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Risks and opportunities for conflict transformation
Maéva Clément, Anna Geis, and Hanna Pfeifer

Many contemporary violent conflicts involve armed non-state actors (ANSAs) as conflict parties. Governments are often hesitant to enter informal talks and negotiations with ANSAs, and yet in many violent conflicts such ‘talks’ are initiated at some point. Engaging with ANSAs is considered risky. Talking and negotiating usually imply gradual steps of recognising and legitimising the counterpart. In successful cases, ANSAs can be transformed into non-violent political parties and their legitimate goals eventually become incorporated into state policy. But recognition can also backfire by creating counterproductive precedents and new modes of exclusion in politics. In unsuccessful cases, armed non-state actors might escalate the violent struggle. At the same time, mis-recognition, which individuals or collective actors experience as humiliation, disrespect or false representations of their identity, can be seen as a major cause of political resistance and escalation.

By conceptualising the (mis-/non-)recognition of ANSAs, pointing to potential ambivalences and addressing its meaning for conflict transformation, the introductory chapter provides the broader analytical frame and contextualisation for the edited volume. It links the concept of recognition as developed in international political theory to research on ANSAs in peace and conflict studies. What forms of (non-/mis-)recognition of armed non-state actors occur in violent conflicts? Which risks and opportunities arise in processes of conflict transformation when state actors recognise armed non-state actors or, conversely, deny them recognition? The theoretical-conceptual considerations presented here draw on examples from the case studies as discussed in the individual contributions to the volume.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
Hanna Pfeifer

Lebanese Hezbollah is arguably the most powerful armed non-state actor currently active. Founded as an Islamic resistance movement against Israeli occupation in the 1970s and 1980s, Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organisation by several Western states and, since 2016, by the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Since 2015, it is known to have been involved in several armed conflicts in the Middle East, most importantly as a supporter of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, but also as a provider of military training for resistance groups in Iraq and Yemen.

At the same time, however, Hezbollah representatives have been part of all Lebanese governments since 2011 and they occupy a number of seats in Parliament. Finally, Hezbollah is also a very active provider of social and welfare services in the Lebanese South and the Beqaa.

For all of the roles it takes, Hezbollah has often been described as a hybrid organisation, which escapes established typologies of both Islamism and terrorism. The chapter, based on the author’s field research in Lebanon, seeks to explore and map the variety of recognition practices that revolve around Hezbollah. It analyses what kind of recognition Hezbollah seeks from different audiences, among them the Lebanese and transnational Shiite community, the Lebanese people, competing political parties in Lebanon, and Western and Middle Eastern states, as well as international organisations. It traces how recognition-granters react to Hezbollah’s claims and what consequences these parallel processes of recognition, non-recognition and mis-recognition have on inner-Lebanese and regional conflict dynamics.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
The case of the Islamic State
Tom Kaden and Christoph Günther

The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the ways in which the Islamic State generates and upholds its message through what are termed recognition orders, that is, complex sets of recognition by various actors for various traits and reasons, as well as complex sets of claims for recognition towards various actors as to what is to be recognised about the Islamic State in which way. This means that any act of recognition, non- or mis-recognition is part of a social relationship between those granting (or denying) and those the act is directed towards. Consequently, recognition and its others (non- and mis-recognition) are constituted reciprocally.

Considerations are based on an examination of twenty-three authoritative statements as well as a few texts and videos wherein the Islamic State’s ideologues emphasised particular sets of traits the group aspired to being recognised for as well as sets of actors from which the group sought recognition. These sets of traits and their variation correspond to the series of organisational stages the Islamic State underwent before and after its proclamation as the Caliphate in 2014. The chapter proposes two different sets of analytical questions, the answers to which reveal the complex recognition regime of which the Islamic State is part. The history of the Islamic State and its predecessor organisations is shown to be highly volatile in terms of the content and scope of the recognition it demands.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
Open Access (free)
Partial offsets and unfinished business
Dimitris N. Chryssochoou, Michael J. Tsinisizelis, Stelios Stavridis, and Kostas Ifantis

This chapter discusses the revision process of the Maastricht Treaty. It assesses the politics of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 1996/97 and looks at the extent to which the outcome of the revision process – namely the Treaty of Amsterdam – represents a development of the integration process, or if it is merely a combination of state competences. The chapter studies the Final Report of the Reflection Group, which was structured around three dimensions (efficiency, democracy and flexibility). It also discusses the issues of subsidiarity and transparency, the changes made to simplify European Union decisionmaking, the revisions made to the voting mechanisms in the Council and the expansion of Qualified Majority Voting. The chapter furthermore studies the classification of Community Acts, which came from the European Parliament's Institutional Affairs Committee and the Italian government during the IGCs.

