Finally, I discuss the attribution of group rights and connect nationalism to a more recent defence of the right to exclude from Wellman.5 Note that 'immigration occurs when someone moves to one country from another', for whatever reason, usually for the long term.6 As an ancillary, freedom of movement is an individual's ability to go where they wish uninhibited. The problem of immigration is that supposedly universal values of freedom and equality, giving rise to a right to freedom of movement, produce tension against non-civic nationalism's 3

Harris, E. (2009), Nationalism: Theories and Cases, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p.29. Throughout, I use "foreigner", "non-national" and "non-member" interchangeably. 5 Wellman, C. H. (2011), "Part One Freedom of Association and The Right to Exclude", in Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (eds), Debating The Ethics of Immigration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.13-155. 6 Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (2011), "Introduction", in Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (eds), Debating The Ethics of Immigration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.1. 4


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claim towards a right to exclude on the grounds of protecting its people or identity. Not only, but, as Higgins articulates, many of the problems of global justice would be alleviated through the dissolution of closed borders.7 Despite arguments evidenced from Libertarianism, Rawlsian Justice as Fairness and even Utilitarianism,8 the right to closed borders is maintained due to the importance, largely, of a singular factor: nationalism. Questioning immigration justice therefore means interrogating the tension between liberal values and the significance of national identity. Nonetheless, this is a broad debate which I do not have the space to address. Instead, I begin with the claim that any defence of the right to exclude, if it wishes to remain consistent with liberal theory, must achieve the following generalised condition: RE: The right to exclude must be independently justifiable and arise coherently with pre-existing individual rights. That is to say that the right cannot undermine or contradict pre-existing individual rights, but that it can still come into reasonable conflict with individual rights. While I understand the strength of the above assumption, it provides a crucial starting point for subsequent discussion. I turn now to elucidate on the nation. This can be divided into two necessary political and cultural "dimensions",9 useful in differentiating it from other merely cultural groups,10 and providing a neutral definition of the term.11 The nation's cultural dimension expresses individuals feeling distinct belonging to a particular, unique cultural tradition12 with common goals individuals 'believe to be worthwhile'.13 The existence of multiple cultures alongside this is not necessarily problematic as a result of both the national culture overlaying itself on top of more local cultures to provide commonality, and of the further unification offered by the nation's political dimension, which represents its institutions and governmental bodies.14 Its unified citizenship, authority and systems of mutual commitment and support therefore play a

7

Higgins, P. W. (2013), Immigration Justice, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp.10-13. Carens, J. H. (1987) "Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders", The Review of Politics, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp.251273. 9 Smith, A. (1991), National Identity, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, pp.9-10. 10 McKim, R. (1997), "National Identity and Respect among Nations", in McKim, R. and McMahan, J. (eds), The Morality of Nationalism, p.259. 11 Delannoi, G. (2017), "Chapitre 10: Nation-solution ou nation-problème? Nation, nationalisme et antinationalisme en France", in Perrineau, P. and Rouban, L. (eds), La dÊmocratie de l'entre-soi, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, p.139. 12 Berlin, I. (1990), The Crooked Timber of Humanity, London: John Murray, p.244-245. 13 McKim (1997), "National Identity and Respect among Nations", p.261. 14 Smith (1991), National Identity, p.10. 8


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second part in generating a historical narrative of belonging.15 The desire to direct, control or protect this resultant identity, and map its destiny, is that political dimension possessing a state allows to be realised. Nationalism combines these two dimensions to claim that they should coincide: the nation should possess self-determination, permitted through independent state governance.16 Yet, recognising the importance of, or even achieving, self-governance doesn't always lessen national sentiments17—put simply, self-determination as self-governance is not enough. I suggest that this is so for two reasons. Firstly, it continues to remain unclear how we should organise our duties to others. The unit of discussion for Rawlsian justice is the 'self-contained' closed society,18 a group much like the modern nation-state. As such, we might presume we first have duties to those within our nation and next to those worldwide, under other nation-states. Yet how do we then accommodate the pressing moral demands of non-nationals who might be far more needy or deprived than our co-nationals?19 Either we argue that justice extends globally,20 supporting non-nationals, or we continue to prioritise our co-nationals—with no obvious way of reconciling the two. Secondly, liberal democracy's focus on the rational individual fails to comprise an understanding of the shared way of life and culture which retains central importance for identity. 21 Each group desires to protect and preserve what is their own from "foreign" individuals and cultures.22 The problem here is that solely considering the individual as an individual does not address this. Instead, we need to view things from a group level and we end up with 'two competing values, [the individual and the group,] that have to be weighed against one another' with no obvious solution for doing so. 23 These two points expose two essential features of nationalism over and above self-determination, producing the tension I previously mentioned between the right to freely migrate and the right to exclude. These are:

15

Miller, D. (1997), On Nationality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.23-24. Copp, D. (1997), "Democracy and Communal Self-Determination", in McKim, R. and McMahan, J. (eds), The Morality of Nationalism, pp.278-280. 17 Canovan, M. (2001), "Sleeping Dogs, Prowling Cats and Soaring Doves: Three Paradoxes in the Political Theory of Nationhood", Vol. 49, p.206-211. 18 Rawls, J. (2005), Political Liberalism: Expanded Edition, New York: Colombia University Press, p.12. 19 Scheffler, S. (2001), Boundaries and Allegiances, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.56. 20 MacDonald, T. and Ronzoni, M. (2012), "Introduction: the idea of global political justice", Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.521-533. 21 Parekh, B. (2000), Rethinking Multiculturalism, Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, pp.118-122. 22 See section 2 for a broader elaboration of this. 23 Barry, B. (2001), Culture and Equality, Cambridge: Polity Press, p.117. 16


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A desire to prioritise co-nationals through associative obligations. Such duties are less easy to invalidate due to their increased strength and take precedence over duties to nonassociates/non-members.24

ii)

A desire to differentiate and protect one's culture from others, controlling the course of the national future.

From this we can begin to see how the two reasons above could ground a right to exclude based on nationalism. I shall come back to and elaborate on this shortly. Firstly, though, I address the notion of group rights. A group right is possessed by a group qua group. It is characteristically "special"; it doesn't arise naturally, but in conjunction with the group's circumstances. 25 Many take for granted that a nation may possess such rights. However, as we shall see, nations(-states) are not like people, so it is unclear what grounds their rights-status. Nonetheless, I make the same assumption in order to fully challenge the right to exclude. I would like to note several things, though. Firstly, the right to exclude is a 'claim-right'—that is, a right against someone performing a particular action.26 Specifically, acts of free movement across borders. It must present reasonable grounds for this restriction, consistent with condition RE above. Secondly, if we are to consider the right to exclude for a nation, that nation ought to have a distinct connection to a particular territory.27 Third, the nation needn't possess a state.28 Hence, it makes sense to argue that a central national group right is that of Self-Determination; the right of that group to 'constitute itself through a state'.29 Fourth, the right to exclude is what Kymlicka calls a group's externally protective right, which prevents external oppression, rather than an internally restrictive one, which permits the enforcement of particular ways of life.30 Finally, I am solely concerned with legitimate nation-states, those which 'adequately protect' the rights of their members and 'respect the rights of all others'.31 Such groups will be characterised by voluntary membership.32

24

Scheffler (2001), Boundaries and Allegiances, p.52. Ingram, D. (2000), Group Rights: Reconciling Equality and Difference, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, p.14. 26 Waldron, J. (1984), "Introduction" in Waldron, J. (ed), Theories of Rights, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.6. 27 Miller (1997), On Nationality, pp.24-25. 28 Harris (2009), Nationalism: Theories and Cases, pp.38-40. 29 Copp (1997), "Democracy and Communal Self-Determination", p.277; Note that I use "nation" and "nation-state" interchangeably. 30 Kymlicka, W. (1995), Multicultural Citizenship, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.35. 31 Wellman (2011), "Part One Freedom of Association and The Right to Exclude", p.16. 32 Barry (2001), Culture and Equality, p.147. 25


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These last two elicitations assuage many initial worries. For instance, Tamir claims that group rights are 'either dangerous or of little importance'33 but this applies only to illegitimate political groups or to the internal management of the affairs of a group. That, for instance, a community could enforce the subjugation of women through a group right to prevent the disappearance of a certain "cultural traditions" is an example of Tamir's concern. Yet, as well as regarding internal affairs, this also constitutes an illegitimate political practice due to its injustice. Given all this, we can differentiate between intrinsic and practical reasons to justify the right to exclude. Reasons of nationalism constitute an intrinsic justification due to their focus on the group itself, while a practical justification, such as the maintenance of stable population levels,34 is based upon certain contingent circumstances arising, such as overpopulation. I am concerned only with the former. Specifically, if we want to test the full possibility of the right to exclude we must do so in ideal circumstances. I assume, then, that individual rights are met and injustices addressed by those who maintain a qualified right are resolved.35 Attributing the right to exclude therefore becomes a matter of whether a national group is justified in determining who should possess membership. If a right to exclude cannot be maintained under these circumstances, then arguably nations would equally have no intrinsic reason to reject in circumstances of injustice, such as for asylum-seekers. Sourcing an intrinsic grounding entails that the right to exclude has to be connected to the two points, i) the prioritisation of co-nationals and ii) the protection of culture, explained above. How might we more formally ground the right to exclude in these two reasons? Wellman's more recent defence of this right is a good starting point. Though he bases it on freedom of association alone, consequential concerns are what give his argument its motivating force.36 Wellman presents the following:37

33

1.

'Legitimate states are entitled to self-determination'

2.

'Freedom of association is an integral element of self-determination'

3.

'Freedom of association entitles one not to associate with others'

Tamir cited in Barry (2001), Culture and Equality, p.128. Miller, D. (2014), "Immigration: The Case for Limits", in Cohen, A. I. and Wellman, C. H. (eds), Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, p.371. 35 Such as Walzer (1983), Spheres of Justice, pp.48-51, pp.56-63 and Miller (2008), "Immigrants, Nations, and Citizenship". 36 Cole, P. (2011), "Part Two Open Borders: An Ethical Defense", in Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (eds), Debating The Ethics of Immigration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.241-242. 37 Wellman (2011), "Part One Freedom of Association and The Right to Exclude", p.13. 34


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Therefore 'legitimate states may choose not to associate with foreigners, including potential immigrants' and maintain a right to exclude.

Premise 1 should be held to include nations as the bearers of states. I do not question this premise's validity here. Premises 2 and 3 appear to true in the case of individual relationships. It is in extrapolating this onto the state level that Wellman has been met with criticism due to the importance of consequentialist concerns in justifying this move. I emphasise that Wellman's avoidance of addressing this through "nations" is likely down to his desire to differentiate himself from strictly cultural defences of the right and place his argument within a discussion of deontological reasons.38 Neglecting this, however, leaves his argument open to critique: as Fine points out,39 Wellman fails to explain how communal bonds through culture form the group's unity, allowing it to express freedom of association as a group. By including a conception of the nation, relating Wellman's account to i) and ii), we can draw out these concerns, which, as Cole posits,40 are central to his argument. I do this in premise form in section 3 and 4. Section 3 focuses on i), the prioritisation of one's (obligations) to co-nationals, where I specifically explore how co-nationals can be seen to associate with one another through their membership, thus interrogating whether this provides unifying partiality between members. Section 4 subsequently focuses on ii), the protection of national culture, where I draw out the centrality of the continuity of common identity for self-determination and contest whether the right to exclude would protect this. I have thus provided an overview of the ways I perceive to be exhaustively possible to intrinsically ground the right to exclude. With this understanding in mind, I turn now to a brief overview of the interpretative mechanism I will employ. 2. The Immunity framework It is not uncommon to perceive of the nation as a "body" of individuals. If we extend this metaphor further, we might perceive nationalism to be the nation's "immunitary" function, protecting and strengthening it against the exterior, much like a human body's. Esposito develops an understanding of communities based on this metaphorical use of immunisation.41 In this section, I adapt and apply this interpretation for use in understanding nationalism. For those purposes, I present a brief overview of nationalism as immunisation which I shall refer back to in sections 3 and 4. 38

Ibid., pp.45-57. Fine, S. (2010), "Freedom of Association Is Not the Answer", Ethics, Vol. 120, pp.345-346. 40 Cole (2011), "Part Two Open Borders: An Ethical Defense", p.241. 41 Esposito, R. (2011), Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life, Cambridge: Polity Press. 39


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The immunitary interpretation places the foreigner as highly significant in forming, unifying and binding the nation together through nationalism. Just like a biological body, Esposito writes, 'to survive, the community—every community—is forced to introject the negative modality of its opposite'.42 I would argue that this perception of nationalism directly places the foreigner, rather than the nation itself, as its object. It is only indirectly, through the foreigner, that nationalism comes to affect the nation itself. Immunisation therefore aims to expose the way in which a group (X) protects, binds and strengthens itself through the foreigner (Y) not only to survive, but to flourish. Y may or may not be a part of a group, as long as they are perceived as not-X, not a part of the host identity. I therefore refer to nationalism as the nation's immunitary function in direct comparison with the biological immune system. As in the biological sense, nationalism can be seen to identify individuals who are either within or outside its locus and, subsequently, attempting to "negate" this foreign presence in order to protect and strengthen the national group. Negation occurs either by assimilating Y, having them accept full cultural and political integration into X; or, more commonly it would seem, by presenting Y as outside and directly opposed to X, in short, by emphasising their difference. The immunitary understanding makes the foreigner's identity formative in the creation of the nation's own. Note that a single communal village, isolated from the rest of humanity will form an identity without foreign contact. Traditions and cultural practices will spontaneously arise. Nonetheless, as long as this village remains isolated from the rest of humanity, its culture will not appear to be as charged with the intensely characteristic, meaningful and impassioned identity which exemplifies large communities—and modern nationalism. The immunitary understanding focuses on the way in which our answer to the question "what is nation X's character?" turns on not only the positive qualities which typify that culture, present in the isolated village—for Britain, crumpets, red post boxes and driving on the left—but those negative aspects against which the nation generates "immunity", through nationalism. That is to say, the fact that the British do not drive on the right and do not eat croissants for breakfast are, notionally, absorbed into the public knowledge and used as references points both to re-emphasise and to realise those positive qualities. The ubiquitous use of the word "sorry" in Britain is a good example. It is only through contact with a non-national that a British person comes to realise that this is a feature of the culture they come from. This realisation itself generates nationalist sentiments, strengthening the individual's sense of belonging. Hence, the marked differentiation that occurs when two non-nationals come into contact allows opportunity for reflective identification: each person strengthens their notion of who they are not against, but through who the foreigner sees them to be. 42

Ibid., p.28.


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I reiterate that the above is only a schematic overview of the interpretation. As I will emphasise in section 4, it does not entail a static notion of national identity, but on the contrary an ever-changing one that incorporates external narratives/influences. I shall explore it further in the next section on the prioritisation of one's co-nationals and the subsequent on the protection of one's culture. 3. The Prioritisation of Co-Nationals I presented two essential components of nationalism as an intrinsic grounding for the right to exclude. Relevant for this section is the first, the prioritisation of co-members through associative obligations/duties. I formally state the reasons relating the first argument to the right to exclude, extending on Wellman: 5. Within a nation, all members can be considered to be the indirect associates of other members through their membership. 6. This association is important enough to give rise to the possibility for the formation of associative obligations. 7. These associative obligations are 'central to the way that the relationship is understood by the participants'.43 8. Control over to whom members have such associative relationships is an essential component of the group's self-determination.44 9. Therefore, legitimate states have the right not to associate with others, including would-be immigrants, based on their prioritisation of one another. In the following section I first explain my understanding of associative obligations. I then elaborate on what I mean by 'indirect' associates in premise 5. Subsequently, I challenge premise 6 by looking at the nature and formation of associative duties through the immunitary interpretation. I show that the right to exclude, grounded in this way, contradicts the condition RE above, that the right should arise coherently with individual rights. Given the argument I present, I explain the falsity of premise 7 and ultimately conclude that the prioritisation of one's co-nationals is not a justification for the right to exclude.

43 44

Miller, D. (2005), "Reasonable Partiality Towards Compatriots", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 8, p.66. Wellman (2011), "Part One Freedom of Association and The Right to Exclude", pp.29-33.


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In accordance with moral equality, we generally believe that we should let all person's interests count equally when considering moral dilemmas.45 This might be seen as the central goal of ethical impartialism, at the extreme end of which everyone is always considered equally, regardless of identity. General duties make sense of this as the correlative of everyone necessarily possessing rights qua human. 46 Their generality is defined by the fact that no special arrangements, relationships or contracts must exist for them to be maintained. Yet, our moral intuitions are also often motivated by a very desire to favour certain others. To illustrate this, imagine the following: Example 1: Both your own sibling and a stranger are suddenly homeless. Who do you help, given that it can be only one person? Few would argue that partialism towards one's sibling is not permissible here.47 This is because of our associative duties to our sibling which are less easy to invalidate, have increased strength and take precedence over duties to non-associates.48 Partialism allows a 'split level' position to arise: overall, we might say that we have general duties, but in certain circumstances favouring others is permitted, or even required.49 Yet, things become more complicated when we imagine the sibling being replaced with associates of decreasing importance. For example, a friend, fellow "club" member or co-national. This split-level position therefore leaves three questions: how is partialism justified, when exactly is it permitted and what kind of duty does an associative one constitute? The first question is side-lined here. I take Collins's50 and Cole's51 position in arguing that full partialism cannot offer an adequately independent justification for our obligations. I assume that we must refer to universal impartial principles in justifying cases of partialism, such as the desire to see partiality towards relatives universalised.52 The thrust of my argument will be responding to the second two questions, claiming that when we critically analyse the notion that co-nationals associate with one another the inherent contradiction in the supposed associative obligations which arise is revealed, but this contradiction does not exist for other forms of association. My argument depends on a division between direct and indirect relationships which I now present.

45

Gewirth, A. (1988), "Ethical Universalism and Particularism", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 85, p.283. Magnell, T. (2011), "The Correlativity of Rights and Duties", The Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp.1-12. 47 Godwin (1793, cited in Goodin, 1988, p.665) is an example of someone who would. I do not engage with this position. 48 Scheffler (2001), Boundaries and Allegiances, p.52. 49 Miller (2005), "Reasonable Partiality Towards Compatriots", p.63. 50 Collins, S. (2013), "Duties to Make Friends", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp.909-910. 51 Cole (2011), "Part Two Open Borders: An Ethical Defense", pp.211-216. 52 Collins (2013), "Duties to Make Friends", p.911. 46


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Tenably, certain duties 'are justified on their own terms by reasons specific to the interpersonal connection between the duty-bearer and the beneficiary—either qua humans, for general duties, or with respect to their special relationship for associative duties'.53 Yet as true as this seems for general obligations, it is not always for associative. This is because the "special relationship" is of two kinds: either it arises out of a direct relationship with another, for example, the bonds between family members, or it arises through an indirect relationship, such as connections to national co-members. The group mediates the relationships of co-members, giving rise to the possibility for associations despite the lack of direct relationship, as in premise 5. As a result of this, we see that direct relationships exist with only a limited number of family, friends and acquaintances. In the case of these, Lazar's argument that duties are justified on their own terms still holds; it seems appropriate to say that the associative obligations arising are distinct from the general duties to others qua humans due to their being formed out of the relationship itself. In example 1 above we favour our sibling because they are our sibling. In the case of indirect associations however, such as nations, things are not so simple. If we assume that such duties still arise then I argue they do so not independently but by depending on the general obligations. In order to justify this claim, I explain how indirect associative obligation would arise, exposing their contradictory foundation. The understanding of nationalism I offered above, in section 2, becomes useful here. If we go back again to the isolated village then notably the people in the village constitute the whole of the human race for the villagers. Towards other villagers they do not have a direct relationship with they would only have general duties: there is no one "below" the other villagers in order of prioritisation for them to have the capacity for more forceful duties, hence it would be absurd to say that the villagers have associative obligations to their co-villagers. Imagine that the village suddenly comes into contact with the outside world, however. Their range of general duties is immensely expanded. Now it might make sense to say that each villager has a stronger, associative obligation to their co-villagers in virtue of their citizenship. The "base" of their general obligations suddenly changes. The outsider is placed below the co-villagers in order of importance because of their status as an outsider. Yet, necessarily most 'special duties derive the whole of their moral force from the moral force of... general duties'54 because only general duties are pre-given. The immunitary interpretation draws this out: without the general obligation towards everyone qua human, without this new "base", there would be no associative obligations towards co-villagers qua co-villagers. Just as 'one is 53

Lazar, S. (2009), "Debate: Do Associative Duties Really Not Matter?", The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 1, p.92. 54 Goodin, R. E. (1988), "What Is So Special about Our Fellow Countrymen?", Ethics, Vol. 98, No. 4, p.679.


