Politics and International Relations

Lawyers Beyond Borders: Local Courts Advancing International Human Rights


Supervisor

Maria Armoudian

Discipline

Politics and International Relations

Project code: ART028

This project focuses on an understudied area of human rights enforcement. While much attention has been given to the role of international criminal courts as a means of enforcing human rights, most cases are never heard here. These venues are limited by factors including case load and scope (e.g. some cases are “not big enough”). For some human rights abuse cases that are excluded from international courts, another set of “prosecutors” has emerged—private sector human rights lawyers who use domestic laws in their own countries in an effort to curb international violations of human rights and give redress to victims. In the United States, for example, approximately a dozen human rights lawyers have filed lawsuits in domestic civil courts against alleged human rights abusers using domestic (state and federal) statutes. Using court records, media coverage, document archives and interviews, the study locates the origins, changes, scope and efficacy of this means of international human rights enforcement, the political contests over the statutes, and fits this mode into the larger sphere of human rights enforcement.

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will help with archival research of court and media records and web-based documentation, including emerging organizations in Europe that are practicing this form of human rights law. That material will complement and expand the dataset that has been constructed to date, on which the scholar will build. Then, the material can be statistically analysed. S/he will also help locate the relevant literature that has been conducted to date on the subject and help to compile the outline of literature.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Analytical & research skills, documentation and writing.

The scholar will have core research, documentation and analytical skills and be willing to take direction on improving those methodical processes. Writing and editing skills are a big plus.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Tracking public participation and political action in Aotearoa New Zealand, 2008-2017


Supervisors

Associate Professor Jennifer Curtin

Dr Gerry Cotterell

Dr Barry Milne

Discipline

Politics and International Relations, Public Policy Institute

Project code: ART029

There are fears of an increasing disengagement in the political process by the public, especially by the cohort in their 20’s and 30’s. In addition, with a general election looming there is concern about the low level of public participation in the political process, evidenced by declining voter turnout. This research project will examine whether these claims of disengagement hold true across all forms of political action or are just confined to voting behaviour. Using data from the 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 New Zealand Election Surveys this project will examine public participation in various forms of political action, and explore the extent to which these have changed in terms of type and intensity. Specifically we will analysis the extent to which people engage in signing petitions, writing to the newspaper, and using various social media to promote political and policy issues that have meaning for everyday citizens. 

This study draws on data collected from four general election studies coordinated by Curtin, Cotterell and Compass (in conjunction with staff at Victoria University), analysis of which will provide new insights into how individuals and groups participate in the political process in order to advance particular policy options, and whether these forms of action have increased, decreased or remained stable over time.

The data will be analysed along the lines of socio-economic status, a range of age-groups, gender and where the data permits, by ethnicity.  The findings will supplement existing research on declining turnout and the more recent concerns raised about the increased use urgency debates in parliament that may suppress citizen engagement in the policy process. 

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will use data from the 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 New Zealand Election Surveys and analyse the results using simple descriptive statistics. The scholar will focus on examining changes in the type of political actions undertaken, which types of political action are favoured and by whom, and whether rates of participation in political action are increasing or decreasing.

The scholar will also examine whether the use of social media as a means of political action has increased, whether it has just been used by the younger age group or whether its use has spread to other age groups.

The scholar will produce a research report, linking the findings to arguments proposed in the broader literature.  In addition the student will work alongside the PPI’s Knowledge Translation Specialist to develop intellectual connections between election study findings and their implications for policy research and analysis.  The scholar will also produce two blog pieces outlining the key points of the research for the Public Policy Institute.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar should demonstrate good attention to detail, and excellent oral and written communication skills, with a knowledge of how to undertake a literature review and an annotated bibliography.  The scholar should also be able to interpret basis statistical data in the form of tables and be able to translate this into written material. Preference will be given to students who have completed some basic courses in statistics. A familiarity with the New Zealand political system is required and an understanding of the basics of policy analysis would be an advantage.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

