Tutor profile: Fariha K.
What did Max Weber mean when he said that politics is a vocation?
Gerth and Mills included the lecture Politics as a Vocation by a German sociologist, Max Weber in their book “From Max Weber”. In this discourse, Weber insisted that politics is a vigorous activity to be performed like any other vocation as opposed to an innate quality in nature of a person as Aristotelian philosophy had maintained. Politics is done within a state, an entity which can rightfully use violence within a defined territory. This legitimacy of the use of physical violence can rest in hands of a traditional ruler, a charismatic leader or a legal official. Furthermore, under this ruling executive, there exists an organization of all other party workers who gather “personal compensation” and additional advantages if their leader gains the power (Gerth and Mills, p.103). The leader or the “whip” is the most important figure but s/he needs the support of other notables and party officials, who are also practicing politics much like her/him. More and more officials are required as the government becomes more democratic to tap into the voters’ pool. The process becomes formal and bureaucratic – just like any “entrepreneurial organization” with its workers choosing it as their vocational venue (p.105). This organization also enforces routinization; the workers conform to certain ways of doing things, hence, doing politics. For the whip and the officials, their training in politics, their abilities and qualities, and their skills to emotionally persuade the masses, become key in their selection to power. These officials fall into two categories: ones who live for politics and ones who live off politics. The former embrace politics as a full-fledged ambition while the latter keep the avenue of alternative opportunities open for themselves. According to Weber, the three qualities we should look for in a leader are passion, feeling of responsibility and sense of proportion. S/he must have a cause to fight for, in turn, should be responsible to act upon its progression, but also should remain calm and distanced from vanity and materialism. The leader is granted the right to use violence to do politics, thus s/he should do so ethically. Weber invokes that ethics of conviction, derived from religion, and ethics of responsibility, derived from human mind, should work together. It, thus, is a vocational undertaking, to determine how the two should be intertwined. For Weber, power clearly is concentrated within a small circle. His whip is the executive decision-maker with a strong party support. Much like Mills’ power elite, the party officials could be notables, the landowners, the university students or the business capitalists. Weber’s stress on the notion that politics is a profession, makes it even narrower a field for the professionals who want to practice politics. It seems Weber may not accept somebody lacking a political background to run for an election. The tool to encapsulate power, legitimately, is the use of violence. The state government is given the right to use it, not any other non-state entity or person. The government should obtain its ethical stand from religion as well as human reasoning. But if Weber’s whip is selected in his prescribed way, s/he shall have the ultimate right to apply power (read violence). The unstated groups seem to be the oppressed lot, not only in the lecture but also in reality. Those who do not wish to pursue politics as a career, shall not participate in it, henceforth may not gain power – which then becomes a privilege for only those who see politics as a vocation. Reference: Weber, Max, et al. From Max Weber. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Subject: Political Science
How does Turkish foreign policy display a two-Level game in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July 2016?
Introducing the Two-Level Game Nation states use complex and multifaceted ways to construct their foreign policies. These dynamic policies are based, at times, on the considerations of national interests of the countries and, and other times, on self-interests of the actors involved. With an increase in interconnectedness among the states today, foreign policy-makers must address concerns like transnational terrorism, global economic interdependence, energy sharing and pan-ethnic divergences, to name a few. In this effort, they cannot condone the domestic needs and the internal developments within their countries’ boundaries. A state may shape its foreign policy according to its domestic needs, inversely, it may focus on its local issues with respect to diplomatic sensitivities; and at times, may keep both, domestic and foreign policies, in tandem. The formation and protection of the national self-image, as a guide to intra- and international policies (Neack, 2014, p. 92), becomes more complicated if a country is an epicenter of multiple continents and is confronting with upheavals within its power structure. Case in point: present-day Turkey. Although it was unsuccessful in overthrowing the democratic government, the recent coup attempt, by the factions of the Turkish military, has at least resurfaced the need for some major policy alignments