Managers: Carla Monteleone (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vittorio Emanuele Parsi (email@example.com)Read Section abstractEvents in international politics have severely challenged some of the main features of the global political system that were set up after World War II, highlighting its ongoing transformation. The growing presence of the so-called rising powers and a new US Administration have made more apparent challenges to existing main institutions, coalitions and norms, while non-state actors and transnational problems have gained more prominence. The section aims at taking stock and enriching knowledge regarding the transformation of the global system and invites panels and papers that explore from a theoretical perspective and/or with empirical analyses this transformation, looking at continuities and changes in and of the global political system, and their implications. This section particularly welcomes panels and papers debating continuities and changes in:
Thursday 12th September 2019
Studium 6 - Aula 7-A1 10.15-12.00
Studium 6 - Aula 1-C1 10.15-12.00
Studium 6 - Aula 5-C3 10.15-12.00
Donato Valli - Aula 6 10.15-12.00
Studium 6 - Aula 7-A1 13.15-15.00
Studium 6 - Aula 5-C3 13.15-15.00
Monastero - Padiglione Chirico 13.15-15.00
Studium 6 - Aula 1-C1 13.15-15.00
Friday 13th September 2019
Sperimentale Tabacchi - Aula SP7 09.00-10.45
Saturday 14th September 2019
Donato Valli - Aula 9 09.00-10.45
Donato Valli - Aula B 09.00-10.45
Studium 6 - Aula 6-C4 09.00-10.45
Sperimentale Tabacchi - Aula SP3 09.00-10.45
Donato Valli - Aula 7 11.15-13.00
Studium 6 - Aula 5-C3 11.15-13.00
Donato Valli - Aula 9 11.15-13.00
Donato Valli - Aula B 11.15-13.00
Studium 6 - Aula 6-C4 11.15-13.00
Sperimentale Tabacchi - Aula SP3 11.15-13.00
Chairs: Fulvio Attinà
Discussants: Marco Clementi
Is there a ‘Trump effect’ on the development policy of the European Union towards Africa?
AbstractHow is the EU responding to changing US development policy, particularly the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ policy in Africa? The US administration, which once wanted to cut development aid by 30 percent, launched a new Africa strategy in 2018 that will seek to advance trade ties in order to increase prosperity in the US and Africa, while using foreign aid efficiently to further US interests in the region. In addition, the US Congress introduced the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, a bipartisan bill creating a new US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), which doubled the US development aid budget to $60 billion. The IDFC is seen as an important case of US development legislation designed to counter China’s and Russia’s ‘predatory’ role in Africa. This article examines the consequences of the shift in Trump’s Africa policy for the EU’s development policy towards Sub-Saharan African countries. It suggests that after years of talk and negotiations on partnership for economic development (African Growth and Opportunity Act, Cotonou Agreement, Economic Partnership Agreements, etc.), Trump’s focus on competition in order to ‘put America first again’ delivers a severe blow to free trade agreements and participatory development policy in Africa. For the EU, the challenge is to develop a coherent strategy that reconciles both negotiating a post-Cotonou Agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and shoring up a completely new form of cooperation between the EU and the African Union (AU) outside the EU-ACP development framework. The article also assesses the promise and pitfalls of donor cooperation between the EU and the US as a means of countering the growing influence of China and Russia in Africa.
Great power confrontation in the UN Security Council
AbstractUniversal multilateral institutions have been considered forums in which states can create political coalitions. Focusing on the case of the UN Security Council and analyzing sponsoring behavior, the paper will bring attention to the increasing conflict among great powers and the creation or adaptation of their supporting coalitions. Specific attention will be devoted to the evolution of the attitudes toward the issue of human rights, that has traditionally strongly connoted the US-led liberal international order, but that has recently become a divisive issue not just between coalitions but also within coalitions.
The United States, China, and Russia competition and the future of world order.
AbstractThe re-emerging world power confrontation and the present stage of world dis-order encourage new analysis of the leadership competition in the world political system. The key concepts of the analysis of the present paper are the ‘world order life-cycle’, the ‘revisionist/status quo state, and the ‘coalition power’. The world powers under study are the United States, China, and Russia. The paper examines the revisionist or status quo strategy and the potentials of the coalition power of each of them.
The US-China Power Struggle and the Case of South America: A Failed Transition Towards A New Order?
AbstractOver the last years, IR scholars have extensively debated on two topics: the fading of US primacy and China's rise to the status of global power. Together, these processes are considered as the core structural changes driving the international system away from its post-Cold War unipolar configuration. A relevant section of the ongoing debate is related to the impact of those transformations in the different regional sub-systems. An extensive literature exists on how regional structures are changing according to global processes and on how regional actors are reacting to the Sino-American dynamics. Among others, the case of Latin America has received great attention: the growing ties with Beijing are particularly interesting in light of the region’s historical closeness to the US sphere of influence. The recent transformations have been considered by many scholars as a signal of the decline of Washington’s hegemony and China’s attempt to challenge the status quo. The paper aims at verifying these claims with regards to the case of the South American sub-region. It proposes a two-fold approach: firstly, the paper employs a structural, realist perspective to analyse – according to three (military, economic, diplomatic) indicators – the balance of power between Washington and Beijing in the region; secondly, it analyses the South American foreign policies to determine where they can be placed along the continuum legitimisation/contestation vis-à-vis the two superpowers. Due to its multi-faceted approach, the paper relies on different theoretical frameworks, encompassing elements of the power-transition theory, neoclassical realism, and hierarchy studies. Overall, the paper’s results show a sharp contrast between the actual power owned by the US and China in the region and the perception thereof: indeed, while their balance of power is regarded to be turning in favour of the latter, empirical data show that the former is still far ahead in almost all dimensions of power. These findings suggest a cautious assessment of US decline and, at the same time, they remind how crucial the hegemon’s legitimacy and credibility are for the resilience of its primacy. Finally, the paper aims to verify whether these results can be valid beyond South America. In doing so, it addresses two further questions: Are we underestimating US power and, conversely, exaggerating China’s rise? Or, more simply, will the transition towards a new system last longer than we expected?
Chairs: Francesco N. Moro, Arlo Poletti
Discussants: Francesco N. Moro, Arlo Poletti
"The National Interest" between Politics and Policy. West European States and the regulation of domestic property rights.
Marco Di Giulio, Fancesco Niccolò Moro
AbstractHow do States define and protect strategic industries? After more than three decades since the waves of privatization have begun in Europe, States did not entirely give up their willingness and capacity to define some economic areas or sectors as strategic and to accordingly operate to protect them for foreign threat. The paper identifies a specific policy domain consisting in the regulation of property rights and more specifically in the powers enabling governments to define strategic industries and interfere in the transactions regarding them. Empirically, the paper provides evidences on the varieties of institutional arrangements and policy strategies emerged in the four largest economies of the region such as France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Do trade agreements leads to a displacement of labour abuses in developing countries?
AbstractDoes trade leads to a displacement of labor abuses in developing countries? Much of the debate on the relationship between trade and labour rights in the IPE literature revolves around the ‘race to the top’ vs ‘race to the bottom’ hypotheses. With mixed empirical results, some scholars have contended that exposure to global markets can reduce the incidence of heinous labour abuses, while others have argued that trade openness induces firms and governments ‘weaken their labour standards in an effort to reduce their production costs’ seeking to retain and attract export opportunities (Gamso 2017: 4). Building on the seminal work of a few academics, this research argues that the IPE literature might have overlooked a potential effect of trade on labour rights: the displacement effect (Koenig-Archibugi 2017, Baland and Duprez 2009). To date, the displacement effect is little more than a hypothesis and the examination of the phenomenon remains underdeveloped both theoretically and empirically. Theoretically, it is only predicted by a few economic models focusing on private regulations and the issue of child labour. Empirically, to the best of my knowledge, there are still no studies that directly examine the issue. My research aims to overcome this gap in the literature and to provide the first comprehensive and systematic investigation of displacement. Displacement is conceptualized in two analytical dimensions: the sorting effect and downgrading. The sorting effect conjectures that as some suppliers improve their labour conditions, they will increasingly export towards socially concerned markets, meanwhile, producers with lower labour conditions will increasingly export towards price sensitive and socially indifferent markets. The downgrading hypothesis states that the improvement in labour conditions in some suppliers could lead to declining labour conditions in competing suppliers. Suppliers that are unable or unwilling to improve their labour conditions could face incentives to deteriorate labour conditions. Countries aiming to trade with unconcerned buyers, where price competition is fierce and the incentives to ensure decent labour conditions are limited, may engage in a cost-cutting culture, increasingly squeezing their workers and ignoring factory safety (Lim and Prakash 2017). In sum, the displacement hypothesis posits that progress in some countries may not aggregate to (meaningfully) improve the total working condition of the system, but rather result in the re-shuffling of the export patterns leaving the total welfare of workers largely unchanged (Koenig-Archibugi 2017). The paper also presents a preliminary empirical approach. To test the displacement hypothesis the research will engage with a panel analysis looking at over 90 developing countries over a period of 24 years (1981 -2015). The adoption of a Vector Autoregression model will be discussed as a strategy to deal with some of the endogeneity concerns.
Global Governance Dilemmas: UN Sustainable Development Goals between Abstract Universalism and National Statehood
AbstractGlobalization induces complex changes within, between and across states. One of the questions raised in the academic literature as well as political practice relates to the possible regulation of global problems. In the meantime, the issue of global governance has come to the fore as one of the best known-incarnations of this debate. Both its concept and its empirical implications have already been scrutinized from various angles – theoretical plausibility, empirical relevance, democratic legitimacy, post-colonial repercussions, sustainability, etc. Nevertheless, a further exploration of its analytical and political adequacy is needed with regards to the fundamental relational transformations undergoing under the banner of globalization. How does it fit into the historical reality of intensifying glocality? Respectively, the proposed paper concentrates initially on the emergence and evolution of the notion of global governance. The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and similar previous policy steps serve as a main empirical illustration of a (top-down) global governance intervention. Correspondingly, their contents are critically investigated against the background of a growing glocal complexity. The paper concludes that while the scientific debate about global governance deals with its construct in a much more nuanced way, the existing framework of the SDGs fluctuates conceptually between a kind of abstract universalism and traditional national statehood. Therefore, a much more broad-based (bottom-up) emancipative understanding of globalization is needed within the official diplomatic world.
Trade liberalization and labor market institutions
Leonardo Baccini, Mattia Guidi, Arlo Poletti, Aydin Yildirim
AbstractWhile the distributional consequences of market liberalization at the firm level are well understood, the previous literature has paid limited attention to how variations in domestic institutions across countries affect winners and losers from opening up to trade. We argue that the presence of institutions of coordinated wage bargaining, which pose a ceiling to wage increases, helps smaller firms weather the rising competition triggered by trade liberalization. We test this hypothesis using a firm-level dataset on European Union countries, which includes more than 800,000 manufacturing firms between 2003 and 2015. We find that, for productive firms, gains from trade are twice as large in countries with liberal wage bargaining (e.g. the United Kingdom) as they are in countries with coordinated wage bargaining (e.g. Germany). Moreover, we show that trade liberalization triggers a differential demand for redistribution at the individual level across didifferent labour markets.
Chairs: Ruth Hanau Santini, Francesco N. Moro
Discussants: Francesco N. Moro
Order re-definition in the name of security: the case of the Sahel
AbstractConflicts, terrorist activities and illegal trafficking have attracted the attention of a multitude of African and international actors in the Sahel. In that crowd, regional organizations and regional cooperation projects are competing to be acknowledged as the go-to security actor in the region. Such recognition brings not only legitimacy but also access to international resources. While ECOWAS which has traditionally been the main regional security actor in West Africa is being marginalized, and the G5 Sahel is rising, supported by France, the EU, and other international actors, the AU is trying to bring all these initiatives under its leadership through the Nouakchott process. This article explores how the agencies of regional organizations in the Sahel are being constituted, shaped, and contested through an interplay between the discourses and practices of African and international actors. This complex system of interrelations is characterized by knowledge production struggles aiming at defining the geographical scope of action, setting the agenda, and establishing the legitimate forms of security intervention. This article examines these struggles and their political, institutional and social effects on regional order and on power relations among local, regional, and international actors.
