Anne de Tinguy (dir.)

Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake

Business and politics in India have been closely connected since the colonial era, when entrepreneurs financed politicians who, in exchange, spared them some of the bureaucratic red tape. This proximity has endured after independence, even if Nehru’s official socialism subjected it to some constraints. Far from mitigating corruption, economic liberalization during the 1990s actually amplified it when large investors, attracted by the opening of the Indian market, paid huge bribes to political leaders, who often became businessmen themselves and forced public banks to lend to industrialists close to them, while businessmen were elected to Parliament, increasing insider trading. As it is observed in the modern era under Narendra Modi, be it at the national level and in his state of Gujarat, crony capitalism is well illustrated by Modi’s relationship to Gautam Adani, the rising star of Indian business. Crony capitalism has a financial cost (due to the under-taxation of companies and dubious debts on the banks’ balance sheets), a social cost (due to underpaid work and a reduction of the expenditure of education or health for lack of fiscal resources) and the environment (crony capitalists disregarding the most basic standards).

Kevin Parthenay

In Latin America, as elsewhere in the world, regional and subregional organizations have multiplied recently. Scholars tend to focus on the variety of regionalisms or their ever changing nature (post-liberal, post-hegemonic...). This study, through a political sociology of regionalism approach, examines Latin American regions and their actors and goes beyond the first set of questions. In this perspective, scrutinizing the regional General Secretaries of the sub-continent is particularly useful to understand how regional powers emerge. With a specific focus on the Southern Common Market (UNSUR), the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), this research offers a more precise answer to the question of the configuration of power within Latin American regionalisms.

Elections have been trivialized in Iran. They allow for the expression of diversity, in particular ethnical and denominational, of historical regional identities, and prove the growing professionalization of political life. Paradoxically, such professionalization withdraws the Republic away into the levels of family, parenthood, autochthony, and even neighborhoods or devotional sociability, which are all institutions that instill a feeling of proximity, solidarity, communion; close to the notion of asabiyat. As the saying goes, the Islamic Republic has become a « parentocracy » (tâyefehsâlâri). The country’s industrial development isn’t at odds with such ponderousness since it lies on a web of very small family businesses. The analysis of the 2016 legislative elections in four wards reveals how important the issue of property is in political life, indivisible as it is of the various particularistic consciences. The connections with notables are still there, revealing lines of continuity with the old regime as well as longstanding agrarian conflicts that have not been erased by the Revolution and that are being kept alive through contemporary elections.

Françoise Daucé

Many online newspapers were created in Russia during the early 2000s, which gave rise to hopes concerning further developments of media pluralism. Their day-to-day operations differ little from those of their Western counterparts. They are subject to the same technical possibilities and to the same financial limitations. Under the increasingly authoritarian Russian regime, however, these common constraints can become political. Economic constraints on editorial boards, limitations on their sources of advertising revenue, administrative requirements, and surveillance of Internet providers are all tools used for political purposes. This article uses the examples of the major news sites that are lenta.ru and gazeta.ru, and the more specialized sites, snob.ru and grani.ru, to show how this political control is based on the diversity of ordinary constraints, which procedures and justifications are both unpredictable and dependent on the economic situation. The result is that political control is both omnipresent and elusive, constantly changing.

Christophe Wasinski

We hereafter make the case that a certain technostrategic knowledge regime exists that builds a good reputation to military interventions. This contributes to normalizing the latter within the apparels responsible for the execution of foreign policies, since the end of the cold war. Supported by a contemporary military and security discourse analysis, this work analyses how this regime of knowledge was elaborated, how it circumscribes a field of possibles for intervention and how it attributes great credibility to this very field of possibles.

Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos

In Nigeria, the Islamic terrorism of Boko Haram raises a lot of questions about the political relationship between so-called "religious" violence and the state. At least three of them expose our confusions about islamization, conversion, radicalization and the politicization of religion, namely:
– Is it a religious uprising or a political contest for power?
– How does it express a social revolt?
– How indicative is it of a radicalization of the patterns of protest of the Muslims in Northern Nigeria?
A fieldwork study shows that Boko Haram is not so much political because it wants to reform the society, but mainly because it reveals the intrigues of a weak government and the fears of a nation in the making. Otherwise, the radicalization of Islam cannot be limited to terrorism and it is difficult to know if the movement is more extremist, fanatic and murderous than previous uprising like the one of Maitatsine in Kano in 1980. The capacity of Boko Haram to develop international connections and to challenge the state is not exceptional as such. Far from the clichés on a clash of civilizations between the North and the South, the specificity of the sect in Nigeria has more to do with its suicide attacks. Yet the terrorist evolution of Boko Haram was first and foremost caused by the brutality of the state repression, more than alleged contacts with an international jihadist movement.