as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reoccupies his authority. The subsequent external impacts of the coup are noticeable in the country’s dealing with its NATO ally, the United States and its historic rival, Russia. The current Turkish administration is thought of as playing a two-level game post-coup d’état; the mayhem at home has driven the adjustments in the international arena. Sovereignty essentially entails control over a population confined within a given territory and recognition of that control by the external actors (Neack, 2014, p. 8). Sovereign states are often entangled in national and international politics. Putnam identifies these domains as two separate levels in a game of boards, wherein negotiations are made on one board vis-à-vis the developments on the other (1988, p.434). Nation leaders, thus, engage in a two-level or a dual game, making bargains between their international and domestic environments (Neack, 2014, p. 6) This interplay of diplomacy and local politics can either be directed from domestic to international level, which Neack calls as the critical direction (2014, p. 112), or international to domestic level, or it can reconcile both the levels, simultaneously. The leaders in this nested-game strategy (Neack, 2014, p. 6) act like negotiators (Putnam, 1988), approaching their external relationships with one another as they keep in mind the realities within their homelands and vice versa. Like many countries, Turkey has been practicing the two-level game for a long time. Before the coup attempt, it entered a deal with the European Union allowing the Turks a visa-free entry into Europe. At the national level, President promised to “observe principles of democracy and human rights” as urged by the EU (Malsin, 2016). However, the deal is in its peril post-coup of July, it showed Turkey’s inclination to modify its internal principles on human rights in order to gain access to the European continent. Two-level Game in the Post-Coup Turkish Foreign Policy The coup attempt, claiming lives of around 280 people on both the sides (Maslin, 2016), was not only a devastating blow to Turkey’s internal bureaucratic structure but it also has forced the Erdogan-administration to reconsider its associations with other state actors. It not only produced an air of distrust among different components of the in-home elite i.e. military, judiciary, academia, and the government but also brought about bitterness in the US-Turkish relations. To add to the complexities, Ankara increased its communication with Moscow, right after President Erdogan assumed the office again. Internally, the president rose back to power with an overwhelming support from his constituents. “The coup plotters had almost no support from the Turkish society” (Unluhisarcikli, 2016) and even the opposition leaders vehemently resisted the military blow. This undoubtedly strengthened the regime’s legitimacy on its domestic grounds. The newly redeemed power has made the President not only more cautious but somewhat dictatorial in his behavior as well. According to Amnesty International, some post-coup detainees are subject to human rights violations (Zanotti and Thomas, 2016, p. 12). Foreign policy observers anticipate this consolidation of power may become tainted with authoritarian overtones, internally (Unluhisarcikli, 2016). Externally, the spillovers of this domestic event are visible in the recent Turkish realignments of its relations with the United States and Russia. US-Turkish Relations The strategic relationship between the United States and Turkey was established in form of NATO alliance, with Incirlik Air Base hosting US-led military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and presently, in Syria against the ISIS (Zanotti and Thomas, 2016, p. 21). The failed coup of July 2016 precipitated some elements of contention between the two allies. To begin, the Turkish officials accused Fethullah Gulen, a US resident, of igniting the coup and want him extradited back to Turkey to face the charges (Ulgen, 2016). The ties became more acerbic when some executives in Ankara including the Turkish media blamed the United States for having a prior knowledge of the coup (Zanotti and Thomas, 2016, p. 21). The use of Incirlik Air Base by some coup plotters has risen bilateral suspicions (Zanotti and Thomas, 2016, p. 2). While Ankara may think of the possible links of the United States with its disloyal military members, Washington may question the security of the base and the stability of the region. What’s worse than the bitterness between the two long-standing allies: the time it has risen in. President Erdogan realizes that Turkey plays an important role in countering ISIS in Syria; he seems to be using his country’s geopolitical position to settle (or arguably, inflame) the ever-haunting Kurdish question. Kurds have been supported by the US-coalition forces in attacks against the ISIS. Domestically, he excluded the Kurdish party, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) from offices after the incident, insofar as the incriminating majority of HDP’s representatives with terrorism charges (Hallinan, 2016, p. 2). The 18% Kurdish minority of Turkey has links with People’s