On March 28-29, I gave an applied workshop on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Center for Comparative Research on Democracy at the Department of Social Sciences of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The workshop was tailored for researchers of the project “Judicial Autonomy under Authoritarian Attack”, led by Prof. Dr. Silvia von Steinsdorff, and funded by the Einstein Foundation Berlin. The two-day workshop followed up on a virtual preparatory session to provide a comprehensive introduction to the method and approach of QCA and its application in the R software environment, based on my book Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press) and the accompanying R Manual. Particular emphasis was placed on finding a suitable QCA research design in line with the broader aims of the project. Many thanks to the whole project team for the warm welcome in Berlin and the engaged and constructive discussions!
QCA Workshop at Humboldt-Universität Berlin
ISA 2023 Annual Convention in Montréal
On March 15-18, 2023, the 64th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association took place Montréal, Canada. I had four program appearances. First, I co-chaired a roundtable (with Falk Ostermann, Kiel University) on our recently published Routledge Handbook of Foreign Policy Analysis Methods, with contributions from panelists (and contributors to our handbook) Marijke Breuning (University of North Texas), Simon Koschut (Zeppelin University), Sibel Oktay (University of Illinois at Springfield), Hilde van Meegdenburg (Leiden University), and discussant Susan Hannah Allen (University of Mississippi). I further presented a paper on the German Zeitenwende in Foreign and Security Policy in a panel on “The Crisis of Liberal Interventionism”, organized by Cornelia Bacius (University of Copenhagen), with discussant Sibel Oktay and chaired by Brian Rathbun (University of Southern California). I also co-chaired the Foreign Policy Analysis Methods Café (with Marijke Breuning and Falk Ostermann), where I introduced and discussed Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), at one of 7 expert tables in the methods café. Finally, I served as chair and discussant in a panel on “Foreign Influence in the Middle East and North Africa”, with contributions from Nikolaos Lampas (Deree, The American College of Greece), Ora Szekely (Clark University), and Cindy May (London School of Economics and Political Science). Besides these panels, I also took part in the Editorial Board meeting of Foreign Policy Analysis and the FPA Section‘s business meeting, where I had served on the book award committee, together with Sibel Oktay and chaired by Dursun Peksen (Memphis University). Last but not least, we had our traditional “early-bird” Friday 7:15am meeting of the German Political Science Association’s (DVPW) group on foreign and security policy, together with Gordon Friedrichs (University of Freiburg) and Falk Ostermann. We were happy about a nice and diverse turnout of colleagues, despite the early time.
QCA Summer School Workshop in Lugano
This summer I’ll be offering a workshop on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), as part of the Summer School in Social Science Methods at the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano. This will be the 5th time that I’m holding a QCA workshop in Lugano (on previous courses, see here). The workshop runs for a full week and covers the entire research design cycle of QCA with R and its packages, including the application and interpretation of findings and advanced topics such as multi-method research, addressing critiques and peer reviews, and increasing the robustness of one’s study. There are also opportunities for the presentation of own work and individual consultation on QCA research design. The workshop is based on my textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application, published with Georgetown University Press (2021), see also the online content hosted on Harvard Dataverse. In case you’re interested in participating in this workshop but have questions about it, please feel free to contact me.
Routledge Handbook of Foreign Policy Analysis Methods Published
Edited by Patrick A. Mello and Falk Ostermann
On December 26, the Routledge Handbook of Foreign Policy Analysis Methods was published (co-edited with Falk Ostermann, Kiel University). The handbook contains 34 chapters and a foreword from 46 international contributors, covering a diverse range of new and established methods of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). Embracing methodological pluralism and a belief in the value of an open discussion about methods’ assumptions and diverging positions, it provides new, state-of-the-art research approaches, as well as introductions to a range of established methods. Each chapter follows the same structured approach, introducing the method and its development, discussing strengths, requirements, limitations, and potential pitfalls while illustrating the method’s application using examples from empirical research. For more information on the book, including an excerpt from the foreword by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and book endorsements from Charles F. Hermann, Margaret G. Hermann, Stéphanie Hofmann, Juliet Kaarbo, and Atsushi Tago, please see this page.
10th International QCA Expert Workshop at ETH Zurich and Online
On December 13-15, I participated virtually in the 10th International QCA Expert Workshop and the 6th International QCA Paper Development Workshop at ETH Zurich and online. As in previous years, the event was organized by Manuel Fischer, Julia Leib, Johannes Meuer, Sofia Pagliarin, Ryan Michael Rumble, and Christian Rupietta. The QCA Expert Workshop brought together a group of 36 QCA experts and practitioners from around the globe, many of whom participated online to discuss methodological innovations and new empirical applications. One highlight was Charles Ragin’s presentation on his forthcoming book Analytic Induction (to be published in 2023). The preceding QCA Paper Development Workshop was the 6th event of this kind, which included more than a dozen roundtables and breakout rooms where 36 applied QCA papers were presented and discussed. I co-chaired a Q&A session with Seweryn Krupnik (Jagiellonian University) and Martin Schneider (Paderborn University), and Seweryn and I also co-chaired a roundtable at the Paper Development Workshop.
