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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Center for Global, International and Regional Studies (CGIRS) at the University of California Santa Cruz coordinates research, teaching and public education related to the new international economic, social and political structures of our time. In addition to the Working Papers, Global Policy Briefs and Reprints available from this site, CGIRS supports the UC Atlas of Global Inequality.

Cover page of Coalitions and networks

Coalitions and networks


Coalitions are partnerships among distinct actors that coordinate action in pursuit of shared goals. But what distinguishes them from other kinds of partnerships? The term is widely used to describe joint ventures in a wide range of arenas, most notably in international geopolitics or political party competition and governance. The literature on coalitions is dominated by discussions of war and peace, election campaigns, and parliamentary dynamics. Just as in war or politics, successful collective action in civil society often depends on the formation and survival of coalitions – insofar as the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts.

Cover page of Scarce, costly and uncertain: water access in Kibera, Nairobi

Scarce, costly and uncertain: water access in Kibera, Nairobi


This paper explores three stories in partial answer to the question: why is water scarce, costly and uncertain. First, it describes the ways that households and particularly the women who are the most frequent collectors of water experience scarcity through heavy expenditures of time and money, considerable investments in water storage and routinized sequences of deferred household tasks. Second, the paper describes some of the ‘public private partnerships’ for water supply which have grown up in this stateless location. A history of state antagonism to informal settlements like Kibera and the concomitant absence of property rights, institutions and market regulation have contributed to the growth of these partnerships, which academics call corruption and residents call cartels. Third, the paper describes three experiments in water and social engineering undertaken by sociologists in the Nairobi Water Company. These experiments constitute an attempt to invent municipal institutions and infrastructure in a city the size of San Francisco where mafia-like organizations remain strong.

Cover page of Visualizing Global Inequality on the Web

Visualizing Global Inequality on the Web


In this work, we simplify and enhance the visualization currently supported by the UC Atlas Website for mapping global inequality by (i) creating a simple user interface, (ii) supporting time series animation of global maps, and (iii) simplifying and integrating theline graphs, bar graphs, and ranked bar graphs. The visualization system is accessible at Our vision is to enhance the visualization system by adding additional types of charts including scatter plots, star plots, parallel coordinates, and small multiples visualization while keeping the user interface simple and integrated.

Cover page of Visualizing Health Determinants in a Global Context

Visualizing Health Determinants in a Global Context


In this work, our objective is to visualize the relationship between the variables that impact health in a global context. Recently, Cornia et al. [1] have proposed five main determinants of global health – material deprivation, progress in health technology, acute psychosocial stress, unhealthy lifestyle, and income inequality etc. Results of regression analysis worldwide indicate that almost 90% of the variation in health can be attributed to twelve variables representing these five determinants. We compute correlations between the health variables and its determinants and apply a visualization tool [2] to display these correlations globally and at country level in order to gain a better understanding. We observe that the country-level results obtained through easy-to-understand graphs and simple correlation analysis pose an anomaly to the worldwide regression results and require further analysis to close the gap between correlation and regression analysis and the gap between the country-level and global-level analysis.

Cover page of Lessons from action-research partnerships: LASA/Oxfam America 2004 Martin Diskin Memorial Lecture

Lessons from action-research partnerships: LASA/Oxfam America 2004 Martin Diskin Memorial Lecture


I am very grateful to the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) for sharing this great honour with me. Martin Diskin was first my teacher and mentor, then a research and teaching colleague, and always a friend. Not so long ago, I was thinking about Martin a great deal as I read his brother Saul’s moving memoir (Diskin 2001). Here one can learn what it takes to face the life-threatening illness that was looming behind Martin’s smile for so many years, unbeknown to all but family. Like so many defenders of human rights, he sustained an intense commitment to justice for all, in spite of an ever-present arbitrary threat to his own existence.

I’d like to begin by recognising some of the many different ways of bridging scholarly and activist commitments. Martin’s own trajectory reflected many of them, including his deep commitment to teaching (outside as well as inside the university), his behind-the-scenes contribution to building progressive organisations for the long haul (as reflected in his service to Oxfam America), not to mention media work, fundraising, as well as creating free spaces within the university itself.

Here, I’ll focus on some of the lessons that emerge from one specific approach to bridging activism and scholarship – the collaborative research partnership between scholars and activists. I will try to get to the point – without being ‘merely academic’ – by framing my points in the form of ten propositions for discussion. What these lessons share is a focus on recognising difference in order to bring people together.

Cover page of Mapping Mexican Migrant Civil Society

Mapping Mexican Migrant Civil Society


Presented at "Mexican Migrant Civic and Political Participation,"Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, co-sponsored by: Latin American and Latino Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, November, 2005