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Min-Hua Chiang

This article studies the US hegemony with particular focus on its dominant role in East Asia and compares conventional thoughts with different views provided by the two books reviewed. Reich and Lebow considered that American hegemony has started to erode when other nations regained their economic strength and political stability during the postwar decades. Acharya’s main argument is focusing on the decline of the American world order, rather than the decline of the US. Authors from the two books jumped out from the conventional zero-sum game between the rising China and the declining US power and consider other regional players in constructing the world order. However, this article argued that if China was not able to challenge the US power presence, there is no reason to assume the IS power decline. The establishment of the institutionalized network with involvement of several countries would only to strengthen the US dominance, rather than to weaken it.

Charmaine G. Misalucha

International Relations scholarship highlights the differences of the countries in the global south. The postcolonial histories of countries herein give rise to unique experiences that push them to consolidate their states at the soonest time possible even as they are inextricably integrated in an international system that is biased towards the great powers. This double pressure either makes or break a state, and it is this tension that is the focus of the special issue. This concluding article offers a bird’s-eye view of the nuances of the differences of the global south and the problems associated with it. I argue that while the differences may indeed be unique, not seeing beyond those is problematic. In line with this, I first acknowledge the differences the global south represents. I look at how the International Relations concepts of state, rational choice, and the international system are seen as inapplicable to the workings of the global south, and how this “misfit” is detected not only in the dynamics of Philippine foreign policy, but also in its relationships with various regional powers like the United States and China. I then turn to the problems associated with seeing only the differences of the global south. I highlight the concepts of mimicry and hybridity before examining the cases of the Philippines’ labor conditions, human security for migrant workers, and disability-related issues. In all these, caution, mindfulness, and the need for dialogue are therefore called for.

Lawrence Barham, Stephen Tooth, Geoff A.T. Duller, Andrew J. Plater and Simon Turner

We report on the results of small-scale excavations at the archaeological site of Kalambo Falls, northern Zambia. The site has long been known for its stratified succession of Stone Age horizons, in particular those representing the late Acheulean (Mode 2) and early Middle Stone Age (Mode 3). Previous efforts to date these horizons have provided, at best, minimum radiometric ages. The absence of a firm chronology for the site has limited its potential contribution to our understanding of the process of technological change in the Middle Pleistocene of south-central Africa. The aim of the excavations was to collect samples for luminescence dating that bracketed archaeological horizons, and to establish the sedimentary and palaeoenvironmental contexts of the deposits. Four sedimentary packages were identified with the oldest containing Mode 2 and Mode 3 horizons. In this paper we consider the implications of the luminescence ages for the archaeological record at Kalambo Falls, and place them in a regional context. The reworking and preservation of the archaeological horizons is interpreted as the result of successive phases of meander migration and aggradation. Limited pollen evidence suggests a persistent floodplain palaeoenvironment with intermittent swamp forest and adjacent valley woodland, while mineral magnetic susceptibility data support an interpretation of river flow variability without any significant change in sediment provenance. The dynamics of the fluvial system cannot as yet be linked directly with regional climate change. The age range of ~500–300 ka for the oldest sedimentary package places the Mode 2/3 succession firmly in the Middle Pleistocene, and contributes to an expanding African record of technological innovation before the evolution of Homo sapiens.

Ava Patricia C. Avila and Justin Goldman

The Philippines and the United States maintain close ties that are grounded in a Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1951. Security cooperation has been a hallmark despite evolving dynamics in the bilateral relationship, including a US colonial legacy that continues to cast a long shadow for many Filipinos. While contentious politics and domestic limitations present a potential constraint on the upward trajectory of the alliance relationship, there are indications that this expanded engagement can continue beyond the Aquino administration. The paper examines the condition of Philippine forces under President Aquino, the International Peace and Security Plan to pursue a credible external defense capability, the process of security sector reform, and matters pursuing a strong Philippine-US alliance.

John Paul P. Cruz

For more than a century now, the Philippines has been at the forefront of democracy in the Southeast Asian region. Since the early 1990s, the country has sought to institutionalize democratic processes, which aim to meaningfully engage Filipinos in the public and political spheres. In line with its efforts of strengthening its electoral systems, it has also taken a leading role in the region in promoting and protecting the rights of voters with disabilities by becoming one of the first States Parties to ratify the United Nations convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). A key provision of the UNCRPD is affording voters with disabilities the equal opportunity to engage in every electoral process on an equal basis with other abled-bodied voters. However, in spite of recent developments, the Philippines has yet to effectively implement disability-inclusive electoral policies and processes that would not only engage able-bodied Filipino voters but also one of the country’s largest minority community—Filipino voters with disabilities. This paper examines the effectiveness of the Philippine government in ensuring that Filipino voters with disabilities are guaranteed with and are able to exercise their right to suffrage. Using a mixed method approach and the disability convention (DisCo) policy framework, this research evaluates the content of existing legislative measures relating to the country’s electoral system, the corresponding executive and budgetary support to implement electoral laws and policies for Filipino voters with disabilities, the administrative and coordinating capacity of implementing electoral agencies, the prevailing attitude of the society towards Filipino voters with disabilities, and the degree of participation of Filipino voters with disabilities in the development of Philippine electoral laws and policies.