International Perspectives on Gender Analysis and Gender Budgeting


Supervisor

Associate Professor Jennifer Curtin

Discipline

Politics and International Relations, Public Policy Institute 

Project code: ART030

Measuring gendered policy impacts and gender equality outcomes is an integral part of effective policymaking. Statistics, data and indicators are essential components of evidence-based policymaking and can assist with the mainstreaming of gender analysis.  This project involves an international examination of two gender-focused policy initiatives: Gender Budgeting and the Gender Equality Index.  Gender budgeting was first adopted in Australia in 1984, but did not become a permanent feature of its machinery of government.  In 2014 the G20 identified gender budgeting as a process of import, following on from recommendations made by the G7 and the OECD.  Between 1984 and 2014, numerous countries adopted various types of gender budgeting.  Alongside this, the EU has committed to more systematic measurement of gender equality to assess what additional policy tools are needed to advance better outcomes for disadvantaged groups.  One such tool is the relatively new Gender Equality Index. Neither of these initiatives have been taken up in the New Zealand context, despite the recommendations of various CEDAW reports.  This project will begin by examining scholarship and policy related to these two initiatives to advance a broader collaborative project with government and non-government actors to implement similar mechanisms in NZ.

Scholar’s Work

The summer scholar will work with the primary investigator and a PPI research associate from Treasury to:

·        search for and summarise relevant second-order literature in the fields of gender budgeting, gender mainstreaming and gender equality indices

·        collect and analyse policy initiatives undertaken cross nationally by governments and international agencies of relevance;

·        collect NZ data on a range of gender equality measures and develop models of effective gender analysis;

·        consult and work alongside supervisors in discussions of key research questions, research design and methodological approaches for the next stage of the project.

·        Co-author one policy brief and two policy blogs related to the initial comparative findings

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar should demonstrate the following:

·        A broad knowledge of gender politics and policy and a demonstrated interest in New Zealand and comparative political institutions and public administration;

·        Have excellent research, writing, analytical and communication skills;

·        A capacity to work independently and as part of a team;

·        A knowledge of economics and a familiarity with descriptive statistics would be an advantage.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Pathways to the Premiership: Media Coverage and Stereotype Threat


Supervisor

 A/P Jennifer Curtin

Discipline

Politics and International Relations

Project code: ART031

The objective of this project is to illuminate women’s access to and impact in political leadership roles by detailing the career paths of the fifteen women who have served as premier of a Canadian province or Australian state and a matched sample of comparable men premiers. Media coverage of newly selected political leaders is an important factor in political careers because it creates powerful first impressions, affecting their ability to thrive in government leadership roles. Media discourses often reflect assumptions about the stereotype-based “lack of fit” between women’s culturally inscribed characteristics and those qualities assumed to be necessary for the effective performance of political leadership (Eagly et al., 2000; Heilman, 1983, 2001; Koenig et al., 2011). By analysing news reporting about the rise of women to the premiership, the research is designed to test a key theoretical proposition: women premiers will enjoy higher levels of success in jurisdictions and contexts where gender stereotypes are less prevalent in the media. The focus of the summer scholar project is on one part of this broader project, that is, the media coverage of five Australian women premiers.

Scholar’s Work

Alongside A/Prof Jennifer Curtin and Professor Linda Trimble from the University of Alberta the scholar will undertake research on the media representations of women premiers.  This will involve gathering newspaper materials and analysing them with a view to revealing whether lower levels of stereotypical news coverage is correlated with higher levels of success for women premiers.  The focus will be on five Australian premiers, two of whom were electorally successful, two of whom were not, and one who has just begun a term as premier. Analysing coverage of these five premiers will reveal the extent to which gender-based norms and assumptions are present in news coverage of their rise to power.

The scholar will:

  • Search online news databases for relevant newspaper articles about each women premier;
  • Perform content coding based on a content analysis instrument devised in collaboration with the project’s investigators (quantitative analysis);
  • Collate qualitative data on indicators of gender stereotyping recording what was said, who said it, where it was located in the news item, and relevant context;
  • Consult with and work alongside supervisors to analyse data;
  • Present the research in the form of accessible blog posts and infographics;
  • Review relevant second order literature as required

 

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

  • A demonstrated interest in women’s political representation and media coverage of women;
  • Some experience with the compilation and organization of research data from news databases;
  • Capacity to learn and apply the principles and techniques of content analysis and discourse analysis of media texts;
  • Excellent writing, critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills;
  • A capacity to work independently and as part of a team.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Political Marketing Analysis of the 2017 NZ Election, Parties and Vote Compass


Supervisor

Jennifer Lees-Marshment

Discipline

Politics and International Relations

Project code: ART032

This project will produce research, analysis and organisational support for a range of outputs on political marketing and the 2017 New Zealand Election. It will be an exciting range of activities such as literature searching, analysis of multiple sources on the 2017 election and analysis of the Vote Compass data set. Working closely with the supervisor, scholars will work to produce analysis of political marketing in the 2017 election, a report with lessons from the research for NZ parties, organisation of a conference on Political marketing and Management, and literature identification and collection for the 3rd edition of the political marketing textbook.

