World Sociopolitical Studies

World Sociopolitical Studies

World Sociopolitical Studies, spring 2019, Volume 3, Issue 2



Fragile States: the Birthplace of Non-State Armed Groups in West Asia

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Due to both internal and external factors, Western Asia has long been suffering from security tribulations and political instability. The institution of various military and militia groups in the region in the absence of powerful central governments is the leading cause of most crises in Western Asia. The development of such security and military interactions outside the sovereignty framework paves the way for foreign interventions, making the region unstable and insecure. Working at times as proxy agents, these groups take action in the absence of a powerful stable central government in short term, and set the ground for sustained unrest, dispersion and the development of irresponsible armed groups in long term. These groups proliferate when the central governments lack the necessary persuasive power or lose the ability to manage crises and to exercise exclusive power for reasons such as lack of effective military power, disagreement over the quality of interaction with opposition groups, losing the monopoly of military power, intervention of regional or transboundary powers, high financial and organizing abilities of the militia, etc. This article is based on the hypothesis that the development and continuous growth of non-state armed groups stems from various internal and external reasons, causing security crisis in the concerned countries. The most crucial way to end these crises is empowering the central government through national cohesiveness, consensus, and the exclusive practice of hard power based on the law.

'The Cup of Kindness’? Dominant Social Norms and Muslims’ Social Integration in Scotland

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Since the 9/11 bombings in New York, and the 7/7 bombings in London, Muslims’ integration in the UK has been under intense scrutiny. Muslim integration, however, has long been a matter of debate in Britain, revolving around the maintenance of Muslims’ distinctive identity and practice. For instance, David Cameron (Cameron, 2011), Britain’s then Prime Minister, announced at the Munich Security Conference that “state multiculturalism” has encouraged “different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream”. In criticizing multiculturalism, most critics mainly refer to Muslims as being less integrated into wider society than people from other minority groups, and Muslims are shown to be disloyal. The complexity of Muslims’ integration and its dependency on different social, structural and cultural factors are, however, mostly less studied. This paper is designed to understand the social and cultural barriers to Muslim integration. In doing so, it aims to explore Muslims’ integrational strategies to deal with these barriers. Findings of this paper draw on research that involved 43 semi-structured interviews with Muslims across Scotland’s major cities and small towns.

Institutional Analysis of Corruption Configurations in South-West Asian Countries: A Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA)

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Considering corruption as one of the chronic harms of the administrative system, and the social factor affecting economic growth, the present study sought to explain, for the first time, the differences in the perceived levels of corruption among 16 Southwest Asian countries, relying on the sociological “new institutionalism” theory in analyzing organizations, describing causal mechanisms and their mutual impact, and creating corruptive contexts. The fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Method (fsQCA) and the secondary data were used to find the causal configurations leading to corruption in these cases. The experimental judgment led to two causal configurations showing that some institutional requirements of the institutional environment, in contrast to the requirements of the technical environment, exacerbated the gap between formal and informal structures. Conflicts lead to the formation of informal norms and networks that, over time, provide shared mental patterns for actors in executing current actions and confronting ambiguity and uncertainty; and on the basis of contextual rationality, they are interpreted as an appropriate way of acting. This reduces the costs of corruption and increases the opportunity for abuse by diminishing supervision and control and strengthening informal networks.

Hindu-Muslim Relationship in Bollywood in post 26/11: A Content Analysis of Movies (2008-2018)

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This study investigates the representations of Hindu-Muslim relationship in Bollywood movies from 2008 to 2018. It is assumed that after 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which are known as 26/11, conflicts between Hindus and Muslims have escalated. Since Indian people are extreme fans of movies, especially Bollywood movies, in this regard, it is expected that media could play a significant role in increasing or alleviating the conflicts by influencing people’s attitudes and opinions. This research seeks to examine the extent and modality of the representation of Hindu-Muslim relationships in Bollywood after the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The study was conducted through a content analysis of 11 Bollywood movies, which were selected from 70 Muslim-characters-based movies. Favorable, unfavorable, neutral and unclear were the four factors through which the movies’ contents were analyzed. The overall analysis of these factors indicate that 66.17% of the scenes were favorable, 14.70% were unfavorable, 2.94% were neutral, and 16.17% presented unclear images of Hindu-Muslim relationship in Bollywood movies. The results also indicate that Bollywood is not only depicting a positive image of this relationship, but also tries to tighten the bonds of the two religions, and in a broader sense, ties the two neighboring countries, Pakistan and India.

Sport behind Public Diplomacy; Functional Components of Sport Diplomacy in Iran

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The purpose of this study is to identify the role of sport as a soft power for Iran to facilitate its diplomatic relations after the nuclear deal. The research method used in this study is mixed (qualitative and quantitative): in the qualitative part of the analysis, the study sample was selected via Snowball sampling based on partricipants’ expertise in the sport diplomacy of Iran after two rounds of Fuzzy Delphi Method (FDM) exploratory factor analysis. Seven components of political currents, cultural exchange, peacemaking, national unity, economic development, transformation, communication, and religious currents were extracted. After identifying the study’s research variables in a structural-interpretive modeling, the relationship between variables was examined through a structural equation modeling test. The results of the structural equation model indicated that political currents, cultural exchange, transformation and communication had a direct and significant effect on national unity. The relationship between political and peacebuilding was not confirmed, but national unity and excellence in peace diplomacy had a direct and significant impact on the economic development of societies.

Israel Advocacy in the Academic Field: The Case of Terrorism Studies

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Research on the special relationship between the United States and Israel has usually been focused on strategic aspects, whilst fewer scholars have focused on non-material dimensions of the relationship. In addition, the existing research is mostly confined to the political and decision-making realms, with very few excursions into the academic arena. The current article aims to fill this lacuna through the study of pro-Israel academic discourse in America, focusing on the specific case of the field of terrorism studies. Critical discourse analysis of pro-Israel academic texts in this field is carried out to reveal the discourse, themes and arguments used to build this ideational pillar of the special relationship and move towards a common identity between the US and Israel. The common ingroup identity model (CIIM) is used to describe the process through which a common identity is constructed. The article concludes that defining the Self, defining the Other, and defining the norms are the three main strategies employed in the studied texts to achieve this goal.