Open AccessArticle
Children’s Civic Engagement in the Scratch Online Community
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 55; doi:10.3390/socsci5040055 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In public discourse, and in the governance of online communities, young people are often denied agency. Children are frequently considered objects to protect, safeguard, and manage. Yet as children go online from very early ages, they develop emergent forms of civic and [...] Read more.
In public discourse, and in the governance of online communities, young people are often denied agency. Children are frequently considered objects to protect, safeguard, and manage. Yet as children go online from very early ages, they develop emergent forms of civic and political engagement. Children appropriate the affordances of digital platforms in order to discuss, connect, and act with their peers and in their communities. In this paper, we analyze civic engagement in Scratch Online, a creative community where children from around the world learn programming by designing and sharing interactive media projects. We explore the ways that young Scratch community members connect with issues of global importance, as well as with local topics and questions of community governance. We develop a typology of the strategies they use to express themselves, engage with their peers, and call for action. We then analyze the reaction of the community, including other Scratch members and adult moderators, and draw key lessons from these examples in order to describe guidelines for educators and designers who would like to support children’s rights to civic engagement in online learning environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Boomers versus Millennials: Online Media Influence on Media Performance and Candidate Evaluations
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 56; doi:10.3390/socsci5040056 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Facebook posts, YouTube videos, tweets and wooing political bloggers have become standard practice in marketing political campaigns. Research has demonstrated the effect of new media on a host of politically-related behavior, including political participation, knowledge acquisition, group formation and self-efficacy. Yet, issues [...] Read more.
Facebook posts, YouTube videos, tweets and wooing political bloggers have become standard practice in marketing political campaigns. Research has demonstrated the effect of new media on a host of politically-related behavior, including political participation, knowledge acquisition, group formation and self-efficacy. Yet, issues related to media trust, media performance and candidate evaluations have not been fully explored. In addition, much of the political marketing research looks exclusively at the Millennial age cohort, ignoring other age groups, particularly Baby Boomers. This case study addresses whether attention to traditional (i.e., television, hard-copy newspapers and radio) and online media sources (i.e., political candidate websites, television network websites, online newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and political blogs) about the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign influences Millennials and Baby Boomers’ media trust and performance ratings, as well as candidate evaluations. Panel surveys were completed by both age cohorts, Millennials (n = 431) and Baby Boomers (n = 360), during the last two weeks of the presidential election. Findings indicate that traditional sources, specifically television, rather than online sources are significantly linked to media trust and performance ratings among both Boomers and Millennials. Attention to traditional media for campaign information predicts Boomers’ candidate evaluations, whereas Millennials’ candidate evaluations are influenced by online sources, such as Facebook and candidate websites. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Support for Protests in Latin America: Classifications and the Role of Online Networking
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 58; doi:10.3390/socsci5040058 -
Abstract
In recent years, Latin Americans marched the streets in a wave of protests that swept almost every country in the region. Yet few studies have assessed how Latin Americans support various forms of protest, and how new technologies affect attitudes toward protest [...] Read more.
In recent years, Latin Americans marched the streets in a wave of protests that swept almost every country in the region. Yet few studies have assessed how Latin Americans support various forms of protest, and how new technologies affect attitudes toward protest tactics. Using data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (N = 37,102), cluster analyses grouped citizens into four distinct groups depending on their support for protests. Most Latin Americans support moderate forms of protest, rejecting more radical tactics. Online networking is associated with support for both moderate and radical protests. But those who support only moderate protests use online networking sites more than Latin Americans as a whole, while those who support radical protests use online networking sites significantly less. Our findings suggest that only peaceful and legal demonstrations have been normalized in the region, and online networking foments support for moderate protest tactics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dispositional Immobility: An Analysis of Non-Decisions as Public Policy in Alberta’s City-Regions
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 54; doi:10.3390/socsci5040054 -
Abstract
For local governments in city-regions, the term “dispositional immobility” can be applied in situations where the question of municipal restructuring becomes an arena for permanent public policy non-decisions. Disposition is here used to mean both the inherent qualities of persons and communities, [...] Read more.