Trends in IGO and INGO development from a vertical (regional-global) and horizontal (sector specific-general) perspective: mapping regionalism using the UIA database
Manfredi Valeriani, Johann Wolfschwenger
Abstract--Trends in IGO and INGO development from a vertical (regional-global) and horizontal (sector specific-general) perspective: mapping regionalism using the UIA database-- This paper is one of the outcomes of the authors’ six-month research fellowship at the Union of International Associations (UIA). The UIA is a Brussels-based research institution that catalogues data on international governmental and non-governmental organizations (IGOs, INGOs). It has collected data of more than 70.000 organizations, some of that data reaching back to the beginning of the 19th century. To our surprise, in-depth engagement with UIA data, specifically quantitative analysis thereof, are rare. (for studies that engaged with UIA data see for example Shanks, Jacobson, & Kaplan, 2009; Volgy, Fausett, Grant, & Rodgers, 2008). The aim of this paper is to explore whether and how the UIA-database can be utilized to better understand up-to-date research agendas in IR. In order to do so we raise two questions: First, what can the UIA data tell us about the proclaimed crisis of the International Liberal Order (ILO) and what can it tell us about current trends within the ILO? Second, how can the UIA database be improved to better contribute the research agenda put forward by regime complexity theory? The UIA’s database enables us to assess the development of the ILO in terms of state’s membership and participation in international (non-governmental) organizations. In our framework, a crisis of the liberal order would result in a decrease of the state’s membership in international organizations or in total number of IGOs. The paper uses ecology theory (Hannan & Freeman, 1977) and its updates (Frey, 2008; Hannan & Carroll, 1992; Morin, 2018) to look into the international system and to study state’s behavior to show that the intergovernmental equilibrium is not in crisis, but it is in a stabilization phase that has been there for the last decades already. Compared to other theories, organizational ecology has the advantage to be a structural theory, focusing systematically on the organizational environment, its density and its availability of resources rather than on other factors (Abbott et al., 2016). In order to operationalize the stabilization hypothesis, the concept of saturation is introduced as an explanatory variable (independent variable) for the growth rates of states’ membership in IGOs (dependent variable). Saturation is defined as the ratio between the number of organizations a country has joined and those that could join. The paper shows that in terms of governmental organizations an increasing saturation corresponds with a decreasing membership rate. We recognize the growing number of other actors on the international stage (e.g. INGOs) as a logical consequence of such a stagnation, as the alternative actors may fill the gap left by IGO. The first part of the paper briefly describes the Union of International Organization and its database. The second part builds on ecology theory and introduces the concept of saturation as explanatory variable for IGO growth rates. The third part explores the relationship between saturation, economic development and regional integration. Results show that trends vary according to different levels of regional integration. Geographic and economic integration patterns are visible in the results, fostering the idea of regionalism as a core aspect of the current international system. __Bibiliography__ Frey, B. S. (2008). Outside and inside competition for international organizations-from analysis to innovations. Review of International Organizations. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-008-9045-2 Hannan, M. T., & Carroll, G. R. (1992). Dynamics of organizational populations: Density, legitimation, and competition. Oxford University Press. Hannan, M. T., & Freeman, J. (1977). The Population Ecology of Organizations. American Journal of Sociology. http://doi.org/10.1086/226424 Morin, J. F. (2018). Concentration despite competition: The organizational ecology of technical assistance providers. Review of International Organizations, 1(Raustiala 2012). http://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-018-9322-7 Shanks, C., Jacobson, H. K., & Kaplan, J. H. (2009). Inertia and change in the constellation of international governmental organizations, 1981–1992. International Organization. http://doi.org/10.1017/s002081830003352x Volgy, T. J., Fausett, E., Grant, K. A., & Rodgers, S. (2008). Identifying formal intergovernmental organizations. Journal of Peace Research. http://doi.org/10.1177/0022343308096159
Twins' diverging trajectories? Drug trafficking and political reordering in Mali and Niger
Francesco Strazzari, Luca Raineri
AbstractHow do we understand and explain continuities and disruptions in the making and un-making of Saharan states? While mainstream political science and IR theories have often taken statehood for granted, the logic of order-making in African polities remains relatively poorly understood. Through the lenses of historical political sociology, recent scholarship has shed light on decentralised, bottom-up patterns of order-making and un-making that are rooted in the agency of big men, their trans-local networks and their policing. Building on this perspective, the paper investigates the divergent trajectories followed by Mali and Niger after the conflagration of Libya in 2011, in spite of structural similarities. Navigating analytical tensions between longue-durée perspectives and a micro-political economic focus, we focus on how the rise of cross-border extralegal networks of drug trafficking has deformed and transformed the distribution of the symbolic and material resources of power and legitimacy in the Saharan space. The paper hypothesises that these dynamics - filtered through ambiguous international programmes of security assistance and stabilisation - have impacted differently on the making of a neopatrimonial political order in Mali and Niger, resulting in different degrees of resilience vis-à-vis the destabilisation of the Saharan regional security complex. These claims are corroborated by data collected during extensive fieldwork that we have conducted in Mali and Niger since 2013.
Chairs: Ruth Hanau Santini, Francesco N. Moro
Discussants: Ruth Hanau Santini
Hierarchy Studies: A Review and Critique of Theory, Classificatory Schemes, and Findings
AbstractTwo problems plague the recent wave of hierarchy studies. First, arguments that international systems are characterized by hierarchical traits have been made by Aron, Galtung, Gilpin, Ikenberry, Organski, and others. Even Waltz, who is said to have proposed an alleged "state-under-anarchy" framework, was aware that international politics, while being anarchical at the highest level, is characterized by local hierarchies. When current claims are compared with the previous literature, their originality turns out to be limited. Second, so far classificatory schemes of hierarchies are incoherent, lack agreement on core categories, and have little explanatory power. The best works, such as David Lake's, are explanatory rather than merely classificatory-descriptive, but, significantly, they have liberal and realist variables entering from the back door and doing much of the heavy lifting in explaining the formation of hierarchical relations. Examples culled from the XIX and XX Century, as well as current US-China relations, show that liberal variables (the domestic characteristics of states) and realist variables (the anarchy-driven competition among the great powers) shapes hierarchical relations. Implications for progress in theorizing about hierarchies are discussed.
Japan and South Korea, the rise of China and the process of order transition in East Asia.
AbstractThe proposed paper explains Japan’s and South Korea’s perception of the order transition in East Asia. The rise of China and its contestation of the material and normative pillars of the U.S.-led regional order in East Asia has sparked a process of renegotiation, among regional powers, of such order. The American hegemony in East Asia has thus become characterized, in the post-Cold War era, by greater inclusiveness and more delegation via enhanced cooperation among U.S. allies and partners as well as with China. This broadening of the hegemonic order in East Asia has resulted in a reconfiguration of the underlying U.S.-led system of alliances, defence partnerships, and multilateral security institutions. The Cold War hub-and-spokes system of bilateral alliance has been reordered through the development of a networked security architecture amongst U.S. allies and partners and in which the PRC is also included. In doing so, regional powers in East Asia have thus reconfigured their security relations so as to preserve and uphold the existing U.S.-led regional hegemonic order in East Asia while seeking, to the extent possible, to integrate China in such order. The proposed paper looks at the Japanese and South Korean role in this process. In order to do so, it connects the process of contestation of the regional order in East Asia, with the strategic response, in terms of resistance, accommodation or adaptation enacted by Asian states. From a Japanese point of view, Beijing’s ascendency is considered particularly disruptive for the regional order, while Seoul considers China as a essential partner for the stabilization of the Korean peninsula. Tokyo and Beijing have engaged into social denial: the first has sought to establish a “new type of great power relations” with Washington, the second has emphasized the centrality of democratic and “Western” values, to negate China’s bid for great power status. On the contrary, South Korea considers China a necessary partner for the solution of its most pressing security concern, North Korea. Therefore, it has recognized China’s great power status and its role in limiting conflict in the region, and in particular in the Korean peninsula. As a consequence, Japan has turned into a new hub in the emerging networked security architecture enacting two complementary strategies: the consolidation of the alliance with the US and the creation of new and less binding forms of security partnerships with Asian allies. South Korea has occupied a more peripherical role.
Mapping regional security dynamics in Eastern Africa: Ethiopia’s ‘imperfect’ hegemony.
AbstractChanges in institutional settings and new security challenges have remodelled the configurations of regional governance in Eastern Africa throughout the last two decades. Evolving patterns of security dynamics in the region both reflect and inform the disruption of traditional – and the surge of new – networks of international alliances, the emergence of new negotiation strategies between state and non-state actors at transnational level, the unpredictable re-shaping of intra-regional relations as well as tensions at domestic level between central institutions and centrifugal forces (Clapham, 2017). Especially in the Horn of Africa, fractures and connections in strengthening effective state capacity and in building a regional security community have induced twists and turns in the intra- and extra-regional diplomatic efforts towards stability, integration and common agendas. At the dawn of the new Millennium, Ethiopia stood out as the regional power in the Horn of Africa, due to its positioning in the international frame of the war on terror, promises of a sharp economic rise and the domestic stability ensured by the innovative model of ‘ethnic federalism’ (Záhořík, 2014). The ambition to assume a hegemonic role in the region led ‘the Giant of the Horn’ to claim its self-proclaimed responsibility to provide order in a context of civil wars, riots, insurgencies and uprisings, increasing in- and outbound flows of asylum seekers and refugees, natural hazards, and rise of violent militant forces. Yet, despite institutional reforms, international appraisal and outstanding achievements in terms of economic growth and investment attractiveness, Ethiopia’s appetite for hegemony has not been fully accomplished. While its preeminent role in the changing regional security order has been secured, new challenges both at domestic level and in terms of international ties question its capacity to provide regional security and internal stability. Emerging patterns of regional polarization destabilize the politics of state survival that dominates the Horn, where Ethiopia’s legitimacy as hub of stability is rather framed as an ‘imperfect’ hegemony by its neighbours, which query the hierarchy it has established (Le Gouriellec, 2018). By focusing over the dynamic interplay of heterogeneous governance structures in the region, the present analysis inquiries into whether a regional security complex in the Horn of Africa obeys to Ethiopia’s hegemonic rule, or if - rather than to a single ordering principle- to a series of multilevel hierarchical arrangements.
Chairs: Fabrizio Coticchia, Valerio Vignoli
Discussants: Andrea Pedrazzani
Intellectuals, politicians and rhetorical political analysis: Machiavelli à la carte in the Italian Parliament 1861-1994
Matteo Cesare Mario Casiraghi, Francesco Testini
AbstractRhetorical political analysis recently became a lively field, yet scholars devoted little attention to study how politicians employ intellectuals’ theories and figure in their discourses. We offer directions to navigate this territory, with an innovative and original approach. We investigate the influence of Machiavelli on Italian politicians’ rhetorical arguments in the Italian Parliament from 1861 to 1994. Our contribution is to demonstrate that different politicians and parties employ different images of Machiavelli. Between 1861 and 1918, the left uses Machiavelli to support republicanism, realism and military activism, while the right inclines to diplomatic approaches in foreign affairs. After 1945, the right appropriates the realist Machiavelli, as the neo-fascists endorse Machiavelli’s realism, especially in foreign policy, while the communists and the Christian democrats depict a more negative and non-realist picture. Finally, we provide an original dataset and a new paradigm for future explorations of intellectuals’ rhetorical influence on politics.
Should I stay or should I go? Junior Coalition Partners and Military Operations Abroad in Italy
AbstractVarious studies have focused on the role of junior coalition partners in foreign policy and security policy. Scholars have explored under which conditions these parties are able to have an impact on foreign policy outcomes. However, junior coalition partners do not always manage to get what they want. In this situation they face a dilemma: defecting or staying? In the Italian context, as far as military operations are concerned, the latter option has always prevailed. The behaviour of Comunisti Italiani and the Green party during the intervention in Kosovo (1998-1999) and Lega Nord during the intervention in Libya (2011) are emblematic examples of disagreements with the senior partner that did not result in a defection. Through interviews, memoirs and newspaper articles, the aim of this paper is understanding why these junior partners stayed in government despite the implementation of a disliked foreign policy. The empirical findings highlight a variation between radical left and far-right parties’ motivations, highlighting a different approach to military operations abroad. While communists and greens were keen on influencing policy in Kosovo, Lega Nord simply did not consider as Libya sufficiently salient to make the government collapse.
M5S's foreign policy agenda (2017-2018)
AbstractM5S was born as a political movement with a Eurosceptic and anti-globalist stance. However, it was originally focused on local and domestic politics (above all campaigning for environmental issues and against the media, the banking system, the multinational industrial groups, etc.). The movement had not devoted a great deal of attention to foreign policy before 2013. Neither had the European issues found a congruent vision at that time. It was only with the parliamentary activity from 2013 to 2017 that they developed a wide international interest. In preparation for the new elections the following year, in 2017 the M5S’s MPs began the process of gathering what they considered the most relevant policy proposals in order to outline a new electoral programme. The aim of the paper is to see how the M5S defined its public programmes in the field of foreign policy, to what extent the 2017 foreign policy agenda was populist, and which kinds of “populist” features of foreign policy have emerged. This analysis is even more relevant today considering that in June 2018 the Movement became the main force within the Italian government. Not everything found in the foreign policy agenda was included in the government programme with the Lega of Matteo Salvini. Nevertheless, it is important to see the process of agenda building that paved the way for the M5S to develop its own idea of foreign policy.
Chairs: Fabrizio Coticchia, Valerio Vignoli
Discussants: Valerio Vignoli
La Cina secondo i parlamentari italiani
Fulvio Lorefice, Stefano Scardigli, Stefano Spina, Fabio Bistoncini
AbstractA dispetto dell’ascesa globale del Regno di Mezzo nel discorso pubblico italiano permane una visione piuttosto stereotipata del paese. Se da una parte il brain power cinese – come osservano alcuni sinologi – è sempre più concorrenziale e inserito nelle dinamiche internazionali, dall’altra, anzitutto in seno all’opinione pubblica italiana, ancor prima di un’adeguata conoscenza di una realtà complessa e sfaccettata quale è quella cinese, manca una piena consapevolezza del rilievo politico ed economico assunto da questo paese a livello internazionale. Con il presente lavoro, attraverso l’esame degli atti parlamentari riferiti alla Cina, si intende quindi restituire la percezione di questo paese. Più in particolare questo studio ha l’obiettivo di approfondire il contributo e l’analisi delle istituzioni domestiche e dei suoi protagonisti alla definizione della politica estera. Volendo quindi stimare come, in che misura e con quale logica, la Cina suscita l’attenzione delle Camere per delineare quindi il relativo framing, vengono esaminati e classificati gli atti di Sindacato Ispettivo (mozioni, risoluzioni, interrogazioni, interpellanze, etc) in materia, prodotti da Camera e Senato nell’intera XVII legislatura (marzo 2013 – marzo 2018) e nei primi quindici mesi della XVIII legislatura (marzo 2018 – maggio 2019). I dati raccolti vengono, quindi, illustrati per macro-aree di interesse, compresa la Nuova via della Seta, e raggruppati per forze politiche (Movimento 5 Stelle, Lega, Partito democratico, Forza Italia e Fratelli d’Italia).