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will engage in a range of activities including:

a)    Analyse the extent to which the main NZ parties and leaders followed the followed the Market-Sales-Product oriented party model 2014-2017

b)    Produce a Best Practice Report with advice for NZ political parties on how to use political marketing effectively, and disseminate it to them

c)    Help with organisation of a small conference on Political Marketing in early February

d)    Conduct a literature search and collection for new political marketing research published since 2017

The exact nature of activities will depend in part on the scholar’s skills and those of other research assistants working on Vote Compass.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Below are required and desirable skills; please make it clear in your application how many of these you meet. Preference will be given to candidates who have one or more of the desirable skills.

Required Skills

At the very least candidates need:

  • Interest in politics and the 2017 New Zealand Election
  • Ability to engage in critical analysis, work independently, manage their time well, and adapt to the needs of the overall project and team

Desirable skills

Candidates should show how they have one or more of these desirable skills:

  • Understanding of political marketing through having undertaken previous study or research in the area
    • E.g. familiarity with political marketing either through having taken POLITICS 345 Political Marketing or POLITICS 704 Political Management in Government
    • Or having read Political marketing: Principles and Applications (Lees-Marshment 2014 Routledge)
  • Awareness of the politics involved in the 2017 NZ Election through involvement or study
  • Understanding of Vote Compass
  • Data base searching to identify literature, use of endnote to store literature
  • Experience of producing workplace-style short reports
  • Ability to generate recommendations for practice from research
  • Quantitative skills and the ability to analyse the Vote Compass data
    • i.e. experience in SPSS conducting multiple regression analyses to be able to analyse data from the Vote Compass data set
    • To analyse key data by segments e.g. party supporters, age, gender, geography
    • To explore relationships between voters’ views on policies and leaders, exploring which factors were more or less important in determining vote choice, across the population as a whole of among sub-groups
    • To connect the data to political marketing theory e.g. testing hypotheses that the political product, brand and delivery impacted on vote choice.
  • Experience in political practice e.g. in campaigning, in a party, in government
  • Experience in event management/organisation

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Women’s Participation in New Zealand’s Energy Sector


Supervisor

Dr Julie MacArthur

Discipline

Politics and International Relations

Project code: ART033

New Zealand is facing pressure to invest heavily in new green energy technologies in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and pollution levels. According to the most recent greenhouse gas emissions report emissions in New Zealand have continued to increase by more than 24% since 1990, driven largely by the energy (including transport) and agriculture sectors (MFE 2017). As such, green socio-technical transitions are more important than ever, and will likely attract increasing investments in the next decade and beyond. Who will benefit from these investments is less clear. Gender inequalities are particularly acute within the energy sector globally, but we know very little in detail as to how this manifests in New Zealand (PWC, 2015). As such, this research will focus on understanding the gender composition of the energy sector in New Zealand.

According to the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA), women’s employment in renewable energy in industrialized countries is slightly higher than fossil fuels industries worldwide at 24%, but well below the 50% share they make up in the overall economy. This means that economic investment in this area has significant gendered implications, particularly if new funds are taken from feminized industries such as health care and education. We need to understand where the women are in the energy sector in terms of their roles, seniority levels and sub-industrial concentration. This is important as gender inclusivity is theorized to: increase new renewable investments, reshape corporate cultures, and raise economic outcomes for women through access to high-paying jobs (CRB, 2012; Baruah 2016; Cohen 2017).

