Copyright Law and the Democraticization of Cultural Value
Abstract. This essay examines and criticizes copyright law as it now functions in Western society. I argue that copyright law only serves corporate interests and functions to limit the development of and use of cultural symbols and texts. In effect, this eliminates the use of cultural texts by marginalized groups. Furthermore, I bring to light several case studies that suggest copyright law does not only hinder the production of cultural material, but is not necessary to facilitate a healthy environment for the production and distribution of cultural material within a given society. Conversely, I suggest that by way of eliminating copyright law altogether, we may expedite a process I call the "democratization of cultural production and exchange". By allowing citizen consumers of cultural products, using new digital technologies, to assign cultural value to cultural texts without the politics and economic injustices that arise from the use and abuse of copyright law, we may have a richer and ultimately more economically sound system by which cultural texts can be generated and shared. In order to defend against those who have similar notions about copyright law as I, but call for the implementation of a limited copyright law, I explain how communities and individual artists can and indeed do thrive while entirely disregarding copyright law. This paper should motivate future scholars to examine in particular the compatibility of outdated copyright law with digital technologies and web-based services. It is suggested through my initial research that these services can and will replace the function of rigid copyright law to help facilitate and incentivize a democratized and streamlined system of cultural production and exchange.
Keywords: Copyright law; digital age; corporatism; remix culture; ideological apparatus
So Close Yet So Far: Contrasting Andean Attitudes toward Foreign Direct Investment
Abstract. Should a developing nation embrace foreign direct investment, or are such decisions more likely to result in a dependency that inhibits growth in the long run? The recently elected presidents of neighboring countries Bolivia and Peru have opposing attitudes in this regard, despite their analogous reliance on mineral exports and predominantly indigenous populations. I closely examine the impact of two lucrative mines—both in production for over one hundred years, privatized around the turn of the last century, and most recently owned by Swiss company Glencore. I find that Morales’s choice to renationalize the mine in Bolivia is justified based on the perceived impact of foreign involvement, the desires of his constituents, and his overwhelming concern for the environment. However, though the country has made significant financial gains thus far, it is still too soon to fully realize the repercussions of his decision. On the other hand, as Peru enjoys a relatively prosperous economy, even a narrowly focused case study illustrates the merits and downfalls of neoliberal policies in Latin America.
Keywords: political economy, nationalize, privatize, foreign direct investment, development, resources, populist, public opinion, neoliberal policies
Neither Legal nor Justiciable: Targeted Killings and De Facto Immunity within the War on Terror
Medeiros, Christopher Paul Kailani
Abstract. This article seeks to highlight and discuss many of the legally problematic aspects of the US’s War on Terror targeted killing policies and programs, namely drone strikes and “capture/kill” missions. First, the US has sought to characterize the War on Terror, in its entirety, as a “non-international armed conflict of international scope” and, as a result, governed by the paradigm of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). While the factual basis of this definition is dubious at best, it is exceedingly more permissive of the sort of lethal force that central to the targeted killing program. Suspending disbelief, however, it seems equally questionable that the US actually respects the legal provisions of a non-international armed conflict. Though current disregard for transparency impedes a more thorough analysis, what information is available strongly suggests that targeted killing policy explicitly violates the IHL principles of proportionality and distinction. Cumulatively and effectively, domestic law, unfortunately, does not appear any more capable of constraining targeted killing policy’s inherent potential for widespread abuse, with current juridical dogmas regarding questions of standing, political questions doctrine, and state secrets privilege cumulatively effectively rendering the program non-justiciable.
