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  • Author: Anika Oettler
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The paper discusses how current methodological debates on the potential of comparative area studies intersect with current trends in transitional justice research. As the field of transitional justice studies is approaching saturation, academic efforts in this field are increasingly focused on empirical as well as theoretical generalization. The challenge of comparative transitional justice research is less to weigh the national impacts of policies than to incorporate a more historicized conception of causality that includes complex longterm processes and global interdependencies. From the perspective of comparative area studies, the case of transitional justice studies testifies to the need to combine the local, national, transnational, translocal, and global levels of analysis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Education, International Law, Political Theory, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, East Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Patrick Köllner
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Analyses of the shape and functioning of systems of political rule need to address informal institutions, which exist alongside and can relate to formal institutions in various ways. In this paper, I first discuss some analytical foundations of the study of such institutions. I then suggest that a focus on political regimes – understood as the configuration of formal and informal institutions shaping and reflecting the access to and the exercise of political power – can be particularly useful for analysing the shape and functioning of autocracies. Finally, I use such a regime focus to study the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership succession process, which is characterised by increasing institutionalisation and complementary as well as substitutive relations between formal and informal institutions.
  • Topic: Communism, Political Economy, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Pascal Abb
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper reviews contending realist assumptions about domestic and systemic impulses for balancing behavior, derives a set of corresponding hypotheses for state actions and submits them to a statistical large‐n analysis for testing. A total of 18 highly conflict‐prone dyads of states are observed over lengthy periods of time in order to gather data for a regression analysis of the effects of different impulses on both the external and internal balancing behavior of the weaker states. In accordance with the results, it is argued that domestic (or unit‐level) factors are highly important in explaining the scope of balancing and often exert a stronger influence than do power gaps between states. As moderating factors, they are especially crucial in clarifying apparent cases of over‐ and underbalancing.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Theory, Power Politics, Governance
  • Author: Maria Bondes, Sandra Heep
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the debate on authoritarian resilience, the importance of persuasion to regime legitimacy has been widely acknowledged, yet a conceptual framework explaining the role of persuasion is still lacking. Against this backdrop, we argue that the framing perspective (Benford and Snow 2000) provides a useful basis for such a framework. Drawing on Beetham's (1991) model of legitimacy, we contend that the ruling elites in authoritarian regimes propagate official frames in a continuous effort to reproduce the belief of the populace in the elites' leadership qualities and their determination to serve the common interest. In the empirical part of our paper we look at the case of China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has in recent years reemphasized persuasion as a means of reproducing legitimacy. We then apply our theory in an analysis of the conceptual shifts in the CCP's frames and ideology, as propagated under its secretary general, Hu Jintao.
  • Topic: Government, Political Theory, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Nele Noesselt
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Research on Chinese International Relations (IR) theory has produced a variety of discourses, including post-positivist analyses, contributions by area specialists and China watchers, and articles by Chinese IR scholars. These strands, however, hardly overlap or communicate with each other. To close the gap between “the self-reflection of the core” (“Western” IR) (Waever/Tickner 2009: 3) and “the periphery's revolt against [“Western”] IR” paradigms (ibid.), it is necessary to view China (and other non-“Western” regions) as more than simply a playground for theory testing. This paper thus goes beyond the metatheoretical debate about the possibility of non-“Western” IR. It argues that even though the IR debates in China are heavily influenced by the trends of “Western” IR Studies, the claim regarding the establishment of a “Chinese school of IR” is not a hollow slogan. Indigenous frameworks are already under construction.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Claudia Simons, Franzisca Zanker
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Subnational comparative research has received increasing attention as a method that is academically rigorous and offers in-depth knowledge about specific cases. However, the practical difficulties surrounding the selection of cases to be researched and compared are seldom discussed in a meaningful way in academic circles. Even though a research design may itself be very elaborate, we need significant information on the cases before we can actually decide on useful comparisons. Based on our experiences in studying how power-sharing peace agreements affect the local level and why conflict dynamics often continue, we consider the following basic question: How do we actually know that a specific case suits a particular research design?
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Political Theory, Power Politics
  • Author: Patrick Köllner
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Understanding and explaining the shape and functioning of systems of political rule requires a focus on their informal elements, which exist alongside and interact with formal elements. And indeed, political science and area studies have long been concerned with various aspects of “informal politics” and “informal institutions”. Based on a survey of relevant literature, I show that the empirically-rich work focusing on the “non-OECD world” has applied the term “informal politics” in different ways, leading to conceptual ambiguity. Moreover, the term informal politics, as used in the literature, tends to lack in terms of conceptual differentiation. In contrast, the conceptual and broader analytical foundations of the study of informal institutions have become more advanced in recent times. Here, I particularly highlight work on different “genetic” types of informal institutions – tradition- and transition-based informal institutions – and on the possible relations between informal and formal institutions. Finally, I suggest that a focus on political regimes is particularly useful for analyzing, from an institutional perspective, the shape and functioning of autocracies (and other systems of political rule). However, the very opacity of such systems of rule as well as practical research obstacles will continue to bedevil the study of informal institutions in autocracies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Political Theory, Governance
  • Author: Bert Hoffmann
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While traditional theories of legitimacy have focused on the nation-state, authoritarian regimes and democracies alike seek legitimation not only in the domestic realm but also from international sources. This paper argues that the degree to, and the form in, which they do so depend on the regime's origins, characteristics, and evolution, rather than being mere consequences of changes in the international context. Empirically, the paper draws on the case of the Cuban regime since the 1959 revolution. In particular, it analyzes how the regime's transition from a charismatic to a bureaucratic model of state socialism in the post-Fidel succession era led to a reconfiguration in the regime's legitimation strategy, wherein it has greatly downsized its once expansive international dimensions.