The Role of National Congresses in the enlargement of Mercosur
AbstractThis study is driven by questioning which the role of Legislatures is in the international relations, a field that traditionally is considered conducted by the Executive branch. Deepening into the Regionalism, it is proposed to analyse the behaviour of the Congresses in order to understand if they can be considered supportive or impeditive actors on this phenomenon. Converging Foreign Policy Analysis and Regionalism fields of study within International Relations area, it is proposed a comparison between two case studies. First, the Paraguayan congressional deliberation of Caracas’ accession and, second, the Brazilian Congress’ debate about La Paz’s incorporation. They were selected insofar as are considered representative of the potential veto power of the legislatures, enabled to deadlock the advance of Executives’ decision about the development o regional integration. These two particular congresses detained the incorporation of new Member States to the Mercosur, even if other legislatures have previously approved. For this reason, they are emphasised as relevant actors in the international relations that can diverge from the Executives’ positions, especially considering how they have influenced critical measures taken at Mercosur level, as the enlargement of its full members. The specific objective is to verify, reviewing the cases of Paraguayan and Brazilian Congresses towards the adherence of Venezuela and Bolivia, the reasons for the assertiveness of these parliaments concerning international measures and how they influenced the evolution of the regional integration process and the relations between South American States.
What’s the link between regionalism, foreign policy and migration governance? Explaining regional leadership and migration management in South America in the neopopulist years
AbstractIn the last two decades, South America created a regional regime for human mobility that is regarded as the most developed one after the EU. This approach, unlike the securitised notion that prevails in most world regions today, is characterised by a consensus on the positive effects of migration and calls for the ‘right to free movement’, the ‘right to migrate’ and, instead of deportations, regularization as a solution to irregularity. This regime was created within the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and was then regionalized to the rest of South America during the 2000s, when neopopulist/neodevelopmentalist governments and a posthegemonic/postneoliberal regional integration model prevailed. I will argue that Argentina’s ‘issue power’ (Zartman 2000) in migration issues and her leadership in the regional migration agenda is key to explain the development and regionalization of this regime. Argentina, the main receiving country in South America, was the first state in the world to call for the ‘right to migrate’ in her national legislation, and was the country that proposed the main regional legislation on migration: the Residence Agreement of MERCOSUR, which established a right to residence in South America. I argue that, in the 2000s, Argentina succeeded in ‘exporting’ her own migration policy to the rest of the region by acting as a ‘regional paymaster’ (Mattli 1999) and by being recognized as a legitimate leader, a country with experience and knowledge by the rest of her regional partners. This happened at a time when Argentina was governed by a neopopulist/neodevelopmentalist government whose foreign policy strategy prioritized relations with her neighbours, that had a strong Latin Americanist rhetoric, a strong focus on human rights and that migration as an identity issue and as key to deepening regional integration. The Argentine government’s interest was to ‘finish irregularity’ by regularizing the migrant population residing in her territory, while guaranteeing human rights, one of the main ‘flags’ of Argentine and South American neopopulism. To explain this process, I will look at Argentina’s role during the negotiations of the key regional legislation adopted in MERCOSUR in the 2000s. This presentation is based on insights from over a hundred in-depth interviews conducted between 2012 and 2018 with key governance actors in nine South American countries. It is also based on an analysis of the legislation on migration and institutional policy documents. At a time when rights-based approaches to migration seem to be in global retreat, and when populist governments seem to be the main proponents of restrictive policies, understanding the formation of the South American regime is a central issue to international and regional migration governance.
Chairs: Marina Calculli, Rosita Di Peri
Discussants: Rosita Di Peri
Whom is the nation for? The Political Economy of Kurdish Nationalism in Iraq
Nicola Degli Esposti
AbstractIn September 2017 the Kurdish region of Iraq held an independent referendum despite the opposition of Baghdad and of the neighbouring states that would have made any landlocked Kurdish mini-state unviable. In fact, despite winning with over 93%, the Kurdistan Regional Government has not yet proclaimed independence. In turn, the Iraqi Kurds had to face heavy retaliations from Baghdad and a serious deterioration of their relationship with Turkey and Iran. This paper argues that holding the referendum, rather than a stubborn expression of nationalist zeal, was a calculated move that reveals the central function played by Kurdish nationalism in preserving the power structure of the region. The economic crisis that started in 2014 has significantly undermined the redistributive capabilities of the Kurdish oil-based economy. To counter mounting popular demands for redistribution, the political elite has more and more relied on a combination of authoritarian practices and nationalist discourse. Thanks to their historical role in the liberation struggle, the two ruling parties have monopolised the political debate with issues of national security and dismissed broader discussions on the strikingly unequal distribution of wealth and on the rampant corruption and nepotism. This paper analyses the historical trajectory of the relationship between Kurdish nationalism and class politics in Iraq, focusing on the process of class formation that took place since the liberation of the region in 1991. By explaining the fundamental role that nationalism plays in the process of reproduction of the dominant classes in Iraqi Kurdistan, this paper gives contributions to the study of nationalism and class and of the role of national identities in the politics of rentier states.
Does the Muslim Diaspora “Need Saving”? Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs and the Construction of Islamophobia as a Common Sense
AbstractThe fight against Islamophobia has prominently accessed the Turkish public agenda cornering government’s discourses, diplomatic meetings, experts’ debates and think-thanks publications. Moreover, similar to other political remittances – those principles, ideas, practices and identities which circulate between sending and receiving states – ‘Islamophobia’ has rapidly spread within the Turkish diaspora in Europe. In this vein, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has actively engaged not only in scholarly defining Islamophobia as a social problem, but also in propagating it as a “common sense” based on an essentialized vision of the diaspora by religious dimension. Drawing on the textual analysis of Diyanet’s official publications and TV programs about Islamophobia and on interviews conducted in Diyanet’s foundations in Austria, the work critically investigates: i) to what extent and how the diaspora communities have interiorized a sense of ‘victimization’ in relation to the rise of Islamophobia and ii) how this perception shapes diaspora’s narratives of belonging and acts as a tool for mobilization.
Orders of Militantism
AbstractBuilding on Regine Spector’s (2017) idea of “islands of order”, this paper interrogates the production of knowledge about the Middle East by focusing on one specific category/island of order, i.e. militantism. Militantism has become an “order-maker” when deployed to produce knowledge about the region. The presence of ISIS and other violent groups has added on a pre-existing common sense about the region as prone to conflicts and, indeed, militantism. The paper aims to count for the plurality of the uses of militantism by juxtaposing militantism as a narrative order deployed by think tanks and experts, and militantism as an expression of solidarity as deployed by foreign fighters in Rojava. This inquiry builds upon the analysis of the memories of foreign fighters (Grasso, Franceschi, Locatelli) to understand how militantism has been re-ordered through geographies of transnational solidarity; what are the consequences of militantism reappropriated, investigating the “material life” of the fighters’ memories through the reception of their books—be it judiciary’s repressive action or the strengthening of solidarity.
"Ordering the Syrian-Lebanese Borders": Hezbollah'wartime narratives since 2012
AbstractThe aim in this presentation is to interpret the trans-border armed involvement of Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria by shifting the focus on the narratives produced by the party to legitimize its fighting alongside the forces of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, in the wake of the popular uprising there that began in March 2011. This approach will shed light on how Hezbollah have produced “a common sense” narratives able to justify its military engagement in Syria based on a conceptualization of order: the protection of Lebanese borders and, more generally, of Lebanese citizens against the risk presented by the entry of parts of the Syrian opposition, in particular the Islamic State, into Lebanon, and the need to pre-empt chaos in Lebanon following what happened in Iraq. Hezbollah portrays itself as a guardian of this order in Lebanon and Syria as well, participating in the combat alongside troops of Bashar al-Asad’s regime to avoid Syria’s descent into chaos. In a second time this presentation will focus on how these narratives are interpreted by Hezbollah’s fighters at the front in Syria. Paying attention to what these people say, and to how they construct their narratives of their experiences, gives voice to ‘ordinary people’ , who are often ignored in studies on war that tend to focus more strongly on political and military elites (Buton and Gayer, 2012). This is all the more evident in the Middle East. This approach will also facilitate understanding of how the experience is channeled through “variable modes of individual subjectification” (Naepels, 2015), as well as of the meaning these activists attach to the conflict. The account is based on ethnographic fieldwork (interviews, conversations, and direct and participant observation) conducted between 2011 and 2017 with Hezbollah activists in the Southern suburbs of Beirut, where the party’s territorial and militant base is very solid.
Chairs: Laura Berlingozzi
Discussants: Alessandra Russo
Conflictuality and resilience: A new framework for societal deradicalisation
AbstractRadicalisation can be defined as the development of individuals and groups towards the adoption of political positions and methods which are directly opposed to liberal democratic politics or incompatible with its continued functioning, e.g. the use of personal violence as a tactic. Individuals may experience a series of ‘micro-radicalisations’, leading cumulatively to a decisive, and harder to reverse, experience of radicalisation. Cumulative radicalisation of this type is often reciprocal, involving increasingly antagonistic interaction between political opponents. This paper argues that an analogous process of cumulative reciprocal amplification of antagonism can take place within a society’s political sphere as a whole, leading to the radicalisation of the available vocabulary and repertoire of politics. The process of cumulative reciprocal amplification of antagonism at a societal level can be referred to as ‘antagonistic amplification’. Antagonistic amplification is a maladaptive - and ultimately self-destructive - mutation in the political sphere’s self-reproduction. A society in the process of antagonistic amplification will become less hospitable to orderly political practice and consensus-oriented debate, promoting alternatives of conformity and anathematisation (whether ideological or simply group-based). This radicalisation of political exchange will in turn promote the radicalisation of groups and individuals. The end point of antagonistic amplification is the degeneration of the political sphere to the point of collapse, with political competition replaced completely by antagonistic opposition between mutually radicalised forces - the state itself being one. Counter-radicalisation programmes generally work on the implicit assumption that radicalisation is brought about by radicalising forces and extremist groups, which in turn can be dealt with as a problem in their own right, without considering their relations with society and the political sphere. Drawing on examples both from the current period and from the period of the anni di piombo, this paper suggests that a crucial precondition for radicalisation - without which the activities of extremist groups will have little effect - is society’s susceptibility to entering a process of antagonistic amplification. Indeed, keeping this process from beginning, or reversing it once it has begun, may be the most effective form of counter-radicalisation. Key factors in promoting, or preventing, antagonistic amplification are society's resilience to shock events and the level of conflictuality supported within the political sphere. In this perspective, some forms of counter-radicalisation practice - while they may be effective in the short term - may in the longer term be conducive to antagonistic amplification and hence ultimately facilitate the radicalisation they aim to combat.
Persuade and Punish: Ideology and Armed Groups
Andrea Ruggeri, Adam Mccauley , Matt Zelina
AbstractThis paper seeks to clarify how ideology operates within armed groups. In systematic fashion, we examine the quantitative state-of-the-art for data collection on ideology and conflict to first, summarise what we know about ideology and second, to investigate current limitations. Our analysis reveals the demand for a stronger and systematic theoretical foundation for the study of ideology and how it is used by and within armed groups. Our original data set, Adaptability, Ideology and Rebellion (AIR), comprises novel ideological, organisational, and environmental variables of previously under-studied groups and emphasizes how ideology can help explain other, previously unconnected, group-level characteristics. This paper suggests that ideology within armed groups can be best understood by exploring how groups institutionalize ideology, captured by two strategies: ideological persuasion and ideological punishment. These strategies target both internal and external audiences using the following tactics: indoctrination, propaganda, rectification, and reprisal. Our empirical findings support our theoretical contributions and allows us to analyze variation in ideological expression among armed groups that should prompt innovations in how we study the concept.
About surveillance and states of emergency: Analyzing counter-terrorist security measures in France, Belgium and Germany
AbstractIn recent years, Europe had to deal with a series of terrorist attacks. However, even though European countries seem to share the same concerns about an ongoing “Islamic threat” in the future, their political reactions were different. They ranged from declarations of war and states of emergency to other forms of security measures like increased surveillance. While some countries quickly introduced exceptional security measures (as the state of emergency in France), others seemed to opt for a long-term approach and remained "below the threshold of exceptionality" (Stritzel 2007: 367). My paper builds on the work of the Copenhagen School’s (CS) securitization model by critically reviewing the initial framework. The basic argument is that for practical research on security measures in Western democratic countries, the initial approach has its limitations. While CS’s securitization approach seems suitable for identifying similarities on how situations are discursively constructed as existential threats and accordingly lead to exceptional security measures, it fails to explain variations. Regarding the initial framework, CS makes a clear distinction only between two poles: “normal politics” (politicization) and “securitized politics” (securitization) (Buzan/Wæver/de Wilde 1998: 23), whereas securitization can be defined as “the move from normal politics to exceptional security practice” (Floyd 2015: 122). By conducting a comparative analysis of security measures in different European countries, CS’s dichotomous approach hereby seems to be too narrow. For instance, different security measures, which came into light after terrorist attacks in Europe, can be regarded neither as normal politics, nor as securitized. They are somehow in between securitization and normal politics. My presentation therefore tries to complement the initial framework by 1) Proposing an analytical framework, which goes beyond the initial dichotomous CS’s approach and makes empirical research on counter-terrorist security measures more suitable. 2) Analyzing different levels of securitization in a sample of three European countries (France, Belgium and Germany) from 2015 to 2017.
Stabilization and the Fight against Terrorism: a New Strategy for an Old Problem?
