Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/20793
Title: Asymmetry and agency : the United States President's emergency plan for aids relief in Botswana, Ethiopia and South Africa
Authors: Pereira, Ricardo Jorge Ribeiro 
Orientador: Lopes, Paula Duarte
Issue Date: 24-Oct-2012
Publisher: FEUC
Citation: Pereira, Ricardo Jorge Ribeiro - Asymmetry and agency : the United States President's emergency plan for aids relief in Botswana, Ethiopia and South Africa. Coimbra, 2012
Abstract: In the last thirty years, the discipline of International Relations has witnessed a shift of analytical scope from the conventional world of states towards populationand social forces-related concerns. According to major scholarship, this occurs as a result of interrelated processes of economic globalisation, United States hegemony and emergence of the human security paradigm among Western policy circles. However, this assumption has entailed problems to the research of human agency in the actual practice of international affairs, since Western hegemony is arguably entrenched in the international system to the point of “hijacking” sovereign states, as suggested by Oliver Richmond, particularly in the developing world. Focusing its analysis on states, this dissertation sets out to argue that, rather than essentialised in the hegemonic structure, postcolonial states, notably in Africa, hold agency. When interacting with the leading international powers, and even if highly constrained by external policies and actions, they act with autonomy by identifying their own policy problems, defining strategies and seeking political goals. States’ agency is influenced by three independent variables: the broader realm of foreign policy relations maintained with international actors (public and private), namely leading states; the encompassing arena of domestic policies of the state at stake; and the actual practices of the state, particularly with its local constituents. The employed theoretical framework builds on Kenneth Waltz’s concepts of state as unit with agency in an international system that, nevertheless, is asymmetric. Moreover, the state is taken as a social relation, as suggested by Justin Rosenberg, in which internal and external spheres of state action are interconnected historically and sociologically.The case study consists of the process of implementation of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Botswana, Ethiopia and South Africa. Since 2003, PEPFAR has been a major tool of United States foreign policy, especially in Eastern and Southern Africa, serving security, economic and humanitarian purposes. It is a very large public-private partnership that includes United States government agencies and United States-based nongovernmental organisations, governmental and nongovernmental entities from the countries under intervention, as well as international multilateral organisations. Through PEPFAR, the United States of America exerts significant power, at various levels (individual, community and national), in the countries that accept it, despite principles of ‘shared responsibility’ and country ownership. More broadly, PEPFAR displays the problems that arguably feature global health governance, namely as far as utter asymmetric relations between donor and recipient states are concerned, in which the latter are rendered the role of facilitator or ‘rogue’ with regard to the former’s policies. Accordingly, the three states have acted as facilitators, with the exception of South Africa under President Thabo Mbeki. This dissertation’s argument is illustrated by the analysis of agency held by the three states in light of PEPFAR’s implementation and overall relations with the United States of America. The Botswana state behaves towards the survival of the national population, since close to one quarter of the adult population lives with HIV/AIDS in a context of shrinking developmental prospects. In the case of Ethiopia, self-help is also the main concern, yet centralised in the current political regime, in which human development, including improvement of health care, is considered fundamental in that effort. Finally, in the case of South Africa, the transmission of values domestically and internationally on the dignity of Africans has driven the way in which the governments have addressed the HIV/AIDS issue
Description: Tese de doutoramento em Relações Internacionais (Política Internacional e Resolução de Conflitos), apresentada à Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra, sob a orientação de Paula Duarte Lopes.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/20793
Rights: embargoedAccess
Appears in Collections:FEUC- Teses de Doutoramento
UC - Teses de Doutoramento
I&D CES - Teses de Doutoramento

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