Keywords: Targeted Killing, Unmanned Areal Vehicle, Principle of Distinction, Principle of proportionality
The Commodification of the Native in the 21st Century
Abstract. This paper explores the emerging popularity of Native American inspired goods within the context of URBN retail stores. Using American Indian stereotypes and symbols these products speak to the western desire to mimic the perceived ideals of Indians, including spirituality and environmentalism thus allowing Americans to assuage technological anxieties with the consumption of a contrived naturalistic lifestyle. It is argued that the production of such “native” goods has further restricted the self-determination of American Indians and perpetuated intolerance by limiting the scope of modern Native American life to once again fit within the definition of a western world. This cycle is additionally harmful in the recreation of the good and bad Indian narrative, popular in the seventeenth century. The good Indian has become a passive naturalist, whose culture is available for consumption while the bad Indian remains the enemy, he continues to lie and cheat and is exemplified by portrayals of modern American Indian entrepreneurs. As an international retailer, URBN is indicative of a global trend in the western perception and treatment of modern native peoples. It is suggested that the global marketing of a trend detrimental to the agency of Native Americans has become an international issue for all indigenous people and stands to perpetuate prejudices around the world simultaneously hindering progress on issues surrounding indigenous rights.
Keywords: Cultural appropriation, ethnocentrism, playing Indian, stereotype, self-determination
Women Spring: Reclaiming Resistance as the Ultimate Other
Abstract. Arab women are often marginalized in the minds of the West as oppressed by Arab, Muslim men. The language used to represent these women is often that of victimhood, stripping the women of the possibility of self-determination and agency. This article looks at a total of six articles and their commentary from Al Jazeera, Fox News, and Huffington Post to analyze how the language used in news articles both reproduce and challenge these stereotypes. The articles are specific to events related to the Arab Spring and women’s involvement in it. The commentary proves to be the true representation of Western knowledge production about Arab women as it ignores the elements of empowerment echoed in the articles, and focuses solely on the elements of Arab women’s passivity and Arab men’s brutality. I make the argument that this discourse is produced and reproduced in order to sustain a sentiment of Western superiority over the “brutal”, “oppressive” East. First, I discuss the absence real discussion about women in this conversation about women, and how it quickly turns to men and the East/West divide. Arab women become collateral damage in the bigger war and quest of the West to confirm its’ moral high ground above Arab Muslim men and their culture. I then discuss how some Arab women are taking control and subverting these images through a call to violence and a call for equal rights.
Keywords: Arab women, Arab spring, Representation, Knowledge production, News
Control and Intervention of Cholera Outbreaks in Refugee Camps
Abstract. Cholera, a disease with a long history, continues to devastate populations around the world. Due to the route of transmission of Vibrio cholerae, the bacterial pathogen that causes the disease, cholera only seems to affect developing countries, giving rise to a health disparity. For developed countries with adequate water and sewage treatment systems, the threat of cholera is irrelevant. Meanwhile, developing countries which have underlying vulnerabilities of poverty and lack basic access to clean water and proper sanitation are disproportionately affected. There are many factors that put different populations at risk for cholera outbreaks. Epidemiological studies of cholera outbreaks show that the combination of poverty with the effects of conflict or natural disaster produces the most vulnerable population of refugees or internally displaced persons (IDP). Not only are these populations more susceptible to the risk of cholera outbreak, but they are more vulnerable to its devastating effects. Refugee and IDP camps experience higher attack rates and case fatality rates (CFR) due to the scarcity of resources (Brown, Jacquier, Bachy, Bitar, & Legros, 2002). Cholera outbreaks in displaced populations present a public health hazard in an emergency context. If these outbreaks are not properly managed, they can develop into epidemics and pandemics. Thus, it is important to implement a swift and effective strategy to manage cholera outbreaks in refugee and IDP camps. To do this there are two main objectives: control transmission of the disease and emergency medical relief. Control of transmission must be accomplished through short- and long-term solutions: a supply of adequate water and sanitation combined with a public health campaign to promote knowledge and proper practices. Emergency medical relief would consist of establishment of cholera treatment centers (CTC) that would provide urgent intervention to efficiently diagnose and treat cases of cholera to reduce fatality rates.
