European Journal of International Relations
- Sage Publications, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Nbr. 27-4, December 2021
- Nbr. 27-3, September 2021
- Nbr. 27-2, June 2021
- Nbr. 27-1, March 2021
- Nbr. 26-4, December 2020
- Nbr. 26-1_suppl, September 2020
- Nbr. 26-3, September 2020
- Nbr. 26-2, June 2020
- Nbr. 26-1, March 2020
- Nbr. 25-4, December 2019
- Nbr. 25-3, September 2019
- Nbr. 25-2, June 2019
- Nbr. 25-1, March 2019
- Nbr. 24-4, December 2018
- Nbr. 24-3, September 2018
- Nbr. 24-2, June 2018
- Nbr. 24-1, March 2018
- Nbr. 23-4, December 2017
- Nbr. 23-3, September 2017
- Nbr. 23-2, June 2017
- Roleplay, realpolitik and ‘great powerness’: the logical distinction between survival and social performance in grand strategy
States exist in an anarchic international system in which survival is the necessary precursor to fulfilling all of their citizens’ other interests. Yet states’ inhabitants – and the policymakers they empower – also hold social ideas about other ends that the state should value and how it should pursue them: the ‘role’ they expect their state to ‘play’ in international politics. Furthermore, such role-performative impulses can motivate external behaviours inimical to security-maximization – and thus to the state survival necessary for future interest-fulfilment. This article therefore investigates the tensions between roleplay and realpolitik in grand strategy. It does so through interrogation of four mutual incompatibilities in role-performative and realpolitikal understandings of ‘Great Powerness’, a core – but conceptually contested – international-systemic ordering unit, thereby demonstrating their necessary logical distinctiveness. The argument is illustrated with brief case studies on the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Identification of such security-imperilling role motives thus buttresses neoclassical realist theory; specifically, as an account of strategic deviation from the security-maximizing realist baseline. Such conclusions carry important implications for both scholarship and statecraft, meanwhile. For once we recognize that roleplay and realpolitik are necessarily distinct incentive structures, role motives’ advocates can no longer claim that discharging such performative social preferences necessarily bolsters survival prospects too.
- December 2021 issue: ‘Congratulations, farewell, and welcome: From the editors’
- Decolonizing Self-Determination: Haudenosaunee Passports and Negotiated Sovereignty
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) recognises both Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and simultaneously offers protections in regard to states’ right to sovereignty and territorial integrity vis-à-vis Indigenous peoples’ claims. Often, this is considered an internal inconsistency of the UNDRIP, and another common critique is that Indigenous peoples were only recognised as having a diminished right to self-determination, which is less than what everyone else enjoys. This article stands in contrast to these two lines of critique, arguing that the UNDRIP’s articulation of self-determination is potentially ushering in a broadening, and possible reshaping, of self-determination, which has been increasingly decoupled from singular Westphalian notions of ‘sovereignty’ and ‘territoriality’ in ways that require ongoing negotiation between peoples and states. This case study of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s issuance and use of their passports, based on original fieldwork including a set of qualitative interviews with key informants, demonstrates how the Haudenosaunee Confederacy is pushing the practice and understanding of self-determination in multiple, new directions to include plural sovereignties in deeply significant ways concerning International Relations in both theory and in practice.
- Critical theory in crisis? a reconsideration
The recent rise of populism has generated a resurgence of interest in critical theory, in the wider public debate and in academia—with critical theory being variously accused of paving the way for post-truth politics, hailed as explaining the rise of populism, or criticized for failing to achieve its emancipatory political goals. Failure of the latter kind, many International Relations scholars argue, calls for a fundamental reform of critical theory if it is to address current political developments. Investigating this claim, this article makes three contributions: First, an empirical account shows that, far from failing, critical theory has been politically highly successful. Second, a theoretical reconstruction of critical theory shows that it is precisely this success that leads to the alienation of critical theorists from their own approach. In light of this analysis, third, the article concludes that the task of critical theory in times of Brexit and Trump does not lie in abandoning its core principles but in systematically applying them to a new historical conjuncture.