Sabine Saurugger

This article presents conceptual tools to analyse interest representation in the European Union. On the European level, no formal system of representation can be found, but rather a patchwork of representation modes. These modes are influenced by forms of political exchange specific for each country and each political domain, which interact with opportunity structures at the European level. Analysing interest representation in a system of governance, either national, European or international requires taking into account the relations which link interest groups with political and bureaucratic actors at the national level, acknowledging the changes in these relations and to insert all that in a system of governance where actors must find solutions to problems in the management of public policies and not to forget political power games and hierarchies amongst actors. The first part of the article analyses briefly the development of interest group studies in comparative politics as well as in international relations and presents the attempts to systematize these studies undertaken since the 1990. In the second part, I analyse more specifically the network approach, which allows to overcome the cleavage between pluralism and neocorporatism in the study of the relationships between interest groups and state actors. In presenting a critical analysis of the general ideas of the network approach, I propose specific conceptual instruments helping to structure research on interest groups in the European Union.

Laurent Gayer

Cyberspace, of which the Internet is a major but not the exclusive component, is more than an informational or an economic network : it is also a political space, which deserves to be analysed as such, through the collective mobilisations, the imaginary and the surveillance practices that it conveys. Rather than looking at the internet’s world politics, this paper focuses on transnational political solidarities that are now emerging on and through the Internet. This differentiation suggests that the Internet is both the vector of social struggles focused on the “real” world, and the cradle of new identifications and new modes of protest that remain and will remain primarily virtual. Activists operating through transnational “advocacy networks” may use the Internet to receive or spread information, but their use of the Information Technologies (IT) remains purely instrumental and does not imply any paradigmatic shift in the tactical uses of the media by protest groups. “Hacktivism” and “cybernationalism” appear far more promising, as far as the invention of new repertoires of collective action is concerned. “Hacktivism”, which refers to the use of hacking techniques for political ends, emerged during the 1990s, at the crossroads between activism, play and art. The emergence of “hacktivism” was made possible by the meeting of two social actors that epitomize our late modernity : new social movements and the “digital underground”. “Cybernationalism”, for its part, was given shape in the last decade by ethnic entrepreneurs who rely on the IT to challenge the political authorities of their home states and to materialise, through words and images, the communities they are (re)inventing beyond borders.

Anthony Amicelle

The present paper examines current dynamics of surveillance regarding the fight against “terrorism” and its financing. Close analysis of the so-called “SWIFT Affair” and the US terrorist finance tracking program draw attention to one specific case-study which allows us to question the contemporary politics of massively accessing commercial data-banks for intelligence purposes. With reference to the SWIFT affair, the paper explores a sensitive aspect of transatlantic cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism

Thierry Delpeuch

Several prolific research fields dedicate themselves to the analysis of the contemporary phenomena of circulation, transfer and convergence of public policies. These clusters of studies have in common to explore the impact of external influences and foreign sources of inspiration or imitation on policy making process. Two major research orientations can be distinguished among these studies. The first one develops a perspective in the close proximity of the new sociological institutionalism. It scrutinizes the causal grounds and the social impacts of the expansion of policy transfers, by putting the stress on the influence of cultural and institutional factors. The second one, which is related to the sociology of social action, primarily examines the implementation of concrete policy transplant operations from one social context to another, by meticulously investigating the social characteristics of transfer agents and analyzing their interactions. Our argument is that the various approaches covered here – which are sociology of diffusion, new sociological institutionalism, europeanization studies, lesson-drawing and policy learning literature, structural sociology, and, of course, the research stream which identifies itself as policy transfer studies - are today on the way to overcome their divergences and to consolidate a common framework of sociological knowledge about policy transfers, grounded in both holistic and individualistic sociological traditions.

Laurent Gayer

Between 1984 and 1995, the Indian Punjab was the theatre for a separatist insurrectional movement led by Sikh irregular armed groups. Most Sikh militants who picked up the gun against the Indian state were male, but a handful of women also took part in this armed struggle, which also enjoyed some support from Pakistan. Rather than the motivations of the fighters, it is their individual trajectories that are explored here. Following a critical biographical approach, paying attention to the silences of the actors and to the distorting effects of their ex-post testimonies, this paper aims at unraveling the familial genealogies of these militant careers, before identifying their successive sequences. Through this exercise, it is possible to shed light on individual dispositions towards engagement. However, this preliminary exercise must be followed up by an in-depth study of the conditions of actualization of these dispositions into a sustained form of commitment. Therefore, this paper focuses on the modalities of recruitment into clandestine organizations, before turning to the practical and psychological dilemmas induced by the return of these combatants to civilian life, which remain understudied. By introducing gender into the scope of the study, this paper also aims at assessing the variations between masculine and feminine ways of being and having been in clandestinity.

