• Review of ‘The Quest for Knowledge in International Relations: How Do We Know?’

    I reviewed Richard Ned Lebow’s The Quest for Knowledge in International Relations: How Do We Know? (Cambridge University Press, 2022) for the latest issue of Political Science Quarterly. The book review is available here.

    From the review: “In his book The Quest for Knowledge in International Relations, Richard Ned Lebow addresses foundational questions about the academic enterprise of international relations (IR). What counts as knowledge in the discipline? By which methods and approaches can it be pursued? And on which grounds can knowledge claims be made? These overarching questions structure Lebow’s survey, while the topics of individual chapters are approached from the divide between positivism and interpretivism. […]

    Quest for Knowledge makes a plea for more conscious reflection upon questions of epistemology and the premises upon which our methodologies and methods rest. The book also acknowledges the diversity of approaches in IR, under the broad tents of positivism and interpretivism. As Lebow argues, the categories of positivism and interpretivism “do not exhaust the ways in which we can frame and seek knowledge but do capture nicely the dominant research traditions in international relations” (221). This resonates with a similar argument by Gary Goertz and James Mahoney, put forth in A Tale of Two Cultures, namely that empirical studies in the social sciences can be separated into quantitative and qualitative methodological cultures. However, as David Kuehn and Ingo Rohlfing have shown in a pilot study, methods practices could not be neatly classified into two cultures and, especially, qualitative research showed much more diversity than the common label suggests.

    Although one may question whether the binary distinction between positivism and interpretivism accurately portrays the field of IR, this does not diminish the substantial contribution of Lebow’s book, which should be essential reading for doctoral students and more senior researchers alike. The Quest for Knowledge successfully lifts the scaffolding of IR research to interrogate what is often relegated to the sidelines or not discussed at all in books on research design and methods. Lebow disentangles prevailing conceptions of “cause” and he keenly identifies the analytical dilemmas that are inherent in the main research approaches. The discussion of four research strategies on how to deal with the challenges of causal analysis (190–97) is particularly enlightening.”

  • QCA Workshop at the Lugano Summer School in Switzerland

    During the week of August 21-25, I returned to Lugano to teach the QCA workshop at the 27th Summer School in Social Science Methods at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). Since 2016, I have been teaching this workshop at USI. The intensive course covers the foundations and advanced uses of QCA and its application in R, based on my book Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press, 2021) and the accompanying R Manual (R Script and PDF freely available here). Workshop sessions are split into lectures and exercises, with dedicated time for individual consultation and feedback (see also the course description on the USI website). For impressions from previous years, see here. Thanks to the team at USI for the smooth organization and to all participants for the constructive sessions!

  • Contribution to the Robert Jervis International Security Studies Forum

    I contributed to an H-Diplo Roundtable Review in the Robert Jervis International Security Studies Forum, reviewing the book African Interventions: State Militaries, Foreign Powers and Rebel Forces (Cambridge University Press, 2022) by Emizet F. Kisangani and Jeffrey Pickering (both Kansas State University). The roundtable was organized by Frank Gerits (Utrecht University) and further included contributions from Seung-Whan Choi (University of Illinois at Chicago), Benjamin Fordham (Binghamton University, SUNY), and Dennis Foster (Virginia Military Institute), as well as a response from the book’s authors. The PDF can be directly accessed here.

  • 10th European Workshops in International Studies in Amsterdam

    On July 12-14, 2023, the 10th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) took place in Amsterdam. I participated in the Workshop on “Systemic Transformation and National Role Conceptions: The Domestic Politics of Deconstructing and Redefining ‘the West’”, convened by Angelos Chryssogelos (London Metropolitan University) and Toby Greene (Bar Ilan University). During the workshop, I presented a paper on “The Party Politics of National Role Contestation: Germany’s ‘Traffic Light’ Coalition and the Russian War against Ukraine”.

  • Workshop on the Party-Political Contestation of the Liberal International Order at VU Amsterdam

    On July 11, 2023, I took part in the kick-off workshop of Wolfgang Wagner’s project on the “Party-Political Contestation of the Liberal International Order”, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and organized at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The workshop opened with a keynote address from Stephanie Hofmann (European University Institute) on “Global Politics, Democratic States, and Political Parties, Avenues for Research”. This was followed by two panels with presentations from PhD researchers (Baris Ertürk, Sungmi Shin, Richard Sonneveld, Martina Stankova, Christina Stremming, and Vanessa Vohs) and a host of expert discussants. Together with Atsushi Tago (Waseda University), I served as discussant for Sungmi Shin’s PhD research proposal on “Foreign Policy Space of Party Politics in South Korea and Japan”.

  • Mitgliederversammlung der DVPW-Themengruppe Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 2023

    Im Rahmen der IB-Sektionstagung an der Zeppelin Universität in Friedrichshafen fand am 16. Juni 2023 die hybride Mitgliederversammlung der DVPW-Themengruppe Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik statt. Anschließend an den Bericht des bisherigen SprecherInnen-Teams über Aktivitäten und Publikationen der Themengruppe und Neuigkeiten aus dem Rat der DVPW wurde ein neues SprecherInnen-Team gewählt.

