SISP2023
  click here to login into www.sisp.it

SISP Conference 2023

SISP2023 Sections and Panels

back to Sections and Panels list

Section 7 - International Relations

Managers: Emidio Diodato, Sonia Lucarelli

Read Section abstract
The section aims at taking stock and enriching knowledge regarding the transformation of the global political 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.
The section particularly welcomes panels and papers debating continuities and changes in the structure of the international system and dynamics of change, including the rise of new cleavages, worldwide processes and de-globalization, and regional dynamics and fragmentations; global problems and policies, with particular – but not exclusive – attention to migration, the environment, transnational organized crime, development cooperation, human rights and peace operations; organizational institutions, including their reform, the rise of multilateral solutions and the growth of competing regional alternatives; actors, with attention to the rise of non-state actors and the reaction of states, but also to the interplay between domestic political systems and the international political system; roles, status, and identities, notably of traditional and rising powers, but also of middle powers; norms, rules, practices, the role of alliances, ideologies and religion; foreign policy, diplomacy, regional and area studies; armed conflicts, use of force and security cultures, coalitions, and military alliances.
The section will also welcome panels and papers dealing with theoretical and methodological challenges in the study of change in IR, with attention to concepts such as anarchy, power, sovereignty, security, authority, legitimacy, and trust.
 

Panel 7.1 Engaging techno-politics: security and strategy in the digital age (I)


The fourth industrial revolution shapes our economy and society in critical ways. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems guiding our online experiences and influencing our decisions, to robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) applications that automate healthcare, transportation, and agriculture. Similarly, in the realm of international relations, we witness how the progressive deployment of “smart” technologies and large-scale IT systems transforms power dynamics, fueling both transnational competition and cooperation. Examples of such competition and cooperation are the international race for technological superiority, attempts of states and supranational organizations to establish digital sovereignty, debates and controversies in international standardization bodies, as well as negotiations for international treaties aimed at the regulation of technologies that are considered particularly disruptive, such as lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Taking stock of these developments, this panel aims to engage the techno-politics at the core of international relations, by focusing on security and strategic considerations relevant to digital technologies and infrastructures. We invite theoretically informed and empirically grounded analyses that inquire into the ways that different technologies shape, and are shaped by, security and strategic considerations in the wider areas of warfare, cybersecurity governance, intelligence gathering and policing. Overall, our goal is to explore the entanglement and co-constitution of digital technologies and international security, without prioritizing any specific “paradigm” or approach in security and strategic studies. The broader questions that we want to explore include, but are not limited to, the following:

• How do processes of technology design, development and deployment transform the workings and operational logic of security and military apparatuses?
• What kinds of power dynamics, contestations and controversies emerge in relation to the implementation and governance of digital technologies and infrastructures?
• How do states and supranational actors establish and protect their sovereignty in cyberspace, and how do digital technologies mediate sovereign acts of policing, border control, counterterrorism, etc.?
• What kinds of violence and injustice may emerge from the digital re-making of security, and how do international, regional or national strategies address the ethical and human security implications of emerging technologies?

Chairs: Georgios Glouftsios

Discussants: Georgios Glouftsios

Security governance of cyberspace: the role of international organizations
Stella Blumfelde
Abstract
While there is an extensive literature on international organizations and security governance, there is little written about how they manage and adapt existing governance mechanisms to new threats. International security environment has been radically reshaped particularly by the growing number of internet users, increasing interconnectedness and cybercrime activity. While cybersecurity governance literature is largely focused on either the role of the state or non-state actor power plays, UN has been increasingly highlighting the importance of international organizations, as the contributors of this novel security space. This presentation therefore answers the following question – what role do international organizations partake in the global cybersecurity governance system? Firstly, to answer the question, a comparative analysis of global cybersecurity strategies ought to highlight the existing gap between the international organization and cyber studies literature. Secondly, an overview is done of the already existing international security governance frameworks and tools for such technology governance as nuclear weapons, lethal autonomous weapons, and conventional weapons. Finally, in the light of previous security literature and technology security framework comparison, this presentation analyzes how global security governance approaches have changed to adapt to the abstract issues of cybersecurity through the concept of resilience.
Beyond the (domestic-foreign) frontier: relations between states’ domestic cybersecurity strategies and their positions in international organisations
Mattia Sguazzini
Abstract
The literature concerning the governance of cyberspace mainly focuses on highlighting the differences between two governance models: multilateralism and multistakeholderism. States support one or the other model, as well as its nuances, within their foreign policy stances. This literature has rarely been found in dialogue with an analysis of domestic policy features, especially those concerning domestic cybersecurity policies. Filling this gap is crucial to understanding whether (and how much) different positions in international organisations are influenced by domestic policies. This paper aims to answer the following research question: Which domestic public policy features influence the positioning of states in international organisations? This paper intends to survey the position of states expressed at the United Nations, through the analysis of the submissions of member states in connection with the Annual Reports of the Secretary-General on the resolutions 'Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security' from 2010 to 2022. The units of analysis were selected by considering all UN member states, relying mainly on the datasets offered by the same organisation, both in terms of submissions and national cybersecurity strategies (which will be used for the general survey of domestic policies). The study will take place in two steps: first, the hypothesis of a connection between the tendency to support the multistakeholderism model and the strong domestic tendency to develop public-private partnerships, as well as the performance of core functions of cybersecurity policies, will be verified. This shift occurs through the use of seeded-LDA and word-embedding techniques. The second step will instead focus on verifying the emergence of consistent topics between positions at the UN and national cybersecurity strategies. This step takes place through the use of unsupervised LDA techniques in two different corpora (that of submissions in connection with the SG Annual Report and that of national cybersecurity strategies). In both steps, countries that have not developed a national strategy but have provided submissions will also be considered, and vice versa, trying to understand whether there are factors that can enrich the general theoretical framework.
Global and Public and Private Compliance in Italian Cyber Security Policies for Critical Infrastructures.
Rosa M C Rossi
Abstract
The protection of critical infrastructures from cyber security attacks is an increasing imperative for states, IOs, private actors. The notion of cyber security requires the mobilization of different capacities and affects several domains of policies and accordingly political, economic, technical, and legal boundaries are crossed. Needless to say, the consequences of cyber incidents are impossible to contain within the origin or target of the attacks and impact multiple actors in several countries with cascading effects across boundaries. Moreover, the ongoing privatization of many socio-economic crucial sectors and in particular the outsourcing of cybersecurity services, situate private companies in a critical multi-faceted position being the increasing targets of cyber-attacks, however acting also as security providers and moreover performing as policies co-producers. The paper explores such contemporary complexity focusing on the recent rapidity in the transformation of Italian cyber security Agenda on critical infrastructures (CI) and focusing in particular on the medical sector as a case study. Covid 19 and the Russia-Ukraine war are assumed as two relevant drivers to understand the change of critical infrastructures cyber security. However, one event seems to act as incentive, while the other as an obstacle to the compliance to cyber security regulations and standards. Such analysis follows World Political Order Transition approach in IR and sees the transformation of cyber security agenda as part of a transition order which is in particular affecting current hegemonic coalition and its institutions in providing common goods.
 

Panel 7.1 Engaging techno-politics: security and strategy in the digital age (II)


The fourth industrial revolution shapes our economy and society in critical ways. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems guiding our online experiences and influencing our decisions, to robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) applications that automate healthcare, transportation, and agriculture. Similarly, in the realm of international relations, we witness how the progressive deployment of “smart” technologies and large-scale IT systems transforms power dynamics, fueling both transnational competition and cooperation. Examples of such competition and cooperation are the international race for technological superiority, attempts of states and supranational organizations to establish digital sovereignty, debates and controversies in international standardization bodies, as well as negotiations for international treaties aimed at the regulation of technologies that are considered particularly disruptive, such as lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Taking stock of these developments, this panel aims to engage the techno-politics at the core of international relations, by focusing on security and strategic considerations relevant to digital technologies and infrastructures. We invite theoretically informed and empirically grounded analyses that inquire into the ways that different technologies shape, and are shaped by, security and strategic considerations in the wider areas of warfare, cybersecurity governance, intelligence gathering and policing. Overall, our goal is to explore the entanglement and co-constitution of digital technologies and international security, without prioritizing any specific “paradigm” or approach in security and strategic studies. The broader questions that we want to explore include, but are not limited to, the following:

• How do processes of technology design, development and deployment transform the workings and operational logic of security and military apparatuses?
• What kinds of power dynamics, contestations and controversies emerge in relation to the implementation and governance of digital technologies and infrastructures?
• How do states and supranational actors establish and protect their sovereignty in cyberspace, and how do digital technologies mediate sovereign acts of policing, border control, counterterrorism, etc.?
• What kinds of violence and injustice may emerge from the digital re-making of security, and how do international, regional or national strategies address the ethical and human security implications of emerging technologies?

Chairs: Stella Blumfelde

Discussants: Stella Blumfelde

SECURITY FOG: The politics of non-knowledge in digitised security
Georgios Glouftsios
Abstract
This presentation introduces my latest research project: SECURITY FOG. Digital technologies and infrastructures are said to provide the foundations for establishing the European Security Union: from countering terrorist radicalisation to the fight against drugs and arms trafficking and the management of external Schengen borders. EU institutions and agencies emphasise that the digitisation of security is crucial in these domains because it supports the production of actionable security intelligence through data, also providing the infrastructural skeleton upon which multiple authorities (e.g., border guards, police, intelligence agencies) are interconnected at the local, national and EU levels. SECURITY FOG problematises these observations and challenges the popular imagination of digital data as producing immediate and accurate security intelligence. Much research at the intersection of IR and Science and Technology Studies (STS) focuses on how security intelligence is assembled by gathering, processing, and sharing personal data of EU citizens and third-country nationals (e.g., Aradau and Blanke, 2015; Bellanova and De Goede, 2022; Glouftsios and Leese, 2023). SECURITY FOG aims to do something radically different: understand what gets lost, what is absent, and what remains hidden in the process of doing security through data.
The Baleful Black Box: Artificial Intelligence and the Security Dilemma
Alessandra Russo
Abstract
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to negatively impact the stability of the international system, as it possesses unprecedented and unique characteristics that can exacerbate the security dilemma. AI is a general purpose technology and its application potential reaches far beyond its mere weaponization. AI serves as a force multiplier and enables force structures to operate more efficiently and effectively, as it can be infused into a wealth of functions all across the levels of war. In particular, it is a dual-use, software-based technology that, contrary to traditional industrially produced military assets, generates an inherent lack of transparency on the state and the direction of its development. Consequently, it is difficult to predict whether AI will be used in an offensive or defensive fashion. Furthermore, AI is a nascent technology that has had no wide applications in warfare yet, and the absence of past similar technologies that can make cases for comparison renders it even harder to forecast its actual effects and implications. AI is a dual-use technology, meaning it can be used for peaceful and military purposes. The “black box” is a unique attribute of AI systems, wherein the user is only able to observe the system’s input and output, with no insight into the underlying processes that lead to the latter. This entails that there can be little control or foresight over the AI system's functioning and output. Dual-use, black-box AI has the potential to wedge itself into the core dynamics of the security dilemma by making trust-building even more challenging. For this reason, it could further impair relationships between competing AI developer states. Furthermore, AI escapes traditional comprehension of intent and agency and is able to speed up the decision-making process to an extent that could impair meaningful human judgment and control over operations. This could engender and exacerbate lack of trust and misperception, which are key elements in the security dilemma's spiraling dynamic. Thus, AI could potentially start or aggravate a pre-existing security dilemma by forcing actors to pursue an ever-faster pace of development and ultimately premature adoption and use of AI. The risk is that AI will act as an insecurity generating variable in the spiraling dynamic, potentially exacerbating the security dilemma and resulting in a worse, more unstable international scenario. This paper aims at filling a gap in the International Relations and Security Studies literature, which has yet to comprehensively assess AI’s uncertain and rapidly rising role in international security dynamics. This research builds upon the traditional body of literature on the security dilemma and its latest advancements in dual-use and cyber technologies and deductively integrates the distinctive dual-use nature and black box characteristics of AI into the theoretical framework of the security dilemma and its spiraling dynamic. Then, the research will employ the current strategic competition between the United States and China for the achievement of AI primacy as a case study to illustrate the current manifestation of the AI-driven security dilemma in practice. Given the absence of AI-intensive conflicts, this paper observes as empirical evidence the shifts in doctrine and discourse on strategic AI development, as well as the measures employed to foster domestic AI progress and hinder the advancements of competitors.
Assessing the European Union's dependency from US-Manufactured Military Technologies
Federico Marinozzi, Federico Marinozzi
Abstract
Following Russia’s war on Ukraine, Europe is striving to enhance its domestic defence industry through increased defence budgets and ad hoc policies such as PESCO, EDIRPA, and EDIP. However, these attempts have not been exempted from scholarly criticism and some researchers still consider the U.S. as the main pillar of the European defence. What are the obstacles which hinder the European Union’s efforts to reduce its dependency on U.S. manufactured military technology? Some scholars point to industrial fragmentation as the most important obstacle to Europeans’ ambitions. The different relationships between national governance and defence firms, public or private, shape the decision-making process of European defence, undermining the pursuit of a properly-coordinated industry. Others argue that Europeans’ efforts are hindered by the predominant effect of a widespread strategic cacophony, which translates into different threat perceptions and divergent approaches to armed forces. Finally, a third branch of scholars contend that the EU dependency is mainly due to complex political issues comprehending different aspirations, defence budgets, and the role of NATO. This paper reviews the main theories on the European Union’s dependency on US manufactured military technology, synthesises the results of the review into a cohesive summary of existing knowledge in the field, and provides a framework of analysis to study the European Union’s dependency on US military technology.
The implications of the integration of Artificial Intelligence in nuclear decision-making
Alice Saltini
Abstract
The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in various sectors, from healthcare to agriculture, has brought about significant advancements and transformations. The recent advent and ongoing breakneck adoption of advanced AI models in the military, and notably the nuclear domain, highlights the unprecedented changes underfoot. While many countries, especially those with nuclear capabilities, aim to spearhead AI development for strategic advantages, the specific impact of AI on nuclear decision-making remains largely under-researched despite its critical importance. While the focus on lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) receives significant attention and debate, the examination of the implications of AI in the context of nuclear decision-making is equally crucial. Given the high stakes associated with the possession of nuclear arsenals by nuclear-weapons states (NWS) - China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) - it is imperative to explore this under-researched area in order to understand and address its implications effectively. As part of an ongoing project sponsored by the US Department of State, the European Leadership Network conducted a comprehensive literature review focusing on how NWS perceive the integration of AI in military operations, particularly in nuclear command, control, and communication (NC3) systems. While AI is extensively studied in the context of its impact on economic and societal domains, there is a notable lack of comprehensive analysis focusing on its implications for crisis stability. The review also highlights the absence of in-depth examination of the implications of ongoing AI integration in NC3 systems among the NWS. Our research sheds light on a significant area of agreement among NWS, demonstrating that states share the view that the complete automation of NC3 systems (where AI systems possess the capability for autonomous decision-making) is unacceptable. They agree that a human element must always remain in the loop, retaining full control over nuclear decision-making processes. This shared understanding reflects a recognition of the importance of human judgment, responsibility, and accountability in matters of nuclear decision-making. As a result of this research, it appears that NWS see the limited (but not full) integration of AI in nuclear decision-making processes, particularly in decision support functions, as potentially beneficial. The use of AI in supportive procedures, such as verification activities and intelligence gathering, is considered valuable in enhancing the decision-making process. The analysis indicates that some AI-enabled systems might offer significant advantages, such as increased efficiency and accuracy, thereby potentially improving crisis stability. The adoption of AI can reshape the nuclear strategic calculus of NWS. Some argue that the application of AI in NC3 systems could potentially enhance the precision, speed, and reliability of these systems, thus strengthening deterrence by punishment by promising swift retaliation against potential aggression. However, this increase in efficiency simultaneously increases the risks of accidental nuclear launch due to false positives, particularly given the known propensity of AI systems to generate inaccurate and imprecise predictions. Additionally, the current lack of interpretability in AI models further complicates the situation, as it becomes difficult to understand and verify the reasoning behind AI-generated recommendations or decisions. Building upon the NWS shared understanding revealed by our research, the NWS have an opportunity to make a joint declaration or statement emphasising the centrality of humans in nuclear decision-making. By doing so, they can foster responsible AI integration in the military domain. A joint statement between NWS provides a foundation for further collaborative efforts and might potentially set the stage for a future normative framework in this domain. Moving forward, rules of the road are essential in addressing the implications of AI in nuclear decision-making, particularly among possessors of nuclear weapons. Developing clear redlines would lay the groundwork for a future normative framework and potential arms control agreements. Eventually, it is essential to establish international norms and standards that govern the responsible and ethical use of AI in the military domain, specifically within NC3 systems. Transparency and verification mechanisms are vital components in addressing ethical concerns. Establishing international frameworks that promote transparency in AI integration within NC3 systems can enhance trust and confidence among states.
 

Panel 7.2 China and the change of world politics (I)


The aim of the panel is to deepen the understanding of how China is influencing change in various areas of current world politics. Panelists are invited to present original analyses of topics ranging from the worldviews of Chinese leaders and China's policies towards world problems, to China's power resources and China's engagement with world institutions. Studies on China's intergovernmental relations with individual countries and regions are also welcome. New methodological and theoretical perspectives such as the theory of complex systems are appreciated.

Chairs: Fulvio Attinà

Discussants: Fulvio Attinà

Towards a New Pandemic Treaty: China and the health-security regime complex
Francesca Cerutti
Abstract
Over the past two decades, several factors have amplified the risk of emerging infectious diseases spreading beyond national and regional borders. This paper explores China’s participation in the health security regime complex by considering its embeddedness in and compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR) and its custodian agency, the World Health Organization. The investigation is relevant for the broader International Relations agenda, as a fundamental question of the last twenty years concerns the implications of the rise of China and whether the country is challenging the rules-based international order created after the Second World War. In the last two decades, despite its expanded engagement in global health, Chinese contribution and leadership has been constrained by limited global monetary contribution and domestic institutional shortfalls. Of this unspoken conflict between norms, principles and practices, the Covid-19 crisis has been a litmus paper. Virtually overnight, health was promoted from a marginal to a critical subject of the BRI (e.g., through the Health Silk Road sub-system) and has shown Beijing’s readiness and ability to reach out to countries and regions not only in Southeast Asia and the Global South but also in Latin America and the Arab World. Whether these (soft) strategies to exercise influence will work depends on many technical and political variables, from the effectiveness of the Chinese containment strategy net of social and political costs to Washington’s reaction to the CCP’s global health ambitions. The contemporary ground for confrontation is the ongoing negotiation over the New Pandemic Treaty (to be delivered by May 2024) and the amendments to the IHR.
From Open Doors to National Security Concerns, How Germany and Italy Have Framed their Interdependence with China
Francesco Giovanni Lizzi
Abstract
In recent years, numerous European countries have initiated a revaluation of their economic relationship with China. This reassessment was not solely prompted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also by the trade war between the United States and China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Consequently, a shift from an open-door approach to a more rigorous assessment of the interdependence between China and Europe has taken place within the EU. The cases of Italy and Germany hold particular significance in this process, with Italy being the sole G7 country involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and Germany enjoying strong economic ties with China. In this sense, this research proposal aims to investigate the key factors driving the shift in approach towards China in Germany and Italy. The timeframe considered spans from 2008, marking the onset of Chinese investments in European infrastructure, up to 2023. During this period, the significant internal and international critical junctures that have influenced both countries' change of approach will be thoroughly examined. Furthermore, by relying on the bodies of work on securitization and interpretive theory, the proposal intends to identify the relevant domestic and international securitizing actors while examining their relationships. Lastly, to shed light on the outcomes of the shift in approach, the proposal seeks to explore the policy measures adopted by the Italian and German governments in response to an intensified perception of the "China threat."
Unpacking the (Emotional) Effects of Coercive Diplomacy: Public Backlashes of Chinese Threatening Messaging
Graeme Davies, Seiki Tanaka
Abstract
Why does coercive diplomacy fail? This article draws on the growing literature on psychological explanations to offer a nuanced argument for the ineffectiveness of coercive diplomacy. We argue that although a coercer’s threatening message may result in compliance out of fear, it can also induce anger among some segments of the public, leading to more defiant response towards the coercer. Our empirical analyses draw on a multi-country survey experiment in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan vis-à-vis Chinese coercive diplomacy. We find that Chinese threatening messaging, on average, fails to compel the foreign public. We further unpack complex microfoundational mechanisms behind the null-finding and find that We uncover the complex microfoundational mechanisms behind this null-finding and show that rather than scaring foreign citizens, Chinese threats tend to make some target citizens angry, resulting in more defiant attitudes against China (passive backlash). We also find that angry citizens are more likely to act violently in case of China’s military invasion (active backlash). Furthermore, angry citizens are more likely to respond violently in case of a military invasion (active backlash). These findings are particularly robust in Taiwan, where citizens face the greatest threats from China. Overall, we argue that coercive diplomacy is not only ineffective but can also be counter-effective by cultivating anger among the public and encouraging violent behavior.
What audience for the "China story"? Beijing's quest for country equity and the response of an Italian strategic public
Giovanni Andornino
Abstract
Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China's foreign policy has become more ambitious, while the topography of power within its Party-State reflects a process of authoritarian autocratization. This paper engages with one of the more challenging components of China's agenda of global projection: the development of discursive power by means of a "properly told China story" that would promote the brand of a "rejuvenated Chinese nation". In its first part, this research reconstructs Beijing's evolving strategy of country equity enhancement. Subsequently, the paper aims at evaluating the success of the Chinese leadership in this realm by investigating perceptions among a strategic public within Italy, the only G7 country to have adhered to China's Belt and Road Initiative. It does so through the analysis of an original survey of students of Sinology and International Relations carried out in 2021 and 2022, a seminal time marked by the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, the start of the war in Ukraine, and the sharp transformation of Italy's domestic political landscape.
Dalla “dittatura democratica popolare” di Mao Zedong alla “democrazia popolare completa di Xi Jinping: punti di contatto e discontinuità
Asia Marcantoni, Stefano Visentin
Abstract
Il dibattito attorno al concetto di democrazia in Cina ha una lunga tradizione risalente alla seconda metà del XIX secolo seppure, nel corso degli anni, i significati del termine ed i suoi usi si siano trasformati. Alla luce di ciò il presente contributo in particolare si propone di indagare le concezioni maoiste di “nuova democrazia” e di “dittatura democratica popolare” per riflettere se e in che misura questi aspetti -tra i più innovativi nel pensiero di Mao Zedong- vengano recuperati nel discorso sulla democrazia dell’attuale Segretario Generale, Xi Jinping. Per potere rintracciare in che misura sia presente un’eredità maoista nella concezione democratica di Xi - che agisce in un contesto storico, politico e ideologico ovviamente molto diverso- è necessario collocare storicamente i termini del ragionamento e del metodo del Grande Timoniere. Tenendo presente la storicità dei concetti maoisti è possibile, infatti, rendere il maoismo e le idee di cui si fa portatore uno strumento analitico e operativo valido per leggere la contemporaneità, e cogliere in che misura i molti dibattiti di Xi sul tema si pongano in continuità o in discontinuità con tali formulazioni passate. Negli ultimi venti anni il Partito comunista ha condotto il dibattito sulla democrazia rimarcando come questa potesse essere perseguita solamente rispettando le caratteristiche e le peculiarità del contesto cinese. Già Mao, nel celebre saggio Sulla nuova democrazia del 1940, affermando che la rivoluzione cinese sarebbe avvenuta in due fasi -democrazia e socialismo – sosteneva che la prima non fosse “democrazia in senso generico” -capitalista e sotto la dittatura borghese- ma una “democrazia di tipo cinese": una Nuova democrazia. Dal punto di vista politico Mao auspicava un sistema di suffragio universale ed egualitario, senza distinzione di sesso, credo, proprietà o istruzione all’interno del “sistema di centralismo democratico” del Partito. La nuova democrazia è stata anche una strategia rivoluzionaria che poneva l’enfasi sulla riconciliazione e la collaborazione di tutte le classi rivoluzionarie durante le prime fasi di lotta contro l’imperialismo, il feudalesimo e il capitalismo. Fu proprio tale strategia negli anni Quaranta e nei primi anni Cinquanta a permettere la massima unità del popolo e degli intellettuali, fino a quando, durante la fine dello stesso decennio, le aspirazioni da essa suscitate soprattutto fra gli intellettuali costituirono motivi per scontri sociali. Durante la leadership di Jiang Zemin e Hu Jintao il discorso sulla democrazia è servito generalmente al Partito per rimarcare il suo ruolo di guida come rappresentante di tutte le classi sociali. Recentemente, la proliferazione dei discorsi sulla democrazia di Xi Jinping si è caricata anche di altri significati, dovuti ad un intrecciarsi di ragioni interne -come l’indebolimento del radicamento del Partito e della sua credibilità di fronte ad una parte della popolazione - ed esterne, come la conflittualità dello scenario internazionale a partire dalla guerra commerciale con gli Stati Uniti del 2016. Xi Jinping sin dal 2012, anno della sua salita al potere, ha descritto il sistema democratico cinese come un processo consultivo e deliberativo intra-partitico che si poggia sulla meritocrazia. A partire dal 2019, ha promosso la formulazione “Whole-process democracy” (Quán guòchéng mínzhǔ, 全过程民主) che sostituisce ai criteri più tipici che misurano la democrazia in occidente il miglioramento materiale e sostanziale della vita delle persone. A seguito dell’esclusione dal Democracy Summit organizzato da Joe Biden nel 2021, Xi ha inoltre sostenuto la bontà del sistema politico cinese definito come “democrazia che funziona”, contrapponendolo a quello della democrazia rappresentativa occidentale da anni in crisi sotto diversi punti di vista. Xi sottolinea come il concetto di democrazia non sia statico, criticando così la definizione di democrazia sostenuta dall’Occidente, a cui oppone una versione che tenga conto delle condizioni sociali e culturali di ogni paese. La democrazia completa di Xi è da intendere come il prodotto finale di una tradizione di dibattiti che attinge non solo al passato recente -al “socialismo con caratteristiche cinesi” di Deng Xiaoping, alla “Teoria delle tre rappresentatività” di Jiang Zemin e alla “visione dello sviluppo scientifico” di Hu Jintao – ma anche e soprattutto alla concezione maoista di “dittatura democratica popolare”. Quest’ultima nello specifico, teorizzata nei mesi che precedettero la nascita della Repubblica popolare nell’omonimo saggio del 30 giugno 1949, si configurò come un aggiornamento e adattamento della teoria della “nuova democrazia” e come un’“arma” per difendere i risultati della vittoria della rivoluzione popolare. Negli ultimi anni il dibattito scientifico ha chiarito come Xi Jinping non sia da intendere come “un nuovo Mao”. Le differenze tra i due, oltre che per la profonda diversità del contesto in cui Xi opera, sono visibili a partire dall’impianto dottrinale: nonostante con Xi si sia assistito al ritorno della centralità dell’ideologia marxista, i principi tradizionali confuciani –che Mao voleva estirpare per creare una nuova cultura- hanno assunto un valore centrale. Tuttavia i punti di contatto sono emersi in varie occasioni, a cominciare dal lessico utilizzato dal leader, che riprende i principi maoisti come quello di linea di massa e assume prerogative che si erano viste solo con il Grande timoniere. Alla luce di questi riferimenti e del fatto che la democrazia sia stata ed è una tematica centrale nel discorso politico cinese, si ritiene interessante indagare in che misura l’idea democratica di Mao venga ripresa dall’attuale Segretario generale e quali siano i punti di contatto e quali invece le differenze su di un tema che si rivela fondamentale per il Pcc nel rapporto sia con la popolazione cinese sia, a partire dagli anni di Xi, con lo scenario internazionale.
 