Protection Unit (YPG) in Syria (Zanotti and Thomas, 2017, p.14). YPG is one of the most effective US-coalition ground forces combatting the ISIS (Hallinan, 2016, p. 2). In its two-level game, Turkey is undermining this minority group nationally and regionally. By generating a new tussle with the United States, Turkey can feel more liberated to backtrack from helping the Kurds in Syria. Russian-Turkish Relations Post-coup period marked some monumental turns in Turkish policy towards Russia. The enemy state, of the Cold War period, is enjoying much attention from President Erdogan’s Turkey, not to mention an apology letter a little before the coup (Bremmer, 2016). Vladimir Putin was one of the earliest responders of the reestablishment of Erdogan’s office in mid-July, conspicuously before President Obama (Danforth and Miller, 2016). Later on August 9th, President Erdogan was invited to Moscow. A Turkish newspaper reported that the two leaders exchanged a telephonic conversation on the Syrian issue on October 5th, and are going to meet each other in the World Energy Congress, being held in Istanbul on October 10th (The Daily News, 2016). It is noteworthy that these efforts of normalizing the bilateral relations by the two Presidents, who also are key stakeholders in the Syrian conflict, are culminating in the backdrop of grievances against the West. To sweeten the association, Russia has removed the agricultural and tourism sanctions from Turkey before the coup and now talks about a deal on a gas pipeline, expected to originate from Russia into Europe going through Turkey (Danforth and Miller, 2016). The duality of Turkey’s policy is quite apparent. On one hand, it is attempting to benefit from the lifted Russian sanctions to bolster economic growth within the country, on the other hand, it is displaying its disappointment in the West for being late to encourage the revival of civilian control (Bremmer, 2016). Conclusion President Erdogan’s administration in clearly resorting to two-level games with the United States and Russia. The consolidation of President’s power, the partial dismantling of the Turkish military and the widespread purge of disloyal blocs of the government and society are few examples of the portrayal of Erdogan’s new attitude, domestically. Furthermore, his newly developed suspicious inclinations are carried over in his dealings outside the state. Turkey has come to a point that is has claimed that it “could accept an interim role for President Asad of Syria during a post-conflict transition” (Zanotti and Thomas, 2016, p. 28), the very force backed by Russia in the Syrian war. But analysts like Bremmer believe, it won’t cut ties with NATO (2016). But how far will it go in testing United States’ patience? Will it form new partnerships with Russia to boost its economic prospectives? Will it redesign its policy concerning the national and regional Kurds? And how will that impact NATO’s efforts in the war in Syria? These are a few questions which need unraveling in the days to come. President Erdogan might be learning some lessons due to the events at home; the events which have arguably made him more distrustful of his long-standing ally and more confident in an age-old enemy. References Bremmer, Ian. "Turkey and Russia Get Closer-And Worry the West." Time 188.7 (2016): 12. Academic Search Complete. Web. Danforth, Nick, and Chris Miller. "Russia and Turkey Make Nice." Foreign Affairs. Council on Foreign Relations, 29 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016. <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2016-08-11/russia-and-turkey-make-nice>. Hallinan, Conn M. "Turkey's Coup: Winners and Losers." International Policy Digest 3.8 (2016): 131-134. Political Science Complete. Web. Malsin, Jared, and Massimo Calabresi. "Turkey's Long Night of the Soul." Time 188.5 (2016): 7. Publisher Provided Full-Text Searching File. Web. Neack, Laura. The New Foreign Policy: U.S. and Comparative Foreign Policy in the 21st Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. Print. Putnam, Robert D. "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games." International Organization 1988: 427. JSTOR Journals. "Turkish, Russian Presidents Discuss Syria over Phone." The Daily News. Hurriyet Daily News, 6 Oct. 2016. Web. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-russian-presidents-discuss-syria-over-phone.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104657&NewsCatID=510>. Ülgen, Sinan. "The Strategic Consequences of Turkey's Failed Coup." Carnegie Europe. Project Syndicate, 18 July 2016. <http://carnegieeurope.eu/2016/07/18/strategic-consequences-of-turkey-s-failed-coup/j32t>. Unluhisarcikli, Ozgur. "The German Marshall Fund of the United States." Coup Attempt Unifies Turkey. N.p., 2 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016. <http://www.gmfus.org/blog/2016/08/02/coup-attempt-unifies-turkey-could-distance-west>. Zanotti, Jim, and Clayton Thomas. "Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations." Congressional Research Service: Report (2016): 1. Publisher Provided Full-Text Searching File. Web.
Subject: Gender Studies
Why should the US make the reform in its work-family policies to achieve greater gender equality?
