Research Programs

The research team on “International Security in the Globalization Era” inquires into the effects that growing interdependence and the partial de-territorialization of world politics are having on the management of and restraint on organized violence. Over the past sixteen years or so, the common thread across our scientific programs has consisted in better understanding of how increasing flows across the globe are transforming the ways in which collectivities come together to handle the usage of threats and force in world politics. The team has been working together since 2000, obtaining four FRQSC grants. Along the way, we have integrated three new junior scholars within our ranks, as two colleagues, Michel Fortmann and Norrin Ripsman, retired or left the country.

In the last cycle entitled “Globalization, Rising Powers and the World Security Orders” (2013-2017), we focused on the pressing challenges of international governance that are due to contemporary power shifts away from the West. Two defining outputs from this scientific program are: Paul’s two edited volumes, Status in International Politics (2014) and Accommodating Rising Powers, Past, Present and Future (2016), both published by Cambridge University Press in which other team members contributed chapters and engaged in different roles including as discussants and commentators. Both books emerged out of a series of international workshops and conference panels in which team members played instrumental roles. Since the publication, the book on status has garnered so much attention in the field of International Relations that it charted a new research program on status in world politics, which set the contemporary agenda in the study of the rise and fall of great powers. The second book is one of the rare works on peaceful accommodation of rising powers in the IR field and is already gathering considerable attention among scholars and policy makers. The theme of the book is also the keynote address Paul gave as International Studies Association (ISA) president across the world.

The team members collectively and individually have worked closely on this project, organizing academic conferences, presenting papers at academic meetings, and more significantly, publishing their research results in scholarly journals and through reputed academic presses. Overall, during the last cycle team members published 16 books, 31 journal articles, and 36 book chapters for a total of 83 publications. From this total, 32 publications (8 books, 12 journal articles, and 12 book chapters) were directly related to the operating theme of globalization and rising powers. The quality of the work produced by team was rewarded by publications in prestigious university presses and academic journals. To name a few, the team’s output for the 2013-2017 period can be found with Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Stanford University Press, University of Chicago Press and more. As for journals, members have published work in International Security, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, European Journal of International Relations, and Security Studies among others, all top ranked journals in international relations in particular, and political science in general.

In addition, 9 international conferences have been held by the team, all structured to maximize collective research activities. For example, Pouliot, in collaboration with Paul and Mérand, held a workshop on “Diplomacy in Theory and Practice” in March 2013. On a similar theme, Pouliot and Mérand organized the academic conference “The Future of Canada in Euro-Atlantic Security Organizations.” Both workshops involved practitioners and academics alike with the goal of sharing knowledge between the two groups, to great success. Moreover, Pouliot, with the participation of Mérand, held a workshop on “Precedent in International Relations”, while Paul, with the participation of Hall and Pouliot, held a workshop on Soft Balancing to receive feedback on a working manuscript. A completed manuscript is expected to be sent to Yale and Oxford university presses that have expressed keen interest in its publication. In November 2013 Paul held a workshop titled “Rising Powers: Is Peaceful Accommodation Possible?” which was published in 2016 as an edited volume with Cambridge University Press. Mérand and Hall held the “Decline Management and Power Transitions” workshop in January 2015. For his part, Ripsman held, in May 2012, a workshop on “The Political Economy of Regional Transitions,” which was published as a volume by the University of Michigan Press in 2016. On October 8, 2016 Paul will host the final project of this program, a workshop on: “Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Globalization Era,” in Montreal and some 15 key scholars are participating. The Georgetown University Press has already expressed interest in a book out of this conference.  Finally, Pouliot with the participation of Martin-Brûlé and Mérand, will host in October 2016 a conference on “New Trends in United Nations-led Peacekeeping: Canadian and Global Perspectives,” funded by the Department of National Defence. Our workshops are always collaborative events, where team members are invited to present papers to be subsequently published, or to act as discussants to provide feedback to the scholars presenting work. The organization of such events would not have been possible without the FRQSC team grant, as well as the various individual funds held by members (notably, all five team members obtained separate SSHRC Insight grants on themes related to the scientific program). The team’s outputs are featured on a dedicated website (

