Global Societies Journal (GSJ) at UCSB is a peer-reviewed and open-access journal that explores and analyzes globalization and global-scale issues from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. GSJ encourages innovative approaches that bridge social sciences and humanities, and seeks to open up new conversations that speak to contemporary global issues. The journal addresses a diversity of social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, and legal issues with a holistic perspective that aspires to further our understanding of the contemporary societies. Global Societies Journal has published a wide range of articles on a variety of topics since 2013.
Volume 4, 2016
Illegal drug production, specifically marijuana in California, and cocaine in South America, is resulting in intensive environmental degradation. While commonly cited as detrimental to societal health, the impacts of illicit drugs are rarely referred to as environmentally threatening. Ecosystem toxification, greenhouse gas emissions, and unsustainable water usage account for a variety of malign effects resulting from the plantation, harvest, and production of cannabis and cocaine. Ecosystem degradation remains a serious concern into the 21st century, a result indicative of the fact that current methods designed to stem the drug-trade too often involve reactionary enforcement measures by unitary actors. Preventive, not reactive, actions must be implemented to stop the production of illicit drugs in their initial stages, before ecosystem injury occurs. Coordinated efforts involving the integration of environmental and enforcement agencies, in intrastate and international realms, will be imperative for the establishment of a competent, global, anti-drug security system. Public sector involvement, through petitions and advertising campaigns by non-governmental organizations and environmental interest groups, can assist government efforts by raising awareness of drug-initiated ecosystem degradation and persuading constituents to lobby legislators for legal revisions.
Two intersecting concerns in development studies include gender inequality and inaccessibility to safe and affordable drinking water. In five rural communities of Mexico where non-governmental initiated and community managed water systems seek to address these concerns, this original ethnographic research asked how the gender composition of the management of a water service influences people’s perception of the given water service. This question was influenced by the need for research on perceptions of water quality in developing countries and the importance of understanding and promoting gender equity as a process involving men and women. Using ethnographic tools, original data were gathered at each of the five water systems, two of which are managed by committees made up entirely of women and three with mixed-gendered committees. The results suggest that the gender composition of the committee and gendered distribution of responsibilities among committee members carry influence over a person’s perception of the water service. In particular, when these factors do not align with the gender norms of the community, a community member’s perception of the service can become negative. These findings suggest that organizations dedicated to developing safe water services should consider factors such as gender norms and community dynamics as a way to improve access to safe drinking water sources.
Challenging Gendered Politics: The Impact of One-Party Systems on Women’s Political Participation in Legislatures
In the early 1990s, while a global pivot towards democracy was slowly accepted into civil society, authoritarian regimes began losing legitimacy. Paradoxically, the spread of democracy was accompanied by the insurgence of patriarchal one-party autocracies. This phenomenon catalyzed my interest to research into gender parity and one-party rule, the differences between a one-party state and a one-party dominant system, and the overall implications of adding gender quotas in party and state politics. The paper focuses on the relationship between women’s political participation in legislatures and one-party systems in three countries: China, Turkey and South Africa. The aim of the research is to uncover the impact and trend of one-party rule on women representation in legislature. As a result, the research will clarify whether there are differences in political treatment of women in a one-party state in China and one-party dominant state like South Africa. Another layer of the research will illustrate the impact of women’s participation in legislature where a democratic state begins to show signs of one-party dominance like Turkey. I qualitatively and quantitatively depict how each unique system identifies women’s political participation and whether or not they use democratic tactics to increase the number of women in their legislature.
“We Must Help Them Build Free Institutions”: Neoliberal Modernization and American Nation-Building in Iraq
After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, neoliberal hawks in the Bush administration embraced the goals of liberating the Iraqi people from economic constraints. This fast regime change, however, soon turned into a long quagmire that required a nation-building effort, reflecting the language of modernization theory. Thus, in the case of the Iraq War, two distinct and opposing theories of economic development—neoliberalism and modernization—merged together. What made this possible was the nature of analyzing American history through a lens of exceptionalism, as well as the transformative moment in the post-Cold War 1990s that began to remake the Middle East as the next adversary of the American superpower. This article uses this episode to suggest that intellectual histories of political economy need to reconsider narratives that present dominant theories through rigid periodization, while relying on works from Walt Rostow, David Harvey, Benjamin Barber, Timothy Mitchell, and Michael Latham, as well as rhetoric from George W. Bush and other neoliberal voices around the invasion.
Imposing Nationalism on Diaspora Peoples: Korean Chinese in the Master Narrative of Chinese Nationalism
One of the most challenging aspects of the historiography of modern nation states is how to write diaspora peoples of an immigrant past into the national history, especially when the diaspora settlement pre-dates the birth of the modern nation state itself. The Korean Chinese as a minority nationality in today’s People’s Republic of China exemplify the myriad issues that occur when nationalistic historiography seeks to override and sanitize an uneven past. By looking at the impulse of Chinese nationalistic historiography in appropriating the subaltern past of Korean Chinese, this paper exposes and problematizes the master narrative of nationalism in history writing. Master narratives, by imposing "nationalism," a prototype modern set of values, retrospectively on a chaotic and contingent past render diaspora peoples particularly vulnerable to the sways of nationalism. Historians of diaspora peoples should therefore be critically aware that the past is full of contingencies that must be contextualized.
England’s Post-Imperial Education 1960s-1990s: National Identity Construction, Multicultural Initiatives, and Community Responses
As globalization upsets traditional notions of the homogenous nation state, education becomes an avenue through which countries can define and redefine themselves, constructing national narratives through curricula decisions and education policies. Education initiatives in the post-imperial era showcase England grappling with both the loss of the British Empire and the influx of globalization, specifically in terms of incorporating the flood of migration from former West Indie colonies into its national education system. This article looks at the formal and informal education policies in England from the 1960s-1990s, situating them as negotiations over national narratives, identity, and citizenship. While multicultural education initiatives were implemented, these were later criticized by race scholars for failing to address the institutional racism and barriers to successful education within the English public school system. The black community responses to conservative education policies include increased parental involvement, supplementary schools, and alternative teaching pedagogies, all of which fall under the category of anti-racist or postcolonial education strategies.
The Zika virus outbreak erupted in Brazil in 2015 and spread to dozens of countries in just a few months. There is no vaccine, treatment or cure for this virus that is now a sexually transmitted disease and causes microcephaly in babies. While scientists work to develop the vaccine, 500,000 tourists get ready to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. Brazil has struggled to eliminate Aedes Aegypti, the mosquito vector of Zika and several others viruses, for the last 30 years. As the outbreak erupted on the eve of the Olympics, it globally exposed Brazil’s deficient healthcare and sanitation systems and lasting poverty and inequality gaps. It also happened in the wake of a severe political and economic crisis, which determined the state’s response to fight the virus. This paper examines the role of military forces as Brazil’s response to contain the Zika virus through three perspectives: 1) Brazil’s ambition to strengthen its role as a humanitarian superpower; 2) Brazil’s shift from a socially conscious approach to a global health issue (the case of HIV) to a forceful response (Zika); and 3) Brazil’s attempt to recover leadership, both internally and globally, threatened by the current crisis.