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included by excluding'55 one can only have the associative obligation by denying one's more general obligations. As Esposito emphasises in a separate case, 'the affirmative bond of common obligation' is reversed56 to produce associative obligations. Hence, the co-villager is placed lexically prior only because there are those who are "not-villagers". This is problematic because it begins to undermine the general obligations themselves, presenting a case of incompatiblism. If associative duties depend on general duties to arise but by arising must effectively deny the general, then their foundation is removed and hence contradictory. I suggest this is necessarily so. Even if we present 'reasonable' qualifications, as Miller attempts,57 then the rights of non-members cease to matter, because we are unable to consider outsiders without comparison against our associative obligations to insiders, which continually places our co-members in priority. If we reconsider what grounds our general rights—our status as moral equals—then we can see that this very status is compromised where associative duties of this kind arise. Imagine the following: Example 2: You suddenly discover that a co-national and a foreigner are both in danger of being hit by a separate piano falling from two separate windows. Assuming it can be only one person, who do you leap to save? If we favour the co-national because of our indirect associations, then our favouring them depends on the fact that we have merely general obligations to everyone else. But if we have such associative obligations then we were always going to save our co-national. The foreigner is inactively considered because, comparably, we have already dismissed them as not having the relevant identity for full consideration. Hence, the equal status is undermined by our favouring our co-nationals and, contradictorily, by doing so the basis of indirect associative obligations are undermined. If the right to exclude is to be grounded in associative obligations, then its foundation therefore violates the condition that this right should arise coherently with our individual rights (RE). Yet, associative obligations are not the only kind of special obligations we can have. To test the above, it might be useful to see how our other kinds of obligations play out. See the following two further examples:

55

Esposito (2011), Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life, p.42. Ibid., p.25. 57 Miller (2005), "Reasonable Partiality Towards Compatriots". 56


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Example 3: You are a long-time member of a small running club whose members you know relatively well. While out jogging, a fellow member and a stranger both fall and smash their head simultaneously. The injury is fatal if not immediately treated. Who do you help? Example 4: You have just joined a larger running club and do not know anyone. The same event as in example 2 occurs. Who do you help? In example 3, we are ethically partial to our fellow runner, not because we are both members of the same running club necessarily, but because of our direct relationship to them—just as with our sibling in example 1. However, in example 4 if we give ethical priority to our fellow runner then this would be a result not of our direct relationship, but their shared membership within the running club: such an obligation would be dependent on our general obligations, as above. Is ethical priority the kind of priority we actually give them though? Certain other special obligations arise out of contracts, promises or reciprocal arrangements.58 For instance, if two business partners sign a contract detailing one another's responsibilities they have newly created, special obligations to uphold and fulfil those responsibilities. Similarly, the benefit of being in a running club is awarded from these special, non-associative obligations. A new member signs up with the understanding that they will receive support and benefits from the comembers of the club. Presumably, partialism might be justified in example 3, therefore, in virtue of the reciprocal agreement made between the members. The partialism is not ethical therefore, but contractual. Why does this kind of contractual arrangement not hold in the case of the villagers and by extension, a nation? In short, because, 'as a number of theorists have emphasised over the years, states are not like clubs'.59 It might be true that national membership generates special obligations, but these do not extend to give special, contractual or ethical, priority to co-members. As, Macedo points out,60 we might be said to have duties of distributive justice to maintain our state's just institutions, and this is especially so, according to fair play, if we use the state's services. Yet, though this constitutes a special obligation which will indirectly provide support for co-members, it does not constitute a directly ethical association between members. Our being bound by the same set of rules of authority does not give sufficient, independent reason for further associative obligations,61 so if they were to exist they must be additionally mediated 58

Hart, H. L. A. (1955), "Are There Any Natural Rights?", Philosophical Review, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp.183-187. Fine (2010), "Freedom of Association Is Not the Answer", p.350. 60 Macedo, S. (2007), “The Moral Dilemma of U.S. Immigration Policy: Open Borders Versus Social Justice?� in Swain, C. (ed) Debating Immigration, New York: Cambridge University Press, p.73. 61 Higgins (2013), Immigration Justice, p.55. 59


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through the indirect measure of our mutual identity. As I show above though, this is not tenable. Further, it is tenuous to presume we enter into any kind of consensual/contractual relationship with our fellow members that would merit our giving them associative priority.62 I believe that this therefore invalidates the possibility for associative obligations between co-nationals, disqualifying premise 6. A final test of whether this holds is observing its effect on the notion of national identity, especially given that premise 7 states that prioritisation of one another is of central importance to national associations. In short, if this is true then national identity would be undermined. Yet, I see no reason to believe it to be true. Miller argues that if national identity doesn't result in associative obligations then it could not 'locate people within an intergenerational project' or 'underpin political values'.63 With regards to the first point, it seems hard to maintain that it is the associative obligations which place people within intergenerational communities rather than the individuals embracing the identity itself. With regards to the second, we might reasonably ask why general rather than associative obligations cannot ground understandings of political value, such as justice. Miller is prepared for this. He states that this 'purely cosmopolitan' approach does not motivate people to act on duties like the national approach. 64 Yet, this doesn't seem to be reason to continue to suppose that partiality should let alone does have central significance to national identity. Not only should practical considerations not affect our assessment of ideal principles, 65 but, conceivably, it is our identity as a member of the human race which often motivates us to act on our general obligations. Granted, this motivation would not always be expressed with the same solidarity as in nationalism, but as the above shows, national solidarity necessarily involves a lack of inclusivity that should not be expressed in an ethical sense. Overall, then, I conclude that associations between national members are not such that special obligations arise between those members. Ultimately, nationalism's first essential component—the prioritisation of one's co-nationals—cannot ground the right to exclude.

62

Simmons, A. J. (1979), Moral Principles and Political Obligations, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, chaps. 3 and

4. 63

Miller (2005), "Reasonable Partiality Towards Compatriots", p.69. Ibid., p.79. 65 Balint, P. (2015), "Identity Claims: Why Liberal Neutrality is the Solution, Not the Problem", Political Studies, Vol. 63, p.497. 64


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4. The Prioritisation of Culture I turn now to the defence of the right to exclude based on the second essential element of nationalism, the protection of one's culture. I extend Wellman's argument from section 1: 10. 'The continuity of the identity shared by the members of a nation is a significant moral value',66 which includes culture. 11. Further, 'An important part of self-determination is having control over what the self is'; 67 that is, having control over the continuity of the identity. 12. 'New members will typically have a say in determining the future course' of the nation. 68 13. Unrestricted immigration can endanger current member's ability to control and protect the continuity of their identity.69 14. Therefore, legitimate states have the right not to associate with others, including would-be immigrants, based on their ability to affect the future course of the nation. The above depends on the ability we have to assign a culture significant moral value, allowing us to ground rights in this value. I address this assumption first before again applying the immunitary interpretation of communities to nationalism. By doing so, I challenge premise 11's assumption that it is feasible to control identity. I then contest that excluding would-be immigrants even helps protect identity, as in premise 12 and 13. Finally, I consider a response to my argument before concluding that protection of culture cannot ground the right to exclude. Identity and culture are not static, but fluid objects of change which are affected by events and the environments they are placed in.70 It would be wrong therefore to think that nationalist group claims are based on an unchanging notion of identity, for if they were their basis would quickly evaporate.71 Instead, what the nationalist values is what connects the identity across time. 72 It is not unreasonable to contend that even if identity is fluid, there is something about present and past morphologies of it that connects them: 66

Miller cited in Higgins (2013), Immigration Justice, p.34. Wellman, C. H. (2008), "Immigration and Freedom of Association", Ethics, Vol. 119, p.115. 68 Wellman (2011), "Part One Freedom of Association and The Right to Exclude", p.39. 69 Miller cited in Higgins (2013), Immigration Justice, p.34. 70 Kukathas, C. (1992), "Are There Any Cultural Rights?", Political Theory, Vol. 20, No. 1, p.110. 71 Ibid., p.110. 72 Miller (1997), On Nationality, p.39-41. 67


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this 'historical continuity' is what allows the identity to persist.73 From this that we can assume certain future morphologies to be more valuable than others to national members. Those which contradict, radically alter or fail to preserve certain cultural features are going to be considered less desirable. It is from this that premise 10 gains its purchase. Why, though, does this harm become a matter of normative value? If distinctly valued for its own sake, damaging the continuity of identity, or obstructing the occurrence of particular future morphologies, might cause harm in an evident way. If we assume individuals are socially embedded, then this will come to damage the background on which their lives are constructed and given meaning. If instead culture is valued for consequentialist reasons, there are two further ways damaging culture could be problematic. Culture can be seen to provide a form of "social trust" around welfare institutions or of "political solidarity" around civic institutions.74 The first focuses on the fact that individuals will be more likely to support welfare policies for those to whom they culturally identify. Multicultural states, the relevant evidence supposedly shows, experience less unity and this allows welfare policies to receive less support, damaging the just distribution of resources.75 The second points to political participation. This states that without an understanding of and commitment to national culture, individuals cannot meaningfully participate in democratic processes.76 Both arguments therefore emphasise the importance of unity and co-operation for states. They then posit that national culture provides this unity. I needn't dismiss these arguments. Instead, I merely show how the exclusion of foreigners fails to achieve their relevant goals. In the interests of doing so, I will now draw out two key insights from the immunitary understanding of nationalism I presented in section 2. Firstly, I emphasise that the foreigner plays a pivotal role in the active construction of the nation's identity—in allowing it to strengthen itself and present unity. Notably, the isolated village from above cannot produce a strong identity because it is the story the foreigner tells about a place which constructs that place's identity as much as it is the story that long-term inhabitants of that place tell themselves. This means there isn't one but two narratives constitutive of national identity: an external one, produced by the foreigner, and an internal one, produced by the nation itself. This internal narrative is comprised of the various conceptualisations of what the nation is to its members and the practices they perform. The nation constructs its own self-image through embracing particular norms. For instance, constructing houses using 73

Ibid., pp.23-24. Cole (2011), "Part Two Open Borders: An Ethical Defense", pp.268-278. 75 Miller, D. (2008), "Immigrants, Nations, and Citizenship", The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.378379. 76 Seglow, J. (2005), "The Ethics of Immigration", Political Studies Review, Vol. 3, p.322-324. 74


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red bricks in Britain. Yet this is only one side of the coin, and the only side that can be controlled. Externally, the foreigner produces their own narrative about what these things mean which may or may not conform with the internal one. To give one example, the Danish are often seen to be a friendly and happy people. This aspect of Danish culture cannot be realised except through the foreign. But despite the lack of control over how the nation is externally perceived, this narrative comes back round to contribute towards constituting the nation's identity. The national culture is partially constituted by external narratives, which will exist regardless of whether nations attempt to reject the way they perceive things. In the case of individuals, it would be feasible to agree with Wellman's statement in premise 11 that 'an important part of self-determination is having control over what the self is'.77 The individual should be able to choose to what they identify in order to construct a notion of who they are which they are satisfied with, according to the conditions of autonomy.78 If my above account is true however, external narratives might also, problematically, affect the individual; we find that self-awareness allows us to understand external narratives and, undeniably, these might even change the internal narrative in subtle and unperceived ways. Nonetheless, I argue that for individuals these external narratives do not fundamentally affect identity. We desire that external narratives, how we are perceived by others, cohere with how we would like to be perceived by others and receive great discomfort, or worse, if they are not. This is the basis for restrictions on libel or slander. Yet even despite the affect external narratives have the internal narrative takes full precedence. This is firstly because, as individuals, we are the sole sovereigns over who we wish to be. External narratives can often be repudiated in asserting one's sense of self. For example, a trans-woman who is perceived as male can deny these perceptions without them altering her sense of identity. Secondly, the negative effects that do occur are arguably not detrimental to the essential identity of that individual but to the integrity of their identity.79 In the trans-woman’s case, we would say that the individual's identity should be socially recognised, the integrity of it respected, not that her identity is altered fundamentally by the external narrative. The same is true of libel or slander. In the case of nations, things are different. Self-determination doesn't mean full control over the self for the nation only possesses control over one of the two things which constitute their "self": the internal narrative. Unlike with individuals, there is not one, but a multitude of people who determine national 77

Wellman (2008), "Immigration and Freedom of Association", p.115. Lichtenberg, J. (1997), "Nationalism, For and (Mainly) Against", in McKim, R. and McMahan, J. (eds), The Morality of Nationalism, p.163. 79 Sangiovanni, A. (2017), Humanity Without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect and Human Rights. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, pp.134-135. 78


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identity and they themselves perceive it in a myriad number of ways even whilst they all identify with it. As a result, not only is there no integrity to be respected, as there is no requirement for social recognition, but the external narratives are essential in providing unity to those various internal narratives (as above). Hence, for nations it is full control over the internal narrative that self-determination grants. If self-determination necessitates absolute control over the self then we reject premise 11. If, more tenably, what premise 11 actually means is control over the internal narrative then it is hard to see how a right to exclude could provide additional control, as I will now argue. In short, at worst premise 11 becomes untenable and, at best, highly questionable. In order to fully reject a right to exclude on this basis I move to the second point. I reiterate that there are two ways in which the foreigner's presence can be "negated" for the national community. One way is the presentation of the foreigner as the nation's opposite, the antithesis of national culture, emphasising difference rather than similarity. Another way is through their assimilation into the national culture, where they newly identify with the nation in question, politically and culturally. Commonly, nationalism only takes the first into consideration, however. This makes sense given that immunisation is not an active but a reactive force: it 'presupposes the existence of the ills it is meant to counter' (Esposito, 2011, p.7). That is to say, if nationalism is meant to protect national culture, then it presupposes that foreigners will be a threat to that culture. It is this particular assumption which the argument for the right to exclude, grounded in culture, falsely makes. However, 'the immune system cannot be reduced to the simple function of rejecting all things foreign'.80 This is why the second option of assimilation is present. Exposing this assumption challenges premises 12 and 13 if it can be shown that the voice foreigners have won't damage national identity. Remember that within this context we discuss the most ideal circumstances: individuals do not migrate to seek asylum, or due to economic necessity. Given this, we can presume that if an individual migrates then it is because they wish to integrate into the culture of their destinations. Indeed, that would-be immigrants would not wish to integrate is due only to one of two things: 'firstly, if they intended to live as a complete hermit, with no social connections with any citizens of the host society; or if they were intent on its destruction'.81 The former is implausible. The latter is perhaps part of the very reason that the immediate assumption that the foreigner is a threat is adopted. To avoid tangential discussion, I assume Cole is right in reasoning that excluding non-members does not increase

80 81

Esposito (2011), Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life, p.18. Cole (2011), "Part Two Open Borders: An Ethical Defense", p.280.


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security.82 The consequence of this, however, is that neither the intrinsic nor the consequential value of the nation is undermined if migration is allowed. If immigrants are to become akin to members then the culture remains the same, but with additional members, and the unity of the group is maintained. The assumption that the foreign is a threat has no stable basis. One final threat to continuity of identity might be conceived of if we imagine a backdrop of national culture against a multi-cultural society, where pockets of internal cultural antagonism might exist. An example might be the Indian community within Britain, for instance. As a group, they might maintain their Indian culture while taking on British citizenship. The right to exclude would then be based on the fact, in premise 13, that if this community became large enough it could begin to change the national, British, identity. This directly brings the assumption that certain future morphologies of culture are more valuable than others into the foreground. However, there is little that implies that continuity of identity for previous members will not still be maintained. Scheffler points out that identity is not only continually changing but it is not even sourced in a fixed, determined object.83 Hence, immigrants would not only affect, but be affected by the host culture. Though the host culture might be changed by the new members, change would occur mutually, marginally and progressively, allowing the continued recognition of identity across time. There seems no reason to presuppose that one future version of the culture would have more value than another, equally continuous, version of the same culture, either intrinsically or instrumentally. Further, there is no more reason to suppose that certain members desire to see a certain version of culture come about matters more than other members desires, nor more than immigrants desire to migrate. I thus conclude this section by dismissing the possibility that the right to exclude can be grounded in the second essential element of nationalism: the protection of one's culture. Conclusion The right to exclude supposedly followed on from two essential elements of nationalism: the prioritisation of one's (obligations) to co-nationals and the protection of one's culture. As essential elements, I theorised that these formed the justificatory basis for the intrinsic right to exclude foreigner's entry into a particular national territory. In section 2 I outlined my interpretative mechanism, which I applied in sections 3 and 4 to demonstrate the right to exclude's indefensibility. This is because associative obligations 82 83

Ibid., pp.280-286. Scheffler, S. (2007), "Immigration and the Significance of Culture", Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 35, No. 2, p.101.


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do not have a coherent basis and excluding others does not actually support the protection of national culture. This allowed me to draw out two further insights. Firstly, based on my understandings of associative obligations, the ways in which our national obligations to one another are conceived must be reconsidered. Secondly, the interpretation of nationalism as immunisation which I have applied throughout might be a useful source for understanding nationalism in a variety of other contexts. The question of membership is an important one with regards to nationalism. I hope to have shown that the burden of proof is not on why there should be open borders, but why there shouldn't. I thus conclude that there is no intrinsic justification for the right to exclude others from national territory. References Barry, B. (2001), Culture and Equality, Cambridge: Polity Press. Berlin, I. (1990), The Crooked Timber of Humanity, London: John Murray. Big Apple (2011), “A nation that cannot control its borders can’t control its destiny” [Online] Available at: https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/a_nation_that_cannot_control_its_border s_cant_control_its_destiny [Accessed: 08/04/18]. Balint, P. (2015), "Identity Claims: Why Liberal Neutrality is the Solution, Not the Problem", Political Studies, Vol. 63, pp.495-509. Canovan, M. (2001), "Sleeping Dogs, Prowling Cats and Soaring Doves: Three Paradoxes in the Political Theory of Nationhood", Vol. 49, pp.203-215. Carens, J. H. (1987) "Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders", The Review of Politics, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp.251-273. Cole, P. (2011), "Part Two Open Borders: An Ethical Defense", in Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (eds), Debating The Ethics of Immigration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.159-313. Collins, S. (2013), "Duties to Make Friends", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp.907-921. Copp, D. (1997), "Democracy and Communal Self-Determination", in McKim, R. and McMahan, J. (eds), The Morality of Nationalism, pp.277-300. Delannoi, G. (2017), "Chapitre 10: Nation-solution ou nation-problème? Nation, nationalisme et antinationalisme en France", in Perrineau, P. and Rouban, L. (eds), La démocratie de l'entre-soi, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. Esposito, R. (2011), Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life, Cambridge: Polity Press. Fine, S. (2010), "Freedom of Association Is Not the Answer", Ethics, Vol. 120, pp.338-356. Gewirth, A. (1988), "Ethical Universalism and Particularism", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 85, pp. 283-302. Goodin, R. E. (1988), "What Is So Special about Our Fellow Countrymen?", Ethics, Vol. 98, No. 4, pp.663-686.


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Harris, E. (2009), Nationalism: Theories and Cases, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Hart, H. L. A. (1955), "Are There Any Natural Rights?", Philosophical Review, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 175-191. Higgins, P. W. (2013), Immigration Justice, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Ingram, D. (2000), Group Rights: Reconciling Equality and Difference, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. Kukathas, C. (1992), "Are There Any Cultural Rights?", Political Theory, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.105-139. Kymlicka, W. (1995), Multicultural Citizenship, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lazar, S. (2009), "Debate: Do Associative Duties Really Not Matter?", The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.90-101. Lichtenberg, J. (1997), "Nationalism, For and (Mainly) Against", in McKim, R. and McMahan, J. (eds), The Morality of Nationalism, pp.158-175. MacDonald, T. and Ronzoni, M. (2012), "Introduction: the idea of global political justice", Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.521-533 Macedo, S. (2007), “The Moral Dilemma of U.S. Immigration Policy: Open Borders Versus Social Justice?� in Swain, C. (ed) Debating Immigration, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp.63-81. Magnell, T. (2011), "The Correlativity of Rights and Duties", The Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 1-12. McKim, R. (1997), "National Identity and Respect among Nations", in McKim, R. and McMahan, J. (eds), The Morality of Nationalism, pp.258-273. Miller, D. (1997), On Nationality, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Miller, D. (2005), "Reasonable Partiality Towards Compatriots", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 8, pp.63-81. Miller, D. (2008), "Immigrants, Nations, and Citizenship", The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.371390. Miller, D. (2014), "Immigration: The Case for Limits", in Cohen, A. I. and Wellman, C. H. (eds), Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, pp.363-375. Parekh, B. (2000), Rethinking Multiculturalism, Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, Basingstoke: Macmillan Press. Rawls, J. (2005), Political Liberalism: Expanded Edition, New York: Colombia University Press. Sangiovanni, A. (2017), Humanity Without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect and Human Rights. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Scheffler, S. (2001), Boundaries and Allegiances, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Scheffler, S. (2007), "Immigration and the Significance of Culture", Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp.93125. Seglow, J. (2005), "The Ethics of Immigration", Political Studies Review, Vol. 3, pp.317-334. Simmons, A. J. (1979), Moral Principles and Political Obligations, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


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Smith, A. (1991), National Identity, Nevada: University of Nevada Press. Trump, D. J. (@realDonaldTrump), ""A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation." - President Ronald Reagan." 3 Jul 2015, 9:18AM, Tweet, [Online] Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/617004605302571012 [Accessed: 08/04/18] Waldron, J. (1984), "Introduction" in Waldron, J. (ed), Theories of Rights, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Walzer, M. (1983), Spheres of Justice, New York: Basic Books. Wellman, C. H. (2008), "Immigration and Freedom of Association", Ethics, Vol. 119, pp.109-141. Wellman, C. H. (2011), "Part One Freedom of Association and The Right to Exclude", in Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (eds), Debating The Ethics of Immigration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.13-155 Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (2011), "Introduction", in Wellman, C. H. and Cole, P. (eds), Debating The Ethics of Immigration, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.1-9.


