My research focuses on Critical Security/Critical Military Studies, discourse theory, German and U.S. foreign policy, and International Political Sociology. In my PhD project I used insights from the political discourse theory of the “Essex School” to explain changes in the German security discourse, most notably the expansion of military operations outside the NATO area (so-called out-of-area operations) after the end of the Cold War. That study examined over 25 years of parliamentary debates. In more recent research, I have turned my attention also to the visual aspects of the representation of military operations, in particular in the context of social media.
More recently, together with Dirk Nabers and David B. MacDonald, I have started an initiative for a project examining the nexus between populism and global order. To that end, we have convened a working group at the 2017 annual convention of the International Studies Association in Baltimore and are currently working on an edited volume that brings together the different contributions presented at Baltimore. The volume is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan.
1) The German Politics of Military Force: The Discursive Production of Out-of-Area Operations
In my Ph.D. project, which I am currently developing into a book manuscript, I analyzed the discursive production of what I call the German “out of area consensus” that emerged in the German Bundestag after unification. The empirical basis is a discourse analysis of German parliamentary debates from 1987 to 2013.
“Poststrukturalistische Diskurstheorie und Außenpolitk. Wie lässt sich Deutschlands wankelmütige Außenpolitik zwischen Afghanistan und Irak verstehen?, in: Eva Herschinger/Judith Renner (eds.), Diskursforschung in den internationalen Beziehungen, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2014, pp. 39-74, doi: 10.5771/9783845255873_37, with Martin Nonhoff.
“Légitimer l’armée en operation: les interventions extérieures de la ‘nouvelle Bundeswehr’ dans la rhetorique du gouvernement rouge-vert“, Allemange d’aujord’hui (192) 2010, pp. 25-34.
2) Exploring the Visual Representation of Out-of-Area Operations on Social Media
Together with David Shim (University of Groningen), I have also begun to analyze how out-of-area operations are represented visually. A first output of the project has recently been published in Global Discourse. In the article we explore the (gendered) visual representation of the ISAF operation on the German armed forces’ official Facebook page. Currently, we work on a second paper on military recruiting. Specifically, we look at the YouTube web series Die Rekruten (The Recruits), which is produced by the German armed forces.
I am also a member of the DFG-funded research network Visuality and Global Politics.
“Social Media, Gender and the Mediatisation of War: Exploring the German Armed Forces’ Visual Representation of the Afghanistan Operation on Facebook”, Global Discourse, online first (2017), doi: 10.1080/23269995.2017.1337982, with David Shim (pre-print available on ResearchGate and Academia).
3) Populism and Global Order
The project is concerned with the nexus between populism and global order. Although populism as such has received significant research interest across the social sciences, its international dimensions remain largely unexplored. The project sets out to close this gap in the literature. At the same time, the project strives to contribute also to International Relations (IR) scholarship, which has so far neglected populism as a research topic. However, if there is indeed a “global rise of populism” (Moffitt 2016) – and this seems to be the case –, this will unavoidably have (and de facto already has) a significant impact on a broad range of topics commonly considered to be among IR’s core concerns, including foreign policy, international conflict and cooperation, rule and resistance in IR, and regional and global order(s). As such, doing IR will become ever more difficult in the future if populism is not taken into account.
Populism and World Politics, volume co-edited with David B. MacDonald and Dirk Nabers, under contract with Palgrave Macmillan.
Trump und der Populismus. Berlin: Heinrich Böll Stiftung 2017, with Dirk Nabers.
Non-state Actors and Foreign Policy
In this small project, Rainer Baumann (University of Duisburg-Essen) and I tentatively explored two questions: (1) to what extent non-state actors are involved in states’s foreign policies and (2) if theoretical approaches to the study of foreign policy are equipped to address non-state actor involvement.
“Non-state Actors and Foreign Policy”, accepted for publication in: Cameron Thies (ed.), The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Foreign Policy Analysis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, online first, doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.456, with Rainer Baumann (pre-print available on ResearchGate and Academia).
“Foreign Policy Analysis, Globalisation and Non-State Actors: State-Centric After All?” Journal of International Relations and Development 17:4 (2014), pp. 489-521, doi: 10.1057/jird.2013.12, with Rainer Baumann (pre-print available on ResearchGate and Academia).