The Programme provides a unique venue to establish a vibrant network of scholars and experts at a time when cross-disciplinary and cross-domain research into the conditions for effective coercion is increasingly called for. The goal is to further develop scholarly understanding of coercive statecraft through rigorous conceptual and empirical investigation and reinvigorate academic scholarship through publications in academic journals.
Each year a Symposium will be held in a different European city. The Symposium will bring together a select group of appr. 20 key coercive statecraft academics including political scientists, strategic studies scholars, political economists, and historians to systematically investigate the ways in which states leverage the use of force – and the threat thereof – as a tool of statecraft, across both military and non-military domains.
This year’s Symposium will take place at the premises of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 October, 2023. This page provides a short description of the Programme’s background and content and the Symposium’s Agenda.
Coercive statecraft refers to the threat or use of force in order to get the target of coercion to comply with a set of demands. Throughout history, states have used a variety of coercive strategies to compel both adversaries and allies. These strategies include the threat of use of force for the purpose of coercing adversaries or allies, the actual use of military force to achieve political objectives, the covert use of force as a tool of statecraft, as well as the deployment of an assortment of non-military measures. State coercion thus encompasses military, political, economic, diplomatic, and – these days also – cyber measures.
Coercion has evolved, adapting to opportunities and limitations afforded by the Age.
Interstate coercion has been on the uptick since the 2010s yet with remarkable regional variation.
In short, the threat and use of force for coercive purposes has deep historical roots but is also increasingly widespread. Yet, the study of coercion remains fragmented in parallel silos and in distinct fields of study, focusing on such phenomena as coercive diplomacy, military coercion, hybrid or gray zone strategies, and economic statecraft. As a result, the question as to why states choose to pursue different coercive strategies, under what conditions, and to what effect, remains therefore unsatisfactorily answered.
By leveraging the unique networks offered by EISS in academic and policy circles, the War Coercion Statecraft Programme will bring together political scientists, strategic studies scholars, political economists, and historians to systematically investigate the panoply of ways in which states leverage the use of force – and the threat thereof – as a tool of statecraft, across both military and non-military domains. Specifically, by examining and comparing both historical and contemporary cases across different countries and continents, this Programme aims to sharpen our analytical understanding of three key dimensions of the threat and use of force in international politics, each one corresponding to (I) an annual theme and (II) a set of related events and publications.
The three year Programme envisages the following themes:
21st Century Coercive Statecraft:
A Research Agenda
Coercive Statecraft in Peacetime:
Military, Non-Military, and Covert Means
Coercion in Wartime:
Waging War as a Tool of Statecraft
Thursday 19 October
14:00 - 14:15
14:15 - 14:30
Presentation Programme: Rationale, Central Questions, Principal Objectives
14:30 - 14:45
Tour de Table: Introductory round
14:45 - 17:30
Roundtable 1: Defining Coercive Statecraft
Chair: Tim Sweijs | The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies / War Studies Research Centre
Introductory remarks by:
Peter Viggo Jakobsen | University of Southern Denmark
Dima Adamsky | Reichman University
Kelly Greenhill | Tufts University
Beatrice Heuser | University of Glasgow
- Conceptual boundaries: what are coercive statecraft, coercive diplomacy and coercion?
- What are the differences and similarities between peacetime and wartime coercive statecraft?
- What are the differences and similarities between overt and covert coercive statecraft?
- How useful is Alexander George’s conceptual framework to evaluate coercive statecraft in the 21st century? How can it be improved?
Friday 20 October
09:00 - 09:30
09:30 - 12:15
Roundtable 2: The Effects of Coercive Statecraft
Chair: Hugo Meijer | Sciences Po
Introductory remarks by:
Melanie Sisson | Brookings Institution
Elena McLean | University of Buffalo
Austin Carson | University of Chicago
Kristin Ven Bruusgaard | Norwegian Intelligence School
- How can the effects of coercive statecraft be meaningfully measured? What are key methodological challenges and how can they be overcome?
- Under which conditions is the target likely to be coerced (e.g.. contextual variables, target characteristics)?
- How does the effectiveness of coercive statecraft vary across different instruments of coercion?
- How do timing/sequencing and combinatorial packages affect/influence the effectiveness of coercion?
12:15 - 13:15
13:15 - 16:00
Roundtable 3: When and why do leaders resort to coercive statecraft?
Chair: Eliza Gheorghe | Bilkent University
Introductory remarks by:
Roseanne McManus | Penn State University
Dan Altman | Georgia State University
Adam Stulberg | Georgia Institute of Technology
Andrew Mumford | University of Nottingham
- Under what conditions do leaders rely on the threat of force rather than the actual use of force to attain their political objectives?
- Are there specific factors (e.g., nature of the objectives) that affect the choice for particular coercive strategies?
- Are there particular configurations of the international system (e.g., polarity, hierarchy) that affect the choice for particular coercive strategies?
- Are there specific state-level attributes (e.g. regime type) that affect the choice for particular coercive strategies?
- Are there specific individual-level characteristics that affect the choice for particular coercive strategies?
- If credibility of coercive threats is a key factor in getting the target to comply, how do leaders assess credibility, and what strategies do they use to increase credibility?
16:00 - 16:30
16:30 - 17:00
Synthesis and Wrap
17:00 - 18:00
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