For local governments in city-regions, the term “dispositional immobility” can be applied in situations where the question of municipal restructuring becomes an arena for permanent public policy non-decisions. Disposition is here used to mean both the inherent qualities of persons and communities, and the arrangement of the structures within an area. It is argued that administrative stasis results as dispositional immobility creates tactical political barriers to innovation, and policy inaction becomes a deliberate response. In Alberta, city-regions since the 1950s have preserved multiple autonomous municipalities rather than initiating centripetal reforms as is the case elsewhere in Canada. An analysis of the province and its leadership during the past half-century suggests reasons for this entrenched dispositional immobility within the institutional culture of Alberta’s city-regions. Our conclusion suggests that the time has come to rethink and challenge the long-standing and unquestioned continuation of the city-regional structural status quo. Full article
Open AccessArticle
War Trauma, Politics of Recognition and Purple Heart: PTSD or PTSI?
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 57; doi:10.3390/socsci5040057 -
Abstract
This paper discusses the exclusion of veterans with combat PTSD (CPTSD) from eligibility for the Purple Heart (PH). The main argument is that this exclusion is unjustified and that it strengthens the stigma attached to the traumatized veterans, with detrimental implications to [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the exclusion of veterans with combat PTSD (CPTSD) from eligibility for the Purple Heart (PH). The main argument is that this exclusion is unjustified and that it strengthens the stigma attached to the traumatized veterans, with detrimental implications to their wellbeing. In the context of the politics of recognition, the history of the term PTSD, and with support evidence from brain studies, the paper contends that in the case of combat veterans, posttraumatic stress should be termed PTSI (posttraumatic stress injury) rather than PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). The proposed alteration in terminology may enable eligibility of posttraumatic combat veterans’ for the Purple Heart, and consequently mitigate the stigma of their wounds, help to deconstruct their misrecognition as inferior to physiologically wounded, increase their willingness to seek aid, and improve their chances to heal. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Prescribing under the Influence: The Business of Breastmilk Substitutes
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 53; doi:10.3390/socsci5040053 -
Abstract
This study draws on a general theoretical framework comprising of a decision maker (a doctor), perceived moral intensity of the issue (breastfeeding substitute prescription), and the situational environment (hospital policy, pharma company promotions, and mother’s beliefs regarding breastfeeding) to explain the physician’s [...] Read more.
This study draws on a general theoretical framework comprising of a decision maker (a doctor), perceived moral intensity of the issue (breastfeeding substitute prescription), and the situational environment (hospital policy, pharma company promotions, and mother’s beliefs regarding breastfeeding) to explain the physician’s role and influence on mothers’ infant feeding choices when prescribing infant formula in Kuwait, Middle East. Moral intensity is an issue-contingent model that suggests ethical decisions vary in terms of how much a moral imperative is present in a situation. The moral intensity of the issue is assessed using six components. Path Least Squares results indicate the following moral intensity components have significant impact on prescription behavior: magnitude of consequences, probability of effect, and temporal immediacy. Company promotion and hospital policy also significantly influence doctor’s prescription of infant formula. Doctors appear to disengage from the consequences of over prescribing infant formula. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“Religious Freedom” as a Tool to Oppress: The Explosion in Religion-Based Attacks on Civil Rights in Litigation
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 52; doi:10.3390/socsci5040052 -
Abstract
Over the last half-decade, there has been an explosion in the United States of lawsuits in which claims to religious liberty have been used to justify abridging the civil rights of women, LGBTQ people, and other minorities. This article surveys such litigation [...] Read more.
