I reviewed four recent books on the translation of policies, assemblages and the growing role of ethnography in public policy and urban studies in a new book review essay published in Environment and Planning C. These books are as follows: Blaustein Jarrett, Speaking truths to power: Policy ethnography and police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. …
On Friday July 01, I am giving a talk at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS. The details are in the announcement. The paper is to appear later this year and will be found on Publications page. Synopsis: Intensive cross-border movement of policy models is ubiquitous in the water sector. Examples include Integrated …
Today (18 April) in my class on sustainable development, we watched this video on transition network, an initiative to create and distribute the network of sustainable communities across the world. I think the students liked it. I thought that it would be a good idea to share this with the readers of my blog, and to offer a large feature in the Orion which talks about the initiative at length.
As some of you may have already noticed through my LinkedIn update, there is a slight change to my professional affiliation. Starting from May 2016, I will join the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, as an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow. This appointment is an “adjunct” appointment, which means that my major affiliation and place of work will remain ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan. However, the adjunct appointment with NUS in Singapore will allow me to collaborate with world-leading scholars in the fields of public policy and the environment, and especially water resources, in the regions of South East Asia, China and Central Asia. I have already published on the Mekong river basin, have done fieldwork and wrote articles on Vietnam, and am currently working on an article on Sesun 2 Dam in Cambodia with my colleague from Singapore. (more…)
After three years of writing and revising, our paper on various ways of security being framed in the Mekong River Commission has come to light in International Relations journal Globalizations. Here one may read it. This is yet another wonderful collaboration with Andrea Gerlak with whom it is pure pleasure to work and write.
The key point of the article is that security has many faces, and it is not always what one expects. We studied the official documents of the Mekong River Commission in order to see what challenges and policy options to overcome such they have. And, to our surprise, we found that it is not “water security” that is the paramount concern to member-states, but “food security”.
This may be an interesting model for other scholars to study securitization of natural resources with the use of official documentation.
We live in the times of democracy in crisis. This is obvious not only in authoritarian countries, but also in traditionally democratic societies such as the US and The Netherlands. Those that are between the worlds, such as Hungary and other Eastern European countries, democracy is a patient in the emergency room. A prominent public policy scholar Helen Ingram delivered a plenary keynote speech last year at the International Conference on Public Policy in Milano, and there is a footage of this speech about democracy, politics and public policy. I invite all public policy students, scholars and professionals to watch this wonderful lecture. Click on the picture to get linked to the video of Helen’s talk. Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the recording.
“Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come” (Victor Hugo) What happens when a policy idea becomes internationally popular? An idea that becomes a darling of international policy communities that propagate it and institute a system of reward and punishment around its application. And how then do we know …
Once a great Cuban world chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca was asked how many moves ahead he is able to see in a chess game. He famously responded: ‘one, the best one’.
Karl Wittfogel, in 1957, published his seminal book “Oriental Despotism“, his claim that state-formation and organization of societies in hierarchies originated from large structural works, mainly irrigation in Mesopotamia and in the Yellow River in China, received much attention. While the hypothesis of Wittfogel on the link between large-scale irrigation works and “despotism” is currently rejected, the Chinese water engineers can be credited for another achievement: they laid the foundation of the game of chess. Dr. David Lee in “The Genealogy of Chess” directly tied the control of water and disastrous flooding to the creation of the ancient board game of Go and the later game of Xiang Qi, which is seen as a prototype of modern chess. Chess, like water management, reached Europe through the Arab world from where the Moors brought it to the Southern Europe in their conquests. (more…)
I have recently received two reviews on my writing pieces, which felt like a great achievement for a number of reasons. Five or six other journals rejected one article before it was actually reviewed. Another, a chapter for a prestigious collection, which I am co-writing with a colleague in Australia, finally got reviews from two prominent scholars in the field of water policy. Many of these comments are very critical. (more…)
Once a month, Policy & Politics chooses an article that is branded as “free” on its website and twitter account. This month, my article “Rethinking the travel of ideas: policy translation in the water sector” was chosen! It’s a sign that the article is good enough to be show-cased as a piece of research that gets published in Policy & Politics, something that makes me feel good about my work. (more…)
I was recently taking breakfast with two friends in a quiet district of Amsterdam. While enjoying our salmon on omelet, and conversing in Dutch, we updated each other on our lives. A friend of my friend had a new job, he became a manager of a pharmaceutical company which works with plants. His job is to get permissions from authorities for new drugs which are 100% plant based. He told me that it actually does not matter if the drug works, all he needs for the permissions, is that the drug does not harm people. And he run experiments to prove that, and a lot of paperwork. (more…)
This year I supervise three Master students in their thesis work, and a few other written assignments of students. It’s the time when students come up with their proposals and try to work out a puzzle and a methodology around it. Now, research would not be called research if it was easy. It’s a lot of searching, and often, without knowing what one is really looking for. It’s a stupefying process. What is important to note, however, that it is a necessarily stupefying process, one that is supposed to be such. Unfortunately, our education system is just not designed to prepare students for that, one just confronts this emotional and intellectual challenge after the years of training in problem solving.
One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. (more…)
The academic year 2015 – 2016 marks several important dates for our Department. These are the 25th anniversary of the Department (and CEU), the 20th anniversary of the first 1-year MSc class, and 10th anniversary of the first MESPOM class. We are all very excited about this and would like to celebrate with you! (more…)
Last week, on October 08-09, I took part in a workshop at the University of Duisburg’s Kate Hamburger Kolleg (Centre for Global Cooperation Research) named “Translation in World Politics”. It was very pleasing to see the ideas of policy translation making headway in other disciplines, and now also in International Relations and World Politics. I want to tell “thank you” to organizers of the workshop – Dr. Alejandro Esguera and Dr. Tobias Berger for organizing such a wonderful event, and for inviting me from so far to take part in it. It’s been fantastic… (more…)
One key advice I got from many columns for early-stage professors is not to be afraid to experiment in a class-room. So I went ahead with this last Friday, on session 2 of my undergraduate research methods class. I had to introduce students to the ideas of social constructivism and interpretation in order to sanction interpretive research design and methods later in the course. I decided to show them the video of an experiment in psychology designed and administered by Heider and Simmel in 1944, which I had learned about from Dvora Yanow (more…)
Edward Said is primarily known for this views on Palestine and Israel and for this book “Orientalism” which defined and inspired the post-colonial studies, as discussed before on this blog. He, however, also left a dozens if not hundreds of essays and interviews — the goldmine for anyone interested in the issues of politics, literature, the art of living and struggles of (intellectual) exile and multi-culturalism. Said’s essay “On Defiance and Taking Positions” is very interesting as it tells us what it means, to him, to be a good academic and a public intellectual. Here a few extracts and quotes which drive his point home so powerfully. (more…)
After 3 years of owning the book, I finally made the effort and read the book from cover to cover. It was hard to start off, but then went in a free-flow. There are many reviews on the Internet, so I won’t go on about the book at length, only mention a few things which touched me personally and professionally. There are five points that I take from this wonderful and insightful book (more…)
Last autumn, I started being interested in Professor Edward Said, who is most known for his 1978 book “The Orientalism”. I won’t write about the book here, a lot has been written about it already. Edward Said, however, is much more than an author. He stands out as perhaps the last public intellectual of our time. We do not have public intellectuals of this caliber anymore, maybe with an exception of Noam Chomsky. (more…)