RPP 7: Qualitative Data Sources

Currently, the overall question I am looking into is, “What explains difference in outcome in democracy movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Romania?”

My dependent variable with this question is the outcome of democratic reforms. I will operationalize this variable through either labeling it as non-transformative, partially transformative, or fully transformative. This will be determined through an analysis of qualitative data to see to what extent, if any, of progress towards democratization was made as an effect of the reforms, including factors such as the length of lasting effects, the extent to which democratic legal and overall regime change occurred, and the extent of allowance of free speech and press.

Three cases I am currently considering are Tunisian and Egyptian democracy movements during the Arab Spring and the Romanian anti-communist movements. I do realize that these cases occur in different time periods, but I believe that this is an inevitable issue if I am to analyze cases which occur in different regions, as democratic reforms generally occur in a sort of domino effect within particular regions, as seen in the Arab Spring regarding the Middle East and Northern Africa, eastern European anti-communist movements in the mid-1900s, and Latin American democratic reforms in the late 1900s and early 2000s.

I have located data sources specifically analyzing the outcome of Egypt’s Arab Spring democratic protest. To fully represent the extent to which change occurred after this movement, I have chosen two differing perspectives on the issue. The first is an interview held with Alaa Abdel Fattah, an influential Egyptian pro-democracy activist, who describes his experiences fighting for democracy in Egypt, and how he has been jailed several times for speaking outwardly about democracy in the years before the interview.[1]Contrastingly, the second source is a translated version of the new official Egyptian constitution, which was formally released and implemented starting in 2014, and states many democratic articles, even including articles regarding “due process” and “freedom of thought”.[2]Both of these sources combined give a broader perspective on the extent of democratic transformation; with this information, I would prescribe Egypt’s Arab Spring outcome as partially transformative because there was a democratic change in the literal law, but as seen through personal accounts, the regime remains extremely authoritarian and restrictive. However, I would be sure to consult more sources to determine this in the actual implementation of this research design aspect.

[1]Nermeen Shaik and Amy Goodman, “Alaa Abd El Fattah, Egyptian Blogger and Critic of Military Regime, Speaks Out After Months in Jail.” Democracy Now! 28 Dec, 2011. https://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/28/alaa_abdel_fattah_egyptian_blogger_and.

[2]International IDEA, trans. “Egypt’s Constitution of 2014,” Arab Republic of Egypt.12 Aug 2019. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Egypt_2014.pdf.

RPP 6: Quantitative Data Sources

  1. I am proposing to research the working class’ place in activism.

 

  1. This is because I want to find out what explains why the working class chooses activism techniques more typical to the urban class or middle class in different situations.

 

  1. In order to help my reader understand what causes the working class to sometimes identify with middle-class methods of activism, through legal means and professional organizations, or urban subaltern methods of activism, or more violent, loud, and illegal forms of protest.[1]

 

Q: What explains variation in activism methods used by the working class in Global South cities?

 

The dependent variable in this situation would be what method of activism is used by each case. I would have to compile this data set myself because the data does not really exist all in one place. Thus far, I’ve found that Gallup Poll Microdata for the Gallup World Poll would be the most helpful, although I’m waiting for them to hopefully approve my request to send the full dataset back. The survey asks some important questions which could help me compile a data set:

 

“Have you done any of the following in the past month? How about volunteered your time to an organization? (WP109) [2]

Have you done any of the following in the past month? How about voice your opinion to a public official? (WP111)[3]”

This represents two levels of activism I am interested in exploring as the dependent variable, working with organizations who promote certain issues and direct communication with officials. The Gallup Poll also includes information about the employment status, income, and location of each individual who answered these questions.

 

The main independent variable I would be testing for is income to investigate if this class designation if true. In addition, location would be another helpful independent variable to investigate if this information could be generalized across Global South cities or if the information is only relevant in each individual location. The dataset is limited in that there is not much representation of the more violent, loud, and illegal forms of protest I’d also like to observe.

[1][1]Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. Fitzgerald, The Craft of Research(4thed.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016, 54.

[2]Gallup World Poll, “WorIdwide Research: Methodology and Codebook”, Gallup Poll, 1-76.

[3]Ibid, 67.