Over the last half-decade, there has been an explosion in the United States of lawsuits in which claims to religious liberty have been used to justify abridging the civil rights of women, LGBTQ people, and other minorities. This article surveys such litigation in several areas: health-insurance coverage, healthcare services, marriage-related services, employment, and housing. For each area, the article analyzes recent litigation, compares it to earlier activity (if any), and discusses the kinds of arguments that have been made, how courts have responded to them, and how such arguments are likely to fare in the future. The article concludes that the ultimate fate of many of these kinds of cases will likely be determined by who the next member is of a U.S. Supreme Court that is currently split four-four between social liberals and conservatives. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Approaches to Sampling Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men from Geosocial-Networking Smartphone Applications: A Methodological Note
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 51; doi:10.3390/socsci5040051 -
Abstract
Geosocial-networking smartphone applications utilize global positioning system (GPS) technologies to connect users based on their physical proximity. Many gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have smartphones, and these new mobile technologies have generated quicker and easier modes [...] Read more.
Geosocial-networking smartphone applications utilize global positioning system (GPS) technologies to connect users based on their physical proximity. Many gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have smartphones, and these new mobile technologies have generated quicker and easier modes for MSM to meet potential partners. In doing so, these technologies may facilitate a user’s ability to have multiple concurrent partners, thereby increasing their risk for acquiring HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. Researchers have sought to recruit users of these applications (e.g., Grindr, Jack’d, Scruff) into HIV prevention studies, primarily through advertising on the application. Given that these advertisements often broadly targeted large urban areas, these approaches have generated samples that are not representative of the population of users of the given application in a given area. As such, we propose a method to generate a spatially representative sample of MSM via direct messaging on a given application using New York City and its geography as an example of this sampling and recruitment method. These methods can increase geographic representativeness and wider access to MSM who use geosocial-networking smartphone applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
18 Million Cracks, but No Cigar: News Media and the Campaigns of Clinton, Palin, and Bachmann
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 50; doi:10.3390/socsci5030050 -
Abstract
Decades of research within political science, political communication, and mass media found pervasive gender biased media coverage of female political candidates. However, recent research suggests that gender stereotypes do not have a consistent effect in all campaign environments and when gender stereotypes [...] Read more.
Decades of research within political science, political communication, and mass media found pervasive gender biased media coverage of female political candidates. However, recent research suggests that gender stereotypes do not have a consistent effect in all campaign environments and when gender stereotypes are not activated, female candidates are not disadvantaged. As a result, if we see a reduction in reliance on gender stereotypes in the media, female candidates should enjoy a more level playing field. In this analysis, we focus on mass media’s coverage of female candidates in elite executive political races. This study conducts a content analysis of media coverage of three recent women candidates for the United States’ highest executive offices: Senator Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, and Governor Sarah Palin. Our analysis of newspapers and television news coverage confirms the media do not discuss female and male candidates in neutral terms, but instead fall back onto traditional gender stereotypes and emphasize female candidates’ physical appearances and family roles far more frequently than they do for male candidates. This may, in turn, prime gender stereotypes in voters, impair candidates’ fundraising ability, and limit the electoral ambition of future generations of female candidates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Did the Great Recession Downsize Immigrants and Native-Born Americans Differently? Unemployment Differentials by Nativity, Race and Gender from 2007 to 2013 in the U.S.
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 49; doi:10.3390/socsci5030049 -
Abstract
We use data from the Current Population Survey from 2007 and 2013 to investigate demographic differentials in unemployment during the Great Recession in the U.S. Although our analysis is primarily exploratory and descriptive, our major research objective is to illuminate the unemployment [...] Read more.