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Crypto-Utopia, Crypto-Apocalypse: Technological Global Capitalism, the Bitcoin Ideology and its Utopian Manifestations in ‘Puertopia’

Holly Clarke, 3rd Year Essay BSocSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations

Abstract: This paper discusses the ideological role of ‘Bitcoin’ within the current system of technological and global capitalism. It applies Slavov Žižek's Lacanian ontological triad of the Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real to understand how Bitcoin functions to sustain ideologies of global Capitalism. Thereby it argues that Bitcoin can be regarded as a ‘sublime object of Capital’ that both allows us to glimpse the violent Real at the heart of Capital and experience Capitalism as an almost religious phenomenon. Consequently, this paper observes how ‘Puertopia’ - a cryptocurrency paradise being built by Bitcoin elite - can be regarded as a kind of distorted ‘Frontier Utopia’ of the Bitcoin ideology. Nonetheless, it argues that this Utopian project has apocalyptic tendencies that return as spectral apparitions exposing the violent Real contradictions at the heart of the current Capitalist system.

“[In] Puerto Rico...I found the strangest paradise on Earth. It's where your secrets come to dance and the voodoo works its magic”1

This research applies contemporary philosopher Slavov Žižek’s Lacanian critique of political ideology to investigate how present day Utopian projects can be understood as an expression of the technological and global capitalist ideologies that are salient within the world today. It investigates one such project ‘Puertopia’. This is a ‘crypto-Utopia’ being dreamed into being by a group of elite Bitcoin-billionaires on the island of Puerto-Rico. They envisage a place where the currency is virtual, the contracts are all public and lives are free from taxation and state-interference. Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the Puertopians have grasped an opportunity to treat Puerto Rico as a ‘blank canvas’ on which to paint their libertarian secessionist fantasies; buying land at massively devalued prices. 1

The Rum Diary (trailer) (2011), [video] Directed by B. Robinson, US: GK Films.


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Through the example of Bitcoin, and its Utopian manifestations in ‘Puertopia’, I argue that ideologies of global capitalism can be seen to orbit around objects designated as ‘sublime’. This functions in order to sustain Capitalism ideologically, elevating it to a quasi-religious belief that symbolises Capital excluding the inherent 'Real' contradictions at its core. However, by applying ideology critique to the Utopian projects of this ideology, I argue that the 'Real of Capital' can be seen by ‘anamorphically’2 observing the apocalyptic spectres that haunt such Utopian visions. To apply this ideology critique, I utilise Žižek’s 3 understanding of the Lacanian ontological triad between the Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real. Subsequently, this paper begins with an overview of this particular understanding of ideology. It then discusses how Bitcoin can be understood as a sublime object of Capital, before observing ‘Puertopia’ as an inverted Frontier Utopia. Finally I critique how the ideological nature of Bitcoin and Puertopia can be perceived through the dystopian visions that haunt the crypto-Utopia. Žižek’s critique of Ideology Žižek's understanding of ideology differs somewhat from traditional or commonsense conceptualisations. When one states that something is 'ideological' it is often a criticism that it is idealistic or unrealistic. In this sense ideology can be seen as a form of 'false consciousness', to use the Marxist term, that clouds one's vision from empirical and objective truth. Žižek, on the other hand, proposes that there is no clear demarcation separating ideology and reality. Hence it is impossible to step outside of ideology.4 Žižek argues that 'the tragedy of our predicament... is that, when we think that we are escaping it... at that point we are within ideology'.5 Far from an illusionary layer that can be peeled back to reveal a truer experience of our world, ideology is a fundamental part of what we experience as reality. In Žižek 's own words 'the function of ideology is not to offer us a point of escape from our reality but to offer us the social reality itself as an escape'.6 Nonetheless Žižek puts forward that we must ‘maintain the tension that keeps the critique of ideology alive’.7 Thus, the challenge presents itself as to how this can be done from within our ideologically and socially constructed realities. Critique of ideology becomes possible when regarding a Lacanian psychoanalytical ontology. Žižek, following Lacan, argues that 'reality' can be understood to be structured around a triad of ‘the Imaginary’ 2

Žižek, S. (1992), Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso. p.172-173. 4 Zizek, S. (1994), Mapping ideology, London: Verso, p.17. 5 Zizek, S.(2012), The Perverts Guide to Ideology [film], UK: Zeitgeist Film Studios. 6 Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, p.45. 7 Zizek, S. (1994), Mapping ideology, p.17. 3


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(an internalised ideal of the ‘whole’ self that conceals fragmentation), 'the Symbolic’ (an abstract signification of thoughts and desires), and ‘the Real’ (the raw traumatic ‘kernels’ that resist representation in the symbolic order).8 In its primary formulation, the Real is the raw unmediated experience the subject sacrifices when entering into the symbolic system of language as a baby. Subsequently, the imaginarysymbolic is structured around an (always incomplete) exclusion or ‘covering’ of the Real.9 The ‘reality’ we experience is therefore constructed around the void of the Real, yet we imagine ourselves as complete through an ideological layer of fantasy that excludes this from symbolisation. Hence, the Real remains nonsymbolised in ‘reality’ and returns only ‘in the guise of spectral apparitions’.10 Therefore, that which we experience as ‘reality’ is ‘always already symbolised’, mediated through Lacanian triadic layering, and ultimately incomplete.11 It is from this resulting ‘gap’ that Žižek contends we may ascertain access to ‘extra-ideological reality’.12 This Lacanian ontology shows the human experience to be inherently structured around a void created through the exclusion of the Real within our symbolic universe. The resultant 'lack' we experience as part of the human condition designates objects as the cause of desire; that which provides a sense of 'completeness'. Yet our desires will never be satiated by such objects as the true lack comes from the fundamental construction of our 'reality'. Rather these objects function to sustain ideology, leaving the subject always looking for something 'more'. By observing the operation of desire and lack, the workings of ideology can be glimpsed from within the system. Like a 'black hole'13 the Real is only perceivable through its effects - the 'swerves in the symbolic'14 that it produces. Yet by investigating the radically negative manifestations of the Real within the Symbolic a critique of ideology can be sustained. It is from this standpoint that this essay ensues, seeking to expose the ideologies of technological and global Capitalism within Bitcoin and 'Puertopia'.

8

Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, p.194. Ibid., p.21. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Stavrakakis, Y.(1997), ‘Ambiguous ideology and the Lacanian twist’, Journal of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, 8:9, pp.123-124. 13 Žižek, S. (1992), Looking Awry, p.19. 14 Vighi, F. and Feldner, H. (2007), Zizek: Beyond Foucault, Basingstoke: Springer, p.181. 9


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Bitcoin: A Sublime Object of Capital Before regarding ‘Puertopia’, attention must first be drawn to Bitcoin and its place within the system of technological and global capitalism. Bitcoin is a ‘decentralised’ peer-to-peer digital currency under which transactions are verified by the code encrypted into its construction, through ‘blockchain’ technology, rather than a centralised bank or body. It can be understood as a truly ‘global’ currency as it does not align with any geographical borders, banks or national governments unlike many traditional currencies. Bitcoin has been regarded similar to gold as it is ‘mined’, though within the digital dimension in which powerful computer processors solve complex algorithms rather than through any physical labour. Like gold, Bitcoin is also a ‘finite’ resource, capping levels at 21 million coins which is thought to be approached in the year 2040, this is designed to provide Bitcoin with long-term price stability. Nonetheless, the focus of this paper is Bitcoin’s ideological rather than technical function. Bitcoin, for many is a mythical ‘thing’ complete with an enigmatic founder by the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, it has been deemed ‘magic internet money’.15 John Oliver has described it as “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers”.16 For many individuals this is what Bitcoin is, something incomprehensible and fascinating. It is important to consider that Bitcoin does not have any intrinsic value but is deemed valuable because it is collectively believed to be so. This paper subsequently focuses on the ideological role of Bitcoin as a ‘sublime object of Capital’ within technological and global capitalism. According to Žižek, an encounter with a sublime object first impresses on us the painful limitations of our perceptions, yet in the second moment, the impossibility of fully representing the object within our symbolic system grants us a glimpse into the dimension of the irrepresentable.17 Subsequently the object gains a transcendental quality that affirms the existence of something ‘more’. In a Lacanian sense therefore, a sublime object is marked by a ‘missed encounter with the Real’.18 Žižek theorises that “Capital functions as the sublime irrepresentable Thing”,19 present negatively only through its effects. In consequence White contends that Damien Hirst’s Crystal Skull is a sublime object of Capital, as encountering it is an aweinspiring experience.20 So too, I argue, can Bitcoin be understood as a sublime object of Capital.

15

Oliver, J. (2018), “Cryptocurrencies: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, 11 March [Video] US: HBO. Ibid. 17 Sharpe, M. (Unknown), “Sublime Objects of Ideology - Slavoj Žižek (1949 —)”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 18 White, L. (2009), “Damien Hirst’s diamond skull and the capitalist sublime”, in White, L. & Pajaczkowska, C. (eds), The Sublime Now, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.157. 19 Žižek, S. (1997), The Plague of Fantasies, London: Verso, p.103. 20 White, L. (2009), “Damien Hirst’s diamond skull and the capitalist sublime”, pp.155. 16


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At the heart of a sublime object is its evasion of representation. White argues that the Crystal Skull wavers between dimensions; ‘between icon and object, concept and aesthetic experience, image and material thing’ such that it is ‘never graspable in any one of them’.21 Bitcoin too reverberates between these things; between physical and virtual, money and myth, somethingness and nothingness. Ole Bjerg describes it as ‘gold standard without gold’, ‘fiat money without a state’ and ‘credit money without debt’. 22 Whatever ideal conceptualisation of money is applied, Bitcoin seems to be structured around a fundamental hole, never fully representable, it becomes an enigma. As a sublime object it covers the Real of Capital, yet this process is inherently incomplete letting the Real ‘shine’ through. White talks of “surplus-value” as the ‘strangely intangible, obscure, even unstable and evanescent thing at the heart of capital accumulation’,23 and perhaps this is what Bitcoin is, a purely surplus object, ‘at once substanceless but also, paradoxically, a “weighty” sum. Something vast, powerful, real, and yet also ghostly.”24 To explain further, White notes that despite its concrete manifestations, money, as an intellectual phenomenon, is an abstraction that belongs in the realm of the ‘supersensible’.25 He highlights a ‘fundamental mismatch’ in which ‘the imagination must seek to find sensuous adequation for the nonsensuous’.26 Bitcoin can be viewed as an ultimate dematerialisation of money, unlike the coins and paper we carry in our pockets and exchange in attempted fulfilment of our desires, it is no tangible thing but simply an abstracted string of digits in a virtual dimension. While abstract money seems commonplace in the modern era of online banking and credit cards, these still hold a possibility Bitcoin does not; that if one so desired virtual currency could be exchanged for the wads of cash seen in music videos and crime movies. White argues liminality is what gives money its spectral quality; ‘never entirely either exchange or usevalue, but suspended between the two’.27 This is exacerbated with Bitcoin as its translation into the material presents a tension. At once Bitcoin is relatively useless in the purchase of mundane everyday objects of desire as very few highstreet shops accept it,28 yet it too provides access to a dark underbelly of the economy. Bitcoin has links to the criminal online world (the Silk Road/Deep Web) due to the anonymity it provides outside the control of 21

Ibid., p.159. Bjerg, O. (2016), “How is Bitcoin Money?”, Theory, Culture & Society, 33:1, pp. 53–72. 23 White, L. (2009), “Damien Hirst’s diamond skull and the capitalist sublime”, pp.161. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid., p.160. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Glaister, D. (2017), “Can you buy anything real with Bitcoin? On the streets of Bristol, it proves a hard sell”, The Guardian, 1 July. 22


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government.29 Near anything can be bought on such websites from high-grade drugs or hitmen to trafficked children.30 While these ‘commodities’ are bought with Dollars, Euros and Yen alike, the use of Bitcoin adds a layer of ideological fantasy, that such transactions stand apart from centralised government-regulated monetary systems and thereby separate from the rule of law. They reside within the ‘Wild West’ of finance31 at a fantasmatic abstracted level from the Real of Capital. More than other currencies thereby Bitcoin reflects a gateway into the raw unmediated experience of Capital as a religious phenomenon. Walter Benjamin notably argued that ‘one can behold capitalism a religion’ in that it ‘serves to satisfy the same worries, anguish and disquiet’.32 I argue henceforth that Bitcoin affirms the religiosity of Capitalism sustaining its ideological power. Firstly, it stages the sublime possibility of Capital to realise one’s deepest desires unfettered by the regulation of the state, yet in its dark manifestations it too offers glimpses at the Real. This desire can be understood as jouissance; ‘excessive pleasure and pain’33 that reflects the subjects deep intrinsic lack. This sublime encounter at once affirms the subjects lack and designates cryptocurrency as the fantasy by which to fill this void. Secondly, Bitcoin’s decentralised construction stages the libertarian fantasy of divine rule by the ‘invisible hand of the market’ 34 unshackled from the state and banking institutions. Cox- notes that the free market, like God, is characterised by omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.35 This sustains the fantasy that the rule of the Market is the divine and naturalised state, subsequently excluding the inherent contradictions of capitalism from its symbolisation. Finally, Bitcoin possesses a mythical element that elevates it to the level of religion; out of the recesses of the internet it seems to have generated cryptocurrency billionaires as ‘evangelists’. Whether through the invisible hand of God (the Market), clever investing, or sheer dumb luck, the Bitcoin ideology preaches that if one truly believes then riches beyond one’s wildest dreams can be achieved. This expresses itself in the discourse of the ‘crypto-elite’, Jeremy Gardner, college-drop-out turned crypto-billionaire, who states “I was given this necklace and was told my net worth would go up, and it’s gone up six [times]

29

Trautman, L. J. (2014), “Virtual Currencies; Bitcoin & What Now after Liberty Reserve, Silk Road, and Mt. Gox?”, Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, 20:4. 30 Lee, T. B. (2013), “Silk Road’s mastermind allegedly paid $80,000 for a hitman. The hitman was a cop.”, Washington Post, 2 October; Francis, J. (2017), “Police Say Human Traffickers are Turning to Bitcoin”, The Bitcoinist, 15 October. 31 Cole, A. (2014), “CFPB warns consumers about Bitcoin”, Birmingham Business Journal, 12 August. 32 Benjamin, W. ([1912] 1996), Selected Writings Vol 1, Belknap: Harvard Press, p.288. 33 Dean, J. (2012), Zizek’s Politics. London: Routledge, p.4. 34 Smith, A. ([1776] 1976), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Glasgow edn., Oxford: Clarendon, p.456. 35 Cox, H., (1999), “The market as God: Living in the new dispensation.”, The Atlantic Monthly, 283:3, pp.18-23.


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since then”, while Grant Hummer remarks “It’s just a different level of consciousness”. 36 The Bitcoin ideology understands itself as a realm of enlightened Capitalism, separated from the violent Real of Capital relations. The inherent contradictions in the Capitalist system theorised by Marx regarding labour, inequality and environmental degradation37 are all excluded from its representation, understood to exist at a level of abstraction from cryptocurrencies. Here there is no ‘product’ being created and therefore no labour, simply wealth mined from the ore of a virtual world. This is of course a fantasy that returns in the spectral apparitions of the Real, as will be explored in the final section of this paper; yet still Bitcoin, as a sublime object of Capital, functions to sustain Capitalism as an ideology and religion. The Frontier “Puertopia” Sublime objects of Capital have long been linked to Utopian spaces of the Frontier; for capitalist ideologies the Frontier becomes a fantasmatic space entangled with the promise of a magical abundance of wealth. Žižek argues that if we constitute a space as symbolically separate from daily ‘reality’ then our fantasies can be projected onto it, designating it a Utopia.38 He outlines this as ‘the Zone’; a sacred/forbidden space in which ‘the gap between the Symbolic and Real is closed’ and subsequently ‘our desires are directly materialised.’39 The Real is formally excluded from our ‘reality’ and located in the ‘Zone’, therefore ‘the Zone’ becomes a structural void; ‘the void which sustains desire’ 40. Žižek puts forward that there is nothing inherently ‘exotic’ about spaces designated ‘Utopian’; they are ‘effectively the same as our common reality’,41 yet their symbolic location at the ‘Limit’/’Frontier’ provides them with an aura of magical properties. It is in this space that the sublime object is placed, as expressed with Gold and Oil around which Utopian fantasies have sprung. Columbus writing on Gold exclaims “its owner is master of all he desires. Gold can even enable souls to enter paradise”,42 while Oil creates the illusion of ‘the eternal human dream of wealth achieved through…a kiss of fortune’43. These sublime objects are professed as a key to unlimited desire, yet the true role of the fantasies that surround them is to cover the innate lack inherent in human experience created through the ontological triad of the Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real. The quest to cross the Frontier reflects more the lack that structures human desire, the Real and the 36

Bowels, N. (2018b), “Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not”, The New York Times, 13 January. Marx, K. (1990), Capital Vol 1. reprint edn, London: Penguin UK; Harvey, D. (2014), Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, London: Profile Books. O’Connor, J. (1991), “On the two contradictions of capitalism”, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 2:3, pp. 107–109. 38 Wilson, J. (2018b), Apocalypse, 20 April. [Lecture] University of Manchester. 39 Zizek, S. (1999), “The thing from inner space on Tarkovsky”, Angelaki, 4:3, pp. 221. 40 Ibid., p.227. 41 Ibid. 42 Marx, K. (1990), Capital Vol 1., p.229. 43 Kapuscinski, R. (2006), Shah of Shahs. London: Penguin UK., pp.34-35. 37


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heart of the Sublime, than any true Utopian space. Bitcoin too structures Utopian fantasies. Hence ‘Puertopia’ presents itself as a crypto-Utopia built on Puerto Rico through the imagination and efforts of a group of Bitcoin-billionaires. Their vision is a new city ‘where the money is virtual and the contracts are all public’.44 Returning to Bitcoin, unlike Gold or Oil, it has no material essence. In the words of Brock Pierce, the Puertopia leader, ‘gold is physical. Bitcoin is intangible’.45 Žižek notes that the sublime object ultimately is a ‘miserable, radically contingent corporeal leftover’,46 yet herein lays the paradoxical nature of Bitcoin. It resides in the virtual world and thus cannot ‘fill out the void’ created by the Real through its corporeal presence. Rather it fills the void with a virtual ‘thing’ and hence further negativity. I contend that this intensifies a capitalist desire to cover lack with tangible effects that become more like a religious pilgrimage than an expression of Capital. Pierce repeatedly expresses the mantra that a billionaire ‘is someone who has positively impacted the lives of a billion people’.47 The virtual nature of Bitcoin too affects the construction of the Frontier Utopia leading to a kind of inversion. The Frontier here is no geographical limit behind which unlimited wealth is perceived to reside, as is the case for Gold or Oil utopias. Rather the limits here present themselves as the raw edges of Capital and technology, the potential they present, which is then projected onto physical space. Many of the Bitcoin-billionaires linked to Puertopia express that they have attained wealth beyond their wildest dreams, Garner says ‘it doesn’t feel real’, he’s ready ‘for crypto assets to go down 90 percent’, he’ll ‘feel better then’, he thinks.48 Pierce is apparently ‘beyond money’.49 What seems to be missing here is the Utopian space itself. Traditional Frontier Utopias crumble when the Frontier is occupied only to find it is not a paradise of unlimited wealth. For the Puertopians, unlimited wealth is perceived as attained, but the physical paradise unrealised. Of course, in a Lacanian sense the Frontier Utopia, and its inversion here, are structured around the void innate to the human experience that cannot be truly filled by either wealth or paradise. Yet in the case of Bitcoin, without its physical manifestations in ‘Utopia’, its owners are reminded of its virtuality, intangibility and fragility. It seems no coincidence that this Utopia takes island form; the ‘island’ holds specific symbolic significance for Utopias. Thomas More’s original ‘Utopia’ was also constructed as a proto-communist island 44

Bowles, N. (2018a), “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico”, The New York Times, 2 February [Online]. Lopez, T. (2017), “Brock Pierce: Why Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Will Take Over & Will Change Your Life Forever.” [Video]. 46 Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, p.207. 47 Lopez, T. (2017), “Brock Pierce: Why Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Will Take Over & Will Change Your Life Forever.” 48 Bowles, N. (2018b), “Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not”, The New York Times, 13 January. 49 Bowles, N. (2018a), “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico”. 45