The work-family intersection has not only affected the lives of individuals but also has transformed the larger social structures throughout the world. While an individual may struggle in achieving the so-called “balance” between life (read family) and work, aggregated segments of the society, for example, the government, and corporations, attempt to reconcile individuals and families with the help of organizational policies and federal regulations. With the spread of industrialization, work has become more and more separated from family, insofar as the two domains now seem to compete with one another (Wallen 2002). People are alienated from the products of long hours of their work. They now rely upon the markets to fulfill their material needs rather than their families and knitted communities (Wallen 2002). Time availability (Wight et al. 2013) for one sphere essentially translates into lack thereof for the other. Division of labor is not only between paid work and unpaid housework but is also present among the workers, especially based on their gender. The echoes of such divisions seem to exist in the mindsets, the culture, and the institutions, writ large. Despite being the world’s largest economy, the United States has a lot to accomplish in order to provide work-life satisfaction to the Americans and achieve an egalitarian social structure. A paradigm shift occurred when the American society evolved into a capitalist industrial economy. Wallen (2002) noted that wages started to become a more important part of people’s livelihood than the finished goods (crop and cloth) from the pre-industrial society. Paid work became more germane in the Protestant ethic, wherein hard work was perceived as the means to earn rewards i.e. monetary profits (Wallen 2002). The separation of work and family was paralleled with the intensification of the division of gender roles and the magnification of the gender system. Women have historically been positioned in doing housework, such as cooking, cleaning, and weaving, but with the advent of industrialization, their roles became even less instrumental and further devalued. During the second World War, the absence of men led to more women to join the workforce. This, effectually, made them less dependent on the men for money. In the baby-boomer era, the traditional Victorian household was upheld once again, when the men returned from war and reassumed the role of primary wage-earners (Wallen 2002). This was, however, not the case for many black households where women have always worked and were still working instead of quitting their jobs (Wight et al 2003). The current family living conditions have evolved from the traditional breadwinner-homemaker model to more nuanced and varying compositions. The dual earner model has risen from 33% in 1970 to 44% in 2012, while the male breadwinner model has shrunken from 52% to merely 21%, in the same period (IWPR 2016). Family wage has become a product of both the partners’ incomes – a phenomenon known as co-breadwinning (IWPR 2015). In her in-depth qualitative research, Damaske (2011) analyzed the reasons why women work. While the myth exists that the women enter and leave workforce out of choice, in reality, most women work to support their families, address their financial constraints, seek economic independence, utilize their knowledge and skills, and develop social capital. While there are many ways to make work-life interaction better for the people, the allowance of flexible schedules, availability of affordable childcare, and access to paid parental leave are some substantial policy recommendations to reconcile the work environment with the other aspects of life. The Work and Family Bill of Rights (Takecare.net n.d.) presents a list of “fundamental rights” for the working families to guarantee a well-supported societal structure for the Americans. While it offers good talking points to start with, there is also a need for extensive intranational and international research to measure the viability of outcomes from the different proposals and plans which have been applied at state, national and international levels. Apart from hypothesizing and speculating, there is also a need to act upon the well-investigated, true and tested propositions. The implementation of corrective policies can help bring people not only onto the plane of equal opportunity but also provide them with fair conditions to make their choices. The gender system, as a social construct, has placed men and women in different spheres. However, like any social construct, it too can be deconstructed, unlearned and replaced with new approaches, wherein mothers can comfortably work and fathers can contently care and vice versa. Women should not be penalized for choosing a career over choosing to rear the children. And men should not be rewarded with the so-called “father bonus” because they have children. Both fathers and mothers can equally be workers and caregivers. Taking timely actions upon the mentioned policy recommendations can help mitigate the gender disparity and bring about work-family reconciliation for the individuals, the households, and the employers. These actions are to be initiated at the governmental and organizational levels which can revive the public institutions and private businesses so that they can keep up which the changing patterns of the American families. References: Damaske, Sarah. 2011. For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work? New York: Oxford University Press. “The Need for Support for Working Families.” 2016. Institute for Women Policy Research 1–16. “The Status of Women in the States 2015–Work and Family.” 2015. Institute for Women's Policy Research. Retrieved March 2, 2017 (https://iwpr.org/publications/the-status-of-women-in-the-states-2015-work-and-family/). Wallen, Jacqueline. 2002. Balancing Work and Family: The Role of Workplace. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Wight, Vanessa R., Suzanne M. Bianchi, and Bijou R. Hunt. 2012. “Explaining Racial/Ethnic Variation in Partnered Women’s and Men’s Housework: Does One Size Fit All?” Journal of Family Issues 34:394–427. “Work & Family Bill of Rights”. Takecare.net. http://cepr.net/briefings/work_family_bill_of_rights.pdf .
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