in Theory and reform in the European Union
Open Access (free)
Reflections in a distorting mirror
Christoph Zürcher

This chapter presents an anatomical comparison of the conflicts in Chechnya and Kosovo, emphasising the remarkable similarity between the two. It focuses on to the responses of Russia and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to the respective Chechen and Kosovo problems. The chapter discusses rationales and motives can, in the absence of any convincing Realist interests, best explain NATO's and Russia's decision to go to war. It shows how Chechnya and Kosovo are linked, both by Realpolitik and, perhaps more directly, by each being the focal point of an on-going war of interpretation. The outcome of each of these wars of interpretation may influence the European security landscape more than the 'hot war' in Kosovo. Both the Chechen and the Kosovo conflict are essentially a by-product of the breakdown of the Soviet and Yugoslav ethno-federations.

in Mapping European security after Kosovo
Sarah Hale

The development and academic study of the 'Third Way' since the mid-1990s represents the most consistent and durable attempt to develop those overt beliefs on behalf of the 'Centre-Left' in general and New Labour in particular. Five names crop up when communitarian philosophy is cited by Third Way commentators: Alasdair MacIntyre; Michael Sandel; Charles Taylor; Michael Walzer and John Macmurray. These philosophers are the subject of this chapter. The obvious connection between Tony Blair and Macmurray is the importance for both of them of the idea of community. For Macmurray, individualism is an expression of fear, while society is an expression of mutual need, and community an expression of love. Sandel's approach has been seen as epitomising a communitarianism in which justice and community are in conflict. MacIntyre's criticism of liberalism is far broader than Sandel's.

in The Third Way and beyond
Open Access (free)
Individuals acting together
Keith Graham

This chapter articulates the idea of one kind of community, pertinent to social and political questions, which is present in many areas of actual human life. It explores a specific conception of community as a collective agency. The chapter suggests that the membership of a collective agency raises important questions about loyalty, allegiance and dissociation. Where an individual is participating in collective action with others, a space must always be left for critical reflection, options of identification with or dissociation from the CA and even actual detachment from a CA. The chapter also suggests that the existence of collective agencies casts doubt on the adequacy of the doctrine of the distinctness of persons. According to the doctrine, it is particularly important to bundle together the desires of a single individual. By contrast, no special importance attaches to a bundle which represents the desires of different individuals for the same end.

in Political concepts
Open Access (free)
Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd

Politics takes place within a framework of ideas and concepts, ideological and religious beliefs, and social and political institutions moulded by the struggles arising from their interplay. This chapter focuses on religion and politics, disabled rights movements, gay rights movements and animal rights movements. Religious identity plays a very important role in the creation of the national identity of most countries. 'Fundamentalism' was originally applied to an approach to religion in which it was assumed that the original purity of the faith had been compromised and that purification by means of a return to the well springs was required. In Europe and particularly in Britain, fundamentalism seems to have virtually no mainstream political impact. Radical secularism and the political pseudo-religions of fascism and communism have created as much misery and death as has religion during the twentieth century.

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Open Access (free)
Paul Latawski and Martin A. Smith

When the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) undertook military action without an explicit mandate from the United Nations Security Council, it entered a kind of international no-man's land between upholding the sanctity of state sovereignty and that of human life. While NATO members asserted that the humanitarian and strategic imperatives of saving Kosovar Albanian lives and preventing destabilisation in South East Europe drove the action, states such as Russia and China saw the Kosovo conflict as an unacceptable violation of the former Yugoslavia's state sovereignty. NATO's military action best met the description of being an intervention, but this descriptor itself was full of variations, including the one that has been subject to the widest debate: humanitarian intervention. This book has argued that the Kosovo crisis played a smaller and more indirect role in helping initiate the development of the European Union's European Security and Defence Policy than many have assumed. It has also discussed the Atlantic Community, the Euro-Atlantic Area, and Russia's role and place in European security affairs.

in The Kosovo crisis and the evolution of post-Cold War European security
Open Access (free)
Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture
Kerry Longhurst

This chapter addresses the issues and debates that were presented in the previous chapters and studies them in relation to the three main questions posed in the Introduction. The first question is on identification, the second question is on change, and the third question is about behaviour. This chapter concludes that while Germany's strategic culture has not changed since its creation after the Second World War, a more self-assured Germany, in terms of security issues, seems to be emerging.

in Germany and the use of force