Burcu Gorak Giquel

Cross-border cooperation in the EU policy of regional development is crucial for three reasons: it reinforces partnerships between, on the one hand, central, regional and local agents, and on the other hand, public, private, and associative actors; it rests on the decentralized structure of states, assigning to each level of intervention a unique role in the development process. Finally, it supports local initiative. Cross-border cooperation becomes a vehicle for the “multi-level governance” that the EU intends to promote, by linking organization of regionalized action, cooperation between actors, and solid territorial establishment. For Turkey the task represents a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge, because regionalization directly affects the unitary structure of the state. An opportunity, because the EU does not impose any model of decentralization. On the contrary, the EU gives national actors the chance to create their own public structures in function of their historical path and the negotiation between the centre and the periphery. This is what this study ultimately attempts to show, stressing two aspects of Turkish transformations: decentralization is not a precondition for membership and that different forms of cooperation exist at the borders with Bulgaria and Syria, as a proof of the Europeanization of the Turkish public administrations.

Antoine Vion, François-Xavier Dudouet, Eric Grémont

The study proposes analyzing the complex links between the standardization and regulation of mobile phone markets from a political economy perspective. Moreover, this study examines these links by taking into consideration, from a Schumpeterian perspective, the market disequilibrium and the monopolistic phenomena associated with innovation. It aims firstly to underline, with respect to different network generations (0G to 4G), the particularity of this industry in terms of investment return, and the key role that network standardization plays in the structuring of the market. This key variable of the standard explains in large part the income that GSM represented in the industrial and financial dynamics of the sector. The study thus explores the relations between the normalization policies, which are certainly neither the sole issue of public actors nor are they simple industrial property regulations, and the regulation policies of the sector (allocation of licenses, trade regulations, etc.). It underlines that the last twenty-five years have made the configurations of expertise more and more complex, and have increased the interdependency between network entrepreneurs, normalizers, and regulators. From a perspective close to Fligstein’s, which emphasizes the different institutional dimensions of market structuring (trade policies, industrial property regulations, wage relations, financial institutions), this study focuses on the interdependent relations between diverse, heavily institutionalized spheres of activity.

Emilie René

The concept of "world community" is nowadays very commonly employed by researchers dealing with the social aspects of globalization. At the same time, the words "islam" and "umma" -be they used by medias, politicians or scholars- have sometimes assumed the existence of such a community which is supposed to link all Muslims wherever they live. This kind of approach was strongly revived during the "Rushdie affair": the transnational dimension of the protest against the writer and the very content of ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa furthered it.The starting point of this paper is to take the "world community" postulate at its word. What are we talking about ? Who speaks about it ? Under what circumstances and from which places ? How the limits of this concept can be established, or rather how can it be constructed by the observer to become useful ? These questions are addressed by examining the early stage of the anti-Rushdie protest in its worldwide dimension. It is suggested that an analysis of the understandings and strategies of the mobilized groups, of their symbolic and concrete transnational interactions, as well as a comparison between the social and political national contexts, help to identify the "interpretive community" which was formed at this juncture.

Olivier Roy

One of the causes of the weakness of the State in the Middle East is that prime allegiance goes to the "solidarity group" (açabiyya), a social network which is always founded on family and personal relationships. These solidarity groups either are committed to a national strategy in order to control the State or, on the contrary, become delocalised and internationalised within diasporas which create their own transnational networks. Solidarity groups are not the expression of the permanence of a traditional society within a modern State, but rather a recomposition of allegiance networks within a political space definitively modified by the existence of a State. This recomposition can take three main forms. Firstly territorial establishment and the development of a community within sub-ethnic groups competing for power: the Kulabis in Tajikistan for example. Secondly the delocalisation of power networks which fade away once their objective, the obtaining of State power, is achieved (the Samarkand faction in Uzbekistan). Finally it can be achieved by the linking to an international network, for example that of humanitarian aid. These different types of recomposition do not weaken the State as such, which remains the framework of any possible inscription in the political space. But they do hinder the transition towards an ethnic State which can function only when it is built from above: thus Uzbekistan exists - not Baluchistan.

Back to top