“A Dynamic Insurgency” Dissertation Proposal Defense – Charles Davidson


All right, it’s a really great pleasure
to be with all of you this morning for Charles Davidson’s doctoral
dissertation proposal presentation. I’m Terrence Lyons and I’m playing
two roles today, I’m a member of, maybe three roles, I’m a member of this
committee, I’m the doctoral director, and I’m also sitting in, or taking the part
of who is the chair of this committee, and who’s been interacting with
Charles multiple, multiple times, and so, is very much a part, has her finger
prints all over this proposal, and will continue to serve as chair. What I wanna do today,
I wanna quickly go round the room once and let everybody introduce themselves. Let me first introduce my colleague,
Peter Mandido from the S-CAR school of, I can’t remember the rest of it.
>>We cannot [INAUDIBLE]>>[LAUGH]>>Who is, this is not his first rodeo. He’s been on a number of our dissertation
defense, dissertation committees. He and I worked closely at the Center for
Global Studies for a number of years. What I’ll do then is I’ll let
the rest of you self-introduce, and then let Charles will do a 20
to maybe 25 minute presentation based on his PowerPoint slides. We’ll ask a few questions, you’ll
have an opportunity to ask questions. And then Peter and I will briefly confer,
but that will end our day. So why don’t I go down
this way from Peter.>>My name is Christian Taylor, I’m a masters student here at S-CAR and
very interested in insurgency and so, insurgency for breakfast sounded bad.
>>[LAUGH]>>I’m Patricia Molden, I’m faculty here, and Charles and
I have done some projects together, and will do future projects together.>>Indeed.
>>I’m [INAUDIBLE]>>Sorry. Okay. I’m the to them that’s kind of I’m here just to view it.
>>Wonderful.>>I’m I’m a PhD candidate and I’m in the same cohort as Charles.
>>And very important next guest.>>Yeah I’m Abby and I’m Charles’ wife, I work at the Datsman Institute, interested in these topics as well.
>>Yes>>Hi, I’m Lauren Kennedy, I’m a PhD candidate as of Saturday,
so, yeah. And I’m interested in terrorism.
>>In what?>>Terrorism.>>And then I have you on the wall, Sherise.
>>Sherise Ponka. Hence, lessons on the nine and staff act [INAUDIBLE].
>>Great to see you again.>>Monie Binder, here in support of the charter.
>>Fantastic.>>And I work in industries.>>I’ve seen you around.>>[LAUGH]>>I’m Doug Herman, I’m on the faculty at [INAUDIBLE].
>>Good.>>I’m Lisa Shaw, and [INAUDIBLE]>>And just so you’ll know that we are filming this or
videotaping this or what do they do now, it’s all digitizing this?
>>Something like that [LAUGH].
>>So that those who aren’t able to attend will
have a chance to learn more about Charles’ work and Charles, I’m excited to hear you
speak about this interesting project.>>Very good, thank you. Terence, thank you everybody for coming, especially I appreciate
the professor sitting in my committee. Thanks for the hard work this far,
I’m sure there’s a long journey to come. To Patricia, thanks for always letting me haunt your door and come
up with my hair brain schemes for this. [LAUGH] Different projects we’ve done. Of course, my wife,
thank you for being here. All my classmates and
staff, thank you very much. So today, we’re talking about insurgency,
insurgent group behavior. I’ve titled it dynamic insurgency. The question is does target audience
proximity to a conflict affect the publicized collective action framework
of a transnational insurgent group. Basically, what I’m asking is, does
the way that an insurgent group project itself for the sake of promotion and
recruitment change as a direct result of target audience proximity
to the conflict itself? Hmm, not working. [LAUGH] Three purposes
that I’ve come up with for the sake of this project is to engage
the growing field of civil war, insurgent group behavior, and
transnationalism, the studies thereof, to contribute to the larger understanding
of insurgent group dynamics. To expand the understanding of insurgent
group collective action framing and to identify the presence or lack thereof
of dynamism in insurgent group marketing. Research question I’ve already stated. My hypothesis is that transnational
insurgent groups’ collective action frameworks shift in response to
proximity-based social context for the sake of effectiveness in promotion and
recruitment. So something just to point out early
is that I am taking a stance that is a literal stance in proximity. Not do I feel far away or do I feel close. And then I’m also not trying to study
do the insurgents get with a map and like map out 600 miles and say does it
shift at 600 miles or something like this. But rather, this idea of proximity I’ll break down
a little bit later into the proposal. Locating the argument,
this is my literature view. [LAUGH] Savvy little thing
I put together here. I start with the core of civil war,
causes, effects and actors. The larger study of civil war. It expands into the transnational
dynamics of civil war. Beyond that is insurgency, promotion and
sustainability and at the very edge where my project lies is the transnational
insurgent group promotion. I kind of conceptualized it with
the green being the most relevant towards my studies and
the contribution thereof. Again, locating argument inside of
the existing literature in the field. Causes of civil war,
transnationalism and diaspora studies, c ollective action framing. Insurgent group behavior and dynamics and
insurgent groups sustainability and promotion. Within the causes of civil war,
there is books abound, you can never read the end of it of greed,
grievance, feasibility and socio-cultural issues
as a reason for the causes and really the perpetuation, and
sometimes even the cessation of civil war. I won’t get to far into it for the sake of
time which I did not start on my phone. Now, I did. Just a quick overview of where
my comp went actually, and then how I’ve developed this proposal.. Some big things to-
>>[INAUDIBLE] comp right there.>>[LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE]>>Flesh that out [INAUDIBLE].>>Two months, 30 pages [LAUGH]. Some things to point out,
I think is how you pronounce it. He started with the contest model. Basically, he said that the side that
best utilizes their resources wins. The idea of insurgent
group behavior dynamics, civil war studies has been a fairly
recent feel that’s growing in nuance. And I guess one thing I
wanna point out as far as the grieve in grievance
argument is concerned. This idea that do civil wars start and
perpetuate as a result of profitability and what can be gained, or do they
start as a result of people feeling like they’ve been treated unfairly or
they’re not living up to their potential. There are arguments against the greed
argument and even the word, greed, itself, I’ve put in Terrence Lyons
name into parenthesis that that word greed has to really be flushed
out in order to use it appropriately. Insurgents aren’t necessarily
always greedy, but that they stand something to gain. And those arguments we could go into
great depth on, I do not have time to do. Next, the Transnational Dynamics
of Civil War. There are ideas of spillover and
