Centre for Democratisation Seminar Series
21 October: Julia Buxton (Peace Studies, Bradford), ‘Hugo Chavez's Venezuela: democratic advance or authoritarian regression?’
Julia Buxton is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University. She works on the trade in narcotic drugs, the Andes and post-conflict reconstruction.
Her talk will look at the main criticisms of the Chavez government (that it is demagogic, repressive, populist, quasi totalitarian) and the counter-arguments that outline how new political and participatory forms in the country mark democratic progress.
11 November: David Beetham (Emeritus, Leeds), ‘Democracy and Human Rights: Convergence and Divergence’
David Beetham is a former Professor of Politics at Leeds University. He has published extensively on the theory and practice of democracy and its relation to human rights. Recent works include: Parliament and Democracy in the Twenty-first Century: a Guide to Good Practice, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva, 2006; Assessing the Quality of Democracy: a Practical Guide, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Stockholm, 2008; Introducing Democracy, 2nd edition, UNESCO, Paris, 2009. He has provided the following synopsis of his talk:
Analyses over the past decade of the complementarity between democracy and human rights have led to the widespread acceptance of the idea that a democracy has to be 'rights-based' to be properly democratic. The talk will explore different dimensions - conceptual, justificatory and empirical - in which a convergence between democracy and human rights can be demonstrated. However, significant divergences between the two also exist, at the level of their respective subjects, institutional practices and modes of academic analysis. The conclusion will assess whether these divergences are sufficient to compromise the concept of a 'rights-based democracy'.
25 November: Manuel Amarilla Mena (Peace Studies, Bradford), ‘Iraq’s 2010 Elections, democracy and violence’
Manuel Amarilla has been the Electoral Security Analyst to the Electoral Assessment Team to Iraq's 2010 Parliament elections. He has worked with EU, UN, OSCE and NATO in Electoral Operations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and in Southern Asia. Currently, he is PhD researcher on Electoral Violence, Crisis Management Tools and Security and Defence Frameworks, in the School of Peace Studies, School of International and Social Studies, Bradford University. He has provided this synopsis of his talk:
During Iraq's 2010 elections, thousands of people were casualties during the electoral cycle. The Election Day itself witnessed violent scenes where attacks on polling centres and on voters undermined the polling day. IEDs, IDF, BBIEDs, VBIEDs and other military jargon words were diverted from their normal use to the ballot paper's framework. Thus, Iraq’s elections brought a set of analytical questions to understand the implications of Electoral Violence during democratisation operations. Could this Electoral Violence be considered another case of democratisation failure? Could it be prevented? Who were the agents, strategists and challengers affecting the management of the mitigation efforts of such violence? Was any lesson learnt? What are the implications stemming from the past, present and which could be applied to the future (Kosovo, Kenya, Iraq, and Afghanistan)? Is there a need for a multidisciplinary approach to deal with electoral violence?
All meetings will take place on Thursdays, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, Parkinson 1.08.