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Actor-networking the 'failed state': an inquiry into the life of concepts

Bueger, Christian ORCID: and Bethke, Felix 2014. Actor-networking the 'failed state': an inquiry into the life of concepts. Journal of International Relations and Development 17 , pp. 30-60. 10.1057/jird.2012.30

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Concepts such as the ‘failed state’ are jointly produced by academics and political actors and hence connect academia and global politics. Little attention has been spent to study such concepts and the practices that create them and sustain their relevance. We develop an innovative framework for studying concepts. Relying on actor-network theory, we suggest studying concepts as effects of relations between different actors building an actor-network. We introduce actor-network theory and demonstrate its value for international relations (IR) research. Our empirical case study of the concept of failed states combines bibliometric analysis and qualitative text analysis. We show how various actors have brought the concept of failed states to life; analyse how actors transformed because of their participation; and investigate the persistent struggles to define and homogenise the concept. In summary, this is an article about the life of the failed state, the discipline of IR and its relations to other actors, and an introduction of the actor-network theory toolbox to the sociology of IR.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 1408-6980
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:28

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