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Civil Society Iraq: Ethnic, Religious, and Location Influences on Outgroup Perception

Gresham, Dr. JN (2004) Civil Society Iraq: Ethnic, Religious, and Location Influences on Outgroup Perception. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Civil Society Iraq: Ethnic, Religious, and Location Influences on Outgroup Perception Jon Gresham* April 2004 A significant research question in the immediate post-war (May 2003) environment of Iraq was: "How do Iraqis’ ethnicity, religious affiliation, and location affect expressed perceptions of threat from outgroups?" We collected 479 surveys of Iraqi opinions, in five locations in Iraq, Jordan, and The Netherlands, with a single page instrument. Religion, ethnic origin, and location alone had little direct bearing on respondents’ attitudes towards outgroups or change (another type of threat) in Iraq. However, certain sets of interacting elements did reflect significant differences in perceptions of threat. For example, Shi’a Muslims of urban Basra had very different expressions towards return of expatriate Iraqis than did Baghdad residents. A serendipitous innovation was that of publishing our research process onto a "wiki" web page where visitors could add to or change contents of the documents. The wiki live publishing helped fellow scientists, decision-makers, resource agencies, and Iraq fieldworkers participate in our project. Why Civil Society? The term describes both behavior and social systems and provides a sociological framework from which to explore social interactions in Iraq. Follow-up is warranted. We found, for example, that "moderate Arabs" in Iraq were the most opposed to foreign involvement and were the most opposed to expatriate Iraqis returning to Iraq. This finding is relevant to decision-makers and field workers in relief, development, and reconstruction in Iraq. This paper describes our research process in a post-regime-change environment. I would welcome comments onto the web site: http://CivilSocietyIraq.seedwiki.com. _____________ * Jon Gresham is a visiting scholar at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. His work focuses on the Cyprus-Syria-Iraq-Iran area. Special thanks are given to Hub Linssen, Assistant Professor at the University of Utrecht, with interest in cross-national comparative survey methodology.

Item Type:Preprint
Additional Information:Recommendation for peer-reviewed journal submission would be appreciated
Keywords:civil society, Iraq social systems, post-regime change, democratization, social network, social capital, appreciative inquiry, ERCOMER, repatriation, ethnic conflict, inter-ethnic, tribalism, nationalism, inter-group, ethnic identity, refugee, expatriate, terrorism, terrorist, social psychology, irak, iran, civil stability, linked, network analysis, utrecht, social network, interethnic, tribal
Subjects:Psychology > Social Psychology
ID Code:3645
Deposited By:Gresham, Dr. JN
Deposited On:24 May 2004
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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End Notes

2 M Edwards, Civil Society, Cambridge: Polity, 2004, p. 4.

3 M Edwards, "Enthusiasts, Tacticians and Skeptics: The World Bank, Civil Society and Social

Capital" http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/scapital/library/edwards.htm, p.1.

4. S Kaviraj, Civil Society & its Possibilities, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 17.

5. L Drake, "Implosion of Iraq" in Middle East Insight March 1996, and personal communications

7/1996.

6. A Wimmer, "Democracy and Ethno-religious Conflict in Iraq" in Survival, Vol. 45, no. 4, Winter

2003-04, p. 119).

7. ibid, p. 113.

8. P Adler, and S Kwon, "Social Capital: Prospects for a New Concept" Academy of Management

Review 27(1), p.17.

9 J Glubb, A Short History of the Arab Peoples, New York: Dorset Press, 1969, p. 68.

10 (ibid, p 275; P Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1985, .p.

36.

11. In Basra, we tested a repeated measures effect in combination with the priming effect. There were

three versions of the survey form (ethnic primed, religious primed, and neutral). We administered the

three versions of the survey to the same respondents, at one sitting, to assess if they would respond to

the priming, or if they would differ in their responses to the primed versus neutral versions of the

surveys. In other locations, each respondent completed only one survey form, with one of the three

versions only.

12. Adler, p.37.

13. L Wantchekon, "The Paradox of 'Warlord' Democracy: A Theoretical Investigation" in American

Political Science Review, Vol. 98, No. 1 (February 2004), p. 21.

14. Adler, p. 18.

15 ibid, p.20.

16. ibid, p. 37.

15

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