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with no money, articulating strange parallels to an island ruled by virtual currency. 50 Subsequently ‘the island’ has crept up in Utopian fantasies and particularly those of libertarian ideology. Steinberg et al discuss the ‘Seastedding’ project which stages a Randian51-secessionist fantasy of autonomous island communities fuelled by ‘a cocktail of ideologies (techno-optimism, libertarian secession theories, and strains of anarchocapitalism)’.52 Naomi Klein- makes specific reference to Puertopia as ‘a sort of slacker cousin to the Seastedders’53 and Karlstrøm- argues that Bitcoin has ideological roots in technological libertarianism, detaching currency from the constraints to freedom imposed by centralised state regulation. 54 Steinberg et al.- point out that ‘the island is idealized as the perfect site for autonomous actors to exert their freedom’, the metaphysical separation of land and water sustaining the myth of isolationist and escapist fantasies.55 Therefore the island becomes crucial in the construction of Utopia as a ‘Zone’, separate from the world, in which the contradictions of the capitalist global system can be resolved. However, as Steinberg et al. argue, these Utopian fantasies are more symptomatic of contradictions in present day ideologies of technological global capitalism than the harbinger of futurist visions without such frictions. 56 Steinberg et al. also note the ‘idealization (and gendering) of the island as a place of ownership, where any man can be a king’ within literature. 57 This is vehemently expressed in Puertopia; the ‘crypto-utopia’ is renaming itself ‘Sol’ because they were told Puertopia means ‘eternal boy playground’ in Latin.58 The name seems to have hit a nerve, perhaps because 96% of cryptocurrencies are owned by men.59 The Bitcoin ideology thus presents itself as a particularly masculinised fantasy of Market rule. Reeve Collins, one of the (all male) Puertopians, proclaims his desire to avoid taxation, something provided by the Puerto Rican government to rich Americans, he states ‘this is the first time in human history anyone other than kings or governments or gods can create their own money’.60 For the Puertopians it certainly seems that the island ‘paradise’ elevates them to these kingly or divine positions. Puerto Rico especially has been constructed as a 50

More, T. ([1516] 1965), Utopia, London; New York: Penguin Books. Rand, A. (2005), Atlas Shrugged, London: Penguin. 52 Steinberg, P. E., Nyman, E. and Caraccioli, M. J. (2012), “Atlas Swam: Freedom, Capital, and Floating Sovereignties in the Seasteading Vision”, Antipode, 44:4, p.1532. 53 Klein, N. (2018), “Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island”, The Intercept, 20 March. 54 Karlstrøm, H. (2014), “Do libertarians dream of electric coins? The material embeddedness of Bitcoin”, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 15:1, pp. 23–36. 55 Steinberg, P. E., Nyman, E. and Caraccioli, M. J. (2012), “Atlas Swam”, p.1534. 56 Ibid., p.1534. 57 Ibid. 58 Bowles, N. (2018a), “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico”. 59 Lustig, C. and Nardi, B. (2015), “Algorithmic Authority: The Case of Bitcoin”, in 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 743–752. 60 Bowles, N. (2018a), “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico”. 51


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fantasy island for the desires of the American wealthy. It has historically been a tax ‘haven’ for those wishing to avoid their deep pockets being dipped into by the hand of the state. Hunter S. Thompson, in The Rum Diary, depicts Puerto Rico as a paradise island on which washed-up writers and dirty capitalist dealers can stage their perverted American Dreams.61 Puertopia presents itself truly as an ‘eternal boy’s playground’, a Never-never Land of the Bitcoin world, constructed for its lost boys to chase their desires yet ultimately avoiding the Real of Capital. Bitcoin Apocalypse As Mieville- argues, Utopias necessitate apocalypse; ‘the end of everything, and the horizon of hope. Far from antipodes, these two have always been inextricable…the apocalypse…paves the way for…the time beyond, the new beginning’.62 Utopian creations require blank space, a reckoning, the biblical flood that clears the way for the worthy to rebuild. Steinberg et al.- argue that ‘the island’, especially for libertarian fantasies, is often symbolised as ‘a blank canvas, on which solitary, independent individuals can paint whatever they desire most’.63 The words are mimicked again by the Governor of Puerto Rico to New York business investors following hurricane Maria, the country is now a ‘blank canvas’.64 Perhaps, in the case of Puertopia, Utopia and Apocalypse collide, Mieville-continues ‘we live in utopia; it just isn’t ours. So we live in apocalypse too’.65 Still six months after Maria at least 150,000 Puerto Ricans are without electricity66 and many others are without clean water, their homes destroyed, their towns covered in debris, schools remaining shut. The official death toll is 64, yet estimates place it at over a thousand, the trauma ricocheting into the present with rising suicide rates on the island.67 For the Puertopians, this is the site of their new Utopia, yet for the Puerto Ricans their lives resonate with dystopian and post-apocalyptic images. Thereby I argue that the Real contradictions of Capital, excluded from Bitcoin, return in spectral apparitions of the apocalypse. As Bitcoin has been elevated to a sublime object of Capital, the Real ‘shines

61

Thompson, H. S. (2011), The Rum Diary. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. Miéville, C. (2015), “The Limits of Utopia”, Salvage, 1 August. 63 Steinberg, P.E., Nyman, E. and Caraccioli, M. J. (2012), “Atlas Swam”, p.1534. 64 Klein, N. (2018), “Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island”. 65 Miéville, C. (2015), “The Limits of Utopia”. 66 Jackman, J., Warren, R., Montero, M., Ribeiro, A., Pickles, M., & Khalili, M. (2018), “Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: “We’re American, too, why don’t they help?” – video”, The Guardian, 30 April. 67 Robles, F. et al. (2017), “Official Toll in Puerto Rico: 64. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052.”, The New York Times, 8 December. 62


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through’ it.68 Here, ‘the Real appears precisely as ‘irreal’, as a spectral illusion for which there is no room in our (symbolically constructed) reality’.69 As previously argued, Utopian fantasies are more symptomatic of present contradictions in technological global capitalism than any true visions of Utopian futures. Wilson -suggests that ‘the Real of Capital may be more effectively communicated through the analysis of its distorted symptomatic appearances than through its direct representation’.70 Thus we must observe these apparitions anamorphically; by ‘looking awry’ at spectres within their Utopian setting we are able to glimpse indirectly the Real of Capital at work in the construction of fantasies and its manifestation in Dystopian visions.71 Through the prism of Puertopia, we can see the Real of Capital reflected through a fantasmatic layer of abstraction. I thereby discuss three contradictions of Capital in relation to the environment, the state and labour, all excluded from the symbolism in Bitcoin and its Utopian projections, only to return in distorted ghostly apparitions. When regarding environmental contradictions attention must be drawn to Maria, as the flood that paved the way for a new beginning. The Puertopians regard this as the ‘perfect storm’, a ‘godsend’.72 If capitalism is a religion, then the Puertopians regard themselves the ‘righteous chosen’. This expresses itself in their religious discourse; their base is named the ‘Monastery’, a hotel miraculously unscathed by the hurricane, while Pierce says prayers for Puertopia to an ancient Ceiba tree.73 Yet by viewing the hurricane as an act of divine providence its environmental causes are excluded from symbolism. Research has shown that climate change leads to rising sea temperatures which intensify tropical storms.74 Nevertheless Bitcoin appears to exist at a level abstracted from the physical relations of Capital that cause environmental degradation; it is ‘gold standard without the gold’.75 The currency is virtual and thus is presented as clean unlike the mining process for Gold or Oil, as other sublime objects of Capital, that pollute, destruct and exploit the environment. Yet excluded here is the astronomical energy cost it takes to power complex algorithms performed by computers ‘mining’ Bitcoin, even within a digital dimension. Currently it is estimated that Bitcoin 68

Wilson, J. (2018a), “Anamorphosis of Capital: Black Holes, Gothic Monsters, and the Will of God” in Kapoor, I. (ed), Psychoanalysis and the Global, London: University of Nebraska Press, p.165. 69 Zizek, S. (2002), For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor (2 edn.), London: Verso. p.xvi. 70 Wilson, J. (2018a), “Anamorphosis of Capital: Black Holes, Gothic Monsters, and the Will of God” in Kapoor, I. (ed), Psychoanalysis and the Global, London: University of Nebraska Press, p.165. 71 Žižek, S. (1992), Looking Awry, p.11. 72 Bowles, N. (2018a), “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico”. 73 Ibid. 74 Knutson, T., McBride, J., Chan, J., Emanuel, K., Holland, G., & Landsea, C. (2010), “Tropical cyclones and climate change”, Nature Geoscience, 3:3, pp. 157–163. 75 Bjerg, O. (2016), “How is Bitcoin Money?”, p.53


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consumes 66.64TWh/year,76 this is over three times the energy consumption of the entirety of Puerto Rico. In contrast, Puerto Rico is a place left without electricity, the immense environmental cost of Bitcoin returns in this shadowy spectre of a world with the lights turned off that cloaks the Puertopian project. For the Puertopians though, the role and environmental cost of electricity is excluded from symbolism, one attendee of the Cryptocurrency conference in Puerto Rico reportedly explained “If I had to choose between electricity and internet, I'd light a candle".77 The Puerto Ricans, however, are presented with no such choice. Puertopia also stages a contradiction between the Market and the State. Bitcoin is symbolised as a decentralised currency, outside of state regulation. Equally, Puertopia is presented as a libertarian secessionist fantasy free of government intervention and taxation. Both are regarded to be at the bequest of the Market, yet the Puerto Rican government’s facilitation of this ‘Utopia’ is excluded. Acts 20/22 firmly established the island as a ‘tax haven’ for wealthy Americans with minimal corporate/capital-gains taxes. Contrastingly, Puerto Ricans pay $3.5billion per year in taxes; this supposedly funds public services including FEMA and the military which protect citizens during states of emergency.78 Here the libertarian Utopia of the unregulated power of the Market without the State seems to have returned in the postapocalyptic realities for Puerto Ricans, who despite paying taxes have been failed by disaster relief services. The emergency food sent by FEMA reportedly consisted of Skittles, Cheez-Its and beef-jerky,79 the kind of foods protagonists of post-apocalyptic films pillage from desolate supermarkets rather than a wellcoordinated nutritious diet. Naomi Klein argues that ‘Disaster Capitalism’ can be observed in Puerto Rico in which neoliberal reforms and privatisation occur in the wake of catastrophe when people are at their most vulnerable and disarmed.80 Following Maria the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has been privatised, with similar plans also in place to proliferate privately run charter schools instead of the still shut state schools. While the Puertopians dream about Market free of the State the Puerto Ricans experience the Real of Capital as a nightmarish ‘reality’ without the aid promised to them by their government and America.

76

Digiconomist (2018), “Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index.” Ruetzel, B. (2018), “I Survived the Eternal Boy Playground, Will Puerto Rico?”, Coindesk, 1 April. 78 Klein, N. (2018), “Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island”. 79 Dewey, C. (2017), “Analysis | Why FEMA sent “junk food” to Puerto Rican hurricane survivors”, Washington Post, 24 October. 80 Klein, N. (2018), “Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island”. 77


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The final contradiction presented here regards labour. In a traditional Marxian sense surplus-value is derived from exploitation of the proletariat, in which their work is undervalued to create profit for capitalists. However, in the case of Bitcoin there is no ‘product’, I have argued that it is symbolised purely as ‘surplus-value’, an effervescent ‘thing’ free of human labour, wealth achieved through a blessing by the Market’s ‘invisible hand’. This is of course a fantasy; Bitcoin, like any currency, is entwined with Capital relations and the spectral return of the Real shines through the dystopian cracks in Puertopia. At the same time crypto-billionaires are flocking to Puerto Rico, locals are leaving through desperation. An estimated 130,000 Puerto Ricans have settled in America since the hurricane,81 Yarmia Bonilla argues ‘instead of helping people here…they’re encouraging people to leave’.82 Bonilla contends this measure fills the lowwage labour gap created by Trump’s anti-immigration policies.83 While Bitcoin may be virtual, the ‘blank canvas’ Puertopians are painting their fantasies onto is material; more an empty shell, hollowed by Capitalist relations, exploitation and a history of colonialism, than a ‘blank canvas’. Some have even labelled the Puertopia project ‘crypto-colonialism’.84 This is a term coined 18 years ago, long before cryptocurrencies rose to their height, to refer to countries that exchanged economic dependence for political independence.85 In this sense ‘crypto’ referred to a concealed/secret dependence, rather than a relation to the virtual world. Yet, now the term applies to Puerto Rico in a dual sense under which the county’s colonial history is refashioned. Now Puerto Rico’s future seems to be under the rule of cryptowealth Americans, in exchange for their compliance and even encouragement the Puerto Ricans receive investment.86 Conclusion In this paper I have argued that the ideological function of technological and global capitalism is sustained through the presence of ‘sublime objects’ that affirm the existence of something ‘more’. Bitcoin is perceived as a sublime object which symbolises Capital at a level abstracted from its contradictions regarding the environment, labour and the state. The sublime and religious symbolism of Bitcoin means it has manifested itself in Utopian visions of ‘Puertopia’, regarded as an inversion of the ‘Frontier Utopia’. 81

Echenique, M. (2018), “Exodus: The Post-Hurricane Puerto Rican Diaspora, Mapped”, City Lab, 13 March. Klein, N. (2018), “Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island”. 83 Bonilla, Y. (2018), “Perspective | How Puerto Ricans fit into an increasingly anti-immigrant U.S.”, Washington Post, 19 January. 84 Lucey, B. and Yarovaya, L. (2018), “Bitcoin rich kids in Puerto Rico: crypto utopia or crypto-colonialism?”, The Conversation, 14 February. 85 Herzfeld, M. (2002), “The Absent Presence: Discourses of Crypto-Colonialism”, South Atlantic Quarterly, 101:4, pp. 899–926. 86 Lucey, B. and Yarovaya, L. (2018), “Bitcoin rich kids in Puerto Rico: crypto utopia or crypto-colonialism”. 82


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Nevertheless, the exclusion of the Real contradictions of Capital return as apocalyptic visions that disrupt the Utopian project. Through the example of Puertopia we can see that ideology functions in global capitalism by excluding contradiction inherent within the system. This is especially seen in Utopian spaces which are perhaps the purest projection of ideology. Nonetheless by observing the apocalyptic spectres that haunt Puertopia its ideological foundations can be perceived and the Real of Capital exposed. This research illuminates the importance of observing Utopian projects, not as the wild dreams of fantasists, but as symptoms of the wider technological and global ideologies of capitalism. Equally, apocalyptic spectres must be treated seriously as reflections of the Real of Capital. Conclusively I have sought to show how Capitalism, in its many shifting forms, functions ideologically to construct itself as free from the inherent contradictions at its core and thus sustain its continuation. References Benjamin, W. ([1912] 1996), Selected Writings Vol 1, Belknap: Harvard Press. Bjerg, O. (2016), “How is Bitcoin Money?”, Theory, Culture & Society, 33:1, pp. 53–72. Bonilla, Y. (2018), “Perspective | How Puerto Ricans fit into an increasingly anti-immigrant U.S.”, Washington Post, 19 January, [Online] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/01/19/how-the-u-s-will-replaceimmigrant-workers-with-puerto-ricans/ [Accessed: 16 May 2018]. Bowles, N. (2018a), “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico”, The New York Times, 2 February, [Online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/technology/cryptocurrency-puerto-rico.html [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Bowles, N. (2018b), “Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not”, The New York Times, 13 January. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/13/style/bitcoin-millionaires.html [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Cole, A. (2014) ,“CFPB warns consumers about Bitcoin”, Birmingham Business Journal, 12 August, [Online] Available at: https://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/blog/2014/08/cfpb-warns-consumers-about-bitcoin.html [Accessed: 16 May 2018]. Cox, H. (1999), “The market as God: Living in the new dispensation”, The Atlantic Monthly, 283:3, pp.18-23. Dean, J. (2012), Žižek’s Politics, London: Routledge. Dewey, C. (2017), “Analysis | Why FEMA sent “junk food” to Puerto Rican hurricane survivors”, Washington Post, 24 October, [Online] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/10/24/whyfema-sent-junk-food-to-puerto-rican-hurricane-survivors/ [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Digitonomist (2018), “Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index”, [Online] Available at: https://digiconomist.net/bitcoinenergy-consumption. [Accessed 10th May 2018].


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Echenique, M. (2018),"Exodus: The Post-Hurricane Puerto Rican Diaspora, Mapped”, City Lab, 13 March. [Online] Available at: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/03/exodus-the-post-hurricane-puerto-rican-diasporamapped/555401/ [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Francis, J. (2017), “Police Say Human Traffickers are Turning to Bitcoin”, The Bitcoinist, 15 October, [Online] Available at: http://bitcoinist.com/police-say-human-traffickers-are-turning-to-bitcoin/ [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Glaister, D. (2017), “Can you buy anything real with Bitcoin? On the streets of Bristol, it proves a hard sell”, The Guardian, 1 July, [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/01/bitcoinsunderground-economy-proves-a-hard-sell [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Harvey, D. (2014), Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, London: Profile Books. Herzfeld, M. (2002), “The Absent Presence: Discourses of Crypto-Colonialism”, South Atlantic Quarterly, 101:4, pp. 899–926. Jackman, J., Warren, R., Montero, M., Ribeiro, A., Pickles, M., & Khalili, M. (2018), “Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: “We’re American, too, why don’t they help?” – video”, The Guardian, 30 April, [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/apr/30/puerto-rico-after-hurricane-mariawere-american-too-why-dont-they-help [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Kapuscinski, R. (2006), Shah of Shahs, London: Penguin UK. Karlstrøm, H. (2014), “Do libertarians dream of electric coins? The material embeddedness of Bitcoin”, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 15:1, pp. 23–36. Klein, N. (2018), “Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island”, The Intercept, 20 March, [Online] Available at: https://theintercept.com/2018/03/20/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-recovery/ [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Knutson, T., McBride, J., Chan, J., Emanuel, K., Holland, G., & Landsea, C. (2010), “Tropical cyclones and climate change”, Nature Geoscience, 3:3, pp. 157–163. Lacan, J. (1978), The four fundamental concepts of psycho-analysis, New York: Norton. Lee, T.B. (2013), “Silk Road’s mastermind allegedly paid $80,000 for a hitman. The hitman was a cop.”, Washington Post, 2 October, [Online] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theswitch/wp/2013/10/02/silk-roads-mastermind-allegedly-paid-80000-for-a-hitman-the-hitman-was-acop/ [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Lopez, T. (2017), “Brock Pierce: Why Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Will Take Over & Will Change Your Life Forever”, [Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6ExinEBxCo&t=2065s [Accessed 9 May 2018]. Lucey, B. and Yarovaya, L. (2018), “Bitcoin rich kids in Puerto Rico: crypto utopia or crypto-colonialism?”, The Conversation, 14 February, [Online] Available at: http://theconversation.com/bitcoin-rich-kids-in-puertorico-crypto-utopia-or-crypto-colonialism-91527 [Accessed: 16 May 2018]. Marx, K. (1990), Capital Vol 1. reprint edn, London: Penguin UK. Lustig, C. and Nardi, B. (2015), “Algorithmic Authority: The Case of Bitcoin”, in 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 743–752.


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Miéville, C. (2015), ’The Limits of Utopia’, Salvage, 1 August, [Online] Available at: http://salvage.zone/inprint/the-limits-of-utopia/ [Accessed: 1 May 2018]. More, T. ([1516] 1965), Utopia. London; New York: Penguin Books. O’Connor, J. (1991), “On the two contradictions of capitalism”, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 2:3, pp. 107–109. Oliver, J. (2018), “Cryptocurrencies: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”. 11 March [Video] US: HBO. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iDZspbRMg [Accessed: 1 May 2018]. Rand, A. (2005), Atlas Shrugged. London: Penguin. Robles, F., Davis, K., Fink, S. and Almukhtar, S. (2017), “Official Toll in Puerto Rico: 64. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052.”, The New York Times, 8 December, [Online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/08/us/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-death-toll.html, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/08/us/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-deathtoll.html [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Ruetzel, B. (2018), “I Survived the Eternal Boy Playground, Will Puerto Rico?”, Coindesk, 1 April, [Online] Available at: https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-crypto-survived-eternal-boys-playground-will-puerto-rico/ [Accessed: 15 May 2018]. Sharpe, M. (n.d.), “e.Sublime Objects of Ideology - Slavoj Žižek (1949 —)”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, [Online] Available at: https://www.iep.utm.edu/zizek/ [Accessed : 16 May 2018]. Smith, A. ([1776] 1976), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Glasgow edn., Oxford: Clarendon. Stavrakakis, Y. (1997), ‘Ambiguous ideology and the Lacanian twist’, Journal of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, 8:9, pp.117–130. Steinberg, P. E., Nyman, E. and Caraccioli, M. J. (2012), “Atlas Swam: Freedom, Capital, and Floating Sovereignties in the Seasteading Vision”, Antipode, 44:4, pp. 1532–1550. Thompson, H. S. (2011), The Rum Diary, New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. Trautman, L. J. (2014), “Virtual Currencies; Bitcoin & What Now after Liberty Reserve, Silk Road, and Mt. Gox?”, Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, 20(4), [Online] Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2393537 [Accessed: 16 May 2018]. Vighi, F. and Feldner, H. (2007), Zizek: Beyond Foucault, Basingstoke: Springer. White, L. (2009), “Damien Hirst’s diamond skull and the capitalist sublime”, in White, L. & Pajaczkowska, C. (eds), The Sublime Now, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.155-174. Wilson, J. (2018a), “Anamorphosis of Capital: Black Holes, Gothic Monsters, and the Will of God” in Kapoor, I. (ed), Psychoanalysis and the Global, London: University of Nebraska Press, pp.164-185. Wilson, J. (2018b), Apocalypse, 20 April, [Lecture] University of Manchester. Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso. Žižek, S. (1992), Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.