Panel 7.2 China and the change of world politics (II)


The aim of the panel is to deepen the understanding of how China is influencing change in various areas of current world politics. Panelists are invited to present original analyses of topics ranging from the worldviews of Chinese leaders and China's policies towards world problems, to China's power resources and China's engagement with world institutions. Studies on China's intergovernmental relations with individual countries and regions are also welcome. New methodological and theoretical perspectives such as the theory of complex systems are appreciated.

Chairs: Giovanni Andornino

Discussants: Giovanni Andornino

The Chinese presence in the Gulf dynamics: a Middle Eastern perspective represented by the Saudi Arabia - Iran case study
Emanuele Volpini
Abstract
Abstract - The conflict in Ukraine directly affected several areas around the world. The Middle East and its actors were not exempt from the repercussions of the Russian invasion on the international community. In this context, some Persian Gulf countries took advantage of the geopolitical conjuncture to be able to develop their own regional but also international multilateral foreign policy, opening up increasingly close relations with the People's Republic of China and no longer only with the West. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have taken advantage of the ongoing conflict to try to establish new relationships - as in the case of the Saudi monarchy - and to strengthen others that have emerged in the recent past - the Iranian regime and the country's importance in Chinese strategies. In fact, it is interesting to observe how both actors, despite their profound differences and the regional theatres in which they are present as antagonists, have decided through the agreement of 10 March 2023 to follow a more pragmatic and less ideological foreign policy, aware of the importance of having an actor like the People's Republic of China at their side. To understand how Saudi Arabia and Iran have directed their foreign policies, especially economic policies, towards China, it is necessary to examine what their Chinese counterparts have been able to offer in return. The Belt and Road Initiative is the first step in understanding Chinese interests in the Gulf quadrant. In addition to the new Silk Road, however, Beijing, thanks to its role as an international power, is also managing to penetrate the region through the use of international organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In order to understand this link between the two Persian Gulf countries and China, it was necessary analyse some critical factors. Firstly, economic partnerships: China's engagement in the Persian Gulf provides Arab countries with valuable economic opportunities. Chinese investments in infrastructure projects, trade partnerships, and business ventures contribute to the development and growth of Arab economies. Secondly, diversifying partnerships: Arab countries have historically relied on traditional partners, such as Western nations, for economic and political ties. Chinese involvement offers an alternative to reduce dependency on a single region and diversify partnerships. This diversification is viewed as a strategic move to balance interests and ensure greater autonomy in decision-making. Thirdly, infrastructure development: Chinese investments in infrastructure projects, such as ports, railways, and industrial zones, are seen as beneficial for Arab countries. These projects can enhance connectivity, facilitate trade, and contribute to economic growth and development. The Arab perspective appreciates the potential positive impact on local economies and the creation of job opportunities. Fourthly, non-interference policy: Arab countries appreciate China's non-interference policy, which contrasts with the interventionist approaches of some Western nations. China's emphasis on respecting national sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs aligns with Arab countries' desire for autonomy and self-determination. Fifthly, balancing global power dynamics: Chinese involvement in the Persian Gulf is seen as a counterbalance to the influence of other major powers, such as the United States and European countries. Arab countries perceive China's engagement as a means to reduce external pressures and assert their own interests in regional and global affairs. By analysing these elements, one can see how the foreign policies of Saudi Arabia and Iran are increasingly turning their gaze eastwards. The interest in China can be seen in the elements analysed and shows how China's rise in the region is no longer just a matter of economic partnership, but a combination of factors such as energy, security and diplomacy issues that project the Asian giant into the Gulf quadrant. What emerges, from the perspective of the countries examined, is that the partial withdrawal of the United States from the region has been welcomed not only by the White House's enemies but also by its historical allies, who want to take advantage of the international geopolitical conjuncture that sees the US-led system weakening and making way for emerging players.
“Xivilising” world politics: the hegemonic discourse of China’s foreign policy
Veronica Strina
Abstract
The article aims to shed light on the Chinese leadership's aspirations to write “a new chapter on world civilisations” and build a “community of a shared future” with Chinese characteristics. While some researchers have argued that Beijing may not be longer interested in promoting its cultural soft power due to its increasingly assertive posture in international affairs, this contribution argues that China’s willingness to “make the garden of world civilizations more vibrant” and create an “inclusive community” may reveal the leadership’s commitment to exercising a political, intellectual and moral leadership apparently oriented toward the “collective will”. By using Gramsci's theory of hegemony as an analytical lens to investigate the objectives of China’s foreign policy during Xi Jinping’s new era, the paper aims to shed light on Beijing's hegemonic ambitions to advance a blueprint for an international order that can satisfy the values, interests and expectations of many states. In what ways do the global initiatives launched by the Chinese leadership claim to be the driving force behind human development? How are they claimed to serve the general interest of states? And what are the sources of legitimacy on which such claims are based? The aim of the contribution is twofold: on the one hand, it aims to show how the expansion of Chinese power is presented in the political discourse as serving the collective interest while intertwining Beijing’s future with the future of humankind (by using formulas such as “community of a shared future” and the mandarin character “gong” (共), common (es: 共商 gongshan,共建 gongjian, 共享 gongxiang); on the other hand, it seeks to showcase how China’s glorious past and the recent miracles of its economic development are used as sources to bring new hope to a world of turbulence and transformation – or of “Interregnum” to quote Gramsci. According to the Gramscian view, the “hegemonic principle” of any attempt to achieve hegemony, which however can never be fully achieved, may be identified in the language as it contains the elements of a given worldview and is the viaticum for its acquisition. Therefore, the research identifies discursive practices as a key instrument for shedding light on the theoretical issues involved in the creation of hegemony. The article develops a critical analysis of the PRC Foreign Minister's political discourse in the context of the launch of Xi's four global leadership initiatives: the Belt and Road Initiative; the Global Security Initiative; the Global Development Initiative; and finally, the Global Civilization Initiative. Such a method draws from critical discourse analysis as developed by Fairclough (1989, 1959). The analysis focuses on narratives such as “unity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, tolerance and mutual learning, win-win cooperation” (团结互信, 平等互利, 包容互鉴, 合作共赢). These last may reveal the leadership's aspiration to form hegemonic constellations that gravitate around Beijing and therefore based on the principle of interdependence. In this perspective, China's development is conceived and presented “as the driving force of a universal expansion, a development of all national energies” (Gramsci, 1975, p. 1584). The analysis suggests that the experience of China's millennia-old civilization and its moral authority represent a key source of legitimacy for China's role as a “civilizing” power. The PRCs' portrayal as a doer of “the right thing” in the interest of the global community lays the groundwork for its hegemonic projection, which rests on a combination of “domination” and “intellectual and moral leadership”. If morality is seen in the Gramscian view as a fundamental prerequisite for the sharing of a worldview through which to spread a “new common sense”, in Xi’s Confucianist perspective “who exercises government through virtue is like the pole star that maintains its position surrounded by all other stars” (为政以德, 譬如北辰, 居其所而众星共之). Xi’s civilizing mission emphasizes that China is no longer only a protector or an inheritor of a great civilization but also the creator of a civilized world. Main References Arrighi, G. (1994). The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of our Times. London: Verso. _______ (2007). Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century. London-New York, NY: Verso. Arrighi, G. et al. (1999). Western Hegemonies in the World-Historical Perspective. In Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System, ed. G.G. Arrighi and B. Silver, 217–270. Minneapolis, MN-London: University of Minnesota Press. Brown, K. (2020). Chinese Storytelling in the Xi Jinping Era. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 16(2-3): 323-333. Callahan, W.A. (2008). Chinese visions of world order: Post-hegemonic or a new hegemony?, International Studies Review, 10, pp. 749-761. Caterina, D. (2021). Gramsci in China: Past, Present, and Future of a Still Open Encounter, «Antipode», vol. 53, n. 4, pp. 1357-1376. Cox. R. (1983). Gramsci, Hegemony, and International Relations: An Essay in Method, Millennium. Journal of International Studies, 12, 2, pp. 162-175. Diodato, E. (2019). Mazzini and Gramsci on international politics: an Italian approach?. Int Polit 56, 658–677 (2019). Fairclough, N. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis. The Critical Study of Language. London and New York: Longman. Gill, S. (1993). Gramsci, Historical Materialism and International Relations, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Gramsci, A. (1975). Quaderni del carcere, Einaudi, Torino. (2014). Lettere dal carcere (a cura di Paolo Spriano), Einaudi, Torino. Mulvad, A. (2019). Xiism as a hegemonic project in the making: Sino-communist ideology and the political economy of China’s rise. Review of International Studies, 45(3), 449-470. Vacca, G. (2016). Modernità alternative. Il Novecento di Antonio Gramsci. Einaudi, Torino.
What does China want? Technology and great power competition
Ludovica Meacci
Abstract
In the last few years, the intensifying great power rivalry between the United States and China has arguably become a structural feature in international relations. Encompassing both economic and security issues, the Sino-American competition has recently turned its attention to the technological realm. China has demonstrated rapid improvement in its ability to both manufacture and develop cutting-edge technologies, from artificial intelligence to information and communication technologies. China’s rise as a cyber superpower has alerted many countries across the globe, especially US allies, prompting fears over Beijing's true long-term ambitions on the international stage. Yet, despite much speculation, the drivers and goals of China's rising technological prowess have not been systematically investigated: this paper seeks to fill in the gap and examine why China intends to become a cyber superpower. Framed through the lenses of grand strategy with an emphasis on the role of strategic ideas, this paper aims to assess the objectives behind China’s technological ambitions and argues that for Beijing technology represents simultaneously a status-seeking, a security-seeking, and an influence-seeking instrument of power.
China’s agency at the early stage of order transition
Fulvio Attinà
Abstract
The perspective and concepts of the theory of complex systems are the tools of this paper to analyze China’s agency in the current transition of the world order system. The world order is defined as the system of state interactions and world decision-making institutions to respond to problems on a global scale through world framework policies. Based on the knowledge of how complex social systems change, the paper analyzes how China is facing four powerful determinants of exit from chaos and change of order, namely path dependence in the formation of system decisions, the sensitivity of the system to underestimated perturbations of the past, the dynamics of agent aggregates, and the selection of priority problems in setting the system's agenda.
 

Panel 7.3 Food Regimes and the International Order: Implications, Contradictions, and Transformations


After the end of the Cold War, international organizations such as the FAO, the WFP, and the WTO committed to a better allocation of food resources through the implementation of specific programs and institutional mechanisms. Yet, access to food is still dramatically uneven among the actors of contemporary international politics. If anything, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine has proved how vast parts of the Global South remained dependent on imports and at risk in case of bottlenecks and the sharp rise in food prices. What features of the current food regimes prevent a fair allocation of food resources? How does the distribution of food resources affect and shape the conditions for regime change and instability at both national and international levels? What are the consequences for the international order? What strategies have international institutions and leading international actors implemented in the allocation of food over the last three decades and what have been their impact? What strategies of resistance and solidarity are people and subnational actors experiencing inequalities deploying?
This panel invites proposals that focus on the interplay between food regimes and the dynamics of international relations, and on the interaction between internal and external dimensions of food security. In particular, the panel aims at addressing the ways food regimes are constructed, legitimized, transformed, or dissolved on different scales in the international arena. The panel seeks to gather contributions that discuss the main threats, prospects, critical aspects, and challenges related to current food regimes. At the same time, the panel seeks to address how the production and distribution of food resources has changed as a consequence of hegemonic, imperial, (neo-)colonial, or neoliberal policies on a domestic, regional, or international scale. The panel welcomes different methodological approaches and different epistemological sensitivities, such as qualitative and quantitative methods and interdisciplinary perspectives bringing together the discipline of International Relations with International Political Economy, International Law, Historical Sociology, Comparative Politics, and Political Philosophy. Similarly, the panel is open to single-case study, small-n comparison, and broad comparison without any limitations in terms of actors, institutions, countries, and regions.

Topics include, but are not limited to:
- Food security and conflict on the international or national scale
- Food regimes on the global, regional or national scale
- International institutions, international norms, and actors on the international stage
- Policy choices, narratives, languages, and intellectual debates on food in international politics
- Sustainable food production and distribution facing climate change
- Nationalism and food sovereignty

Chairs: Emanuele Castelli, Marco Clementi

 

Panel 7.4 Why, What and How to Change the Status Quo? Revisionisms in International Politics (I)


The emergence of revisionist powers is regarded as a constant of international politics. Once peace or arrangements are settled and a new international order arises, States dissatisfied by the new status quo might mount challenges against it as they perceive a growing mismatch between their preferences and the existing conditions. Revisionists may opt for just altering the status-quo or overthrowing and wholly replacing it. Usually, when the latter option is preferred, they end up waging a full-scale war or a long-standing competition against the status quo powers, those willing to preserve the existing conditions and determined to defend them. When the status quo takes the form of a proper international order, rising powers may wage a large-scale challenge and direct their attack towards the underpinning distribution of power and resources – e.g., territory, population, energy, military capacity, status – or the normative arrangements – e.g., institutions, rules, norms, values, organizations.
Revisionism has always received attention within the International Relations (IR) discipline. In fact, the distinction between conservative and revisionist powers is intimately linked to the original effort within IR to explain the origins of war and international change. However, the concept is still plagued by theoretical, methodological and empirical flaws. The panel will discuss contributions that tackle the subject both from strictly theoretical and empirical points of view. Papers on the following topics will be welcomed:
- Historical cases of revisionism;
- Causes of revisionism;
- Distributive and normative revisionism;
- Types of revisionism: incremental and radical strategies;
- Revisionism and alliances;
- Dissatisfaction as engine of revisionism;
- Delegitimization practices as revisionism;
- Status and revisionism;
- Other-than-war approaches to alter the regional or global distribution of goods;
- Revisionist foreign policy narratives and public discourses;
- Content and objectives of today’s Chinese revisionism;
- Content and objectives of today’s Russian revisionism;
- China’s and Russia’s increasing assertiveness in promoting change at the regional or global level.

Discussant: Barbara Pisciotta, Roma Tre University, Lorenzo Termine, Sapienza University of Rome

Chairs: Anna Caffarena, Gabriele Natalizia

Discussants: Simone Dossi

Interventions of post-colonial states in the normative structure of world politics. The case of Iran and the norm of democracy
Daniela Huber
Abstract
The IR literature has for long ignored the role which (the memory of) the colonial and/or imperial past (and presence) plays in the identity and interventions of post-colonial states in the normative structure of world politics. Whilst it is established that such states strongly reproduce the norm of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, how do they relate to the fundamental norm of democracy, how and in which ways do they contest it? Taking the Islamic Republic of Iran as a case study and inquiring into three sites of Iranian interventions in the global contestation of the norm of democracy – in the UN General Assembly, in the Arab uprisings, and in EU-Iranian dialogue – this article finds that Iran engages in both a strategic contestation of the norm of democracy, as well as the construction of alternative meaning whereby it closely interlinks the norm of democracy with the norms of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. This, however, represents a dilemmatic normative intersection at which geopolitics can perpetuate the “postcolonial condition”.
Revisionism in Practice: Mapping Iran’s Current Quest to Form an Anti-hegemonic Coalition
Jacopo Scita
Abstract
The 1979 Islamic revolution significantly reshaped Iran’s foreign policy and alignment choices within the international system, moving the country from the US/Western camp to the galaxy of non-alignment, Third-Worldism, and anti-hegemonism embodied by the revolutionary slogan “Neither East nor West – but the Islamic Republic!” Consequently, the backbone of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy is a revisionist pulse that identifies the Western-designed and -led international system as unjust, unbalanced, and ultimately adverse to Iran’s rightful ambitions. Since the 1979 Revolution, one of the active translations of the IRI’s revisionist aspirations has been the protracted attempt to form and join anti-hegemonic coalitions with like-minded states. This paper aims to map the state of Iran’s quest to create an anti-hegemonic axis, offering a typology that deconstructs the coalition into four components: (1) The senior partners; (2) The axis of resistance; (3) The flank partners; (4) The international organisations. Arguably, although the ambition to form and participate in anti-hegemonic coalitions largely transcends the IRI’s factional politics, it is influenced by systemic pressure, systemic opportunities, and external factors. Ultimately, the paper argues that, under the Raisi administration, the Islamic Republic is revamping the quest for an anti-hegemonic coalition based on a perceived shift in the global balance of power accelerated by the War in Ukraine. However, the current strategy appears impaired by Iran’s inability to create stable links between the four components of the anti-hegemonic coalition and the seesawing relations between Iran and its senior partners – Russia and China.
Hungary after WW1: origins and consequences of the Trianon trauma
Andrea Carteny, Paolo Pizzolo
Abstract
The Kingdom of Hungary is a defeated power of WW1: Budapest didn’t want the war but has got all the effects of the defeat of Habsburg Empire. Hungary loses with the Trianon Treaty more than 2/3 of her territory and one-third (around 3 million person) of her ethnic-Hungarian population, with all her seaports and 90 percent of her natural resources, industry, railways, and infrastructures. The Hungarian state cedes the Upper Hungary (Slovakia) and Ruthenia to Czechoslovakia, Croatia-Slavonia to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia from 1929), Transylvania, Maramaros, Partium and Banat to Romania, finally Burgenland to Austria. The Hungarian collective consciousness, from all social classes and from left to right political belonging, is hit by the trauma: Trianon, from the 4 June 1920, the day of the signature, becomes the symbol of the injustice against the Hungarian nation, with the popular slogan “nem nem soha!”. The dominant storytelling in Hungary talks about the treason of several factors against the country (Bolsheviks, Masons, Jews etc.) and a major part of people and of political trends, during Twenties and Thirties, are basically revisionist, with differences in the political projects to fix this injustice up (f stating the need of borders’ revision or claiming autonomous institutions for foreign territories populated by ethnic Hungarians). The Horthy regime handles this issue through many ways during Twenties (with the priority to break up the post-war isolation), and during Thirties with more concrete projects of frontiers’ revision. Bilateral and international diplomacy, and cultural national activity, is inspired to this mission: to promote the Hungarian identity in the country and abroad. Starting with the second half of Twenties, Hungary strengthens link with foreign environments for the support of the Hungarian claims, also in victorious power (e.g., United Kingdom and Italy). Between the second half of Twenties and the first half of Thirties, new axis of Budapest respectively with Rome and Berlin open the way to join the front of revisionist big powers, which is the condition for Hungary to be benefit by the agreements and diktats for the return of former Hungarian lands: the Southern Slovakia, Ruthenia, and – after the breaking out of the WW2 – the Northern Transylvania, and by the partition of Yugoslavia for the reoccupation of Western Vojvodina Mura region . That realizes the “great” Hungary of Miklos Horthy, in this last season of winning revisionist fate, before the tragedy of the WW2 final outputs, which restore the present Trianon Hungary.
Where Eagles Do Not Dare. A Framework for Moderate Revisionism in International Politics
Lorenzo Termine
Abstract
The cyclical rise of revisionist powers is regarded as a constant of international politics. Once peace or major arrangements are settled and a new international status quo arises, states dissatisfied by the new conditions might mount challenges against it. Usually, they end up waging a full-scale war or a general competition against the status quo and those powers willing to preserve and defend it. However, war and competition are not the only forms of revisionism which can instead entail more moderate options. This fashion of moderate revisionism has been largely neglected by International Relations schools of thought despite it has both a relevant theoretical significance and a historical-empirical profundity. The present research’s guiding question will be: “When and how do great and medium powers conduct moderately revisionist foreign policy towards the international status-quo?”. Treasuring what a long-standing literature has written on the topic, I hypothesize that revisionism is a product of four different configurations of power/dissatisfaction. i. Willingly moderate revisionism is produced when great powers harbour limited dissatisfaction towards the status quo. ii. Carefully moderate revisionism is produced when middle powers harbour limited dissatisfaction towards the status quo. iii. Unwillingly moderate revisionism is produced when middle powers harbour total dissatisfaction towards the status quo. iv. Revolutionary revisionism is produced when great powers harbour total dissatisfaction towards the status quo. This, however, falls beyond the scope of the present research which focuses on moderate revisionism. Moderate revisionism is understood as the constant preference for less risky foreign policy means and strategies which are – albeit the moderation – employed to the modification of the status quo. Moderate revisionism will, for instance, include strategies to alter the territorial status quo without triggering dangerous escalations or sweeping territorial reconfigurations or will combine strategies to alter the distribution of military capabilities but without starting costly and risky arms race with the status quo powers. These theory-derived hypotheses will be tested through in-depth studies of the following cases: a) The United States of America from 1879 to 1891. An increasingly strong country, harbouring limited dissatisfaction towards the UK-led status quo in the Americas ended up mostly siding with its former colonizer rather than radically challenging its order. b) The Kingdom of Italy under Fascist rule from 1922 to 1929 will be the second case Rising to power in the wake of three tumultuous years after the end of the Great War, Mussolini was able to capitalize on the winding dissatisfaction and elaborated a revisionist foreign policy constrained by the middle-sized national power. c) Maoist China from 1949 to 1958, when a totalitarian ideology fueled total dissatisfaction which was burdened by limited national power and capabilities.
 

Panel 7.4 Why, What and How to Change the Status Quo? Revisionisms in International Politics (II)


The emergence of revisionist powers is regarded as a constant of international politics. Once peace or arrangements are settled and a new international order arises, States dissatisfied by the new status quo might mount challenges against it as they perceive a growing mismatch between their preferences and the existing conditions. Revisionists may opt for just altering the status-quo or overthrowing and wholly replacing it. Usually, when the latter option is preferred, they end up waging a full-scale war or a long-standing competition against the status quo powers, those willing to preserve the existing conditions and determined to defend them. When the status quo takes the form of a proper international order, rising powers may wage a large-scale challenge and direct their attack towards the underpinning distribution of power and resources – e.g., territory, population, energy, military capacity, status – or the normative arrangements – e.g., institutions, rules, norms, values, organizations.
Revisionism has always received attention within the International Relations (IR) discipline. In fact, the distinction between conservative and revisionist powers is intimately linked to the original effort within IR to explain the origins of war and international change. However, the concept is still plagued by theoretical, methodological and empirical flaws. The panel will discuss contributions that tackle the subject both from strictly theoretical and empirical points of view. Papers on the following topics will be welcomed:
- Historical cases of revisionism;
- Causes of revisionism;
- Distributive and normative revisionism;
- Types of revisionism: incremental and radical strategies;
- Revisionism and alliances;
- Dissatisfaction as engine of revisionism;
- Delegitimization practices as revisionism;
- Status and revisionism;
- Other-than-war approaches to alter the regional or global distribution of goods;
- Revisionist foreign policy narratives and public discourses;
- Content and objectives of today’s Chinese revisionism;
- Content and objectives of today’s Russian revisionism;
- China’s and Russia’s increasing assertiveness in promoting change at the regional or global level.