- Alliances, signals of support, and military effort
Do alliances allow states to share defense burdens and reduce military spending? Despite expectations that alliances should lead to decreased military spending, the empirical record offers mixed findings. We argue that not all alliances are reliable; thus, only allies that receive signals of reassurance will rely on the external security of allies and subsequently reduce their military spending. Compared to states that do not receive additional signals, these reassured allies will have greater confidence that an ally will come to their aid. As a result, third-party aggressors are deterred and the demand for military spending will decrease. We test this argument with an analysis of US signals of support, alliance commitments, and military spending. We find that American alliances without additional signals of support have a negligible effect on military spending. Yet, we observe that alliances are negatively associated with military spending when signals of support are present. Additional tests indicate that alliance commitments, coupled with strong US signals, are also associated with lower military spending in the rivals of US allies. Our results potentially help explain the mixed evidence in the arms-versus-allies and burden-sharing literatures and further demonstrate that extra-alliance signals play an important role in the practice of International Relations.
- Populism and foreign aid
Pundits, development practitioners, and scholars worry that rising populism and international disengagement in developed countries have negative consequences on foreign aid. However, how populism and foreign aid go together is not well understood. This paper provides the first systematic examination of this relationship. We adopt the popular ideational definition of populism, unpack populism into its core “thin” elements, and examine them within a delegation model of aid policy—a prominent framework in the aid literature. In so doing, we identify specific domestic political processes through which the core components of populism may affect aid spending. We argue that increases in one component of populism—anti-elitism—and in nativist sentiments, an associated concept, in a donor country lead to a reduction in aid spending through a public opinion channel. We supply both micro- and macro-evidence for our arguments by fielding surveys in the United States and United Kingdom as well as by analyzing aid spending by a large number of OECD donors. Our findings show that nativism and anti-elitism, rather than populism per se, influence not only individual attitudes toward aid but also actual aid policy and generate important insights into how to address populist challenges to foreign aid. Beyond these, our study contributes to the broader International Relations literature by demonstrating one useful analytical approach to studying populism, nativism, and foreign policy.
- The realist science of politics: the art of understanding political practice
Classical Realism represents a science of politics that is distinct from the conventional understanding of science in International Relations. The object of Realist science is the art of politics, which is the development of a sensibility based on practical knowledge to balance values and interests and to make judgments. Realism’s science and its object led to its tagging as “wisdom literature.” This article illustrates that reading Hans Morgenthau’s and Raymond Aron’s work shows how their hermeneutic form of enquiry provides insights into the character of international politics, which conventional understandings do not. Following the example of Morgenthau, the article, first, illustrates how Realism, rather than providing a theory of practice, builds on a science with the purpose to judge knowledge. Realism’s science analyzes the objective conditions of politics, theorizes them, and takes into account the requirements of political practice under contingencies and considerations of morality. The article, second, examines Aron’s take on political practice in the context of the Cold War and politics that built on knowledge without experience to judge knowledge. Morgenthau and Aron’s science helps to capture Realism’s take on politics as an art, how to explicate Realism’s epistemological foundation and value in studying international politics. Doing so, the article, third, contributes to practice theory by clarifying several aspects of Realism’s science. In particular, it shows how Realism captures the art of politics by conceptualizing practice as a form of human conduct thereby offering a more coherent notion of practice than current practice theory.
- Dispute inflation
Much work has examined the phenomenon of dispute escalation, whereby the concrete measures state actors take edge them closer to war. Less attention has been devoted to the ways in which state actors’ perceptions of what is at stake in a dispute can also change, with important consequences for the likelihood of conflict. This paper examines the phenomenon of dispute inflation – wherein a contest over an object or issue assumes ever greater stakes and significance for its protagonists – and identifies three different mechanisms that can generate increasing non-material stakes. The upshot is that theoretically even a minor dispute can grow into a major conflict due to swelling stakes, especially when dispute inflation spirals. To illustrate these dynamics at work, this paper looks to recent developments in the dispute between the People’s Republic of China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
- An international hierarchy of science: conquest, cooperation, and the 1959 Antarctic Treaty System
The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), created in 1959 to govern the southern continent, is often lauded as an illustration of science’s potential to inspire peaceful and rational International Relations. This article critically examines this optimistic view of science’s role in international politics by focusing on how science as a global hierarchical structure operated as a gatekeeper to an exclusive Antarctic club. I argue that in the early 20th century, the conduct of science in Antarctica was entwined with global and imperial hierarchies. As what Mattern and Zarakol call a broad hierarchy, science worked both as a civilized marker of international status as well as a social performance that legitimated actors’ imperial interests in Antarctica. The 1959 ATS relied on science as an existing broad hierarchy to enable competing states to achieve a functional bargain and ‘freeze’ sovereignty claims, whilst at the same time institutionalizing and reinforcing the legitimacy of science in maintaining international inequalities. In making this argument, I stress the role of formal international institutions in bridging our analysis of broad and functional hierarchies while also highlighting the importance of scientific hierarchies in constituting the current international order.