We use data from the Current Population Survey from 2007 and 2013 to investigate demographic differentials in unemployment during the Great Recession in the U.S. Although our analysis is primarily exploratory and descriptive, our major research objective is to illuminate the unemployment differential between the foreign born and the native born. The findings indicate that during the height of the Great Recession, the foreign born had higher unemployment rates than the native born. However, this differential is statistically explained by their observed characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age and education. With the net of those variables and a few other demographic covariates, foreign born workers as an overall group actually had somewhat lower chances of being unemployed than native born workers. This finding is discussed in terms of the selectivity of immigrant workers and the possibility that they are somewhat more immediately dependent on having a job. After breaking down the foreign born into major racial/ethnic groups, the results suggest that foreign-born blacks and foreign-born Hispanics are particularly selective with the net of their observed characteristics. The possible sources of such differentials by race/ethnicity and by gender are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
State-Society Relations in Ethiopia: A Political-Economy Perspective of the Post-1991 Order
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 48; doi:10.3390/socsci5030048 -
Abstract
This article analyses state-society relations in Ethiopia with particular emphasis on the post-1991 period. The objective of the study is to identify and analyse the fundamental factors of state-society relations at the national level: property rights, political representation, and the urban-rural elite [...] Read more.
This article analyses state-society relations in Ethiopia with particular emphasis on the post-1991 period. The objective of the study is to identify and analyse the fundamental factors of state-society relations at the national level: property rights, political representation, and the urban-rural elite cleavage. The article views state-society relations at the local level with reference to perception and practice, taking into account symbols, social control, ability to make decisions and control over the means of violence. The study was conducted in eight purposively selected localities in three administrative regions in Ethiopia. The empirical data was collected at national and local levels using key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and a household survey. The analysis shows that state-society relations in Ethiopia are driven by three major factors: property rights, political representations and the urban-rural divide. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Income Sharing within Households: Evidence from Data on Financial Satisfaction
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 47; doi:10.3390/socsci5030047 -
Abstract
This paper contributes to the understanding of gender aspects in the intra-household sharing of income. I estimate models of differences in financial satisfaction between household partners using panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, which allows one to account for household-level [...] Read more.
This paper contributes to the understanding of gender aspects in the intra-household sharing of income. I estimate models of differences in financial satisfaction between household partners using panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, which allows one to account for household-level fixed effects. The paper adds to the literature a further convincing rejection of the equal sharing hypothesis. What is more and novel, the results imply that unequal income sharing is asymmetric and triggered by the relative employment statuses of the partners: in male breadwinner households, the women’s well-being is affected by the distribution factor; in double full-time couples, it is the man’s well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reconfiguring the Contours of Statehood and the Rights of Peoples of Disappearing States in the Age of Global Climate Change
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 46; doi:10.3390/socsci5030046 -
Abstract
Many of the elements that have traditionally supported state level normative self-organization, most notably territory, are being actively undermined by rising sea levels, flooding, desertification, amongst other climate change effects. As more and more states come to be redefined as “disappearing”, that [...] Read more.
Many of the elements that have traditionally supported state level normative self-organization, most notably territory, are being actively undermined by rising sea levels, flooding, desertification, amongst other climate change effects. As more and more states come to be redefined as “disappearing”, that is, states losing their territories to the natural environment through no specific fault of their own, a question arises as to how displaced communities will be assisted in their desire (and right) to continue to practice principles of self-determination and self-government? What is clear is that the international community can no longer continue with the fiction of a unified or unchanging model of the liberal democratic state. Instead, alternative ontological models of sovereign community are required, as is a re-imagining of how statehood might be re-constituted in the future in response to deepening ecological problems. The international community must now begin to address the immanent nature of threats posed to disappearing states and consider how a model of statehood that does not privilege territory as a fixed component of state identity could be operationalized. This paper considers how a democratic reform of statehood might proceed and resettlement agreements for displaced communities determined. The transition to an era of peaceful sovereign relations under deteriorating global climate conditions and growing natural resource scarcity, it argues, will require a significant extension of established traditions of democratic compromise, human rights solidarity and cosmopolitan justice. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Importance of National Ethos in Military Victories
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 45; doi:10.3390/socsci5030045 -
Abstract
When nations are violently threatened, the choices that they make in order to cope with the challenge of war reflect different alternative possible reactions. They may choose to fiercely fight their battles; they may prefer to surrender, and sometimes the options lay [...] Read more.
