09 Sep

German Foundation for Peace Research Funds Project on “Gender in German Peace and Security Policy”

Beginning in September 2022, the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) will fund my project on “Gender in German Peace and Security Policy” for 2,5 years.

Gender constructions – understood as socially/discursively produced conceptions of masculinity and femininity – play an important role in foreign policy and international politics. Social constructions of subjects (e.g., political elites, soldiers, or the “local population” in conflict regions), objects (for instance, nuclear weapons), social practices (military interventions, economic sanctions, diplomacy), and institutions (like the foreign office or the armed forces) are gendered – they are interwoven with notions of masculinity and femininity. As a result, which options to address certain policy problems come to be regarded as more or less rational, appropriate, doable and morally acceptable depends not just on their objective problem adequateness but is also influenced by gendered behavioral expectations. This is especially the case in the “tough” world of security policy, in which the ideal-typical leader (the “statesman”) is marked by masculine characteristics like strength, toughness, and emotional sobriety. Likewise, public support for Western military interventions is at least in part the result of articulations of “women and children” allegedly in need of help. As the Afghan example shows, arguments like this do not necessarily have to correspond to any real lasting improvements in the security of vulnerable groups. While the influence of gendered constructions on foreign policymaking has been the subject of numerous studies, most case studies focus on the United States or the United Kingdom, and little if any attention is devoted to Germany. On the flipside, gender as an analytical category (let alone de- and postcolonial concepts such as coloniality or Orientalism) plays virtually no role in research on German security policy. And while liberal feminist conceptions of gender as primarily concerned with the role of women has become increasingly important as a factor in German foreign policy (no least under the leadership of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock), there is little to no reflection on how gender constructions (e.g., notions of masculinity) impact foreign policymaking, despite the fact that such constructions can be a hindrance for the development of problem-adequate policy solutions.

Given this, the project pursues two main aims: First, based on a discourse analysis of German parliamentary debates on military operations, the project seeks to examine to what extent and how gender(ed) constructions influence German peace and security policy. In doing so, the project closes an important research gap. Second, the project seeks to cooperate with political actors and think tankers to develop policy recommendations aiming at a reduction of potentially counterproductive gendered constructions’ (or those influenced by coloniality, Orientalism, Eurocentrism, etc.) impact on German foreign policymaking, for instance through the decolonization of knowledge and knowledge production or increasing the diversity of actors involved in foreign policymaking. Ideally, this will contribute to the formulation of a consistent feminist foreign policy as envisioned by Foreign Minister Baerbock.

Logo Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung
19 Aug

Article in Kiel University’s Research Magazine on Project KNOWPRO

The newest issue of “Unizeit,” Kiel University’s research magazine, features a detailed (German-language) article on our new project on “Knowledge Production in German Peace and Security Policy”, a collaboration with the University of Bremen and the University of Erfurt. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The article is available here: https://www.uni-kiel.de/de/unizeit/uz/news/projekt-knowpro

17 May

New Podcast on the “Zeitenwende”

Listen to the new Duck of Minerva “Duckcalls” podcast, in wich Dr. Georg Löfflmann (University of Warwick) and I talk Ukraine war, Zeitenwende in German security policy, German chancellor Olaf Scholz’s communication style and the moral rot among German intellectuals, among other things, with host Jarrod Hayes (UMass, Lowell).


11 Sep

“The Politics of Military Force” reviewed in Perspectives on Politics

“The Politics of Military Force” has been reviewed as part of a Critical Dialogue with Professor Wolfgang Wagner (VU Amsterdam), in which we discuss our respective books. Here’s (the positive part of) what he had to say:

“Stengel argues convincingly that the changes in German security discourse and practice are not inevitable adjustments to any functional requirements of a changing security environment. … Stengel’s book contributes to a growing body of literature that—correctly in my view—treats security policy change not as inevitable adjustments to a country’s changing environment, but as the result of political decisions that reflect value commitments, worldviews, and the expectations of the domestic public as well as allied states. Stengel’s contribution is theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich.