AbstractThe notion of “stability” and the practice of “stability operations” experienced a resurgence in the last decade. The United Nations, with operations in Haiti, in the Central African Republic, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mali has re-framed the lexicon and practice of its interventions in this direction, frequently citing the need of “fighting terrorism”. NATO has been similarly focusing on “projecting stability” as one of the cornerstones to guarantee the Alliance’s security. The reasons for such re-framing are diverse, but mostly have to do with the disappointment with the lengthy, costly and casualty-heavy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the reluctance to engage in extensive forms of intervention in conflict-ridden states. In this evolving context, the conceptual and operational parameters of stabilization are still opaque. This paper dissects how these “new” practices emerged and are unfolding, and how they are linked to the broader security, development and peacebuilding discourse. It argues that the lack of doctrinal clarity reinforces a pragmatic, contextual approach that is well suited to address the immediate causes of “instability” but risks perpetuating deeper political, economic and social cleavages. In making this argument, this paper draws from the results of a recently completed research project which will be published as a Special Issue on the journal Ethnopolitics in late 2019 (edited by Roberto Belloni and Francesco N. Moro).
Chairs: Lorenzo Zambernardi
Discussants: Silvia D'Amato
Political violence in Mali (1962-2012) : Half a century of armed tuareg rebellions
AbstractPolitical violence in Mali (1962-2012) : Half a century of armed tuareg rebellions. In Mali, political violence is not a current concern. Indeed, the Tuareg rebels in Mali continue to destabilize central power, despite the 2006 signing of the Algiers Accords. In analyzing this political violence, analysts stress the importance of Tuareg rebellions ( According to these analysts, the Tuareg rebels have increased acts of violence throughout the country. From the North, to the South, through the Center of Mali, insecurity and the threats they pose daily threaten the hope of the Malians. This largely explains the conflicts and recent violence between the government and the Tuareg rebels. The Tuaregs, mostly Muslim, are based in northeastern Mali and represent 550,000 or 8.6% of the Malian population. Malian government who lacks sufficient military and material means to fight against Tuareg rebels sought help from France. Thus, the Mali army, supported by France but also by the coalition led by the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, is waging a merciless war against the Tuareg rebels. However, this issue of political violence in Mali and the role of Tuareg rebels is not a new concern. Indeed, an historic perspective enables one to see that Tuareg rebellions have been a dynamic at the heart of political violence in Mali since 1960. In this historical perspective, the current violence is not ex nihilo. It is the consequence of several factors. Today, violence has spread over Mali. However, its deep causes are not linked to terrorism as it is generally said. Indeed, its deep causes are rooted in the socio-economic and political differences between North-East occupied by Tuareg and South and Center which have always been safe and prosperous. Research from Sociology reveals that Mali, like other African nations, is a mosaic of peoples (Mandé, Bambaras, Songhay, Soninké, Fulani, Tuareg, etc.). However, these peoples have never lived in harmony. Unity is only facade. The North, inhabited by Tuareg, is a desert region, while Southern and Centre of Mali are economically safe and prosperous regions. Historically, Tuareg feel marginalized. In 1962, the first rebellion took place in Timbuktu. Tuareg rebels claimed a "form of relative autonomy of north-eastern Mali." But, they were repressed in the blood by the Army. In the 1990s until 2006, they wanted "a better integration of Tuareg, with a form of relative autonomy. Although the government was willing to do concessions, the several frustrations borne by Tuareg has increased the feeling of a political marginalization. This deeply affected the social relation and everyday life of Tuareg. In 2012, a military Coup d’Etat made by a General army, gave them the opportunity to declare independence of Northern Mali. This declaration of independance of Northen Mali and the numerous attacks made to the Mali army plunges the country into a new cycle of violence. The issue of Tuareg rebellions is increasingly emerging in the literature dealing with political violence in Mali. However, this literature is partial. Indeed, it does not explain the deep reasons of 50 years of Tuareg rebellions. Then, the goal of this paper is to analyze and try to explain political violence in Mali. We will base our study on the analysis of political, social and economic exclusions of Tuareg for many decades. More specifically, we aim at answering the following three research questions: (1) How far a government can abandon a part of its population? (2) Could Mali be safe while one of its main components has been marginalized for so many years? (3) How recent violences may contribute to fuel Tuareg collective imaginations, perceptions toward the government to be and how it can aggravate the hatred between Tuareg and other ethnic groups in Mali, especially those who will lead tomorrow?
Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism on Lake Chad: Life Trajectories and the “Boko Haram” crisis
AbstractThe expansion of the “Boko Haram” conflict from 2015 in the economically-peripheral Lake Chad region was accompanied by the deployment of a massive national and international military and development-driven ‘securitization’ of spaces and movements. The terrorism and counterterrorism dynamics in the area was strongly steered by a twofold consideration: Chad’s political regime invested in a strong security policy as a way to gain political leverage in the ‘international political marketplace’ (Emmanuel & Schwartz 2019) and in the effort to strengthen its military apparatus, while the overall orientation was provided by US and French-led policies to counter violent extremism in the area according to the War on Terror discursive paradigm. On the Lake Chad ground, the rift created by the juxtaposition of security demands and the need for humanitarian aid stressed the politicality of violence and the plasticity of notions of ‘enemy’, ‘terrorist’ and ‘victim’. Re-constructing the mobilization dynamic enacted by “Boko Haram” on the lake and describing state initiatives to counter, influence or circumscribe it (military response, tactics, employment of vigilante groups, contracting of services and emergency aid to INGOs), this works aims to discuss limits and criticalities of counterterrorism practices in conflict-affected zones. Labels of ‘terrorist’ and ‘victim’ are fuelled by a powerful political narrative, fiercely endorsed by Chad, to identify new enemies, thereby deriving its popular legitimacy by its capacity to fight them. Observations on the ground, though, unfold a much complex frame, in which identity-construction for both insurgents and civilians appears as the most convenient instrument to ‘navigate’ the conflict-affected “playground” and defy the oppositional camps in which political discourse attempts to cage them. The intermittent struggle for the exercise of a minimal governance on the ground between “Boko Haram” and Chad’s national army (ANT) forges day-to-day social practices that apparently internalize violence (and the politicality of violence) as an instrument to broker deals and alliances or to develop oppositional camps. Drawing from extended fieldwork data collected on Lake Chad in 2016, the present contribution primary effort is to discuss the limits of counter-terrorism initiatives in Lake Chad (and in the Sahel, latu sensu), by focusing on identity and co-optation dynamics as well as on the interaction with development and aid-driven policies.
The processes of subjectivity formation in times of war. A look back at an ethnographic experiment within a Syrian rebel brigade
AbstractThis proposal grew out of a series of ethnographic visits, spanning a number of months, within brigade of combatants in Syria: first within the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo (July 2012, January 2013), and then with the Islamic Front on the outskirts of Hama (April and September 2014), and an SDF brigade in Manbij (May-June 2018). Completely immersed within these brigades as a non-participant observer, this ethnographic research essentially sought to approach the everyday life of combatants, in an effort to identify the processes by which subjectivity is formed in times of war. We will emphasize two levels of analysis in order to explore subjective formations in times of war: • The first involves defamiliarization with respect to everyday life: when the future is objectively compromised, how do individuals come to terms with everyday life? How do they seek out a world on the horizon amid the normalization of violence and omnipresent destruction? In short, how is order remade when the world appears broken? • The second is more traditional, and examines the role of the group in the formation of subjectivity (Grenshaw, 1991 ; Laqueur, 1987 ; Della Porta, 1995 ; Coser, 1974). The brigade is extremely important in an individual’s life. Not only does it protect the individual from the moral disapproval emanating from society or the inner tensions that may be experienced, but it is also a place for the circulation of affects, which organize the relations that the combatant has with the activity of war (Naepels and Jaoul, 2016 ; Green, 1995 ; Pasquetti, 2013 ; Crapanzano, 2008). These two analytical angles lead to the final argument: war confronts the subject with phases of excess and extreme experiences which, over time, will be domesticated to the point of forming a new quotidianization of the world. This is referred to as a domestication, which occurs through rigidification, through a petrification of the relation to reality, and subsequently explains the emergence of “fundamentalism.” Hence, what is specific to war is that it situates the subject within a chaotic gulf that translates into two different temporalities: The first is that the existential territory in times of war simultaneously opens onto horizons, a re-discovery of the self, group attachment, and cosmic effusion (Fornani,1969). The second is characterized by closure. Since during war the formation of meaning and the current state of affairs are chaotic, sociabilities and rationalities hollow them out and pare them down, unmooring them from the complexity of reality. The constitution of subjectivity plays out in this fluctuation: between ontological opening, and a rigidification of the relation to reality. In short, war engenders event-based ruptures that lodge themselves at the heart of being, thereby generating new ontological mutations.
Islamic activism and the counterterror state: the impact of counter-extremism on Islamist dynamics in Western Europe
AbstractThis study critically explores developments in counterterrorism to understand how Islamist (Islamic activist) organisations in Europe have either institutionalised or radicalised in response to recent discussions over extremism. This is achieved by exploring interactive processes between radical Islamist groups and state authorities to critically assess the impact of counterterrorism approaches. It draws on two years of field research with clandestine Hizb ut-Tahrir groups in Britain and Denmark. This study finds that recent counterterrorism approaches - particularly counter-extremism policy - have led to a closing down of activism by Islamic activist groups in the UK and (to a lesser extent) in Denmark. However, whilst this has led to an institutionalisation and ‘quietening’ of Islamic activism – largely in line with the aims of counter-extremism agenda – this should not be considered a ‘success’ of state counterterroism, as it has created adverse secondary effects. Firstly, it has boosted the ‘Islamisation’ of dissent, increasing the credibility of concerns by Islamist groups and mobilising a larger milieu based on security concerns against state security. This has consolidated the framing of state authorities as in direct tension with Islamic activists, provoking new patterns of mobilisation. Secondly, by repressing the means for non-violent Islamist organisations to operate, it has led to the splintering of traditional Islamic activism and forced the political radicalisation of smaller groups more prone to violence. This highlights two problematic assumptions within recent counterterrorism articulations increasingly centred on extremism: firstly, the idea that far-right and Islamist extremism are interlinked is highly suspect, as Islamist mobilisation is centred on responding to securitised forms of state repression (whilst far-right violence is deemed irrelevant); and secondly, the concept of extremism as a part of a process or processes of radicalisation is destabilised, as the loss of so-called ‘extremist’ groups has politically radicalised other groups more prone to violence. As such, policy makers and researchers need to reconsider groups that fall under the lens of counterterrorism within a more process-orientated approach that accounts for interactions of repression and response, as well as the shifting power dynamics between groups consider violence as a tool in their tactical repertoire.
Chairs: Margherita Belgioioso, Francesco Strazzari
Shifting Warfronts and Civilians’ Victimization.
German and Fascist violence in Italy (1943-1945)
Andrea Ruggeri, Stefano Costalli, Francesco N. Moro
AbstractWhat are the dynamics of violence against civilians in cases in which incumbents engage both in an international war and in a counterinsurgency campaign? This paper aims to explain civilian victimization when incumbents engage both in an international war and in a counterinsurgency campaign. We argue that incumbent’s vulnerability when facing a moving warfront is a key driver of civilian victimization. We specify that vulnerability is a function of informational as well as logistical problems: when the warfront is moving an increase of informational uncertainty and an unsteady logistical flow augment the vulnerability of the incumbent. As a result, the incumbent will target civilians more heavily in order to limit possible information leaks (informants’ deterrence) and to contain supply disruption and logistics support to adversaries (logistics’ containment). We test our claim through statistical analysis of Nazi and Fascist violence in WWII Italy. Matched difference-in-difference analyses of original data of Italian subnational units between 1943 and 1945 and qualitative evidence support our argument.
Between Physical-Material and Socio-Political Aspects of Conflict: Challenges in the Study of Weapons-related Matters
AbstractWeapons and the links between arms-related dynamics and armed conflict have remained relatively understudied in the field of peace research. While the study of political conflict is often affected by lack of information, specific questions concerning arms and armed violence pose a wide panoply of methodological issues from access to quality of available sources. In part, this is often ascribed to a general dearth of data and a dogmatic sensitivity of this subject matter. Drawing from an extensive initial fieldwork period carried out in Myanmar as part of my PhD research project, this contribution tries to highlight some of the practical and theoretical problems encountered in applying case study and fieldwork methods to the investigation of the linkages between arms and conflict. Some non-exhaustive examples are represented by the following: a theoretical concern with how to overcome two interchangeable and coexisting readings of weapons-society relations (substantive and instrumentalist views) while also analysing the latter in conflict-affected contexts through space and time; the issue of sensitivity of this subject matter as either an a priori assumption or the result of a sort of stigma over firearms-related research that ultimately dismisses or relegates it to a “chicken-egg” problem; practical questions on methods to be deployed, e.g. unstructured vs. structured interviews – and in particular the challenge of constructing ‘grounded’ rather than ‘deductive’ interviews (i.e. calibrating interviews on the person one is talking to); how to de-operationalize questions so that they can be understandable to informants and allow to circumnavigate sensitivity while finding entry points to talk about key research issues; ethic concerns, such as how to make sure that the knowledge produced in one place actually returns to that place; security and securitization: whether being embedded or not with other organizations/entities and how to negotiate between security concerns of the organization and research purposes. By doing so, the contribution eventually aims to explore a central methodological/theoretical concern in peace and conflict studies common to both quantitative and qualitative approaches: how to avoid determinism in understanding the relations between material/physical aspects and socio-political aspects of conflict – a problem paradigmatically depicted by enquiries into the relations between weapons and conflict.