Unintended Consequences of UN Sanctions On the Shortlist for the 2023 Bernard Brodie Prize
Since 2009, Contemporary Security Policy (CSP) annually awards the Bernard Brodie Prize to recognize “an outstanding article published in the journal in the previous year”. The award is named after the American military strategist Bernard Brodie (1910-1978), author of influential books such as The Absolute Weapon (1946), Strategy in the Missile Age (1959), Escalation and the Nuclear Option (1966), War and Politics (1973), and From Crossbow to H-Bomb (1973, with Fawn M. Brodie). As CSP acknowledges on its website, Brodie established “ideas that remain at the centre of security debates to this day”. Moreover, he was “one of the first analysts to cross between official and academic environments” and, importantly, Brodie “pioneered the model of civilian influence that CSP represents”. As Brodie underlined, for instance in War and Politics (1973): “the civil hand must never relax, and it must without one hint of apology hold the control that has always belonged to it by right.” On November 29, the journal announced its shortlist for the 2023 Bernard Brodie Prize and our open access article “Unintended Consequences of UN Sanctions: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis” (co-authored with Katharina L. Meissner, University of Vienna) was among those selected. The complete shortlist and a collection all previous prize winners can be found on the CSP website.
Mitglied der Ethik-Kommission der DVPW, 2022-2027
Vom 17. bis 30. Oktober 2022 fand die Online-Wahl zur Neubesetzung der Ethik-Kommission der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (DVPW) statt. Gemeinsam mit Sebastian Huhnholz, Ursula Münch, Susanne Pickel, Ingo Rohlfing und Gabi Schlag wurde ich für die Amtszeit von 2022 bis 2027 gewählt. In ihrer konstituierenden Sitzung einigte sich die Kommission auf Ingo Rohlfing als Vorsitzenden und Susanne Pickel als stellvertretende Vorsitzende. Neben Mitgliederversammlung, Vorstand und Rat ist die Ethik-Kommission eines der vier satzungsgemäßen Organe der DVPW. Die Arbeit der Ethik-Kommission beruht auf Grundlagen, die im Ethik-Kodex der DVPW ausgeführt werden. Die Kommission wird tätig, wenn sie aufgrund eines Verstoßes gegen den Ethik-Kodex angerufen wird. Weitere Informationen zur Ethik-Kommission und zur Kontaktaufnahme finden sich auf der Webseite der DVPW.
New Position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
As of September 1, 2022, I am Assistant Professor of International Security at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where I’m joining the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Thanks to everyone at the department for making this happen! I’m thrilled about what lies ahead and look forward to working with my new colleagues in Amsterdam!
26th Summer School in Social Science Methods, Lugano 2022
From August 22-28, 2022 I taught at the 26th Summer School in Social Science Methods, organized by the Swiss Foundation for Social Science (FORS) and the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). The summer school is hosted at USI in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland. This was the fourth time I offered a one-week intensive course on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Summer School in Lugano (after 2016, 2019, and 2021). This year, the course was offered as full-day in-presence workshop, with 18 participants hailing from 11 countries. The course was based on my QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application, published with Georgetown University Press (2021, Publisher’s Website). Many thanks to all course participants for an intensive and fun week with QCA! And thanks to School Coordinator Janice Casarella and the School Directors Benedetto Lepori, Eugène Horber, and Patrick Gagliardini for the excellent and smooth organization!
Open Access Article Published in Global Studies Quarterly
The July 2022 edition of ISA’s new open access journal Global Studies Quarterly features our article “When Do International Organizations Engage in Agency Slack? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of United Nations Institutions” (with Eugénia Heldt, Anna Novoselova, and Omar Ramon Serrano Oswald). The article is based on research from our German Research Foundation project on “International Bureaucracies and Agency Slack” under DFG project number 370183851. Our study examines 16 UN organizations and the organizational characteristics under which agency slack occurs at these IOs, based on a qualitative coding of primary documents from the UN Joint Inspection Unit.
Abstract: The extensive delegation of power to international organizations (IOs) has been accompanied by occasional agency slack. While prior studies suggest that IOs’ propensity for agency slack may be rooted in their organizational characteristics, this has rarely been explored empirically. To address this lacuna, in this article we propose a conceptualization and measurement of agency slack and develop a framework of organizational characteristics. Our empirical analysis applies qualitative comparative analysis to assess the conditions under which agency slack occurs across sixteen United Nations institutions. We complement the cross-case analysis with two case illustrations. Our results document the empirical existence of two paths to agency slack, providing conﬁrmatory evidence for our theoretical expectations. Path 1 combines stafﬁng rules that are favorable for the agent with wide access to third parties. Path 2 entails the combination of favorable stafﬁng rules with extensive delegation of authority and a vague organizational mandate.