diffusion, economic opportunity, political opportunity, and diasporic Diasporic,
I can never get that word right, influence, and then ethnic and
social considerations of transnationalism. Basically, what is it
about a local civil war that expands into places that
are no longer local, and certainly, outside the bounds of the
country within which it’s taking place? These are some of the big ideas
that I’ve hit quite frequently, and all of these will play a part in my study. This is my little chart
that I’ve come up with. In some ways, I’ve tried to
visually conceptualize the hole in the scholarship that
I am trying to fill. So there is a flow of promotion and support that takes place
within an insurgent group. So there is the insurgent group
taking action, promoting itself, either locally or externally, so
that support can come back in. Sometimes that takes on
the characteristics of marketing or
trying to communicate its ideas to others. Sometimes, it takes the form of coercion,
or even kidnapping or forceful recruitment. But nonetheless, there is this reciprocal
flow of support and support garnering. And so I’m addressing with this idea of
proximity, ideas of external support so trying to gain support outside of
the conflict area and does its shift. So the green dots represents areas and
scholarship that have already really been dug into,
these external sources of support. Where does that support come from? NGOs, diaspora, other countries,
governments, corporations, etc. They can generate flows and
support into the insurgent group. The types of support, whether it’s money,
resources, political support, manpower, those had been
flushed out at some length. And then,
the insurgent groups themselves and the wide ranging studies of behavior and
dynamics, choices that they make, reasons why they shift, it’s got a pretty
robust literature review behind it. But then, less has been done with
that marketing promotion and framing as it exists outside,
pointed toward the external actor. There’s plenty that’s been written about
how they promote themselves within their area of operation, as I’ll show you later. That’s not exactly what I’m looking for, even the elements of that will
be brought into the project. Collective actions frames,
this is something that Dr. Mandeville pointed out at our last meeting
that I needed to really hack into. And so that’s what I’ve been
spending my last month on is reading literature on what
a collective action frame is. What does it mean to frame, and
what are the dynamics of framing, how do they shift? And for the purposes of this presentation, three things that I wanted to point out is
that when you are framing your argument, your reason for existing, and your reason
for saying we want you to join us, there are a diagnostic frames, prognostic
frames, and motivational frames. So diagnostic basically
says here’s the problem, prognostic says here’s what
we’re gonna do about it, and motivational says here’s why you
should join us now, let’s go. And how are we going to go? And as I’m approaching my research, I’m going to be viewing these collective
action frames in the shifts they’re in if they exist through the lens of these
three ideas as a large overview. Insurgent group behavior,
dynamics and promotion, again, a lot has been said about recruitment and
sustainability. I don’t have time really to dig
into this for the sake of time. Governance and marketing, the way that
a group governs the area that it has under control is indicative of the type of
support that it’s willing to garner or how, in effect,
markets to people who they interact with. A couple of things to understand about
insurgent group behavior is that rarely, in terms of there being a civil
war does a political vacuum exist. Rarely does just all out anarchy prevail. As we saw in Libia recently, factions very quickly took hold of
their areas, and they began to govern. There will be a disinteresting governance,
as Martin pointed out in her book Warlords, where if truly the only reason
for existence is profitability or some other non-sustainable issue,
they might say we don’t care who governs, we just want the money. And one more thing to point out, I thought
that was interesting is that a lot of times, people think that when
there is a civil war going on, and an insurgency is governing the area,
that it is just constant violence. But really, as Tilly pointed out in 2003,
most of the time, the interactions between insurgencies and
civilians is not violent. Usually, violence is simply used
as a means of coercion, and to keep people in line,
and then it moves on. Marketing, really bare bones literature
as far as marketing to the exterior messaging, and
shifts in messaging to local audiences. Kasfir pointed out in 2005, and
then garnering support from outsiders, specifically NGOs. Clifford Bob wrote a great book in 2005
as well, and that’s actually where I took a big cue from the fact that there
was a massive hole in this literature. I say massive. No dissertation addresses massive holes,
but it is a tiny hole. [LAUGH] Little bitty yet, [LAUGH]
>>Doable.>>Doable, doable hole. [LAUGH] Key terms for the project,
there’s gonna be three key terms here. So we’re looking at proximity,
promote, and support. What does proximity mean for
the sake of this project? Van Hear and Cohen suggested that physical distance still holds
way in diasporic engagement and support, especially once
the ethnic continuum is broken. Meaning, once you get outside of
an ethnicity being the same, and it cross over into the bounds of
another ethnicity, this paper suggest that distance does matter in the way that
a diaspora will support an insurgency. So if the diaspora exists within
an ethnic continuum, they’re gonna address the insurgency in a different
way than when they exist outside. So that, as an idea of physical proximity,
was something that I’m taking cues from. For the purposes of this projects,
as I’ll get into later with the KDPI and the Iranian Kurds that I’m
gonna be working among. And for those of you who understand
Kurdishness within Kurdistan, there are Kurds. But then there is different types of
Kurds, of Syrian, Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish, proximal for
the sake of this project. Meaning, a nearby will be within that
ethnic continuum of Iranian Kurds. Intermediate, we mean Kurdish in general,
and then once we get out of Kurdistan,
we’ll say distant. Promote, I’m gonna limit to the shifts and
collective action frames. And supports,
I wanted to conceptualize support. What am I looking for? What types of support
are they looking for? I think this is something that I’m
hypothesizing now being financial resource, political and manpower. But my assumption is that I’m gonna find
a lot more when I get on the field of as far as what types of
support I might encounter. Research design, one group,
four case studies. That one group is
the KDPI Iranian Kurdish insurgency, I’ll get into it a little bit later. We’ll look at the fieldwork,
methodology, analytical framework, and consideration of other
impact variables and the null hypothesis in the coming three or
four minutes. The group focus, KDPI,