What Would Gandhi Do?
Movement Ideology and Nonviolent Discipline in Civil Resistance Campaigns
AbstractHow does ideology shape a civil resistance movement’s willingness and ability to adhere to an exclusively nonviolent strategy? This paper introduces new data on the ideologies of campaigns in the NAVCO 2.0 dataset. We develop a set of seven ideological categories, based on the type of principles or values invoked by the movement in making claims against the regime, and attribute a primary ideology to each campaign, as well as secondary ideologies when multiple are present. We use this data to explore relationships between movement ideology and uses of various forms of violence within an initially “nonviolent” campaign. Specifically, we evaluate two alternative hypotheses: an “audience” hypothesis that predicts groups with more inclusive ideologies will be more likely to maintain nonviolent discipline in an effort to maximize their appeal, and an “organizational” hypothesis that predicts that movements containing multiple ideologies will struggle to maintain cohesion and that fragmentation will lead to violence Keywords: terrorism, ideology, mass dissident campaigns, civil resistance, civil war
Chairs: Margherita Belgioioso, Francesco Strazzari
Discussants: Francesco N. Moro
A Conceptual Case for Mimetic Rivalry in IR and P&CS
AbstractThe concept of rivalry has rarely received close attention in the field of International Relations (IR), despite its direct relation to the core issue within the field, namely the issue of war and peace. From the early 1990s, in several sub-fields of IR (Peace Studies and War Studies) several concepts and approaches emerged to understand rivalries. The first part of this paper extensively maps the scholarly field of IR and Peace and Conflict Studies (hereafter, P&CS) by exploring the literature on rivalry understood as, respectively, ‘rivalry’, ‘protracted social conflict’, and ‘intractable conflict’ (or protracted intractable conflict). The main argument this part advances is that these models display common limitations, in that they are rationalist, they are materialist, and, most importantly, they do not focus on the emergence of rivalry. In fact, this paper further claims that they cannot focus on the emergence of rivalry precisely because they are rationalist and materialist. Indeed, focusing on the emergence rather than the unfolding or the outcome of rivalries is a key but usually neglected task within the field. The second part of the paper will advance an alternative theoretical framework that accounts for rivalry emergence. The alternative interdisciplinary definition of mimetic rivalry will be informed by René Girard’s Theory of Mimetic Desire (1972, 1986, 1990, 1999, 2000, 2009) and Leon Festinger’s Theory of Social Comparison (1954). In contrast to the existing approaches, this paper argues that the emergence of rivalry has endogenic-relational origins, which result from a destructive mimetic process where the intractability of the issue(s) at stake reflect actors’ mimetic polarization.
Explaining Variation in Governments\' Response to Dissent: The Effect of Fragmentation in Self-Determination Movements
Eleonora La Spada
AbstractWhy do some governments harshly repress dissent, while others are prone to some sort of peaceful accommodation? In solving this puzzle, the literature examining cross-national variation in political repression has overlooked the fact that how governments choose to use repression also depends on the internal structure of the challenging movements. Focusing on self-determination disputes, my argument emphasizes internal divisions in self-determination movements as a key determinant of state repression. Examining the interaction between self-determination movements and states is central in global politics, as self-determination disputes can easily turn into brutal and long-lasting intra-state armed conflicts and, in some cases, inter-state wars. Drawing from the literature on intra-group fragmentation and civil war, I propose that within-movement fragmentation gives governments an incentive to repress. My central theoretical argument is that higher degrees of fragmentation make negotiations more difficult ex ante due to frictions and disagreements among the different factions. These frictions are exacerbated if the government only partially accommodates the requests of an internally divided movement. I empirically test this argument at the cross-national level using panel data regressions on a sample of 121 self-determination movements in 76 countries between 1996 and 2005. My paper offers new theoretical insights by bridging the literatures on conflict dynamics and state repression. This study has also important policy implications, as it helps shed light on the mechanisms that drive repression against self-determination disputes and often lead to escalation of violence and civil conflicts. A deeper understanding of these mechanisms facilitates conflict prevention and resolution, and can be conducive to the development of early-warning systems in the political practice of national and international organizations.
Fragile identities and fragile data: understanding radicalization and conflict in the Sahel
Francesco Strazzari, Luca Raineri
AbstractDo the configurations of peace and conflict dynamics along unstable world peripheries challenge only policy responses or do they question mainstream theoretical, epistemological and methodological templates as well? Rapidly changing violent phenomena affecting security and insecurity in peripheral contexts challenge how we produce knowledge and cannot be dismissed as just 'more of the same', or exceptions along the margins. Based on our research in Mali and the Sahel, this article reflects on the problematic status of identity claims as part of radicalization dynamics within and across fragile states. It exposes the limits of the methodological perspectives on relationship between identity and violent behaviour in conflict that are more directly indebted to realism and positivism. Identities emerge, disappear and camouflage through violence conflict: we show that they are endogenous, not exogenous to social change. It comes as no surprise that attempts to detect, define and catalogue identities through datasets are so often fraught with inconsistencies: a shift in our analytical framing is needed.
Hezbollah’s Discourse Before and After the Syrian Conflict: a Word Frequency Analysis
AbstractThis paper proposes a critical assessment of the mutations of content and vocabulary of the speeches of Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah between 2007 to 2015. It proposes to innovate the methodology throughout which we study conflict by analyzing the frequency of the most common words used in about 100 speeches delivered by Hezbollah’s Secretary General. The frequency ratio of each keyword identified with this method is then compared before and after the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011. This leads to an assessment of how Hezbollah has reconfigured its public image to rationalize an interventionist decision that hardly matches its traditional identity of self-appointed "resistance" movement. Preliminary results show that during the involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict, Nasrallah’s speeches have significantly changed. The speeches reflect a shift in priorities and identity that depart from the traditional image of Hezbollah. The analysis highlights new regional strategic priorities for Hezbollah often articulated through an increasingly sectarian tone. It also indicates a sharp departure from the traditional priorities of the movement such as the fight against Israel and the immediate concern for domestic Lebanese politics.
Chairs: Silvia D'Amato, Alessandra Russo
Discussants: Luca Raineri
Bridging the gap between IR theory and MENA: Studying the dynamics of power politics in post-realist terms
Ruth Hanau Santini
AbstractThis paper elaborates on two interrelated aspects bearing to ongoing debates in IR and in MENA studies. The former relates to the theoretical debate surrounding the alleged ‘return of geopolitics’ in global politics and of realpolitik as driving force guiding much of current inter-state relations. The latter to the sophisticated debates characterizing the field of MENA studies and their autonomous capacity to generate both new theories and new ways to conceptualise existing theories for the study of international relations (Valbjorn 2019). While realpolitik still suffers from a shadow of realism, the paper will abide by a post-realist reading of realpolitik, defined as dynamics of power politics. The shift implies that the units of analysis are practices, transactions and relations rather than states, and power politics is defined as a politics of collective mobilization in the struggle for influence, moving us closer to understandings of contentious action (Tarrow, Tilly & McAdam 2001) and away from problematic realist tenets concerning both a state-centric depiction of global politics and a flawed anarchic assumption (Lake 2009; Donnelly 2017). Such reading enables the analysis of all dimensions of power, without disregarding the material ones, albeit studied within a relational perspective (Nexon 2016). the superiority of states, argues Nexon, is linked to their contingent superior organizational and symbolic capacities. In the same vein, realists' overstated superiority of military instruments is challenged by the limited use of force or its threat in global politics, even within an a return of realpolitik era, something which requires new appraisals of the ways in which influence is sought and obtained in non-military ways. On the other hand, one of the regions where the deep and seemingly ever increasing insecurity dynamics receive significant scholarly attention, the Middle East and North Africa, has produced not only theoretical elaborations falling squarely into recognizable theoretical approaches, be it neoclassical realism (Gause 2014; Salloukh 2017)), historical sociology (Stein 2017); the Copenhagen School (Malmvig 2015; Mabon 2019), but has also generated innovative attempts at illuminating complex empirical reality through analytical eclecticism (Hinnebusch 2015; Lynch 2016). This paper attempts to investigate the ways in which recent geopolitical trajectories in the MENA region, categorized under the rubric of New Arab Cold war (Ryan 2012), new regional cold war (Hanau Santini 2017), Saudi-Iranian cold war (Salisbury 2015) can be best understood within such a post-realist reformulation of realpolitik, or dynamics of power politics' term and what the study of current MENA regional ordering can bring to the theoretical reformulation of such a reading.
Struggling for recognition: hydropolitics in Eastern Africa between blurred borders and disciplinary lock-ins.
AbstractThe prospect of water wars in Eastern Africa has gained in popularity since the end of the Cold War. In the last few decades, the likelihood of water-based conflicts has sharply risen into the regional security agenda while stimulating at the same time a growing inter-disciplinary debate. The international dimension of phenomena such as negotiations in natural resources management and disputes over the control of transboundary sources of water has exposed the mapping and understanding of the Eastern African hydropolitical complex to crosscurrents from a heterogeneity of disciplines. Whereas the ambition of ‘hydropolitics’ to bound its own disciplinary territory has favoured the multiplication of empirical studies (often with comparative purposes) over contested water control in the region, e.g in the Nile River Basin, ‘discipline-oriented regionalists’ maintain the context-sensitivity of the geopolitical complexity of the area. Stretched in between the aspiration of drawing a global theory of hydropolitics and the need for evidence-based inputs and context-specific analyses, the study of water disputes in Eastern Africa brings in its main strength -i.e. its multi-disciplinary attractiveness- also its main weakness -i.e. its flawed theorization. To this regard, the enhancement of the interconnectedness between ‘regionally-oriented disciplinarists’ and Area Studies might not only provide accurate empirical data over the changing patterns of water distribution and control in Eastern Africa, but also contribute to theory-building in hydropolitics. Often neglected in ‘nomothetic approaches’, the power dimensions in transboundary water disputes has increasingly gained attention, especially when applied to analyses over major river basins. Yet, hydropolitics has borrowed from IR only partial accounts, insomuch as they are often used without the necessary scientific rigour (e.g. in the case of hegemonic stability theory or regime theory). At the same time, the deficit of attention to the East African region and the neglect of the primacy of international water security (often read as a foreign policy issue) partly explain IR’s inability to adequately address contentious issues in transboundary water in the East African security complex. In the search for an effective inter-disciplinary dialogue, this paper aims at fostering academic cooperation in an area of study – hydropolitics – that still struggles for recognition at the crossroads of IR and Area Studies.
Making Sense of The World of Regionalisms: Towards a Dilution of Regional and Disciplinary Borders?
AbstractThe paper argues that the shift away from the world of regions so as to focus on the world of regionalisms operates as a stepping stone to overcome the usual fractures between Area Studies (Africa in this case) and the disciplines (IR, but also IPE). Through a review of the distinctive patterns of interactions between regionalism, regional integration and regionalisation in Africa, the paper earmarks research agendas and opportunities that straddle regional and disciplinary borders.
Chairs: Silvia D'Amato, Alessandra Russo
Discussants: Matteo Legrenzi
Eurocentrism, Non-Western IR and East Asia. Globalizing knowledge or building new walls?
AbstractEast Asia is increasingly at the centre of scholarly debates among IR scholars. China’s political, economic and military ascendency is increasingly considered as a crucial test case for main approaches to IR, from offensive and defensive realism and hegemonic stability theory, to different strands of liberalism, English School and constructivism. Despite the renewed attention to the case of the rise of China, mainstream theories employed to analyse contemporary Asia are still remarkably Euro-centric. A notable example is the Graham Allison’s book, Destined for War, in which, after ancient Athens and Sparta, he analyses 16 cases of power transition, all happened in modern Europe, to predict the future of US-China relations, without even considering any non-Western case. A new wave of studies has argued in favour of a broad “decolonization” of theoretical concepts used to analyse Asia. This effort has produced several distinct research agendas. Firstly, critical and post-colonial theorists have worked on the par destruens, highlighting the inherent Euro-centrism of many IR concepts and theories. Secondly, authors such as Buzan and Acharya have promoted the idea of global IR, seeking to advance a “non-Western” research agenda. This agenda has found fertile ground especially in China, were several scholars have tried to promote a Chinese school of IR. The proposed paper has three purposes. Firstly, it explores the issue of Eurocentrism in IR studies dedicated to East Asia. Secondly it maps the theoretical debates aimed at overcoming it, looking in particular at the “global IR” research programme. Finally, it discusses the possible limits of these approaches.
Saudi policymaking revisited: constructing a regional(ist) framework
AbstractSaudi policymaking revisited: constructing a regional(ist) framework In recent years the behaviour of Saudi Arabia in regional matters has been the object of intense discussion and interest, both at academic and political level. Since the Arab uprisings of 2011, Saudi Arabia seems to have revisited its usual foreign policy stance, from a traditional passivity to a new and sometimes bold proactivity, as shown during the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. Nevertheless, academia does not seem to be able to catch up with this unexpected change of circumstances, admitting that there was a shift in the Saudi posture, but failing to recognise the nature of such a shift. The aim of the present essay is exactly to propose a new approach to analyse the change in Saudi policymaking and to better understand how its overarching system works, noticing how this applies to selected case studies. When it comes to Saudi Arabia and its politics, the academic milieus usually focus on two mainstream levels of analysis: area studies focusing on the political economy of the country and, in general, its domestic politics, taking into account the economic impact of oil revenues, the social structure and the system of government,; and international relations, which looks at the country as a regional actor and in which the neorealist school is still the strongest voice. The claim here is that the studies relative to the country are in need of an analysis bridging the two levels while creating cohesion between them. Basing on the notions of two-level bargain laid out by Putnam, the author’s proposal is that Saudi Arabia used the regional dimension to externalise its domestic concerns and to share them with like-minded neighbouring states. How the Saudi policymakers came to understand which states were fit to join this new regional entity and which ones were not, was dictated by their interests and by the elements constituting the Saudi identity: system of government (and related legitimacy issues), economy, religion, culture. In this framework, regionalism offers a good perspective on the passage between the national and the regional dimension, while the constructivist school of international relations can explain better than neorealism the aspects of Saudi foreign policy that go beyond hard power, while not totally dismissing those.
