05 Apr

“The Politics of Military Force” is available for pre-order

My forthcoming book The Politics of Military Force: Antimilitarism, Ideational Change, and Postwar German Security Discourse is available for pre-order.

The book examines the dynamics of discursive change that made participation in military operations possible against the background of German antimilitarist culture. Once considered a strict taboo, so-called out-of-area operations have now become widely considered by German policymakers to be without alternative. The book argues that an understanding of how certain policies are made possible (in this case, military operations abroad and force transformation), one needs to focus on processes of discursive change that result in different policy options appearing rational, appropriate, feasible, or even self-evident. Drawing on Essex School discourse theory, the book develops a theoretical framework to understand how discursive change works, and elaborates on how discursive change makes once unthinkable policy options not only acceptable but even without alternative. Based on a detailed discourse analysis of more than 25 years of German parliamentary debates, The Politics of Military Force provides an explanation for: (1) the emergence of a new hegemonic discourse in German security policy after the end of the Cold War (discursive change), (2) the rearticulation of German antimilitarism in the process (ideational change/norm erosion) and (3) the resulting making-possible of military operations and force transformation (policy change). In doing so, the book also demonstrates the added value of a poststructuralist approach compared to the naive realism and linear conceptions of norm change so prominent in the study of German foreign policy and International Relations more generally.

Pre-order at The University of Michigan Press
(30% off with promo code UMSTENGEL)

Pre-order on Amazon UK

29 Sep

Chapter on “Non-state Actors and Foreign Policy” now online

My co-authored chapter on non-state actors and foreign policy (with Rainer Baumann) has finally been published online. The official version is available here, for a pre-print see my Publications page.

Here’s the summary:

The rise of non-state (international, private, and transnational) actors in global politics has far-reaching consequences for foreign policy theory and practice. In order to remain able to explain foreign policy also in the 21st century, foreign policy research needs to take into account the growing importance of nonstate actors. A good way to do this would be to engage the literature on globalization and global governance. Both fields would benefit from such an exchange of ideas because their respective strengths could cancel out each other’s weaknesses. Foreign policy research on one hand has a strong track record explaining foreign policy outcomes, using a broad range of theoretical concepts but almost completely ignores non-state actors. This is highly problematic for at least two reasons: Firstly, foreign policy is increasingly made in international organizations and intergovernmental and transnational governance networks instead of national institutions like foreign ministries. Secondly, also the latter increasingly open up to, and involve, non-state actors in their policymaking procedures. Thus, if foreign policy research wants to avoid becoming marginalized in the future, it needs to take into account this change. However, especially systemic approaches like neorealism or constructivism have difficulties adapting to the new reality of foreign policy. Not only do they explicitly stress the importance of states at the expense of non-state actors, which are only of marginal interest to them, as is global governance. Moreover, they also conceptualize states unitary actors which forecloses the possibility of examining the involvement of non-state actors in states’ decision-making processes. Agency-based approaches such as Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) fare much better, at least in principle. FPA scholars stress the improtance of disaggregating the state and looking at the individuals and group dynamics that influence their decision making. However, while this commitment to opening up the state allows fro a great deal more flexibility vis-à-vis different types of actors, FPA research has so far remained state-centric and only very recently turned to non-state actors. On the other hand, non-state actors’ involvement in policymaking is the strongsuit of the literature on globalization and global governance, which has spent a lot time and effort analyzing various forms of “hybrid” governance. At the same time, however, this literature has been rather descriptive, so far mainly systematizing different governance arrangements and the conditions under which non-state actors are included in governance arrangements. This literature could profit from foreign policy research’s rich theoretical knowledge in explaining policy outcomes in hybrid governance networks and IOs.
Foreign policy researchers should take non-state actors seriously. In this regard three avenues in particular are relevant for future research: (1) comparative empirical research to establish the extent of non-state actors’ participation in foreign policymaking across different countried and governance arrangements (2) explanatory studies that analyze the conditions under which non-state actors are involved in states’ foreign policymaking processes and (3) the normative implications of increased hybrid foreign policymaking for democratic legitimacy.