COUGARS IN THE WILD: A political science student ponders the relationship between religion, resource scarcity and conflict | News


A senior SIUE research project focusing on religion and resources aimed to disprove that oil drives conflict between nations, which could help find bloodless solutions.

Dakota Tostado, a political science student from Collinsville, Illinois, conducted her research project on Samuel P. Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations,” which defines civilizations by religion and argues that any conflict between civilizations will be about people. cultural differences.

Tostado sought to discover whether the scarcity of resources, especially that of oil, leads to conflicts between nation states.

“I found a few subsets of research that include cultural incompatibility with resource scarcity, but not necessarily oil, and I’ve researched global oil demand and basically shows that the period that i studied, from 2010 to 2014, the world demanded more oil than before, so i thought that this time frame would be a good research, or rather a good time to research, provided that [we] live in a contemporary world,” Tostado said. “It was a test, a statistical test, to determine whether an assumption made almost 30 years ago is still relevant today.”

Tostado said he found Huntington wrong.

“There is little or no statistical relationship between oil allocation and interstate conflict. I say little or none because the relationship that was reported from the regressions is very, very, very gut-significant, but it’s so small that it’s enough to call it into question,” Tostado said. “So the results basically showed that culture and compatibility are things we should be looking at more with conflict and maybe oil, but not with the model that I built.”

Tostado said his findings are important because if we can understand why two nation states are so desperate or exasperated that they have to engage in interstate conflict, we may be able to offer solutions. He said that many political scientists base their research on problems rather than how to solve them, and that the United States does not provide a holistic view of international news because there are conflicts that we are not aware of. .

“My dad is actually Hispanic. I’m not from Mexico, but I try to keep that with me, not only from a personal point of view, but [an] pedagogical point of view. I try to see all aspects of data, information, possibilities,” Tostado said. “I think it’s important to be holistic, especially as a political scientist, given that much of the scientific framework that we use as political scientists is very westernized at its core. “

Tostado said the idea for his research came from wanting to choose a topic relevant to today’s world.

“It was risky [choice] just because it’s been researched a lot before but i felt regarding the circumstances we live in and the world we live in and the way things have happened since he posted this work, that it was worth taking the risk to do research,” Tostado said.

According to Tostado, Huntington looks back on the history of conflict and claims that the pre-Cold War superpowers kept the peace and ensured that the rest of the world stayed in line, which he found odd because the states -nations interfere with the sovereignty of others. historically documented.

“The way it was interfered with in the past is so different from the way it is interfered with now and for so many different reasons, so it deals with an old political issue,” Tostado said. “Does religion really have as divisive an effect as we believe? Do civilizations cling to religion as strongly as we believe? Not only that, but can we even begin to group together so many nation states or people simply because of their geographic proximity? »

Tostado said he became interested in politics during the 2008 election because he was moved by the number of people so dedicated to various causes.

“There is a desire in me to see people succeed in life, and not just myself, but others around me. And I think the way to do that effectively is government,” Tostado said. “I do not believe [the] government [is] bad, i don’t think so [the] government [is] go out to look for us, [but] that we can make the most of what we have using government if we come together and are willing to come up with whatever bipartisan or collaborative solutions we are willing to do.

After graduation, Tostado said he wanted to become an educator and then enter the public sector and seek public office.

“I want to be that role model for students like me who didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives, were kind of lost, didn’t really have the home support they needed,” Tostado said. “And I want to be able to help my students succeed.”

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