• 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]

  • 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]

  • 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]

  • 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]