Pushing the Boundaries of Research on Statehood, Sovereignty and Conflict
Endorsed by the ECPR Research Network on Statehood, Sovereignty and Conflict
Statehood and sovereignty continue to be contested in a variety of ways throughout the world, resulting in protracted violent and latent conflicts in pursuit of self-determination, secession, and international recognition. While this contestation is not a new phenomenon, through diverse political claims and mobilisations, various actors, such as self-determination movements, insurgent groups, secessionist entities, and de facto states continue pushing the boundaries of established political imaginations on how to organise and construct political communities. This, in turn, expands understandings of self-determination and sovereignty beyond the archetypical nation-state and highlights the need for scholars to continuously reassess the interconnections between the concepts of state, nation, sovereignty, and conflict.
Historically, studies examining these interconnections have largely been produced by scholars outside of the conflict areas. While this intellectual (and often geographical) distance to the studied phenomena might contribute to greater neutrality and reduce bias in analysis, recent works in Critical Conflict Studies and Indigenous Studies underscore the downside of this development, pointing at global inequalities in knowledge production about conflict, sovereignty and statehood. Methodological and ethical questions of knowledge production and distribution become increasingly relevant in this context. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a whole new dimension has been added to these concerns, challenging conventional ways of doing research.
This section seeks to advance and connect more traditional accounts of statehood, sovereignty and conflict, which originated in International Relations and other sub-disciplines of Political Science and Law, with scholarship employing critical (postcolonial, decolonizing, postpositivist) approaches to these matters, including from neighbouring disciplines, such as Political Geography, Political Economy, Sociology of Knowledge or Indigenous Studies. Aiming at a conceptual debate across various research traditions, the section will centre on the following thematic areas:
1) Contestation of nation-state, sovereignty and territorial integrity, including through peaceful and violent movements for self-determination and secession;
2) (Conceptual) interconnections between nationalism/nationhood and de facto state formation, including the role of identities and identity politics in de facto state communities and “stateless nations/nations-without-states”;
3) Consolidation of alternative forms of statehood, manifested through internal processes of political, economic and societal institutionalisation;
4) International actors and state recognition, including issues of de-recognition, non-recognition, relations between those lacking state recognition and their patrons or allies, and the tensions involved;
5) Critical and Indigenous approaches to sovereignty, recognition, and self-determination of political communities beyond traditional understandings of statehood;
6) Methodological issues and issues of ethical knowledge production about conflict, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace and conflict research, as well as power relations and global inequalities in conflict knowledge production.
We invite original theoretical and empirical contributions to the above (non-exhaustive list of) areas, including single case explorations, comparative and large-N studies as well as methodological reflections. Preference will be given to papers and panels seeking to introduce innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of statehood, sovereignty, and conflict. In addition, full panel proposals will be evaluated based on the diversity of their composition in terms of gender, ethnicity, and academic seniority of the contributors.