the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, not to be confused with
the Kurdish Democratic Party, Iran. They split some while ago, and
they do not consider themselves to be of the same persuasion, although most
of their purposes remain the same. But I will limit myself to the KDPI. The transnational, this KDPI was
exiled from Iran in the 80s, and they took up shop in Iraqi Kurdistan. But they still stage for
incursions, violent incursions, into Iran from their home base
in Koysinjaq in Iraqi Kurdistan, known heretofore as Koya. It has, this political party slash
insurgency has representatives in many Western countries,
addresses the UN, the EU, and a group called
the Socialist International. They are a left-wing group. There are considered an American ally. So they’re not considered terrorists
right now by the American government, which makes it copacetic for
me to go research among them. Their aim is to struggle to attain Kurdish
national rights within a federal and democratic Iran. They don’t want to take over Iran, they
just want to be recognized as a recognized cultural and ethnic group within Iran and
have the rights thereof. A lot of similar goals as you’ll
see from the PKK and other less, according to the American government
less legitimate insurgencies. They just want to be Kurdish. The KDPI has major representation
in Washington DC, Paris, France, Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, right, Here and then the red dot next to it is Koysinjaq. These are the four places that I’m
gonna be doing research in, and I’ll talk about it a little bit later. But for the purposes of this project,
I’m considering Koysinjaq and the area around it to be what is proximal,
Erbil to be my intermediate phase, and Paris and Washington,
DC to be distant. After speaking to a KDPI leader here in
Washington, DC, he suggested that Paris be that my European stage because that’s
where a large contingent of KDPI and Iranian Kurds live in Europe. As opposed to like
Turkish Kurds in Germany, etc. My methodology, so I stole this from
John de Rosa a couple of days ago. I love having a math thing on there,
it makes me look really legit, right? But the idea is-
>>[LAUGH]>>And there’s no numbers.>>I don’t know much algebra, but that’s [LAUGH]
>>Scientific [CROSSTALK].>>Scientific. Political Science. Y being the collective action
frame of the insurgent group, being the independent variable. X, being the variance, the target
audience proximity to the conflict. Does X have an affect on Y? A successful study,
a successful dissertation must isolate the other independent variables
not related to proximity, though affecting insurgent group behavior. Though some may be the same as
proximity based social contexts. So political, economic,
ethnic, religious, and other social context that may or
may not be related to proximity. The idea is to avoid arriving at
a spurious conclusion where I say, yeah, the proximity changed, and this changed. But actually proximity was simply
spurious, and the real reason was X or Y. As I said in the beginning proximity is
not going to be like they’re looking at a map and saying, okay 500 miles,
now let’s shift our frame. But, there will be these
different social contexts that because of proximity to
the conflict do shift. And that is what I’m addressing as far as the independent variable
that’s being tested. If something shifts as
a result of religion or something else,
I will do my best to avoid it. I think that’s what will produce
a successful dissertation. Where am I at? Okay. Okay, that’s about it for that slide. My methodology analyzing how and
why frame shifting is implemented or not. Three possible outcomes
of process tracing, process tracing being my
main form of methodology. Theory building process tracing, meaning
that a robust enough pattern exists and that a theory does not exist,
but these facts do. And that I could actually make a new model
to understand insurgent group promotion dynamics. As the book that I read about
process tracing exclaims, it is more likely that
explaining outcome process tracing will be what is found in
something like a dissertation. Where emerging patterns without
a previously undiscovered X leads to Y outcome but the KDPI has to be
able to identify these variables. Like they have to say we’re
doing this because of that, not something that they’re
doing unaware of themselves. And then the third possibility is that
there are alternative variables that are the main explanation or
that my hypothesis is completely bunk. And I write my dissertation about why it
failed and still become a PhD apparently, so.
>>You can do it.>>[LAUGH]>>And no finding is valuable.>>Still finding, yeah. Proximity does not affect frame shifts.
>>I’d like to know that.>>Yeah. Fieldwork, one group, for sites. Like I said, fifth site will be online,
a la Mandeville’s book and other digital and accessable
publications and correspondence. Fieldwork will be
comprised of four stages. Stage one, area research. I want to be completely familiar
with the area as much as I can, before actually going in. Something I learned in Leslie Dwyer’s
class in Indonesia is that the more you know before you go, the better you’ll be. The learning the history, the current
efforts and the local reception and interaction with the KDPI wherever I’m at. Examination of relevent secondary sources
and news, TV and Internet, and access, if possible, of primary source documents. Including official correspondence,
membership records, training materials and inter-group communication made available. A lot of that may be really difficult
before I go but after some talks with KDPI members here in DC, they are extremely
excited for my projects. They basically said nobody’s
ever done this, and so whatever you need let me know. In fact he said if you need
a translator I’ll go with you. [LAUGH] So
they’re really excited to have me along. [COUGH] Stage Two, Formal Interviews. Conduct structured interviews which allow
for follow-up conversations with members, supporter non-members, and
non-member non-supporters. This doesn’t mean they counter the KDPI
but that they’re just completely neutral. I’m actually going to probably limit
my talks with people who are against the KDPI, and will certainly avoid talks
with Iranian nationals on this project. Questionnaire continuity, so the same
ten questions will be given to every interviewee, and we’ll be exclusively
interviewing Kurdish co-ethnics for the sake of limiting
the scope of this project. So it’s how does the KDPI
promoting to Kurds and how are the Kurds receiving this? Something we discussed in our last meeting
is that to just in general address KDPI promotions and
Paris would take maybe forever. Stage three observation and
participant observation. Hopefully integrating with
Stage Two interviews. Focusing especially on missing data, or
misunderstandings during interviews. Likely scenarios being group gatherings,
places of business, training sessions, community interactions,
official meetings, and less formal locations such
as households or parties. I’ve actually already been
to a KDPI party in DC for the Kurdish new year, and it was rocking.