When nations are violently threatened, the choices that they make in order to cope with the challenge of war reflect different alternative possible reactions. They may choose to fiercely fight their battles; they may prefer to surrender, and sometimes the options lay in-between. One puzzle is, therefore, what makes nations fight, and more importantly—what causes them eventually to win or to lose the war. In search for an answer, this study inquires through secondary sources three historical case studies from World War II: Britain, France and Germany, and reviews how each of these major European powers acted throughout the war. After each historical description, the study examines the part that national ethos played in the manner in which each state handled war in moments of crisis. The national ethos of a people is the creed formed from the shared values and traditions through which the nation views its past, present and future; it is the integrating element that defines a nation’s identity and bonds it into a coherent social group. The study reveals how national ethos is intertwined with another phenomenon of social psychology that turns it into a crucial factor in the management of international campaigns: war enthusiasm. Since national ethos is so crucial for the results of the war that a country might lead in order to survive or prosper, it is imperative for decision makers to bear in mind that it is also subject to a process of shaping and reshaping, as the Soviets have proved in relation to their Russian national ethos during World War II. A word of caution, however, is noteworthy: a wide historical perspective shows that even though the right kind of national ethos is essential for winning a war it is far from being enough. Hence national ethos proves, at the end of the day, to be a necessary condition for military victory but certainly not a sufficient one. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Healthy Communities: What Have We Learned and Where do We Go from Here?
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 44; doi:10.3390/socsci5030044 -
Abstract Systems theory[1,2]suggests that healthy communities promote healthy individual development.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Researching and Working for Transgender Youth: Contexts, Problems and Solutions
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 43; doi:10.3390/socsci5030043 -
Abstract
In May 2016, two events epitomized the complexities of working for global transgender youth rights. First, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) hosted a ministerial event in which education ministers from around the world released a call to action for [...] Read more.
In May 2016, two events epitomized the complexities of working for global transgender youth rights. First, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) hosted a ministerial event in which education ministers from around the world released a call to action for protection of students on the basis of their gender identity and expression in schools. Second, the United Nations (UN) hosted an event celebrating the family, attended by conservative ministers and activists who mobilized family protectionist discourse against transgender students. This article contemplates, in light of transgender activist Raewyn Connell’s Southern Theory contributions, the complexity of global research and work for transgender youth. It considers key informant interviews with 50 stakeholders in the global push for transgender student rights in education, including members of government and non-government organisations, and academics from Northern and Southern countries. Problems in aiding transgender youth at the global level included safety concerns, the impacts of conservative advocates and media backlash (within family and national protectionist discourses), cultural complexities hampering engagement and translation, dissemination hindrances pertaining to established publishing biases, and financial and collaboration barriers. Solutions including virtual work; multi-level leadership; alliance-building; representation; visibility of transgender youth citizenship and family membership; and legal, financial and capacity-building aid are considered. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Death of Democracy and the Forces of Power and Control: The Case of Europe
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 42; doi:10.3390/socsci5030042 -
Abstract
At the time of writing, the United Kingdom is grabbling with its decision to abandon its European Union membership. As the country is divided and hate incidents are increased by almost 50%, this think-piece presents a critical analysis of Europe’s missed opportunity [...] Read more.
At the time of writing, the United Kingdom is grabbling with its decision to abandon its European Union membership. As the country is divided and hate incidents are increased by almost 50%, this think-piece presents a critical analysis of Europe’s missed opportunity for social justice. The paper presents evidence by analysing the civil and political rights jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in order to explore the potential of what it calls the “human rights project” for a regional democracy. The paper shows that a key objective of the European Convention of Human Rights was the development of case law that would construct a regional democracy for bringing consistency in the enjoyment of civil and political rights across the continent. This “human rights project” was well underway, but is now hampered by contemporary forces of power and control that are ridiculing the work and status of the Council of Europe. The paper identifies three levers that move these forces, namely: financial and security terror as well as nationalism. The paper warns that if these forces are not managed, the backlash in social justice will continue while the human rights project for a regional democracy will come to its demise. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Engaging Citizen Participation—A Result of Trusting Governmental Institutions and Politicians in the Portuguese Democracy
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 40; doi:10.3390/socsci5030040 -
Abstract
Public participation is a mainstay of democracy. However, the ways in which it can be understood inevitably influence the achievement of the goals that preside over any public policy. Literature argues that the drawbacks of citizen participation are directly related to the [...] Read more.
