“Beyond Parliamentarism. A research agenda on conflicts, political institutions and regime stability in new democracies”

The ECPR General Conference is coming.The 2016 Conference will be held at Charles University, Prague, in the Czech Republic (7-10 September).

Here you’ll find the academic programme, and here the timetable.

As reported by the official website: The academic programme takes the traditional format of Sections and Panels, with over 60 Sections normally being organised, each focussing on a particular sub-field of the discipline. Each Section then contains between three and eight Panels, each addressing a specific question within the overall topic. The ECPR General Conference attracts a truly international audience crossing all sub-disciplines of political science and indeed all career stages; presenting a Paper therefore provides the opportunity to benefit from invaluable discussion and debate. Alternatively, participants can simply observe and still take advantage of the full conference experience.

Among several interesting panels we recommend the paper written by (our) Fabrizio Coticchia with Giampiero Cama, titled: “Beyond Parliamentarism. A research agenda on conflicts, political institutions and regime stability in new democracies”.

Here below the abstract:

The crisis of liberal peace, which achieved pre-eminence in the post-bipolar era, has recently emerged as a result of a growing array of problems and failures. The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have illustrated the setbacks of international liberal peacebuilding. Other approaches, such as “hybrid peace” or “resilience”, have radically questioned the main top-down assumptions of Western humanitarian interventions. At the same time, comparative politics literature has devoted a considerable attention to the understanding of state institutions and rule of law in processes of democratization. However, most research surprisingly lacks systematic analyses capable of identifying the explaining variables of success or failure in regime stability in non-homogenous societies. Combining conflict studies, institutional design perspectives, conflict management and peacebuilding approaches, this paper aims at filling this gap, providing a comprehensive theoretical framework on conflicts and institutions. Moving beyond the increasing “compartmentalisation” of the literature, our goal is to design a map that can contribute to highlight and overcome the obstacles and pitfalls of modelling, portrayed as a “minefield” where mistakes and problems easily emerge. The paper focuses on the dynamic and flexible interactions between actors, institutions and exogenous factors in non-homogenous post-conflicts societies. More specifically, we devote attention to the overlooked role played by the parliament as a crucial arena for better analysing power-sharing mechanisms and state-building.

Here the link to the panel

See you in Prague.

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Parlare di pace e guerra in Italia (parte terza)

Prima di una breve pausa per le vacanze estive Venus voleva ricordarvi alcune novità per il prossimo anno.

Come abbiamo già scritto in precedenti post (qui e qui) non è facile parlare di pace e guerra in Italia, dai media al Parlamento, dal dibattito pubblico alle università. Pertanto, anche nel prossimo anno accademico, confermiamo il  ciclo di seminari “Guerra, Pace e Sicurezza alle porte del Mediterraneo” (promosso dal Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche dell’Università di Genova e organizzato da Andrea Catanzaro e dal nostro Fabrizio Coticchia).

Molte le iniziative realizzate quest’anno (si veda per esempio qui) ehe confermeremo anche nei prossimi semestri, invitando a Genova esperti italiani e stranieri, politici, giornalisti, militari, pacifisti.

La novità del prossimo anno è la creazione di un Osservatorio sui conflitti (il nome ed il relativo acronimo sono ancora da decidere..) legato proprio ad iniziative analoghe. Anche Venus parteciperà direttamente.

Quindi, stay tuned e buone vacanze

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22nd International conference on Intelligence in the Knowledge Society 2016

Guest Post by Davide Barbieri*


New terrorist organizations, rogue states, almost unpredictable migration flows and new cyber security threats are the issues which will be addressed at the 22nd International Conference on Intelligence in the Knowledge Society which will take place in Bucharest this year, on the 13th-14th October.

Here you’ll find additional info on the conference

The Romanian Intelligence Academy “Mihai Viteazul” is taking care of the organization. Several panels – chaired by international academics and intelligence experts – will cover the different topics.

The main framework of the conference will be – as always – extremely interdisciplinary, with scholars coming from different backgrounds like political and social sciences, behavioral sciences, medicine, mathematics and information technology. In particular, since this is my field, I think that the intelligence community should evaluate how and if IT will be able to empower them and help analysts to overcome their cognitive limits, in order to make the most out of the available data, in an efficient way. Terrorist and criminal organizations will certainly do.

*Davide Barbieri, PhD, is a data mining and intelligence analysis expert at Link Campus University, Rome (Italy) where he currently teaches at the Master in Intelligence and Security.


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“La NATO tra Varsavia e il Mediterraneo”

In vista del prossimo summit NATO che si terrà a Varsavia entro la fine di questa settimana, l’ISPI ha appena pubblicato online una serie di contributi relativi al futuro dell’Alleanza Atlantica.

Qui il link al report

Segnaliamo, tra gli altri, il pezzo del “nostro” Fabrizio Coticchia sul rapporto tra NATO e Mediterraneo, con un focus particolare sul ruolo dell’Italia.