>>It was lit.
>>It was lit, they taught me how to dance. It was great. [LAUGH] Stage four, reflection and
follow-up, basic data triangulation, reflection, transcribing interviews,
follow-up meetings. If necessary and possible extension of
the network if, again, if necessary. Analytical Framework,
we’ve been through proximity. Framing diagnostic, prognostic, and
motivational these are the lenses through which I’ll be analyzing
the interview data. Special note on motivational framing. The severity, the urgency,
the efficacy and the propriety of the way forward is what I’ll be especially
looking at within motivational frameworks. Support, what type of support’s sought and
through it. Data collection. Purposive, purposive? Is that how you pronounce that? I’ve never heard that out loud. [LAUGH]
>>I think that’s good.>>Purposive sampling and snowball sampling. So interviewing 20 to 30
participants in each location, striving for no less than 75 interviews. An age minimum of 18, so no children. But certainly no age limit. Conducting observation and participant
observation, three notes will not take place, I will not participate in
actions that are violent or illegal. I will certainly not enter Iran even
though they do because they don’t believe it’s Iran. [LAUGH] And I will not interact with
Iranian nationals for any reason. The ethics credibility and
data destruction are other considerations. Ethics are really, first and foremost,
the protection of my interviewees and the participants with whom
I’m conducting this research. The level of anonymity
is gonna be paramount, especially when it regards being in
places that I’m not familiar with, assassinations on members are ongoing
from the Iranian government. So I will act with
the utmost in that regard. Developing my own credibility
through snow ball sampling and networking I want to walk into
interviews a credible as possible and will consider that before every interview. And then we’ll certainly destroy all
data related: hand-written notes and typed notes. Once I get things into a locked format,
everything else will be destroyed. And then here’s my interview
questions if you are curious these questions are going to change. This is something for the sake of
their proposal that I came up with. I think that a lot of them are relevant
but this is gonna be a fluid ongoing process as I work up to my
actual interviews through my research. I think that’s it, that’s it.
>>Can I see this stage one->>Certainly.>>About a month?>>Say it again? [CROSSTALK] Yeah.
>>Well, thank you for your presentation.>>Yeah, absolutely.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Thank you, I always enjoy learning more about your work and
it’s sharpening every iteration. And that’s how it
>>The direction it needs to go in.
>>Yeah.>>Peter, do you want me to put you on the spot or do you want me to leave you off the spot?
>>No, no, no. Charles.
>>Okay. Peter, you first.
>>Thank you very much. It’s a fascinating, and
both the kind of broader question we’re getting at with respect to kind of
the relationship between distance and strategic communications strategies,
as well as the, it’s an empirical case that you’ve chosen. Both represent, I think,
really under-studied areas. So there’s a lot of potential here. I have kind of four points. I did not bring a pad and paper.
>>One is essentially a kind of written request for more information.
>>Okay, thank you so much.>>So bring a pad and paper to [CROSSTALK].
>>[LAUGH]>>I can remember it all. [LAUGH]
>>Is amazing Charles with the lack of pen and paper.
>>[LAUGH]>>Take another couple of months, come back. [LAUGH]
>>So one point is just kind of a request for information and
there are three points/questions that are kinda more around about
the substance of your proposal. So the first kind of request for
information is with B should be here a little bit more about how
the orientation of both the Kiajinin and
the government of Iraq or the KBPI. Given that they are in a sense
be posted in a molecular. Sub region that has its own politics
around Kurdish identities and thoughts that multiple entities in
the neighborhood have about insurgency and things like this.
>>So just understanding that kind of political-
>>You mentioned that your work in some
ways keys from Clifford Bob’s>>And given that his book is a statement about to a large extent, the subject
matter you’re proposing to study here, the book is called marketing rebellion.
>>This took it here how you position
yourself vis a vis his work. Is there something? Do you see yourself as adding something
to then framework that he provides? Are you filling in something missing,
are you pushing back against him? Just better to, it’d be great to get
a sense of how you see yourself vis-à-vis the broke that would Kinda generally
regarded I think as the kinda primary statement to date about [CROSSTALK]
>>With respect to methodology, it just occurs to me that you seem to be,
the core of the kind of data gathering that you already
>>Seems to be, if I understand correctly, the interview. And it just occurred to me that
there’s a risk of a certain kind of intersubjectivity problem
there in the sense that you are yourself an outsider, right? You’re looking at how insurgents
market themselves to the outsiders.>>Certainly.>>You’re an outsider and so it’s likely to be the case that you’re
an outsider based in Washington, D.C.
>>And someone who has been engaged on the ground
professionally, in and around conflicts. So there’s, I think, a certain amount
of risk of you being perceived as someone that they want to talk to and
tell stories to of a certain sort. And so I’m just wondering whether it might
be important to place as much if not more emphasis on kind of content analysis
that you do of communications artifacts. Like the fact that there
are already produced propaganda and communications materials that have
been generated in [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] Paris, and Washington. Where that same intersubjectivity problem
would be present, because the content of those have nothing to do with you or
your insertion into the kind of context you’re exploring.
>>So I wanted to raise that as a [INAUDIBLE]. Could I ask you a question about that?
>>So being that I would, certainly that problem would present itself to
KDPI members, and me being an outsider. Do you see any issues with me interviewing those to whom they have marketed>>Okay.
>>No, no no.
>>Okay. Those interviews.
>>Yeah, okay.
>>Yeah, no. I don’t think that’s gonna be because [INAUDIBLE].>>Subjective as well.
>>No, no. I think the problem arises when, if and
when, you get led to those people by KDPI. Figures, right? If the kind of snowball meant that you
would use to get to them is one whose path is essentially defined by
representatives of the movement itself, that’s when it starts to get-
>>We’re gonna be marketing to you.