The substantive findings made by the team during the last cycle are significant. On peaceful accommodation and change (Axis 1), the team challenged the prominent argument in the field that the emergence of rising powers inevitably leads to war. The team’s work led to a reframing of the debate on rising powers. We demonstrated how peaceful strategies, while needing efforts and will from the dominant powers in the system, are possible and deployed by the United States, as well as rising challengers such as Brazil, China, and India. This suggests that a reshaping of world order within existing boundaries is possible, but also desired, by most powers. Similarly, our collective work on decline management (Axis 2) led to a reformulation of the debate on geopolitical decline, which we define not as given by geopolitical circumstances but as a contingent process, in which political elites can adopt eight different kinds of strategies. To delineate these strategies and assess their impact, we shared our expertise with visiting scholars and explored seven case studies (China, Byzantium, Russia, England, France, India, US). Taking a critical perspective on contemporary notions of geopolitics and decline, this collaborative and multidisciplinary strategy seeks to avoid the Western-centric, presentist bias that dominates the literature on decline. The team also inquired into imperial decline, especially through a critique of the celebrated work of Robert Gilpin. A book on the theme of decline management, which emerged out of an international conference on the same theme, is currently in preparation.

Under our third axis, nationalism and peaceful transitions, we engaged in a comparative historical study of this subject with particular reference to the Ottomans, Austro-Hungary, Tsarist Russia and Great Britain. Our key conceptual innovation is that of nationalizing empires: at the end of the nineteenth century multinational regimes felt themselves to be weaker than nation-states and most sought in consequence to homogenize their territories. It was the actions by empires that did most to cause the rise of nationalism. The team also looked into smaller states, for instance producing work on the collapse of the Oldenburg monarchy and its impact on national identity in Denmark. More importantly, a general book on the state (co-authored with John Campbell) appeared, filled with thoughts on decline, the nature of rising powers, the nature of the European Union, and the position of the United States. It was followed by a co-edited volume on Nationalism and War. Finally, when it comes to the fourth axis, the team found that international institutions, including allegedly equalizing ones such as multilateralism, often end up reinforcing the hierarchical dynamics of world politics. Moreover, Institutions evolve incrementally and at the margins, building on the precedents set across history. In this “ratchet effect,” local struggles and politics often play a larger role than norm entrepreneurs or hegemonic purposes. For example, political dynamics at NATO and the United Nations Security Council – to pick two prominent examples that were analyzed in detail –, tend be self-contained and partly autonomous from external determinants. On top of three international conferences on various aspects of the problématique, several publications flowed from this axis, as Table 1 documents.

Table 1: Main achievements from the previous funding cycle

Axis Main findings Key outputs Outstanding issues
China’s and India’s rise compared The rise of new powers may be accommodated via peaceful political mechanisms Edited book, Status in World Politics; Edited book, Accommodating Rising Powers; workshop/edited volume on Sino-Indian rivalry in preparation In what ways could international institutions help emerging powers rise peacefully?
Decline in historical perspective Declining powers make use of a limited set of strategies in ensuring smooth power transitions Special issue, L’Union européenne et le nouvel équilibre des puissances;

Edited book, The Management of Decline (in preparation)

How can existing international institutions respond to the pressures flowing from the decline of several multilateral champions?
Nationalism and power transition Historically, nationalism emerged out of attempts by great multinational states to rationalize and homogenize their societies Edited book, Nationalism and war; Edited book, The Political Economy of Regional Peacemaking What kind of international institutional mechanisms may help contain nationalistic pressures on world order?
Innovations in the shaping of global order Transformations in world order tend to build up through a “ratchet effect” owing to localized political struggles Special issue, The Future of Diplomacy; Special issue, Diplomacy in Theory and in Practice; Edited book, Diplomacy and the Making of World Politics; Book, International Pecking Orders; Book: Soft Balancing in World Politics, about to be submitted Given their stickiness, how can international institutions adapt to the transformations in the global security agenda?