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“Even Unipoles Need Friends: Power, Threat, and the Purpose of Alliances”

We are really glad to present the upcoming seminar: “Even Unipoles Need Friends: Power, Threat, and the Purpose of Alliances“. Professor Jason W. Davidson (Mary Washington University) will illustrate his new research project at the University of Genoa (June 30th 2016).

The event will take place at the Department of Political Science (DISPO), University of Genoa, Aula 16, Albergo dei Poveri Piazzale Brignole 2, Genova.

This is the last seminar organized by Andrea Catanzaro and Fabrizio Coticchia, within the course: “War, conflicts and peacebuilding“.

Here below the abstract:

A conventional wisdom exists on two aspects of US foreign policy. First, scholars state that prior to the early Cold War, the US was distinctive in having forgone alliances. Second, many argue that the United States chose to forgo alliances because of its moral revulsion at European diplomatic intrigue and that such revulsion became central to American identity, making it subsequently unlikely to ally with others. This paper will cast serious doubt on both of these elements of the conventional wisdom.
First, the paper will develop a thorough typology of alliances–agreements to further states’ security–and will demonstrate that the US has had many more alliances than the conventional wisdom suggests. Second, the paper will provide a realist explanation of the US’ varying demand for allies over time. The paper will argue that variance in the US’ relative power is the single most important factor in explaining its varying demand for alliances. Variance in power tells us about variance in American interests and varying means to protect those interests. Second, variance in threat to US security and interests combines with relative power to tell us why the US has needed particular allies at particular times.

See you there

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“Narratives and counter-narratives: security issues and peace movements in Italy”

The programme of the 2016 SISP (Italian Political Science Association) annual convention has been published. The conference will be held in Milan (15-17 September 2016).

Here you’ll find all panels and papers.

Our Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genoa) and Andrea Catanzaro (University of Genoa) will present a paper on strategic narratives, security issues and peace movements.

Here more details on the panel “Social Movements and Practices of Resistance in Times of Crisis”.

Here below the abstract of the paper:

Existing studies on strategic narratives have persuasively illustrated the features that make a plot compelling to shape public attitudes regarding military operations. A growing body of the literature has started to pay attention to the concept of “narrative dominance”, stressing the role played by counter-narratives in hindering a wider acceptance of a specific message. However, a limited consideration has been devoted to security issues other than military missions, while the key- features and the effectiveness of counter-narratives have seldom been assessed in a systematic way, especially for non-institutional actors such as “peace movements”. The paper aims at filling this gap, focusing on Italy. How and to what extent have counter-narratives successfully contested the official strategic narratives? What ideologies underlie them? To answer these questions, the research investigates the main contents, the theoretical backgrounds and the effectiveness of counter-narratives developed by national “peace movements” to contrast the “plot” designed by Italian governments to gain the support of public opinion towards selected post-2001 security issues: defense acquisitions, political reforms and missions abroad. The manuscript, which is based on interviews, discourse and content analysis, adopts a multidisciplinary approach, combining IR, political thought, communication and social movement studies.


See you soon in Milan.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: “Collective violence in intra-state conflicts. From historical cases to ISIS” (SISP 2016)

We invite you to submit paper proposals at the panel organized by (our) Francesco Moro (with Stefano Costalli) at the next SISP Conference, which will be held in Milan (September 15-17 2016). The panel focuses on collective violence in intra-state conflicts.

Here all the info on the Sisp annual convention.

Here more info on the panel, which is within the IR section.

Here below the abstract of the panel:

After the end of the Cold War, intra-state conflicts attracted increasing attention both from policy-makers and scholars, due to their overall numbers, lethality, and for their consequences on regional, and sometimes global, orders. The growing literature on civil wars, and more broadly on collective violence (including terrorism and large-scale violence perpetrated by “criminal” groups such as drug trafficking organizations), provided in the last two decades important insights on the causes, the dynamics – and increasingly in recent years – on the social, economic and political consequences of conflicts. This panel will focus on violence in intra-state conflicts (as well as “transnational civil wars”). In order to do so, it welcomes both theoretical and empirical contributions, ideally gathering proposals that adopt diverse research strategies and research methods, and look at different levels of analysis. The topics include, although they are not limited to, the following:
a) studies on the relation between the evolution of the international system and the proliferation of domestic conflict;
b) papers on the “micro”-level dynamics of violence, such as the strategic use of violence (selective and discriminate) by armed groups;
c) research on spatial and temporal variation of political conflict and violence;
d) studies on the organizational set-up of insurgent organizations, terrorist groups, armed militias;
e) papers on “wartime political orders” and “rebel governance”;
f) insurgent groups’ decision to use terrorist tactics both in civil wars and abroad.

Submission deadline: 5th June 2016.

See you in Milan.




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“Conflicts & Institutions: Research, Projects and Workshops”

We have already talked about the workshop: “Conflicts & Institutions: Research, Projects and Workshops” (here the previous post).It is a two-day academic event aims at enhancing the scientific cooperation amongst Italian and European scholars working on Conflict/Peace studies. The workshop will we be held at the University of Genova (16-17 June 2016).