- Arms imports in the wake of embargoes
Do states circumvent embargoes by supplying weapons across borders to sanctioned countries? We report evidence that arms imports systematically increase in the neighborhood of conflict states under an embargo. Using several alternative research-design specifications, we contend that this pattern is consistent with arms exporters shifting the arms trade to neighbors of conflict states under sanctions, where it is easier to move arms clandestinely across the border. Despite the lack of direct evidence of clandestine cross-border trafficking, this research contributes to the development of more sophisticated screening tools to identify potential non-compliers with arms embargoes for direct follow-up investigations.
- Approaching the unsynthesizable in international politics: Giving substance to security discourses through basso ostinato?
This article addresses the question of how spatial difference manifests itself in International Relations discourses in an effort to theorize difference in international politics. In doing so, we focus on the concept of security in particular and demonstrate a paradox in its conceptualization....
- Continental IR Theory:
This article reviews the exotic theoretical landscape of Continental IR Theory (CIRT). While often neglected, or claimed to be uninteresting, or being a franchise business producing copies of theorizing done elsewhere, the article attempts to demonstrate that the discipline of International...
- Conventionalism as an Adequate Basis for Policy-Relevant IR Theory
This article considers three factual observations about the history of the study of International Relations and examines how well several different metatheories of IR can account for them. The three facts are, first, that there has been persisting disagreement between supporters of contending...
- How do religious norms diffuse? Institutional translation and international change in a post-secular world society
This article draws from Habermasian post-secular theory to broaden the scope of Constructivist research on norm dynamics beyond its current Western-centric focus. In an increasingly post-secular world society, we conceptualize the mechanism of institutional translation to explain processes of norm...
- Metaphorical incarnations of the “other” and Iranian International Relations discourses
Iranian International Relations academics have impacted both the official and public discourses on foreign policy issues, and vice versa. More specifically, how the “other” is constructed in Iranian International Relations discourses has an important role in determining how Iran acts in world...
- Popular narratives versus Chinese history: Implications for understanding an emergent China
Closely associated with China’s growing prominence in international politics are discussions about how to understand Chinese history, and how such perspectives inform the way a stronger China may relate to the rest of the world. This article examines two narratives as cases, and considers how they...
- The national accounting paradox: how statistical norms corrode international economic data
The transnationalization and digitization of economic activity has undermined the quality of official economic statistics, which still center on national territories and material production. Why do we not witness more vigorous efforts to bring statistical standards in line with present-day economic ...
- Beyond a politics of recrimination: Scandal, ethics and the rehabilitation of violence
The practice of contemporary warfare seems to be plagued by scandal. It is often assumed that the act of bearing witness to these moments of ethical failure, in which the relationship between the martial and the ethical breaks down, plays an important role in holding powerful actors to account for...
- Conditional effects of development aid on political perceptions: mixed-methods evidence from North-East Afghanistan
Can aid create political trust in conflict-affected states? International aid organizations often argue that supporting states in providing basic services can contribute to strengthening state–society relations. Previous studies in international development have indicated that the provision of...
- Contrasts, counterfactuals,and causes
There is growing debate concerning the nature of causation in political science. In comparative politics and International Relations, scholars are divided by probabilistic, mechanistic, and conditions-based definitions of ‘cause.’ Moreover, post-positivist approaches to political science...