15 Dec

BMBF Funds Project on “Knowledge Production in German Peace and Security Policy”

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has announced that it will fund the collaborative project “Knowledge Production in German Peace and Security Policy (KNOWPRO)” as part of its funding initiative to strengthen peace and conflict research, with ca. 1.5 million EUR.

Focussing on Afghanistan and Somalia as case studies, the project examines the knowledge that forms the basis for decisions (not) to intervene in armed conflicts. More specifically, the project is interested in what becomes accepted as objective knowledge about a given conflict in a certain context (e.g. a ministry or academic discipline) and how. Taking a sociological understanding of knowledge formation as its starting point, we expect that what counts as factual knowledge about a given issue will vary with context and depend not just on its objective truth but on different factors, including power, (lack of) expertise, bureaucratic politics, sedimented discursive practices, etc. To examine this proposition, the project compares knowledge production in three relevant areas: basic science, scientific policy advice, and government ministries and agencies. The project (a) explores to what extent knowledge differs between these three spheres, (b) develops a theoretical framework integrating discourse theoretical and sociological factors that explain which knowledge becomes accepted as the truth in a certain context, and (c) develops practical guidelines to improve knowledge transfer and decision making. The project combines quantitative corpus linguistic and interpretive methods of discourse analysis with qualitative interviews and ethnography in a mixed-methods design.

Co-PIs: Sophia Hoffmann, Dirk Nabers, Klaus Schlichte, Frank A. Stengel

Funding period: April 2022-March 2026

14 Dec

Article on the German Bundeswehr’s social media activities published in Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen

I am happy to announce that my article on the German Bundeswehr’s activities on social media (“Soziale Medien und die Legitimitätspolitik der Bundeswehr”) has been published in the Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen.

The article discusses the social media activities of the Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces, which so far have received only limited attention in the academic literature. The Bundeswehr has an active presence on social media sites, such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, and it uses it both to inform the public and for recruitment purposes. The article argues that scholars should pay more attention to social media as a significant site where struggles over how to interpret reality play out. To that end, it provides a brief summary of research on social media in Critical Military Studies. Following that, the article provides an overview of the Bundeswehr’s activities on social media and illustrates how the specific way the Bundeswehr presents itself on social media might contribute not just to its legitimacy as a governmental institution but also to the legitimacy of its activities, including military violence.

Keywords: social media, Bundeswehr, military, armed forces, militarization

doi: 10.5771/0946-7165-2021-2-152

A pre-print is available here.