>>Right because that becomes effective marketing right, they’re gonna be turning
you towards people that they know>>Have tended to receive and themselves talk about the movement
in a particular way and that’s fine. There’s inevitably gonna be
a certain element of that present. You’re just gonna need to figure out how
to break out of sort of those The impulses that they will likely have
to control your access or shape the directionality of your access to
those who have been on the receiving end of their [CROSSTALK]
>>Do you think that it would be of any value to take cognizant note
of that intersubjectivity and write about it in my dissertation? Like write kind of a side piece
of how I was marketed to, or?
>>No, I mean, I think it’s important just kind of in the
kind of vein of self-reflexivity to kind of demonstrate that your awareness of it.
>>Okay, I don’t think you need to sort of jump down a rabbit hole of-
>>Okay. A certain kind of navel
gazing that we use that. Myself inserted in the field of study and
therefore I must and then. I think showing that you’re aware of it, given the nature of the research
your doing, is important. I mean, it’s more important again to
figure out how you’re going to transcend the constraints that arise
from Potential over reliance on representatives of the movement
you’re studying shaping your access to the audiences whose and
reception of the messages are kinda central to what you’re doing.
>>Perfect.>>And the final point is just a kind of significence question. It just asked, why would a proximity
related finding be significant? And if you find that there is this
relationship between proximity and the nature of the collective action of
framework, what’s the sort of significance of that for this studies of insurgencies
and transnational insurgencies? Would it lead us to reconsider
certain assumptions that we have about aspects of this phenomenon. How do you think about explaining
the significance of the->>So when I’ve considered this, I’ve had many moment of the,
so what, right? And my hope would be, to better understand
the idea of the the larger framework of insurgent group promotion, like is this
applicable to insurgents that aren’t so friendly with the United States? If so, could it lead to assumptions
that people who get far enough away from a conflict are gonna be approached
differently, and thereby, we can perform counter-insurgency or
study counter-insurgency in a new way? And then also refugee studies and
people who get just far enough away from a conflict to be safe,
but who are still subject to the fusion or spillover, etcetera, are there going to be
differences between these two populations and so can we better understand the
mindset and how insurgents see themselves. And how they see themselves
with regards to other people, especially people who
they would promote among. I know that it’s ambitious for a dissertation to try to
develop a new framework. I understand that. But I guess it doesn’t hurt to dream,
right [LAUGH]? And so, I think if there were a so what,
that for me has been enough thus far, but I would certainly be
open to suggestions, or some direction in that regard.
>>Do you give any response to the first questions, and a little more context about where they-
>>KRG and GOI orientations for the [INAUDIBLE].
>>I’m sorry. I thought you meant to put
that in my dissertation. So from what I’ve read, the KRG and
the government of Iraq Sorry, is still rather at with the Iran instead
of just like the United States government. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and
that’s the way right now, I believe. KRG, similar, they’re tolerated and
They dont make grabs for power in the larger whole
of your rocky Kurdistan. So it’s sort of like
your focus is on Iran. You’re not gonna mess with us. They’ve also teamed up with Kiadi
forces against ISIS and other Problems that they’ve had within Iraq and
so they’ve I think built credibility for themselves with both of those entities
to say we’re for you not against you. Your focus is on Iran, do your thing,
at least that’s what I’ve gathered from my current studies.
>>I think that the equation with respect to
the government of Iraq is likely more complicated than that because
>>The current orientation of the Iraqi [INAUDIBLE] government in Bagdad towards
Iran is a very complicated thing, in that it’s a Shiite
led government in Iraq. And one that has certainly
been keen to assert and maintain its formal
independence from Iran. But where Iran has been heavily
influential shaping the course of events recently. So there are certain figures
in the central Baghdad government-
>>Mm-hm.>>Who are essentially extensions of influence from Tehran directly into the capital.
>>Mm-hm.>>And then there are figures within the [INAUDIBLE] Shiite political class.
>>That have kind of taken upon themselves the task of keeping friendly with while
trying to maintain that distance.>>Yeah, actually, I forgot about Cook and that whole thing recently, so-
>>That recent incident and showing that and
one that feels that things up north are moving outside of its comfort zones-
>>Sure.>>Is willing to>>Physically, bring some proximity to
the language [CROSSTALK] To that sub region [CROSSTALK]
>>And, I don’t know this for sure. My general assumption about
the KTPI is that they are so,>>And small, and relatively speaking
to other insurgencies that they would by no means be the priority for
any actions being taken unlike the PPK, and the Syrian Kurds and those things.
>>I guess what I’m saying is I could imagine a scenario where if for
some reason KDPI was pereceived by Iranian authorities to
be overreaching a bit, becoming a little bit more of a nuisance than it usually is.
>>That they would call Baghdad>>That they would call bio tech and tell them you guys need to
come do something about this. And that’s something to bear
in mind both with respect to your analysis of the politics around it,
but also your own, personal risk analysis of the
>>Okay. Yeah.
Sure.>>Thank you.>>I’m gonna re-ask one of Peter’s questions,
because I think it’s still out there. And that is the relationship
between your work to work.>>It is cuz it was one of my questions as well.
>>Yeah.>>Is it are you trying to demonstrate that he’s right by taking a new case that
he didn’t consider or the parts of his that you think are more right than others.
>>Mm-hm.>>And so that’s one of my, that to me is one of the key theoretical positioning
things that you need to accomplish. That people will look at your disertation
and say It’s like, Bob already wrote that book, why is he doing this to be able
to say, I’m not doing what Bob did. I’m doing something different,
I’m involved, I’m pulling into different literature. And so, I mean,
put that down as one of the things. My next is, well first of all congratulate
you on a couple of things is that when we met it was just in December I think
>>You’ve done a ton of reading. You’ve read everything
that we told you to read, I wasn’t sure if we were gonna
get to it before you came back. And you’ve done a much better job at
defining what you mean by proximity, which is a very complicated,
difficult term. And I think that you’ve wrestled with it, I think you’ll continue
to wrestle with it. Because it’s such a complicated term,
because I wanna give you another sort of hypothetical case in how proximity
might play out differently. And the hypothetical case, just let me call it Cuba.