Discussant: Barbara Pisciotta, Roma Tre University, Lorenzo Termine, Sapienza University of Rome

Chairs: Anna Caffarena, Gabriele Natalizia

Discussants: Lorenzo Termine

Rethinking Revisionism in International Relations: A Case Study of Saudi Arabia and Iran
Diane Zorri
Abstract
As the 21st century’s poles of influence expand, interdependence and transnational interests have brought extraordinary political and security challenges, both altering the threat environment and demanding that political, economic, and military leaders continuously respond to the changes. An emerging consensus reveals the strategic paradigm is shifting from the lodestar of Western hegemony and influence towards an era of multipolarity. These changes coincide with revisionist foreign policies in both Russia and China that are challenging the existing international order. In the international relations literature, the concept of revisionism represents a challenge the status quo. Its expression ranges from demands for greater political representation and redistribution of wealth and territory, to more radical calls for the fundamental transformation of political institutions and norms. However, there are several theoretical, methodological, and empirical flaws associated with the concept of revisionism in the current literature. The first major flaws in the concept of revisionism are theoretical. One is that it tends to focus on the agency of actors challenging the existing political order, rather than on the structural or systemic factors that give rise to these challenges. This can lead to a narrow focus on individual actors or groups, rather than a broader understanding of the political and social context in which these challenges emerge. Another theoretical flaw is that the concept of revisionism tends to assume a static, unchanging political order is being challenged, rather than acknowledge that history is dynamic and humans are constantly evolving their systems of government. The concept of revisionism is often criticized for its normative assumptions about the desirability of an existing political order. By assuming that challenges to the status quo are inherently problematic, the concept of revisionism overlook the potential benefits of political change and the importance of democratic contestation and pluralism. Methodologically, the concept of revisionism can be problematic because it often relies on subjective judgments about what constitutes a challenge to the existing political order. This can lead to a lack of clarity about the boundaries of the concept and the inclusion or exclusion of certain actors or movements. Empirically, the concept of revisionism can be difficult to operationalize and measure, as it is often based on subjective assessments of the extent and nature of challenges to the existing political order. This can lead to inconsistent or unreliable data and a lack of comparability across studies. While the concept of revisionism has been widely used in political science to describe challenges to the existing political order, it is not without major theoretical, methodological, and empirical flaws. Realist scholars have long critiqued the concept of revisionism as being overly normative and failing to account for the structural constraints that states face in the international system. Realists argue that states are inherently driven by a desire to maximize their power and security, and that they will pursue revisionist policies only when they perceive a shift in the balance of power that makes such policies viable. From this perspective, revisionism is not a moral choice, but rather a strategic response to changing international conditions. Furthermore, realists argue that the concept of revisionism assumes a static, unchanging international order, which is inconsistent with the realist view that the international system is in a constant state of flux, with power shifting between states over time. In this way, the concept of revisionism fails to capture the dynamic nature of international politics and the complex interplay of power, interests, and ideology that shape state behavior. By using Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine as a case study, this paper hypothesizes that a more nuanced and context-specific approach to the study of political change can address the theoretical, methodological, and empirical flaws associated with the concept of revisionism in the current literature. This approach takes into account the complex and dynamic nature of power relations and the multiple factors that contribute to political transformation.
Amending and defending the ‘status quo’: Taiwan’s social movements and China’s revisionism in cross-strait relations
Silvia Frosina
Abstract
Named “the most dangerous place on Earth” by The Economist in 2021 for its potentially pivotal role in the political competition between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States (U.S.), the island of Taiwan is a by-the-book case of contested statehood as well as a prolific context for the emergence of movements and activism concerned with both domestic politics and the island’s international status. The proposed paper aims to answer the following question: can grassroots social movements play a role in maintaining (or throwing off-balance) the status quo in world politics? Adopting and expanding the concept of “political opportunities”, this work aims to offer preliminary reflections by investigating the emergence of social movements in Taiwan and their role in shaping cross-strait relations. In the classic agenda of social movement studies, the political opportunity structure theory focuses on the influence that the external environment exerts on social movements emergence and behaviour. Such external environment has traditionally been understood as the ensemble of factors originating outside social movements in the domestic/national context. However, the Taiwan case demands a reconsideration of this concept as the relationship between activism, movements and their surrounding environment cannot but take into account opportunities and constraints that originate in the international realm. In Taiwan, the concept of ‘status quo’ is central to social movement activity, as Taiwanese citizens’ core interests and preferences are identified in the maintenance of the status quo in cross-strait relations. In light of the political opportunity paradigm, protest movements by Taiwanese citizens can therefore be expected when variations at the international level occur, that may be perceived as threats to the status quo, or as opportunities to secure it. At the same time, the Communist Party of China insists that social movements and political parties advocating for political and economic separation between the PRC and the territories it claims under the "One China“ and the "One country, Two systems" frameworks are independence forces threatening the status quo. In this perspective, the present work investigates whether, and under what circumstances, could social movement emergence come to be seen as an opportunity for Beijing to adopt revisionist behaviour and engage in a concrete attempt to re-unification. The present research situates at the intersection between International Relations and Social Movement Studies, by focusing on the trajectories of social movement activity in Taiwan over the period running up to the Sunflower Movement (2012 - 2014), the largest protest movement in Taiwan's recent history. By performing a Protest Event Analysis on two Taiwanese newspapers, the Taipei Times and the United Daily News, this paper traces and delivers a preliminary map of the relationship between grassroots social movements and Taiwan’s controversial position within the changing international order, by looking at how cross-strait relations have been influencing (and have been influenced by) protests and political contention. By doing so, the works aims to bring back a long-missed perspective integrating IR and the study of contentious politics.
How Do Great Powers Respond to Secondary State Hedging?
Fabio Figiaconi, Luis Simón
Abstract
Secondary states resort to “strategic hedging” when they worry that a rising great power may undermine their autonomy, and that an established great power may be unwilling or unable to check the (potential) revisionist actions of the rising great power. Hedging can be framed as a peculiar second-tier states’ foreign policy strategy employed to navigate the security uncertainty generated by Great Power actions by taking a middle-ground stance and avoiding a clear-cut alignment with either competitor. While the phenomenon of hedging has been extensively scrutinised, how established and rising great powers respond to it remains a substantial blind spot in the IR literature. In trying to provide an answer to this research question, we hypothesize that any great power responses to secondary state hedging must be tailored around the specific concerns of secondary states and that, in turn, this accounts for fundamental differences in how established and rising great powers respond to secondary state hedging. Specifically, we contend that established great powers will respond to secondary state hedging by deploying “strategies of empowerment”; these strategies aim at mitigating a secondary state’s fear of abandonment through demonstrations of commitment and presence and by helping build the capacities of the minor state. In turn, we argue that rising great powers will resort to “strategies of reassurance”; these strategies aim at mitigating a secondary state’s concerns that its revisionist policies may mean for it a potential loss of autonomy. In this case, we argue that the rising great powers will strategically play down their revisionist intentions by showcasing military restrain and political and economic engagement towards hedging secondary states. To probe our argument, we examine how Great Britain and Germany responded to Dutch hedging prior to World War one, and how the United States and China are responding to Singaporean hedging today. Our article provides a fresh contribution to broader debates about how secondary states affect processes of great power competition. Also, it represents an important addition to the great power literature by underlying on the one hand how established great powers try to re-affirm their international position by allaying the fears of abandonment of hedging secondary states, and on the other hand how rising great powers, while on a quest to compete with their great power rivals over the redesigning of the international order, do care to signal to hedging secondary states that this change will not be directed against them and impinge on their autonomy.
Rethinking Revisionism in World Politics? Visual Narratives and China's Role
Silvia Menegazzi
Abstract
The paper aims to shed light on China's normative revisionism in global politics with a focus on public diplomacy and visual narrative analysis as methodological approaches for analyzing China's role on the global stage. China's normative revisionism can be defined as the active efforts to challenge and reshape existing norms, values, and institutions in international politics. Within such context, the paper is aimed at critically ‘problematize’ images and visual storytelling techniques utilized by different Chinese actors, such as the official media sector, social media platforms, think tanks, etc., with regards to China’s role in world politics. Through an interdisciplinary approach that combines IR literature, public diplomacy and visual narrative analysis, this research is also aimed to contribute to the debate about revisionist foreign policy narratives and public discourses taking China as a case study. By examining the discursive strategies, symbolic representations and storytelling techniques employed by different actors, it also contributes to broader debates on the relevance of public diplomacy in China's foreign policy and to what extent it affects normative change in world politics. The paper will explore how China employs various channels and platforms, including media engagement and educational initiatives, to promote its preferred narratives and reshape global perceptions of its role.
 

Panel 7.5 Towards Turkey’s New Century: Turkish political trajectory and its implications for the domestic and international realms. (I)


As Turkey celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Republic in 2023, it witnesses a new watershed in its recent political picture. Three months after the devastating earthquake that hit the country, May 14 elections represent a critical step in Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's two decades of continuous rule. Clientelism as ordinary form of ruling, widespread corruption and misrule aggravated the devastation and largely eroded the government’s popularity already affected by the deep currency and dept crisis that invested the country since 2018. During the Erdo?an era, Turkey has gone through multiple transformations that have changed the political and social structure of the country. In recent years, two trends have particularly marked the Turkish path. The first concerns the process of democratic backsliding through a gradual erosion of weak institutions (Öktem & Akkoyunlu 2016; Berk & Gumuscu, 2016; Akyuz & Hess, 2018). The aftermath has been the centralization of power in the hands of JDP political elites, institutionalized with the shift from parliamentarianism to presidentialism and the polarization of the Turkish electorate into pro- and anti-Erdo?an. The second trend has involved the cultural identity transformation of Turkish society (Hintz, 2018). Following a process that began in the 1980s, Islam, in its various forms of expression, political, social, and religious, has gained prominence in the Turkish public sphere. The Muslim nationalist ideology that sealed the alliance between the JDP and the right-wing nationalist party NMP not only has permeated state institutions, it has been also mobilized to hinder minorities rights, civic and political oppositions. The two processes ran parallel for many years, intertwining and increasingly overlapping after 2016. These two dynamics have emerged as intervening variables in Turkish domestic and foreign policy behaviors. Turkey is involved in several crises (Syria, Libya, Ngarno Karabakh, Ukraine, Somalia) and myriad international security issues (energy, food security, migration). Therefore, the domestic political trajectory of the Anatolian country will have repercussions in various spheres and contexts.

Designed in collaboration with the SISP Standing Groups Religion and Politics, the panel aims to stimulate reflection on Turkish politics by analyzing the processes that shape domestic and foreign policy trends in the post electoral scenario. It is also meant to be an opportunity to take stock of studies on Turkey by Italian scholars through a political science approach. In doing so, the panel wishes to create an opportunity to strengthen the network of mutual knowledge and provide a reference ground for doctoral students and young scholars.

To what extent and how will May 14 national elections affect Turkey's political trajectory in the mid-long term? How will the Turkish political system emerge? Will it be strengthened or weakened? What will be the implications on Turkey's foreign policy? These are just some of the questions the panelists will try to answer.

We welcome papers with theoretical contribution as well as original empirical data on the pre and post electoral process, informed by the methodological and multidisciplinary challenges to one or more key issues that are relevant to this topic, such as:

- Identity politics
- The interplay between religion, religious institutions and foreign policy
- The elaboration of Turkish discourses and narratives
- Turkey's international stance within a 'post-liberal order'
- Turkey’s regime change and transition
- Political and civic oppositions
- Human rights, minorities and gender issues
- Migration and refugees issues
- The redefinition of EU/Turkey relations

Chairs: Federico Donelli, Chiara Maritato

Discussants: Chiara Maritato

THE MILITARIZATION OF TURKEY’S FOREIGN POLICY IN NORTHERN SYRIA
Nozheen Murad
Abstract
This paper aims to provide a thorough exploration of Turkey's foreign policy towards the Kurds in Syria, particularly in light of the major transformations experienced domestically and internationally since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) to power in 2002. The territorial advancements made by the Kurds in Syria following the 2011 Arab Spring triggered heightened Turkish interference in the region, leading to a series of consequential developments. Under the leadership of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, assertive foreign policy strategies were employed to consolidate power and address perceived threats emanating from the Kurds in Syria. One notable approach was the establishment of safe zones through military operations, which not only aimed to secure Turkish borders but also had significant implications for regional stability and human rights. This paper will delve into the multifaceted motivations driving Turkey's foreign policy decisions vis-à-vis the Kurds in Syria. It will analyze the historical and geopolitical factors shaping Turkey's stance, including concerns about cross-border Kurdish insurgencies, aspirations for regional influence, and the impact of Syria's civil war on Turkey's security dynamics. By examining these factors, this study aims to provide a nuanced understanding of the complex dynamics influencing Turkey's engagement with the Kurdish issue in Syria. Furthermore, this paper will shed light on the consequences of Turkey's assertive foreign policy strategies in terms of mass human rights violations and the challenges posed to the international community. The establishment of safe zones will be critically examined as an instrument of foreign policy, considering its implications for the rights of displaced populations, the exacerbation of the Syrian conflict, and potential implications for regional stability. To achieve these objectives, this study will employ a combination of qualitative research methods, including an extensive review of scholarly literature, analysis of official statements and policy documents, as well as an examination of international responses and human rights reports. The findings of this study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge on Turkish foreign policy, specifically regarding its approach to the Kurdish question in Syria. In conclusion, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of Turkey's foreign policy towards the Kurds in Syria. By examining the motivations, strategies, and consequences of Turkish interventions, it seeks to deepen our understanding of the complex dynamics and challenges in the region. The insights gained from this study will be of relevance not only to scholars and policymakers interested in the Middle East but also to the broader international community grappling with the intricate interplay between national interests, regional stability, and human rights.
Assessing Turkey's Credibility as an External Mediator in the Ukrainian Conflict
Riccardo Gasco
Abstract
24 February 2022 marked a watershed moment in Europe's more than 60 years of peace since World War II. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has destabilized the region and prompted various external actors to engage in mediation efforts. Among these actors, Turkey has emerged as a leading and unique participant due to its dual relationship with Russia, refraining from imposing international sanctions and providing direct military support to Ukraine. Turkey swiftly joined the global condemnation of the Russian invasion and promptly utilized the rights granted by the 1936 Montreux Convention to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits. This decisive action effectively blocked the passage of Russian military vessels. The significance of Turkey's role is further evident in the growing number of bilateral meetings between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as the agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey for the export of wheat from Ukraine, which has been renewed multiple times. In addition, Turkey stood out as the only country that brought Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table. Although the dialogues did not yield concrete results, they demonstrated Ankara's credibility and trustworthiness among both conflicting parties. Ankara's aspirations to assume a leading role in the Russian-Ukrainian dispute stems from a variety of factors, each contributing to its motivations. First and foremost, Turkey's strategic geographical position holds the utmost importance. Being located on the opposite side of the Black Sea, Turkey recognizes the potentially dire consequences of prolonged instability and insecurity in the region. Such circumstances could severely impact Turkey's stability and exacerbate its current economic crisis. Another significant factor is Turkey's historical role as a medium-sized regional power with a track record of external conflict mediation. Turkey underwent a transformative shift from being a passive proponent of global peace to becoming an assertive and proactive force actively working towards peace. This transition towards active international mediation was initiated by Ahmet Davutoğlu, who spearheaded this personal endeavor during his tenure as the Foreign Minister in the late 2000s. Notable examples include its attempted mediation between Israel and Syria regarding the Golan Heights dispute, as well as its involvement in mediation efforts alongside Brazil regarding Iran's future nuclear program. These past experiences have showcased Turkey's capacity and willingness to assume a third-party role in facilitating dialogue and seeking peaceful resolutions to contentious issues. Furthermore, Turkey's motivations may also be driven by its own strategic interests. Turkey and Russia find themselves entangled in a complex situation in Syria, where they support conflicting sides and where Ankara is dependent on Moscow's consent for military intervention. Adding to the complexity, Turkey's acquisition of the S-400 missile defense system has severely strained its relationship with the United States, leading to Ankara's exclusion from the prestigious F-35 program. As a country with historical ties to both Russia and Ukraine, Ankara possesses a unique perspective and a certain level of influence over the parties involved. By leveraging this position, Turkey seeks to safeguard its interests and maintain stability in its immediate neighborhood, while potentially capitalizing on diplomatic successes to bolster its regional standing. However, it is important to acknowledge that Ankara's pursuit of a leading role in mediating the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is not without challenges and potential limitations. The complex dynamics of the dispute, deeply rooted in historical, ethnic, and political factors, pose significant obstacles to achieving a sustainable resolution. Additionally, the involvement of other global and regional actors with their own vested interests further complicates the landscape and may impede progress. Moreover, Turkey's domestic issues and international standing may also impact its credibility as a mediator. Criticism concerning Turkey's human rights record and concerns over democratic norms within the country have the potential to undermine its perceived impartiality and weaken its position as a trusted mediator. A further complicating factor concerns the delicate relationship between Turkey and the Western NATO partners. Turkey will have to pay particular attention to its moves to not further antagonize its Western allies by continuing to play a strategic role in mediation. The paper endeavors to evaluate Turkey's credibility as an external mediator in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine by drawing on historical instances of Turkey's mediation efforts, regional ambitions, and revitalized foreign policy activism. In addition to utilizing primary and secondary sources, the study will employ a series of semi-structured interviews with officials from all the relevant parties involved. By doing so, the paper aims to assess the perceptions and viewpoints regarding Turkey's role as a mediator, providing a comprehensive analysis of its effectiveness in this particular conflict.
How has in-betweenness shaped the transformations of Turkish foreign policies since the 2000s
Jing Syuan Wong
Abstract
As 2023 marks the 100 years of Turkish republic, slogans such as the “Turkish Century” were widely employed ahead of the presidential campaign in May 2023. Following the victory at the second round of presidential election with a slight margin, Erdoğan extends his rule to a third decade. Under the Erdoğan administration, Turkey has gone through multiple transformations that have profound impacts on the socioeconomic, political, and cultural aspects of Turkish society. Presidentialization of political regime in parallel with concentration of power in the hands of the AKP ruling elites centered around Erdoğan marks one of such transformations. The projection of political Islam on the Turkish society facilitated by the AKP, in stark contrast to the Kemalist secularism is the second feature of such change. These two domestic dynamics are both conditioned by and shaping the international relations between Turkey and its neighboring countries. In-betweenness emerges as the conceptual framework that characterizes the transformations of Turkish foreign policies with strong domestic correlations. Since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the pivotal geographical position, multicultural demography, and the Ottoman history have made the competing narratives of identities and governance model inevitable. With growing multipolarity, in-between states further assert their international relevance. In-betweenness is defined as geographical, historical, political, and cultural intertwining identity and positionality which are not only conditioned by the spatial attribute of one state in relation to others, but also, if not more so, realized and performed by state actors in contingent manners. In-betweenness of states is characterized by the geographical affiliation with continents, such as Turkey lying in the middle of Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is also performed by the multiple national attachments and importantly, potential rejection as well. Such that in-betweenness transcends the binary distinction of identity and belonging. The ambiguity, in turn, could be strategically played out in advancement of political objectives when actors see fit. In terms of the political economic position of the states, in-betweenness goes beyond the dichotomy of democratic and authoritarian tendencies. It includes supply chain interdependencies, trade relations, and the multiplicity of strategic and symbolic alliances. While it aims to diversify the relations and partnerships to avoid over-reliance on one state or block, it is not purely strategic. The interaction between the relational and the strategic aspects of in-betweenness could be one of the entry points of investigation. The multiplicity of belonging lies in both internal and external dimensions of the state. The influence of domestic and foreign policies on each other goes both ways. While the external behavior of the state can be conditioned by the imagined judgment of domestic audiences, the external political dynamics also formulate and shape the identity construction of citizens and subjects. As the nature of politics, the crosscutting lines of attachment coexist in an uneasy and dynamic equilibrium. This dynamic is visibly manifested by the Turkish engagement in the United Nations (UN)’s Black Sea Grain Initiative following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The recent approval of Finland’s membership in The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with Turkey’s conditionalities also appears to be one of the ironies of history, seen from the lens of Turkey’s application for EU membership since 1999. By distancing itself from its traditional western allies but not completely aligned with eastern partners, Turkey shifts the focus of its multiple alliances while not completely abandoning any one of them. In short, the in-betweenness of Turkey stems from both its internal competing narratives and external strategic calculus of power balance. It is important to note that in-betweenness is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the space for sovereign decision making could be oppressed by the power constraints. On the other hand, the multiple layers of belonging have the potential to capacitate in-between states with leverage and relational capital when negotiating their national interests. Empirically, in 2002, the AKP came to power. In 2004, Erdoğan’s Chief Adviser Ahmet Davutoğlu announced Zero Problems with the Neighbours as one of the leading principles of Turkish foreign policies. In his own words, Turkey “should be seen neither as a bridge country which only connects two points, nor a frontier country, which sits at the edge of the Middle East or the West” (Davutoğlu 2007). Instead of limiting Turkey to the two blocks, Davutoğlu argues that “Turkey’s new geographical imagination, based on its geography, history and identity, accorded it a new role in mediating” (Altunışık 2014: 36) and wide engagement with the neighborhood, ranging from Africa to Western Balkans. The active foreign policy of Turkey not only asserts its visibility on the global stage but also appeals to and unifies domestic audiences. The Ankara Consensus, characterized by Islamic meanings in official and public diplomacy with aid as instruments of foreign policy, while avoiding imposing conditionality (Donelli 2021) represents unique Turkish in-betweenness. This in-betweenness is manifested by the complementarity of the traditionally western neo-liberal development regime (Washington Consensus) and the non-conditionality Beijing Consensus with Islamic characters. The mixed paradigm of Turkish foreign policy is further enriched by the neo-Ottoman narratives to appeal to emerging partners in the neighborhood by legitimizing the strengthening of relations based on AKP portrait Ottoman past. How has in-betweenness shaped the transformations in Turkish foreign policy since 2000s until now will be analyzed both conceptually and empirically in the paper.
Assessing the impact of populism on Turkey’s foreign policy after 2016
Alberto Gasparetto
Abstract
Populism has been a dominant trait of Turkish politics since the foundation of the state in 1923. Just to emphasize its relevance, it represents one of the six pillars (Six Arrows or Altı Ok) of Kemalism. The specific weight of populism in Turkish politics comes out of the central cleavage which historically splits the Turkish society into two main actors – the ruling elites of the center against a culturally heterogeneous periphery (Çarkoğlu, 2012; Erdem Aytaç and Elçi, 2019; Mardin, 1973). This has been opportunistically intersected by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the other historically relevant divide in Turkey, the one between religion and secularism, to maximize electoral consensus. As many have noted (Verbeek and Zaslove: 2017; Destradi, Cadier and Plagemann: 2021), much of the academic literature on populism focuses on domestic politics – as though the effects of populism unfold exclusively within the domestic sphere – with scarce systematic study on how populist forces influence foreign policy (FP). In turn, the present paper focuses on the impact of populism on Turkey’s FP after 2016. The preliminary assumption is that populism has changed throughout Erdoğan’s twenty years in power. It evolved from an anti-establishment stance in its early stage, when the AK Parti advanced Turkey’s EU membership and proved to be a good ally of NATO and the US (2002-2006), through a more visible Islamist narrative during the central phase (2007-2015) and especially after 2011, up to a nationalist and civilizational scheme after 2016. I argue that this push to nationalist and civilizational populism came out of the ultimate authoritarian turn at home, which took place alongside a process of gradual personalization and centralization of power in the AK Parti’s internal structure and a widespread paranoia reproducing an exacerbated Sèvres Syndrome. This resulted in a more aggressive stance in Turkey’s FP to better pursue the goal of strategic autonomy, as much in the Syrian context as in the EastMed, and a prominent deviation from the advocates of the existing international order to approach the global powers which challenge it. The research will rely on second-hand sources to account for the political, economic and international background and on first-hand ones such as declarations, speeches, press conferences in order to rebuild the belief-system and the populist narrative of the main Turkish FP decision-makers (namely, President Erdoğan). Çarkoğlu, A. (2012), Voting behavior in Turkey, in Handbook of modern Turkey, ed. by M. Heper and S. Sayarı, 160–70. London: Routledge Destradi S., Cadier D., Plagemann J. (2021), Populism and foreign policy: a research agenda (Introduction), Comparative European Politics, Vol. 19, pp. 663–682 Erdem Aytaç S. and Elçi E. (2019), Populism in Turkey, in D. Stockemer (ed.), Populism around the World, Springer Nature Switzerland, pp. 89-108 Mardin, Ş. (1973), Center-periphery relations: A key to Turkish politics?. Daedalus 102, n. 1, pp. 169–190 Verbeek B., Zaslove A., Populism and Foreign Policy, in (ed. by) Kaltwasser C. R., Taggart P., Espejo P. O., Ostiguy P., The Oxford Handbook of Populism, Oxford University Press, pp. 384-405
 

Panel 7.5 Towards Turkey’s New Century: Turkish political trajectory and its implications for the domestic and international realms. (II)


As Turkey celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Republic in 2023, it witnesses a new watershed in its recent political picture. Three months after the devastating earthquake that hit the country, May 14 elections represent a critical step in Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's two decades of continuous rule. Clientelism as ordinary form of ruling, widespread corruption and misrule aggravated the devastation and largely eroded the government’s popularity already affected by the deep currency and dept crisis that invested the country since 2018. During the Erdo?an era, Turkey has gone through multiple transformations that have changed the political and social structure of the country. In recent years, two trends have particularly marked the Turkish path. The first concerns the process of democratic backsliding through a gradual erosion of weak institutions (Öktem & Akkoyunlu 2016; Berk & Gumuscu, 2016; Akyuz & Hess, 2018). The aftermath has been the centralization of power in the hands of JDP political elites, institutionalized with the shift from parliamentarianism to presidentialism and the polarization of the Turkish electorate into pro- and anti-Erdo?an. The second trend has involved the cultural identity transformation of Turkish society (Hintz, 2018). Following a process that began in the 1980s, Islam, in its various forms of expression, political, social, and religious, has gained prominence in the Turkish public sphere. The Muslim nationalist ideology that sealed the alliance between the JDP and the right-wing nationalist party NMP not only has permeated state institutions, it has been also mobilized to hinder minorities rights, civic and political oppositions. The two processes ran parallel for many years, intertwining and increasingly overlapping after 2016. These two dynamics have emerged as intervening variables in Turkish domestic and foreign policy behaviors. Turkey is involved in several crises (Syria, Libya, Ngarno Karabakh, Ukraine, Somalia) and myriad international security issues (energy, food security, migration). Therefore, the domestic political trajectory of the Anatolian country will have repercussions in various spheres and contexts.

Designed in collaboration with the SISP Standing Groups Religion and Politics, the panel aims to stimulate reflection on Turkish politics by analyzing the processes that shape domestic and foreign policy trends in the post electoral scenario. It is also meant to be an opportunity to take stock of studies on Turkey by Italian scholars through a political science approach. In doing so, the panel wishes to create an opportunity to strengthen the network of mutual knowledge and provide a reference ground for doctoral students and young scholars.

To what extent and how will May 14 national elections affect Turkey's political trajectory in the mid-long term? How will the Turkish political system emerge? Will it be strengthened or weakened? What will be the implications on Turkey's foreign policy? These are just some of the questions the panelists will try to answer.