    Neben anderen Publikationen ist besonders auf das kürzlich erschienene Routledge Handbook of Foreign Policy Analysis Methods (2023) hinzuweisen, dessen Konzeption mit einem durch die Themengruppe ausgerichteten Workshop an der Universität Erfurt im Herbst 2019 begann und zu dessen 34 Kapiteln neben internationalen Beitragenden auch viele Mitglieder der Themengruppe beigesteuert haben.

    Seit Januar 2021 hat die Themengruppe 14 “virtuelle Kolloquien” organisiert (siehe Folie), wobei jeweils ein aktuelles Paper zu außenpolitischen Fragen diskutiert wurde.Wir freuen uns darüber, wie erfolgreich die Idee des virtuellen Kolloquiums der Themengruppe aufgenommen wurde und bedanken uns bei all den Kolleginnen und Kollegen, die uns seither mit Beiträgen und als Discussant unterstützt haben.

    Seit einigen Jahren ist es möglich, sich innerhalb der DVPW einzelnen Gliederungen zuzuordnen. Aktuell haben sich 119 Personen der Themengruppe Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik zugeordnet, was einen Zuwachs um 20% (seit 2021) bedeutet. Neben einem Twitter-Account (@dvpw_aussenpol) betreibt die Themengruppe auch eine Mailingliste (Anmeldung). Wir freuen uns sehr über die breite Unterstützung und das Interesse an der Arbeit der Themengruppe.

    Nach zwei Amtszeiten in der Themengruppe (2017 bis 2023) haben Gordon Friedrichs (Freiburg) und ich turnusgemäß nicht mehr für das SprecherInnen-Team kandidiert. Sabine Mokry (Hamburg) und Falk Ostermann (Kiel) wurden für eine zweite Amtszeit gemeinsam mit Florian Böller (Kaiserslautern), Stephan Fouquet (Eichstätt) und Antje Nötzold (Chemnitz) gewählt.

    Ich wünsche dem neuen Team viel Erfolg für die anstehende Arbeit und die kommenden Aktivitäten! Es war mir eine Freude, zusammen mit Sabine Mokry, Gordon Friedrichs und Falk Ostermann (und zuvor mit Sandra Destradi und Klaus Brummer) die Geschicke der Themengruppe zu leiten.

  • Tagung der DVPW-Sektion Internationale Beziehungen an der Zeppelin Universität

    Vom 14. bis 16. Juni 2023 fand die Tagung der DVPW-Sektion Internationale Beziehungen an der Zeppelin Universität in Friedrichshafen am Bodensee statt (Programm), organisiert durch das Team des Lehrstuhls für Internationale Sicherheitspolitik von Simon Koschut. Im Panel “die Krise des liberalen Interventionismus und die Rückkehr von Krieg in Europa” habe ich ein Paper zur Zeitenwende in der deutschen Sicherheitspolitik vorgestellt (Chair: Elke Krahmann, Discussant: Anna Geis), mit weiteren Beiträgen von Cornelia Baciu, Falk Ostermann, Wolfgang Wagner, Florian Böller und Georg Wenzelburger. Zudem war ich Discussant im Panel “Studying the Rusian-Ukrainian War: Local, Regional, and Global Implications”, mit Thomas Risse als Chair und Beiträgen von Gerald Schneider, Alessia Invernizzi, Olena Osypenkova und Tim Büthe.

  • Delegation from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Visits Japanese Research Institutions

    Between May 20-28, I was part of an interdisciplinary delegation of researchers and international office staff from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to visit Japanese research institutions, to foster new collaborations, and to reconnect with local partners. Apart from many individual meetings, we collectively visited the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Keio University, Waseda University, and took part in an event and roundtable discussion at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tokyo, where we also met with alumni from the Vrije Universiteit. The interdisciplinary delegation comprised 24 members from five faculties of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

  • Guest Lecture on German Foreign Policy at Waseda University, Tokyo

    On May 24, I was invited to give a guest lecture at the Faculty of Political Science and Economics of Waseda University in Atushi Tago‘s undergraduate course on International Relations. I presented findings from a working paper “Zeitenwende: German Security Policy in the Wake of the Afghanistan Withdrawal and Russia’s War against Ukraine” , and related these to current developments in Japan. Many thanks to the students for their intriguing questions after the talk and to Atsushi Tago for hosting me at Waseda University!

  • Chikura Shobo to Publish Japanese Translation of Qualitative Comparative Analysis

    The Japanese academic publisher Chikura Shobo has acquired the rights to translate Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press, 2021) into Japanese. The Japanese edition will be published in late 2023/early 2024. The translator is Professor Nobukazu Azuma of Aoyama Gakuin University. On May 23, I met with him in the offices of Chikura Shobo in Tokyo.