Ron Bridget T. Vilog and Marie Donna M. Ballesteros

This paper examines the risk perception of Filipino nurses who worked in Libya during the height of post-2011 crisis. The narratives reveal that Filipino nurses took advantage of the massive hiring campaign organized by Libya’s Ministry of Health in 2012, hoping that their migration experiences would result in economic and social rewards as they established their careers in the healthcare industry. After 2 years of adjustment to the conflict-ridden environment, they found themselves situated in another episode of civil war, once again defying the Philippine government’s mandatory repatriation program. Guided by Carretero’s (Risk-taking in unauthorised migration, 2008) thesis, we observed the mechanism of defiance that entails risk-taking as the political crisis loomed. Filipino nurses, especially those who initially refused to leave Libya, embraced an “illusion of control” that eventually reinforced an “unrealistic optimism.” These risk-minimizing strategies have successfully undermined the protective powers of the state. The paper argues that Filipino migrants in crisis zones like Libya undertake risk calculation and reduction, albeit with a tendency to commit risk denial and a false sense of empowerment and exceptionality. In the end, however, it is emphasized that these mechanisms have limitations, depending on the experiences, timing, and risk interpretation of the migrants.

Benjamin A. San Jose

The Philippines is one of the top migrant sending countries and is often lauded as a model migrant country due to its skilled migrant labor force, high remittance rates and forward-thinking government policies. However, it is often criticized for its policies of exploitative labor migrant export, its dependency to migrant remittances, and its failure to offer migrant protection. In recent years, scholars and policy makers have suggested using human security as an approach to address the challenges of migration. By bringing the focus away from the state to becoming people-centered, human security aims to address the problems of statelessness, the lack of migrant protection, human rights, and offers long-term solutions to migration. Since the Philippines is highly dependent on migrant labor and is in the forefront of promoting migrant conditions in the international arena, some relevant questions can be raised: what are the role and benefits of using a human security approach for migrants? How does the Philippines attempt to secure human security for its migrants? Has the Philippines achieved human security for its migrants? This paper argues that as the Philippines grew more dependent on labor migration, human security for migrants is attempted by the state through an institutionalized set of policies and assumptions. The promise of migrant welfare and human security is premised on the following points: creating better policies and institutionalizing migrant state agencies, creating national laws together with bilateral and multilateral agreements on migration and in recent years, and the promotion of migration and development initiatives. While these attempts may hold promise, they suffer from limitations on implementation and sustainability. In the final analysis, human security can only be achieved by working towards a national dialogue on migration where stakeholders from the state, civil society organizations, and migrant groups participate in the national debate on the future of migration. Only by reaching a national dialogue on responsive and long-term policies that are grounded in human security can the country go beyond the view that migration and development policies are a catch-all panacea to the problems of migrant protection and long-term economic development in the homeland.

Elaine Tolentino and Myungsik Ham

This paper aims to analyze the asymmetric dilemma facing the Philippines and China in the South China Sea tensions. Among American East Asian allies, the Philippines seems to stand on the frontline between two rival powers, the United States and China. Since the US declared its Pivot to Asia policy, the Philippines’ foreign policy towards China has become assertive and sometimes appears reckless with some military adventures against Chinese maritime patrols and naval ships, which also further forced China to take a tougher foreign policy against the Philippines. Considering the distinctive asymmetric indicators between China and the Philippines based on military forces, economic capacity, territorial size, and population, the aggressive policy behaviors that the Philippines and China have been displaying against each other cast an inquiry on what drives the two countries into head-to-head collision. While China as the larger power vis-à-vis the Philippines as the smaller power in the relationship has aimed for control and domination of their disputed territory, the Philippines’ drastic defiance has also led to China’s irritation and possible frustration. Furthermore, the US’ renewed attention to Asia has caused shifts of asymmetric bilateral dilemma to triangular entanglement between the US–China–Philippines. It is vital therefore to pay attention to the asymmetric interaction of states and their varying views in order to find possible solutions to the SCS tensions.

Innocent Chirisa, Elmond Bandauko and Nyasha Takawira Mutsindikwa

This paper is a case in distributive politics (and hinges on land-based power dynamics) arguing that in the absence of state capacity to provide for housing, housing cooperatives have emerged and controlled largely by patronage. In this case, there is exclusion of those individuals, households and families not politically connected; and this has deep and undesired consequences in the management of urban areas in the end. In the Greater Harare urban (and peri-urban) landscape, the housing cooperatives have the power to control their members with respect to the contributions that each member can make in terms of finance and sweat equity (labor). Nevertheless, land as a resource remains a prerogative of the state, which the ZANU PF regime has controlled for a span of more than 30 years now. Housing cooperatives in Harare, as elsewhere in the country, try to identify with ZANU PF as a party identifying with conservativism enshrined in the existing laws (albeit the New Constitution that came about in 2013) and a party advocating for equity in the distribution of the land. Cooperatives have become a tool in which ZANU PF has re-asserted its influence and hegemony.