We welcome papers with theoretical contribution as well as original empirical data on the pre and post electoral process, informed by the methodological and multidisciplinary challenges to one or more key issues that are relevant to this topic, such as:

- Identity politics
- The interplay between religion, religious institutions and foreign policy
- The elaboration of Turkish discourses and narratives
- Turkey's international stance within a 'post-liberal order'
- Turkey’s regime change and transition
- Political and civic oppositions
- Human rights, minorities and gender issues
- Migration and refugees issues
- The redefinition of EU/Turkey relations

Chairs: Federico Donelli, Chiara Maritato

Discussants: Rosita Di Peri

DIVERSIFIED TURKISH NATIONALISM IN THE AXIS OF MIGRATION POLICY: A DISCUSSION ON THE POST-ELECTION ERA OF RIGHT-WING POLITICAL PARTIES IN TURKIYE
Tugba Aydin Halisoglu
Abstract
One of the recent political agendas of Turkiye is the diversification of right-wing parties in line with Turkish nationalism. The Presidential and 28th Term Parliamentary Elections held on May 14, 2023, show that Turkish nationalism has begun to diversify in right-wing political party scale and changed the characterization of the Turkish Grand National Assembly as the most right-wing parliament in history. Considering Turkish nationalist parties that can host nationalist views from all walks of life, they have become differentiated by merging into three separate alliance groups: Cumhur, Millet, and Ata. In terms of the current migration policy of Erdogan, right-wing Turkish nationalist parties tend to develop their own differentiated discourses on asylum seekers and refugees. Thus, the objectives of this study are 1-) to examine and compare the diversified perspectives, similarities, and differences between right-wing Turkish nationalist political parties regarding their migration policy strategies, and 2-) to provide a differentiated migratory approach for diversified Turkish nationalism in the post-election era. The method of the study is the document analysis within the scope of the election declarations, the party programs, and the alliance joint memorandum texts of right-wing Turkish nationalist parties. This study is expected to contribute to Turkish nationalism and migration policy studies in political science.
Turkey’s Entrepreneurial Opposition. CHP’s Evolution Between Traditional, European and New Perspectives
Massimo D'Angelo, Samuele Abrami
Abstract
During the long-durée period of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) in office since 2002, Turkey has undergone a process of restructuration both in its domestic dynamics and foreign policy behaviour. Many scholars report how, after having been ‘welcomed by both the EU and the US’ (Bechev 2022) for its initial electoral success, AKP’s early commitment to liberal reforms and EU’s membership has gradually evolved into forms of competitive authoritarianism (Esen & Gumuscu, 2016) and de-Europeanisation (Aydın-Düzgit & Kaliber, 2016). In such a political environment, though institutions are formally present, and the government needs to run for electoral legitimation, the hold on every instrument of power is skewed in favour of the incumbent rulers and the country’s external relations rely more on personalistic and transactional modus operandi (Esen & Gumuscu, 2016). However, while literature has abundantly investigated what competitive authoritarianism means for the ruling party in terms of survival strategies, it has poorly looked at what this authoritarianisation process (Yilmaz, 2018) means to the opposition. Despite the scarce interest, the 2019 municipal elections have represented a case, as the latter has found new ways and formulas that allowed to ‘unseat’ AKP’s majors through the ballot boxes in many major Turkish cities and crucial administrative areas. Thus, the event demonstrated how, despite an unfavoured playground, there is still room for opposition parties to play a role. The election results demonstrated how AKP’s support was eroded in metropolitan districts and shifted to peripheral areas, and poor neighbourhoods in urban centres, while the opposition advanced in Turkey’s most populous and economically developed provinces (Taşkın, 2021). Thus, this study aims to shed light on how such a context of one-party dominance has counterintuitively generated new forms of “entrepreneurial opposition”, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the post-2002 history of political opposition in Turkey (Aras & Helms 2021). In short, the argument is that while the regime remained competitive and authoritarian at the broader level, different levels of competitiveness and authoritarianism across the country emerged (Esen & Gumuscu, 2021). Therefore, focusing on the 2023 presidential campaign, it looks at CHP’s late evolutionary phase and investigates how far it has actually moved away from its historical positions on many fronts to pursue new objectives. On the one hand, it is evident that, during the time under consideration, the CHP’s Kemalist tradition has tried to shift its position and discourses from a strict nationalist-secular approach to a renovated reference to Western and European liberal values that embraced socio-political pluralism. On the other hand, its harsh tones and ambiguous stance on some sensitive questions – such as the refugee problem, the Kurdish question and foreign policy matters – have not only created doubts about a genuine change in the party’s values but also undermined its credentials as a new preferable partner for Europe rather than AKP. In sum, this proved true when analysing the outcomes of the 2023 elections. Despite facing a major challenge, the AKP has consolidated its power through popular votes. On the contrary, the opposition coalition built around CHP’s leadership might have paid the price for the heterogeneity of its composition and lack of capacity to substantiate its ‘discourse for change’. In terms of methodology, the study applies an inductive process tracing (PT) method to identify the causal mechanisms which bring the appeal to Western and European liberal values during the electoral campaign conducted by the CHP. Inductive PT starts backwards from the outcome, by scrutinising the evidence and trying to uncover plausible sufficient causal mechanisms that produce the outcome (Beach & Pedersen, 2019). Thus, the final scope of the study is to understand whether this turn in Turkey’s main opposition party represented a reaction to the current domestic order – as it was for AKP’s earliest stance in 2002 – or an impulse for a long-term inside-out change in the country’s political environment that might go beyond the wave of the latest elections.
The visual narrative of the First World War redefined under the AKP
Thomas Richard
Abstract
Based on previous research, this paper aims to question how Turkey under the AKP has redefined its identity when looking back at the First World War. The part played by the media in Turkey both before and since the AKP rise to power has been already documented (Erdogan 1998, Anaz and Purcell 2010, Ozcetin 2019), giving credence to the idea of a Turkish soft power through TV shows, an idea which we alreadly questioned (Richard 2020). In the same way, the part played by the First World War in Turkish identity has been well documented, particularly in regard to the legacy of Atatürk and the independence war, with a rise of new academic works that particularly focused on the Ottoman war during the last decades (Erickson 2001, Akin 2018). From a media point of view, the decades of AKP in power have been marked by an endeavour, both public and private, following the success of Turkish soap operas at home and abroad, to redefine Turkish identity and history, via a number of historical TV shows (Dirilis Ertugrul, Payitaht Abdulhamit...). These show can be interpreted at the same time as productions that redefine Turkish heritage, and its previous narratives, particularly the ones that had been developed during the golden years of Yesilçam cinema (Mutlu 2010, Pehlivan 2007). Our aim is to focus particularly in the First World War and the way this endeavours have been developed throught the films that were released for the 100th aniversary of the war (Son Mektup, 120, Gallipoli end of the road, The Ottoman lieutenant...). As a key element in the national and Kemalist narrative, the First World War has been the subject of a particularly high number of productions, with the aim of redefining today’s Turkey relation to this particular event. Rather than just contesting the Kemalist narrative, these films aim at reinterpreting it (Bakshian 2013, Cagaptay 2019). The national and glorious elements of the former narratives are kept, but reinterpreted in a sense that questions the fall of the Ottoman Empire, so that the First World War appears as a legitimizing tool for the political orientations of the day, with the aim of recreating a narrative of the First World War that would fit with the AKP’s interpretations of the world order, still nationalist, but more traditional, linked to its Ottoman past, and marked by an obsidional complex.
Populist competition and competition against populism in Turkey: the case of 2023 presidential elections
Carlo Sanna
Abstract
Within a global trend of growing attention to the study of populism, the case of Turkey has been subject of much interest, especially due to the presence in power of a strong and politically longeve right-wing populist politician, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and of his Justice and Development Party (AKP or AK Parti). Erdoğan’s 21-year uninterrupted dominance over the Turkish political system has brought many to investigate the peculiar attributes of such a long-lasting populist leadership. Scholars concluded that, among the characteristics framed by the vast literature on the subject, especially (i) the emphasis on the “national will” (milli irade) embodied by the leader, (ii) the despise for political institutions, and (iii) the Manichean portrayal of societal dynamics are particularly accentuated in the Turkish brand of populism [Aytaç and Elçi 2019; Selçuk 2016]. Fewer studies, however, have enquired on the strategies enacted by the opposition on the supply side, in terms of communication and framing of the political discourse. Some scholars [Demiralp and Balta 2019; Uğur-Çınar and Açıkgöz 2023] have started to show interest in studying the strategies of the opposition parties and leaders, to see whether the political offer proposed as an alternative to the right-wing populism in power is populist itself or not. Turkish elections of May 2023 provide the opportunity to enquire further over this question. Studying this subject not only can contribute to enriching the scientific knowledge on the specific case-study. Being Turkey a paradigmatic case of competitive authoritarianism governed by a right-wing populist leadership [Esen and Gümüşçü 2016; Castaldo 2018], in which election still counts as the method to enact the (possible) alternation in and transition of power, and whose characteristics made it object of various comparative studies with other European cases [Aytaç and Elçi 2019; Tagesson 2020; Kaya, Robert and Tecmen 2020], to study the competition on the supply-side between a populist-authoritarian leadership and the opposition can provide valuable insights and data for comparative studies of similar populist-authoritarian regimes. While the convergence on describing Erdoğan’s 20-year leadership as a right-wing populist one is almost unanimous, for what it concerns its biggest competitor, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) the issue is different. 2023 elections were the first time in which CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu ran in first person. Recent studies on the electoral strategies of the CHP have concluded that, both in the 2018 presidential elections and in the 2019 local elections, the party adopted a populist [Boyraz 2020] or inverted-populist [Demiralp and Balta, 2021] style and discourse to compete against the populist AKP and its leader Erdoğan. This considered, my paper aims to answer the following research question: was the political offer of the opposition to Erdoğan’s populist leadership in 2023, populist in itself? Which aspects did the campaign insist on, and how did it frame policy proposal in a different way compared to Erdoğan’s populist style? The main objects of the analysis will be the campaigns of Turkey’s incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and that of its main competitor, the leader of CHP Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. The vivid scholarly debate on the nature and the characteristic of populism will require to choose an operational definition of populism, relying on the wide scholarly production on the topic. This literature mostly conceptualizes populism either as a thin-centered ideology or alternatively as a discursive style/rhetoric [Piccolino Soare 2021]: in either case, the ideational approach seems to be prevalent. It follows that, whichever the chosen approach, ideas and their conveyance become crucial elements of analysis of the supply side of populism. The 2023 Turkish elections provide us with a very high number of data to process in this sense, as both presidential candidates engaged in a very intense campaign, coming to hold up to 3 rallies in different provinces per day, and producing a wide variety of social media contents. To analyze this very extensive discursive corpus in which they directly addressed “the(ir) people”, a mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology will be used to answer the above-outlined research questions. Quantitative Text Analysis will allow to process a bigger corpus in a more time-efficient way, in order to highlight the main themes and discursive strategies linked to populism. A dictionary of Turkish populist vocabulary will be prepared, including words related to the main components of the populist idea/discourse as identified in the scientific literature, and taking in account the specificities of the Turkish context, language, and political contingencies. Subsequently, the presence and incidence of this vocabulary in the two candidates’ discourses will be tested using the RStudio software, especially its text mining package. Such a method is reliable to measure the “quantity of populism” while being as well time- and resource-efficient, since the software itself can process a big quantity of data without much effort on behalf of the researcher if not in preparing the corpus, the codes, and the research design. However, it cannot tell much about the “quality of populism”, which is fundamental to understand which type of populism is adopted, which themes are the most relevant, which ideational offer is provided to “the people”. To do so, Directed Qualitative Content Analysis (DQCA), as a more time-consuming and resource-intensive method, will be used to analyze a more restricted corpus of campaign speeches, videos, rallies discourses, selected for their relevance with the themes and patterns emerged from the quantitative analysis.
 

Panel 7.7 A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours. Territorial Conquest, Conflict and Cooperation in a Globalized World


Territorial possession and conquest have featured as primary policy goals for centuries. This is hardly surprising, since land may have an intrinsic economic, strategic, and emotional value. Yet, evidence shows that states have been less prone to acquire territory by force since the end of World War II. Quite the opposite, traditionally war-torn regions, like those on the border between France and Germany, gave rise to novel forms of cooperation. To account for these developments, a wide array of theories has been developed: from rationalist accounts on the (lack of) profitability of war, to normative explanations on the obsolescence of conquest. Unfortunately, as the war in Ukraine reminds us, the trend downwards in territorial conquest still allows for exceptions – a stark reminder that we do not have a full understanding of the role of territory in contemporary international politics. Taking these considerations as a point of departure, the panel aims to bring scholars from different theoretical traditions to engage in a debate on these topics.

Examples of issues of interest here include:
- Theoretical and/or empirical accounts of territorial wars.
- The nexus between trade and geography.
- Interdependence and conflict.

The panel is therefore open to scholars working in fields as diverse as Security Studies, International Political Economy, International Relations Theory, and Area Studies.

Chairs: Davide Fiammenghi, Andrea Locatelli

Discussants: Andrea Ruggeri

Distance, Difference or Interests?: The Political Geography of Military Performance, from Rome to Today
Erik Gartzke, Patrick Hulme
Abstract
Distance imposes three possible deleterious effects on the ability of actors to influence others. While much of the thinking about this phenomenon has concentrated on overcoming a loss-of-strength gradient, there also exist possible ``loss-of-interest'' and ``loss-of-information'' gradients. Geographically distant states or other actors can suffer impaired military performance due to difficulties in reaching the battlefield, because victory over distant actors or issues is less attractive or valuable, or because decision makers are less able to judge conditions from far away. After detailing these three distinct headwinds, we summarize the results of a previous study that established the overall empirical effect of distance on U.S. military performance. An important deficiency of that study is that it was not able to differentiate between the three distinct ways in which distance might degrade military effectiveness. Modern technological innovations (air travel, electronic communications, intercontinental missiles) also complicate available inferences. A much cleaner setting for evaluating causal mechanisms exists in the ancient Roman Empire. We utilize data on Roman military performance over half a millennium to differentiate the effects of proximity on military success. We find that the role of proximity in mitigating power (``loss-of-strength'') is likely the main determinant of declining military effectiveness.
How Geography and the Quest for Foreign Markets Create Strategic Territory and “Real” Indivisibilities
Davide Fiammenghi, Andrea Locatelli
Abstract
Bargaining scholars argue that foreign markets and resources are easily divisible through joint-exploitation agreements; if they are physically indivisible, rational actors can use side-payments and compensatory schemes to reach a deal. Realists argue that the quest to control foreign markets and resources may lead to conflict. We synthesize these two positions. We define four geographical structures: crossing paths (CP), threats to Sea Lines of Communications (SLOC), opposite-directions (OD), and non-interference (NI). CP and threats to SLOC entails problems of physical indivisibility. We lay out seven arguments to explain that they also pose a mixture of commitment problems, lack of valuable side-payments, and lack of alternative routes that greatly limit the fungibility of side-payments and compensatory schemes. NI and OD structures are not physically indivisible and can be dealt with through joint-exploitation agreements or partitions (albeit NI is historically rare). In the case of CP and threats to SLOC, the combination of physical indivisibility and limited fungibility of compensations means that conflict over markets and resources is more likely to escalate (as per the realist hypothesis). In IN and in OD, joint exploitations or partitions are easier, and escalation is less likely (the bargaining hypothesis). We test these hypotheses on a small-n dataset of European peaceful colonial agreements and militarized disputes, 1890-1914, which we complement with three brief qualitative case studies. Our geographical framework reconciles the realist and bargaining hypotheses on conflict over foreign markets, and offers an alternative conceptualization of strategic territory and indivisibility. Following Fearon (1995), scholars of IR conceive of strategic territory in military terms, and conceive of indivisibilities as intersubjective phenomena created by culture, religion (“sacred spaces”). We argue that strategic territory is also the product of the quest to control foreign markets, and that the limited fungibility of compensations creates more objective, or “real” forms of indivisibility. Finally, our geographical framework helps policymakers to identify the geographical structures in which conflict over markets and resources is more likely to escalate, and can be profitably applied to XXI Century international politics.
Why Retrenchment Rarely Inspires Military Interventions: Lessons from the Cold War
Moritz Graefrath
Abstract
According to a popular wisdom about international relations, power vacuums which emerge because of a great power’s declining influence over spaces outside of its own territory regularly inspire military competition by other great powers. In this piece, I make the case that this conventional wisdom is mistaken. I argue that great powers generally prefer to fill such vacuums by recruiting indigenous political actors as their proxies through the provision of economic and military aid. They view a military intervention as a measure of truly last resort and thus employ it only under very specific circumstances, namely: when areas of truly vital strategic interest are concerned; and when the dissolution of great power influence is accompanied by the destruction of national authority structures within the respective space. To illustrate my argument, I provide a case study of how the United States under Eisenhower responded to the power vacuum which emerged due to the end of the British empire in the Middle East.
 

Panel 7.9 THE WAR IN UKRAINE: ELITES, PUBLIC OPINION, AND POLICIES (I)


More than one year into the war and showing no sign of ending any time soon, questions and doubts arise about the ability of the Western coalition to continue supporting Ukraine' at the current pace. As economic costs and political dissatisfaction among some sectors of public opinion increase, the cohesion of the Western coalition can become a source of problems. In this panel, we want to explore the domestic factors that in Europe and the US might account for support for the Ukrainian cause or lack thereof and its persistence over time. In this regard, we encourage papers on a broad set of issues, covering public opinion, elites, policies and institutions. Proposals are welcome that range from the determinants, characteristics, and evolution of public attitudes, both in individual countries and in a comparative perspective, to the cleavages among European political elites, being these related to those between populist parties, often influenced in the past by Russian propaganda, and more Atlanticist parties, or between parties from Eastern and Western European countries. We also encourage papers exploring the role of the media in affecting public discourse and popular opinions on the war and the impact of fake news and conspiracy belief on attitudes toward the Ukraine war. We are also interested in exploring the mutual dynamics between elected officials and voters, the role the institutional context plays in explaining national positions in different countries as well as the coalitional dynamics within European countries and at the EU and NATO level.

Chairs: Stephanie Hofmann, Pierangelo Isernia

Discussants: Stephanie Hofmann

Creating Identity through Analogy: The Use of Historical Analogies in German and Italian Public Debates on the War in Ukraine
Hubert Zimmermann
Abstract
In both Germany and Italy, the war in Ukraine has led to sharp public debates on the rationales and the extent of the support that both governments (should) offer to Ukraine. Uncertainty and strongly diverging views both on the ultimate causes of the conflict and the fraught question of a final settlement after the war shape these debates. They are characterized by the constant use of historical analogies and comparisons, for example to the World Wars, the Holocaust, German Reunification and Italian Liberation. These analogies and references to key moments of national narratives invoke deep-seated repertoires of identity. They delineate contending foreign policy responsibilities towards ‘self’ and ‘others’ and weaponize historical memory as political resource in shaping responses to Ukraine. Actors try to reconstruct their ontological security by reference to historical episodes that defined how ’we’ (as German or Italians) are supposed to act and where our responsibilities are laying. Through a discursive analysis of official statements, media commentaries and visualisations of the Ukraine War, the paper intends to contribute to a larger research on the role of memories and identities in international relations, using historical analogies as lenses that allow the identification of identity conflicts in publicly contested international issues such as the war in Ukraine.
Demand for EU Polity-Building After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine: The Social Security and External Threat Logics
Alexandru Moise, Ioana-Elena Oana, Zbigniew Truchlewski, Chendi Wang
Abstract
How did the Russian invasion of Ukraine impact the views of European Union citizens on the political and economic role of the EU? The Russian invasion presented unprecedented challenges to the EU polity, affecting energy policy, military spending, inflation, and refugee intakes, among other domains. EU member states can respond to these challenges in a coordinated or ad-hoc basis. Their ability to act together will determine the effectiveness of their policy response to this crisis and the ensuing distribution of competency in the EU. In turn, the willingness of each member state to participate in collective policy-making and resulting common costs, depends on support from voters. We therefore look at how voters in five key EU countries: Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Hungary, view the role of the EU in a diverse set of policy areas affected by the war. We test two potential logics of polity-building in times of crisis. The Social Security Logic Logic refers to a polity's ability to deliver security through prosperity, while the External Security Logic refers to the benefits to centralizing defense in the face of a common threat. We test these two logics by investigating which policy domains potentially drive preferences for polity building in the face of a military conflict on the EU border. To this end, we fielded a conjoint survey experiment in December 2022 on national samples of about 2000 respondents per country, in our selected countries. The experiment presented respondents with competing political programs from which to choose from. In the programs, we vary two levels for each of four policy areas: refugee, energy, costs of living, and defense policies. In each policy area respondents receive a proposal that their home country should manage the policy area independently, or that the EU member states should coordinate on the policy. The conjoint design allows us to see a) which policy areas EU citizens want to see more EU coordination in (policy preferences), and b) which policy area drives their choice of a political program (policy salience). We hypothesizes that the cost of living and energy prices will be more important than refugee burden-sharing and security concerns. Secondly, we hypothesize a stronger preference for EU coordination in refugees, cost of living, and energy, and for national solutions for defense. We further expect effect heterogeneity based on country, ideology, and attitudes towards EU integration.
Does Strategic Moderation Work? A Survey Experiment on Giorgia Meloni’s Stance on Ukraine
Kevin Koehler, Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl
Abstract
Does changing a foreign policy stance help a leader win support, or are they punished for inconsistent positions? We examine Italian public opinion with regard to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s stance on Ukraine. After Russia’s 2022 invasion, Meloni came out in support of Ukraine and of NATO’s common policy in defending it against Russian aggression. This was a marked contrast to her earlier opposition against sanctioning Russia over its 2014 invasion of Ukraine. Using a survey experiment, we examine whether respondents' assessment of Meloni’s handling of foreign affairs is affected by whether or not they are reminded of her previous stance. We find that reminding voters of Meloni’s previous position on Ukraine and Russia does not move respondents on the right of the political spectrum, but decreases her favorability ratings even further among left-wing respondents. Our results contribute to literature on the role of foreign policy in elections and on politicians’ electoral constraints in foreign policy decision making.
In it to win it? Elite and Public Perceptions of US Assistance to Ukraine
Michael Williams, Shana Gadarian
Abstract
Since February 2022 the United States has committed $36.9bn in security assistance “to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders and improve interoperability with NATO.” Bilateral US assistance, coupled with aide from Europe, has help Ukraine stave off a full-scale Russian invasion, severely depleted the Russian military and ensured the survival of Ukraine. Through it all, American aid, and leadership, have been the cornerstone of all support to Kyiv. However, clouds loom on the horizon. Support for US assistance to Ukraine has dropped and there are differences of opinion between Democrats and Republicans as to how long the US should continue to support Ukraine. For example, 51% of Democrats want to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, compared with 68% of Republicans who favor support for only one or two years more. Meanwhile, public support has dropped across the board when it comes to paying a price for the war and partisanship is spiking. In Washington, the House of Representatives is now in the hands of the GOP and the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, is hamstrung by MAGA-America Firsters because of concessions he gave on recall votes to become speaker. With the most recent supplemental appropriation due to dry up by end of summer, it remains to be seen if the Biden Administration can get another appropriation through Congress. Within the American foreign policy elite, differences also abound. Support for the war runs both across and within the partisan divide. On the right American First Republicans and “restrainer” foreign policy types who question the US role in Ukraine, are joined by the far left of the Democrat party, to oppose the war. Most elected elites, however, on right and left, tend to favor continued support. But to make matters more complicated, not all foreign policy “hawks” support the administration. A segment, embodied by the likes of Elbridge Colby for example, believe the US should do less in Europe so it can focus on the China challenge in the Asia-Pacific. Such “China first” experts are working to shape the public dialogue about foreign policy priorities in an era of limited resources. Drawing on existing and new survey data, as well written elite foreign policy analysis in outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and national newspapers, we analyze the differences within the public regarding the Ukraine war, as well as between the public and elites to analyze potential developments with regard to the war in Ukraine, as well as the wider US role in Europe and the world.
THINKING THE UKRAINE WAR. HOW THE PUBLIC IN SIX EUROPEAN COUNTRIES DISCUSSES OF WAR AND PEACE
Carlotta Mingardi, Rossella Borri, Francesco Olmastroni
Abstract
The Russian aggression to Ukraine launched on February 24, 2022, marked the return of traditional war to the European continent, concretely affecting citizens’ lives and the way they understand international relations. While commentators discussed the war’s origins, characteristics, and potential consequences at length, much less is known about how and what the public thinks about this conflict. Drawing upon a unique set of data from a series of focus groups carried out in six European countries (i.e., France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Poland) between June and July 2022, the paper sheds light on how the general public frames the Russia-Ukraine war, as well as what role citizens conceive for their own countries and the EU in the conflict. By carrying out a systematic content analysis of two focus groups per country, the paper explores how European people organize and express their own beliefs and opinions on the causes, and the consequences of this war on their daily lives as well as on European and international equilibria.
 

Panel 7.9 THE WAR IN UKRAINE: ELITES, PUBLIC OPINION, AND POLICIES (II)


More than one year into the war and showing no sign of ending any time soon, questions and doubts arise about the ability of the Western coalition to continue supporting Ukraine' at the current pace. As economic costs and political dissatisfaction among some sectors of public opinion increase, the cohesion of the Western coalition can become a source of problems. In this panel, we want to explore the domestic factors that in Europe and the US might account for support for the Ukrainian cause or lack thereof and its persistence over time. In this regard, we encourage papers on a broad set of issues, covering public opinion, elites, policies and institutions. Proposals are welcome that range from the determinants, characteristics, and evolution of public attitudes, both in individual countries and in a comparative perspective, to the cleavages among European political elites, being these related to those between populist parties, often influenced in the past by Russian propaganda, and more Atlanticist parties, or between parties from Eastern and Western European countries. We also encourage papers exploring the role of the media in affecting public discourse and popular opinions on the war and the impact of fake news and conspiracy belief on attitudes toward the Ukraine war. We are also interested in exploring the mutual dynamics between elected officials and voters, the role the institutional context plays in explaining national positions in different countries as well as the coalitional dynamics within European countries and at the EU and NATO level.

