20 Aug

Swiss Social Science Summer School 2016

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (Patrick A. Mello)

Methods Course at the 20th Swiss Social Science Summer School

Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, 22-26 August 2016

The workshop provides participants with a thorough introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), both as a research approach and as a data analysis technique. In recent years, this set-theoretic method has gained recognition among social scientists as a methodological approach that holds specific benefits for comparative studies. The course begins by familiarizing participants with the foundations of set theory and the basic concepts of the methodological approach of QCA, including necessary and sufficient conditions, Boolean algebra, and fuzzy logic. The next step is devoted to the calibration of empirical data into crisp and fuzzy sets. Once these essentials are in place, the course moves on to the construction and analysis of truth tables as the core of the QCA procedure. Here, we will also spend time to discuss typical challenges that arise during a truth table analysis and techniques to overcome such problems. Finally, the course will introduce consistency and coverage as parameters of fit as well as additional measures to assess the robustness of QCA results [Read Further]

22 Jul

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2016

Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets

Patrick A. Mello (Week 1), Carsten Q. Schneider (Week 2), and Nena Oana (Teaching Assistant)

Methods Course taught for the European Consortium for Political Research at Central European University, Budapest, 28 July – 13 August 2016

Course Outline: This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught at the ECPR Winter School in Bamberg. The course starts out by familiarizing students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, students will be exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages. When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Examples are drawn from published applications in the social sciences. Participants are encouraged to bring their own raw data for in-class exercises and assignments, if available [Read Further]

21 Mar

Perspectives on Politics

Book Review of All Necessary Measures: The UN and Humanitarian Intervention

The new issue of Perspectives on Politics (14: 1) contains my book review of All Necessary Measures: The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention by Carrie Booth Walling (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

From the review: The challenges of “humanitarian intervention” have been of pressing concern to policymakers and academics ever since the end of the bipolar confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. This became most evident when the international community failed to respond decisively to the genocide in Rwanda,despite having forces on the ground, as well as when it did not stop the atrocities of the Bosnian to its fate and when “safe havens” in Srebrenica were attacked and overrun by Serbian forces. In other conflicts, the UN Security Council did authorize a military response using “all necessary means,” as in Somalia, Sierra Leone, and, as the most recent humanitarian rights violations continues to haunt the international community, most visibly in the deadlock of the Security Council in the face of the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

In All Necessary Measures, Carrie Booth Walling explores the social construction and evolution of humanitarian intervention discourse and subsequent action at the the likelihood of force being used in defense of human rights by constructing narratives about the character and cause of a conflict. [Read Further]

 

25 Sep

Dissertation Award 2015 – German Political Science Association

Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict Receives Best Dissertation Award 2015 from the German Political Science Association (DVPW)

At its general conference in Duisburg-Essen, The German Political Science Association (Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft) granted Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict: Military Involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) the Best Dissertation Award for 2015. The prize is endowed with 1,000 EUR, provided by the Politische Vierteljahresschrift (PVS). The Laudation is published in PVS Issue 4/2015. [Book Information].

The conference opening and the Laudation, held by Stefan Marschall on behalf of the award committee (together with Matthias Bohlender and Klaus Schlichte), can be watched here (minute 138 onward). See also a Press Release from TU Dresden.

At the conference opening: Felix W. Wurm, Gabriele Abels, Patrick A. Mello, and Stefan Marschall (left to right):

Photo: Alexander Kobusch

 

22 Jul

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2015

Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets

Patrick A. Mello (Week 1), Carsten Q. Schneider (Week 2), Adrian Dusa, and Nena Oana (Teaching Assistants)

Methods Course taught for the European Consortium for Political Research at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 23 July – 8 August 2015

Course Outline: “This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught at the ECPR Winter School in Bamberg. The course starts out by familiarizing students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, students will be exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages. When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Examples are drawn from published applications in the social sciences. Participants are encouraged to bring their own raw data for in-class exercises and assignments, if available” [Read Further]