  1. Scientific Program

As the right-hand side column of Table 1 suggests, the findings from the previous scientific program have led us to further inquire into a key dimension of global security in the globalization era: the role of international institutions, ranging from multilateral organizations to treaties through established practices and customs. This research program flows naturally from our earlier work, harnessing the unique expertise that we have developed both as a group and as individual researchers along the way. Each member of the team has already collected resources to study this problématique, and has already started to work and publish on key aspects of the theme. In order to tap into the unparalleled intellectual energy that this collaborative team effort has produced over the past sixteen years, we require the support of the FRQSC, as a complement to various existing grants, in order to organize the group and make cooperation possible. Indeed this is one of the unique cooperation and perhaps one of the rare and successful ones on globalization and security worldwide and poised to make more breakthrough contributions.

In the 21st century, the international institutions inherited from the Second World War settlement have come under heavy stress. Maladapted to our brave new world, they remain resistant to change to unresolved power struggles and changing circumstances. This research program seeks to understand how ongoing pressures will help transform the architecture of global security governance in the 21st century. The master concept of our research endeavor is that of peaceful change: what are the scope conditions for a non-violent transition of the world’s security architecture? Taking advantage of the fact that our team leader is currently the President of the International Studies Association (ISA), the world’s largest professional body in IR, we have put our scientific program at the forefront of the discipline by framing the next annual conference in Baltimore in February 2017 along the same theme of peaceful change. In that way, we expect to multiply the impact of our work, deploy full network opportunities, and increase scholarly attention on the topic. Under Paul’s leadership the conference in Baltimore will witness some 1200 panels and 6000 participants from over 120 countries of which 300 will be on the presidential theme of “Understanding Change in World Politics.” A special issue of the ISA journal:  International Studies Review in 2018 will be devoted to this issue consisting of selected papers from the conference, with Paul as the guest editor.

The foundational idea of our project is derived from a conviction that globalization, especially the economic variety, is reshuffling the deck of world order. Largely due to uneven economic growth, normative shifts, and contrasting political developments, the early 21st century is marked by profound changes in the global distribution of power as well as in global governance practices. A major power transition, largely involving the US and China  is occurring and the question is whether it will be peaceful or violent. Hence the crucial need for scholarly and policy analyses to  comprehend the new dynamics, especially  those unleashed by increasing globalization on world order. The research question addressed by the team is all the more pressing because  historically, such changes in the global distribution of power have been accompanied by large-scale violence and war (Organski 1958; Gilpin 1981; Midlarsky 1975; Modelski 1987; Rasler and Thompson 1994; Kugler and Lemke 1996; Mearsheimer 2014). This proposition is at the heart of current international relations scholarship: the possibility of rising powers joining or modifying the current international architecture without violence (Dunn 1937; Rock 1989; Kupchan et al. 2001; Paul 2016).  By looking at both rising and declining states, as well as global and regional institutional setups, we will combine the team members’ respective expertise to take stock of the contemporary transformations in international security. The new round is a logical evolution of the previous rounds, but more focused on international institutions and their specific roles in peaceful transformations.

Some questions we wish to tackle include: How do institutions limit or enable the pursuit of power and influence by states in the international system? Which institutional strategies do great powers and other states utilize in pursuit of their national interests? Power politics and international institutions are typically studied as two separate domains. This is problematic, because most states in the international system use institutions strategically in order to further their interests vis-à-vis other states and non-state actors. Therefore, the aim of this project is to discuss the role and function of institutions in a world dominated by power politics in order to unpack the complex relationship between power and institutionalization and identify the consequences for state strategies and institutional design.