Chairs: Stephanie Hofmann, Pierangelo Isernia

Discussants: Pierangelo Isernia

Inflation and Support for Ukraine: Causal Evidence from Multi-country Surveys
Kerim Can Kavakli, Catherine De Vries
Abstract
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put Europe's geopolitical resolve to the test. Although Europe continues to support Ukraine, sanctions against Russia have caused inflation, required energy-saving countermeasures, and generally made life difficult for most Europeans. This paper studies the relationship between economic hardship and European public support for Ukraine. For this purpose, we use survey data collected in 28 European countries in four waves throughout 2022. To causally identify the effect of economic hardship, we code the temperature on the day and city/town of the interview. Random fluctuations in daily temperature provide exogenous variation in how much Europeans experience energy-related hardships. We report four main findings. First, on colder days Europeans are more likely to cite inflation as their main concern, which validates our identification strategy. Second, on colder days Europeans express less optimism about Ukraine's chances of victory and less support for assisting Ukraine's war effort. Third, the relationship between temperature and opinions on Ukraine is stronger for young people, whereas older people are less pro-Ukraine regardless of temperature. Fourth, the relationship between temperature and opinions on Ukraine is weaker in countries where recent inflation has been lower, which suggests that shielding the public from the economic costs of the war helps maintain support for Ukraine.
The conflict structures in the Covid and the Ukraine crisis as perceived by European citizens
Daniel Kovarek, Hanspeter Kriesi
Abstract
The paper proposes a comparative analysis of the transnational conflict structure among EU citizens from five countries (Germany, France, Italy, Hungary and Poland) during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. The dependent variables in this analysis refers to the transnational conflicts between member states (the closest ally of and the country most opposed to one’s own country). The theory is based on the cueing literature, which has shown that parties are cueing citizens about EU policies and politics. While acknowledging this literature, we argue that, most importantly, it is member state governments which provide the decisive cues about EU policymaking for their citizens. The positions of member state governments with regard to EU policies are rather path-dependent, as a result of them being part of transnational coalitions, and does not necessarily change as the government changes. As an upshot of these path-dependent processes of coalition formation the citizens receive rather consistent cues from their governments over time – integra¬tionist or sovereigntist cues, depending on the government in question. However, new crises and new events related to old crises may modify the relations between member state governments, which, as a result of modified transnational relations, may provide new cues that attenuate the citizens’ perceptions of transnational coalitions. As a result, the governmental cues vary by crisis, and, correspond¬ingly, the individual perceptions of conflict structures in the EU may vary as well from one crisis to the other. The analysis is based on two surveys that have been implemented by the SOLID project in five EU member states (Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, and Italy) in December 2021 (during the COVID-19 pandemic) and December 2022 (during the Russian invasion of Ukraine) respectively. It proceeds in three steps: In a first step, the focus lies on the extent to which the citizens of European member states are aware of the conflictive policymaking and on the main contextual and independent variables determining awareness. As we show, the level of awareness is rather low, although the two crises were highly salient in the member states’ public sphere. In a second step, we present the conflict configurations that the citizens perceive, to the extent that they are aware of them. We show that they largely reflect the actual configurations that have emerged among the policymakers, in both crises. In the third step, we show the way the citizens’ perceptions are shaped by their assessments of the EU’s performance in the crisis, and how these assessments depend on the coalition membership of their own government. The paper shows how the transnational coalition formation at the elite level contributes to the transnational bonding at the citizen level, a process that contributes to the territorial cleavage formation and undermines the possibility of functional cleavage formation that predominated in the nation states.
The Russo-Ukrainian war and the transatlantic bond: strengthened or business as usual?
Lorenzo Cladi
Abstract
To what extent has the Russo-Ukraine war strengthened the transatlantic bond? There is broad agreement that the European states and their American counterpart share a bond from an economic, cultural and certainly security point of view. However, an analysis is lacking on the actual strength and endurance of the bond. In recent years, European states have often feared a distancing of their America counterpart. The Russo-Ukraine war of 2022 offers a very important case study to tackle this question because the Russo-Ukraine war allegedly contributed to (re) strengthen the bond between the European states and their American counterpart. This paper argues that the Russo-Ukraine war contributed to bringing the European states and their American counterpart closer together. However, the bond between the European states and their American counterpart continues to rest upon a familiar pattern in their relationship which has contributed to making the bond possible, albeit problematic. This is the power imbalance between the US and the European states, which makes it difficult for Europeans to have a viable alternative to siding with the US. I illustrate this argument with reference to the run up to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Tones of war. Do Salience, Framing and Cueing Affect Public Opinion on War? The evolution of Italian Support toward the War in Ukraine
Davide Angelucci, Sergio Martini, Andrea Scavo
Abstract
Since the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, Western public opinion has largely sided with Ukraine. Italy has been somehow an exception to this pattern. While a majority of its citizens have expressed support for Ukraine, Italians have been much more reluctant to concretely support the Italians’ government decision to ship weapons to Ukraine and to sanction Russia. And this reluctance is particularly frequent among right-wing voters, while PD voters are among the strongest supporters of help to Ukraine. As the conflict continues, cracks have appeared in the pro-Ukraine front. The proportion of Italians siding with Ukraine has progressively decreased, although this negative trend has not been translated into a growing support for Russia, but rather in an increase in the proportion of people declaring themselves neutral between the two sides. The objective of this paper is to investigate the reasons behind these changes in Italian public opinion. It does so by considering four different factors: fatigue, salience, war events, and cueing. First, it is commonly argued (e.g., Mueller, 1973) that public support for war declines over time. The prolongation of the conflict with no end in sight might have contributed to a decline in support. Second, we report a (decreased) salience of the war on the public agenda (measured by attention devoted by Italian media to the topic). Once other issues gain the public agenda, they move Ukraine down the list, and public support might be negatively affected. Third, the severity of war events may have negatively influenced the trajectory of public opinion. Fourth, the cueing impact of change of government from Draghi to Meloni in September 2022 might have contributed to change of attitudes. Being right-wing voters more tepid in their attitudes toward Ukraine, one could expect that once in government, voters might have followed the leaders’ cueing, changing their attitudes not so much in favour of the war but rather adopting a more neutral (less negative) position. To explore these issues, the paper relies on an exceptionally rich individual-level dataset, including more than 40 cross-section studies conducted between February 2022 and November 2022 by IPSOS in Italy. The individual dataset has been then combined with aggregate-level event data from the GDELT project, to measure the occurrence (and severity) of war events, and from the TV coverage of prime-time newscast by Osservatorio di Pavia, to measure the salience on the public Italian agenda of the Ukraine war. A series of hierarchical models is estimated to assess the combined effects of media, time, and events on public opinion attitudes toward the Ukrainian war.
EU Arms Collaboration and Procurement: The Impact of the War in Ukraine
Jonata Anicetti
Abstract
In the last twenty years, the EU has made increasingly greater efforts to boost defence cooperation among MS. In particular, with the aim to strengthen the EDTIB and avoid duplication of capabilities, the EU has encouraged ‘European preference’ in arms procurement and MS’ defence collaborative projects, also by seeking to expunge defence offsets -industrial and technological compensation to states for buying foreign weapons- from the single market. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 got many concerned that the ensuing Russo-Ukrainian war would weaken EU defence cooperation. And yet, eighteen months after the invasion, a systematic and comprehensive analysis evaluating the impact of the war in Ukraine on EU defence cooperation is still missing. This paper fills this gap in the literature by exploring three level of analysis - arms collaboration, arms procurement, and offsets- and by comparing pre-invasion evidence with data from the post-invasion period. The analysis confirms that the Russo-Ukrainian war has negatively impacted EU defence cooperation across the board. In short, MS invest less in EU defence collaborative projects, buy more non-EU weapons, and demand more offsets. Meanwhile, the analysis provides some surprising results that have both political as well as theoretical implications. Indeed, the evidence gathered here strongly refute claims of a ‘West-East divide’ when it comes to arms collaboration and arms procurement. Contrary to elsewhere argued, Central and Eastern MS show EU/non-EU arms procurement ratios similar to those by MS in Western Europe. Moreover, while MS in Western Europe continue to dominate intergovernmental arms collaboration, this analysis suggests that the relative bigger size of their defence industries, rather than their geographical location and foreign policy orientation, is mostly to praise. Finally and paradoxically, long-opposed by the EU for being market distorting and for aggravating the fragmentation of the EDTIB, defence offsets imposed on non-EU suppliers (the majority) can in fact strengthen MS defence industrial bases, shorten supply chains, and thus reducing non-EU dependencies.
A Passage to Europe? Decision-making Preferences in the European Polity in Times of Crisis
Ioana Elena Oana, Zbigniew Truchlewski, Alexandru Moise, Daniel Kovarek
Abstract
The debate over decision-making has become a pressing issue in the European Union (EU) following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the rise of strategic competitors, and the calls for more strategic autonomy. This article brings empirical evidence on public preferences for the policy domain (energy, cost-of-living, security), locus (intergovernmental, parliamentary, delegative), and mode (unanimity, majority) of decision-making in the European Union, by utilizing a factorial survey experiment, fielded in France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland. With regard to the mode of decision-making, our results suggest that majoritarian solutions are overwhelmingly preferred to unanimity, regardless of the policy domain. By contrast, differences between locus are less stark, with only a small preference for intergovernmentalism. In terms of the heterogeneity of these effects, our results show that while decision-making preferences vary less across territorial lines across member states, they are marked by ideological-identitarian divides. All in all, our findings on the unanimity for majority have important implications for the EU polity: the passage to Europe (Middelaar 2009) is very much demanded by its citizens and not only to be negotiated (acrimoniously) by policymakers.
 

Panel 7.10 International Political Economy of the changing Global System (I)


The present times are characterised by a significant acceleration in the transformation of the forms, processes and structures of the contemporary international system. The pandemic and the current war in Ukraine have, in fact, accelerated a medium-term process in which, at least in the last ten years, we have witnessed, on the one hand, a breakdown in trust (and reality) in the classical assumptions and narratives of the neo-liberal vision, from globalisation to the very ‘thaumaturgic’ role of the markets. On the other, the dimension of the crisis unravelled through multiple channels, from the social to the environmental ones, up to the geopolitical dimension, increasingly intertwined in complex configurations. By and large, the long-term consequences of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and of the austerity therapy manifested thereafter in different institutional contexts (especially the European Union) are still in place and augmented by other – overlapping – patterns of crisis.
In this framework, processes of military escalation, economic-environmental crisis, the state of (global?) capitalism, the so-called ‘return of the State’ or transnational movements of protest and resistance constitute some of the possible fields of analysis of contemporary political economy. In this last respect, in our view International Political Economy, as both ‘method’, theory and discipline, expresses its ongoing potential to explain, understand and conceptualise current changes in the global system at many levels. Also, we consider this to be of particular relevance to reflect on research methods in relation to IPE, i.e. how political economy, in addition to overcoming rigid disciplinary fences, can also foster a dialogue between different methods that are often (wrongly) conceived as being in antithesis (e.g. qualitative vs. quantitative) – today particularly important for analysing increasingly complex scenarios, trends and processes occurring within the multilayered stratification of the global system.

Themes include:
• The International political economy of systemic changes: transitions, hegemonies and war
• The state of global capitalism and processes of de-globalization
• State capitalism and/or the return of the State
• Forms of protest and resistance to current capitalist exploitation
• Nature, capitalism and environmental crisis
• Global political economy and new nationalism(s)
• The political economy of radical right wing governments
• IPE and the question of method(s)
• Labour and automation
• Regional dimensions and the variegated manifestations of global capitalism
• Neoliberalism and post-neoliberalism
• Old and new trajectories of Financialization and/or De-financialization

Chairs: Adriano Cozzolino

Discussants: Giuseppe Montalbano

Answering the ‘China Question’ – in Italian. A CDA perspective on the conundrum of adhesion to the Belt and Road Initiative
Daniela Caterina
Abstract
In the light of a highly ambivalent European strategy that addresses China as a ‘cooperation’ and ‘negotiation partner’ but also as an ‘economic competitor’ and ‘strategic rival’ (European Commission 2019), the implications of these ambiguities for the China relations of various EU member states are still largely unexplored. This state of the art reinstates the need to ask the ‘China Question’ (Pavlićević & Talmacs 2022), i.e., both to ask who/what China is for its various partners, and to answer this question from a local perspective able to restore agency and nuances in lieu of polarising generalizations – as the widespread opposition between China as a ‘threat’ vs China as an ‘opportunity’ rather suggests. The aim of the present contribution is to ask the ‘China Question’ in the Italian case. To this end, it foregrounds the study of a main critical juncture in Sino-Italian relations such as Italy’s 2019 signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for adhesion to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by performing a critical discourse analysis of practical argumentation (Fairclough & Fairclough 2012; Caterina 2018). Which constellation of narratives emerged in the heated political debate over Italy’s MoU? Which political actors supported which courses of action and with which implications? Do these narratives continue to play a role in current debates over Sino-Italian relations? Why should we take them into account when scrutinising the challenges posed by the current socio-economic and (geo-)political conjuncture? At the time of writing, the changing balance of power at both international and domestic level namely urges to dig deeper into the discursive constellation of the MoU critical juncture. On the one hand, a definite answer concerning China’s geopolitical stance in the international order shaken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is still overdue. In this context, on the other hand, Italy’s right-wing shift after the 2022 electoral victory of Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy, FdI) is raising key questions about the country’s positioning in the global arena. Italy’s approach to China represents a main issue in this respect, especially because Meloni’s government must decide whether to renew the 2019 MoU by the end of 2023. Against this background, it is argued in the study that the three overarching ‘public narratives’ emerging from the analysis – the China-friendly, the China-cautious, and the China-sceptical narrative – continue to occupy a key role in the present scenario, urging attention to the (re-)composition of the respective social bases and related courses of action.
Explaining Countries' Engagement with China's Digital Connectivity Plan: A Configurational Study
Claudio Passalacqua
Abstract
This research seeks to investigate why countries formally engage with China’s digital connectivity plan, by signing an MoU on the DSR. The existing literature suggests that both international and domestic factors can influence a country’s response to foreign- backed initiatives. For instance, the presence of alternative foreign-backed projects can be an internationally necessary condition for countries’ ability to hedge between different development goals (Kuik, 2021). By contrast, domestically, the level of elite legitimation can determine how committed countries are to digital connectivity projects (Kuik, 2022). While great insights come from such literature, previous studies have not attempted to combine and measure international and domestic factors in a systematic way. This study attempts to do so by integrating conditions deriving from different theoretical levels into a single set of conditions through a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)(Mello, 2020). In addition, since most of the literature focuses on single countries or regions (Schindler et al., 2021), this study also attempts to explain regional variations, by focusing on countries belonging to three different regions: Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.
Challenging the focal organization: lessons from the governance of international trade in the postwar scenario (1947-1971)
Francesco Gatti
Abstract
The fragmentation of institutionalized policy spaces and the contestation of key multilateral institutions are typically portrayed as recent phenomena only. However, even largely hierarchical domains have traditionally witnessed contestation of their focal organizations. Therefore, customary notions of institutional (regime) complexity and focality may be reconsidered. The present paper focuses on the postwar trade domain (1947-1971) built around the focal General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). By drawing on new theoretical insights, it displays how contestation and complexity have always characterized such domain, with the GATT being challenged by different ‘institutional substitutes’ since its very establishment. Specifically, the paper unearths three actors participating in the governance of trade in the postwar years, namely the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC, later Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The paper offers three contributions. Theoretically, it promotes a renewed understanding of focality, highlighting the contested nature of this notion and its intrinsic analytical value. Empirically, it discusses how the CMEA, the OEEC-OECD, and the UNCTAD all compensated for specific GATT’s weaknesses, thus contributing to legitimize the postwar trade domain and fill existing governance gaps. Finally, it illustrates how the GATT dealt with prospective institutional substitutes, alternating different engagement strategies with mixed success.
Reconsidering the early roots of Italian banks financialization: Lessons from the case of Banca Commerciale Italiana
Jacopo Maria Magurno
Abstract
Comparative Political Economy (CPE) scholarship studies the financialization of Italian banks focusing primarily on the influence of state policies. Specific attention is devoted to the regulatory interventions implemented in the late 80s and 90s to liberalize and consolidate the banking system. While the reforms led to a significant restructuring of the sector, the prevailing consensus among scholars is that Italian banks predominantly maintained a traditional intermediation model, displaying limited engagement with financial market practices (e.g. Quaglia and Royo 2015; Bulfone and Moschella 2022). Despite the unquestionable significance of the aforementioned state interventions to any analysis of the financialization of Italian banks, it is remarkable that the CPE literature assigns no influence over the process to banks themselves. The latter are represented as passive actors that simply react to the reformatory agenda of the state. One such framing perpetuates a consolidated view that casts Italian banks as weak and dysfunctional because of the financially repressive nature of the regulatory environment in which they were embedded since the 1930s. However, directly inferring the trajectory of Italian banks from the presumed nature of the regulatory environment they were facing is problematic. This is because the fact that they were confronted with tight regulations does not predetermine the strategies they actually chose to remain competitive in light of these regulations. In addition to that, it is very likely that these very strategies varied extensively across bank types due to their different competitive position and resource endowments. This paper revisits the international history of Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI), a leading Italian international bank, in the post-WW2 era to show that, well before the aforementioned reforms of the domestic market, internationally oriented Italian banks had already incorporated in their business model one of the key practices that are typically associated with financialization: wholesale funding in USD-denominated markets. The emphasis on the constraining nature of Italian regulation has led CPE scholars to study financialization focusing exclusively on the post reforms period, ultimately obscuring these important developments. By contrast, the history of BCI shows how the harsh conditions faced domestically by large commercial banks led some of them to reconsider the liability side of their operations already in the 50s (Balaban 2022). From this perspective, the emergent Eurodollar markets provided an invaluable opportunity for these banks to establish new institutional capacities, enabling them to borrow at lower costs and in larger quantities, empowering them in the foreign trade finance segment. At the same time, participating in these USD-based offshore funding structures exposed BCI to the new imperatives emanating from their development. In this regard, of particular relevance was the arrival from the 60s onwards of American banks (Cassis and Battilossi 2002). The latter could rely on the unique depth and size of US money markets to finance their operations and had elaborated sophisticated financial techniques to tap into these markets. This forced BCI and other European banks to adopt a much more active approach to their USD liabilities. In an attempt to counter the “American Challenge”, BCI devised a truly multinational strategy that ultimately led the Milanese bank to venture into the United States in search of dollars. After the acquisition of a minority stake in Lehman Brothers in the 70s, the process continued in 1982 with the take-over of a small–medium-sized bank in the New York area, the Long Island Trust Company (Litco). However, BCI's expansion in the US faced a setback in 1988 when the Federal Reserve Board blocked its bid to acquire Irving Bank Corporation (IBC) due to concerns about BCI's public ownership (Brambilla et al. 2013). Without support from the Italian political establishment, BCI was compelled to withdraw the bid. This unsuccessful attempt is often regarded as the start of BCI's decline, which was eventually incorporated into Banca Intesa in 2001. The history of BCI aligns with recent studies highlighting the uneven nature of a financialization process centred on US financial structures (Beck 2022; Beck, Knafo, and Sgambati 2022). Furthermore, it offers preliminary insights into the relatively low level of financialization observed in the CPE literature on Italian banking.
 

Panel 7.10 International Political Economy of the changing Global System (II)


The present times are characterised by a significant acceleration in the transformation of the forms, processes and structures of the contemporary international system. The pandemic and the current war in Ukraine have, in fact, accelerated a medium-term process in which, at least in the last ten years, we have witnessed, on the one hand, a breakdown in trust (and reality) in the classical assumptions and narratives of the neo-liberal vision, from globalisation to the very ‘thaumaturgic’ role of the markets. On the other, the dimension of the crisis unravelled through multiple channels, from the social to the environmental ones, up to the geopolitical dimension, increasingly intertwined in complex configurations. By and large, the long-term consequences of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and of the austerity therapy manifested thereafter in different institutional contexts (especially the European Union) are still in place and augmented by other – overlapping – patterns of crisis.
In this framework, processes of military escalation, economic-environmental crisis, the state of (global?) capitalism, the so-called ‘return of the State’ or transnational movements of protest and resistance constitute some of the possible fields of analysis of contemporary political economy. In this last respect, in our view International Political Economy, as both ‘method’, theory and discipline, expresses its ongoing potential to explain, understand and conceptualise current changes in the global system at many levels. Also, we consider this to be of particular relevance to reflect on research methods in relation to IPE, i.e. how political economy, in addition to overcoming rigid disciplinary fences, can also foster a dialogue between different methods that are often (wrongly) conceived as being in antithesis (e.g. qualitative vs. quantitative) – today particularly important for analysing increasingly complex scenarios, trends and processes occurring within the multilayered stratification of the global system.

Themes include:
• The International political economy of systemic changes: transitions, hegemonies and war
• The state of global capitalism and processes of de-globalization
• State capitalism and/or the return of the State
• Forms of protest and resistance to current capitalist exploitation
• Nature, capitalism and environmental crisis
• Global political economy and new nationalism(s)
• The political economy of radical right wing governments
• IPE and the question of method(s)
• Labour and automation
• Regional dimensions and the variegated manifestations of global capitalism
• Neoliberalism and post-neoliberalism
• Old and new trajectories of Financialization and/or De-financialization

Chairs: Giuseppe Montalbano

Discussants: Adriano Cozzolino

THE PRIVATIZATION INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX The US Created and Nurtures the Animals that are Devouring it: The Musk Case
Irene Caratelli
Abstract
After WWII President Eisenhower denounced the threats of the military industrial complex. Today the risks expanded to what could be defined the privatization industrial complex, since the power of vested interests in public policy decisions now affects almost all sectors, not just the military one. The government of the United States (US) has, and has had, a crucial role across time in the emergence and success of some of the most important western oligarchs and global oligopolistic corporations. Oligarchs are commonly considered a Russian disease, although the US has its own oligarchs and oligopolistic companies which are eating, slowly but steadily, the state itself. The neoliberal system is supposedly based on a deregulation process and a laissez-faire approach and yet private companies demand, and obtain, government support and protection (e.g. funding, subsidies, tariffs barriers and bailouts if necessary), offering political support when most needed in the form of political campaigns funds. There is almost no sector now shielded from such market logic, even those that are supposed to ‘produce’ public goods. The support of government contracts, funds and protection assists private companies in areas as diverse as aerospace, weapons, defense, information security, technology, military services, health and more (e.g. Lockheed Martin Corporation; Northrop Grumman; Boeing; Constellis Holdings; Johnson & Johnson; Eli Lilly and Co; AbbVie Inc; Merck & Co Inc; Pfizer Inc.). A glaring example is Elon Musk (founder, CEO, CTO and chairman of Space X), the American oligarch that "offers" internet access to Ukraine via Starlink, a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX. This is the power that has been handed to an individual and his company. The current narrative portrays western oligarchs and oligopolistic companies as drivers of innovation an entrepreneurship disregarding the role of the government in their success and ignoring that these actors do not always reinvest profits in research, innovation or long-term production, but often use profits to boost the short-term price of their shares (Mazzuccato 2019). Most importantly, the privatization industrial complex is bringing societies back to the modern era, when few people and companies had a critical role both in the national (and global) political economy and the political system, via the influence on information, lobbying, regulations, political campaigns etc. The case that will be analyzed is that of Elon Musk and his multiple ventures: Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter and OpenAI, to draw attention to the economic power and political influence a single man and his companies can exercise.
Pandemic management and political risk perception: Reconsidering state-markets interaction?
Cecilia Emma Sottilotta
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious global crisis in a century. Its multifaceted impact can hardly be underestimated and is still unfolding. The pandemic – and the policy mishaps that followed – triggered a wave of perfect political risk storms, complicating the conditions under which businesses operate. This paper aims to offer some food for thought on how the management of the COVID-19 pandemic influenced political risk perception by western actors. It does so by first exploring some general issues pertaining to the state-markets interaction raised by the pandemic. Secondly, the paper discusses pandemic management and “macro” political risk perception by western actors during the first phase of the pandemic. Finally, it outlines some directions for future research.
Policy Preferences in Tough Times: Experimental Evidence
Arlo Poletti, Leonardo Baccini, Mattia Guidi
Abstract
We assess which policies citizens prefer in response to negative economic shocks: 1) social spending and redistribution via taxation or 2) closing domestic markets to foreign products and people. We conducted three sets of original survey experiments in the three largest economies in the European Union (n = 11,000) to estimate the causal effect of different policies on political support. Our key tests involve vignette and split-ballot experiments conducted in France, Germany, and Italy. If mass layoffs occur, we find that voters are significantly more likely to support politicians who increase welfare expenditure and implement redistribution policies. Follow-up conjoint experiments, which investigate specific attributes of social spending and redistribution, indicate strong support for social investment over consumption investment and for very progressive taxation. We also find evidence of welfare chauvinism among right-wing voters. Our micro-foundational evidence suggests that politicians who advocate redistribution in tough times will enjoy a significant political advantage.
Transnational political contention in the EU: the right to water
Gemma Gasseau
Abstract
Right2Water (R2W) was the first successful European Citizens Initiative (ECI), collecting almost 2 million signatures. Scholars have focused on the factors contributing to its success (framing of the issue, social composition and transnational broad alliance supporting it), on its impact in resisting further commodification of water, and on its context within water justice movements. At the same time, the response by EU institutions has been considered severely lacking in meeting the social requests by the Right2Water alliance. In this paper, I assess to what extent and how the ECI demands were addressed by EU institutions, in particular through the revision of the EU Drinking Water Directive (DWD) in 2021, which explicitly addressed the ECI. In order to do so, I will first provide the context by reviewing EU policy making regarding water, then I will analyze the content of the revision of the DWD in light of the ECI R2W. In order to understand the policy outcome, I will consider alternative explanations, namely member states’ prerogatives, the relative power of the Commission, private lobbying, experts’ opinions, and test them through a qualitative methodological strategy focused on interviews with policy makers, activists and experts, and complemented with document analysis produced by the relevant actors. The results enrich the knowledge and understanding of EU water policy, but also more broadly assess the potential of social transformation within EU structures, and the obstacles encountered by social movements addressing them.
‘Made in China 2025’ and its impact on the European Manufacturing: An Empirical Assessment 2012-2022
Eugenio Sánchez
Abstract
China’s re-emergence as a great power represents the key feature of 21st-century global order, which significantly shapes other states’ diplomatic and economic interests and resulting policies. The first two decades of this century were marked by Beijing’s deepening integration into the global economy. China became a global exporter of cheap low-tech goods and opened its market to foreign companies. As a result, during this period, industrialised European states specialising in high-tech manufacturing perceived China as a lucrative opportunity for market expansion, with few concerns about possible economic competition from Beijing. Yet, the relative complementarity in EU-China trade relations should no longer be taken for granted. In 2015, Chinese leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang unveiled the new industrial plan, commonly called “Made in China 2025” (MIC2025). The central goal of this ambitious policy is to upgrade the Chinese manufacturing sector to become the world’s leading actor in high-tech products. As such, Chinese authorities seek to limit the country’s dependency on foreign suppliers and substantially increase the global competitiveness of its companies specialising in high-tech sectors. To achieve such goals, MIC2025 leverages numerous state-led industrial tools targeted at ten key sectors, including new energy vehicles, IT and telecommunications, and advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, among others. If successful, the implementation of MIC2025 poses several challenges for the European economies. Naturally, by moving up the value-added chain and by increasing exports of its national champions, China's changing role in the global economy will likely result in increased economic competition with European states in third markets. As a result, today, almost ten years after the introduction of Made in China 2025, it is central to ask the following questions: to what extent have European economies been affected by the recent shift in China’s industrial policy? More concretely, did China's MIC2025 decrease the competitiveness of European companies in third markets? In other words, are European companies in global markets being displaced by Chinese products? In the context of intensifying geoeconomic competition between states, it is key to elucidate which countries and sectors within those countries are being affected by China’s rise. The mainstream literature in International Political Economy (IPE) has focused on the ongoing competition between the two key actors of today’s world politics, the United States and China. More nuanced analyses have examined China’s distinctive approach to economic statecraft. Regarding Beijing’s relations with the EU and states within the block, the scholarship has predominantly examined EU states’ motivations and different approaches to screening mechanisms attempted to reduce the presence of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in sensitive sectors of their economies. Until recently, trade relations have been conceived as one of the least problematic elements of EU-China relations. Yet as this paper will illustrate, this conventional wisdom is no longer accurate. As such, a new empirical and more nuanced assessment is needed to estimate to what extent shifts in the Chinese domestic political economy affect European companies. The main objective of the empirical analysis is to estimate which categories of European exports are most vulnerable to China in third markets and therefore face the so-called economic competitive threat from Beijing. To do so, the paper considers the export performance of Germany, the Netherlands, and France in world markets in the period 2012-2022. The three selected countries have highly developed high-tech sectors and are among China’s top trading partners in Europe. The principal method employed in the paper is Constant Market Share (CSM) analysis, and its results are compared to another commonly used method in the relevant literature on economic competitiveness, the Index of Competitive Threat (ICT). The data necessary to perform the quantitative analysis were retrieved from the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database. The presented paper offers several contributions to the IPE literature, specifically to the burgeoning debate on the geoeconomics of China’s re-emergence in world politics. For one, it shows that contrary to the previous years, Chinese economic and technological capabilities do not significantly lag behind those of European states. As such, it provides empirical evidence that China is no longer a complementary economic partner for Europe but a competitor. Second, the main findings suggest that European economies are likely to face similar challenges as some of the countries in the Global South experienced in the early 2000s when China specialised in low-added manufacturing. During this period, Beijing represented a main threat to countries such as Mexico, which lost a considerable market share in its key export markets to China, especially in the United States. Lastly, given the temporal and sectoral reach of the analysis, the main findings of this study will help to advance a more nuanced approach to the study of European states’ interaction with China. By demonstrating which concrete sectors of European economies face the highest economic vulnerability to China, future research, building on case studies, can better grasp different policy interests and demands that certain economic actors address to their national governments to face China.
 

