Sicherheitskultur im Wandel

Topics: Humanitarian Intervention 


Human Rights / Humanitarian Intervention

Traditionally, sovereignty and security have been perceived as an exclusive domain of the nation-state. Ever accelerating processes of globalization and developments of international law, however, shed some doubt on the validity of this claim. The universality of human rights and the states' responsibility to protect are prime examples. The inter- and transnationalization of publicly voiced security demands is, however, not met with equally inter- and transnationalized instruments: the capabilities remain firmly vested on the state-level. The project is interested in analyzing the discrepancy between these demands and capabilities for providing security.



07/2012 A Buddha to Protect. Cyclone Nargis and the Visual Politics of Security Working Paper 12 | 2012

On 2 May 2008, the tropical cyclone Nargis caused one of the most severe disasters recorded in the history of Burma/Myanmar and killed over 140,000 people. Myanmar remains - beside North Korea and the Republic of Iran - one of the most isolated countries and autocratically ruled states in the world (although this has slightly changed since the reforms in 2012). This statement holds true when recalling the reaction of the regime to the destruction caused by Nargis: the military leader Than Shwe and his generals rejected the entry of international aid workers, refusing to let medicine, food and other relief supplies into the country. The natural catastrophe was followed by a humanitarian crisis.

While the situation of people in Myanmar worsened, French Foreign Minister Kouchner publicly proposed that the UN should invoke the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). By invoking R2P, Kouchner constructed the situation in Myanmar as a humanitarian crisis to which the international community should respond immediately and with extraordinary measures. The paper argues, that such a securitizing move was not supported by the images distributed through These pictures told another story: they constructed a visual narrative that expressed “everything is under control” and “help is on the way”. This mismatch between the invocation of a humanitarian crisis on the one hand and the images of control on the other hand directs our attention to the genuine power of images: what we see must be true - and what we do not see might not happening. It illustrates how images are powerful acts which configure the conditions of possibility for action.

Download the full paper here [Download]

06/2012 Organizing Peace in a Multilevel System Journal of Intervention and State-Building article

This article by Julian Junk provides an introduction to the special issue ‘Organizing Peace: Organization Theory and International Peace Operations’ of the Journal Intervention and State-Building (6/3). It introduces the empirical case of international peace operations by outlining organizational challenges they are confronted with in particular organizational cohesion, coordination, agency, and reform. The introduction makes the case for utilizing the analytical potential of administrative science and organizational theory for the study of these organizational challenges and provides an overview of the articles assembled in this special issue.

Full citation:

Junk, Julian 2012: Organizing Peace in a Multilevel System – An Introduction to the Special Issue (published online 29 June 2012), in: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 6, 3. DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2012.664927

06/2012 Function Follows Form: The Organizational Design of Peace Operations Journal of Intervention and State-Building article

This article by Julian Junk challenges the view that peace operations are rationally designed to select an optimal organizational structure for operational performance. Instead, two dynamics lead to the adoption of dysfunctional organizational structures. First, different preferences among state and organizational actors involved in planning a peace operation (‘heterogeneity of the sponsoring coalition’) lead to diffused authority (‘heterarchical design’) in peace operations structures. Second, characteristics of the organizational environment (‘ambiguity’ and ‘stickiness’) in which peace operations are authorized and planned cause the adoption of dysfunctional organizational structures. Investigating briefly the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), the article finds the hypothesized relationships consistent with the finding of the cases. While function does not always follow form there are strong indications that it often does in the international context.

Full citation:

Junk, Julian 2012: Function Follows Form: The Organizational Design of Peace Operations (published online 29 June 2012), in: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 6, 3. DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2012.655627.

06/2012 Norms and Practice of Humanitarian Interventions Author's Workshop in Konstanz

The example of the Responsibility to Protect reveals that there is a gap between normative innovation and the practice of norm implementation. This is particularly true for the ever-shifting patterns of global politics. The prevalent two-step view of norms (first, norms are decided upon; second, they are implemented) has obvious limits. This authors’ conference discusses the non-linearity of global norm developments, the global practice of norm implementation, and the ways, even workarounds, how actors try to operationalize norms in political decision-making and practical policy implementation.

See the workshop's sub-page for more information [Workshop Interventions]

05/2012 Securitizing Images: The female body and the war in Afghanistan Article in the European Journal of International Relations, online

Referring to the recent 'visual turn' in Critical Security Studies, the aim of this article by Gabi Schlag and Axel Heck is threefold. First, by taking the concept of visual securitization one step further, we intend to theorize the image as an iconic act understood as an act of showing and seeing. This turn to the performativity of the visual directs our attention to the securitizing power of images. Second, this article addresses the methodological challenges of analysing images and introduces an iconological approach. Iconology enables the systematic interpretation of images as images by also taking their social embeddedness into account. In the third part of this article we apply this theoretical and methodological framework to analyse a cover of the TIME magazine published in summer 2010. The cover shows a young Afghan woman whose ears and nose were cut off accompanied by the headline: 'What happens if we leave Afghanistan'. This cover image not only provoked a heated debate in the USA about the (ab)use of images in order to legitimize the continuity of the war in Afghanistan, but shows how gender and the body are visually securitized.

The article can be accessed at EJIR, behind the subscribers paywall [Download]

Full citation:

Gabi Schlag/Axel Heck 2012: Securitizing Images: The female body and the war in Afghanistan. European Journal of International Relations (published online 27 April 2012). DOI: 10.1177/1354066111433896

11/2011 Method Parallelization and Method Triangulation: Method Combinations in the Analysis of Humanitarian Interventions Article in German Policy Studies 3/2011

This article investigates the combinations of methods. It introduces the distinction between method triangulation, method parallelization and corresponding subtypes along the dimension of data generation and data analysis methods. While scholars often refer to the triangulation when describing in fact parallelization, the two should be clearly distinguished: method triangulation is based on a vertical logic of combining methods to aggregate data or data analysis techniques for the score of one explanatory factor, method parallelization follows a horizontal logic of combining methods according to their conceptual linkages. The article outlines the different challenges of each combination strategy and distinguishes between two types of method triangulation (data generation triangulation and data analysis triangulation) and three types of method parallelization (multivariate designs, research programs, and causal processes). To illustrate the differences and the applications between triangulation and parallelization, the article investigates a causal process of humanitarian interventions and analyzes both media attention and government action in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States when it comes to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur/Sudan.

This article can be downloaded here [Download]

Junk, Julian 2011: Method Parallelization and Method Triangulation: Method Combinations in the Analysis of Humanitarian Interventions, in: German Policy Review 7, 3, 83-116.

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Working Paper on Security Culture as an interdisciplinary research programme, interobjectivity, humanitarian interventions, on dealing with insecurity and another on securitization in the early German AIDS discourse released [more]

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