Public participation is a mainstay of democracy. However, the ways in which it can be understood inevitably influence the achievement of the goals that preside over any public policy. Literature argues that the drawbacks of citizen participation are directly related to the level of trust in governmental institutions and in politicians. The present study was carried out on a sample of 250 individuals and aimed to (1) describe citizens’ opinions and trust in politicians and government institutions; and (2) demonstrate that healthy levels of citizen engagement in politics may be upheld as long as citizens trust their political institutions and leaders, through a case study of Portugal’s democratic system. The current study found no statistically significant association between political participation and the study participant’s perception that government representatives heard (p = 0.769) or considered (p = 0.810) their opinions. Similarities were found between the participants’ assessments of the quality of life brought about by the decisions of those in power and the levels of citizen participation around land planning and land management (p = 0.011). Also, citizen assessments of life quality were influenced by their understanding of political decisions (p = 0.014). Effective communication between citizens and politicians will allow both to better understand the aims of political policy. When citizens believe that politicians are honest, show moral leadership and demonstrate integrity, and that these values are upheld by public institutions, a common aspiration can be realized: improving the quality of life. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Piracy and the Politics of Social Media
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 41; doi:10.3390/socsci5030041 -
Abstract
Since the 1990s, the understanding of how and where politics are made has changed radically. Scholars such as Ulrich Beck and Maria Bakardjieva have discussed how political agency is enacted outside of conventional party organizations, and political struggles increasingly focus on single [...] Read more.
Since the 1990s, the understanding of how and where politics are made has changed radically. Scholars such as Ulrich Beck and Maria Bakardjieva have discussed how political agency is enacted outside of conventional party organizations, and political struggles increasingly focus on single issues. Over the past two decades, this transformation of politics has become common knowledge, not only in academic research but also in the general political discourse. Recently, the proliferation of digital activism and the political use of social media are often understood to enforce these tendencies. This article analyzes the Pirate Party in relation to these theories, relying on almost 30 interviews with active Pirate Party members from different parts of the world. The Pirate Party was initially formed in 2006, focusing on copyright, piracy, and digital privacy. Over the years, it has developed into a more general democracy movement, with an interest in a wider range of issues. This article analyzes how the party’s initial focus on information politics and social media connects to a wider range of political issues and to other social movements, such as Arab Spring protests and Occupy Wall Street. Finally, it discusses how this challenges the understanding of information politics as a single issue agenda. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Strategies for Combating Islamic State
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 39; doi:10.3390/socsci5030039 -
Abstract
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced the formation of the “Islamic Caliphate” as an alternative to modern states, on 29 June 2014 (the first day of Ramadan). The ISIS vision shared by other global jihadist organizations such as al-Qaeda [...] Read more.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced the formation of the “Islamic Caliphate” as an alternative to modern states, on 29 June 2014 (the first day of Ramadan). The ISIS vision shared by other global jihadist organizations such as al-Qaeda is an apocalyptic post-state. Many authors very quickly evolve from the idea of the potential threat to either the U.S. or its allies to a requisite necessity of strong military action by the U.S. to defeat ISIS. Something frequently absent in analyses of U.S. reactions to ISIS is the capabilities, responsibilities, and opinions and desires of neighboring Gulf countries. This paper will incorporate attitudes and opinions of Gulf countries to imply responsibilities to deal with ISIS prior to considering potential U.S. actions. Full article
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