We decompose this problématique into four main research axes. The first axis is called “Institutions and the Accommodation of Rising Powers” (led by Paul and Pouliot). It is concerned with the increasing demands made on the world stage by a group of rising countries such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa (BRICS). The goal is to better understand the direction that such challenges are pointing at, as well the institutional adaptations that will be required. The second axis regards “Geopolitical Decline and International Institutions” (led by Hall and Mérand). The main focus is on the strategies of Western and European countries in a multilateral context, with a particular emphasis on former great powers as well as small states. How will they cope with the new global power equation? Our third axis is called “The New Security Agenda of the United Nations” (led by Martin-Brûlé and Pouliot). The research will deal with institutional reforms as well as new practices, especially when it comes to peacekeeping, disarmament and the responsibility to protect. Finally, the fourth axis examines “Challenges to Regional Institutional Architectures” (led by Hall, Mérand and Paul). We will examine security dynamics in Europe as well as in Asia in order to understand how global security dynamics are being reshaped from the bottom up and the rise of new powers.


Axis 1: Institutions and the Accommodation of Rising Powers

Since the end of the Cold War there has been a proliferation of international institutions. Countries rely on these institutions more than ever before both at the global level and the regional levels, but we do not have a full understanding of the role they play in security management or cooperation. Can institutions act as a means to accommodate rising powers and manage the decline of established powers, or are they the new arena of power politics (Kupchan 2001; Paul 2016)? While functionalist accounts focus on the ways in which institutions facilitate cooperation and create Pareto-improving outcomes, some of these gains have been found to be asymmetrical, and in power politics to favor the interests of a few states; in some cases, states may even use institutions as a means to enhance their own power or domestic political support, in order to enable them to pursue their interests on the international stage (Kindelberger 1973; Keohane 1984; Axelrod and Keohane 1985; Mearsheimer 1994/1995; Abbott and Snidal 1998; Simmons and Martin 2002). They may also be used as instruments in soft-balancing strategies, diplomatic engagement, or hedging strategies (Pape 2005; Paul 2005; Art 2005/06; He and Feng 2008; Saltman 2012; Cantir and Kennedy 2014; Friedman and Long 2015). Moreover, institutions have now become arenas for the status accommodation of rising powers, and the management of declining powers (Johnson 2001; Larson, Paul, and Wohlforth 2014). Even if institutions are acting as stages for the political struggles of great and rising powers, they may be altering the nature of these conflicts by dampening their competitiveness and constraining actions.

Research Project 1 International Institutions, Soft Balancing, and Rising Powers: Historically, the balance of power has been the number one strategy employed by state to maintain power parity within the international system. Generally speaking, whenever a state becomes dissatisfied with its relative position and disrupts the established distribution of power we should expect the other states in the system to balance against the revisionist power: either through military alliances or military spending states will wage war against the rising power to return to the status quo (Gulick 1955; Waltz 1979; Levy 2004). However, the end of the Cold War came with an important anomaly for the theory: no balance of power coalition formed to oppose the United States (Mastanduno and Kapstein 1999; Monteiro 2014; Paul, Wirtz and Fortman 2004; Paul, 2005; Walt, 2005; Pape, 2005; Wohlforth 1999; 2009). Instead, a new type of balancing behavior emerged, named soft balancing. This type of balancing restrains the power or aggressive policies of a state through international institutions, concerted diplomacy via limited, informal alliances and economic sanctions while making its aggressive actions less legitimate in the eyes of the world and hence its strategic goals more difficult to obtain (Paul, forthcoming).