25 Jul

Democracy and War Involvement

Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict: Military Involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq

When do democracies participate in military operations, and under which conditions do they abstain? Studies on the democratic peace have largely neglected the flip-side of democratic participation in armed conflict. Moreover, whilst scholars have made the case that democracy needs to be unpacked to be meaningful, this is rarely done in international relations. In comparative politics, on the other hand, there has been extensive research on democratic subtypes and their virtues and weaknesses, but this is seldom applied to security policy. Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict provides an integrative theoretical framework for a systematic analysis of the conditions for democratic war involvement. Drawing on a novel methodological approach, the book identifies pathways of military participation and abstention across 30 democracies and their involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Mello, Patrick A. (2014) Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict: Military Involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan [More Information]

 

23 Jul

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2014

Set-Theoretic Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Related Approaches

Patrick A. Mello (Week 1), Carsten Q. Schneider (Week 2), Priscilla Álamos-Concha, and Nena Oana (Teaching Assistants)

Methods Course taught for the European Consortium for Political Research at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 24 July – 9 August 2014

Course Outline:This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with an emphasis on Qualitative Comparative Analysis and fuzzy sets. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught during the ECPR Winter School in Vienna. The course starts out by familiarising students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytic tool is used for analysing social science data. All analytic issues will be introduced based on crisp sets and later expanded to fuzzy sets. Right from the beginning, the course will also teach the use of the available software packages (predominantly R and fsQCA). When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will further engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Real-life published applications are used throughout the course. If available, participants are also encouraged to bring their own data. Some basic empirical comparative training is useful to get more out of the course, but this is no prerequisite in a strict sense. [Read Further]

16 Jul

Parliamentary peace or partisan politics?

Parliamentary peace or partisan politics? Democracies’ participation in the Iraq War

Abstract:This paper seeks to explain democracies’ military participation in the Iraq War. Prior studies have identified institutional and partisan differences as potential explanatory factors for the observed variance. The interaction of institutions and partisanship, however, has gone largely unobserved. I argue that these factors must be analyzed in conjunction: institutional constraints presume actors that fulfill their role as veto players to the executive. Likewise, partisan politics is embedded in institutional frames that enable or constrain decision-making. Hence I suggest a comparative approach that combines these factors to explain why some democracies joined the ad hoc coalition against Iraq and others did not. To investigate the interaction between institutions, partisanship and war participation I apply fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). The analysis reveals that the conjunction of right-of-center governments with an absence of both parliamentary veto rights and constitutional restrictions was sufficient for participation in the Iraq War. In turn, for countries where the constitution requires parliamentary approval of military deployments, the distribution of preferences within the legislature proved to be decisive for military participation or non-participation.

Keywords: democratic peace; fuzzy sets; institutional constraints; Iraq War; QCA

Mello, Patrick A. (2012) Parliamentary Peace or Partisan Politics? Democracies’ Participation in the Iraq War, Journal of International Relations and Development 15:3, 420-53 [More Information]

21 May

In Search of New Wars

In Search of New Wars: The Debate about a Transformation of War

Abstract: This article examines the literature on ‘new wars’ as it evolved in Germany, Great Britain and the USA. In order to gain an overview of this heterogeneous field of research five hypotheses are derived concerning characteristics of ‘new wars’: (1) the erosion of the state’s monopoly on the use of force; (2) the political economy of ‘new wars’; (3) ‘new wars’ as asymmetric wars; (4) ‘new wars’ as identity-based wars; and (5) terrorism within the framework of ‘new wars’. The concluding section addresses critiques, provides a brief summary and proposes future research.

Keywords: asymmetric warfare, new wars, organized violence, terrorism, transformation of war

Mello, Patrick A. (2010) In Search of New Wars: The Debate about a Transformation of War, European Journal of International Relations 16:2, 297–309 [More Information]