Innovations: A Journal of Politics, Volume 2 (1999)

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Editor’s Foreword It is arguably a sign of the health of a discipline when a new generation of scholars challenges its orthodoxies and suggests new approaches. The four articles in this issue of Innovations are examples of this. First, Andres Kahar’s discussion of the Latvian citizenship crisis of 1998 provides the basis for an analysis of the way in which traditional realist security paradigms are inadequate to deal with many of the complexities of the post-Cold War world. The Latvian situation does not fit neatly into a state vs. state understanding of security. Domestic ethno-political factors and the influence of regional actors such as the EU and the OSCE greatly complicate the situation. Kahar suggests that while traditional considerations of relative state power remain important, future security issues must be understood at global, regional, and domestic as well as interstate levels. The recent events in Kosovo would seem to support this view. In recent years, especially in Canada and the U.S., it has become widely accepted that traditional modes of welfare provision have proven to be failures, in that they perpetuate the problems that they were intended to alleviate. Welfare, we are told, perpetuates dependence and discourages the development of the work ethic. Reform is necessary to emphasize reintegration into the workforce. Ryan Miske examines the results of two such programs in the U.S., and argues that their long-term effects have been minimal. Debates over welfare reform, he argues, have more to do with the needs of politicians to be seen to be doing something about the welfare problem than with any real concern with the actual needs of welfare recipients. Miske’s pessimism about the possibility of effective reform is debatable, but this article is a useful examination of the reality behind the rhetoric. Darryl Crawford uses an examination of the political economy of the Maghreb region of North Africa as the basis for a critique of the neo-liberal approach to development. He argues that the domestic adjustments required by neo-liberal forces have encouraged interstate competition at the expense of regional cooperation. It is the latter, based on cultural affinities within the region, which Crawford argues offers the best hope for regional stability and development. Such a thesis is difficult to prove conclusively, but Crawford’s discussion does provide a worthwhile reassessment of neo-liberal orthodoxy. Finally, James Pasley’s article is an attempt to apply current research on the effects of circadian rhythms on individual capabilities and behaviour to the analysis of political decision-making. Important events often hinge on the decisions of individuals, and Pasley suggests that such variables as the time of day can have an effect on the types of decisions made. The findings are suggestive rather than conclusive, but Pasley does show a relationship between the time of day and level of aggressiveness for some people, which suggests that further research in this area may prove fruitful. A journal such as this is necessarily a cooperative endeavour. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers who generously gave their time, those who contributed articles, published or not, and all the students who helped at all stages of the journal’s preparation.