Crime Governance from Regional Perspectives: Localising Rationalities of Control and Order
AbstractThis paper investigates how regional organisations contribute to the production of norms, policies and practices in the fight against transnational organised crime, looking at the extent to which regionally-scaled engagements in this policy field are characterised by adoption, adaption, resistance and/or rejection of “global crime governance” schemes and regimes. The study of global crime governance has so far focused on the development of global patterns of criminalisation and punishment; the paper instead accounts for regional organisations as emerging “hubs” for the production of counter-crime models. If one interprets crime control and criminalisation as governance instruments, regional organisations can be seen as relevant sites within which certain crime narratives, criminal laws, and criminological cultures can be and are established. The present paper thus investigates whether the creation of a specific regional order unfolds through a regional definition of danger, regional understanding of justice, and regional classification of socially dysfunctional subjects and groups.
The Art of Arms (Not) Being Governed: Weapons as Meta-resources amidst Centres and Peripheries of Myanmar
AbstractArms control or peace, what comes first? In the last decade increased international attention has been placed on the linkages between small arms control, peace and conflict. This paper deals with the relations amongst material/physical and socio-political aspects of peace and conflict. In particular it explores how the availability and control of firearms by non-state actors impacts on authority, governance and the emergence of hybrid orders. Based on fieldwork carried out in 2018 and 2019, the focus rests on the case of Myanmar, which is deemed as a crossroads of arms proliferation in Southeast Asia. Trying to overcome a deterministic understandings of weapons-society relations, it addresses a significant research gap as no comprehensive conceptual framework has been elaborated on this matter. Drawing from critical geography’s spatial turn, literature on practices of resistance, and historical analysis of centre-periphery relations, the article attempts to trace non-state actors and processes of arms proliferation situating them against the landscape of resistance and absence of monopoly over the means of violence in Myanmar borderlands. Practices of arms availability and control are then analysed through the prism of three categories of space: territory/territorialisation, place, and scale. The paper argues that complex patterns of arms availability and forms of control over weapons put in place by a variety of actors at multiple levels have emerged in mutual relation with the constitution and distribution of socio-political spaces. This generates assemblages of governability that ultimately impact on the configurations of state, governance and peace in the borderlands. Footing on these perspectives the article conceptualizes arms as meta-resources and looks at the implications for the reproduction of centres and peripheries in peace and conflict. Generally speaking, arms-violence linkages are considered to be highly contextual and contingent in nature - a caveat that combines with data-gathering challenges and a tendency to deploy case study methods to shed light on broader pictures. On the other hand, while Myanmar has received considerable attention from an area studies perspective, not so much has been written in peace and conflict studies. Therefore a case study on arms and conflict in Myanmar becomes particularly ripe for analysing internationally relevant local agencies and forms of governance that intersect the horizons of IR and Areas Studies.
Chairs: Marco Clementi, Andrea Locatelli, Corrado Stefanachi
Discussants: Andrea Carati
Prestige and status in the Italian foreign policy from Crispi to Mussolini.
AbstractThe paper focuses on the Italian foreign policy in the crucial years between Francesco Crispi's accession to power and the rise of fascism. The paper aims to show the impact that prestige and status considerations may have on foreign policy, to the point of putting in peril, as in the case of Italy "from Crispi to Mussolini", the very integrity and survival of the State. The paper also argues that the Italian case does not fit neatly into the pattern of status and prestige policy outlined by the main IR theories. Firstly, rather than originating – as posited by the IR scholars – from a mismatch between capabilities and prestige, Italy's quest for prestige and status was mainly driven by the claim that her "intrinsic" greatness entitled her to participate, regardless of her (limited) capabilities, to the exclusive "club" of Great Powers. Secondly, contrary to what IR theories would expect, the Italian quest for prestige was not triggered by the increase in material capabilities, but rather the contrary – i.e. an independent desire for prestige and status fueled the search for capabilities (in the guise of economic modernization, industrialization, and also transformation of the domestic political system) so as to further bolster Italy's credentials as a Great Power. Finally, an array of ideational, historical and emotional factors must be taken into consideration in order to fully account for Italy's thirst for prestige.
Status and war diffusion in WWI: Italy and Romania in comparison
AbstractOn the eve of WWI, Italy and Romania were in a similar position: They had stipulated a defensive alliance with Austria-Hungary; they had territorial disputes and rivalries with both belligerent sides; they were militarily unprepared. In April 1914, they also shared the decision to stay neutral. Why did they enter into the war afterwards? Why did Italy intervene in May 1915 while Romania decided to wait until August 1916? What balance of external and domestic factors did influence these choices? Were status concerns relevant to the timing of the interventions? In order to deal with these issues, the paper will offer a comparative analysis of Italian and Romanian entry into WWI. This analysis could offer some knowledge on the role of status in waging war and contribute to the scholarly debate on war onset and war diffusion. It could also improve our understanding of contemporary patterns of conflict escalation, given wars between great powers and secondary states and/or between secondary states are much more likely than major wars.
WHO’S IN CHARGE? EXPLAINING ITALY’S DELAYED ENTRY INTO WORLD WAR I
Andrea Locatelli, Valentina Villa
AbstractItaly’s decision to join War War I raises a two-fold puzzle: firstly, it did so ten months after the war had erupted, regardless of significant domestic (both Parliamentary and public opinion) opposition to the war, and with the prospect of undergoing enormous losses; secondly, it decided to side with the Triple Entente, despite its previous commitment to the Triple Alliance. From this perspective, it may well appear that Italy’s choice was driven by a risky gamble, let alone a flawed logic. However, a more nuanced explanation is required. In this vein, the paper aims to trace the political process that led Italy to war: what actors, driven by what intentions, and under what constraints were responsible for the war? Our conclusion is that a few institutional actors played a key role – most notably king Vittorio Emanuele III. Motivated inter alia by considerations of status and prestige, they overcame internal opposition and drove the country into war.
Status and prestige in the early English School’s international theory
Richard Devetak, Michele Chiaruzzi
AbstractMaterial and ideational elements of status and prestige have been important elements in the international theory of the early English School. The centrality of these concepts reveals their crucial role in international relations and, consequently, in international thought. We will discuss the early English School contribution, contextualizing its understanding of status and prestige in world politics.
Chairs: Mara Morini, Gabriele Natalizia
Discussants: Sorina Soare
Eurasian versus Euro-Atlantic integration in the South Caucasus:
Successes, failures and stalemates
AbstractThis paper aims to investigate to what extent the rival projects of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union on one hand and the Eastern Partnership promoted by the European Union on the other have been successful tools in integrating the countries of the South Caucasus region. It argues that, due to security issues and economic dependence, the Eurasian integration has been successful in the case of Armenia, but unsuccessful in relation to Georgia and Azerbaijan: in the case of Georgia, its Euro-Atlantic inclination and its territorial parcellation after the 2008 war averted the country’s likelihood to join Russian-led organizations, although the breakaway of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has likewise impeded or slowed down Euro-Atlantic integration. At the same time, it argues that the European integration process in the region has been successful in the case of Georgia – which signed an Association Agreement (AA) including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU in 2014 –, but a notable failure in the case of Armenia after the country’s decision to withdraw from European integration negotiations and to join the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015. Finally, in the case of Azerbaijan, neither the Eurasian nor the European integration have been so far successful, since, relying chiefly on the autonomy granted by its natural resources, the country decided to pursue a multilateral and non-aligned foreign policy based on diplomatic pragmatism.
Normative power Europe in a multi-order world: the Eurasian challenge
Antonio Zotti, Enrico Fassi
AbstractOver the last few years, shifts in global and regional power have been increasingly handled by observers as evidence of the emergence of a new, multiplex international order taking over from the Western-centred and relatively coherent liberal one. Expectedly, the debate on the crisis of the latter has been to a great extent focused on the US role both in the transition towards and inside each of the possible new political arrangements. Haunted by several interrelated crises that jeopardise its very existence, this debate has frequently regarded the European Union (EU) as a complement, if not just a symptom, of the problems besetting the incumbent order, rather than an actor involved in its mutation/demise. The paper sets out to investigate whether, how and with what degree of effectiveness the EU actively resists and/or influences this major change. The analysis is going to focus on the Union’s reaction to Russia’s attempt at establishing an apparent a “Eurasian order”. In particular, the clash of each actor’s interests and values in the shared neighbourhood will be examined, trying to look at their respective political, strategic and institutional engagements as local instances of the supposed more comprehensive shift towards a different international order. In order to do so, the paper is going to tap into the debate about normative power Europe; the hypothesis is that the EU’s attempt to establish a “new normality” in the area, although largely frustrated, may prove useful to go somewhat deeper into the role of the EU in the crisis of the liberal international order. The article is going to draw upon some notions of normative power offered by the time-honoured debate to examine the normative as well as the strategic behaviour of the EU encapsulated in policies such as the Eastern European Neighbourhood Policy/Eastern Partnership and the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership. In doing so, we expect not only to gain a better understanding of the area, but also to be able to identify possible significant connections between the two scientific debates.
On Zelensky and other Outsiders in Politics. From Standup Mic to Political Podium: The Reasons behind the Electoral Success of Comedians
Marco Morini, Marco Cilento
AbstractMoving from Volodymyr Zelensky’s 2019 presidential election, the focus of this article goes back to five other comedians who were able to achieve government responsibilities in their countries. Indeed, a growing number of professional comedians around the world are turning to professional politics, and some have already made it to high office. Marjan Sarec, a satirist, was elected as the Slovenian prime minster last August. Jimmy Morales, previously a comic actor, is the president of Guatemala. Others have played major national political roles: Jon Gnarr, an Icelandic standup comedian, was Reykjavik’s mayor until 2014, Beppe Grillo, an Italian comedian, helped mastermind the Five Star Movement, which now forms part of Italy’s ruling coalition. Volodymyr Zelensky has been elected President of Ukraine in 2019. Throughout a comparative analysis, this paper highlights the five cases’ differences and analogies. It compares the comedians’ stories, the building of their political careers, the election campaigns and their styles of communication and leadership. Moreover, it investigates the economic conditions of the respective countries at the time of their election. Is there a correlation between national economic indicators and comedians’ successful electoral performances?
Chairs: Mara Morini, Gabriele Natalizia
Discussants: Sorina Soare
Re-shaping Cossack Identity: Conflictual Memories and Political Attitudes towards the Russian State in a Patriotic Paradigm.
AbstractThis paper discusses the impact of conflictual memories on the re-shaping of the Cossack identity and their subsequent attitudes towards the State in post-Soviet Russia. In fact, the so-called Cossack rebirth during Perestroika implied a reshaping of the Cossack identity - mainly from self-proclaimed historians from Cossack historical regions - who saw continuity between the territory of the Russian Empire and of the Soviet Union. Following the Soviet break-up, however, Cossackdom had to face a dilemma: how to maintain national unity within Cossackdom while, at the same time, reconciling it with the future borders of a Russian Federation to be? In order to tackle this issue, the 1990 Moscow Cossack assembly abandoned its transnational perspective in favour of a “Russian Cossack” narrative, which was rejected by most of Nationalist Cossacks. This schism among Cossacks is deeply rooted in Cossack identity and mainly revolves around the dichotomy between Narod (people) and Soslovye (estate); two conceptions of Cossackness inherited from the Imperial past, both relying on deeply different conceptions as to what is the nature of Cossackness. Furthermore, such differences are reinforced by contrasting interpretations of the crimes committed by the Soviet state against Cossacks, namely the razkazatchivanie (decossackization) in 1919 and the Lienz massacre of 1945, perpetrated after the Cossack fled their self-proclaimed Kosakenland in Friuli and were handed over to the Soviet by the British Army. Deeply influenced by the former, Nationalist Cossacks refuse to consider Russia as their homeland and they emphasize Cossackness through lineage; whereas Russian Cossacks actively promote Russian patriotism and State service. Drawing from academic works on Cossack history and interviews with Russian Cossack officials and nationalists alike, this paper examines these two understandings of Cossack identity through its narod/soslovye dichotomy as well as its impact on memorial issues and political stances on Russian Patriotism. Furthermore, this papers will discuss how the Russian regime was able to capitalize on the social demand for patriotism - the Cossacks here acting as an instance of it- and its historical representations (namely the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45) to produce in concordance with its people a national narrative enforcing its political legitimacy.
