IR Coffee Readings

(April 12, 2017)
Altier_et_al_2017.pdf download View | Download
Citation: Altier, Mary Beth, Emma Leonard Boyle, Neil D. Shortland, and John G. Horgan (2017). "Why They Leave: An Analysis of Terrorist Disengagement Events from Eighty-seven Autobiographical Accounts." Security Studies 26(2): 305-332.

Abstract: A deeper understanding of terrorist disengagement offers important insights for policymakers and practitioners seeking to persuade individuals to leave these groups. Current research highlights the importance of certain "push" and "pull" factors in explaining disengagement. However, such studies tell us very little about the relative frequencies at which these hypothesized factors are associated with leaving in the terrorist population. Using data collected from eighty-seven autobiographical accounts, we find that push, rather than pull, factors are more commonly cited as playing a large role in individuals' disengagement decisions and that the experience of certain push factors increases the probability an individual will choose to leave. Importantly, disillusionment with the group's strategy or actions, disagreements with group leaders or members, dissatisfaction with one's day-to-day tasks, and burnout are more often reported as driving disengagement decisions than de-radicalization. Finally, our results suggest that ideological commitment may moderate one's susceptibility to pull factors.
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(April 12, 2017)
LaRoche_Pratt_2017.pdf download View | Download
Citation: LaRoche, Christopher David, and Simon Frankel Pratt (2017). "Kenneth Waltz is not a neorealist (and why that matters)." Forthcoming, European Journal of International Relations.

Abstract: Faced with scepticism about the status of grand theory in International Relations, scholars are re-evaluating Kenneth Waltz's contribution to theoretical debates in the field. Readers of Waltz have variously recast his work as structural functionalist, scientific realist and classical realist in liberal clothing. We contribute to this reevaluation by systematically assembling misreadings of Waltz that continue to occur across all of International Relations' schools — that his theory is positivist, rationalist and materialist — and offering a coherent synthesis of his main contributions to International Relations theory. By linking Theory of International Politics to both Man, the State, and War and Waltz's post-1979 clarifications, we show that Waltz offers International Relations scholars a coherent vision of the worth and method of grand theory construction that is uniquely 'international'. In particular, we focus on Waltz's methodology of theory building and use of images, demonstrating these to be underappreciated but crucially important aspects of Waltz's work. We finish by proposing methodological, practical and pedagogical 'takeaways' for International Relations scholars that emerge from our analysis.
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