Negotiating Narratives in the Discourse of Legitimized Use of Military Force: The Triform Linkage of Action, Institution and Structure

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: Booth 56
Oral Presentation
Rebecca GULOWSKI , Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany
Verena STITZ , University of Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany
How can we deal with issues concerning the use of force in international conflicts, for instance debates about Humanitarian Interventions, RtoP, Human Security etc. beyond idealistic and normative prejudgment?

Based on our discourse analytical study this paper illustrates the analysis of international conflicts, which incorporates structure as well as agency by focusing on conflicting narratives within discourse (e.g. sovereignty vs. humanitarianism; humanitarian Interventions vs. RtoP). Grounded on the pivotal epistemological hypothesis that the relation between discourse and practice is inextricable and mutual, we argue that this linkage is triform: Discourse consists (1) basically of long-term constitutive beliefs that are (2) due to social trends constantly reinterpreted and modified in (3) the face of interactional events and crises of action, when conflicting norms are negotiated. In this sense ‘discourse’ is seen as an entirety of correlated speech acts, which are analyzed for institutionally stabilized patterns of structure and rules of action. By combining discourse analysis and grounded theory, we examine speech acts (e.g. minutes of plenary proceedings; UN resolutions, the ICISS-Report) perceived as a form of action and hence as an important part of political practice. We show how strategic narratives, reconstructed from interactional events, get systematized and condensed into strategic culture, thereby part of the discourse. We portray the process of change of hegemonic narratives on the basis of the international discourse in the cases of former Yugoslavia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Afghanistan: what grounds of justification concerning the use of force emerge? In what way UNO, NATO and EU differ from each other? Which role plays state-building in the concrete action of international agents compared to other goals?