>>In that the proximity of Miami is very differently
than the proximity of Caracas. A lot of Cubans went to Caracas and some went to Miami.
>>Okay.>>But the difference is not in this hypothetical case. The difference is not how far you are. I like the ethnic, how did you put it,
the The continuum. And these would both be,
sort of in that way similar but because Miami was in the midst of the cold
war, the Cubans were gonna be the proxy force and Washington politics and
so on and so on. They developed a very very different
marketing strategy when in [INAUDIBLE] if you screamed Down with the that people
in Venezuela said, what do we get? That’s not nothing to do with us what you
said, that Miami all of the sudden but he wanted to talk and make you into something important.
>>Interesting.>>And so, that’s an example of where proximity is not,
you’re not saying it’s just distance.>>Sure.>>You’re not saying it’s just we all feel like we’re and therefore they
are somehow soft and fuzzy Together, but that it also matters on,
there’s a political context. Partly what you were asking about
the Government of Iraq, and the Government of The Kurdistan, what do they call it?
>>Kurdistan Regional Government.>>The Government, yeah.>>And so Paris and Washington may differ, not simply on this ethnic continuum, but on how much having enemies of my
enemies in my capital to support. Now that’s to me,
that’s me bringing in a kind of, not marketing to co-ethnics, but
a larger political context in which and marketing takes place.
>>So you’re saying that you would extend the study to non-co-ethnics outside of?
>>No, cuz I think the other thing I really like about your proposal,
which you’ve done a good job of saying, I’m limiting it, and this is the reason
why, and I know I’m not capturing the entire world dissertation.
>>Sure.>>I’m limiting it, I’ve taken decisions, and here is the reason why. And I think co-ethnics is okay. But even within the co-ethnics,
the difference between being a Cuban community in Venezuela,
and a Cuban community in Miami, are vastly different, because-
>>Because of politics.>>Those two communities exist in particular political, cultural contexts.
>>Sure.>>Another way of saying what you’re saying is that, the kind of messaging
that we see them doing in Washington, compared to, say, Paris. With Washington being 3,000 some extra miles away.
>>Right.>>Is perhaps as much, if not more, a function of a fact that it’s
that capital of a superpower, that they’re saying is essentially a-
>>That is at odds with Iran.>>That has a particular orientation towards itself rather than
just being further away.>>So to me, that’s a type of thing that I would want to avoid in this project.
>>Yep.>>Because it’s a superpower, if it’s shifting that I need to be able to see
that and say, this is because it’s DC and not, and move it aside, okay.
>>Yeah, but then the trick is going to be, they put out a statement, and
that you’re gonna have to somehow tease out that this statement is designed
to be read by the State Department, or the statement is designed to be
read by the Kurdish Community Center. When it’s probably going to be
designed to be read by both, because it’s on their webpage, or it’s in their newsletter, and I know
the State Department reads the newsletter. Or it’s in a speech to the community that
they have reason to believe that other non-Kurds will pay attention
to that speech, and they want to align themselves with
the great superpowers hostility to Iran or something like that.
>>Yeah, sure
>>So it’s just another way to
further problematize, but you’ve already problematized several
steps, on this question of proximity. And so my guess is that that’ll be something you’ll continue to wrestle
with throughout this project, cuz it’s so core to your project.
>>Sure.>>And you’ve already shown us that you are aware that you need to be able to rule
out other potential explanatory variables. So I think it’s just that more
specifically, then, the geopolitical orientation of host country towards
the conflict itself becomes one of those independent variables that you’ll need to->>Okay.
>>Yeah.>>Yeah.>>Yeah.>>Let me, with one other broad statement, then I did wanna hear your
reaction to the Bob question.>>Yes please.>>And that is your case study research, which you’ve thought very
carefully about the ethics, and why you choose this place,
and why the other, and so on. What’s your plan B? What’s your plan B, if all of
a sudden it is not possible to do the research in
The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional, Regional Government?
>>Yeah.>>You know, in Koya, and in the other places? Because that might be, it’s always worth thinking about that.
>>Certainly.>>Everybody who’s doing work in conflict zones. Cuz you never know, right?
>>Mm-hm, mm-hm.>>The number of people who thought they were going to do research on x,
and all of a sudden, Political circumstances on
the ground did not allow that. So let me leave you with that, and
give you a, respond to it now, particularly the Bob question. I do wanna hear you push back on,
or respond to the Bob question.>>So yeah, I’ll start from the bottom, and work my way up here. The [LAUGH] Plan A, asterisk, dash one is,
get there as quickly as possible, because it seems to be fine right now. As we’ve seen, just in the past
six months, things can just, the drop of a hat, can change. You can’t even buy
a plane ticket sometimes. So I wanna try to get there as quickly
as possible, and to get this data. If, for whatever reason, the possibility
of moving into Koya collapsed, I would probably still go to Erbil,
which continually remains more stable. And then if that failed, I would pretty likely just Skype
interview as much as possible. Because most of the, as you both have
mentioned looking at this, not the people, but the propaganda, and
the news stories, and the communiques. It’s a massive part of my project, is what
they are actually putting out there, and translate it to English and analyze it. The interviews themselves I think would be
so much better in the city itself because that snowball would grow so much easier
and I could pick up on subtleties, conduct participant observation. But I think the project can be
pulled off via Skype interviews in a worst case scenario. And I have plenty of contacts to be
able to manufacture that [LAUGH]. But I would certainly love suggestions,
if that’s plan B, if you have a plan C or better B I would love to hear it. With Bob.
>>Actually, what I think about with [INAUDIBLE]
>>Please, yeah. Yeah.