Panel 7.12 Political violence and armed conflicts. Actors and strategies. (I)


The literature on armed conflicts and political violence is wide and represents an important branch of political science. Yet, many crucial facets of these complex phenomena are still to be fully understood. The panel discusses papers that provide insights on the study of political violence at large, with a particular attention to micro and meso-level analyses. The panel welcomes papers studying armed conflicts and political violence broadly speaking, but is particularly interested in studies that focus on the role of political entrepreneurs, armed groups and civilian communities in starting, sustaining and/or mitigate violence over time. The panel also welcomes papers that look at the transmission of political violence across time and space, its short and long-term consequences, and its possible connections with other expressions of collective violence, such as criminal violence. The panel is open to studies using a plurality of approaches and methods, ideally trying to gather contributions using qualitative and quantitative methods, and it is open to diverse geographical and historical settings. The panel will preferably evaluate studies grounded in empirical analysis. Analyses that employ novel methodologies and/or data and try to bridge gaps among different research sub-fields are particularly welcome.

Chairs: Stefano Costalli

Discussants: Juan Masullo

The Violent Legacy of Armed Resistance. Italian Left-wing Terrorism during the Years of Lead
Stefano Costalli, Daniele Guariso, Andrea Ruggeri
Abstract
Are patterns of terrorism in democracy affected by dynamics of armed resistance in pre-democracy periods? In post-conflict democracies, most armed groups become political parties and institutionalize their organizational advantage through parliamentary and local democratic elections. However, memories of armed resistance can be reactivated when new generations experience socio-economic shocks that produce resentment toward the democratic regime, thus triggering violent political practices and terrorist attacks. Italy experienced a civil war in 1943-45, in which left-wing bands constituted the bulk of the armed resistance movement and long wave of terrorist attacks in the 1970s and 1980s (the so-called “Years of Lead”) with left-wing groups as the main actors. Is there any connection between the two phenomena? We have created an original dataset that includes more than 8,000 political events and violent attacks in Italy between 1969-1988 at the subnational level. We find that the local experience of armed resistance in areas with major social-economic shocks for young generations, depending on the local strength of the communist party, predicts political violence at the provincial by left-wing terrorism violence during the Years of Lead.
Cultivating the “Popular Incubator”: Analyzing the Legitimation Strategies of Armed Islamist Groups in Syria
Silvia Carenzi
Abstract
How do armed Islamist groups seek to legitimize themselves vis-à-vis the local population(s)? The relationship between civilians and rebel groups has been extensively investigated in conflict studies and most notably in the rebel governance research agenda. In particular, in recent years, an increasing number of works have sought to address the topics of legitimacy and legitimation, from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. For instance, Schlichte and Schneckener (2015) observed that rebel groups might resort to a range of “sources of legitimacy” to legitimize themselves — both symbolically and performatively — in the eyes of different audiences, including the local audience. Legitimacy can be seen as a complex, interactive, and multi-dimensional concept, that stems from the “overlapping of different forms of acceptance, loyalty, and moral orders, but also from interdependencies and opportunities,” and also generates “symbolic resources and mutual influence” (Malthaner & Malešević 2022: 2, 9). Overcoming disciplinary siloes is essential for a greater understanding of dynamics of legitimacy-building. Armed Islamist groups are multi-dimensional actors, whose study demands a plurality of academic lenses: they can be seen as forming part of a social movement family; as actors resorting to forms of clandestine political violence; and in contexts of armed conflict, as rebel groups — at times controlling a territory and creating alternative socio-political orders. These different dimensions and forms of action can simultaneously co-exist; likewise, shifts from one form of action to another do happen over time. Indeed, the multifaceted nature of the actors under consideration — and especially the continuities and transformations in their forms of action — makes it necessary to go beyond the disciplinary boundaries of the rebel governance agenda or conflict studies strictly speaking, by interrogating cognate academic fields, including social movement studies. Concepts such as that of “militant” or “radical milieu” (Malthaner & Waldmann 2014; Bosi, Dochartaigh & Pisoiu 2015; Busher & Bjørgo 2020) or “constituency” (Malthaner 2011; O’ Connor 2014), developed in literature on social movement studies and political violence, seem to be extremely relevant to understand relations between armed Islamist groups and the local populations, and in particular how such groups try to legitimize themselves. This presentation seeks to contribute to research on the topic by analyzing the legitimation strategies employed by different armed Islamist groups in Syria vis-à-vis the local population, with an emphasis on the meso-level. It will focus on (1) Ahrar al-Sham; (2) Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (former affiliate of al-Qa‘ida); (3) Tanzim Hurras al-Din (comprising al-Qa‘ida loyalists in Syria); (4) the so-called Islamic State. The analysis draws on a triangulation of different sources: findings from fieldwork conducted in Turkey, including at the Turkish-Syrian border; online and in-person interviews with experts, activists, and figures linked to different armed groups (including the groups under consideration); media releases from these groups; digital ethnography; and local news reports. The article investigates inter-group differences as well as the variance of legitimation strategies over time — and in particular, how they relate to continuities and transformations in the groups’ forms of action. It argues that dynamics of legitimacy-building are relational and can be subject to change, and they closely connected to the trajectories of such groups at large. Findings could contribute to illuminating dynamics of legitimacy-building in Islamist (and possibly also non-Islamist) armed groups, and to stimulating more interdisciplinary research on the topic of legitimacy. References: Bosi, L., Dochartaigh, N. Ó., & Pisoiu, D. (Ed.) (2015). Political violence in context, Colchester: ECPR Press; Busher, J., & Bjørgo, T. (2020). Restraint in Terrorist Groups and Radical Milieus. Perspectives on terrorism, 14(6), 2-13; Malthaner, S. (2011a) Mobilizing the Faithful: The Relationship between militant Islamist groups and their constituencies, Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag; Malthaner, S. & Malešević, S. (2022). Violence, legitimacy, and control: the dynamics of rebel rule, Partecipazione e conflitto, 15(1); Malthaner, S. & Waldmann, P. (2014), “The radical milieu: Conceptualizing the supportive environment of terrorist groups”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 37(12); O’ Connor, F. P. (2014). Armed social movements and insurgency: The PKK and its communities of support. PhD Thesis, European University Institute; Schlichte, K., & Schneckener, U. (2015). Armed groups and the politics of legitimacy. Civil Wars, 17(4)
Female suicide attackers, terrorism lethality and the Media.
Margherita Belgioioso
Abstract
Existing studies show that the potential publicity generated by highly lethal spectacular terrorist attacks is often as important as the physical damage they inflict. I argue that the effect of the lethality of suicide attacks on media attention is conditional on the gender of the perpetrators. A higher lethality of suicide attacks increases media attention but this relationship is stronger with female perpetrators. Female perpetrators of more lethal attacks are more newsworthy because of a widespread biological essentialist stereotype, according to which women are, by nature, unable and unwilling to hurt others. Dissident groups can leverage women operatives as their ultimate weapon of propaganda to increase the shock value of more lethal suicide attacks to gain support and recruits. Gendered narratives commonly used by the media when reporting on female perpetrators and their motives discredit the actions of governments and allow dissident groups to shame males and encourage other females to take up arms. Using data on individual suicide attacks from 1974 to 2019, I show that a higher lethality of suicide attacks carried out by women compared to men increases substantially the media attention garnered by the attacks.
Patterns of post-revolutionary violence: A case study of Burkina Faso
Samira Diebire
Abstract
This paper contributes to our understanding of patterns of post-revolutionary violence by linking the (spatial) origins of violence to how it spreads. It argues that the source of political violence matters for its subsequent dynamics. Violence originated in urban areas is contrasted with violence that starts in excluded rural areas. Violence originating in rural area either spreads to urban areas or remain contained. In contrast, ‘urban violence’ tends to spread to other urban areas and eventually engulfs the whole country. The paper studies the diffusion and emulation of the different forms of violence by means of spatial econometric models applied to spatially disaggregated data on the violent events in Burkina Faso between 2013 and 2021. The findings are fundamental in broadening the literature on revolutionary violence and shedding light on the dynamics of conflicts in the Sahel region.
Elite Networks and Repression in Authoritarian States
Manuel Vogt
Abstract
How do the personal networks of political elites influence their risk of political persecution? Most cross-national research examines patterns of repression at the national level, while individual-level studies typically analyze the consequences of political repression and state violence. Focusing on post-colonial states, my paper evaluates the effect of individual elites’ trans-ethnic connectedness in their countries’ pre-independence political networks on their risk of political persecution, such as imprisonment or assassination, following independence. I argue that under conditions of authoritarian rule, elites from politically excluded ethnic groups are more likely to suffer persecution than elites from included groups because in an informationally distorted environment, rulers rely on collective identities to identify potential challengers. Yet, individuals’ likelihood of persecution also depends on their trans-ethnic connectedness, which can provide members of excluded groups with political protection against persecution despite their collective identity. I leverage original data on the pre-independence political elite of 18 African countries, collected through a semi-automated coding of encyclopedic sources. In line with my argument, I find that i) individuals from politically excluded ethnic groups are more likely to suffer political persecution than individuals from included groups, and ii) the more trans-ethnic political connections – and, in particular, trans-ethnic connections to individuals from included groups – the lower an individual’s likelihood of suffering political persecution.
 

Panel 7.12 Political violence and armed conflicts. Actors and strategies. (II)


The literature on armed conflicts and political violence is wide and represents an important branch of political science. Yet, many crucial facets of these complex phenomena are still to be fully understood. The panel discusses papers that provide insights on the study of political violence at large, with a particular attention to micro and meso-level analyses. The panel welcomes papers studying armed conflicts and political violence broadly speaking, but is particularly interested in studies that focus on the role of political entrepreneurs, armed groups and civilian communities in starting, sustaining and/or mitigate violence over time. The panel also welcomes papers that look at the transmission of political violence across time and space, its short and long-term consequences, and its possible connections with other expressions of collective violence, such as criminal violence. The panel is open to studies using a plurality of approaches and methods, ideally trying to gather contributions using qualitative and quantitative methods, and it is open to diverse geographical and historical settings. The panel will preferably evaluate studies grounded in empirical analysis. Analyses that employ novel methodologies and/or data and try to bridge gaps among different research sub-fields are particularly welcome.

Chairs: Juan Masullo

Discussants: Stefano Costalli

Why always us? An Analysis of the Factors that Drive Ransom Kidnapping
Francesco Baraldi
Abstract
Why do terrorists kidnap for ransom? This question might seem trivial, but academic research has yet to provide a satisfactory answer. Recently, scholars have begun tackling this issue by examining peculiar case studies, such as Colombia. However, work assessing this issue from a broader, quantitative perspective is still missing. This manuscript fills this gap through a logistic regression analysis of a dataset covering 141 terrorist groups active worldwide between 1998 and 2012. Notably, this study aims at corroborating what scholars asserted about groups in Colombia: organisations use ransom kidnapping to enforce groups’ protection rackets. Kidnapping is the most lucrative way to punish those who refuse to pay the group and an effective means of deterring future shirking. Furthermore, this study also tests the opposite hypothesis: as protection racket increases the likelihood of kidnappings, we might reasonably expect that other forms of financing, state-sponsor and smuggling, decrease the likelihood of abduction. The results support the theoretical expectations showing that groups that resort to extortion and drug traffic are more likely to kidnap. On the contrary, if groups finance their activities through smuggling or are sponsored by states, they are less likely to abduct. Therefore, this study fosters our understanding of terrorists’ tactics, shedding new light on the reasons why terrorists kidnap innocents and helping policymakers to prevent this phenomenon.
Spatial Patterns of Aerial Warfare in Gaza
Joshua Hellinger, Ravinder Bhavnani
Abstract
Since Israel’s formal withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the territory has been subject to recurrent waves of aerial bombardments. Within the timespan of a few weeks, over 1,000t of explosives were dropped on the territory, whose 2.16 million inhabitants live in densely populated urban spaces (Attaallah, 2018; Finkelstein, 2021; UNHabitat, 2014). Bombardments such as these produce distinct spatial and temporal “fingerprints” which vary by scale, target selection, and duration. Despite the sheer magnitude of violence, there is remarkably little understanding of the spatiality of violence across multiple episodes. Building on work by Hellinger & Bhavnani (2023), who posit a set of rationales to explain the aerial occupation of Gaza, we analyze factors to explain variation in selective vs. indiscriminate targeting in Gaza. Our analysis combines spatial data on aerial attacks from 2008-2009, 2014, and 2021 with geo-coded data on casualties and socio-economic indicators. We find that more affluent regions in the Gaza strip experience higher rates of selective casualties as a consequence of aerial bombardments. However, changing characteristics in the urban morphology, such as higher building density, lead to an overall increase in collateral and indiscriminate damage. These findings add to prior work (Alazzeh, 2023; UNOSAT, 2014) which identifies areas in closer proximity to the Israeli border as the primary targets of Israeli campaigns. ***** Reference List: Alazzeh, R. (2023). Three Essays in Development and Conflict Economics. Graduate Institute Repository, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Attaallah, H. (2018). Modeling of built-up lands expansion in Gaza Strip, Palestine using Landsat data and CA-Markov model. Paper presented at the IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. Finkelstein, N. (2021). Gaza: An inquest into its martyrdom: Univ of California Press. Hellinger, J., & Bhavnani, R. (2023). Aerial Occupation and Aerial Forensics in Gaza. Global Challenges, Urban Morphology & Violence(Special Issue no. 2 | March 2023). UNHabitat. (2014). Gaza Urban Profile Gaza Crisis December 2014. UNHabitat. UNOSAT. (2014). Impact of the 2014 Conflict in the Gaza Strip UNOSAT Satellite Derived Geospatial Analysis. UNITAR.
The appeasement puzzle and competition neglect
Costantino Pischedda
Abstract
The paper tackles what I call the “appeasement puzzle.” Recent political science research makes a powerful case that the British and French policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany followed a buying-time logic (rather than simply reflecting pusillanimity, naiveté about Hitler’s intentions, or strategic ineptitude), as it strove to postpone confrontation until Great Britain and France had made enough progress on rearmament. However, Germany actually extended its military edge relative to Great Britain and France in the relevant period. Drawing on the literature on “heuristics and biases,” I theorize that competition neglect – the tendency to focus myopically on one’s own capabilities and pay insufficient attention to those of the competition – may provide insights on the puzzling gap between British and French policymakers’ plans and actual trends in the balance of power. In particular, I posit that policymakers facing a situation similar to that of Great Britain and France in the 1930s would tend to myopically focus on addressing the problems of military readiness on their side (“our forces are not yet ready for war, but they will be once we complete preparations”) without sufficiently taking into account the fact that in the meantime the other side’s capabilities may increase even faster, which might have prompted a decision to initiate war now rather than in the future – i.e., engage in preventive war. I test my argument with a case of British decision-making in the period 1936-1939 based on archival evidence.
The politics of banditry: Political change and criminal violence in post-unification Italy (1861-1865)
Paride Carrara, Andrea Knapp, Francesco N. Moro, Luca Pinto
Abstract
How do changes in the political sphere affect criminal violence? The relation between political arenas and criminal violence has been recently the subject of attention by scholars looking at upsurges in drug-related violence (mostly in Latin America) but is part of a larger debate on the nature of “criminal” organization, their choice to resort to violent strategies and of their connection with political authority and – more broadly – with political order(s). The paper uses original data from Italy in the post-unification period (1861-1865) to address such questions, drawing from beyond 7000 violent events over 5 Italian Southern regions that were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Looking at the emergence and development of so-called banditry in this phase, the paper deals with how violence emerged as a result of the political shake-up linked with national unification. The paper explores how transformation of the political arena – and namely local level changes in incumbency – affect the likelihood of violence. Controls for key socio-economic variables are included in the analysis. The paper contributes to the growing literature on collective violence that includes “criminal” phenomena as central for understanding the evolution of political orders and does so by looking at a relatively understudied, but empirically rich, case.
The Political Legacies of Wartime Resistance: How Local Communities in Italy Keep Anti-fascist Sentiments Alive
Juan Masullo, Simone Cremaschi
Abstract
Can past wartime experiences affect political behavior beyond those who directly experienced them? We argue that local experiences of armed resistance leave political legacies that can be translated into contemporary political action via a community-based process of intergenerational transmission consisting of three core activities – memorialization, localization, and mobilization – and put forward by memory entrepreneurs. We empirically substantiate this argument in Italy, which experienced an intense armed resistance movement against Nazi-Fascist forces in the 1940s. We combine statistical analysis of original data across Italian municipalities and within-case analysis of a purposively selected locality to show how the past impacts the present via the preservation and activation of collective memories. This study improves our understanding of the processes of long-term transmission, emphasizes armed resistance as a critical source of war’s long-term political legacies, and explores its political effects beyond electoral and party politics.
 

Panel 7.14 Italy in the enlarged Mediterranean: muddling through or a a new strategic front of Italian foreign policy?


In recent years, the so-called “enlarged Mediterranean” has started occupying a growing centrality in the Italian public debate and foreign policy circles. As an area spanning, in the words of then Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti, “from the Balkans to the Sahel, to the Horn of Africa”, the enlarged Mediterranean potentially represents one of the key qualitatively significant shifts in Italian foreign policy in decades.
According to one of the most widely employed analytical frameworks, Italy has built its post-WWII foreign policy around three main pillars or “circles”, namely Europeanism, Atlanticism, and the Mediterranean. Different authors and observers have started claiming how the enlarged Mediterranean should be seen as a sort of “third circle and a half”, where the balance between Rome’s historical alliances, the search for autonomy and status, and the pursuit of domestic goals and priorities in the international system, are at least in part reconfigured and redefined under the pressure of both exogenous shocks and inward-looking considerations.
Nevertheless, while a certain consensus exists around the growing importance of this new strategic front for Rome’s international projection, questions still abound about the genesis of this change, the actors and personalities that influence the decision-making process and the definition of the goals, how it interacts with the other circles of the Italian foreign policy, and more generally how (and if) it is coherently translated in political action on the ground.
Starting from these premises, the current panel aims at developing a theoretically informed debate around Italy’s Mediterranean politics, in order to 1) explore the role of the enlarged Med in the Italian foreign policy and strategic thinking, 2) unpack its relation with other policy fields such as defense and security, migration-management, and energy-supply, and 3) define if and to what extent it effectively represents one of the major post-WWII foreign policy changes. Moreover, the panel particularly welcomes any contribution looking at sub- or para-national actors (specific Ministries, energy giant ENI, etc) in shaping, driving and/or constraining Italian foreign policy in the new circle.
The panel welcomes epistemologically and methodologically diverse contributions that focus on specific sub-sectors, bilateral and/or multilateral relations, or bureaucratic and/or institutional actors that co-participate in defining and implementing the Italian projection in the enlarged Mediterranean.

Chairs: Edoardo Baldaro, Ruth Hanau Santini

Discussants: Fabrizio Coticchia

New Avenues for Military Cooperation in Bilateral Missions: The Case of Italian-Lebanese Interaction and the Development of the ‘‘Domestic Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC)’’ Approach
Cristina Fontanelli
Abstract
Lebanon is hurtling toward a tipping point and threatening a new major destabilization in the Mediterranean. To date, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)—and especially the Army—represent the only unifying denominator among the Lebanese. If the Lebanese Army implodes after the political class, the state's final basic need will likewise be absent. Since 2015, the already solid national commitment at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been further solidified with the deployment of an Italian Bilateral Mission in Lebanon (MIBIL), aiming at delivering specific training programs in support of the LAF. And yet, military-military interaction in the context of this bilateral mission has received no attention in Security Studies literature despite its significance for the creation of novel security approaches. To this end, the study empirically examines how the LAF have generated a significant reinterpretation of how to perform Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) in the field to use it outside of the expeditionary setting and instead execute it in a homeland scenario (''Domestic CIMIC''). This is explored by analyzing how the Female Engagement Team (FET) practice, which was imported from LAF' Italian counterpart, was adapted and altered to match their needs. Data for this research were gathered through semi-structured interviews conducted with Italian and Lebanese CIMIC staff, as well as participant observations during two fieldworks at the LAF CIMIC Directorate of Faiyadieh in Lebanon between 2022 and 2023.
Do Agents Become Principles? Security Force Assistance in the Sahel
Jean Marie Reure
Abstract
This article, as a part of a broader research agenda, aims at investigating what are the elements that contribute to shape the effectiveness of Security Force Assistance (SFA) endeavors. Far from a merely technical form of assistance, SFA constitutes instead a highly political activity that is likely to remain for the foreseeable future western states’ preferred form of intervention abroad. Despite this subfield of international interventions is experiencing a rising interest in academia with a wealth of intriguing insights, current debate on military-to-military assistance is weakly structured and little has been done to systematize extant literature on the topic. Mainly based on preliminary results of SFA research in Africa and the Sahel area, this article attempts to provide a structured and comprehensive review of extant literature. Identifying two different strands in SFA literature, qualified as “peace-normative and “strategic-descriptive”, it also bridges them with broader research on Africa’s social and political systems.
From Mare Nostrum to Mare Omnium? Tracing the contours of Italy’s potential Indo-Pacific policy
Gabriele Abbondanza
Abstract
The Indo-Pacific is rapidly becoming the world’s geopolitical and geoeconomic epicentre, and both countries and institutions are swiftly acknowledging its increasing significance in global affairs. Despite a quieter approach to that of comparable G7 countries, Italy too is pivoting to this macro-region by adjusting its conventional foreign policy posture to address momentous developments in twenty-first century international relations (IR). This paper argues that, given the country’s rapidly-growing role in the Indo-Pacific, the latter’s sheer importance in contemporary global affairs, and the region’s influence on Rome’s Enlarged Mediterranean (“Mediterraneo Allargato”) strategic sphere of interest, the time is ripe for an official Italian Indo-Pacific policy. To investigate the above, this paper is structured as follows. First, it introduces both the Enlarged Mediterranean and the Indo-Pacific, while highlighting their significance to Italian foreign policy. Second, it interprets Italy’s growing role in this macro-region through a neoliberalist IR perspective, supported by an updated version of Miller’s “conditions for cooperation”. Third, it examines existing Indo-Pacific policies published by relevant States and institutions. In doing so, it finds common denominators that suit Italy’s specific international outlook and its recent "Mediterranean Strategy", as well as their complementarity with the country’s Enlarged Mediterranean sphere of interest. Fourth, it hypothesises what an Italian Indo-Pacific policy could look like based on the above, prior to presenting concluding remarks. This paper finds that Rome is indeed focusing on the Indo-Pacific by pursuing three distinct yet interdependent pathways, namely: i) trade; ii) norms and security; and iii) diplomacy and values. Moreover, it shows that the growing Italian role in the Indo-Pacific is supported by adapting its Enlarged Mediterranean concept to ensure its complementarity with the Indo-Pacific, in the light of fast-paced geopolitical and geoeconomic developments. Lastly, it argues that the time is ripe for Rome to produce a formal Indo-Pacific policy, whose potential contours and policy priorities are outlined here. As a novel research on a substantial policy shift that might unfold in the near future, this research contributes to the extant literature on Italian foreign policy, the Enlarged Mediterranean, and the Indo-Pacific security landscape, by shedding light on significant yet understudied developments.
Italy’s increasing role in the enlarged Med: issue-driven, contingency-driven, status-driven or bureaucratic politics?
Edoardo Baldaro, Ruth Hanau Santini
Abstract
In the last few years, Italian government officials have raised the stakes of the importance of Italian engagement in the Sahel, identifying a nexus with North Africa geographically, on the one hand, and thematically with a plethora of foreign policy interests, ranging from the fight against terrorism and the anti-Daesh coalition to initiatives to stem migratory flows to the broader topic of stabilization of the area. One could therefore think that those issues, to different degrees, have heavily influenced the perception across Italian policymakers of the increasing relevance of the Sahel, leading to a fuzzy, as all socially constructed geographic categories are, notion of ‘an enlarged Mediterranean’, where Italy needs to be active. Or one could focus more on contingency, and analyse how the declining French trajectory in this area has contributed to creating a space where Italian profile and presence could materialize. In the past couple of years namely, widespread anti-French sentiment and protests have erupted especially in Mali in 2022, leading to the anticipated withdrawal of French military personnel from the country. Despite the ebbs and flows of Italian-French bilateral relations (with 2019 and 2023 representing low points), one could substantiate claims proving to an agreed intra-European burden-sharing paving the way for Italy’s rising engagement in the area. Thirdly, the increased role, the enlarged third circle of Italian foreign policy, could respond to a status aggrandizing logic. Albeit with a low profile publicly, Italy’s role in Sahel, with a military mission in Niger since 2018 and new embassies opening across the region, might be signaling the extension of the ’southern shore’ of the Med as area of possible intervention, interest and policymaking. Lastly, one could argue that Italian bureaucratic politics shapes Italian foreign policy in the enlarged Med. Namely, one can identify different initiatives on the region coming from different institutional bodies: the Ministry of Defense 2015 White Paper, Ministries of Interior under successive governments articulating a foreign policy projection in north Africa and subsequently in Sahel, oriented at migration prevention.
Topicality and evolution of the Italian foreign policy towards Ethiopia (Horn of Africa) - (tentative).
Sofia Scialoja
Abstract
In the last years, an emphasis on the strategic importance of the Africa has been developing in Italy. In the 2020 strategic document of the Italian Ministry of the Foreign Affairs (MAECI), “Partnerships with Africa”, the African continent is presented as “an absolute priority of the Italian foreign policy”. In this sense, the Italian strategy in Africa is developed according the “enlarged Mediterranean” approach. As stated in the latest White Paper of the Ministry of the Defense in 2015, the enlarged Mediterranean covers a broad area, from the Sahel to the MENA region, or, as defined by the former Minister of Defense Guerini, as a “triangle whose angles are Libya and the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa” (Coticchia & Ruggeri, 2022). The same macro areas – i.e., North Africa, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, are designated as priority areas by the MAECI (Sereni, 2022; MAECI, 2020). More recently, Meloni’s government has announced as its goal since taking office in October 2022 the "Mattei Plan" for Africa. In her inaugural speech to the Chamber of Deputies, President Meloni called for a "virtuous model of collaboration and growth between the EU and the African nations”, wishing to “recover, after years in which we preferred to backtrack, our strategic role in the Mediterranean". The Mattei Plan, that will be presented in October 2023 and about which, so far, very little is known, is expected to involve several actors (mainly, Palazzo Chigi, the Farnesina, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, ENI...). The plan seems to summarize Italy’s desire to become the new European natural gas hub through new supplies from African countries, thus focusing on natural resources and, also, on migration. In this regard, the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, constitutes a focal point of the Italian foreign policy. Meloni’s visit to Addis Ababa in April 2023 reaffirms and invigorates Italy’s “long-last relationship” with Ethiopia, by increasing its support to the Ethiopian economy. Although devoid of hydrocarbon resources, Ethiopia represents the economic and political cornerstone of the Horn of Africa (Clapham, 2017), and also welcomes major infrastructural investments by Italian private companies, such as the construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam by WeBuild – an extremely sensitivity project at the diplomatic level, mainly in terms of relationships with neighboring Sudan and Egypt. On the other hand, as stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tajani during the last OCHA conference in New York, in May 2023, the Horn of Africa is seen as a crucial region and a priority for the humanitarian intervention. Tajani emphasized on the greater involvement of Italy in the African continent, and stressing that “we Europeans, and above all we Italians, are well received in Africa”. Tajani’s last declaration eerily resonates with the myth of “Italians, good people”, bitterly criticized by Angelo Del Boca. The military past and colonial ambitions of Italy in the Horn of Africa, from the battle of Adwa in 1896 – crowded with the Ethiopian victory - to the partial conquest of Ethiopia under Mussolini in May 1936 are well-known – including the use of chemical weapons banned by the Geneva Protocol and the Addis Ababa massacre of 30.000 Ethiopian civilians in February 1937 (Del Boca, 2005). The Italian past on Ethiopian soil marked some of the darkest pages of European “scramble for Africa”, but was hailed, during fascism, as a heroic return of Imperial Rome, justified by the acclaimed civilizing capacity of the Italians, who would restore order in Abyssinia, bringing the barbarians to a higher degree of civilization (Del Boca, 2005; see also Caimpenta, U. 1935, 1936; Caprin, G. (ISPI), 1936a; 1936b; Annali dell’Africa Italiana, 1939a, 1939b; Ministero degli Affari Esteri, 1966). However, from the Ethiopian perspective, it is interesting to see how, nowadays, the fascist presence from 1936 to 1941 is not regarded as an attempt of colonization, but as a temporary occupation. Thus, despite the bloody past, the satire between Italy and Ethiopia seems to be perceived, on the Ethiopian side, as a shared common history – as conflicted as it may be – between two equals countries from the very beginning. This also includes, for example, the partial integration of some Italian cultural elements, such as the assimilation into Amharic of Italian terms (“freno”, “frizione”…), as well as the toponymy of Addis Ababa (with neighborhood names such as “Merkato”, “Piassa”…). From this perspective, the Italian-Ethiopian case results as quite unique, namely the historical contact between two countries involved in a relationship of power and subjugation that, however, do not thread the dynamics that are purely peculiar to colonization. Thus, this paper would try to assess the evolution and the current state of play of the Italian foreign policy in Ethiopia, understood as a key element of the new “Enlarged Mediterranean” strategy. The paper would try to map and identify the Italian priorities and the current Italian activities and actions undertaken by key institutional players – both at the political level (Italian Embassy), cooperation and development level (Italian Cooperation Agency), cultural diplomacy (Italian Cultural Institute and the Italian public-school Galileo Galilei) and humanitarian level. The analysis would mainly follow an intersecting of perspectives, i.e. trying to understand how the Italian foreign policy is perceived by the Ethiopian counterpart, and what might be the consequent implications for the Italian strategy. In terms of methodology, the analysis would be mainly based on qualitative interviews with Italian public administration’s staff based in Addis Ababa and with Ethiopian experts and scholars, mainly in the field of contemporary history and international relations. If possible, the latter would be completed with interviews with the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ staff.
 