Here you’ll find the Call for papers (the deadline is May 10th!!).

Here below the (exiting) agenda of the workshop.


15 June 2016 – University of Genova – Department of Political Science (Albergo dei Poveri, Piazza Brignole 2)

Welcoming of participants
19.00 Dinner

Thursday 16 June 2016 – University of Genova – Department of Political Science (Aula Mazzini, Via Balbi 5, 3rd floor)

09.00 Workshop Registration
09.30 Workshop – Welcome address
Seminar I
10.00-11.00 “The future of large-scale violent politics” H. Hegre (Uppsala)
Coffee Break
Workshop PhD, research Fellows, and Post-docs
Chair/Discussant: K. Bakke (UCL); U. Daxaecker (Amsterdam); H. Dorussen (Essex)
Paper: Phd candidates, research Fellows, and Post-docs
13-30-15 Lunch Buffet (via Balbi 5, 3rd floor)
Seminar II
15-16 “Powersharing: Myth or Solution?” L-E Cederman (ETH) (to be confirmed)
Coffee Break
Research Workshop I
16.15- 17.15 Research projects and future collaboration
19.30-20-30 Open Seminar “Guerre Civili: Cosa (non) sappiamo” A. Ruggeri (Oxford)
20.30 Dinner

Friday 17 June 2016 – University of Genova – Department of Political Science (Aula Mazzini, Via Balbi 5, 3rd floor)

Research Workshop II
Chair: M.Evangelista (Cornell); A. Colombo (Milano) G. Cama (Genova)
Discussant: F.N. Moro (Bicocca) S. Costalli (Essex); G. Clayton (Kent)
08.30-10.00 – H. Dorussen (Essex); G. Cama and F. Coticchia (Genova); Sara Polo (Rice)
Coffee Break
10.15-11.45 – H. Hegre (Uppsala); Daxecker (UvA); R. Caruso (Milano, Cattolica);
11.45-13.15L-E Cederman (ETH) (to be confirmed), K. Bakke (UCL); G. Clayton (Kent)
13.15 Lunch
End of Workshop
*The schedule may be subject to change


Here you’ll find additional info on the event. See you there!!


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Italy’s military interventions and new security threats

The end of the Cold War represented a turning point for Italian defense. The bipolar constraints vanished and Italy was “allowed” to adopted a more dynamic military approach, sending troops in several operations abroad. The military missions  addressed also multidimensional threats: illegal migration, humanitarian crises, piracy, organized crime, etc..

But what has pushed Italy to intervene specifically through armed forces (instead of using other tools, such as Civil Protection or diplomacy)? Michela Ceccorulli and (our) Fabrizio Coticchia answer the above-mentioned  question through their latest paper, which examines the missions in Somalia, Darfur and Haiti, assessing three different hypotheses.

Here below the abstract:

Recently, Italy has employed the military instrument abroad to deal with new, multidimensional and transnational challenges, ranging from irregular migration and piracy to the violation of basic human rights. What has pushed the country to intervene specifically through armed forces? Through three main arguments (strategic culture, domestic interests and international norms) emerging from the interplay between internal and external dynamics, the paper analyses the national debate in the run-up to the decision to intervene militarily in Darfur (2007–2010), Somalia (2009) and Haiti (2010). In so doing the work hopes to contribute to understanding the role of the military tool in Italy, a country particularly exposed to new challenges ahead.

Here you’ll find additional info on the paper.

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“Transatlantic Relations in the 21st century”

Venus in Arms is pleased to announce that Rotterdam Summer School is inviting applications for the summer school “Transatlantic Relations in the 21st century”, which will take place on August 15-19, 2016, at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Here below some details

Transatlantic cooperation continues to influence much of the policy-making in Europe today. Whether security or economy, the closest partner for the EU is across the Atlantic. At the same time, the relations have been marked with tensions, and the inability of transatlantic partners to find answers to policy issues puzzles academics and public alike. This summer school offers an introduction into the complexity of transatlantic relations today, with a view towards the most topical themes
The summer school consists of the lectures that address the most important aspects of transatlantic relations today. The course starts with a historical overview of the transatlantic relations. Then, the course addresses both the domestic politics of transatlantic relations, and the importance of the European Union. The course will also discuss the relations with the outside powers – Russia in the East, and BRICS globally. The course will close with the study of the new arenas for transatlantic cooperation – cybersecurity, terrorism, and TTIP. In addition to interactive lectures, the course will include a field visit.
Interested participants can gain 5 ECTS by submitting a final paper with a deadline on September 2.
All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.
This course will be of interest to students of political science, international relations, history, and international law. While primarily targeted towards graduates, advanced undergraduate students are welcome to apply. As English will be the language of instruction, all applicants are expected to speak English. The tuition fee for attendees is 100 Euro excluding room, board, and travel expenses [or 330 Euro including accommodation]

Here more information & application

Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, with a limited number of available slots. The deadline for applications is 1 June 2016.
For all enquiries, please write to eur.transatlantic@gmail.com

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