>>A, B, or C, because another way would
be a different project. The other plan, C, perhaps, would be
to spend more time on the fifth site, the site of internet communications,
and websites, and YouTube, and things like that, where there will
be a vast amount of information.>>And make it about that?>>No, maybe not just about that. You might do that, and then also
Washington and Paris, for example.>>Okay.>>But maybe you can mine that more deeply and make it more of your
argument about proximity.>>Right.>>Problematize what it means to be proximate on a website and YouTube, but-
>>Right, and that de-territorialized space of the Internet means that
someone cocated in Koya, or Erbil, or Paris potentially has access to the same
materials, and is consuming and engaging through. So I guess that raises the question of,
is there a additional type of media production that they
do that is not designed for an audience in a specific locale,
but is meant to be kind of transnational [INAUDIBLE].
>>General.>>Right, this is something that anyone,
anywhere, who wants to connect to our cause can view and-
>>But this is gonna be a very
problematic step to take. Because you’re all about territory,
you’re all about distance.>>Sure.>>And so it would be a different type of project. I think you’d still be able to ask
the interesting questions you have about marketing, and different audiences. But it would take some reformulation.
>>It becomes really important, because what happens if when you talk
to young people in Koya, you find that they’re not actually receiving any
of the locally produced stuff.>>Unless you’re watching videos from Paris.
>>Unless they’re watching->>Whatever, ITN, whatever it might be-
>>[LAUGH] Yeah sure.>>They might be much better produced, and they have the best pop singers, or whatever there is so
>>Two points->>I want to aspire to that life myself, and so that’s what I head towards.
>>Mm-hm.>>But I like plan A.>>Okay.
>>Plan A, one, asterix-
>>[LAUGH]>>And I think you’ll be doing great interviews in the field, and so I can’t
wait to get that fine-grained data. But you do need to be conscious
of these contingencies.>>Backup plan, that’s great, yeah. Bob, so to be frank,
it’s been a while since I’ve read Bob, so speaking to specifics would be tough
during this particular moment.>>That’s okay.>>From what I can recall, Bob was very nuanced in the fact that he studied
only how insurgencies market to NGOs. Because NGOs,
they have their own self interests, and insurgencies have their own self interest,
and the idea was, how do these two groups mesh? To find the right partner. This is my $50,000 grantee because. And so what he wrote about was how
insurgencies then shift their frameworks to address, and become more
applicable to these NGO’s frameworks. And I think that it’s spot on,
the idea that an insurgency can and does shift is enough of an answer to say,
okay, I’m not looking for something that doesn’t exist.
>>I don’t think you->>But I don’t think that Bob addressed in enough detail, if at all,
the idea of proximity. And if this project is about
anything specifically, it’s about that that y
variable of proximity. And I think that that’s an important
enough argument to throw into the mix that could pretty easily
differentiate myself from Bob. Although would consider myself to
be a protege of his, thought wise, because he went out and addressed,
well yeah, they do shift. That would be my answer. But I really wanna go back and
read Bob again, in light of all of this, to reanalyze it.
>>The answer you gave, I don’t know if that would be your
final answer, but it’s a good answer. What you’re doing is you’re,
in his larger framework, problematizing the proximity piece, the
co-ethnic piece rather than the NGO piece. And that’s an innovation,
an advance on Bob’s book. So it’s not just Bob. You know, just because you’re Bob.
>>Right, you’re taking spaciality seriously,
and you’re also looking at audience groups beyond NGOs.
>>Sure, yeah.
>>And that’d be good stuff.
>>Cool.>>Do you have anything else burning? Or I wanna open it up to see if
anybody else has any comments. Any of your colleagues, or other faculty
members have any questions, or comments, or reactions?
>>I [INAUDIBLE] something.>>Patricia Case.>>Just this conceptual stuff, I think it’s really the whole idea of
decisionalities, of inter-subjectivity, territorialized, deterritorialized
spatiality. That’s what lives on my head all
the time which is probably why I wander round aimlessly, but the idea-
>>[LAUGH]>>You walk into walls, and doors?>>I know, I do, where am I, I don’t know. [LAUGH] So I’ll just throw out
a couple of things that may, or may not, make sense to you, but we can talk about it later if they don’t.
>>Yeah.>>And you can tell me how they don’t make sense in general.
>>Sure.>>So the whole thing of goals, the goal question about with these groups. They have these goals,
I find, is it that clear cut? So there’s the espoused goal,
this is our goal, we put this on our marketing literature. Is that really their goal? Are you taking their word for it? Is that a gloss for something, that everybody who’s in
the know is going to go, I know what they’re really talking about?
>>Right.>>It’s the dog whistles.>>It’s the dog whistles. It’s the, this is the polite
way to say whatever it is, or this is the acceptable way that’ll
get past whoever, to say that. So then how are those goals
understood by different groups? Now this may not be an issue, but
I’ve seen it happen in other places. And it’s, I go in thinking
I know what that means, and I don’t have a clue what it means as
a researcher, cuz I don’t know the types. And nobody tells me until probably
the end of my time there, by the way, that meant such and such. I’m like, [LAUGH] that makes
a lot of stuff more clear. So just, that whole idea of the language,
and the phrasing, and the words that are used
with the multiple meanings. And with translation within
the different languages, it’s gonna be even, so just know
that that’s gonna probably happen. And somebody hopefully will
be kind enough to say, let’s go out for coffee and
have a chat about something. And I like the idea about
comparing datasets. I think it’s really important,
your interviews, your content analysis of material,
internet material. And then the comparative analysis
about that I think is gonna be really interesting.
>>Mm-hm.>>And the proximity, I think there’s a lot of
colors about proximity. And I think part of it’s gonna be really
interesting to see how they shade that. Because proximity, and
that gets into what I think, and should be before the territorial and
the meaning of language. Which is not your goal
in your dissertation. But you’re gonna have to, I think,
it will probably come up and will make you, in your analysis, and
in your collective action framing, and how you articulate those things
is gonna be really interesting. So it’s, so I think it might be interesting-
>>Help me understand just a little bit more what you mean by
the colors of proximity, the coloring of proximity.