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Žižek, S. (1994), Mapping ideology, London: Verso. Žižek, S. (1997), The Plague of Fantasies, London: Verso. Žižek, S. (1999), “The thing from inner space on Tarkovsky”, Angelaki, 4:3, pp. 221–231. Žižek, S. (2002), For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor, (2 edn.) London: Verso. Žižek, S. (2012), The Perverts Guide to Ideology [film], UK: Zeitgeist Film Studios. Žižek, S. (2011), The Rum Diary (trailer) [video], Directed by B. Robinson, US: GK Films.

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Nudging India’s Black Economy into Formality

Anna-Maria Köhnke, 2nd Year Essay BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy & Economics

Abstract: This paper suggests using insights from behavioural economics to tackle the large informal sector in India. I explain why informality is a problem still faced by many developing countries and how policy nudges can cause firms to register. I introduce the idea of a mobile payment lottery, based on the more traditional receipt lottery established, for example, in São Paulo. With reference to the MINDSPACE scheme, developed by the Cabinet Office and Institute for Government, I explain why India exhibits particularly good conditions for such a policy project to be successful.

In this essay I will argue for introducing a mobile payment-based lottery as a policy nudge for the reduction of India’s informal economy. After briefly explaining the problems of informality, and why they could not be solved by existing policies, I will outline the idea of the lottery as a solution. I will then examine the two defining features of policy nudges on which this proposal is based to analyse whether the nudge is likely to achieve its aims. Applying the MINDSPACE scheme in the Indian context I will show that there are good conditions for this proposal to be successful. To demonstrate which benefits these nudges have regarding the formalisation of developing economies, I will present evidence of a similar successful project. Finally, I respond to a risk nudge theory contains and explain the limits of this policy nudge, reaching the conclusion that nudge can be an effective tool in India’s fight against informality. India’s informal economy produces an estimated 50% of the country’s output; 1 an informal sector of this size is indicative of poorer countries during their struggle for economic development. This characteristic appears problematic in three ways2: 1. The state is deprived of tax revenue. Consequently, it lacks the ability to provide basic welfare to its citizens, visible, for instance, in India’s large slum population. 2. Poor labour conditions become the norm. Due to the lack of a functioning welfare system, citizens become dependent on informal, low-paid jobs, often without any rights or benefits. 3. Firms

1 2

The Economist (2018), “Emerging from the shadows”, [Online]. The Economist (2016), “How governments can nudge informal businesses to leave the grey economy”, [Online].


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normally stay small and do not have any perspective of growth, as they cannot borrow money. This means that productivity is very limited; labour is the only easily available factor of production. India recognises its large informal economy as problematic and tries to gain control over it. However, its policies have not brought significant success so far. One of the main strategies, aiming at making monitoring economic activity easier, was the demonetisation of 86% of banknotes. The Economist writes that “rather than ‘nudging’ [Indians] towards better behaviour, as policymakers are often advised to do, demonetisation was more akin to a cricket bat to the head”3. People whose businesses had to close as a result of demonetisation were not able to find employment in formal businesses; hence, they became unemployed. Consequently, growth decreased – not only did the high costs of the policy outweigh its rather insignificant, non-permanent benefits,4 they were also paid for entirely by the weakest members of the population. Another attempt by the government was to provide bank accounts for citizens. However, around half of these have never been used again since they were opened.5 This indicates that a mere shift away from cash does not necessarily correspond appropriately with social developments; if around nine in ten Indian workers are employed by the informal economy,6 bank accounts are not flexible enough to substitute cash. It was assumed that once Indians see the long-term benefits of the formal economy directly in front of them, they will, as rational actors, change their behaviour. This was not the case. To lift the economy out of informality, the state can try to monitor economic activity in a better way. Shifting the dominant payment method towards new technologies like mobile phones could make this easier, if combined with the right incentives. Consumers and producers can be nudged into using mobile payment more, for example by introducing a two-folded lottery. Each transaction receives a number that enters a draw. Every month, a number is drawn, selecting two winners simultaneously: The customer wins a certain amount of money, financed, for example, by a small proportion of VAT collected from these transactions. The firm that offered this transaction wins a government loan, repayable with particularly low interest. This contains a second nudge: firms are incentivised to grow. I am now going to show why behavioural policy is a valuable tool when fighting economic informality. To do this, I will examine two key features of policy nudges – the conception of bounded rationality and the low costs of nudges – and illustrate their benefits for this proposal.

3

The Economist (2018), “No mere formality” [Online]. Dasgupta, D. (2016), “Theoretical Analysis of Demonetisation”, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 51, No. 51, p.70. 5 Wadhawan, J. (2018), “Die Schein-Reform“, ZEITonline. 6 The Economist (2018), “Emerging from the shadows“, [Online]. 4


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Nudge policy is shaped by the idea of bounded rationality, outlined by Jolls, Sunstein and Thaler.7 Standard economic models assume human beings are completely rational actors. While this may sometimes be useful for making predictions about future economic developments, this idea of man clearly deviates from reality. If business owners were perfectly rational, they would, in most cases, register their firms; formality provides them with property rights, credit options and growth perspectives.8 However, as we can tell by the lack of registration, they seem to have a present bias – they prefer saving money today (by not paying taxes) over receiving more money in the future (by increased productivity). Jolls, Sunstein and Thaler argue that humans predict themselves making mistakes; hence, they try to respond to their own intellectual limits by simplifying their thought processes.9 This leads to different decisions than one would expect from a perfectly rational actor; nevertheless, humans employ a reasonable way of thinking by trying to minimise the costs of their flawed mental capacities. Sunstein and Thaler pick this idea up again when they outline how nudges can change human behaviour by exploiting certain biases and rules of thumb,10 developed as a human response to their lack of rationality. In the case of a lottery nudge, this means that we can expect people to participate regardless of the relatively low chances of winning. Humans, so Sunstein and Thaler, are often unrealistically optimistic.11 Hence, the behavioural tendency to overestimate their chances of winning the lottery will lead to more people requesting mobile payment, and eventually to more firms registering to be able to meet their consumers’ demands. This means that an influence on human behaviour is not necessarily dependent on direct economic incentives. As we have now seen, nudges build on changes out of people’s behaviour instead of changes enforced by regulation. This makes them a particularly low-cost tool of policy. One of the reasons why informality needs to be tackled is because tax revenues in India are insufficient – spending large parts of the government’s budget on tax fraud investigation or the launching of new regulations is not just unfeasible but also inefficient. Nudges, however, are not resource-intensive, as they make the citizens themselves the executers of the policy by using research to predict human behaviour.12

7

Jolls, C., Sunstein, C. and Thaler, R. (1998), “A Behavioural Approach to Law and Economics”, Stanford Law Review, No. 50, pp.1471. 8 Guha-Khasnobis, B., Kanbur, R. and Ostrom, E. (2006), “Beyond formality and informality“, in Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: Concepts and Policies by Guha-Khasnobis et al (eds.), Oxford University Press, p.4. 9 Jolls, C., Sunstein, C. and Thaler, R. (1998), “A Behavioural Approach to Law and Economics”, Stanford Law Review, No. 50, p. 1477. 10 Sunstein, C. and Thaler, R. (2009), Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness, Penguin Books, p.24. 11 Ibid., p.36. 12 Dolan, P. et al (2009), MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, Cabinet Office and Institute for Government, p.15.


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Yet, nudges are cost-efficient not only in the monetary sense. Demonetisation in India, as outlined before, had indirect costs like a decrease in growth and labour force participation.13 If people are nudged, instead of forced, into a certain behaviour, they are still free to make a different choice if preferred. This leaves space for adequate reactions to individual situations. People who cannot find formal employment are still able to work informally; instead of being forced to close, informal firms are encouraged to become formal. We have now examined the general benefits that nudges have for formalising the economy. In the following I will use the MINDSPACE scheme, developed by the Cabinet Office and the Institute for Government, to apply this nudge proposal to India and to show why the country exhibits particularly good conditions for a policy nudge to be successful. MINDSPACE is intended to provide a “checklist for policymakers”14 to draw attention to how people can be influenced non-coercively to behave in a certain way. To build a strong base for behavioural policy in India I am going to refer to three out of the nine categories the scheme suggests, although more of them are applicable. As India is a large country, contributions to the lottery can be low and still amount to a large prize. That in itself is an incentive for consumers to participate, especially as it does not impose any additional (financial) cost on them. However, behavioural science provides us with deeper insights about how humans react to incentives: they overestimate small probabilities.15 Therefore, we can expect them to participate in the lottery and ask businesses to give them the option to do so. If the degree of formality increasingly influences demand, businesses are given an incentive to register. Furthermore, using mobile payment has the potential to become a social norm. Services like M-Pesa have been successfully operating in various developing countries for a significant time now. Morawczynski argues that M-Pesa’s success in Kenya is partly due to its accordance with existing social practices;16 this is true for mobile payment in general. As more and more people get access to mobile phones, the case for a nudge based on modern technology is strengthened. The nudge, furthermore, fulfils the MINDSPACE factor salience through the outstanding accessibility of mobile money. As mentioned earlier, providing poorer people with bank accounts did not bring about sufficient changes in the usage of payment methods that are easy to monitor. As the case of M-Pesa in Kenya shows, mobile payment is feasible even for those with very low income, people to whom having a regular 13

Vyas, M. (2017), “1.5 million jobs lost in first four months of 2017“, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Dolan, P. et al (2009), MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, Cabinet Office and Institute for Government, p.8. 15 Ibid., p.20. 16 Morawczynski, O. (2010), Examining the Adoption, Usage and Outcomes of Mobile Money Services: The Case of M-Pesa in Kenya, The University of Edinburgh, p.106. 14


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bank account is not worthwhile, and in areas without good access to banks. M-Pesa works entirely per SMS text messages and, hence, requires neither access to banks nor an internet connection.17 This makes it possible to reach as many Indians as possible with the proposed nudge. Having looked at the theoretical foundations this proposal is based on, I shall now present evidence that similar nudges have worked in developing areas. Creating incentives for consumers to assist tax enforcement has been successful in more than ten countries.18 The idea of lotteries with more traditional means, like a receipt lottery in São Paulo introduced in 2007, has been used to address some of the problems mentioned about economic informality. In São Paulo, customers receive a lottery ticket for a certain amount of proper receipts they collect. The tickets with the winning numbers, drawn in the middle of each month, earns the lucky customers a sum of money. Prizes range from 5$ to 500 000$. The results in São Paulo confirm that a nudge, considering bounded rationality and being very cost-efficient, can be successful when tackling informality. Three big achievements can be directly related to the receipt lottery19: 1. The informal sector shrank as firms were more likely to register once people asked for receipts. 2. This made tax revenues increase. 3. Citizens are now likely to develop a better tax morale20: they can see tax money flowing from the government directly back to the people, giving them a better feeling about paying their taxes – and registering their businesses. Critics of policy nudges, particularly of those which involve monetary incentives, draw attention to the possibility of a ‘crowding-out-effect’. This effect illustrates one of the limits of this proposal. Experiments have shown that connecting a certain type of behaviour with an “external reward” 21 can cause a dependence between acting in a certain way and receiving the reward. For instance, it has been shown that school children do their homework more often if sweets are offered in exchange – once the offer expires, they are even less likely to do their homework than before the introduction of the reward.22 This shows how incentives can damage people’s awareness of why a specific action is valuable and should be taken for its own sake. In the example of our lottery, there is to say that there are reciprocal dependencies between informality and growth.23 Hence, I have suggested to create loans as prizes for firms – this makes the 17

Vodafone (2017), What is M-Pesa?. Naritomi, J. (2013), Consumers as Tax Auditors, p.1. 19 Ibid., p.14. 20 The Economist (2016), “How governments can nudge informal businesses to leave the grey economy”. 21 Dolan, P. et al (2009), MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, Cabinet Office and Institute for Government, p.21. 22 Brandt, R. (1995), “Punished by Rewards? A Conversation with Alfie Kohn“, Educational Leadership, Vol. 53, No. 1, p.13. 23 The Economist (2018), “No mere formality“ [Online]. 18


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success of the experiment more long-term and firm-including. There is a reasonable chance that these loans generate enough wealth that after a certain time, firms will automatically become more formal. Nevertheless, this is a serious concern that might hinder long-term success of this proposal and some time should be spent by the policy-maker on finding a way to prevent a ‘yo-yo effect’. In conclusion, there is to say that a mobile payment-based lottery, similar to the receipt lottery in São Paulo, could help shift the Indian economy out of informality by making it possible to monitor economic activity. Other policy attempts have either failed to recognise the concept of bounded rationality or imposed significant costs on the working population. By using behavioural insights, such as the human tendency to overestimate small probabilities and the broad acceptance of mobile payment, this proposal adequately addresses the circumstances present in developing countries like India. Real life examples show that lotteries successfully help to formalise economies; adding modern technology and a lottery prize specifically for firms gives this proposal even more profundity, as social trends are considered and growth is encouraged. Whether lotteries and mobile payment can fully work in rural areas remains open, as the arguments and evidence in this paper are city-centric. Nevertheless, the Indian government should listen to behavioural economists and learn from past policies, strengthening the case for nudge policy as a tool against informality. References Brandt, R. (1995), ‘Punished by Rewards? A Conversation with Alfie Kohn’, Educational Leadership, 53(1), pp. 1316. Dasgupta, D. (2016), ‘Theoretical Analysis of Demonetisation’, Economic & Political Weekly, 51(51), pp. 67-71. Dolan, P., Hallsworth, M., Halpern, D., King, D. and Vlaev, I. (2009), MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, London: Cabinet Office and Institute for Government. Guha-Khasnobis, B., Kanbur, R. and Ostrom, E. (2006), Beyond formality and informality, in Guha-Khasnobis, B., Kanbur, R. and Ostrom, E. (eds), Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: Concepts and Policies. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-18. Jolls, C., Sunstein, C. and Thaler, R. (1998), ‘A Behavioural Approach to Law and Economics’, Stanford Law Review, 50, pp. 1471-1550. Morawczynski, O. (2010), Examining the Adoption, Usage and Outcomes of Mobile Money Services: The Case of M-Pesa in Kenya. PhD. The University of Edinburgh. Naritomi, J. (2013), Consumers as Tax Auditors [Online], Available at: https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Business_Taxation/Events/conferences/symposia/2014/nari tomi-v3.pdf, [Accessed: 18 March 2018]. Sunstein, C. and Thaler, R. (2009), Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness, London: Penguin Books.


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The Economist (2016), How governments can nudge informal businesses to leave the grey economy, 14 October [Online], Available at: https://www.economist.com/news/international/21708839-spread-mobile-technology-helpshow-governments-can-nudge-informal-businesses [Accessed: 18 March 2018]. The Economist (2018a), No mere formality, 1 March [Online], Available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2018/03/01/the-lessons-from-modis-attempt-to-formalise-indiaseconomy [Accessed: 18 March 2018]. The Economist (2018b), Emerging from the shadows, 3 March [Online], Available at: https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/03/03/narendra-modi-wants-to-boostformalisation.-how-is-he-faring [Accessed: 18 March 2018]. Vodafone (2017), What is M-Pesa?. Available at: http://www.vodafone.com/content/index/what/m-pesa.html#, [Accessed: 18 March 2018]. Vyas, M. (2017), Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, 1.5 million jobs lost in first four months of 2017, [Online] Available at: https://www.cmie.com/kommon/bin/sr.php?kall=warticle&dt=2017-0711%2011:07:31&msec=463, [Accessed: 18 March 2018]. Wadhawan, J. (2018), Die Schein-Reform, ZEITonline, 11 March [Online], Available at: http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2018-02/indien-bargeld-abschaffung-digitalisierung-gesellschaft-reform, [Accessed: 18 March 2018].


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Market Forces in Education aren’t to Blame for Shallow Learning; Government Policy is

Sam Sayer, 3rd Year Essay BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Abstract: Herein, I contend that market forces do not tend to diminish the possibility of cultivating intellectual virtues in education. I do so by demonstrating a logical flaw implicit in the argument that they do, concerning the nature of markets as responsible, not responsive. I argue instead that government policy has directed market forces away from the promotion of intellectual virtues. I suggest three substantive policies which could help to halt this trend, affording intellectual virtue a more central place in education.

In this essay, I will argue that market forces do not tend to diminish the possibility of cultivating intellectual virtue in an educational context. I will do so firstly by outlining the argument that they do with reference to Halliday- I will then refute this, hoping to demonstrate a conceptual flaw in the argument.1 The flaw concerns a misunderstanding of the nature of markets. After, I consider Baehr’s practical suggestions for cultivating intellectual virtues in education and find that they are not incompatible with market forces.2 I will conclude that in fact there is no necessary correlation between market forces and intellectual virtues, and that as a result it is misleading to suggest that market forces tend to diminish the possibility of cultivating intellectual virtues in education. It is important to note here that I will not consider questions of justice or morality surrounding market forces in education, only the logical relationship between them and intellectual virtues. I will begin by defining intellectual virtues and market forces. With regards to the former I will take a virtue-responsibilist stance, meaning that intellectual virtues are ‘acquired character traits for which we are to some degree responsible’.3 This stance suggests that their cultivation in education may be impactful, in 1

Halliday, D. (2016), “Private Education, Positional Goods, and the Arms Race Problem.” Politics, Philosophy and Economics, 15, pp. 150-169. 2 Baehr, J. (2013), “Educating for Intellectual Virtues: From Theory to Practice.” Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47, pp. 248-262. 3 Battaly, H. (2008), “Virtue Epistemology”, Philosophy Compass, 3:4, p.645.


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line with the Aristotelian view that virtues are learned and have to be practiced to be maintained. Classic examples are curiosity, thoroughness, deep learning and openness.4 I will define market forces as ‘the economic factors affecting the price of, demand for, and availability of a commodity’.5 Throughout, I will follow Tooley in his consideration of ‘authentic markets’ instead of ‘so-called markets’ which other authors have based their arguments against according to him. ‘Authentic markets’ involve ‘the government not intervening in funding or provision, and with only fairly minimal regulation’, whereby consumers pick and choose education in the same way as other goods. 6 I will now outline the argument that market forces do tend to diminish the possibility of cultivating intellectual virtues in education, in order to demonstrate why I believe it is flawed. In my opinion Daniel Halliday makes a parallel and enlightening argument, which I will use to clarify my objection. Halliday makes a distinction between two fundamental roles or aims of education; screening and development. 7 The former is a meritocratic sorting process which allows society to match jobs and university places with those who have the correct skills for them. The latter is a more personal process ‘in which institutions train children for citizenship, prepare them for autonomous life as adults, and otherwise contribute to their wellbeing’.8 Halliday suggests that market forces in education promote an expansion of the screening role at the expense of the development role. I will suggest that the development role is parallel to the intellectual virtues, thus initially implying that market forces diminish intellectual virtues in education. According to Halliday, the screening role of education burgeons when market forces are introduced because meritocratic sorting of students encapsulates education as a ‘positional good’. This can be defined as ‘when [a goods] absolute value (to the person possessing it) depends on its relative place in a distribution’.9 In other words, the screening role of education forces students to compete with each other for scarce resources such as top university places, making one’s education a positional good. Importantly, positional goods are subject to strong and self-feeding demand; in this case, ‘one parent's attempt to improve their child's relative position encourages imitation from other parents’.10 Thus the introduction of market forces

4

Cooper, N. (1994), “The Intellectual Virtues”, Philosophy, 69:270, pp. 461-464. OED. (2017). “Market forces”, in Oxford English Dictionary. 6 Tooley, J. (1995), “Markets or Democracy for Education? A Reply to Stewart Ranson”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 43:1, p.22. 7 Halliday, D. (2016), “Private Education, Positional Goods, and the Arms Race Problem”, p.151. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid., p.152. 10 Adnett, N, and Davies, P. (2002), “Implications for Market-Based Reforms of State Schooling”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 50:2, p.192. 5


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leads to the screening role of education burgeoning, because an ‘arms race’ takes place.11 This entails an escalation as schools and parents compete to get students into universities by focusing and spending more on passing the screening role. The development role, however, exemplifies the ‘non-positional’ aspect of education. Being a good citizen, or being prepared for autonomous life as an adult, doesn’t translate so directly to coveted jobs or university places. Prospects don’t depend on your place in the ‘good citizen distribution’ so much, or at least so clearly, so the educational arms race ignores the development role as a result of weaker demand for non-positional goods. Halliday’s argument is relevant because I believe that the intellectual virtues in education are functionally comparable to the development role in this argument. It seems to me that currently intellectual virtues are neglected in education due to an obsession with scoring highly on tests, which exemplifies the screening role, and which market forces encourage due to the same mechanism as described above.12 This is highlighted by the fact that 76 per cent of pupils surveyed by the Career Colleges Trust said their school trains them ‘just to pass exams and get good grades’; further, the exams themselves simply focus on course content as opposed to workplace skills or intellectual virtues. 13 Moreover, I believe it is worthwhile to quote former Secretary of Education Michael Gove, to further highlight the systemic neglect of the development role/intellectual virtues in education. In 2012, he said: ‘Our young people are as capable of academic excellence as anyone. They need to be. Because the world is getting more competitive and they are up against billions of others in the race for jobs and university places. That is why we must make sure that our exam system, the training ground on which they prepare for the adult world, can match the world’s best.’(Emphasis added).14 This demonstrates the extent to which our examinations are geared towards securing jobs and University places- positional goods- which has been demonstrated to be to the detriment of the fostering of intellectual virtues. In short, I believe it is clear that our education system exists more for students to get into University and to get jobs, as opposed to more personal development aims; indeed, the former Secretary for Education makes no secret of this. Thus, the screening role takes precedence, and intellectual virtues, like the development role’s results, aren’t positional, which according to Halliday would mean that market forces today relegate their importance. I believe that this is the strongest argument in favour of the position that market forces diminish intellectual virtues in education.

