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DPIR Research

Researchers: Dr David Doyle, with Professor Catherine De Vries, Professor Kim Plunkett (Department of Experimental Psychology) and Janette Chow (Department of Experimental Psychology) Funder: John Fell Fund What is the relationship between parents’ political beliefs and their children’s attitudes? How do we develop our political attitudes, and how are our moral beliefs about the world formed? These questions are central to our understanding of politics, but we still don’t understand the development of the cognitive processes which shape our political attitudes and allegiances. This project takes methods and theory from experimental psychology and behavioural economics to shed light on a question which is central to our understanding of politics. Using specially created cartoons, which show two characters (“Timmy the Turtle” …

Researcher: Dr Angela Cummine Funder: British Academy In Greece, national assets are up for sale. Everything from Athens’ water infrastructure, to the Olympic stadium, to the country’s main ports at Piraeus and Thessaloniki. As part of the bailout deal struck in July 2015, the proceeds of these sales must go into an independent fund to repay Greece’s international creditors. For many Greeks, this feels like selling off the family silver, only to hand the proceeds back to those demanding its sale. The programme was controversial, and only went ahead after major concessions, including that the privatisation fund be run from Athens and that part of its proceeds must be spent locally in Greece. Ultimately, the demand for local control and …

Researchers: Dr Nicholas Cheeseman and Dr Susan Dodsworth Funder: Westminster Foundation for Democracy Are efforts to promote democracy working? How can we improve the prospects for democracy across the world? Since the Cold War, there have been a proliferation of attempts to promote democracy across the world, whether in new democracies or countries that have returned to democracy after a period of authoritarian rule. However, we still have a relatively limited understanding of what does and doesn’t work in democracy promotion. Furthermore, the last few years have not been good for democracy.  According to US think-tank Freedom House, 2015 was the 10th year in a row that an overall drop in global freedom has been recorded. It is essential that …

Researchers: Dr Paul Chaisty and Professor Stephen Whitefield Funder: The John Fell OUP Research Fund The current political crisis involving Russia, Ukraine and the West is rooted in complex historical understandings of state, national and regional identities. How do these national identities mobilise political support and how are they changing? Previous research suggests that the nature and strength of the political regimes in Russia and Ukraine will depend a great deal on the ways in which citizens and elites imagine their future – and how they attempt to bring that future into being. By conducting surveys in Russia and Ukraine, using representative samples of the populations of both countries, this project seeks to unpick the elements which make up the …

Researcher: Professor Richard Caplan Funders: British Academy; UK Department for International Development Between 1945 and 2013, 105 countries suffered a civil war. Of these, more than half experienced a relapse into violent conflict after peace had supposedly been achieved. How do we recognise a stable peace in countries emerging from violent conflict? And how can those tasked with building peace and ending war measure their progress? This project looks at the ways in which peacebuilding organisations (such as the United Nations, NATO, the World Bank, and others) understand the elements of a stable peace and what it requires. What are the factors that contribute to post-conflict peace stabilisation? The project will also examine how peacebuilding organisations have assessed their progress. …

Researcher: Dr Karma Nabulsi Since 1948, the majority of the Palestinian people live as refugees. It is not only the people who are scattered across the region, and the rest of the world; with them are the memories, records and knowledge essential to understanding this contemporary history of Palestine, its people and its politics. Focusing on the three decade long revolutionary period of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and sponsored by the British Academy, this project, has gathered original sources to create a university-level online curriculum through which to teach or learn about the Palestinian revolution through the eyes of the participants. The materials available through the project’s website are in both Arabic and English, extending the reach and value …

Researchers: Jasmine Bhatia, with Professor Nancy Bermeo and Dr Akitaka Matsuo (Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science) Funder: International Growth Centre (Additional support received from Nuffield College) For a state to succeed, its people must have trust in its institutions. The development of legitimate state institutions at both national and subnational levels is critical, but often leaders of fragile states and international donors lack information about what the public want from those institutions. This project hopes to shed light on the key components of public legitimacy by conducting fieldwork in Afghanistan, a state where the public institutions’ lack of legitimacy is undermining the ability of the state to govern effectively. The project uses a series of survey …

Researcher: Dr Annette Idler Funder: Higher Education Innovation Fund External Partners: United Nations (UN System Staff College and UN Colombia) Conflicts involving militias, paramilitaries, rebels, cartels, or terrorist organisations (collectively referred to as violent non-state groups) are the most lethal form of violence in the world today. The fierce urgency of current crises demonstrates the need to learn lessons from those conflicts which have been peacefully resolved. In Colombia, peace negotiations between Colombia’s government and the rebel group FARC hold out the promise of an end to more than five decades of violent conflict, which has left 220,000 dead and produced a refugee crisis second in scale only to that of Syria. Colombia’s borderlands are the regions that have been …