Wolfgang Wagner

Doi: 10.1017/S1537592721001808

08 Sep

“The Politics of Military Force” has been cited in Tagesspiegel

“The Politics of Military Force” has been cited in today’s print edition of Der Tagesspiegel, one of Germany’s big newspapers. The op-ed by Joseph Verbovszky argues that Germany’s role was “decisive” in the shift towards nation-building in Afghanistan, part of which was, paradoxically, war-aversion.

Here’s the link to the online article (that one links to my co-authored chapter with Martin Nonhoff instead of my book): 20 Jahre 9/11: Die Deutschen wollten keinen Krieg – und führten gerade deshalb einen (tagesspiegel.de)

04 Jun

Article ““Militarizing Antimilitarism” accepted for publication

My newest co-authored article (with David Shim, University of Groningen) “Militarizing Antimilitarism? Exploring the Gendered Representation of Military Service in German Recruitment Videos on Social Media” has been accepted for publication in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.

Abstract: This article analyzes the gendered representation of military service in the German YouTube series Die Rekruten (DR), a popular web series produced on behalf of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) for recruitment  purposes, which accompanies 12 navy recruits during their basic training. The article is situated within research on masculinity and the military, in particular military recruitment. It supplements current scholarship by studying a previously neglected case that is of particular interest given Germany’s antimilitarist culture, which should make military recruitment and military public relations more difficult. The article asks how military service is represented in DR, what its discursive effects are, and what role (if any) masculinity plays in this process. We find support for recent feminist research on military masculinities (including in military recruitment) that emphasizes ambiguity and contradiction. What distinguishes the construction of military masculinity in DR from, for example, recruitment advertisements in the United States or the United Kingdom is its markedly civil character. This not only broadens the military’s appeal for a more diverse audience but also increases the legitimacy of the military and its activities. It does so by concealing the violence that has for the past two decades also been a very real part of what the Bundeswehr does.

Kewyords: gender, social media, German foreign policy, YouTube, military recruitment, militarization, military masculinity, hegemonic masculinity, antimilitarism Bundeswehr

The article will be published open access and will be available soon here: 10.1080/14616742.2021.1935289

14 Jan

Edited volume on “Populism and World Politics” published

I am happy to say that my co-edited volume (with Dirk Nabers and David B. MacDonald) on “Populism and World Politics: Exploring Inter- and Transnational Dimensions” has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

This volume is the first to analyze populism’s international dimension: its impact on, and interaction with, foreign policy and international politics. The contributions to this volume engage conceptual theoretical issues and overarching questions such as the still under-specified concept of populism or the importance of leadership and the mass media for populism’s global rise. They zoom in on populism’s effect on both different countries’ foreign policies and core international concerns, including the future of the liberal world order and the chances for international conflict and cooperation more generally.

The volume includes chapters by:

  • Jan Zeemann on the possibility of an emancipatory global populist project
  • María Esperanza Casullo on the importance of leadership for populist movements
  • Precious Chatterje-Doody and Rhys Crilley on global media and populism
  • Dirk Nabers and myself on sedimented practices in Donald J. Trump’s election campaign
  • Brian Budd on Kellie Leitch’s failed campaign in Canada
  • Grant Burrier on the impact of populist presidencies on trade and defense policies in Latin America
  • Daniel Wajner on the impact of classical populism, neoliberal and progressive neopopulism on Latin American foreign policies
  • David B. MacDonald on the foreign policy of Winston Peters’s New Zealand First party
  • Thorsten Wojczewski on Modi’s populist project in India
  • Robert Patman on populist challenges to liberal world order
  • Shane Markowitz on populism as a socio-material phenomenon in the context of genetically modified organisms
  • and Amy Skonieczny on the 2016 US presidential election’s effect on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The book is available online here: https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030046200 or here: https://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-04621-7

If you do not have access, please feel free to send me an e-mail.