11

Halliday, D. (2016), “Private Education, Positional Goods, and the Arms Race Problem”. p.151. Polesel, J., Dulfer, N., and Turnbull, M. (2002), “The Experience of Education: The impacts of high stakes testing on school students and their families- literature review”, The Whitlam Institute. 13 Career Colleges Trust (2015), “Young people do not feel prepared for the world of work”. 14 Davis, A. (2015), “Flawed exam system stops us competing in the world, says Gove”, Evening Standard. 12


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However, it seems to me that this is not a necessary relationship at all, and only describes the case today. As a conceptual point, I feel it is misleading to suggest that market forces tend to any single result. To take an analogy, imagine that someone suggests that market forces tend to make sugar cheap; upon inspection, it becomes obvious that this is untrue. In fact, it is the large amount of sugar available in the world that makes sugar cheap, and market forces simply translate this fact into prices. If 80% of the sugar in the world became unusable, then the same market forces would show us that the value of sugar has changed, through an increase in the price. Thus, the value of a good isn’t determined by markets, it is demonstrated by them. Markets are responsive, not responsible. This goes to show that market forces per se cannot tend to any one result, which implies a degree of causality; instead the value of a good is dependent on external factors. In the analogy, the relevant external factor determining the value of sugar is scarcity/abundance. The relevant factor concerning the value of intellectual virtues is government policy in my opinion. Halliday himself recognises that ‘Identifications of market failure need to be placed alongside sizable instances of government failure’, but I believe we must go further.15 In my opinion, by neglecting the value of intellectual virtues in syllabuses and examinations, educational policy has inadvertently directed market forces away from their cultivation. If educational policy changed so that intellectual virtues were tied up with the screening role, then they would become positional. If to get into good universities, students needed to score highly on tests measuring for intellectual virtues, then market forces would encourage cultivation of intellectual virtues. This contradicts the titled statement. There is an obvious possible objection to this; that screening could not effectively measure intellectual virtues. For the remainder of this essay I will focus on the practicalities of cultivating intellectual virtues in education. I will demonstrate that it is a practical as well as theoretical possibility, which will strengthen my argument. In tackling these considerations, I will refer to Jason Baehr. 16 Throughout, I will add my own evaluation of whether Baehr’s comments are still salient given the authentic markets assumption. Baehr offers seven suggestions as to how educational institutions might successfully cultivate intellectual virtues in its students. He identifies the final three as measures which go some way to ensuring that students ‘actually begin to manifest the relevant traits in their intellectual activity’, as opposed to broad

15 16

Halliday, D. (2016), “Private Education, Positional Goods, and the Arms Race Problem”, pp.158. Baehr, J. (2013), “Educating for Intellectual Virtues: From Theory to Practice”, pp.248-262.


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educational treatment of the ontology of intellectual virtue. 17 These final three seem to fit best with the question of cultivating intellectual virtue, and so I will consider only these here.

These are: 1.

Offer opportunities to practice the actions characteristic of intellectual virtue.

2.

Integrate virtue concepts into formal and informal assessment.

3.

Modelling of intellectual virtues by teachers and other school leaders.18

With regards to the first, I believe that it is certainly possible to integrate this into education even given the assumption of authentic market forces. It seems to me that opportunities to practice actions characteristic of virtue can be incorporated easily and cheaply into lesson activities and even assessment, to foreshadow Baehr’s second point. He writes that opportunities might include encouraging students to ‘adopt standpoints other than their own, use their imagination to extend or apply their knowledge, give reasons in support of their claims, or ask thoughtful and well-formed questions’.19 These opportunities are by no means discouraged by market forces in my opinion, and they simply require a slight adjustment of teaching aims and lesson plans; some teachers may already emphasise these points in lessons. To elaborate on some of these examples, students could ‘adopt standpoints other than their own’ if teachers were to stage a debate and allocate debating positions randomly. One team of students could be given 5 minutes to prepare an argument in favour of the right to abortion, say, and the other team prepares an argument against. This would result in students learning to adopt standpoints other than their own, leading to greater intellectual rigour in my opinion. Furthermore, this is quite a simple lesson activity and requires no expenditure. Thus, I would argue that market forces do not discourage this suggestion. With regards to ‘giving reasons in support of their claims’, this could involve classes placing more value on workings-out than just the correct answer. While this is already the case in some subjects, for example maths, it is largely neglected in other subjects. This emphasis would change lessons from being a

17

Ibid., p.258. Ibid., pp.258-259 19 Ibid., p.258. 18


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learning then regurgitation of information, to a genuine understanding of the world. It would be possible to ask for reasons behind historical events in History, rather than focusing on dates and names; to explain the reasons behind biological processes in Biology, rather than just the order and constitution of events; and to explore the justifications of economic models in Economics, rather than focusing on learning the shape and axes of the models. While some teachers will certainly already emphasise these points, in my view they could be formally introduced to curricula. In my view this simple change would lead to a profound alteration of teaching methods to the extent that shallow learning would no longer lead to success in the screening role. This would again promote intellectual rigour, as well as curiosity in my opinion, to the extent that habitually learning the reasons behind things would breed an interest in reasons. Again, I would argue that there is no relationship between market forces and the implementation of this suggestion. Finally, with regards to asking thoughtful and well-formed questions, it seems to me that this skill is firstly extremely important in our personal and professional lives, i.e. would be useful for the purposes of ‘screening’ and ‘development’, and secondly has no formal place at all in classes in the U.K. I would suggest that in comprehension exercises, for example in English Literature lessons and assessments, time could be dedicated to questioning passages of texts or poems. While currently the emphasis is on analysis of passages, in my view this leads to students attempting to appear as if everything can be understood, especially complex parts. In my view, it would be a worthwhile change if students were able to acknowledge that some passages seem ambiguous or confusing, and ask questions of it- this, to me, would demonstrate the intellectual virtues more than a pseudo-analysis as is often the case in these instances. Further, lesson plans could dedicate a set amount of time for questions, to ensure that questions were being asked in all classes, recognising the importance formally. This would promote curiosity, intellectual rigour and deep learning. I would suggest that these examples demonstrate to a large extent that the initial suggestion- to offer opportunities to practice the actions characteristic of intellectual virtue in lessons- isn’t incompatible with market forces. The second of Baehr’s suggestions is an important point given my earlier suggestion that making intellectual virtues into positional goods would require a focus on them in standardised examinations. I contend that the examples of opportunities to practice virtues above could also be used as a rubric against which to mark examinations. For example, ‘adopting standpoints other than their own’ could be a marking criterion in an exam which tests for openness. An assessment could give a question such as; ‘write two essays, the first in favour of the death penalty and the second against’, and the marker would perhaps judge


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the student on the tone of their essays and whether any bias is evident. Further, the suggestion to ‘ask thoughtful or well-formed questions’ could be used as a rubric to measure curiosity or rigour. This could involve an exam asking you to read an excerpt from an interview or paper and then to write some questions which would help to clarify the material, or about any inconsistencies a student identifies. Separately, to test for deeper learning, oral tests could be used much more widely even for humanities and STEM subjects, as they are in the European Baccalaureate qualification.20 In my opinion, this requires students to have deeper understanding of content as they aren’t able to simply regurgitate facts in conversation so naturally as on paper. I would suggest as a result of these examples that it is certainly possible to integrate virtue concepts into assessment. A possible objection to these points is that students may be taught to mimic intellectual virtues in their answers, rather than actually cultivating them properly. I would suggest firstly that if marking criteria were developed enough then such people could be caught out. Secondly, I believe Baehr’s final suggestion begins to answer to this objection. Baehr’s final suggestion I believe would ensure that students weren’t simply taught to mimic the virtues. If students’ teachers were sufficiently intellectually virtuous themselves, then they would firstly encourage a genuine deep learning of intellectual virtues, and they would secondly inspire students to cultivate them properly. If a student had a reference point in their teacher, then they would see that genuine cultivation is both possible and desirable. Further, I would suggest that market forces would aid this process; the teachers who demonstrated the intellectual virtues the most or the most clearly would be subject to most demand, and so the market would put a premium on them, encouraging other intellectually virtuous people in society to take up teaching. Intellectual virtues would have become positional; those who displayed them more than others would be worth more when market forces were introduced. I concede that it is possible that teachers who were themselves good at mimicking the virtues could instead be selected, but today teachers may not be selected for their intelligence but instead because they’re good at ‘teaching for the exam’. In fact, even intelligent teachers may do this as it seems rational. With the virtues however, genuinely virtuous teachers would not simply ‘teach for the exam’ as this undermines the virtues. Thus, I would suggest that mimicking would be less of an issue then than it is now. To summarise this section, I believe that market forces don’t rule out the cultivation of intellectual virtues in education practically, and could even help.

20

Department for Education (2016), “The European Baccalaureate”.


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To conclude more generally, I have identified a flaw in arguments that suggest that the possibility of cultivation of intellectual virtues tends to be diminished by market forces. This flaw concerns the nature of markets. A fundamental property of markets is that they don’t tend to one result or another; they are subject to numerous different variables which themselves are subject to change. In this essay I have suggested that if educational policy changed such that intellectual virtues were central to the screening role of education, then intellectual virtues would become positional and would be promoted by market forces. After demonstrating this conceptual point, I have argued that it is also practically possible for intellectual virtues to be central to the screening role of education even with market forces, through their inclusion in formal assessments and teaching. Thus, I conclude that introducing market forces into an educational context does not tend to diminish the possibility of cultivating intellectual virtue in that context, theoretically or practically. References Adnett, N, and Davies, P. (2002), “Implications for Market-Based Reforms of State Schooling”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 50:2, pp.189-205. Baehr, J. (2013), “Educating for Intellectual Virtues: From Theory to Practice”, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47, pp.248-262. Battaly, H. (2008), “Virtue Epistemology”, Philosophy Compass, 3:4, pp.639-663. Cooper, N. (1994), “The Intellectual Virtues”, Philosophy, 69:270, pp.461-464. Department for Education (2016), “The European Baccalaureate”, [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/547385 The_European_Baccalaureate_Guidance_Document.pdf [Accessed: 10 November 2017]. Halliday, D. (2016), “Private Education, Positional Goods, and the Arms Race Problem.”, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, 15, pp.150-169. OED (2017), “Market forces”, in Oxford English Dictionary, [Online] Available at: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/247638?redirectedFrom=MARKET+FORCES#eid [Accessed: 10 November 2017]. Polesel, J., Dulfer, N. and Turnbull, M. (2002), “The Experience of Education: The impacts of high stakes testing on school students and their families- literature review”, The Whitlam Institute. Tooley, J. (1995), “Markets or Democracy for Education? A Reply to Stewart Ranson”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 43:1, pp.21-34.


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The Freedom to Pursue Peak Performance: An Argument Against the Restriction of Cognitive Enhancing Smart Drugs within Universities

Olivia Flett, 2nd Year Essay BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Abstract: This paper examines arguments surrounding the question of restricting cognitive enhancing smart drugs within universities, concluding that no plausible ethical argument can be made for such restrictions. I begin by analysing the ethical plausibility of arguments which could support restrictions, such as claims of unfairness and those which allude to the potential harmful effects of using such drugs. I then suggest that restriction on the use of smart drugs clashes with the ideals of freedom arguing that there should not be restrictions on the freedom to pursue peak performance within universities. I lastly consider how a restriction brings into question the role of universities and may inhibit greater focus being placed on the intrinsic value of education.

In this essay, I argue that a plausible ethical argument cannot be made for restricting the use of cognitive enhancing smart drugs within universities. I base my claim on the grounds that such a restriction would undermine freedom of choice and autonomy as well as argue that the use of such drugs is not unfair as some might claim, hence making its restriction unwarranted. I also support my argument on the grounds that its restriction could erode the intrinsic value of education. I will begin by advancing my justifications against the restriction of smart drugs within universities, demonstrating that they override the arguments which could support such restrictions, primarily those which make claims of unfairness in allowing such a practice as well as those which allude to the potential harmful effects of using such drugs. I will then go on to expound my argument that restriction on the use of smart drugs clashes with the ideals of freedom, specifically freedom of choice and autonomy and lastly consider how a restriction brings into question the role of universities and could possibly inhibit greater focus being placed on the intrinsic value of education. I will conclude by reiterating my claim that on no plausible ethical grounds can an argument be made for restricting the use of cognitive enhancing smart drugs within universities. I suggest we should rather aim at


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shifting the landscape of tertiary education from one which excessively focuses on fierce competition to one which instead places importance on the intrinsic value of education. I shall first assess the argument that cognitive enhancement is a form of cheating because it offers an unfair advantage and on this account, should be restricted. This argument seems to tie in “unfairness” with “cheating”. Some cognitive enhancers might justifiably be considered as forms of cheating in certain contexts and hence could warrant being restricted in such instances. I take cheating to be a violation of any regulative rules, rules which merely regulate a practice (as opposed to constitutive rules which define the practice and the characteristics of the game itself). Suppose you sat an examination whilst having a microchip, which gave you access to the internet, embedded into your brain. This, would constitute cheating; it would be equivalent to sitting the examination whilst using your phone or another technological device allowing access to the internet, which is undeniably a form of cheating as it violates the regulative rules set out for that examination. In such a case, either a restriction on the use of microchips, specifically for that exam, is warranted, or one could also argue that the exam structure and level of difficulty should be altered in order to accommodate for the use of such tools in examinations. Realistically however, there are no such smart drugs yet which can equip an individual’s mind with such a tool; all they are able to do, for now, is improve alertness and increase productivity. Therefore, in most cases, restriction on the use of smart drugs is unwarranted as it doesn’t constitute a form of cheating. Others who argue for restriction claim that the use of smart drugs is unfair, not because it constitutes cheating but because it places one at an advantage; or in other words, those who do not take smart drugs are said to be disadvantaged. I disagree with this line of argument; just because something is unfair in the sense that it creates advantage/disadvantage does not imply it should be restricted. Furthermore, I believe the supposed unfairness that the use of smart drugs creates is not immoral and hence no plausible ethical argument can be made for restricting them on this account. I distinguish between what Dworkin calls “bare competition harm” and “deliberate harm”.1 I suggest that bare competition harm which is inevitable, “damnum sine injuria”2can lead to unfairness which is not necessarily bad. Bare competition harm constitutes what you do, in regards to yourself solely, in advancing yourself, giving yourself an advantage. The consequence of your actions in doing so may indirectly create disadvantage for others, however, your primary aim was not to intentionally cause such disadvantage. Deliberate harm on the other hand occurs when you intentionally seek to disadvantage others which will lead to you gaining an advantage. Suppose

1 2

Dworkin, R. (2011), Justice For Hedgehogs, Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, p.287. Ibid., p.288.


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you were to discreetly drug a fellow course mate with a drowsy inducing pill right before an examination began, this could arguably lead them to perform less well than they could have in said exam. In such a case, you are actively seeking to cause harm and are purposefully pursuing to disadvantage them. Or consider another scenario in which you were to rip up a course mate’s thesis seconds before the deadline. This would also lead to disadvantaging them in the sense that their final mark and degree as a whole would be compromised. Both of these scenarios illustrate “deliberate harm”;3 you are actively seeking to disadvantage your “adversary”. Now consider different situations: suppose you were to consume a cup of coffee prior to your examination, as doing so might help your performance in the exam by perhaps improving your alertness. Or suppose you hire a tutor during the semester to help you study in preparation for your final mathematics examination. In both of these cases, you are actively seeking to advantage yourself; that you potentially disadvantage those who don’t drink coffee before their examinations or who opt not to or cannot afford to have a tutor is merely an indirect consequence of your actions. These types of disadvantage, I take to be situations of “bare competition harm”.4 This kind of “unfairness” does not warrant the restriction on certain forms of learning methods and tools such as cognitive enhancement. I believe that the use of smart drugs, whether that be taking them just before an exam or throughout the entire semester with the hopes of improving your learning capabilities, constitute cases of bare competitive harm. You are seeking to ameliorate your potential whether that be by improving your learning capacities or methods, or just using enhancers prior to an exam. Such unfairness is inevitable as we each “have a personal responsibility for [our] own life”5 and therefore constantly are aiming to advantage ourselves in life. This principle necessitates actively seeking to improve on yourself, which advantages us and hence indirectly disadvantages others. Even, for example, getting a good night’s sleep prior to your examination can improve alertness, so people who aren’t able to do this are by definition disadvantaged. Yet, you cannot prevent everyone from sleeping just because certain people have insomnia, with the hopes of trying to make it “fair”. I assert that the use of cognitive enhancing smart drugs is morally equivalent to the use of other methods of more familiar enhancement such as adequate nutrition and sleep, or the consumption of caffeine, or private tutoring. These other factors which influence academic and professional performance are not restricted nor banned; it therefore seems that a call for restricting the use of cognitive enhancement is completely arbitrary and lacking any grounding principle, and hence is unwarranted.

3

Ibid. Ibid., p.288. 5 Ibid., p.287. 4


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It is possible that an argument could be raised which claims that the use of smart drugs within universities would produce an uneven playing field and create inequality. However, this argument, implicitly assumes that without the use of smart drugs, an even playing field would either exist or is entirely possible. Yet, as Cakic suggests, such arguments assume “the validity of the level playing field concept without reconciling itself with the reality of widespread biological and environmental inequalities that already exist”.6There will always be deviations in learning methods as well as learning capabilities; “some students have a distinct genetic or environmental advantage over others from the offset”;7 winning the genetic lottery or coming from a socioeconomic background with wealthy parents could advantage an individual before they even enter the “competition”. It therefore follows that restricting the use of cognitive enhancement would not even the playing field precisely because “there never was an even playing field to begin with”.8 Therefore, the claim that cognitive enhancing smart drugs should be restricted within universities because they create and perpetuate unfairness is not a plausible ethical argument for warranting such restrictions. Secondly, I will argue that an ethical plausible claim for restricting the use of smart drugs within universities cannot be made as doing so would undermine freedom as well as autonomy. Some suggest that allowing the use of smart drugs would lead to eventual coercion for the ones who initially chose not to take such drugs and on these grounds, restriction of their use is called for. Although I do concede it is, to a limited extent, true that this implicit form of coercion could occur, this is not a reason against allowing their use. “Merely competing against enhanced co-workers or students exerts an incentive to use neurocognitive enhancement”9 but why should that necessitate we “identify any existing legal framework for protecting people against such incentives to compete”.10 I put forth the claim that restrictions on cognitive enhancement in the workplace or in school is itself coercive as it “denies people the freedom to practice a safe means of self-improvement, just to eliminate any negative consequences of the (freely taken) choice not to enhance”.11 “Placing constraints on people’s actions so as to protect others from feelings of

6

Cakic, V. (2009), ‘Smart Drugs For Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Pragmatic Considerations in the Era of Cosmetic Neurology’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 35, No.10, p.612. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid. 9 Farah, M., Illes, J., Cook-Deegan, R., Gardner, H., Kandel, E., King, P., Parens, E., Sahakian, B. and Root Wolpe, P. (2004), “Neurocognitive enhancement: what can we do and what should we do?”, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol.5, (5), p.423. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid.


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coercion is arguably no less an attack on personal freedom”.12 Furthermore, the presence of implicit coercion is not necessarily a reason to restrict the use of smart drugs specifically. We are constantly subject to implicit coercion, one could suggest that students are arguably ‘coerced’ into staying up late to study in order to keep up with their driven course mates, yet that doesn’t imply we should restrict the hours in which students can and can’t study. As Schermer argues, exam-regulations should be “silent with regard to the way a student is supposed to study”.13 Some also claim that the potential harmful effects of using smart drugs are enough to warrant its restriction. I reject this, asserting it to be a paternalistic argument which we should be cautious of. It is not up to authorities to decide whether a rational individual should make use of smart drugs which may have potentially harmful side effects, it is up to that individual to decide whether or not they wish to consume such drugs, and to what extent. As I have argued above, freedom of choice is a fundamental and necessary component of a functioning democratic society. If authorities don’t even allow citizens the possibility of choice but instead coerce students and faculty members into not having the ability to choose, then freedom of choice, and freedom in general is threatened. I also argue that if restrictions on smart drugs are implemented, this will not allow citizens to fully exercise their autonomy. Yet, exercising autonomy is a fundamental and necessary value for fostering responsible, rational citizens and enabling a functioning democratic society. The question authorities should be focusing on therefore is “not whether we need policies to govern neurocognitive enhancement, but rather what kind of policies we need”.14 What could be done by authorities is researching into and circulating information concerning the risks, benefits and alternatives to cognitive enhancement in an attempt to raise awareness of its use. However, it should be up to each individual to have the freedom to choose and the right to exercise their autonomy in making an informed decision as to which learning and working methods they wish to use. Therefore, on the libertarian grounds of allowing freedom of choice and enabling autonomy, the arguments I have explored are not persuasive and do not justify restrictions on the use of cognitive enhancing smart drugs. Lastly, I shall consider the potential interaction between the use of cognitive enhancement within universities and the intrinsic value of education. As I have argued above, the use of cognitive enhancement 12

Cakic, V. (2009), ‘Smart Drugs For Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Pragmatic Considerations in the Era of Cosmetic Neurology’, p.612. 13 Schermer, M. (2006), ‘On the Argument That Enhancement is “Cheating”’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol.34, (2), p.87. 14 Farah, et al. (2004), “Neurocognitive enhancement: what can we do and what should we do?”, p.424.