  • Topic: Government, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Nadine Godehardt, Oliver W. Lembcke
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Seit einiger Zeit stehen Regionen (wieder) auf der Agenda der Theoriediskussionen in den Internationalen Beziehungen. Es ist u.a. von einer „emerging regional architecture of world politics“ die Rede und von der Zukunft eines „multiregional system of international relations“ oder sogar einer „world of regions“. In dieser Perspektive geht es gegenwärtig nicht mehr allein um die Frage, welche Strukturvorgaben des internationalen Systems für eine neue Weltpolitik zu berücksichtigen sind. Vielmehr ist mit Blick auf die regionalen Ordnungen erforderlich zu fragen, wann und unter welchen Umständen die Strukturen und Akteurskonstellationen für regionale Kontexte überhaupt Bedeutung haben. Allerdings ist der politiktheoretische Status der Regionen in den Internationalen Beziehungen alles andere als klar. Mit diesem Beitrag werden zwei Ziele verfolgt: Einerseits wird die bisherige Diskussion mithilfe von drei Schlüsselkonzepten – Kooperation, Regionale Sicherheitskomplexe und Externalitäten – strukturiert; andererseits wird das konzeptionelle Verhältnis von Regionen, politischen Räumen und regionalen Ordnungen diskutiert. Dabei werden Kriterien – geografische Lage, politische Entscheidungen, Drittwirkungen dieser Entscheidungen – vorgestellt, die eine weiterführende Analyse verschiedener Typen regionaler Ordnungen ermöglichen.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Regional Cooperation, Political Theory
  • Author: Hannes Meissner
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Although much attention is paid to the Caspian region with regard to energy issues, the domestic consequences of the region's resource production have so far constituted a neglected field of research. A systematic survey of the latest research trends in the economic and political causalities of the resource curse and of rentier states reveals that there is a need for context analysis. In reference to this, the paper traces any shortcomings and promising approaches in the existent body of literature on the Caspian region. Following on from this, the paper then proposes a new approach; specifically, one in which any differences and similarities in the context conditions are captured. This enables a more precise exploration of the exact ways in which they form contemporary post-Soviet Caspian rentier states.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Development, Political Theory, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Caspian Sea
  • Author: Leslie Wehner
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Bolivia and Chile live in a culture of rivalry as a consequence of the Nitrate War (1879 ‐ 1883). In each country's case, the construction of the other as a threat, a rival and/or inferior has shaped the discursive articulation of the bilateral relationship. Whereas the culture of rivalry is more evident in Bolivia because of its aspiration to alter the border, Chile's status ‐ quo position, which stresses that there are no pending issues with Bolivia, as well as its construction of itself as superior, also represents rivalrous behavior. The perception of Chile as a threat and rival became especially evident in Bolivia during these two countries' bilateral negotiations to export gas to and through Chile (gas crisis from 2001 ‐ 05). However, since Evo Morales and Michelle Bachelet took office in Bolivia (2006 ‐ present) and in Chile (2006 ‐ 10), respectively, they have sought to change this culture of rivalry to one of friendship by constructing discursive articulations of self and other based on the principle of building mutual trust. Such a change in the form of othering is only possible to understand within the context of a crisis of meanings. The new approach of othering the counterpart as a friend has filled the void of meaning left by the crisis of discursive articulations of othering the counterpart as a rival, a threat and/or inferior.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: South America, Chile, Bolivia
  • Author: Annette Büchs
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper seeks an explanation for the resilience of the Syrian authoritarian regime under Hafez and Bashar Al-Asad. It will be argued that this resilience is to a relevant extent caused by the fact that the regime's “material” as well as “ideational” forms of power share a common element, if not an underlying principle. This generates their compatibility and congruency and thus produces a convergence of forces which manifests in the regime's ability to exceed the mere sum of its individual forms of power. It will be demonstrated that this common principle can be conceptualized as a “tacit pact” between unequal parties, with the weaker party under constant threat of exclusion and/or coercion in the event of noncompliance. It will be argued that inherent in the pact is a high level of ambiguity; this, paradoxically, renders it more effective but at the same time also more instable as a tool of domination.
  • Topic: Government, Post Colonialism, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Ulrich Mückenberger
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Decentralised, self-organised cross-border activities are increasingly shaping global policymaking. While state actors have lost ground, policy and economic networks have emerged as key actors, transforming international relations as well as national spheres. Academic discourse is following their activity, often focusing on "advocacy networks" and on the role of transnational actors within the transformation of the world economy and world polity. In contrast to these research activities, the approach proposed here extends the scope of inquiry to include the role of transnational networks in norm-building and norm-implementation. The networks under scrutiny here do not confine themselves to the articulation of particular interests, the resolution of particular conflicts, or compliance with legal norms. It is presumed here that a variety of networks which are fundamentally concerned with the creation of norms have emerged. The predominance of the nation-state, one of the main characteristics of modern democratic thinking, has eroded to the point where the fundamental nexus of voice (democratic participation) and entitlement (legal and social rights and duties) has been weakened or even broken. We presume that this decentration has fundamentally changed the option of voice as one of the most important responses by citizens to crisis and change. This comes to the fore with the emergence and effectiveness of transnational norm-building networks. The article develops a research programme, the outcome of which will shed light on this new resource for the development of a democratised world polity.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Globalization, Political Theory