Government - Doctoral Theses

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    Imagining new worlds: (r)evolutionary love and radical social transformation in the 21st century
    (University College Cork, 2020-09) York, Matt; Davis, Laurence; O'Donovan, Orla; University College Cork
    This thesis develops a theory and praxis of (r)evolutionary love to animate radical social transformation in the 21st century, questioning the perceived antinomy of revolutionary and evolutionary theories of social change and proposing (r)evolution as an alternative model. Tracing the ever-flowing series of interconnected movement waves in struggle with the constantly evolving capitalist world system, a distinct lineage of (r)evolutionary love is outlined, and a close analytical reading of the works of anarchist/autonomist thinkers Emma Goldman and Michael Hardt is undertaken in relation to love as a political concept. Next, a turn to posthuman theory explores the agency of a more-than-human (r)evolutionary love in relation to averting the imminent anthropogenic ecocide. We then locate the Collective Visioning methodology adopted by this research in a strong tradition of knowledge co-production between political activists and the academy. And the thoughts, feelings, ideas and imaginings of a global cross section of ecological, anti-capitalist, feminist and anti-racist activists are explored in relation to this research focus. Part two deals with the fruits of the collective visioning process – synergised and formulated as an ideological framework of three parts: Critique, Utopia, and Praxis. It is in this second part of the thesis that the voices of the activists are brought to life. Big Data Capitalism, algorithmic conditioning, and the subsequent assault on free will, imagination and agency are all examined, as are the causes of our current ecological and climate emergency. Popular conceptions of the commons are extended to include our more-than-human psycho-socio-material relations, and this Deep Commons is proposed as a ground through which (r)evolutionary love might then circulate in order for new political (inter)subjectivities to manifest. The apparent binary tension between personal autonomy and social solidarity is re-examined in light of these more-than-human loving entanglements, and indigenous concepts of the deep commons are considered as alternatives to our current colonial, capitalist and anthropocentric political imaginaries. (R)evolutionary love is explored as a radical solidarity – productive of mutual aid and affinity both in and across contemporary movements. And following an examination of the history and sociology of a number of modern revolutions, the temporal gap between current struggles and imagined futures is problematised, and a politics of immanence explored in remedy. Finally, the co-constitution of a global ‘community of communities’ – grounded in the deep commons – is proposed as a liberatory alternative to the current system.
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    Institutional change in the Irish university 2008-2014: an examination through the lens of institutional logics
    (University College Cork, 2019) Gannon, Anne Margaret; Quinlivan, Aodh; Schon-Quinlivan, Emmanuelle
    Institutional change is an important research area in the context of the evolution of the Irish university sector. 2008-2014 was an eventful period in bringing about changes within the sector. Drivers of transformation led by the state during this time arose from two distinct sources; developments in government policy within the university sector and the impact of the economic recession. This study focuses on institutional change within the Irish university at both the meso level where the academic discipline is located and the micro levels where the experiences of individual academic professionals are examined. Institutional logics comprise the theoretical lens used in this study. In analysing institutional change, three specific institutional logics are identified and examined; representing the societal sectors of the state (the government logic), the business corporation (the corporate logic) and the academic profession (the professional logic). The development of a theoretical framework enables a comprehensive examination of i) the formal structural and regulative dimension and ii) the normative and cultural dimension comprising these three separate institutional logics in the university at both the meso and micro levels between 2008 and 2014. Through application of a comparative case study approach across three Irish universities, this research study asserts that the government and corporate logic aligned strongly during this six-year period against the backdrop of the strong economic and ideological drivers present in the institutional field influencing change. These influences were significant across all the universities at both the meso and the micro levels. With the strengthening of the structural and regulative infrastructure developed by the corporate logic in conjunction with the formal dimensions of the government logic, the capacity for professional logic to withstand the new structural and regulative environment deteriorates. This pattern is evident at both the meso and the micro levels within the structural and regulative dimension. However, within the cultural and normative dimension, despite institutional change, the impact on the professional logic is different. Here while there is some weakening of professional values, practices and behaviours at both the meso level and the micro level, these are not uniformly experienced across all the case study universities. The research asserts that institutional change experienced within the cultural and normative dimension of the professional logic will vary at the micro level according to the ability of the professional academic to withstand the influence of government and corporate norms, practices and values and to continue to exercise professional values, identity and practices.
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    The security imaginaries of an unarmed people: popular and elite security discourses in Iceland
    (University College Cork, 2018) Omarsdottir, Silja Bara; Cottey, Andrew; Duggan, Niall
    This dissertation analyzes public and elite security discourses in Iceland, drawing on focus group interviews and political debates to develop an understanding of what serves as the foundation of security and insecurity at the societal, environmental, and political levels. The thesis uses discourse analysis to approach the data (collected from 2012 to 2016) and analyzes it from the perspective of critical security studies, in particular an ontological security framework. The findings suggest that there is a discrepancy between the security discourses of the public and the political elite, with the public being far more focused on threats to societal and environmental security, and the political elite on politico-military security. There is, however, also an apparent divide within the political elite, with the right wing emphasizing politico-military security, and the left wing emphasizing environmental security, and, to some extent, societal security as well. These divides suggest that attempts at securitization after the departure of the US military from Iceland in 2006 have not been successful, and that it will be difficult to have a meaningful debate about security in, and for, Iceland.