Russia’s Identity Politics, Foreign Policy and Sovereignty in the Post-Soviet Space
AbstractThis paper examines the process of Russia’s positioning as a regional leader on the post-Soviet space and the center of attraction for Eurasian integration, between 2008 and 2017. It focuses on the interplay between its identitary choices and the formulation of foreign policy towards its post-Soviet neighborhood. Following a period of self-questioning in the 1990s and a period of regaining strength in the 2000s, Russia has since formulated for itself an independent international role based on a distinct civilizational identity, military strength, and regional leadership (Casula 2013, Fernandez 2016). Its foreign policy formulation built on critical identitary choices, as expressed by Russian MP Nikitin in 2012: “[A] correct choice of the worldview, of a development model and of a civilizational project is the key challenge in Russia’s destiny; Russia’s existence itself hinges on it”. Russia’s foreign policy in this period began to be framed in terms of a geopolitical civilizational battle with ‘the West’, played out mainly on the territory of the post-Soviet ‘near abroad’, as it is called in Russia, or of the ‘shared neighborhood’, as it is called in the European Union (mainly, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). In reaction to the enlargement of European and Euro-Atlantic institutions to the East, Russia defined exclusive influence over the remaining post-Soviet countries as a key tool to preserve and increase Russia’s weight regionally and globally (Prozorov 2007, Giles 2019). On the material of elite discourse (parliamentary, presidential and Russian academic discourse), the paper traces the development and resolution of a disagreement in the Russian elites on the policy towards post-Soviet states. This disagreement played out between an ‘evolutionary cooperative’ discourse coalition (Hajer 1993), focused on the pragmatic acceptance of the new states’ independence and sovereignty, and an ‘old imperial’ discourse coalition, based on the assumption that new states have a limited sovereignty only, compared to Russia or other ‘great powers’. The fundamental divide between the two discourses can thus be found in the acceptance or rejection of the Soviet Union’s dissolution and of the full agency of the newly independent states. The paper demonstrates that the competition between the ‘evolutionary cooperative’ and the ‘old imperial’ discourse became explicit and acute during the crisis over Ukraine’s plans to integrate with the ‘West’ (the EU and NATO) rather than Russia between 2008 and 2014. The result of the competition was a victory of the ‘old imperial’ discourse coalition, which limited both Russia’s and post-Soviet states’ foreign policy choices, now formulated in identitary, essentialist terms. References: Casula, P. (2013). Sovereign Democracy, Populism, and Depoliticization in Russia: Power and Discourse during Putin's First Presidency. Problems of Post-Communism, 60(3), 3-15. Fernandes, S. (2016). Putin’s Foreign Policy Towards Europe: Evolving Trends of an (Un) Avoidable Relationship’. Shifting Priorities in Russia’s Foreign and Security Policy, 29. Giles, K. (2019). Moscow Rules. What Drives Russia to Confront the West. London: Chatham House. Hajer, M. A. (1993). Discourse Coalitions and the Institutionalization of Practice: The Case of Acid Rain in Britain. In Frank Fischer and John Forester (eds.), The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 43-76. Prozorov, S. (2007). The narratives of exclusion and self-exclusion in the Russian conflict discourse on EU–Russian Relations. Political Geography, 26(3), 309-329.
What is to be Done with the Soviet Past? The Politics of Nostalgia in Post-Soviet Russia
AbstractSocially shared representations of history play a major role in shaping and maintaining a people's identity. At the same time, however, identity politics have a significative impact on how national communities perceive themselves and their own place in the World. As such, in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union, making sense of the socialist past has become a crucial issue in many of the independent countries born from its ashes. After more than twenty-five years from the end of the Cold War, however, the debate is still open: what is to be done with the Soviet legacy? In Russia, national representative surveys show a growth in the number of Russian citizens that nostalgically look back at the Soviet times. As a result, many scholars have turned their attention on the issue of socialist nostalgia in an effort to determine the constitutive elements as well as the cultural, social, and political implications of such feeling. This paper aims to frame Soviet nostalgia in contemporary Russia in the light of the three proposed variables of identity politics, regime transition, and state consolidation, and to analyse the complex interplay between them. First, it provides an insight on how the Soviet past has proved to be an effective discursive tool both in the creation of a post-Soviet Russian national identity and as a source of legitimacy for the newborn Russian state. Then, it addresses the role played by Soviet nostalgia in the development of an external narrative to revamp Russian geopolitical ambitions in its Near Abroad.
Chairs: Giuseppe Cascione, Damiano Palano
Discussants: Vittorio Emanuele Parsi
1968-73: le origini del nostro tempo storico
AbstractGli anni 1968-73 rappresentano una frattura storica importante nella storia del Novecento, consistente nel manifestarsi di una crisi delle società del capitalismo avanzato e delle democrazie liberali. I processi e i fenomeni che maggiormente caratterizzano il nostro tempo storico – la globalizzazione, la finanziarizzazione, il neoliberalismo ecc – sono incomprensibili senza interrogare prioritariamente quegli anni. Questa operazione pertanto non significa solo analizzare una pagina importante del passato, ma è preliminare per tracciare una genealogia del nostro presente. Le opere di Eric Hobsbawm e Giovanni Arrighi sono un fondamentale punto di partenza per indagare questo tema. I due studiosi, pur proponendo due interpretazioni molto diverse del Novecento, concordano nell'indicare in quegli anni un punto di svolta importante: per lo storico inglese sono gli anni in cui l'Età dell'Oro – durante la quale si è verificata «la più sensazionale, rapida e profonda rivoluzione nella condizione umana di cui vi sia traccia nella storia» - mostra di aver perso il suo smalto e nei quali iniziano i Decenni di crisi nei quali il neoliberalismo emergerà come unica ma fragile risposta; per l'autore de Il lungo XX secolo sono gli anni della «crisi spia» del ciclo di accumulazione statunitense, con la quale termina la fase di espansione materiale e si avvia quella di espansione finanziaria. La relazione che proponiamo intende mettere in dialogo le letture che i due studiosi propongono di quella frattura storica, mettendo in risalto in particolar modo le cause e i processi che l'hanno determinata.
An Attempt to Reconcile Hobsbawm and Braudel: “Temps Long” through Event History.
AbstractIn many regards, history, as presented by Hobsbawm in the Age of Extremes, is all but to representative of what Braudel described - and denounced - as “event history”: a short-sighted vision of history with a narration of it relying mainly on - if not solely - major events and dates. Yet, if such a practise of history can be criticized for its failure to present the bigger picture, one which would precisely help humans to understand - hence fight back if need be - the mechanisms driving the events from deep within and defined by Braudel as the “temps long”; it cannot be underestimated as the precious mine of information it constitutes. And that is precisely what Hobsbawm, by his own word, intended to do with this work, in order to present a relatively compact history of the twentieth century and modernity. In fact, one of the very first concerns Hobsbawm addressed in his book is the lack of historical knowledge of the nineties youth. According to him, they lived in a “perpetual present”, with small or no regards for historical affairs whatsoever. We will argue in this paper that this situation has led to a very peculiar situation regarding the political use of history : after the fall of the Soviet Union and the de facto victory of liberalism/neoliberalism-to-be on a global scale, history was reinvested by individuals; such reinvestment do not yet appear to have been meant for the finding of prospective ideas as to how to improve the socio-economic organisation of our society but in order to find moral justifications for claiming rights and privileges based on historical griefs. If such claims can be justified, they tend to overshadow the “perpetual present” in which we currently live - that is the idea as neoliberalism as the natural form of human societies - by presenting civic rights as the only true form of progress. Symptomatic of that situation the return of geopolitical representations of state’s spheres of influence - such as the Russian Near Abroad - or the political use on traumatic events in international affairs - hence the political use of the Shoah by the Israeli government - actively participate in the entrenchment of biased vision of history. Drawing from our previous observations and the different positions exalted by historians and politicians alike on the role of history, this paper aims at demonstrating that both narratives of history - events history and temps long - are necessary in order to propose a history able to help individuals rethink the current state of affairs regarding social organisations, as well as the place of griefs and Talion law within domestic and international affairs. Furthermore, we will argue that an understanding of Braudel’s temps long can only be reached through events history.
Il concetto di egemonia nell'opera di Giovanni Arrighi
AbstractIl paper proposto intende offrire un’analisi sistematica del concetto gramsciano di egemonia nell’opera di Giovanni Arrighi. Nella crescente attenzione e letteratura verso la teoria e figura dell’autore di The Long Twentieth Century, a venticinque anni dalla sua prima edizione, si segnala ancora la mancanza di un’indagine specifica e approfondita sull’interpretazione e ruolo delle categorie gramsciane nell’evoluzione del pensiero di Arrighi. La tesi che si intende sostenere è che l’idea di egemonia sviluppata nei Quaderni del carcere abbia avuto una parte cruciale nell’elaborazione della teoria del capitalismo internazionale e dei cicli sistemici di accumulazione in Arrighi. La lettura di Gramsci e la sua rielaborazione verranno ricostruite storicamente nelle diverse fasi della riflessione teorica e politica di Arrighi, dall’esperienza del “Gruppo Gramsci” degli anni ’70 fino alla fase matura del suo pensiero in Adam Smith in Bejing. L’operazione teorica di Arrighi rivela allo stesso tempo potenzialità e i limiti di una rielaborazione della categoria gramsciana di egemonia nell’analisi delle relazioni fra blocchi di Stati e capitali. L’opera di Arrighi ci permette di cogliere le criticità e possibilità inesplorate delle idee gramsciane nello studio del capitalismo contemporaneo su scala internazionale. Allo stesso tempo, leggere Arrighi attraverso le lenti concettuali gramsciane, può farci vedere i limiti della stessa teoria dei cicli sistemici di accumulazione su scala mondiale.
L’epilogo dell’esperienza sovietica a partire da “Il Secolo Breve” di Eric J. Hobsbawm
AbstractLa vicenda sovietica occupa un ruolo di prim’ordine all’interno de “Il Secolo Breve” di Eric J. Hobsbawm: secondo lo storico marxista, infatti, il XX secolo si apre con la Prima guerra mondiale, terreno di coltura della rivoluzione bolscevica, e si conclude nel 1991 con il crollo dell’Unione Sovietica e la fine della Guerra Fredda. Il presente contributo si propone di far interagire le tesi di Hobsbawm sull’epilogo dell’esperienza comunista nell’URSS con quelle di altri autori che, negli anni immediatamente successivi al crollo del blocco socialista, hanno rivolto il proprio sguardo al di là della cortina di ferro. In particolare, ci soffermeremo su “La fine di un’illusione” (1995) dello storico francese François Furet e su “Dopo il comunismo. Contributi all'interpretazione della storia del XX secolo” (1992) dello storico tedesco Ernst Nolte.
Chairs: Sonia Lucarelli, Enrico Fassi
Discussants: Stefania Panebianco
EVALUATING EU- TURKEY STATEMENT IN ITS THIRD YEAR: WHAT IS THE NORM and WHAT HAS JUST HAPPENED?
Itir Aladag Gorentas
AbstractThe refugee flow broke after the civil war in Syria has reached its highest point in the last four months of 2015. These unexpected “guests” have become forerunner of another kind of crisis (amongst all others) but this time in Europe; the idea of Europe and the European identity is in distress. Only a few months after the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, European Union, built on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, is eager to put these values aside in the name of protecting its borders and the European identity. Instead of emphasizing plurality and human rights, nowadays European identity is defined with the explicit disclosure of the “others”. On the other hand, EU- Turkey Statement to limit refugee flow finalized in March 2016 moves the argument to a different level. Under the Statement, Turkey was supposed to receive financial aid and some privileges, most notably free travel for Turkish citizens in EU borders, in return for controlling its frontiers and keeping refugees in. In other words, EU plans to secure its borders from the “others” with the unprecedented help of Turkey. The world is facing “the highest levels of displacement on record”, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Having the biggest share from this unprecedented human flow, as of March 2019, Turkey is home to over 3, 6 million displaced Syrians which comprises the 64 % of Syrians fleeing from their homeland. With Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis and other nationalities under international protection status in Turkey, the country takes the first place among host communities for displaced people around the world. Together with national legislation on third country nationals/ foreigners, like many other countries, Turkey’s relations with refugees- asylum seekers are subject to several international legal documents. Historically, obligations of Turkey under international law have shifted from generally regulating rules of 1951 Convention Relating the Status of Refugees to strict obligations according to the European Convention on Human Rights and finally EU- Turkey Statement of 2016 aims to target this particular crisis with limited prospect. Consequently, in time, the terms used for people forced to flee have multiplied with their conceptual differences. This paper will seek to examine 21st century refugee crisis from human rights and security dilemma. The discussion will focus especially on EU- Turkey Statement, hardship in implementation and its reflections of refugees’ fundamental rights. EU’s border securitization move seems to be contradicting Union’s crucial foundations demanding human rights for everyone and the dubious deal with Turkey redoubles existing concerns. In addition, both EU and Turkey have responsibility under international and human rights law. Regarding the current contradictions, through the discussion of security- human rights dilemma, EU- Turkey Statement and present enforcement will be critically addressed. In this respect, first an outline of the obligations of both the EU and Turkey under international and human rights law to displaced persons will be examined. Then the inquiry will focus on whether EU- Turkey Statement is compatible with international legal norms and its effects on people in need.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE FRAMEWORK OF MIXED MIGRATION FLOWS: THE IMPACT OF THE EU EXTERNALISATION POLICY IN GREECE
Francesca Cimino, Paola Degani
AbstractIn the context of the recent mixed migration flows to the European Union (EU), scholars have been studied and analysed public policy outcomes and defined a significant part of them as part of an externalisation policy. Importantly, this externalisation relates to the delegation of the EU borders’ control to third countries outside the EU soil as its final output (Cecchini, Crescini, & Fachile, 2018). A good illustration of the externalisation of the EU’s migration governance is the EU-Turkey statement, an agreement signed in 2016 stating that migrants not applying for international protection or whose application was rejected or found inadmissible under the 2013 Asylum Procedure Directive would be returned to Turkey. Although the fight against smuggling of migrants is mentioned as a crucial issue on which this statement is based, there is no reference to other forms of vulnerable migrants in need of forms of (humanitarian) protection different from the international protection, such as (potential or presumed) victims of human trafficking. While waiting for the identification, migrants under the EU-Turkey deal are requested to stay in one of the five hotspots, the reception centres located in five Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Leros) and installed with the 2015 EU Agenda on migration. Many Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Governmental Organisations (IGOs) reports (UNHCR 2015, ASGI, 2018; CILD, 2018; OXFAM, 2016, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 2018 ) have denounced the increase of vulnerabilities among migrants in hotspots, especially women who are more exposed to be victims of a form of Gender Based Violence (GBV). If, on one hand, many cases of domestic violence have been uncovered among female migrants and addressed by the anti-violence system, on the other hand, the women in the condition of severe forms of exploitation or trafficking seem to be more difficult to identify and the phenomenon to address for a multiplicity of factors. This contribution also discusses, based on data collected on the field in 2019, how the externalisation of migration governance negatively impacted on human trafficking and human rights of women potential victims of grave exploitation.