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does not constitute cheating in most cases and therefore should not be restricted within universities. I suggest that even if it did constitute cheating, the issue we should be focusing on is not removing ways in which to cheat but rather removing reasons and motivations for wanting to cheat. I suggest we need to change the game, not the rules. The issue at hand is “the baneful influence of an idea of schools, colleges and universities as engaged in activities the measure of which is productivity”,15 one in which degrees are increasingly treated as commodities. We no longer value education as an intrinsic good but merely as a means to an end. The value of “internal goods” of education is eroding; we are motivated to “cheat” because our sole reason for learning and more generally educating oneself is the gain of external goods; those of passing examinations and gaining a degree. We aren’t necessarily looking to educate ourselves for its intrinsic benefit. I put forth the claim that the issue to be primarily concerned with is not the use of smart drugs but the competitive landscape within environments of tertiary education. Education and studying, as well as possessing external goods, also possess internal goods. “Such internal goods may be the attained appreciation of the internal goods of the practices one is educated in, knowledge and truth, the activity of studying with its character-building side effects, or the general (moral) self-development it effectuates”.16Within this context, cognitive drugs can be viewed as beneficial, as allowing individuals to perform at their peak, and enabling progress. Suppose a student or member of faculty uses smart drugs with the intention to work longer hours in order to have the ability to absorb more knowledge, simply because they value the experience in itself and enjoy learning, why should they be restricted from having that option? The use of cognitive enhancement could arguably increase the general level of development by enabling students to have the ability to study more and absorb more knowledge, allowing them to increasingly appreciate the intrinsic value of education and knowledge. If used in the right context and with the right intentions, I argue that the use of cognitive enhancement within universities may therefore not only enable the possibility for further scientific discoveries but also promote the intrinsic value of knowledge and education as a whole. Some might argue that the use of cognitive enhancement could lead to a distortion of our “personhood and intangible values”.17 “The self-transformation that we effect by neurocognitive intervention can be seen as self-actualizing, or as eroding our personal identity”18 and potentially shifting our focus away from the intrinsic value of education. However, I argue that “the commodification of human talent is not unique to Ritalin-enhanced executive ability”.19 For example, when 15

Macintyre, A. and Dunne, J. (2002), ‘Alasdair MacIntyre on Education: In Dialogue with Joseph Dunne’, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Feburary 2002, Vol.36, (1), p.4 16 Schermer, M. (2006), ‘On the Argument That Enhancement is “Cheating”’, p.88 17 Farah, et al. (2004), “Neurocognitive enhancement: what can we do and what should we do?”, p.423. 18 Ibid., p.424 19 Ibid.


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X drinks gallons of coffee to stay awake, X does so in the hopes of staying alert in order to gain a competitive advantage rather than perhaps any intrinsic values. Restrictions specifically on smart drugs seem arbitrary in this sense and hence are unwarranted. Therefore, I argue that a plausible ethical argument for restricting smart drugs within universities cannot be made on this account because the use of smart could actually promote a greater focus on the intrinsic value of education. In conclusion, I have argued that a plausible ethical argument for restricting the use of cognitive enhancing smart drugs within universities cannot be made. Restrictions of the sort are primarily unjustified on the grounds that they clash with libertarian values of freedom and autonomy. Claims which suggest that smart drugs usage creates unfair advantage or coercion, or is potentially dangerous, or corrupts personhood and intrinsic values, are as I have demonstrated, unsatisfactory reasons for warranting their restriction within universities. References Cakic, V. (2009), ‘Smart Drugs For Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Pragmatic Considerations in the Era of Cosmetic Neurology’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 35, No.10, pp.611-615. Dworkin, R. (2011), Justice For Hedgehogs, Cambridge MA: Harvard UP. Farah, M., Illes, J., Cook-Deegan, R., Gardner, H., Kandel, E., King, P., Parens, E., Sahakian, B. and Root Wolpe, P. (2004), “Neurocognitive enhancement: what can we do and what should we do?”, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol.5, (5), pp.421-425. Macintyre, A. and Dunne, J. (2002), ‘Alasdair MacIntyre on Education: In Dialogue with Joseph Dunne’, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Feburary 2002, Vol.36, (1), pp.1-19. Schermer, M. (2006), ‘On the Argument That Enhancement is “Cheating”’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol.34, (2), pp.85-88.


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Are Politicians Entitled to a Private Life?

Toby Zambardino, 3rd Year Essay BA Politics & Philosophy

Abstract: This paper examines politicians’ rights to privacy, and explores whether there may be strong reasons to assign politicians a significantly lesser right to privacy than the average citizen. It concludes that the competing moral right involved is only able to justify a slightly diminished degree of privacy, and that the politician’s right to privacy remains in a strong form. This paper therefore warns against over-intrusion into politicians’ private lives and asserts that intrusion is only justified: A) in instances where the information obtained is relevant to the duties of the politician in question and B) when the methods of intrusion are able to discriminate between relevant and irrelevant information.

In this paper, I argue that politicians retain a substantial right to a private life free of intrusion. I take this stance because the moral right of the public to evaluate politicians only extends to areas of conduct relevant to performance in office. Hence, whilst politicians are entitled to a marginally lesser degree of privacy than the general public, this right remains in a strong form. In section I, I outline the value of privacy as it applies to all citizens - grounding politicians’ prima facie right to privacy. I also include guidance regarding the nature of this right and how privacy rights may be constrained. In section II, I raise the competing moral right of the public to evaluate those in power and ascertain how exactly it may justify intrusion in their private lives. I then defend the relevance constraint from two potential counter-examples: types of conduct that appear irrelevant to performance in office yet still deserving of public attention. In section III, I then discuss how powerful the relevance constraint is in resisting erosion of politicians’ privacy (i.e. what areas of their lives are relevant to their performance in office and therefore grounds for legitimate intrusion). I then close in section IV with some remarks on the value of privacy as it applies to politicians in particular and a summary of the ground covered by this paper. In contemporary democracies, the private lives of politicians are prone more than ever to the media’s scrutiny. In recent years, scandals (made public) surrounding politicians’ personal lives have led to a vast number of resignations, damaged reputations and significantly damaged careers. The personal lives of


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politicians suffer a significant level of intrusion that the average citizen would detest if they themselves were subject to it. So, what is it that makes the private lives of politicians so newsworthy, how can we justify a level of intrusion that we would not apply to the average citizen, and how much intrusion can we justify? For the purposes of this discussion, I take ‘privacy’ to be the ability to control access to information regarding an individual and their conduct.1 From this, what distinguishes politicians’ private lives from public is an ability to control who knows what about them and their conduct. I In order to undertake a proper discussion of how much of politicians’ lives should be made public, it is first necessary to ground why personal privacy is of particular importance. The first of these I mention is its connection with human dignity. Bloustein observes that the subjection of private actions to public scrutiny leaves one’s sense of autonomy and individuality in a vulnerable position.2 Such an idea is echoed in Thompson’s claim that privacy is integral to public officials’ ability to maintain a conception of their own character independent from their public reputation.3 Second, privacy can be seen as necessary for the intimacy and social relationships required for a full, meaningful life. Schoeman, for example, observes that privacy may be defended through the necessity to social relationships of abandoning objectivity in a way not possible with the constant gaze of others.4 If we care to uphold politicians’ rights to develop meaningful, diverse interpersonal relationships then this serves as another reason to uphold their privacy. Thirdly, privacy serves to enable free judgement and critical reflection, as an ability to think and judge with honesty and clarity is inhibited by extensive scrutiny and influence from others.5 Thus, for politicians to make clear and honest judgements on policy issues requires a degree of privacy from the public eye. These are what I take to be the main (strongest) reasons for preserving the privacy of citizens, providing the basis also for politicians’ claims to privacy. Inevitably, however, there are limits on rights to privacy – even to the average citizen. Etzioni observes that privacy is not to be taken as an absolute right, but instead ought to be balanced against the weight of competing rights and values – as ‘one good among others’.6 Law enforcement is one such competing value – if one commits a crime in private, the value of 1

Moore, A. (2003), “Privacy: Its Meaning and Value”, American Philosophical Quarterly, 40:3, p.216. Bloustein, E. (1964), “Privacy as an Aspect of Human Dignity: An Answer to Dean Prosser”, New York University Law Review, 39, pp.971-975. 3 Thompson, D. (1987), Political Ethics & Public Office, Harvard University Press, p.126. 4 Schoeman, F. (1984), “Privacy: Philosophical Dimensions”, American Philosophical Quarterly, 21:3, p.201. 5 Dobel, J. (1998), “Judging the Private Lives of Public Officials”, Administration & Society, 30:5, pp.117-118. 6 Etzioni, A. (1999), The Limits of Privacy, Basic Books Co, p.4. 2


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enforcing the law supersedes the individual’s right to privacy.7 The constraints on privacy by competing rights and values is what I contend may ground a diminished level of privacy for politicians. II In section I, I gave some reasons that ground the prima facie right to privacy. I now turn to the competing factor in the case of politicians – the moral right of citizens to properly evaluate those in power.8 Citizens have a moral right (or perhaps even a duty) to obtain a full insight into a public official’s competence to fulfil the duties of their office. At this point, it is necessary to ascertain exactly how a politician’s private life may have bearing on their ability to do so. Walzer here perceives what he terms ‘separation’ – the distinction and potential lack of continuity between moral demands in the public and private spheres.9 This distinction may initially be interpreted as meaning that, to judge an official’s conduct or competence in the public realm (i.e. in office), we need not concern ourselves with their conduct in the (distinct) private realm. However, Walzer also observes that an official’s public conduct may be grounded in the rest of his moral life – including his private life.10 Consequently, there is a legitimate interest in the (private) moral lives of politicians in aspects that may ground or influence their competence as a public official. This generates a constraint on politicians’ right to privacy; their right to privacy is limited not only by the constraints to ordinary citizens (e.g. the value of law enforcement) but also by the public’s right to evaluate them. It is often maintained that this right however only concerns the aspects of an official’s private lives that may be deemed relevant for their duties as a politician.11 This, essentially, generates a ‘constraint upon the constraint’ – in that politicians’ rights to privacy are only diminished regarding instances of relevance to their position. What the ‘relevance’ condition truly entails is a complex matter however – it is hard to immediately articulate the relevance to office of many areas of conduct that seemingly warrant public attention. We may perceive counter-examples – types of conduct that appear to warrant public attention but not be relevant to duties of political office. One such type of conduct that may legitimately warrant public interest is that which makes officials guilty of hypocrisy. When politicians’ private lives appear to directly contradict the values and principles 7

Ellis, R. (2002), “Review of: The Limits of Privacy by Etzioni, A.”, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 21:2, p.307. Dobel, J. (1998), “Judging the Private Lives of Public Officials”, p.119. 9 Ibid 10 Ibid 11 Ibid, p.120-121. 8


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they espouse in public office and aim to promote for the nation as a whole, this is certainly problematic and there seems an intuitive right to know about it. But how this impacts on their competence in office is not entirely clear. If a politician aims to promote a valuable moral standard and continues to govern his policies accordingly, how do his ‘slip-ups’ in private affect his ability to govern? If politicians are to espouse a wholesome, idealistic vision of a moral society, do we really need to insist they are faultless in ascribing to it? A similar area that may not be obviously relevant to public office is lying about private matters, or a general track-record of lying or promise-breaking in private. If such lies are of particular severity or regularity, this seems to constitute a legitimate area of interest to the public. But if such behaviour only occurs in private and the politician has no such track record in his public duties, what exactly makes this relevant? The separation of the political and private spheres mean that one may be a dishonest person yet an honest politician – so how can the former be relevant? A dimension of a politician’s life that may shed light on these issues is their symbolic status. When their conduct fails to be exemplary in such a way, they fail to serve as symbols for the personal values citizens share. As elected representatives, they represent our aspirations, not merely our behaviour.12 When politicians, as figures of authority, fail to act as an example to the ordinary citizen we can claim that they fail in this particular public duty – regardless of whether their personal conduct has an impact on policy. They have what Dobel refers to as a ‘symbolic responsibility’ which includes the demands of honesty and integrity.13 So, while this behaviour may never translate into their political dealings or affect the policies they implement, it gains relevance by violating this subtler duty of office. These may not appear relevant, but are shown to be so when we consider the subtler duties of office. Consequently, the above two types of conduct do not count as genuine counter-examples to the relevance condition. That is to say that they are not both 1) irrelevant to the duties of office and 2) causes for legitimate intrusion into the personal lives of a politician. In light of this, I uphold the view that the public right to evaluate politicians only ranges over areas of their conduct that are relevant to the duties of their position.

12 13

Thompson, D. (1987), Political Ethics & Public Office, p.127. Dobel, J. (1998), “Judging the Private Lives of Public Officials”, pp.121-122.


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III Having defended the relevance condition, it is now worth seeing how effective it is at resisting erosion into politician’s private lives – and the extent to which it allows them to retain a strong right to privacy. To fully grasp the power of the relevance condition in upholding politicians’ strong right to privacy, we need to establish how much of their private lives it permits intrusion upon. One area to test this with is politicians’ sexual conduct. People’s sex lives are such an intimate and personal area that unwarranted intrusion is particularly offensive, especially when we consider privacy’s connection to intimacy mentioned in section I. As a result, if the relevance constraint fails to block intrusion into such a personal area, then we may assert that the relevance constraint fails in upholding politicians’ strong right to privacy. So, how does the relevance condition apply to politicians’ sex lives? A politicians’ private sexual activity is not of relevance to public duties in itself, yet may become relevant when a politicians’ sex life brings into play other dimensions relevant to office. For example, Wayne Hayes’ extra-marital affair became an issue of corruption when he employed his mistress as a typist despite her incompetence in the role.14 John Profumo’s affair with a woman who was also involved with a Soviet diplomat (in the context of the Cold War) became relevant to his duties as Secretary of State for War due to the potential national security risk it posed.15 The corruption and security elements of the two aforementioned cases of conduct are what made their sex lives so relevant to their position, and not the affairs themselves. The relationships themselves may have had no bearing on their ability to serve, yet became relevant in virtue of other factors. The relevance condition means politicians’ sex lives continue to be exempt from public intrusion unless they involve another relevant dimension – showing the relevance condition to retain politicians a strong degree of privacy over their sex lives. The second area of politicians’ lives by which I test the effectiveness of the relevance constraint is health. The details of our physical and mental health are again seen to be particularly personal to us, and there is a presumption in favour of our ability not to disclose them. However, health undeniably can influence one’s ability to do their job and this remains true for politicians. As a result, the health of politicians can certainly warrant public attention in order to evaluate their capability. The relevance constraint however warrants intrusion in only those aspects of a politicians’ health that directly affect their 14 15

Dobel, J. (1998), “Judging the Private Lives of Public Officials”, p.132. Brown, D. (2001), “Past Politics: 1963: The Profumo scandal”, The Guardian, [Online].


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ability to carry out the duties of their office. Intrusion into, say, politicians’ mental or sexual health for the sole purpose of stigmatisation is well off-limits. Perusing through candidates’ medical records is also an opportunity for opponents to take advantage of existing stigmas under the guise of transparency.16 The example of health in particular directs us to an important question: how can we know if the content of a politician’s private life is relevant enough that we should know about it, if we don’t know about it? In this case, how can we know if a politician’s health will affect their competence (and therefore justify intrusion) without intruding in the first place? For example, the intrusion in 1972 US vicepresidential candidate Thomas Eagleton’s mental health history was justified after the fact by his psychiatrist’s testimony that it posed a potential hindrance to his ability to serve.17 For guidance here, in his espousal of the relevance condition Thompson asserts that not knowing whether the uncovered information will be relevant does not justify unlimited inquiry into politicians’ private lives.18 As a result, we ought to avoid methods of intrusion that cannot discriminate between relevant and irrelevant information.19 This procedural condition limits the extent to which we may intrude on politicians’ health information and means we are only able to enquire into health records in ways in which we may not also uncover irrelevant aspects. Therefore, the relevance condition is effective in preserving politicians’ right to privacy regarding health issues that do not impact on their competence. IV Thus far, I have explored the extent of the public’s right to evaluate their politicians. To further defend politicians’ rights to privacy, we may ask whether there are any additional reasons to value privacy for politicians beyond the reasons to value privacy for regular citizens. Allowing discourse in the media and public life to centre around politicians’ private lives could be argued to divert attention from more pressing political issues. When the public is too busy discussing the details of a politician’s personal life, rather than his policies, this may displace deliberation on substantive political questions.20 However, such a line of argument rests on an assumption that ‘issue-based’ evaluation is naturally more appropriate to political discourse than ‘image-based’ evaluations. Certain insights into the personality of a politician can and do provide a basis on which to judge their ability to produce effective

16

Carpentier, M. (2015), “Medical records must stay private - even for prospective presidents”, The Guardian, [Online]. Glasser, J. (2012), “The Thomas Eagleton Affair Haunts Candidates Today” in NPR, [Online]. 18 Thompson, D. (1987), Political Ethics & Public Office, p.141. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid., p.127. 17


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policy, perhaps even more so than discussion of the policy itself.21 Therefore, we should be hesitant to assume that discussion of politicians’ private lives is necessarily a hindrance to constructive political debate and assign added value to politicians’ privacy on these grounds. Although, over-intrusion into their personal lives may also disincentivise application to public office and lasting in office if elected.22 Such a deterrent will have various undesirable effects, particularly in reducing the pool of talent available. When asked about his sex life in an interview, US Senator Gary Hart did not dignify the question, remarking ‘questions like that drive good candidates out of politics’.23 Additionally, it serves as a disproportionately greater deterrent to those more private in personality or those who lead more unorthodox lives that may suffer greater public scrutiny. Hence, it lessens the diversity of those applying to office that is so beneficial to the effective functioning of democracy. Not granting politicians an acceptable level of privacy is compromising to society’s chances of producing competent, effective politicians (and government) in the long run. To conclude, I maintain that politicians retain a strong right to privacy. This is due to the effectiveness of the relevance constraint in limiting the erosion on this right by the public’s moral right to evaluate those in power. I have articulated the competing moral right that may constrain politicians’ privacy and defended the applicability (and strength) of the relevance condition in resisting its force. My consequent guidance is that intrusion in politician’s private lives ought only be limited to those areas relevant to the duties of their office. I maintain that this also preserves a strong right of the public to evaluate the ability of their representatives to fulfil their duties. We ought to be wary not only to uphold this right in itself, but also to ensure that public office remains an attractive career. In the long run, protecting these privacy rights will aid the quality of government through retaining a large, diverse talent pool of candidates. References Bloustein, E. (1964), “Privacy as an Aspect of Human Dignity: An Answer to Dean Prosser” in New York University Law Review, 39, New York: New York University Press, pp.962–1007. Brown, D. (2001). “Past Politics: 1963: The Profumo scandal”, [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/apr/10/past.derekbrown [Accessed 09/03/2018]. Carpentier, M. (2015), “Medical records must stay private - even for prospective presidents”, [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/07/presidential-candidate-medical-recordsdiscrimination-transparency [Accessed 6/3/2018]. 21

Tenenboim-Weinblatt, K. & Weiss-Yaniv, N. (2016), “Politically Relevant Intimacy: A Conceptual and Empirical Investigation”, International Journal of Communication, 10, pp.5188-5189. 22 Thompson, D. (1987), Political Ethics & Public Office, p.126. 23 New York Times (1987), “Politicians and Privacy”, NY Times, 10/9/1987, p.30.


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Dobel, J. (1998), “Judging the Private Lives of Public Officials” in Administration & Society, 30:5, California: SAGE Online, pp.115-142. Ellis, R. (2002), “Review of: The Limits of Privacy by Etzioni, A.” in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 21:2, Washington, D.C: Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, pp.306-308. Etzioni, A. (1999), The Limits of Privacy, New York: Basic Books Co. Glasser, J. (2012), “The Thomas Eagleton Affair Haunts Candidates Today”, [Online] Available at: https://www.npr.org/2012/08/04/157670201/the-thomas-eagleton-affair-haunts-candidates-today [Accessed 11/3/2018]. Moore, A. (2003), “Privacy: Its Meaning and Value” in American Philosophical Quarterly, 40:3, Champaign: University of Illinois Privacy, pp. 215-227. New York Times (1987), “Politicians and Privacy” in NY Times, 10/9/1987, p.30., [Online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/10/opinion/politicians-and-privacy.html [Accessed 12/3/18]. Schoeman, F. (1984). ‘Privacy: Philosophical Dimensions’ in American Philosophical Quarterly, 21:3, Champaign: University of Illinois Press pp.199-213. Tenenboim-Weinblatt, K. & Weiss-Yaniv, N. (2016), “Politically Relevant Intimacy: A Conceptual and Empirical Investigation”, International Journal of Communication, 10, Los Angeles: USC Annenberg Press, pp.5186–5205. Thompson, D. (1987), Political Ethics & Public Office, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


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Could There Be a Duty to Adopt?