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    Empowering citizens in the development of smart cities: the Cork case
    (University College Cork, 2017) Pham, Long T.; Quinlivan, Aodh; International Energy Research Centre (IERC); Cork City Council; Cork County Council
    Cities around the world are piloting combinations of technologies to develop smart cities. As an urban management and governance trend, the smart city idea has moved from concept to mainstream within the past decade. As end-users of public services, interactive subjects of physical systems, and generators of data and information, citizens/residents should also be key contributors of ideas for policy-making processes and co-creators of city solutions. However, citizens/residents are not always empowered to engage in the development of smart city initiatives. Greater engagement, with timely input from citizens, can be achieved with the development of more efficient and effective mechanisms for the collection and analysis of stakeholders’ feedback. Gaps around the involvement of citizens in all the steps of smart city initiatives have been identified as key challenges in successful scaling up of the smart city initiatives in pioneering cities Using Cork City, the second largest city in the south-east of Ireland, this thesis establishes the key components and factors in how to effectively engage and empower local citizens in the development of smart city through the Cork Smart Gateway (CSG) initiative. Within the CSG, the researcher generated primary data sets to set up a baseline of Cork citizens/residents’ participation practices and perceptions, digital skills and usage and awareness of the smart city projects and local infrastructure. From city-wide surveys of inclusive citizen/resident groups, the baseline showed that (1) local citizens/residents (N=3600) value a shared and collaborative vision of their participation in public issues; they believe that they have positive impact on their city, but they don’t have many opportunities to participate in the local decision-making. Other findings include (2) two-thirds of the citizens/residents volunteer in community and public activities and those who volunteered in the activities have high willingness to participate in smart city projects; (3) citizens/residents use and want to be contacted via email and mobile text message; and (4) hardware access (i.e. tablet or computer) is still a problem for both urban and rural areas, and the problem can be solved by better investment in public libraries and offices. The research also shows that (5) self-reported digital skills of urban residents are not as proficient as their peers in rural areas and the need for computer/tablet access is high in both areas. A qualitative analysis of the research shows a strong awareness about challenges and solutions to address them among the movers and shakers of the city, including members of the CSG steering group. An experiment carried out during the data collection process shows that crowdsourcing could work as an instrument to activate people’s participation in public good activities. This is replicable, cheaper than using professional services, and effective to engage and raise awareness among local people. Overall, the findings provide Cork City leaders with empirical evidence to develop strategies and tools to stimulate, engage, and maintain citizen engagement in their smart city initiative. Besides the key factors, the research also uncovers some challenging issues around the engagement and empowerment of citizens/residents, some contradicting with the existing literature. The research contributes new learnings for empowering citizens/residents in the development of smart city – new ICT and technologies enabled contexts – while identifying areas for future research such as institutional requirements, data management, and citizens’ data privacy and security for further research.
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    Why did occidental modernity fail in the Arab Middle East: the failed modern state?
    (University College Cork, 2011) Aziz, Sardar; Cottey, Andrew
    This thesis asks a straightforward but nevertheless a complex question, that is: Why did modernity fail in the Arab Middle East? The notion of modernity in this thesis signifies the occidental modernity which reached the region in many different forms and through various channels. This occidental modernity had an impact on many areas and changed the societies and politics of the region. But these changes stopped short of reaching modernity, in other words it failed to change the society from traditional to modem. The failure of the emergence of a modem society in the region has been a puzzle for those who work on the Middle East. There are plethora of theories, concepts and models attempting to demystify this puzzle. This thesis regards the emerged form of the States and the sovereign in the region as the prime cause behind this failure. The thesis advances a new way of conceptualising statehood and politics in the Middle East: the Failed Modem State (FMS). The key features of the FMS are as follows: the sovereign is the state; both modem and traditional elements are utilised by the state elites; the territory of the state is a space where roles and functions of everything changes. The main features which distinguish the FMS analysis from other analyses of the Middle East are as follows: it does not emphases' one area or aspect; it shows how both modem and traditional tools are necessary for the survival of the State; the Failed Modem State is neither modem nor traditional and resists being either. The FMS mages to reduce both modernity and traditional aspects into tools, this enables the FMS sovereigns to utilise both as instruments. Modem and traditional forces used by the FMS to balance the power, to justify acts, divide society and being able to rule it and conquer it. This makes reform and change difficult if not impossible.