Narratives and Policy Design: The Case of Border Management and Migration Control in Italy
Andrea Terlizzi, Giliberto Capano
AbstractThis paper explores the benefits of incorporating the analysis of narratives in a policy design perspective. The role of narratives is strictly intertwined with the role of knowledge and expertise in shaping the policy making process. Narratives and discursive practices are indeed crucial in the dissemination and articulation of certain ideas that specify how to solve specific policy issues. In order to be successful, narratives have to be persuasive, namely, they need to be understandable, compelling and propose plausible solutions (Boswell, Geddes, and Scholten 2011). However, ideas are not only about how to solve a specific issue, but are also about the definition of the issue itself. Narratives play an important role in the process of issue interpretation as well. Though the literature on policy design recognizes the importance of knowledge-driven capacities in designing public policy, policy designs are often based on anecdotal logics (Capano and Howlett 2019). The field of migration is particularly crucial to narrative analysis, in that the development of migration policies often builds upon narratives that are not always grounded in evidence about cause-and-effect relationships. The theoretical discussion of this paper is supported by the empirical analysis of the evolution of narratives relating to border management in Italy between 2011 and 2018, and how they have been used in policy (re)design. The analysis focuses on the externalization of border controls implemented through intergovernmental agreements signed with North African countries. In particular, we explore the extent to which narratives about the need to establish cooperation with – and provide assistance to – North African countries have been giving rise to evidence-based polices. References Boswell, Christina, Andrew Geddes, and Peter Scholten. 2011. “The Role of Narratives in Migration Policy-Making: A Research Framework.” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 13: 1–11. Capano, Giliberto, and Michael Howlett. 2019. “Causal Logics and Mechanisms in Policy Design : How and Why Adopting a Mechanistic Perspective Can Improve Policy Design.” Public Policy and Administration 0(0): 1–22.
The multilevel externalisation of the EU migration policy: Germany and the EU in the external dimension of the EU migration system of governance
AbstractThe externalization of the European Union’s migration policy makes the arrangements between the member states and the supranational institutions characterising the governance of this area even more complex and politically sensitive. In this regard, during by the 2015 crisis, the external dimension of EU migration policy was significantly affected by the asymmetry between the member states’ persistent authority over legal (especially labour) immigration on the one hand, and the supranational management of illegal and humanitarian movements on the other. National governments’ ‘domain reservée’ over the volumes of admission of third-country nationals coming from third countries in order to seek work impinges on the coherence of the external dimension of the EU immigration policy, and adds to the problem of intergovernmental coordination in the more communitarised part of the policy system. In this sense, the figure of the ‘bogus asylum seeker’ – i.e. the economic immigrant pretending to escape from political persecution to enter the Union’s territory – is the embodiment of the structural limitations to the EU’s consistent handling of the issue in its entirety. Especially at a time when the conceptual framework underlying the current asylum international regime is under pressure – with a push for non-political threats being considered ground for international protection – the Union’s international actorness in the field of migration can only be fully understood considering the externalisation instruments through which its member state contains and select economic migrants in their countries of origins. The paper focuses on the case of Germany in order to see how the externalisation of the migration policy of a member state affects the effectiveness, as well as the normative adequateness, of the EU migration policy’s external dimension, looking into both its relationship with third countries (of origin and transit) and the institutions of the international migration regime. In doing so, the paper is going to pay particular attention to Germany’s unique position in virtually every policy-making process and the very identity of the Union, due to its economic and demographic dimension and political standing, as well as the exceptional “intertwined-ness” of the country’s political and institutional system with the EU’s. The EU migration system of governance will also be examined in light of the country’s supposed role as a “reluctant leader” of the EU, an aspect seemingly all the more significant – and problematic – in so far as the external dimension of the policy is concerned, given the country persistently constrained foreign policy approach.
Between impelling interests and human rights protection in an externalised dimension: new challenges in the EU’s readmission system
AbstractThe external dimension of the European migration policy has become a priority: while the strategies change, the EU is projecting its borders across the Mediterranean, and criticism has emerged regarding the Union’s commitment to fundamental values. In particular after the 2015 “migration crisis”, some problematic aspects of the EU’s relations with third countries have become evident. In this contest, the readmission system represents a junction between the external and internal dimension of migration policies and provides a significant illustration of controversial externalisation dynamics through an emergency frame. This paper aims to examine the consequences of ongoing dynamics of border externalisation and outsourcing policies, with particular regard to the protection of migrants’ rights and the image that Europe proposes of itself. More in particular, the paper delves into dynamics of the informalisation of readmission agreements and their gradual diffusion through readmission clauses that appear in different deals - from development cooperation to police collaboration. The consolidation of a “double track” between the Member States and the Union’s action is analysed with regard to the existing monitoring and notification system and the tendency to jeopardise the Union’s institutional and procedural safeguards by circumventing them. Beginning with the famous 2016 EU-Turkey Statement, the paper sheds light on the Union’s search for effective, tailor-made, flexible forms of cooperation with the countries of origin and transit of migrants, as the main driver for informalisation and therefore the erosion of basics normative standards and guarantees. In conclusion, the present work will reflect on whether - as a result of the recent realist turn in the Union’s vision of international relations, which prioritizes immediate interests over long term principled strategies - the EU’s actions can be representative of an increasingly fragmented and incoherent way to deal with its external dimension. If this is the case, is it possible to conclude that the EU is currently unable to play a leading role on the international scene? Indeed, renouncing to the normative and transformative role foreseen by the Treaties contributes to weaken the European Union in front of its counterparts and to make it, potentially, the subject of blackmail because of its incentives-based and informal approach in the relation with third countries.
EU’s “war on smuggling”: an International Political Economy perspective on EU-Italy-Libya cooperation
Enrico Fassi, Michela Ceccorulli
AbstractLibya, once again, is attracting increasing attention by the international community. Far from stable, secure and well performing on basic rights’ protection, the country has become the pivot of a broader EU strategy in the governance of migration in the Central Mediterranean, aimed to contrast human smuggling and reduce irregular migration. The unprecedented profits associated with migrant smuggling, together with the complexity of the challenges raised by these transnational criminal networks, are creating what seems to be, to some observers, a veritable ‘paradigm shift’ in the International Political Economy of Migration. New actors are being empowered, new resources are mobilized, new strategies developed. But how has this all come about? What are the implications of this process for EU strategy? What are the consequences for the local actors? The aim of this paper is to explore the developments that led to consolidated relations with Libya, focusing on key institutional frameworks set in motion and on the role of key actors – Italy first and foremost – against the backdrop of the externalization of EU’s migration governance. Finally, the paper will consider the different political and ethical challenges implied by this cooperation.
Chairs: Matteo Dian
Discussants: Matteo Dian
Alliance Structures in World Politics: The Changing Shape of U.S. Alliance Systems in Europe and East Asia
AbstractWhich factors account for the variation in the structure of U.S.-led alliance systems across space and time? Leading IR scholars such as Stephen M. Walt and John G. Ikenberry contend that polarity largely accounts for the variation in U.S.-led alliance structures. In particular, they predict that unipolarity would encourage Washington to increasingly rely upon bilateral alliances so as to have greater flexibility in its security relationships. Yet three decades of unipolarity empirically demonstrate that bilateralism has not emerged as the default alliance structure in the post-Cold War era. Given the shortcomings of the existing accounts, we advance a new theory that explains why the structures of alliance systems vary across space and time. Our central argument is that regional threat diversity—rather than polarity—accounts for such variation. We use our framework to analyze and to compare the evolution of U.S.-led alliance systems in Europe and East Asia from the early Cold War to the present. We empirically demonstrate how both regions have moved towards what we label a 'nodal defense' structure.
Feeling the pressure: The border factor in Myanmar’s interaction with China and India
AbstractIn 2013, China and India officially established among themselves an Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) that would cut across Myanmar and Bangladesh. Soon afterwards, these two countries joined the Sino-Indian venture, aimed at establishing a structured trans-border co-operation. The political and economic weight of China and India is such that weaker countries like Myanmar – geographically squeezed in-between – feel the pressure to bend to its giant neighbours’ interests. While the formal process of co-operation is in place, many obstacles remain at the international, national and local level. The paper looks at borderlands in Northern Myanmar as contested places, where the presence of a variety of political and economic actors not necessarily expressing their loyalty to the central government in Nayipyitaw complicates the interaction of the country with China and India. The paper aims at evaluating if a meaningful co-operation is possible within the BCIM-EC framework and if Myanmar is able to keep a distance to both neighbours in order to protect its own interests. How Northern borderlands as contested places are constraining Myanmar’s “room to maneuver” in formal regionalization processes involving also China and India? The paper draws also from fieldwork research in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, and in Shan and Kachin states.
Japan’s China Policy Through and Beyond the Prism of U.S. Grand Strategy (1971 – 2019)
AbstractThis paper presents the Japanese government’s China policy in the context of shifting U.S. priorities in the East Asian landscape. On the basis of historical evidence, this paper highlights Tokyo and Washington’s insistence on a Realpolitik premised on balancing behaviour, but with notable variations depending on the respective threat perception. The paper adopts a Structural Realist (or Waltzian Neo-realism) ontology to highlight a periodization based on two systemic changes in the international distribution of power, specifically the triple transitions from a bipolar (1971–1991), to a unipolar (1991‒mid 2000s), and a budding multipolar order in East Asia (mid-2000s ‒). Consistently with its status as a junior alliance partner, Tokyo’s China policy throughout the three periods has moved within the framework of Washington’s strategic calculations to maintain primacy in the Asia-Pacific. Yet, this paper originally argues that, while Tokyo has traditionally pursued a more sympathetic China policy compared to its ally, Japan and the U.S. have traded roles in the mid2000s, even before the ongoing Japan-China standoff over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Furthermore, the flaring up of the territorial dispute has hardened Tokyo’s China policy beyond U.S. strategy, possibly entrapping the U.S. in flashpoints of Sino-Japanese discursive or military conflicts over history issues. Trump’s advent ushered in a return to great power politics, with China as the main target, and to the delight of the Abe administration. Yet, as the US retorts to its traditional role as the China "bad cop" in the US-Japan duo, the Abe administration might be careful what he wished for, he might just get it.
Towards a Multipolar World: China’s and Russia’s Grand Strategies in North Africa
AbstractWorld politics is moving towards a multipolar system, especially after the election of Donald Trump. With the US in retreat, the current political fragmentation within the EU, the overall struggle between EU and the US, new windows of opportunities opened up for the other two biggest contenders of the international system: Russia and China. Hence, it is becoming relevant to understand what is the current foreign policy trajectory of China and Russia. The present paper will look at how and where the two contenders’ grand strategy start playing a major role. Hence, the central geographical focus will be in North Africa, since this region is now becoming one of the central strategic areas of confrontation between great powers. The political turmoil affecting this area only partly explains why this region is becoming so important for the current confrontation between state-actors. There are three additional reasons that emphasize why this area is becoming so important: immigration, terrorism, and access to the Mediterranean and South Europe. As a consequence, because of the relevance of those three issues listed above, the present paper illustrates how Beijing and Moscow are building and implementing their regional strategies for North Africa in light of their current desire to reshape the existing international system, balance of power, world influence, and great power status. When analyzing China’s grand strategy a particular focus will be on the Belt and Road Initiative and how it is becoming the central vector of China’s regional engagement for the North African region. Specifically, the focus will be on how China is building a BRI, which now encapsulates both the economic and the military sphere of action. On the other hand, when dealing with Russia, the focus will be on how to define Moscow’s current regional engagement and its overall regional interests. In other words, according to the current literature on Russia’s grand strategy, Moscow’s strategic engagement for North Africa has been defined either as either opportunistic or as a well-designed plan with clear objectives. The present paper tries to clarify which of the two statements hold true. Finally, the last section will look at how Russia and China are building a strategic partnership in North Africa and whether or not the North African region could represent in reality an area of possible confrontation between Moscow and Beijing.
The more the merrier? China’s Overlapping Multilateralism in Global Governance
AbstractChina is considered a successful promoter for alternative—as well as non-Western—visions of world order. In the last decade, China’s blueprint as to how to achieve global economic integration in parallel with the many initiatives promoted by Xi Jinping since he took office in 2012 have been received with strong enthusiasm not only by the developing world, but more generally, by other countries in the West. In parallel, there has been a growing escalation in China’s self-confidence in international affairs, which has resulted in the launch of numerous new initiatives, from which benefits may be gained on a larger scale than if applied only to China itself. However, this strategy has roots in China’s foreign policy ambitions to reinforce its so-called “core interests” in order to position itself in an evolving global order. This article examines the phenomenon of China’s overlapping multilateralism in global governance. It argues that the overlapping nature of the most recent initiatives established by China, i.e., BRI, AIIB, SRF, BRI, NDB, coupled with ad hoc multilateralism are two intertwined factors that explain China’s intent to reform the architecture of the global governance scenario based on China’s interests and priorities.