1st Edition

Researching Non-state Actors in International Security Theory and Practice

Edited By Andreas Kruck, Andrea Schneiker Copyright 2017
    270 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume provides researchers and students with a discussion of a broad range of methods and their practical application to the study of non-state actors in international security.

    All researchers face the same challenge, not only must they identify a suitable method for analysing their research question, they must also apply it. This volume prepares students and scholars for the key challenges they confront when using social-science methods in their own research. To bridge the gap between knowing methods and actually employing them, the book not only introduces a broad range of interpretive and explanatory methods, it also discusses their practical application. Contributors reflect on how they have used methods, or combinations of methods, such as narrative analysis, interviews, qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), case studies, experiments or participant observation in their own research on non-state actors in international security. Moreover, experts on the relevant methods discuss these applications as well as the merits and limitations of the various methods in use. Research on non-state actors in international security provides ample challenges and opportunities to probe different methodological approaches. It is thus particularly instructive for students and scholars seeking insights on how to best use particular methods for their research projects in International Relations (IR), security studies and neighbouring disciplines. It also offers an innovative laboratory for developing new research techniques and engaging in unconventional combinations of methods.

    This book will be of much interest to students of non-state security actors such as private military and security companies, research methods, security studies and International Relations in general.

    1. Introduction: Researching Non-State Actors in International Security – A Multitude of Challenges, a Plurality of Approaches, Andreas Kruck and Andrea Schneiker

    2. Conceptualizing Political Violence of Non-State Actors in International Security Research, Andreas Armborst

    Part I: Interpreting Texts

    3. Rebels without a Cause: Narrative Analysis as a Method for Research on Rebel Movements, Alexander Spencer

    4. PMSCs and Twitter: Sentiment Analysis as a Tool for Evaluating Social Media Data, Magnus Dau and Marlen Martin

    5. Semi-Structured Interviews with Non-State and Security Actors, Anja Mihr

    6. Combining Semi-Structured Interviews and Document Analysis in a Study of Private Security Expertise, Joakim Berndtsson

    7. Discussion Chapter: Comments on "Interpreting Texts", Jutta Joachim

    Part II: Establishing Causal Claims

    8. (Comparative) Case Studies: Combining Case Study Techniques for the Causal Analysis of Security Privatization, Andreas Kruck

    9. Qualitative Comparative Analysis and the Study of Non-State Actors, Patrick Mello

    10. Geospatial Analyses of Non-State Actors in Violent Conflicts, Alexander De Juan

    11. Discussion Chapter: Shadow Boxing in Plato’s Cave: Assessing Causal Claims, Bertjan Verbeek

    Part III: Doing Fieldwork

    12. An Ethnographic Approach to Non-State Security: Participation Observation among Private Security Officers, Tessa Diphoorn

    13. Using Experimental Methods in Post-Conflict Countries to Understand the Effects of Gender Reforms in the Liberian National Police, Sabrina Karim

    14. Empirical Assessment of (Policy) Effectiveness: The Role of Business in Zones of Conflict, Melanie Coni-Zimmer and Klaus Dieter Wolf

    15. Discussion Chapter: Practicing Reflexivity in Field Research, Jacqui True

    Conclusions and Perspectives for Researching Non-State Actors in International Security

    16. From Cookbooks to Dictionaries in the Making: Methodological Perspectives for Research of Non-State Actors and Processes, Anna Leander


    Andreas Kruck is Assistant Professor of Global Governance at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany, and co-author of International Organization (2012).

    Andrea Schneiker is Professor of Political Science at the University of Siegen, Germany, and author of Humanitarian NGOs, (In)Security and Identity (Routledge, 2015).