>>Well Charles was getting at it a little bit, about the, in terms of where people
are, say in the hypothetical case of Cuba, and Venezuela, and Miami.
>>Right.>>Okay, so proximity, if you’re not
going to have 150 miles, or 500 miles, or that kind of thing-
>>Sure.>>Then where do you draw the, where do you, where are those,
how is it bounded?>>Hm.>>Or is it bounded? So for, yes.
>>And then, how to do that.>>So, for this project, it was Iranian Kurdish ethnic continuity,
and then Kurdish continuity, and
then other, beyond that. I would love to hear if you have other
ideas about how to conceptualize that, cuz I think that would be important, at least
to be able to say why I’m not doing it, [LAUGH] but yeah.
>>Okay, we can talk that.>>Sure.>>Cuz, proximity is ephemeral, unless you’re talking about 150 miles,
or kilometres, or whatever. At least to me it is. But anyway, you didn’t mention
independent and dependent variables in your presentation, which.
>>That was your x and your y, I guess.
>>[LAUGH]>>Yeah, if we’re gonna do that, I like to know.
>>[LAUGH]>>I’m interpreting independent.>>I guess another gloss in the proximity question is, around, for
the idea that the idea that the directionality of attitude
associated with proximity, or lack thereof,
is not in a single direction. Like those who have studied
the Cyprus conflict, for example, on the island itself, among both Greeks
and Turks will find a full gamut, a full spectrum [INAUDIBLE]
attitudes towards the other. Whereas, in sites of major
Cypriot diaspora, like London, what you tend to find is more
pronounced views at either extreme.>>Right.>>Either Turks and Cypriots have mixed in London, in
neighborhoods, and got to know each other, and so are much more open to,
what’s the big deal, why this war? Or they’ve hardened and preserved these
enemy images, because it’s easy to do so at a distance. It’s easy to hate the other front from
a distance, if you don’t actually have to figure out how to->>Live.
>>Live with them. [CROSSTALK]
>>Yeah, I think that’s one thing that I’m
actually really excited to learn. Because most literature on diaspora
that digs into that will arrive at the same conclusion,
that those that are farther away are either gonna be the most
peaceful, or the hardest core. And those that live within it
have to be mediocre about it, or have to be intermediate about it,
because they have to be alive. [LAUGH] And I really do wonder if I’m
gonna find the same thing in Koya.>>Yeah, and the confirmation of that with a new case
is always a useful and interesting thing.>>Sure, sure, sure, yeah.>>My only comment to wrap up, to link with their two comments is,
what I think you do well, is that you’re clear as to what
the limits are to your argument itself. I think it is okay to say, this is how
I’m using proximity, and this is why, and I understand the trade-offs. And I understand I’m seeing
some things better, and I can’t see other things as well,
and that’s okay. Cuz you can’t do it with all of
it’s hundred different dimensions. But then you just need
to be clear as to why.>>So it’s important to note the drawbacks in the institution, okay.
>>Yeah, yeah no, I think, but to say that, go ahead.
>>You’re working for what we call a set of stipulative
conceptualizations of proximity. You’re not pretending to capture and engage with every nuance.
>>Mm-hm.>>That might be associated with it, but sort of for
the purposes of this dissertation, and fully cognizant of the limitations-
>>Right.>>In doing so, this is what I’m going to do and
then you’re fine. Cuz when people ask, you can say, look, I said very clearly up front that-
>>And you’re allowed to define your project,
you’re allowed to define your question. You just have to make sure that it’s defined.
>>Sure.>>And then that it’s not defined kind of arbitrarily, that there’s
reason why you’re using distance. It’s because you have a conceptually
informed idea that this is going to matter, the ethnic, what do you, get this
wrong, ethnic continuum and all those other things, just randomly say, why don’t
I look at these four different cases. There’s a reason for your selection. And that’s cool.
>>Okay, very good.>>Any other comments, questions? Any of his peers have a thought, yes?
>>Charles, that was and awesome presentation, I hope mine will be as good as yours.
>>Thanks. [LAUGH]
>>It might not be right to your such interest, but I was kind of wondering the
marketing fringe of an insurgent group, I feel where their strategy or their marketing firm
effects the governance of the account of the group. For example, let us take the would the
marketing firm and if we’re not the same, this still effect our on how
the strategy that we used against for example Americans also see this
group as a insurgent group whereas Iran may see them as a civilian.
>>They certainly do, yeah.>>Exactly so this marketing strategy that you use for example in this
here versus in Iran how this strategy may influence a kind
of strategy that Iran will use to address the group
as insurgent versus what America will do to the group.
>>That’s a really good question. So the way that I’ve conceptualized collective action framework is
that it is why the group exists. It is how the group says why it exists. And I think that there are gonna be
trade offs between how the group frames itself in regards to thinking about
counterinsurgency, I think it has to. I think your question is really important
because they may be bolder in DC among friends than they would in Kauai,
which is 100 miles from Iran or whatever. So I can’t answer you definitively,
cuz I don’t know. But I think it’s an excellent
question to insert into the study. And at least a theoretical way to address,
yet again, the idea of proximity, so yeah. Thank you.
>>[LAUGH]>>Are there any other questions? Otherwise I’ve had a ritual
conversation with my colleague here, Peter Mandaville and we’re,
I pushed the paper in front of his face. And we’re both very happy to sign and
Agnieszka’s already told me that she’s read it and is very happy to sign so.
>>Cool.>>Congratulations.>>Thank you so much.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Thank you, thank you so much. [LAUGH]
>>You’ll have plenty of opportunities to, this isn’t the first time we’ll go
around on this, but it’s a great job.>>Wonderful, thank you.>>Those of you who have a. For those of you who haven’t-
>>Need a piece of paper?>>This is fine, yep. This is good, this is good,
this is in fact for our record as much as anything else. And I’ll get Agnieszka to sign it before,
hold on, we’ll sort this out.>>[LAUGH]

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