Scholar’s Work

The student will be expected to conduct a literature review on women’s representation in the energy sector broadly, before focusing specifically on renewable energy. This project will also include a review of methodologies for tracking women’s participation from other international studies. They will be required to undertake extensive internet research on the gender composition of the energy sector in New Zealand, through reviews of government statistics, annual reports, academic studies where applicable and, if necessary, a survey of meso-level organizations. The results of their research should be presented in a final report on the state of the available data and the field in New Zealand.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Previous experience or training in gender analysis would be an asset, as would a familiarity with the energy sector. The student should be an excellent time-manager and able to synthesize and summarize academic literature clearly.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Establishing a probabilistic online panel for New Zealand (POPNZ)


Supervisor

Barry Milne (COMPASS)

Jennifer Curtin (Public Policy Institute)

Discipline

Politics and International Relations
COMPASS
Public Policy Institute

Project code: ART034

This research project will help establish a probabilistic online panel for New Zealand (POPNZ). Probabilistic online panels are samples of individuals randomly drawn from the population, on which different online surveys are conducted over time. We will initially recruit a pilot sample from a random selection of the electoral roll, and will use this recruitment phase to assess response rates for key population subgroups. Crucially, we will include participants who do not have internet access or who are net averse, and so would otherwise be excluded from online panels; these participants will complete pen-and-paper postal surveys.

Two surveys will be conducted on the pilot sample. One topic will be determined by the PPI and the other by COMPASS. Factors affecting retention will be assessed. Using the learnings from the pilot sample we will then recruit the POPNZ panel – also from the electoral roll. We will conduct 4-8 surveys annually on the panel, according to demand from clients, both internal (e.g., University of Auckland) and external (e.g., government, council).

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will play a key role in co-ordinating activities for the recruitment and maintenance of the POPNZ panel, and co-ordinating the administration of surveys to the POPNZ panel. The scholar will learn key skills in the preparation for and running of a research project, and the workings of a research team. The scholar will help with:

  • Preparing ethics applications
  • Preparing applications to obtain the electoral roll
  • Co-ordinating input about survey items
  • Programming surveys into online survey software, and formatting survey questionnaire for pen-and-paper administration
  • Programming survey software to monitor responses and send timely reminders
  • Conducting simple analyses of survey responses, and writing short reports based on these

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Scholars should have good attention to detail, good oral and written communication skills, and be prepared to work in a team. Familiarity with statistics and statistical software is preferred. Familiarity with web design and computer coding would also be advantageous.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Migration Conflict in Asia and the Pacific


Supervisor

Chris Wilson

Discipline

Politics and International Relations

Project code: ART035

I am in the final stages of a book project on migration and violent conflict in Asia and the Pacific. The book is based on over 14 years of research and fieldwork. My primary puzzle is why some locations which have experienced large-scale migration have ended in tension and violent conflict while in others, indigenous and migrant communities coexist peacefully. Case studies include local regions from Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea and include variance in the outcome of violence (or peace). The book utilises theory on anti-migration sentiment and ethnic conflict. The structured comparison of numerous cases allows the rigorous testing of several hypotheses and the development of a new theory of migration-related conflict in the Asia Pacific.

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will work with me to identify sites of migration across the Asia Pacific where indigenes and migrants have created peaceful societies with strong social cohesion. I am particularly interested in local contexts in the region where 1) little to no tension has emerged after migration and 2) where any tension has not resulted in mobilisation and the society has remained peaceful. These often lesser reported cases are not only crucial to my work in both theoretical / analytical terms as they will allow me to conduct a rigorous comparative study with variance in outcome. They are also crucial in practical terms: it is such communities which demonstrate to local governments, international agencies (such as the UN, World Bank, Asia Foundation) how and why tension and violence can be avoided. The student will conduct library and internet based research. The project may also involve contacting staff members of development and human rights organisations around the region.

The scholar will write a 3,000- to 4,000-word report on the case studies they have researched. This report will provide detail on: the level of migration into each area; the nature of the local – migrant relationship; any tensions that have arisen and the central issues involved; and whether mobilisation or conflict has occurred as a result of this mobilisation.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

  • The scholar should possess strong research and writing skills.
  • The scholar should possess good interpersonal skills if contact with researchers and development practitioners elsewhere is required.
  • They will be required to ‘think outside the box’ in terms of the locations where important information might be found. These might be journals or books from a wide range of disciplines (Anthropology, Geography, Health, Biology, Engineering for example). They will also include online publications of international agencies working in development, aid, migration and health. The scholar will have a free rein with which to pursue any lead which might potentially lead to otherwise unreported (but important) information.
  • The scholar should be able to quickly identify and summarise important information.
  • They should possess a strong interest in understanding (and preventing) violent conflict and human rights abuses.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.