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The Power of Ideas

A Political Social-Psychological Theory of Democracy, Political Development and Political Communication

by Danielle Rowell

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Institution: University at Albany
Advisor(s): Prof.Hoffmann, Prof.Wagner
Degree: Ph.D. in Political Science
Year: 2009
Volume: 311 pages
ISBN-10: 1612337694
ISBN-13: 9781612337692

Abstract

In this dissertation, I propose a new social psychological theoretical framework to describe, analyze and explicate under what conditions and through what processes successful democratic stabilization can occur in the developing world. This theoretical framework attempts to add new intellectual knowledge to the academic study of democracy beyond the intellectual and practical limitations of research and policies built upon mainstream structural-functional and institutionally-focused theories of democracy, namely the procedural-minimalist approach. The intellectual focus of this study is to determine what impact, if any, the Internet has on countering the negative cultural effects of repressive authoritarian rule and improving the likelihood of successful democratic stabilization in the developing world. I comparatively examine three cases in Latin America -Argentina, Brazil and Chile- who all liberalized their information and telecommunication infrastructure (with particular attention paid to the Internet) and share a common brutal history of bureaucratic-authoritarianism (to varying degrees). I hope to accomplish four primary goals: 1. to finally advance a solid research project that positively links the Internet and democracy; 2. to explicate my social psychological theory of democracy; 3. to demonstrate the usefulness of social constructivist ideology within political science research; and 4. to reintroduce the discipline of political science to sociology and demonstrate the importance and need for more interdisciplinary and holistically-focused research projects in comparative politics and international relations that are not analytically and conceptually limited to units of analysis that lend themselves to quantification.

Winner of 2012 "Dissertation Excellence Award"

About The Author

Dr. Danielle Rowell received her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in political science specializing in comparative politics and international relations from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy -- University at Albany, SUNY. Although Dr. Rowell’s education has been predominantly housed within the discipline of political science, she took a decidedly interdisciplinary approach to her culturally driven doctoral research that spans political science, public policy, public administration, sociology, psychology and media communication.

Dr. Rowell holds multiple professional development certifications specializing in emergency management and homeland security from the Department of Defense, Defense Security Academy/IOSS; Department of Homeland Security/FEMA, Emergency Management Institute; and the U.S. Department of Justice/SLED initiative.

In addition to her fifteen years of administrative and managerial experience in the private, public, nonprofit and academic sectors, Dr. Rowell also possesses thirteen years of post-secondary curriculum design, delivery and assessment experience within traditional and virtual learning environments.