Panel 7.15 Migration diplomacy and Italy


Migration is increasingly salient not only in domestic politics, but in international relations too. From Turkey to Mexico, from Belarus to Libya, the cases in which people’s mobility becomes a topic of contention between states, are many and increasing.

Theoretically too, the concept of ‘migration diplomacy’ has obtained more and more attention in recent years. As defined by Adamson and Tsourapas (2018), migration diplomacy includes both ‘the strategic use of migration flows as a means to obtain other aims’ and ‘the use of diplomatic methods to achieve goals related to migration’. As such, it encapsulates both how states leverage migration for other objectives, and how states use other policies or tools to obtain agreements on migration matters.

In this context, Italy plays a key role, due to its geographical positioning as a gateway to Europe. On the one hand, neighbouring countries – first of which Libya – often used migration to achieve other goals. Gaddafi’s threat to ‘turn Europe black’, should it not have received €5bn from Italy and the EU, is perhaps the most evident example of this. More recently, ISIS similarly menaced that several hundred thousand migrants were ready to leave Libya. On the other hand, there is evidence of Italy (just like the EU and other member states) relying on a range of positive and negative incentives (from quotas to development aid) to promote collaboration on migration matters (Cuttitta 2010; Fontana, Rosina and Samuk 2022).

Against this backdrop, this panel aims to analyse and unpack migration diplomacy in the Italian context. We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions, including comparative analyses, related (but not limited) to the following questions:
- What features characterise Italy’s migration diplomacy? How does it differ from that of other countries in the EU and beyond?
- What are the determinants of migration diplomacy, both for Italy and its partner countries? On the flipside, what are its consequences, both on power dynamics and for migrants themselves?
- How is Italy’s migration diplomacy related to the securitisation of migration? What is Italy’s role in the development of the external dimension of EU migration policies?
- Finally, how does the broader international political and economic context shape Italy’s migration diplomacy? How are colonial legacies implicated in it?

Chairs: Iole Fontana, Matilde Rosina

Discussants: Stefania Panebianco

The production of EU identity at the Aegean border: a contrapuntual reading
Daniela Huber
Abstract
Scholars have noted that the EU discourse regarding external relations is increasingly taking on “geopolitical” (Kundnani 2022) tones whereby European identity seems to move from a normative/civilian towards a civilizational construction with cultural demarcations of the inside and the outside, the self and the other. Discourses on migration and border policies play a particularly important role in such a possible transformation of EU identity. This article is interested to dissect this discourse by zooming into one border in particular, that is the EU-Aegean border as it has become one of the most politicized borders in EU discourse. It does so through a contrapuntual reading whereby the production of European identity through and at this border is examined through a discourse analysis of macro (EU and Greek officials), meso (NGOs and journalists working in that border space) and micro (the perspective of the refugees on the Greek islands in the Aegean) perspectives.
The tools of external migration policy in Europe: The case of Italy
Matilde Rosina, Iole Fontana
Abstract
This article focuses on the policy tools constituting the external dimension of migration policies (EXMIPO) in Europe. Transcending the study of EU-level dynamics, it offers an analytical framework for unpacking member states’ EXMIPO, and grounds it in original empirical material. The article examines the case of Italy, providing the first systematic analysis of the country’s EXMIPO through its policy tools. Building on an original dataset spanning over 30 years and 125 instruments, it opens the ‘black box’ of the country’s EXMIPO in the broader Mediterranean, investigating how and to what extent Italy cooperated with countries of origin and transit in the management of migration. The article argues that the external dimension of MS’ migration policy is far richer than initially expected. From the immediate neighbourhood, Italy’s EXMIPO has gradually extended well beyond its geographical borders, while regularly relying on a combination of tools, including the use of quotas as conditionalities.
‘Heritage’ as an engaging tool for foreign policy: framing and comparing Italian migration for hybrid diplomacy
Manfredi Valeriani, Sofia Eliodori, Raffaele Marchetti
Abstract
When talking about migration and foreign policy in Italy, the customary attitude is to frame the country as a migrant recipient and migration as a leverage used by other countries to pursue their political interests in bilateral or multilateral relations. Although there have been many attempts to engage Italian diaspora groups to become ‘lobbies’ abroad to further national interest, policies, and strategies, this advancement seems to lack efficiency. Italy can count on a very large worldwide community - estimated at over 150 milion people (Diodato & Marchetti 2023) - that has a strong cultural link to its ‘heritage’. This paper aims to cover this topic from a FPA perspective. To set a general framework to use to understand and conceptualize diasporas as foreign policy strategies, the paper proposes a comparative review of mechanisms by which states usually engage and manage their communities abroad. The paper then focuses on the Italian case, using a comparative analysis of three different cases of Italian communities abroad: USA, Argentina, and Brazil. By analyzing these three cases, the paper shows how resourceful an efficient management of diasporas might be for the country of origin, contributing in this way to the broader debate over the role and value of migration and diasporas in International Relations.
 

Panel 7.17 Connecting Studies of Violent Conflict (I)


Why is there violent conflict? Why do people fight? And why do countries wage wars? What does happen during conflict? And can we resolve conflict between individual, communities and countries? From civil war to interstate war, but also through different modalities of violence such as terrorism and mass atrocities, scholars tend to specialize and makes silos between different facets and phenomena of violent politics. Yet, conversations between scholars studying violent conflicts and connecting findings can enrich our understanding. In order to move forward the study of violent conflicts, we need to connect typologies, levels of analysis and mechanisms. This panel invites submissions from scholars working on different facets and practices of violent conflict using systematic and rigours empirical methods. The panel aims to emphasize the importance of analytical theorization and development of causal mechanisms that can happen at micro, meso and macro levels.

Chairs: Andrea Ruggeri

Discussants: Francesco N. Moro

Beyond the Battlefield: Alliance Formation and Governance Strategies in Syrian Civil War
Andrea Novellis
Abstract
How do rebel alliances and governance influence each other during civil wars? This study aims to explore this aspect of civil conflict dynamics through an empirical study of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Syriac Union Party (SUP) during the Syrian conflict. Despite a significant body of literature examining the factors shaping rebel cooperation and the creation of rebel governance institutions, the interaction between these elements remains less understood. Addressing this gap, this research presents a detailed case study of North-East Syria. Through interviews with party leaders and secondary research, this qualitative study explores how rebel actors evaluate various strategic considerations in their decision to form alliances. I argue that ideological compatibility, long-term goals, and the broader conflict environment play a significant role in alliance formation, but also play an integral part in structuring power dynamics and co-governance arrangements during conflict. Moreover, the study shows that alliances can be further reinforced through formal agreements of co-governance and power sharing. This is exemplified by the PYD's strategic sharing of power through the creation of self-governance institutions in North-East Syria. These findings provide insights into the nuanced relationship between rebel alliance formation and the development of governance structures in civil wars. They underline the importance of broad strategic considerations in shaping alliances, and demonstrate how these dynamics can influence conflict trajectories. By offering a detailed exploration of these complex dynamics within the context of the Syrian conflict, this study presents an empirical grounding for future research into the dynamics of rebel alliances and governance in civil wars.
Beyond Victimization: the Role of Women in Human Trafficking - The Case of Nigeria
Serena Timmoneri, Daniela Irrera
Abstract
Human trafficking has been defined as the “facilitation” of movement of people with the goal of exploiting them. Human trafficking is a gendered transnational crime, as until today, most of the people being trafficked from one country of origin to one of destination, are women and girls. The authors sustain that the crime of trafficking needs to be viewed along a conflict – peace development continuum. In fact, organized crime can represent a significant peace spoiler, creating a more challenging operational environment for peace operations and peace processes, and endangering human security following conflict and in fragile states. This article aims at contributing to gender research, exploring a new aspect of the implications of transnational crime, specifically human trafficking, for peacebuilding operations. After presenting the literature on peacebuilding and transnational crime, the authors will discuss two mains contrasting positions (i.e. moral approach and sex work approach), using the Nigerian case to discuss how women are active members, even leaders, of transnational criminal organizations challenging the criminological “myth” of the passivity of women in criminal organizations, and how Nigerian Madams are becoming an “entrepreneurial” model for other African women (i.e Ghanaians, Cameroonians) and young girls who deliberately choose prostitution as a way out from poverty, in some cases, aiming at finally becoming exploiters. The authors will show how both in the case of exploiters and victims the main reason for joining crime is lack of access to resources, poverty and discrimination outlining areas for further research and operational intervention, stressing how it is impossible to think peacebuilding processes without creating alternative livelihoods for the population, and how important it is to consider the gender dimension of peacebuilding.
Democratic External Support, Foreign Fighters and Rebel Groups’ Violence against Civilians
Valerio Vignoli, Edoardo Corradi
Abstract
How external support influences foreign fighters’ behavior towards civilians in civil wars? Existing literature demonstrates that external supporters may effectively constrain rebel groups’ patterns of behavior on the ground and that the recruitment of foreign fighters may deteriorate the relationship between rebels and local population. However, scholars have not addressed the interaction between these two factors in determining rebels’ levels of one-sided violence during civil conflicts. We argue that the external supporter’s regime type decisively affects foreign fighters’ behavior in rebel groups. Because of domestic and international accountability, democratic external supporters are generally more likely to transmit democratic values to their local proxies. This moderates the harmful effect of foreign fighters’ presence among rebel ranks on civilian victimization. Through such finding, the article provides a better understanding of the effect of foreign intervention in civil wars, examining both state-level and individual-level dynamics.
Destroying Criminals or Enacting Preferred Behaviors? Public Support for Alternative Approaches to Fight Organized Crime
Juan Masullo, Davide Morisi
Abstract
Unconditional crackdowns on criminal organizations have proven ineffective in fighting criminal violence. In contrast, when repression is targeted selectively, conditional on how criminals behave, it has been more effective in curbing violence (e.g., Lessing 2017, Magaloni et al. 2018). If conditional repression is likely to be more effective in reducing criminal violence, why don't governments adopt them more often? It is argued that "acceptability constraints" shy policymakers away from conditional repression: selective repression is expected to be unpopular, as the public might see it as negotiating with criminals or being soft on crime. While this makes sense theoretically, we lack systematical empirical data on attitudes toward conditional repression. To address this gap, we focus on Brazil, a country deeply affected by criminal violence, and study public attitudes in two cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, to leverage cross-city variation in how drug syndicates participate in the drug trade and engage in drug-related violence. We conducted two survey experiments in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to (a) descriptively map the levels and distributions of support for different approaches to deal with drug-related violence and (b) experimentally identify potential factors that could drive support for conditional repression. Our findings show that support for conditional repression is higher in Sao Paulo than in Rio de Janeiro, suggesting that fiercer competition between drug syndicates and higher levels of violence do not drive support for policies to reduce criminal violence. Criminal violence doesn't seem to be the primary concern of residents. When conditional repression is framed as aiming to reduce violence instead of dealing with other aspects of the drug trade, such as territorial control, support for conditional repression decreases. Yet, we find that the public cares more about reducing some forms of violence than others. In both cities, support for conditional repression is higher when it aims at reducing forms of criminal violence that directly affect the population. Reducing other forms of violence, such as attacks on police officers or turf wars, does not significantly sway support.
 

Panel 7.17 Connecting Studies of Violent Conflict (II)


Why is there violent conflict? Why do people fight? And why do countries wage wars? What does happen during conflict? And can we resolve conflict between individual, communities and countries? From civil war to interstate war, but also through different modalities of violence such as terrorism and mass atrocities, scholars tend to specialize and makes silos between different facets and phenomena of violent politics. Yet, conversations between scholars studying violent conflicts and connecting findings can enrich our understanding. In order to move forward the study of violent conflicts, we need to connect typologies, levels of analysis and mechanisms. This panel invites submissions from scholars working on different facets and practices of violent conflict using systematic and rigours empirical methods. The panel aims to emphasize the importance of analytical theorization and development of causal mechanisms that can happen at micro, meso and macro levels.

Chairs: Andrea Ruggeri

Discussants: Vincenzo Bove

Rebel-civilian relations and their effects on post-civil war bargaining dynamics
Giovanni Hollenweger
Abstract
Why do civil conflicts recur? Recurring conflicts make more than half of the total number of civil conflicts since the end of Second World War, and have become the dominant form of civil war since the beginning of the 2000s (Walter, 2010). Given the importance of this topic, it is not surprising that the literature has focused on many different dynamics and determinants of conflict recurrence, and the conditions that make this more or less likely. This paper outlines the design for my PhD research project. This project explores a novel contribution to the literature on conflict recurrence and rebel-state bargaining, by looking into rebel governance institutions and rebel-led political mobilization as variables that could mitigate the risk of conflict recurrence. Previous research has produced contradictory results when looking at the effects of rebel governance on rebel-state negotiations and conflict resolution (Heger and Jung, 2017; Albert, 2020). I posit that a potential reason for this discrepancy is the fact that these studies did not pay attention to the level of civilian participation within rebel governance institutions or within a rebel-led movement or political party. Basing my argument on concepts from the democratic peace theory and the audience costs theory (Doyle 1986; Fearon 1997; Tomz and Weeks, 2013), I argue that rebels employing participatory forms of rebel-civilian relations are seen as more credible and therefore can more easily establish negotiations with the state, with a lower rate of conflict recurrence after the negotiations happen. Moreover, rebel-civilian collaborative ties also represent a signal of rebel strength, which further pushes the state to recognize some of the rebels' claims (Leventoğlu and Metternich, 2018). Firstly, I present the literature on conflict onset and recurrence, and then I delve into the research that focuses on explaining motivations, constraints and modalities for rebel state building, as well as the specific issues of rebel credibility and civil conflict resolution that arise from rebel and state interactions with civilians. I then outline my own theoretical contribution, which establishes a rebel-state bargaining model that takes into account rebel governance, rebel-civilian collaboration and civilian preferences to explain the variation in rebel-state negotiations and conflict recurrence. This theory relies on a new categorization of rebel governance institutions based on civilian participation, which largely follows the proposition by Mampilly and Stewart (2021). Finally, I present my choice for the identification strategy of the causal effect, which relies on employing a nested analysis (Lieberman 2015). I intend to first test my theory through a large-N statistical analysis (LNA) on observational data, in which I will try to establish causal inference by employing a matching technique and two-way fixed effects regression, with the main outcomes of interest being: durability of peace, conflict recurrence and concessions to rebels. Depending on the goodness of fit of the model tested in the LNA, I will then employ a controlled comparison of cases either as model testing or model building. During fieldwork, I intend to employ interviews and archival research to better understand the impact of participatory rebel-civilian relations on: rebel internal and external legitimacy, civilian support for peace, and deterrence against state reneging from accords. This mixed methods approach allows to correct previous theoretical expectations when necessary, by including the possibility of returning to model building after having conducted the qualitative case study analysis. Moreover, by combining quantitative and qualitative methods, I can boost the internal and external validity of my results simultaneously. References: Albert, K. E. (2020). Institutions of the Weak: Rebel Institutions and the Prospects of Peace After Civil War. University of Rochester. Doyle, M.W. (1986). Liberalism and World Politics. American Political Science Review, 80(4), pp.1151–1169. Fearon, J.D. (1997). Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands versus Sinking Costs. The Journal of conflict resolution, 41(1), pp.68–90. Heger, L. L. and Jung, D. F. (2017). Negotiating with Rebels: The Effect of Rebel Service Provision on Conflict Negotiations. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(6), pp.1203–1229. Leventoğlu, B. and Metternich, N. W. (2018). Born Weak, Growing Strong: Anti-Government Protests as a Signal of Rebel Strength in the Context of Civil Wars. American Journal of Political Science, 62 (3), pp.581–596. Lieberman, E.S. (2005). Nested analysis as a mixed-method strategy for comparative research. American Political Science Review, 99(3), 435-452. Mampilly, Z. C., and Stewart, M. A. (2021). A Typology of Rebel Political Institutional Arrangements. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 65(1), pp.15–45. Tomz, M.R. and Weeks, J. (2013). Public Opinion and the Democratic Peace. American Political Science Review, 107(4), pp.849–865. Walter, B. (2010). Conflict Relapse and the Sustainability of Post-Conflict Peace. World Development Report 2011. World Bank.
Terrorism, perpetrators and polarization: evidence from natural experiments
Vincenzo Bove, Riccardo Di Leo, Georgios Efthyvoulou, Harry Pickard
Abstract
We analyze whether affective polarization – the extent to which citizens feel sympathy towards partisan in-groups and antagonism towards partisan out-groups – can be aggravated by terrorism violence. Terrorist attacks intensify pre-existing ideological worldviews and partisan leanings and bring divisive political issues to the fore. Yet, they can also lead individuals from the entire political spectrum to come together and dissociate from the terrorists and their radical ideas. To identify causal effects, we exploit a series of natural experiments in Great Britain and leverage the timing of fatal far-right and Islamic terrorist attacks and the date of interview of respondents in the British Election Study. We find that Islamic attacks increase affective polarization whereas far-right attacks depolarize the electorate. We demonstrate that this discrepancy is largely driven by the salience of the attack – and the resulting threat perceptions – and the attitudes towards contentious and polarizing issues.
The Effects of Covid-19 on Violence
Valentina Carraro
Abstract
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on society not only from a health and economic perspective, but also due to its direct and indirect effects on the human rights of citizens. In particular, the pandemic has had a number of negative effects on the levels of violence to which citizens have been exposed. For example, lockdown measures adopted by governments to manage the pandemic have frequently resulted in increased levels of violence against women and girls, to the extent that the UN body working on gender equality (UN Women) has coined the term ‘shadow pandemic’ to refer to the severe intensification of all forms of violence against women and girls that occurred during the pandemic, particularly regarding domestic violence. In addition, in multiple occasions law enforcement agents have reportedly applied excessive force in the enforcement of pandemic containment measures, which has resulted in various conflicts between police agents and the wider population. Perhaps more surprisingly, there have been situations in which the pandemic, directly or indirectly, has caused specific forms of violence to decrease. Researchers have for instance reported that in the height of the pandemic there has been a decrease in street violence against women, as a consequence of less people leaving their homes. Based on document analysis and a review of selected country case studies, this paper provides a thorough overview of the different types of violence and conflicts that have emerged, worsened, or decreased as a direct or indirect consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, it focuses on four key types of violence: domestic violence, violence against women in public spaces, excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, and racial violence against persons of Asian origin or descent. By drawing on multidisciplinary insights from political science, law, psychology, and medicine, it identifies the causal mechanisms linking violence to the pandemic and its containment measures. Finally, it concludes by reflecting on lessons learnt and provides some evidence-based recommendations on possible violence mitigation strategies during public health crises.
Conflict at home and well-being abroad
Vincenzo Bove, Marco Giani
Abstract
How does domestic conflict in the home country affect migrants’ well-being in host societies? The outbreak of violence, and the resulting concerns about those left behind in the homeland, can impede the economic mobility and social inclusion of newcomers and their children. We leverage survey data of a large sample of first and second-generation immigrants living in 15 European countries. Causal estimates from a large set of natural experiments confirms that terrorism violence in the country of origin significantly and substantially affects subjective wellbeing in the country of destination. We investigate the potential mechanism behind this important result. Further analysis reveals that sociotropic theories of identity have little explanatory power. Instead, an ancestral expectation of going back to one's motherland – the "Ulysse effect" - seems to be at play.
The power not to decide? Liberal Peace as a policy paradigm for International Organizations
Giulio Levorato
Abstract
Why do International Organizations (IOs) keep framing peacebuilding within the liberal paradigm despite its flaws? Notwithstanding the recent reforms of peace operations undertaken by the most prominent IOs, international efforts seem to be still framed into a liberal paradigm as the renewed attention posed on localist issues has been hampered by a reiterated emphasis on stable democratic institutions and the role played by expert (Western) knowledge. Stemming from this assumption, the study fits within a new branch of the literature that tries to replace the question of why peacebuilding fails with the question of why it can keep failing. In light of this, I focus my attention on the organisational processes that prevent a heretical break with the established order. The issue is relevant as, despite the central role played by IOs, the current literature failed to incorporate an organizational framework to the study of peacebuilding. Based on organizational sciences and policy change theories, my hypothesis is that IOs are driven by the maintenance of their legitimacy rather than policy effectiveness. Thus, when faced with crises they would trigger isomorphic processes aimed at reaffirming the dominant paradigm in order to ensure their survival. Through process tracing, I provide a test for my hypothesis based on a priori theorization of potential causal mechanisms with an impact on liberal peace endurance, by studying the UN and EU performance in the Sahel region, and relying on account evidence from 30 interviews with international officials and experts. The results show that IOs, either willingly or unwillingly, reproduce a similar set of organisational mechanisms that influence and reinforce each other in a 'rhizomatic' kind of relationship, which revolves around the establishment of an epistemic community of supranational individuals with a similar background (forcibly) socialised around specific values ('groupthink'); the adoption of exclusionary strategies vis-à-vis external actors with a potential impact on institutional and political change, as well as strategies aimed at influencing intergovernmental deliberative power through the control of agenda-setting and policy proposals ('backlash prevention'); the replication of intervention tactics and the gatekeeping of information flow ('pathological behaviours'). Besides offering an interdisciplinary approach to the study of peacebuilding, the study also enriches the literature on international public administrations by improving our knowledge about how international bureaucracies autonomously influence decision-making. Keywords: peacebuilding, liberal peace, international organizations, policy paradigm, Sahel
 

Panel 7.18 Migration governance, common security and collective defense: blurring the lines and/or building a nexus?