Annabel Newton, 3rd Year Essay BA(Hons) Politics and Modern History

Abstract:

This essay considers whether or not there may be a duty to adopt children rather than procreate. In agreement with Daniel Friedrich and Tina Rulli, I believe there is a duty and it can be grounded in a Rescue View. Nonetheless, I do not see Friedrich and Rulli’s contribution to the duty to adopt as going far enough. In only commanding that aspiring parents fulfil the duty I believe they have treated the injury that occurs to children in need of adoption too lightly. Therefore, in this essay I have expanded the reach of the duty so as to encompass all adults provided that the potential harm the adult could incur in raising the child does not outweigh that of the child growing up without being adopted. This, I have called the ‘Easy in Comparison Rescue View’.

Introduction Maintaining an argument similar to that of Daniel Friedrich and Tina Rulli, this essay argues that there is a duty to adopt rather than procreate, and that it can be grounded in a Rescue view.1 I am convinced that there is a moral duty to protect parentless children from serious harm, if doing so would cause little comparable harm to oneself. This notion is relatively uncontroversial. However, both Friedrich and Rulli can be accused of treating the injury that occurs to children in need of adoption too lightly, by commanding only aspiring parents to fulfil the duty to adopt. I argue that the harm suffered by those who do not desire children is lesser than the harm a parentless child faces. To say this argument was based off Easy Rescue is misleading. I propose the more suitable name of ‘Easy in Comparison Rescue’ view. This essay is to be structured into three sections. Firstly (I), it needs to be shown that adoption is an appropriate object of a legal duty. If this was not the case, the duty to adopt would simply not exist. Secondly, (II) this essay establishes who should be subjected to duty. By balancing the harm done to those who would carry out the duty and the harm relieved by carrying it out, it becomes clear that the duty is 1

Friedrich, D. (2013), ‘Duty to Adopt?', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp.25-38; Rulli, T. (2014), ‘Preferring a Genetically-Related Child’, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Vol.13, No. 6, pp.1-30.


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grounded by a form of Easy Rescue. Yet, from this I find that people who do not desire children may retain the duty. Thus the view defended is not just one of Easy Rescue proposed by Friedrich and Rulli, but Easy in Comparison Rescue. The final section (III) highlights Matthew Liao’s criticisms of the Easy Rescue view and demonstrates that his objections fail. Therefore overall, the duty to adopt can be fully grounded within the Easy in Comparison Rescue principle. I.

Is adoption an appropriate object of a duty?

If one agrees with Liao, as I do, one will believe that ‘duties require that the action demanded by the duty be commandable’. 2 In other words, duties have to be enforceable in order to exist. Yet, a duty is only enforceable if it is possible for the duty holders to meet all the requirements necessary to fulfil it. Therefore, it seems necessary to highlight the implications of the adoption before deliberating over whether it may exist as a duty. I believe that all children have a right to be loved that must be satisfied primarily by their caretaker, in this instance their adoptive parents. This is because love is closely linked to children’s social, cognitive, physical and emotional development. Studies have proven that children who are adequately cared for but not loved become ill more frequently, have weakened learning capacities, are less interested in their environment, fail to gain weight or height, and are more likely to be constantly depressed.3 Thus, the duty to adopt is invariably bound up with love. Adoption is not, as Friedrich claims, just a duty to ‘act in a certain way’.4 Of course, not all people have the capability to love a child. I do not agree with Liao who suggests that love can be completed by all people and thus is commandable of everyone. His notion that parents can undergo certain activities, such as ensuring they have ‘enough sleep each night’ so that they can be ‘more loving towards the child’, seems to almost comically oversimplify emotions.5 Like Emmanuel Kant, I agree emotions are something that are not a ‘matter of willing’. 6 Love is not derived from conscious thought. It develops spontaneously and impulsively. Even if one can manufacture the external appearance of love, for example, by getting enough sleep, it does not generate genuine love. Indeed, Barbra Solheim argues that

2

Liao, M. (2006), ‘The Right of Children to Be Loved’, The Journal of Political Philosophy Vol. 14, No. 4, p.421. Spitz, R. & Wolf, K. M. (1946), ‘Anaclitic Depression: An Inquiry Into the Genesis of Psychiatric Conditions in Early Childhood’, The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.313–42. 4 Friedrich (2013), ‘The Duty to Adopt?’, p.26. 5 Liao (2006), ‘The Right of Children to Be Loved’, p.426. 6 Kant, E. (1996), The Metaphysics of Morals, trans., M. Gregor, Cambridge University Press, p.161. 3


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because parents always have an emotional tone, in order for a child to feel loved they must actually be loved.7 Nonetheless, simply because some people are unable to fulfil the requirements of adoption does not mean that it impossible to enforce it as a duty. In his ‘Samaritan account’ of state legitimacy and political obligation, Christopher H. Wellman suggests that the state may justifiably coerce each citizen to rescue others. Nonetheless, he does not imply that all citizens must abide their duty, only those who would not suffer unreasonable costs from rescuing someone else are excluded.8 Using a very similar principle to the one offered by Wellman, the following section of this essay shows that those who do not possess the capacity to love a child may avoid being commanded to the duty to adopt. Consequentially, adoption becomes enforceable and remains an appropriate object of duty. II.

Who may be commanded to adopt?

So far, I have argued that the duty to adopt is enforceable, yet does not need to be commanded of everyone. It must now be established who should be held to the duty and on what basis. In order to do this, I shall use the notion of a right to do wrong, which, although is usually used when justifying people’s ability to avoid moral duties, I believe may also applied to a potential legal duty to adopt. In conjunction with Renee Jorgensen Bolinger and Gerhard Øverland, I believe that the right to do wrong originates from an asymmetry between the harm in interfering and abstaining from interfering.9 This is similar to Friedrich and Rulli’s arguments from Easy Rescue which implies that if a person can reduce significant harm at a smaller cost to themselves they have a moral duty to do so. Before discussing who may be granted the right to do wrong it is first necessary to establish that it is extremely harmful for a child to grow up without a parent. In developing countries orphaned children face death or at best, life-destroying conditions in institutions or on the streets.10 Barbra Tizard and Jill Hodges’s study demonstrates that even in economically developed countries children who are reared in institutions until the age of eight incur numerous negative psychological effects. They are less likely to form emotional

7

Solheim, B. P.(1999), ‘The Possibility of a Duty to Love’, Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp.6-7. Wellman, C. H. (2005), ‘Samaritanism and the Duty to Obey the Law’, in Wellman, C. H. & Simmons, A. J. Is There a Duty to Obey the Law?, Cambridge University Press, p.31. 9 Bolinger, J. R. (2017), ‘Revisiting the Right to Do Wrong’, Australian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 95, No. 1, p.43; Øverland, G. (2007), ‘The Right to Do Wrong’, Law and Philosophy, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp.380-381. 10 Bartholet, E. (2008), ‘International Adoption: The Child’s Story’, Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp.333-79. 8


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attachments and more likely to be disobedient, attention seeking, angry and irritable.11 In order for a child to be saved from physical and psychological harm it is imperative that they are cared for by at least one continuous loving parent. Although Rulli and Friedrich’s duty to adopt uses an asymmetry theory, I believe they are too lenient in granting people the right to do wrong. They guarantee rescue only if it is truly ‘Easy’. Consequently, they only command the duty of aspiring parents. It seems as though this takes the harm caused to parentless children aforementioned too lightly. I argue that because of the severity of the harm done to these children, people who do not aspire to be parents can also be required to fulfil the duty. Thus my argument is based on an ‘Easy in Comparison’ not just ‘Easy’ Rescue view. Some may question the need for so many adopters. E. J. Graff claims that the number of parents looking to adopt far surpasses the number of adoptable children.12 I agree that having a surplus of parents desiring to adopt would be problematic. It would harm people’s right to parent, which is often considered an important aspect of human flourishing. Yet, in such a situation the harm caused to people who desire children would be greater than that caused to a non-existent adoptee. They may permissibly procreate under their right to do wrong. Regardless of this, I do not believe that Graff is correct. In reality there may be many more children in need of parents. Rulli highlights that an estimated 45 million births go un-documented each year in the developing world.13 Until all parentless children are adopted, both aspiring parents and people who do not desire children retain a legal duty to adopt. Both Friedrich and Rulli argue that people who do not wish to raise children can have a right to do wrong since it would create significant comparable harm to their autonomy.14 Certainly, I agree that it is less harmful to the autonomy of those already set on raising children. Adoption allows these adults to fulfil aspirations of which they have already chosen. However, I cannot agree that adoption is too restrictive to the autonomy of people who do not desire children. Waldron claims that the removal of autonomy over ‘intimate relations’ leaves agency only over petty life decisions. He likens the scenario to being forced to have ice-cream and having choice only between the flavours of strawberry and banana. 15 I do not regard this to be the case. As Jorgensen Bolinger suggests, simply because one option is removed does not mean that

11

Tizard, B. & Hodges, J. (1978), ‘The Effect of Early Institutional Rearing on the Development of Eight Year Old Children’, The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 19, No. 2, p.107. 12 Graff, E. J. (2008), ‘The Lie We Love’, Foreign Policy, Vol. 169, No. 1, pp.59, 61-62. 13 Rulli, T. (2014), ‘The Unique Value of Adoption’, in Baylis, F. & Mcleod, C. eds., Family-Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges, Oxford University Press, p.115. 14 Friedrich (2013), ‘A Duty to Adopt?’ p.28; & Rulli (2014), ‘Preferring a Genetically-Related Child’, p.10 15

Waldron, J. (1981), ‘A Right to Do Wrong’, Ethics, Vol. 92, No. 1, p.36.


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there ceases to be significant variation within the permitted actions.16 For example, although it is impermissible not to adopt, a duty bearer still maintains varied choices. One could choose to dedicate all their time and resources to raising the child, or so long as they provide adequate care, they could choose not to. Additionally, parenting does not prevent the pursuit of other aspirations. As Anca Gheaus highlights, if adequate nursery facilities were put in place, parental autonomy could remain relatively unscathed.17 Although one might argue that the point of the duty was to remove children from institutional care, this solution would ensure at least one continuous carer and would reduce the psychological damage caused to the child. Overall, people who do not desire children cannot be granted a right to wrong. The harm to their autonomy does not outweigh the harm to the parentless child. Still, people might claim that the duty to adopt harms their agency to choose a biological child. Friedrich has argued that their decision for a biological child is based entirely on false beliefs. 18 Yet, Liao is correct to say that by doing so Friedrich fails to take into account that some people have rational reasons to desire genetically related offspring.19 Indeed, it seems just that some adults should wish for their children to bear family resemblance to them. Some may feel they owe it to their ancestors to carry on their family line, others may believe it will bring their family closer. However, it is not clear that a genetic child will maintain a family resemblance any more so than an adopted one. Physical similarity is not guaranteed by genetic ties. Equally, psychological similarity does not manifest solely from genetics, the environment in which a child is raised in plays a large role. Sally Haslanger notes that she shares family similarities with her adopted son because they share emotional and temperamental characteristics.20 Although the desire for a child who has family resemblance is rational, there is little difference between genetic and adopted children. The choice is too narrow for its removal to cause any harm to autonomy and it certainly does not outweigh the harms caused to a parentless child. Undoubtedly, adoption is an expensive procedure, usually costing around $15,000 to $40,000. This may stand in the way of a potential duty to adopt. Yet, within the US, adoptive parents receive generous tax reductions and Germany has made all adoptions free. I see no reason why other countries could not follow. Still, the real financial burden of adoption is raising the child. The predicted cost of raising a child through

16

Bolinger, ‘Revisiting the Right to Do Wrong’, pp.49-51. Gheaus, A. (2015), ‘Could There Ever Be a Duty to Have Children?’ in Hannan, S; Brennan, S. & Vernon, R. eds., Permissible Progeny?: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting, Oxford University Press, p.98. 18 Freidrich (2013), ‘A Duty to Adopt?’, p.28. 19 Liao (2006), The Right to Be Loved, p.184. 20 Haslanger, S. (2012) Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique, Oxford University Press, p.170. 17


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the ages of 1-17 is just over $218,000 even for lower income groups.21 Undoubtedly, aspiring parents would be the most financially prepared to adopt a child. They have already accounted for the expenses of raising a child, and in cases where parents cannot naturally procreate, the cost of IVF. Furthermore, adoption may well be within the financial reach of many people who do not desire children. However, there will invariably be people who neither desire children nor can afford the cost of having one. If these people were to pursue their duty to adopt they, and their adopted child, may fall into poverty. This would cause significant physical harm that would outweigh the child’s original harm from having no parents. The child’s psychological state may improve by having a loving parent yet their physical health, along with the parents, may deteriorate. Those who cannot financially afford to raise a child are thus excused their duty on the basis that it would not be Easy in Comparison. Basing the duty to adopt on an Easy in Comparison view is still congruent with the notion that love, required by adoption, cannot be enforced. Although I argue that more adults than just those desiring to be parents can, if needed, have a duty to adopt, I do not agree with Liao’s claim that all adults should be enforced to do so. Some people are incapable of feeling and expressing love for others. I disagree with Liao’s claim that actions should be commanded even if there is no guaranteed success. 22 Enforcing the duty to adopt on those who cannot love would always be unsuccessful and would create more harm than it would alleviate. This would be morally problematic. Solheim proves that since children are able to sense a parents ‘emotional tone’ they will be able to detect when their parents love is a façade.23 Even Liao acknowledges that this would cause damage to a child’s development of positive self-conception and understanding of how to love others. 24 Moreover, forcing a parent to adopt and show love to a child when they do not feel it would be very demanding. As Solheim highlights, it is easy to let our behaviour reflect our emotional state.25 Thus pretending to love, when love is not really felt, would require an immense amount of energy to maintain throughout the child’s many developmental years. Although I agree that aspiring parents will likely already have the emotional capability to adopt this is not invariably the case. Some people might be inspired to have children, not because they are motivated to love and care for the child, but for some other rare motive. Moreover, people who do not desire children are capable of loving a child if they were presented with one. Unexpected pregnancies happen and many adults take it upon themselves to love and raise children that they had no initial desire to have. Overall, provided that they are 21

Lino, M. (2013) Expenditures on Children by Families, USDA, p.21. Liao (2006), ‘The Right of Children to Be Loved’, p.428. 23 Solheim (1999), ‘The Possibility of a Duty to Love’, pp.6- 7. 24 Liao (2006), ‘The Right of Children to Be Loved’, p.429. 25 Solheim (1999), ‘The Possibility of a Duty to Love’, p.6. 22


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capable to love and are financially stable people who do not desire children have a duty to adopt as well as all aspiring parents. III.

Criticism of the Easy Rescue view

The Easy Rescue view has been subject to criticism by Liao. Therefore, in order to fully ground the duty to adopt in a similar argument it needs to be shown that the Easy in Comparison view would be able to overcome these objections. I do not believe that two of the three criticisms he offers carry significant weight. Firstly, he criticises the Easy Rescue view for not being able to command all people to the duty to adopt. However, the Easy in Comparison view would include more than just aspiring parents. Moreover, commanding all people to adopt does not seem like a desirable goal. At the risk of causing more harm, people who are incapable of loving and are not financially stable should not adopt. Additionally, Liao claims that the Easy Rescue view fails to appreciate that there may be rational reasons for desiring a biologically related child. I agree that there are rational reasons to want a biological child however I have dismissed that this could support a right to wrong. A third more weighty criticism Liao offers is that the Easy Rescue argument does not encourage the adoption of older children or those with special needs. Friedrich has done an inadequate job of tackling this issue, focusing only on whether there is a duty to adopt healthy children without any signs of long term special needs.26 Inevitably more people will find it harmful to adopt an older child or a child who has special needs. Tizard and Hodges research shows that even once out of institutionalised care, adopted children were shown to be more anti-social in the classroom than non-adopted children.27 Furthermore, Graff has argued that ‘the neediest children are the sick, disabled, traumatized, or older than five.’ 28 The children who are easiest to adopt are already being adopted. A duty for adoption under the Easy Rescue view is unnecessary. Still, Friedrich offers one rebuttal. He suggests parents who desire biological children cannot claim to find adoption of children with special needs too harmful. Since no one can be entirely sure their biological child will avoid genetic disorders they should already be willing to accept them.29 I argue that people who do not desire children can also be commanded to adopt children with special needs. The harm caused to a child with special needs when they grow up without continuous parents is even greater than the harm caused to other parentless children. James Rosenthal has demonstrated the importance of a stable 26

Friedrich (2013), ‘A Duty to Adopt?’ p.28. Tizard, & Hodges (1978), ‘The Effect of Early Institutional Rearing on the Development of Eight Year Old Children’, p.106. 28 Graff (2008), ‘The Lie We Love’, pp.59-60. 29 Friedrich (2013), ‘A Duty to Adopt’, p.29. 27


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parental figure particularly to the development of a child with special needs.30Although these children are harder for parents to raise, the increased harm to the child continues to outweigh the harm to the duty bearer. Conclusion. This essay has argued that there is a legal duty to adopt and proposed that it is grounded by an Easy in Comparison Rescue view. Firstly, it has been established that adoption is an appropriate object of duty. Due to the fact we cannot command love, necessary for adoption, the duty to adopt may not be enforceable to all people. Yet, that is not to say that the duty is not enforceable at all. Secondly, I have distinguished who has an enforceable duty and who can attain a right to do wrong. Overall, it was argued that the duty was commandable to all except those who would cause more overall harm by adopting. Only in instances of inadequate funds and incapability to love do I believe this would apply. I have shown that there is no reason to think that people who do not desire children would always face significant comparable harm. This has demonstrated that rescue does not have to be merely easy but easy in comparison. Finally, this essay has refuted Liao’s criticisms of the Easy Rescue view. Most significantly it has been shown that by grounding the duty to adopt in an Easy in Comparison view, older and special needs children can still be adopted. In this essay, I hope to have proven the necessity for a legal duty to adopt, rather than procreate. Still, I might be accused of neglecting how this duty could be coercively enforced by the state. There are a number of ways the duty to adopt could be practically applied. One way, for example, would be through legally requiring that all people, once they have reached a reasonable child rearing age, must adopt a child. Those who believe they have a right to do wrong may however be able to seek the permission of the state not to do so, provided that they can either prove they are fiscally or emotionally incapable of adopting. Of course, solutions such of these do not come without consequences. Some might deem this policy far too invasive over an area that is usually protected by the private sphere. Others might question how easy it will be to enforce. Certainly, it will not be easy to draw the line to say who has and does not have a right to do wrong. Whilst we can perhaps more easily declare who is and who is not fiscally capable of raising a child, mediating people’s complex emotional capacities will prove difficult. Perhaps then, what is required is further study into the importance of love in the relationships with children. Although Liao and Solheim have produced important work testifying to the importance of love in a child’s development, few studies have

30

Rosenthal, J. A. (1993), ‘Outcomes of Adoption of Children with Special Needs’, The Future of Children, Vol. 3, No. 1, p.78.


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been able to clarify how much love is required of parents for a child’s adequate upbringing. This may be an important step in turning the legal duty to adopt from theory to reality. References Bartholet, E. (2008), ‘International Adoption: The Child’s Story’, Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp.333-79. Daniel, F. (2013),‘Duty to Adopt?’ Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp.25-38. Gheaus, A. (2015), ‘Could There Ever Be a Duty to Have Children?’ in Hannan, S. Brennan, S. & Vernon, R. eds., Permissible Progeny?: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting, Oxford University Press, pp.87-106. Graff, E. J. (2008) ‘The Lie We Love’, Foreign Policy, Vol. 169, No. 1, pp.58-66. Haslanger, S. (2012), Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique, Oxford University Press. Jorgensen Bolinger, R. (2017), ‘Revisiting the Right to Do Wrong’, Australian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 95, No. 1, pp.43-57. Kant, E. (1996), The Metaphysics of Morals, trans., M. Gregor, Cambridge University Press. Liao, M. (2006), ‘The Right of Children to Be Loved’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 420440. Liao, M. (2015) The Right to be Loved, Oxford University Press. Lino, M. (2013) Expenditures on Children by Families, USDA. Øverland, G. (2007), ‘The Right to Do Wrong’, Law and Philosophy, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp.377-404. Rosenthal, J. A. (1993), ‘Outcomes of Adoption of Children with Special Needs’, The Future of Children, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.77-88. Rulli, T. (2014), ‘Preferring a Genetically-Related Child’, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Vol. 13, No. 6, pp.1-30. Rulli, T. (2014), ‘The Unique Value of Adoption’, in Baylis, F. & Mcleod, C. eds., Family-Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges, Oxford University Press, pp.109-128. Solheim, B. (1999), ‘The Possibility of a Duty to Love’, Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp.1-17. Spitz, R. & Wolf, K. M. (1946), ‘Anaclitic Depression: An Inquiry Into the Genesis of Psychiatric Conditions in Early Childhood’, The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.313–42. Tizard, B. & Hodges, J. (1978), ‘The Effect of Early Institutional Rearing on the Development of Eight Year Old Children’, The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp.99-118. Waldron, J. (1981), ‘A Right to Do Wrong’, Ethics, Vol. 92, No. 1, pp.21-39. Wellman, C. H. (2005), ‘Samaritanism and the Duty to Obey the Law’, in C. H. Wellman, & A. J.Simmons, Is There a Duty to Obey the Law? Cambridge University Press, pp.3-38.