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

14 Nov

“The political production of ethical war” published in Critical Studies on Security

My newest article “The political production of ethical war: rethinking the ethics/politics nexus with Laclau” has been published in Critical Studies on Security as part of a special issue of Maja Zehfuss’s War and the Politics of Ethics.

Abstract: Taking Maja Zehfuss’s War & the Politics of Ethics as a starting point, this paper thinks through the ethics/politics nexus from the perspective of ‘Essex School’ poststructuralist discourse theory. Specifically, it asks how ethics – or, rather, morality, the temporary, contingent and context-dependent normative framework that regulates what is commonly seen as good or bad within a given society – is produced. From a discourse theoretical perspective, notions of the moral good are the result of political struggles over meaning. Here Laclau and Mouffe’s conception of hegemony can provide significant insight into how this process works, that is, how some claims about what is morally right become widely accepted as the (only) right thing to do while others fail to do so. The paper illustrates the theoretical argument with a brief case study of the changing articulation of the threat and use of military force in the German security discourse after unification. This case is of particular interest because Germany’s allegedly deeply engrained antimilitarist culture should, from a conventional constructivist perspective at least, stand in the way of any arguments about ethical war ever becoming accepted. Nevertheless, this is precisely what happened.

Keywords: ethics, morality, war, politics, the political, discourse, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Critical Security Studies, German foreign policy, out-of-area debate

The article is available here: https://doi.org/10.1080/21624887.2019.1690861

Free author copies are available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/DEJB4IYRYYKZRUSJNIGN/full?target=10.1080/21624887.2019.1690861

A pre-print is available here.

14 May

Symposium on Laclau and IR/IPE published online in New Political Science

The symposium “The contribution of Laclau’s discourse theory to International Relations and International Political Economy,” which I co-edited with Dirk Nabers, has been published online as part of issue 2/2019 of New Political Science.

Further information and some pre-prints are available here.

A free eprint for the introduction is available here, one for my contribution on securitization here. Please contact me directly if you cannot get access (stengel@ips.uni-kiel.de).

15 Apr

Article on Securitization as Discursive (Re)Articulation published online

I am happy to say that my article “Securitization as Discursive (Re)Articulation: Explaining the Relative Effectiveness of Threat Construction,” part of our symposium on Laclau and IR/IPE in New Political Science, has been published online.

It is available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07393148.2019.1596682

A pre-print is available here.

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.

29 Sep

Special Issue on “Visualizing violence: aesthetics and ethics in international politics” online

Happy to say that the special issue of Global Discourse “Visualizing Violence aesthetics and ethics in international politics” with my coauthored article (with David Shim) on gender, war and social media is online. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2wVq7g7

The Special Issue is an output of the DFG-funded network “Visuality and Global Politics”.

Aside from ourselves, the issue features contributions by Brent Steele, Jessica Auchter, Axel Heck, Frank Möller, Anna Geis & Gabi Schlag and Juha Vuori, as well asreplies by Rune Saugmann, Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Alexander Spencer, Debbie Lisle, Michelle Bentley, Kyle Grayson and Laura Shepherd. Great lineup!

09 Aug

Article “Social Media, Gender and the Mediatisation of War” now online

My article with David Shim on the visual representation of ISAF on the German armed forces’ Facebook page has been published online. The paper examinse the gendered visual representation of the ISAF operation on the German armed forces’ official facebook page.
The official version is available on the Taylor & Francis website, together with a response by Laura J. Shepherd.

Abstract:
Studies on the mediatization of war point to attempts of governments to regulate the visual representation of their involvements in armed conflict – the most notable example being the practice of ‘embedded reporting’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. This article focuses on a different strategy of visual meaning-making, namely, the publication of images on social media by armed forces themselves. Specifically, we argue that the mediatization of war literature could profit from an increased engagement with feminist research, both within Critical Security/Critical Military Studies and within Science and Technology Studies that highlight the close connection between masculinity, technology and control. The article examines the German military mission in Afghanistan as represented on the German armed forces’ official Facebook page. Germany constitutes an interesting, and largely neglected, case for the growing literature on the mediatization of war: its strong antimilitarist political culture makes the representation of war particularly delicate. The article examines specific representational patterns of Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan and discusses the implications which arise from what is placed inside the frame of visibility and what remains out of its view.