Paul has already begun the first steps of this project in collaboration with colleagues for University of Copenhagen he has prepared a series of papers and they were just submitted to the Journal of Global Security Studies which will review it for publication. During the tenure of the project this journal special issue will be expanded and a large conference on the role of institutions in restraining power and accommodation of rising powers will be organized in Fall 2018, followed by two specialized panels at the ISA conference in March 2019. Funding will be obtained through James McGill grant, and support from the University of Copenhagen. Paul will also edit a special issue of International Studies Review from selected papers presented at the 2017 ISA convention in Baltimore on “Understanding Peaceful Change in World Politics” in which Institutions play a prominent role. Paul will publish his nearly completed manuscript: Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing in World Politics and begin work on the new project: “Grand Strategies of Peaceful Change in World Politics” for which he will apply for an SSHRC grant in 2019.


Research Project 2—Changing Practices of the Security Council and Peaceful Change: Rising powers increasingly make their presence felt at the UN Security Council, largely by running repeatedly for one of the ten elected seats. In the Libyan crisis of 2011, India, Brazil, and Nigeria were key players alongside the Permanent Five. The emergence of these players has also augmented the political pressure on the Security Council to revise its working methods and decision-making practices. This research project seeks to inventory the new ways of doing things at the Council, from horizon-scanning meetings to reunions with troop contributors through hybrid sessions with regional organizations or special representatives. Pouliot will organize an international conference on this subject in 2018, in which Martin-Brûlé will also play a prominent role. Two journal articles will also be submitted during the funding cycle, with the objective of preparing a special issue for submission in 2019.


Axis 2:  Geopolitical Decline and International Institutions

The issue of geopolitical decline is at the center of contemporary world order. Back in the 1980s, Paul Kennedy (1987) predicted the decline of the U.S. due to “imperial overstretch.” Scholars such as Samuel Huntington (1988) were quick to retort that, thanks to its internal dynamism, America would actually find the strength for renewal. Huntington added that the prediction of U.S. decline was a recurring fad that had never had much of an empirical basis. The end of the Cold War seemed to settle the debate in his favor, as America became, in the words of French foreign minister Hubert Védrine, the unipolar world’s “hyperpuissance” (Brzezinski 1997, Krauthammer 2002). As we near the third decade of the 21st Century, the rise of China rekindles the debate (Kang 2007, Ross and Feng 2008). In the declinist camp, realists and historical sociologists argue that we are moving to a bipolar or a multipolar world in which U.S. influence is diminishing relative to China and perhaps even other emerging powers such as India (Mann 2003, Layne 2009, Pape 2009, Shifrinson 2013, Wallerstein 2013). In the renewal camp, liberals (mostly) argue that U.S. power resources are not declining in absolute terms, and that the U.S. possesses a unique set of strategic tools that will allow it to remain to preeminent power in the institutional order it created well into the century (Luttwak 2008, Nye 2011, Drezner 2011, Wohlforth 2009, Ikenberry 2011, Lieber 2012, Beckley 2013, Brooks and Wohlforth 2016).


Project 3—Institutional strategies of decline: To settle this debate on how decline will be managed, it is critical to look at the role of international institutions, where global shifts will be played out. The issues of voting rights at the International Monetary Fund or third world seats on the UN Security Council are probably the most visible cases, but this debate is also taking place at UNESCO or the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Declinists hypothesize that the multilateral institutions created in the 20th Century are irrelevant and will further weaken as China and other rising powers question the legitimacy of the American Order. Multilateral institutions will thus be marginalized or face stalemate. Renewalists hypothesize on the contrary that these institutions will be resilient insofar as they socialize rising powers and give them more influence in their decision-making processes. A related question concerns the shifting balance of influence between Western-based and Eastern-based regional organizations. Since the 2007 economic crisis, the European Union, which for a long time was the mother of all regional institutions (Hofmann and Mérand 2012; Mégie and Mérand 2013), has been criticized as an international institution that is in decline. NATO faces similar criticisms as it struggles to respond to Russia’s demands and high expectations “out-of-area.” In the East, by contrast, new institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank are being created by China and manage to attract declining powers like the UK and France. The rise of new powers and the decline of old ones lead to a competition between international institutions that tends to reflect the interests of certain states and not others. As part of this project, Mérand and Martin-Brûlé will organize a practitioners’ workshop with officials from the EU, NATO, the UN, the OSCE, the Shanghai Cooperation Council, the African Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and ASEAN. This will support the group’s thinking on the management of declining states and institutional competition. He will also author or co-author three articles on declining European entities (France, European Union, Russia) in global affairs. This will be tied to the SSHRC Insight grant he just obtained with Magdalena Dembinska.


