2011-10-10-05.57.16-pmEditors' Note:

Resistance and dissent by the citizen in order to overcome hardships, attain freedoms, impose beliefs, or develop recognition has been a facet of civil society for centuries. Discord against the status quo has been expressed by means that have been bloody, through revolutions, civil wars, insurrections, coups, and uprisings as well as bloodless, through protests, marches, petitions, boycotts, art, media, and education. While the fundamental objectives of dissent remain fairly consistent throughout the centuries, the voices and modes of resistance continue to change.

The Dynamics of Dissent attempts to examine movements of dissent in the 21st century. This Forum finds that most chronicles of resistance are never uncomplicated. Modern day movements of dissent are deeply rooted within historical and traditional foundations that have evolved into complex forces for social and political change. Moreover, today’s dissident movements are shaped by the amplification of technology, globalization, and mass media.

In particular, this Forum will delve into the complexities of a dissent movement by examining it in its various forms and settings across the globe. Our Forum contributors take a look at youth movements in Pakistan, female rights movements in Iran, and religious and lay movements in Burma. All three of these sites have served as hotbeds of opposition and subsequent suppression in the recent past. Moreover, the Forum examines some of the fundamental mechanisms of resistance, such as ethnicity and nationalism, and the role of the media. It also argues for the necessity of dissent in a global democratic context.

Indeed, this entire Issue boldly confronts the various forms of conflicting struggles for recognition by disparate parties across the globe. An exclusive interview with Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner reveals her views on human rights and justice with respect to such issues as trade, immigration, development, and war. Peter Chalk examines the role of the Tamil Diaspora as a global support structure for Tamil recognition. The newly elected AK Party in Turkey seeks recognition and authority for its survival over a secular Turkish military. Chechen women as mothers, beauty contestants, and suicide bombers struggle for recognition of a distinct Chechen identity, argues Francine Banner. Finally, China utilizes information technology to seek economic recognition while stifling the political, according to James Mulvenon.

As it has in the past, this Journal will continue to recognize the most significant and relevant concerns of its time and give voice to the issues that influence the economic and social conditions of communities across the world. As its Editors, we are truly proud to have taken a part in this endeavor.

– Aditya C. Deshmukh & Alfia A. Sadekova

Forum: Dynamics of Dissent

  • Introduction by the Editors | Read  

Today's methods of dissent—sometimes peaceful, often violent, and usually controversial—take many forms in the age-old quest for social and political change. Globalization has become an ever-present force of transformation, affecting how opposition to the status quo arises and how people express their opposition. Technology and trade liberalization provide citizens with immediate access to information that shapes how they voice their dissent. At the same time, traditional factors—ethnic, economic, religious—continue to be a source of tension, provoking dissent in numerous ways. This Forum examines the evolving dynamics of contemporary dissent. While keeping an eye on dissent’s consistent themes, such as the exclusion of minorities and debates over non-violent tactics, this Forum also explores the effects of new forces, from the Internet to the WTO, on how people experience and confront marginalization. Examining the dynamics of dissent allows us to better understand how changes will continue to unfold as our diverse world becomes ever more integrated.

  • Towards a Civic Culture: Student Activism and Political Dissent in Pakistan by Haider A. H. Mullick | Read  
  • Who Are the People? Why Ethnic Politics Matters by Tristan James Mabry | Read  
  • The Dialectic of Resistance and Restriction: Dissident Citizenship and the Global Media by Jules Boykoff | Read  
  • The Politics of Change: Why Global Democracy Needs Dissent by Roland Bleiker | Read  
  • Courage, Creativity, and Capacity in Iran: Mobilizing for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality by Shaazka Beyerle | Read  
  • Globalization, Dissent, and Orthodoxy: Burma/Myanmar and the Saffron Revolution by David Steinberg | Read  

Politics & Diplomacy

  • The AKP Catalyst: Progressive Islamists and Ambitious Kurds by Michael M. Gunter | Read  

The newly elected AK Party looks to cement its authority over the Turkish Military and its Kurdish citizens through progressive reforms and EU membership.

  • What Can Iraq’s Neighbors Contribute? by Daniel Serwer | Read  

While Iraq may be in desperate need of friends and help from its neighbors, the United States must first define its role and timeline for being there and then open the door for Iraq to accept that help.

Culture & Society

  • Mothers, Bombers, Beauty Queens: Chechen Women’s Roles in Russo-Chechen Conflict by Francine Banner | Read  

The bodies of Chechen women symbolize the dichotomy of tradition and modernity in Chechen national identity.

Conflict & Security

By failing to integrate airpower into the core military doctrine for counterinsurgency, U.S. forces risk planning operations without a full understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of service capabilities.

  • The Tigers Abroad: How the LTTE Diaspora Supports the Conflict in Sri Lanka by Peter Chalk | Read  

An integral part of the LTTE Support structure is the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, which serves as a critical lifeline by providing international political recognition and monetary support.

Law & Ethics

  • Citizenship in the Making by Gustavo Gordillo | Read  

A retrospective analysis of legality the 2006 election and Lopez Obrador presidency in Mexico.

Science & Technology

Meeting increasing water needs across the globe requires creative solutions on both sides of the supply and demand equation.


David Kang explores the role of China as a harbinger of cooperation and harmony in East Asia, in spite of its geopolitical power and its rapid emergence.

  • Old Paradigms, Challenging Realities, New Interpretations by Jose A. Montero | Read  

Parag Khanna delivers an account of the current contest among America, Europe, and China through the lens of the subjects of the contest—the “Second World.”

View from the Ground

  • American Muslims and the Use of Cultural Diplomacy by Hafsa Kanjwal | Read  

Today, American Muslims are in a unique historical position to transcend reactive public relations, and engage in constructive cultural diplomacy to create a cohesive and accessible American Muslim identity.

  • As Hazy as Ever, the Cross-Strait Status Quo by Lin Fu | Read  

“Cross-Strait” relations and the Taiwanese identity are ever in a state of flux, as China’s ascension attracts Taiwan economically but repels it politically.

A Look Back

Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson provides her unique perspective on issues ranging from migration to human rights to trade.

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