On January 14-15, I jointly co-taught a workshop on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the University of Lausanne, together with Benoît Rihoux of UC Louvain. Course participants were PhD students of the CUSO network of Western Switzerland (Universities of Lausanne, Fribourg, Genève, and Neuchâtel). Many thanks to the people at CUSO for the invitation and organization of the event and to the participants for a constructive workshop!
This workshop gives a thorough introduction to the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), with an emphasis on research design and practical application. Since its inception (Ragin 1987), QCA has gained recognition among social scientists as a case-based research method that is ideally suited to capture causal complexity. This essentially describes a situation where an outcome results from multiple pathways and different combinations of conditions. Moreover, QCA entails a rigorous and systematic comparison of selected cases and their configurations through Boolean logic and a software-based analytical protocol.
Throughout this workshop, participants will be introduced to the building blocks of QCA, while the course structure follows an ideal-typical research process. The introduction opens with empirical illustrations to show how and for what purposes QCA is being used, before summarizing the method’s key characteristics. This is followed by sessions on causation, causal complexity, and research design, to provide a foundation for thinking about empirical applications. The ensuing sessions engage with the use of QCA as an analytical approach, starting with set theory and concepts like necessary and sufficient conditions, Boolean algebra, truth tables, and fuzzy sets. In calibrating sets, we look into approaches to transform empirical raw data into crisp and fuzzy sets. Next, the course examines various measures of fit that help in evaluating QCA results. The session on set-theoretic analysis puts all of the elements together and shows how empirical data is analyzed and interpreted with QCA. Finally, the workshop closes with sessions on advanced topics, which can be tailored based on participants’ background and research interests. Potential topics include multi-method research design, QCA variants, addressing critiques, and recent developments. The workshop sessions are complemented by illustrations and exercises, using the R Software environment and relevant R Packages.
Abstract:While parliaments have long been neglected actors in the analysis of security policy, a research literature on the subject is growing. Current research is focused primarily on how parliaments, relying on formal legal competences, can constrain governmental policies. However, this research needs expansion in three areas. First, informal sources of parliamentary influence on security policy deserve more systematic attention as the significance of parliaments often hinges on contextual factors and individual decision-makers. Second, we still lack a systematic understanding of the effects of parliamentary involvement on security policy. Finally, the role of parliaments for the politics of security is almost completely uncharted territory. When parliaments become involved in security policy, does it foster transparency and contribute to the politicisation of security policy so that security policy becomes a ‘normal’ political issue? The article reviews current research, derives findings from the contributions to this Special Issue, and spells out their wider implications.
Introduction to the special issue:
Mello, Patrick A., and Dirk Peters (2018) ‘Parliaments in Security Policy: Involvement, Politicisation, and Influence’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745684.
Strong, James (2018) ‘The War Powers of the British Parliament: What Has Been Established and What Remains Unclear?’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745767.
Kriner, Douglas L. (2018) ‘Congress, Public Opinion, and an Informal Constraint on the Commander-in-Chief’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745860.
Rosén, Guri, and Kolja Raube (2018) ‘Influence Beyond Formal Powers: The Parliamentarisation of European Union Security Policy’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117747105.
Schade, Daniel (2018) ‘Limiting or Liberating? The Influence of Parliaments on Military Deployments in Multinational Settings’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117746918.
Wagner, Wolfgang (2018) ‘Is There a Parliamentary Peace? Parliamentary Veto Power and Military Interventions from Kosovo to Daesh’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745859.
Lagassé, Philippe, and Patrick A. Mello (2018) ‘The Unintended Consequences of Parliamentary Involvement: Elite Collusion and Afghanistan Deployments in Canada and Germany’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745681.
Raunio, Tapio (2018) ‘Parliament as an Arena for Politicization: The Finnish Eduskunta and Crisis Management Operations’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745682.
Hegemann, Hendrik (2018) ‘Towards ‘Normal’ Politics? Security, Parliaments and the Politicisation of Intelligence Oversight in the German Bundestag’, British Journal of Politics and International Relationshttps://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745683.
Abstract: Recent studies on political ideology suggest the existence of partisan divides on matters of foreign and security policy – challenging the notion that “politics stops at the water’s edge”. However, when taken as a whole, extant work provides decidedly mixed evidence of party-political differences outside domestic politics. This article first conducts a systematic empirical analysis of the relationship between parties’ left-right positions and their general attitude towards peace and security missions, which suggests that right-leaning parties tend to be more supportive of military operations. Yet, the results also show that the empirical pattern is curvilinear: centrist and center-right parties witness the highest level of support for military missions, while parties on both ends of the political spectrum show substantially less support. The second part of our analysis examines whether the stronger support of rightist parties for peace and security missions translates into a greater inclination of right-wing governments to actually deploy forces to military operations. Strikingly, our results suggest that leftist governments were actually more inclined to participate in operations than their right-leaning counterparts. The greater willingness of left-wing executives to deploy military forces is the result of their greater inclination to participate in operations with inclusive goals.
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