Project 4—European decline after Brexit:

The project starts from the observation that the European Union is an international and not a transnational arrangement, blessed with economic power whilst remaining militarily insignificant. The clear appearance of national interests, above all in the very different actions of Germany within the euro zone and of Britain in the last decade, suggests the continued relevance of states in regional integration. The European Union is now clearly weaker, faced with crises of all sorts: the euro, migrants, the rise of right wing populism, the consequences of Brexit, military involvement in the Near East, and pressures from Russia. Hall will investigate attempts by the Union to pull together in the face of Brexit, keeping the closest eye on military developments. The actions of Britain, potentially in combination with American retrenchment, will do much to undermine the stability of this part of the advanced world. This project will be funded through Hall’s James McGill Research chair. A workshop will be organized and the output of this project will include at least one journal article that will eventually become a book project.


Axis 3: The New Security Agenda of the United Nations

The security agenda of the United Nations has grown exponentially in the past two decades—even if we restrict our scope to the global management of organized violence. Peacekeeping has transformed into a vast enterprise of post-conflict reconstruction. Humanitarian intervention has morphed into the responsibility to protect (R2P) as well as protection of civilians (PoC). New multilateral treaties, such as that on small arms, have added to existing sets of rules. Nuclear proliferation remains a key challenge, involving difficulties in collective management. And new topics, such as the protection of women and children in conflicts, have emerged and become part of high-level discussions.


Project 5—The politics of global governance at the United Nations: This project inquires into the policymaking process at the United Nations. Assuming that to govern is to steer, it is argued that global governance consists in favoring certain courses of action over others, and justifying these choices in terms of collective ideals. The goal is to specify over what, as well as in what terms, global governance conflicts occur. Focusing on peacekeeping and the security-development nexus, the project looks at how the policymaking process is enabled and constrained by competing discourses about universal values. The analysis sheds new light on an intriguing puzzle. The UN views the promotion of human rights, collective security, good governance, and development as objectives whose formulation and implementation should take place “above politics.” Yet the policies promoted by the world organization have consistently sparked intense political struggles in the name of the common good. As part of this project, Pouliot will organize a workshop with UN specialists in order to compare different cases of public policymaking inside this institution. He will also publish a series of four articles (including two case studies), which will later be brought together in the form of a book.

Project 6—The role of culture and informality in peacekeeping intelligence: This project will focus on the intelligence process at the United Nations. It will investigate the training of intelligence analysts at United Nations (UN) as well as the structures and mechanisms put in place to collect, analyze and share information in peacekeeping missions. The provision of intelligence within the UN is problematic since there is an apparent tension between the veil of secrecy associated with intelligence and the values of transparency, accountability and democracy promoted by the UN. The goal of this project is to understand how the training of intelligence analysts influences the process of acquiring similar skills and norms in UN peacekeeping intelligence. It will examine the link between intelligence culture and informality. This project will investigate the challenge of balancing effectiveness and transparency within the UN peacekeeping intelligence structures. As part of this project, Martin-Brule will organize a workshop with UN practitioners, instructors and analysts to compare different practices between and within peace operations. She will also publish 2 articles as well as a book on the topic. This project will result in policy recommendations to improve information sharing process at the UN.