Keywords: Cholera, Disease prevention, refugees, displaced people, public health, sanitation
The Fragility of the Modern Imaginary: A Case Study of Western Sahara
Abstract. While the European Enlightenment marked the dawn of our modern era, marked by a belief in the rule of law to deliver security and prosperity to all people, the geopolitical reality of world order has not delivered on this promise. The case of Western Sahara, a UN declared non-self-governing territory demonstrates the negative implications for human rights where fissures occur between what Charles Taylor deemed the modern social imaginary and this global political reality.This paper explores the history of the Western Sahara conflict with respect to the UN framework of international law regarding self-determination. It concludes by offering suggestions for moving past a mere acceptance of the feasible, looking towards the ideal.
Keywords: Geopolitics, United Nations, Western Sahara, Morocco, Self-determination, human rights
Lebanon: A State of Many Nations & a Menagerie of Many Modernities
Abstract. This essay seeks to analyze some political complexities of the country of Lebanon in light of popular literature concerned with global governance. By particularly considering some of Lebanon's demographic complexities in light of John Ikenberry's Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order, James Mittelman's Hyperconflict: Globalization & Insecurity, Mary Kaldor's New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era and Charles Taylor's Modern Social Imaginaries, conflict in Lebanon can be contextualized within a sort of global governance framework. Or rather, a global governance framework can offer an approach for explaining some complexities of conflict and the distribution of power in Lebanon. Such a framework can be extracted from the above mentioned literature, by understanding how multiple modernities bound under hegemonic power can become the fault lines for conflict and competition when hegemonic order fails and disintegrates into hyperconflict and asymmetrical warfare. This can be applied to the Lebanese context by recognizing how demographic complexities in the country fostered the construction of multiple modernities and political futures tethered to differing communitarian identities. In the face of a weak state system and failures of the government to maintain order between Lebanon's competing communities, the battle lines of the Lebanese Civil War and ongoing political conflicts today have been drawn along these confessional and communitarian lines. Such conflict has been especially asymmetrical in nature as no one faction or external actor has been able to reestablish hegemonic order in the country. Leaving Lebanon in a sort of indefinite deterritorialized global conflict.
Keywords: Global governance, demographics, distribution of power, modernity, identity, Lebanon
The Crisis of Contemporary Arab Television: Has the Move towards Transnationalism and Privatization in Arab Television Affected Democratization and Social Development in the Arab World?
Abstract. Arab media has experienced a radical shift starting in the 1990s with the emergence of a wide range of private satellite TV channels. These new TV channels, such as MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center) and Aljazeera have rapidly become the leading Arab channels in the realms of entertainment and news broadcasting. These transnational channels are believed by many scholars to have challenged the traditional approach of their government–owned counterparts. Alternatively, other scholars argue that despite the easy flow of capital and images in present Arab television, having access to trustworthy information still poses a challenge due to the governments’ grip on the production and distribution of visual media. This paper brings together these contrasting perspectives, arguing that despite the unifying role of satellite Arab TV channels, in which national challenges are cast as common regional worries, democratization and social development have suffered. One primary factor is the presence of relationships forged between television broadcasters with influential government figures nationally and regionally within the Arab world.
Keywords: Arab television, satellite transmission, transnationalism, democratization, development
Globalization, Women's Empowerment and Sustainable Growth: Development Theory with a Vagina
Abstract. Through a gendered lens, this paper seeks to explore certain social realities and their effect on the global economic climate. Many across the globe are subjugated, actively oppressed and even murdered simply because they are female. While this can easily be seen as a human rights issue, it is also arguably an important economic factor that has yet to be adequately incorporated into development discourse. For example, gender equality is one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), however, the connection between women’s rights and all of the other MDGs is inextricable. Further, key to the realization of gender equality is one of the most difficult pieces to the development puzzle—personal empowerment, which is not something that an outside force can easily influence. Applying these concepts to a case study of Sri Lanka illustrates the difficulty in measuring gender equity and the complexities in understanding the effect that gender relations has on development.
Keywords: Gender, Development, Millennium Development Goals, Sri Lanka