Migration governance is being increasingly framed as a matter of security and defence cooperation in the EU. Russian military aggression to Ukraine is perceived by many as a historical opportunity for strengthening EU border control management and eventually transferring EU Member States migration and asylum policy governance to the EU foreign and defense dimension. The process is accelerated by the framing of irregular migration as a “hybrid threat” which is allegedly being “instrumentalised” by malicious foreign state actors, including Russia. In this context, while the links between security and migration governance have been extensively studied (e.g. Humphrey, 2013; Huysmans, 2000) it is worth noticing that the link between migration and defense has received much less attention. This panel explores the processes by which the securitization of migration in the EU shapes Member States’ perceptions and interests in enhancing more EUropeanized migration governance policies. We welcome academic analyses that bridge securitization, migration governance, EU foreign and defence policies and collective action studies. Contributions can, for example, identify new forms of cooperation among the EU and Member States to resolve collective action problems (e.g. new concepts such as New Pact on Migration “flexible solidarity”), explore the impact of emerging security threats (e.g. Belarus and Russia) to European migration governance, and investigate the role of and cooperation with non-traditional actors in migration governance at EU borders (e.g. EU-NATO cooperation).

Chairs: Leiza Brumat, Diego Caballero Vélez

Discussants: Iole Fontana

Burying the Migrant Dead: Humanity and Death in The Refugee Crisis
Luca Mavelli, Lorenzo Zambernardi
Abstract
Since 2014, more than 55.000 migrants have died in border zones such as the Mediterranean and the USA-Mexican border. The rising number of migrant casualties has drawn attention to the politics of death and dead bodies and made increasingly evident an apparent paradox. While many of these deaths have been the product of the growing securitization of undocumented migration, suspension of search-and-rescue missions, and deliberate inaction to help migrants in need, governments often invest considerable resources in recovering the dead bodies of migrants, identifying, and giving them a proper burial. This raises a momentous question: Why do states grant rights in death that denied to migrants in life? We argue that ‘caring for the dead’ and particularly the granting of proper burials is not primarily a late recognition of the humanity of the dead migrants but a recognition of the humanity of those populations that, through their states’ securitization of migration, contributed to let the migrants die. This paper thus analyses the connection between humanity and burials in the context of the refugee crisis by exploring how, from Greek antiquity to modern times, burying the dead, and particularly the enemy dead, has become a fundamental measure of a people’s humanity.
From the Polish-Belarus border crisis to the reception of Ukrainian refugees: migration as a political tool in the EU’s CFSP?
Diego Caballero Vélez, Sara Bojarczuk
Abstract
Recent literature on refugee protection burden-sharing in the EU has shown how Member States’ rationale behind the (un)provision of refugee protection is moved by cost-benefits calculus dynamics (Betts 2009, 2011; Thielemann and Amstrong 2013; Thielemann 2018). According to this game theoretical framework, Member States’ different perceptions of costs (i.e. security threats) or benefits (i.e. international prestige) on providing assistance to refugees may provoke collective action failure situations in EU migration policy management. By drawing on the case of Poland-EU management on border control policy in the 1) Polish-Belarus border crisis and 2) the reception of Ukrainian refugees, this paper investigates whether migration is treated as a political tool at the EU’s CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy).. The EU migration policy externalization process is reflected on some recent EU legal measures such as the 2021 New Pact on Migration. Both the terms ‘solidarity’ and ‘external dimension’ used in the Pact may be perceived as Brussels aiming to overcome collective action problems and to strengthen the migration and asylum regime. By conducting a qualitative analysis of EU policy documents and official speeches, this research main attempt is to understand how the EU constructs terms of “solidarity” and “burden-sharing” in the migration external dimension for overcoming the lack of collective consensus among Member States.
Irregular migration governance as foreign policy: whither policy options?
Gabriele Abbondanza
Abstract
Irregular migration is one of the most momentous phenomena of the twenty-first century. A permanent feature of international affairs, rather than a transient development as it was thought to be only a few decades ago, it impacts on all levels of analysis, from the individual to the international one. However, despite its prevalence in contemporary political discussions, and notably in European ones, its international relations (IR) implications are understudied in the disciplinary literature of migration studies. which traditionally focuses on migration itself. Against this background, this paper contextualises irregular migration as a phenomenon to be jointly assessed with international relations and migration studies' perspectives, and thus seeks to contribute to the extant literature on the foreign policy aspects of irregular migration governance, with a focus on the available policy options for European States and international organisations (IOs), chiefly the EU. Following an introduction outlining the broader context, it draws on the paradigmatic mainstays of IR theory to help explain why destination countries implement either inclusive or exclusive policies, and by which processes this occurs. Next, it outlines four main policy options that States have at their disposal when addressing undocumented flows, while assessing the benefits and weaknesses of each approach. These options are: i) Open borders (de facto); ii) Closed borders (de jure); iii) Regional solutions with transit countries; and iv) Legal pathways. The following section considers the broader implications of the paper's findings, while calling for future research on select aspects deserving further investigations. This research finds that there is no ideal policy alternative benefiting both the migrants and destination countries simultaneously, although a combination of regional solutions and legal pathways is, in principle, promising in that respect. However, the sheer political, economic, and logistical complexity of such solutions is the very reason they have not been implemented so far, and thus explains the resort to more common and swifter - albeit much more criticised - policies such as that of closed borders, increasingly common in Europe and backed by the EU. With these premises, this paper seeks to contribute to both scholarly and policy debates on irregular migration governance as foreign policy, in the light of both the importance of this phenomenon and the subsequent need to constantly update research and policy options.
Shifting the responsibility of protecting refugees: the implementation of safe third country policies
Gaia Romeo
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to build the theoretical framework for a study on the implementation of EU safe third country (STC) policies in relation to human rights considerations. STC policies are policies designed to deflect protection obligations on the basis that a certain third country is safe for a certain asylum seeker. They have been existing for over 40 years and are part of EU legislation since 2005. Academic outputs on this topic have been focusing almost exclusively on the consistency of STC policies with international human right and asylum obligations. Very little attention has been dedicated instead to their everyday enforcement. Empirical findings on the implementation of EU STC policies in member states show however that they are enforced in a very heterogeneous and contextual way, and mainly when the EU can exert some form of political and financial leverage on the third countries concerned. In addition, while it is not provided by EU legislation, in a context of increasing securitization of borders, STC policies are often implemented in situations of de facto detention and in blatant violation of the minimum standards set by EU legislation. This paper argues that the study for which this paper sets the theoretical framework would enrich our insights in different directions. First, by shedding light on the reasons why STC policies are implemented in different ways, it would contribute to build knowledge on the mechanisms that can explain different outcomes in the implementation of EU (migration) policies. In addition, it would test how implementation theories can be enriched by contributions from practice theory, and would inquire whether in some cases pushbacks can be conceptually considered as the informal, illegal application of the STC concept. Eventually, in the light of a general push from the EU and its member states for an increased use of STC policies, this study would constitute a first step to understanding the real human right cost that they imply.
 

Panel 7.21 Autocracies versus Democracies? Analytical and practical challenges in the wake of the war in Ukraine


The ongoing war in Ukraine has been compellingly regarded as a most tragic instance of Russia’s long-running promotion of the emergence of a polycentric world order – a foreign policy goal informed by a narrative of multipolarity and the dangers of unilateralism, which translates in the Russia-led challenge to the systemic economic, but also the political dominance, of the US and the West. This objective is to some extent in line with China’s subtler yet resolute push for a new world order reflecting the shift of power and development potential to the East.
In addition to contesting current rules, standards, and norms for international interactions, today’s revisionist powers also increasingly object to the allegedly unwarranted liberal-democratic standards imposed by the West to the rest of the world, concerning their systems of government and foreign policy conducts. That being so, the still prevailing international order is argued to be not only unfair and obsolete with regard to actual power relations, but also 'abnormal' insofar as it disregards the intrinsic plurality of any international system. Faced with such a challenge, the West has been called to defend the current international order and the values it rests upon, while also engaging into potentially arduous self-examination – especially in light of the revisionist powers’ appeal to domestic/transnational political forces sceptical towards those very democratic values and institutions.
The panel sets out to provide an opportunity to discuss whether, under which conditions and with what possible consequences current international enmities can be understood and practically dealt with in terms of the increasingly popular ‘autocracies vs democracies’ rationale. Among the questions that the panel expects to explore are: how has this fault line been shaping up, as a notion and/or a real-world alignment? What are the strategic and political premises of the two alleged ‘blocs’, and their respective functioning? How does the digital dimension of the confrontation fit into this framework, in light of the increasingly relevant role of information, cyber- and cognitive warfare? How does this framework address issues such as the rise of ‘populist’ illiberal parties, or the presence of non-aligned media (possibly backed by autocratic regimes), in Western democratic regimes? How does this framework relate with well-established scholarships such as democratic peace and democracy promotion?

Chairs: Enrico Fassi, Antonio Zotti

Discussants: Stéphanie Novak

Contesting the Liberal Order. Reinterpreting the Norm Against Genocide and The Kremlin’s disinformation campaign during the Ukrainian invasion
Flavia Lucenti, Cecilia Ducci
Abstract
The invasion of Ukraine has sparked a debate on mass atrocity crimes, in particular war crimes and genocide. Moscow submitted its objections against accusations of violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide filed before the International Court of Justice while blaming Ukraine and the West for demonizing Russia. At the same time, the Kremlin has claimed that the Russian-speaking population of the Donbas was the victim of an eight-year genocide at the hands of the Kyiv government. In this debate, both discursive and visual elements play an important role for the Russian government in both disseminating its propaganda and defending itself from allegations of genocide while legitimising its unlawful actions. In this regard, the article explores the narrative through which the Kremlin leadership discursively and visually re-constructed the evidence of the crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, thereby attempting to alter the understanding and interpretation of the norm against genocide. To do so, it investigates the official speech acts of the leadership, and how propaganda was disseminated by the government media. Drawn on the literature on norm contestation, our analysis intertwines discursive and visual narrative analysis to shed light on how, by manipulating information, Russia spreads propaganda denying war crimes and, even more so, genocide.
Illiberal democracies and the "external constraint": an outlook of the year 2024
Valerio Alfonso Bruno
Abstract
In the current debate about "illiberal democracies" and democratic backsliding, reference is often made to the role that so-called "external constraint," among other factors, would play in securing democracies from falling into illiberalism. Specifically, in the context of the European Union, in addition to historical alliances (think NATO) and financial markets, European institutions, in prims the European Commission, are often advocated as an insuperable embankment against illiberal velleities, especially of populist radical right-wing parties (PRRPs) and far-right parties. While this has been fundamentally true in past decades, it may not necessarily be correct in the coming decades. Indeed, in the European Parliament election to be held in 2024, the pre-eminent role occupied by the two big party families in Europe (EPP and SD) could be challenged by the rise of the ECR, the party of conservatives and reformists, currently chaired by Giorgia Meloni. Moreover, again with regard to the "external constraint" hypothesis as safeguard to illiberalism, 2024 could also be an unfavorable year in view of the election of the U.S. president (Trump's experience demonstrates this very well). Finally, a large literature shows that financial markets and large international investors are quite "flexible" in relation to the ideological-political positioning of governments as long as they prove to be able to guarantee favorable treatments and a stable outlook in relation to the institutional framework. In view of these considerations, this paper is somewhat intended to urge caution in considering liberal democracies in the EU, as we have known them in recent decades, to be safe from the risk of sliding toward illiberalism. Indeed, change, even very slight change, but occurring gradually within the EU and its institutions, could over the years profoundly alter the EU's arrangements. This could happen more quickly if other "external constraints," such as those related to the international order and historical alliances between democracies, will themselves be changed starting with the leading states in the order.
Beneficial to whom? Narrating Serbia’s misalignment in foreign policy in times of crises
Carlotta Mingardi
Abstract
In 2018, the European Union relaunched the enlargement perspective of Western Balkan countries , in a much-delayed acknowledgment of multiple trends occurring in the region, worsened by the decade-long stall of the enlargement process. In Serbia, these trends included the growing influence of international non-EU actors with growingly diverging agendas from the EU’s (China, Russia, Turkey); a significant backsliding in the areas of rule of law, freedom of expression, and political pluralism; and the stalling of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, a flagship of EU actorness in the region. Five years later, these trends remain unchallenged, and Russia’s war on Ukraine (2022) further highlighted the strategic importance of the region for the EU’s strategic ambitions. While the influence of non-EU actors and the shortcomings of the EU approach towards the region has been widely studied, less attention has been dedicated to the so-called ‘local perspective’, and to the use, by Serbia’s elite, of the country’s multi-pillar foreign policy to push forward its own political agenda and signal significant “red lines” to the EU. This considered, through a critical discourse analysis of its elites’ official speeches and statements, on the backdrop of a systematic review of the country’s official position on key foreign policy issues, this paper assesses Serbia’s government’s discursive framing of its acts of alignment and misalignment with EU foreign policy objectives, in specific moments of the Von der Leyen Commission; and looks for strategic patterns of actions and political signalling to Serbia’s domestic audience, international actors, and the EU.
Geopolitical indicator to measure “like-mindedness” in energy partners choice and diversification to substitute Russian gas
Diana Shendrikova, Lorenzo Rinaldi
Abstract
As argued by British statesman and master of diplomacy Lord Palmerston, “states do not have permanent friends; they have permanent interests”. In the early twenty-first century and even more so with the outburst of the war in Ukraine, Palmerston’s vision seem to have made a comeback with a resurgence in geopolitics and great power rivalry. On the one hand, a growing number of countries and international actors seem increasingly inclined to choose their alliances based pre-eminently on interests and strategic considerations. This is particularly true of authoritarian powers promoting a revision – if not the elimination – of the so-called International Liberal Order, but also democracies countries have seemed prone to ‘pragmatic’ (the European Union) and ‘transactional’ (the US) turns, sometimes at the expense of the ideal and practical consistency of said Order, of which they are supposed to constitute the very core. On the other hands, a commonality of views and values still seems to play a significant (ostensible or actual) role in how international actors come together and cooperate. Although ideological convergence may not be particularly high compared to other historical periods, a certain degree of ‘like-mindedness’ is expected and promoted my otherwise hard-headed actors. In the European Union (EU), the emphasis on this criterion emerges in official speeches and documents, issued by European Commission, where the notion of “like-mindedness” of international partners is recurrent, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In particular, references to “like-minded countries” often occur in energy diplomacy-related context, where EU has been trying to act as a single geopolitical player. This characteristic becomes particularly relevant in the context of the three pillars of the EU Energy Diplomacy, officially defined by the Commission, one of which is “geopolitics and global governance” responsible for the economic diversification of partners and support of a just transition. In her statement announcing REPowerEU, President von der Leyen, mentions collaboration with like-minded partners, making it the defining feature in the choice of the partners to replace Russian gas imports an important variable in Energy diplomacy. Nevertheless, the definition of the term, the list of countries or specific characteristics required in order to be “admitted to the club” remain unspecified in available documentation and largely ambiguous. In this work, we try to elaborate a versatile aggregated geopolitical indicator of “like-mindedness”, independent from, but applicable to the current geopolitical situation. This indicator may be used to complement traditional energy scenario analyses, especially those focused on investigating new potential trade patterns, as well as qualitative geopolitical analysis. Apart from its potential analytical value, this indicator may also help EU policy and decision makers to evaluate its potential energy partners. In this study, this indicator is applied to global gas supplying countries, but has a potential for replicability in other sectors.
The international dimension of autocratization in the wake of the war in Ukraine
Antonino Castaldo, Marcelo Camerlo
Abstract
Since the second half of the 2000s two parallel phenomena have unfolded: on the one hand, the so-called ‘third wave of autocratization,’ stressing the crisis of the democratic model around the world; on the other hand, what has been identified as the reaffirmation of ‘authoritarian great powers’ or a sort of ‘authoritarian surge,’ which highlight the more assertive posture of prominent autocracies at the international level, with the war in Ukraine as its possible climax (or the nadir?). The possible interactions between these phenomena has led to the development of a new filed of research focusing on ‘autocracy promotion.’ Despite being already of burgeoning dimensions, this literature is still far from the consolidation reached by the international dimensions of democratization, and evident conceptual and methodological issues contribute to hinder the accumulation of knowledge in this field of research. Moreover, we identify scope issues where increasingly relevant empirical phenomena as, for example, corrosive capital, digital authoritarianism and connected phenomena as propaganda, disinformation, censorship, role of AI, etc., are still overlooked. Furthermore, a sort of perspective problems emerge as well: this literature seems to focus mainly on the direct support provided by prominent autocracies to autocratic allies, disregarding the possible impact on democratic targets and the indirect influence on democratic traits in autocratic regimes of policies not meant to support them. Finally, we think that the consequences of the war in Ukraine need to be addressed since they can affect the field of research both conceptually and empirically. To start addressing these issues we propose a branching tree typology with the aim of providing a useful tool able to map the conceptual space regarding the influence of the international dimension on autocratization processes and assess the consequences of the Ukrainian war on this field of research.
 

Panel 7.22 Non-state actors and sanctions


Sanctions have become governments’ and regional organisations’ tool of choice to promote foreign policy objectives, exert political influence, and uphold norms in the international system. Despite their growing usage, many aspects related to sanctions remain open to discussion among scholars and policymakers alike. The recent wave of sanctions adopted against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine is indicative of how widely debated the use and effects of sanctions remain.

This panel aims to collect proposals advancing the theoretical and/or empirical knowledge of the main ongoing trends in sanctions research, with a primary focus on the largely-unexplored non-state actor dimension of sanctions. We intend to explore how non-state actors such as individuals and firms contribute to sanctions imposition and enforcement as well as experience restrictive measures in different regions and in different political regimes.

Scholarship is yet to fully theorize, and policymakers consequently still have little knowledge about, how these actors interact with decision-makers in the stage of sanctions imposition and engage with governmental actors in their enforcement, as well as how listed individuals and entities react to them.

We therefore welcome original proposals that contribute to the integration of the study of non-state actors in foreign policy analysis and international relations, by examining topics such as:
• overall, the role of firms and individuals at different sanction stages (imposition, implementation, lifting) in sanctioning, sanctioned, or third countries
• survey analyses on the attitudes and behaviour of people and firms towards sanctions
• how humanitarian actors engage in transactions with listed individuals and entities to provide aid and activities that support basic human needs
• how firms and individuals have engaged/facilitated practices of evasion, circumvention and avoidance of sanctions
• the impact of sanctions on individuals, including issues of human rights, access to goods and services, and the ability to participate in the global economy
• the impact of sanctions on businesses, including multinational corporations and small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as individual firms and non-state actors
• the impact of sanctions on third-party countries and individuals, and their implications for international relations
• the variety of impact of sanctions across regions and political regimes

Chairs: Tiziana Corda

Discussants: Francesco Giumelli

A Comprehensive Literature Review on International Sanctions: Definitions, Effectiveness, and the Role of Non-State Actors
Matthijs Leusen, Francesco Giumelli, Tristan Kohl, Harry Garretsen
Abstract
Introduction International sanctions have emerged as a prominent tool of statecraft, and as such have received much scholarly attention. This review focusses on two aspects of sanctions research that are both highly relevant and have been relatively understudied, namely the disconnect between the economic and political science literatures on the effectiveness of sanctions and the role of non-state actors in sanctions. The current disconnect between the economic view of sanctions – namely that they do work – and the political science view of sanctions – namely that they do not work – is due to neither field looking at the full picture. A more interdisciplinary approach is needed to bridge this disconnect. Furthermore, the field would benefit from zooming in beyond the national level for a more nuanced understanding of how sanctions do or do not work. Studying the largely unexplored non-state actor dimension of sanctions provides us with more detailed information on how sanctions realise their impact. This review contributes to the literature by examining different perspectives on effectiveness, mapping the existing work on the role of non-state actors in sanctions, and suggesting new research avenues. Definitions and Aims of Sanctions To establish a foundation for this literature review, it is essential to explore the definitions and aims of international sanctions. This section will delve into the various definitions proposed by scholars, seeking to establish a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes sanctions. Additionally, it will discuss the diverse conceptions in the literature of what objectives sanctions aim to achieve. Economic and Political Science Perspectives on Sanctions Effectiveness The next section will provide an overview of the current state of the field, examining the existing literature on international sanctions from economic and political science perspectives. The literature on the (political) effectiveness of sanctions lacks clear consensus on what makes a sanctions episode effective, but most agree that they are often ineffective. Depending on the definition used, sanctions attain their political goals in between 5 and 34 percent of cases e.g., Hufbauer et al., 2007; Pape, 1997; Morgan et al. 2009). Economists are more positive about the (economic) effectiveness of sanctions. Studies in this field find that sanctions have a significant impact on the economies of their targets and are effective policy instruments. Sanctions have a negative effect on, among others, trade (e.g., Afesorgbor, 2019; Dai et al., 2021; Kohl, 2021), flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) between sender and target (e.g., Biglaiser & Lektzian, 2011; Mirkina 2018), and real GDP growth (Neuenkirch & Neumeier, 2015). Thus, there is a disconnect between the fields. This gives us an incomplete view of how sanctions work and is problematic for both fields. Economists tend to adhere to what political scientists have referred to since the 1960’s as the ‘naïve theory of sanctions’ (Galtung, 1967). Meaning that imposing higher economic burdens on targets always make them more likely to comply with the sender’s demands. Following this logic, economists equate the economic impact of sanctions with their overall effectiveness. Political scientists, on the other hand, only look at whether the political goals of a sanctions package are achieved without regard for their (economic) impact. Evaluating a policy without considering whether the means suit the ends, or whether the means were correctly implemented and enforced tells us little about the cause of its ineffectiveness. Combining perspectives from both fields will further our understanding of international sanctions and allow policymakers to design more effective sanctions in the future. This review will provide further evidence of this disconnect as well as suggesting several ways in which an interdisciplinary approach to sanctions effectiveness can bridge it. The Role of Non-State Actors in the Sanctions Process While the literature on state actors' involvement in the sanctions process is extensive, the role of non-state actors remains relatively understudied. This section will explore the existing literature on the participation and influence of non-state actors in the sanctions process. Non-state actors can include corporations, individual, groups within a regime, and other entities that have an impact on, or are impacted by, sanctions imposition and enforcement. By examining the literature, this review will shed light on how non-state actors affect sanction implementation, evasion, and effectiveness. This literature review will argue for increased scholarly attention and research dedicated to understanding the role of non-state actors in the sanctions process. By highlighting the limited existing literature and the potential impact of non-state actors on sanctions' effectiveness and outcomes, this section will emphasize the significance of this understudied dimension. It will provide compelling reasons for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to invest in further exploration of non-state actors' involvement, shedding light on their motivations, strategies, and impacts. Conclusion In conclusion, this review provides a comprehensive overview of the literature on international sanctions, with a focus on their definitions, aims, and the perspectives of economists and political scientists regarding their effectiveness. Moreover, it highlights the need for increased study on the role of non-state actors in the sanctions process. By conducting this review, I aim to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, bridge the gap between economic and political science perspectives, and encourage further research in exploring the complexities associated with non-state actors' involvement in the sanctions process. This review will provide valuable insights for policymakers and scholars alike.
Hide, cheat, adapt and ignore: a typology of sanctions evasions. Lessons learned from the experience of the United Nations
Francesco Giumelli, Anna Lokhorst
Abstract
While the effectiveness of sanctions has been rated very differently in the past, there is a wide consensus about the fact that evasion undermines their effectiveness. However, although this seems to be a shared concern, evasion has received limited attention in the scholarly debate. With the exception to individual case studies, for instance the DPRK and Iran, and anecdotal evidence from sectoral overviews, such as arms embargoes and financial restrictions, a systematic attempt to look at sanctions evasion is missing. The aim of this study is to develop an analytical framework for looking at sanctions evasion. By looking at sanctions evasion as an instance of illicit trade practice, we develop a typology based on four main sectors for evasion – goods, money, services and others – building upon the United Nations sanctions database provided by the Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC). Then, we argue that non-state actors can opt for four circumvention strategies: hide, cheat, adapt and ignore. Hiding refers to the activities designed to pretend that a transaction did not take place. Cheating refers, instead, to a transaction that took place, but the whereabouts where wrongly reported on purpose. Adapting refers to a decision aiming at isolating risks linked to particular transactions. Finally, ignoring indicates that actors carried out business as usual, either due to negligence or impunity. The four strategies have been identified inductively by looking at sanctions imposed by the United Nations since the reports of panels of experts collect information on evasion since the late 1990s. In total, we have analyzed 252 reports for sanctions imposed on targets in 16 different countries across 20 years. This study advances knowledge on sanctions evasion, lays the foundations for further research and contributes to the debate on sanctions effectiveness.
Sanction-Busting Through Tax Havens
Kerim Can Kavakli, Giovanna Marcolongi, Diego Zambiasi
Abstract
Financial sanctions, which aim to economically hurt a target by restricting its access to financial assets and markets, require the ability to identify who owns an asset. Although experts have long claimed that offshore financial centers that offer secrecy (‘tax havens’) undermine sanctions by hiding ownership information, so far data limitations have prevented a rigorous test of this claim. We overcome this constraint using data from the Bank of International Settlements and the Offshore Leaks Database and conduct the first systematic analysis of the role that tax havens play in financial sanction evasion. Our main finding is that sanction targets reduce their funds in sanctioning countries while increasing their funds in tax havens. This displacement effect is stronger when the sanction coalition includes the US or comprises more FATF members. Lastly, whether a tax haven is in the sanctioning coalition does not seem to make a difference. These findings confirm that target countries evade sanctions by moving large portions of their funds from sanctioning countries to tax havens. More broadly, our paper highlights a novel and geostrategically important role of tax havens in global finance.
Sanctions and the role of non-state actors in economic warfare in the global energy and tech markets.
Ksenia Kirkham
Abstract
The paper addresses the topic of sanctions and economic warfare in the global energy and tech markets in a wider context of geo-economic rivalry. The aim is to contribute to academic debates over the conceptualisation of economic warfare through the lenses of economic sanctions. The phenomenon of economic warfare is not new. What is new is the recent shift back in the nature, rationale and strategic objectives behind sanctions (and countersanctions) – from normative and legal, towards geo-economic. The paper will assess changes in strategies of non-state actors following the shale gas revolution, major trends in the global energy and tech markets, challenges of maritime LNG transportation, the outbreak of military conflict in Ukraine, and the escalation of tensions across different regions. In doing so, the analysis of the role and the behaviour of non-state actors in economic warfare will be linked to the impact of sanctions and economic warfare on global supply chains, and subsequently, on the transition to cleaner energy. Keywords: natural gas, LNG, sanctions, geoeconomics, net zero
 

Round table

Panel 7.23 What can Political Science tell us about the War in Ukraine?


Tavola rotonda promossa da SGRI e SG Russia e post-soviet
Speakers:
Kristin M. Bakke, University College London
Lars-Erik Cederman, ETH Zürich
Sonia Lucarelli, Università di Bologna
Kateryna Pishchikova, Università telematica e-Campus - ISPI

Chairs: Andrea Ruggeri