Axis 4: Challenges to Regional Institutional Architectures

Regional institutions have been created or old ones refashioned more rigorously since the end of the Cold War. The European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expanded into Eastern Europe, while the EU made significant progress down the path of European integration (cite). Regional institutions like the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have been attempting to created regional security orders through cooperation and collaboration, with some of these institutions having been more effective than others (Paul 2012). Regional institutions such as ASEAN have attempted to soft balance China, and NATO has made limited efforts to balance a resurgent Russia, but in both cases these efforts have resulted in only limited success. In recent decades we have also seen rising powers challenging the existing institutional architectures. China and Russia have challenged territorial norms, and have expressed dissatisfaction with the norms of international institutions established in the post-war period. In some cases, we have even seen them create institutions to rival and challenge existing institutions, such as the BRICS Infrastructure Development Bank. However, in many areas they also appear to accept and participate in the institutions established by the status quo powers. In an era where several powers are rising and predicted to meet and one day surpass the material capabilities of the Western great powers, how are international institutions adapting to changing circumstances?


Research project 7—The Sino-Indian rivalry in the globalization era and prospects for accommodation: The rivalry between the China and India has entered its 6th decade. Although the territorial disputes began in the 1950s, it became a deep-rooted enduring rivalry since the 1962 border war between the two states. Despite several rounds of negotiations on settling the territorial dispute, no end to the rivalry is in sight, while it sees intermittent militarized flare-ups. However, unlike the India-Pakistan rivalry, the Sino-Indian relations are somewhat positive on the economic front. Since the 1990s, trade volumes between the two largest economies of Asia have been on a steady increase. In 2000 the trade volume was $2.92 billion which grew to $70.25 billion in 2014, with a trade deficit of $46.29 billion for India. At international institutions, India and China seem to agree on issues such as global financial reforms, climate change, and elements of trade rules. However, on global governance, an agreement is missing on UN reforms, especially India’s entry as a permanent member of the Security Council or its membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This project asks how the Sino-Indian rivalry is impacting institutional transformations in the global governance of international security. A conference organized under the previous cycle will be published as a book in 2018. Findings for the project will be discussed in New Delhi and Beijing in the spring of 2018 with scholars and practitioners from the two countries

Research Project 8: ASEAN, SAARC and Asia-Pacific regional order: Paul will organize a conference on the theme the role of ASEAN and SAARC in reducing conflict among the Asia-Pacific states, especially India China in Fall 2020. It will examine of these institutions are used by smaller states to soft balance or restrain and engage the two largest powers of Asia, China and India. Additional funding will be obtained though an SSHRC insight grant as well as James McGill grant. The modest success of ASEAN and the largely ineffective working of SAARC generate a number of issues for regional security cooperation through institutions. What structures are needed to make regional institutions more effective in conflict management? More importantly, can regional institutions work as an effective arena for the transformation of relations between China and India, the two rising powers of Asia?

Research project 9—The European Union crisis seen from inside the European Commission: Do politics help or hurt European integration? Ever since the EU was launched in the 1950s, leaders and academics have argued about this question. For some, the EU is an evolving technocratic project that aims at creating consensus among the different peoples of Europe. It goes beyond the nation state precisely to avoid the divisiveness of nationalist politics. For others, the EU is a mature political body that creates winners and losers, and must therefore incorporate the practices and cleavages of democratic politics. This research project addresses the issue of politicization through an ethnography of the European decision-making elite. For four years, the researcher will be embedded in the heart of the EU’s machinery, the Berlaymont building, participating in and observing the cabinet of the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, and Taxation. Observing how he reacts to European and national politics, how he makes decisions, which alliances he forces and enemies he creates, and the kind of communication he puts in place will provide an answer to the question of how politicization works in practice and what challenges this trend entails. As part of this research project, Mérand will organize an international conference in 2018 on the theme: “The politics of multilateral institutions: A comparative analysis.” The event will feature top-level specialists of a variety of institutions from different regions in the world. During his sabbatical in 2019-2020, Mérand will also write a monograph tentatively entitled “Politics in the European Union: Dealing with the Polycrisis.”