Politicologenetmaal, June 7-8

This week I am traveling to Leiden to take part in the Dutch/Belgian ’24hrs of political science’ conference — time for me to re-integrate in the Dutch-speaking pol. sci. community.

My contribution:

Paper: Domestic support for international interventions: Addressing the social and emotional dimensions
Slot: Friday, June 8, 09:00-10:30
Panel III: Micro-level approaches to conflict participation and resolution
Workshop: Opening the black box of international conflicts. Individual, domestic and multi-level perspectives.

Process tracing workshop at GIGA Hamburg

Tomorrow and Wednesday I will be at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg to offer a two-day workshop on process tracing methodology.

Introduction to process tracing
Process Tracing (PT) is a within-case method that focuses on tracing causal mechanisms – the actual ‘link’ between a trigger (X) and an outcome (Y). This workshop will introduce you to the essentials of this method, its main underlying assumptions and its applicability. We will discuss what causal mechanisms are, how we can ‘trace’ them and what kind of causal inferences we can draw on the bases of a process-tracing study. Moreover, to position PT in the broader methodological field we will look at how PT relates to, but differs from, other (larger- and small-N) case study methods and discuss what understanding of causality underlies process-tracing. This introduction to PT will take a hands-on approach applying the new insights to concrete examples and to the participants’ research projects. The first day we will cover most methodological ground and theoretical debates, the second day is largely reserved for debating practical questions and applicability by means of discussing some of the participants’ own research and applications of PT.

See the website of the GIGA for the workshop outline.

‘We don’t do that’

My latest paper in Cooperation and Conflict came out as online first yesterday!

‘We don’t do that’: A constructivist perspective on the use and non-use of private military contractors by Denmark
 In this article I put forward a social constructivist perspective on state use of Private Military and Security Contractors (PMSCs). I will argue that state outsourcing decisions are, to a large extent, shaped by nationally shared values, understandings and dispositions. Concretely, I first provide a detailed overview of the extent of domestic and deployed contracting by the Danish Defence and, thereafter, based on a number of semi-structured interviews, I expose the dominant understandings that shaped how PMSCs have come to be understood in Denmark. By so doing I can show that the employment of PMSCs by the Danish Defence remains comparatively limited because it is largely perceived as inappropriate and as incompatible with what it means to be ‘Danish’. Although Denmark too has to balance its international engagements with the limited resources allocated to defence (the typical functional pressures) Danish particular ‘soft’ neoliberalism and ‘hard’ commitments to IHL speak against using private actors to make that possible. This means I take in the more abstract, macro-level discussions on the end of the Cold War and the advent of neoliberalism but go beyond by asking whether, and if so how, these and other collective experiences and understandings actually (co-)shape(d) outsourcing decisions.

van Meegdenburg, H. (2018). ‘We don’t do that’: A constructivist perspective on the use and non-use of private military contractors by Denmark. Cooperation and Conflict.

See also my list of publications.

ECPR Winter School in Methods and Techniques 2018

Process Tracing Methodology – WB104 – Introduction to Process Tracing

I’ll be offering an introductory course on Process Tracing Methodology at the upcoming ECPR Winter School for Methods and Techniques March 2-9 at the University of Bamberg.

Introduction to process tracing
Process Tracing (PT) is a within-case method that focuses on tracing causal mechanisms—the actual ‘link’ between a trigger (X) and an outcome (Y). This course will introduce you to the essentials of this method, its main underlying assumptions, and its applicability. We will discuss what causal mechanisms are, how we can ‘trace’ them, and what kind of causal inferences we can draw on the bases of a process-tracing study. Moreover, to position PT in the broader methodological field we will look at how PT relates to, but differs from, other (larger- and small-N) case study methods and discuss what understanding of causality underlies process-tracing

This introduction to PT will take a hands-on approach applying the new insights to concrete examples and, when possible, to the participants’ research projects. Most benefit is to be expected if participants are able to use parts of their own research in the exercises during the course. All participants are expected to have read the indicated literature, and to have familiarised themselves with case study methods more broadly and process tracing in particular.

For more information and a full course outline: ECPR website.

Nachfrage aus dem »Westen« trifft Arbeit aus dem »Süden«

New publication in Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (English below).

Nachfrage aus dem »Westen« trifft Arbeit aus dem »Süden«. PMSCs und der Einsatz von internationalen labour supply chains in der westlichen Kriegsführung
Private Militär- und Sicherheitsunternehmen (PMSCs) haben in den letzten Jahren viel Aufmerksamkeit erregt. Allerdings wurden sie bislang meist als Sicherheitsdienstleister angesehen und hinsichtlich ihrer Verantwortlichkeitsproblematik diskutiert. In diesem Essay beleuchte ich einen anderen, jedoch sehr wichtigen, Aspekt von PMSCs: Ihre Funktion als Arbeitsvermittler und die Bildung von internationalen Zuliefererketten von Arbeitskräften. Da die Nachfrage nach militärischen und unterstützenden Dienstleistungen größtenteils durch Arbeitskraft aus dem Globalen Süden sichergestellt wird, konzentriere ich mich auf zwei Aspekte: (1) die Rekrutierungspraktiken von PMSCs und die Nutzung des globalen Reservoirs von Arbeitskräften; sowie (2) die Beschäftigung und Arbeitsbedingungen von Drittstaatenangehörigen in Afghanistan und dem Irak. Um die Beschäftigung von Drittstaatenangehörigen durch PMSCs in einen breiteren Kontext zu stellen, gehe ich kurz auf die Globalisierung von Produktion und Arbeit im Allgemeinen ein und folgere anschließend, dass diese Entwicklungen die Verteilung der sozialen, physischen und wirtschaftlichen Kosten und Nutzen von Kriegen verändert.
When demand from the ‘West’ meets labour from the ‘South’. PMSCs and the introduction of labour supply chains in support of Western warfare
Over the years Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) have attracted much attention. So far, however, they have been regarded mainly as security providers and the debate on PMSCs mostly centred on accountability and responsibility questions. In this essay I want to highlight a different but very important function PMSCs fulfil: their function as labour suppliers and the establishment of international labour supply chains in support of Western warfare. Considering the demand for military and support services is largely met by labour from the Global South I will focus on two aspects of this development: (1) The recruitment practices of PMSCs and their exploitation of the global pool of labour; and (2) the employment of Third Country Nationals (TCNs) and the labour conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, to put the employment of TCNs in conflict zones in a broader context I briefly reflect on the globalisation of labour and production in general and conclude that this development changes the distribution of the social, physical, and economic costs and benefits of the production of warfare.

van Meegdenburg, H. (2017). Nachfrage aus dem »Westen« trifft Arbeit aus dem »Süden«. PMSCs und der Einsatz von internationalen labour supply chains in der westlichen Kriegsführung. Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, 6(2), p.289-308.