Power vacuums in international politics : a conceptual framework
Cambridge review of international affairs, 2023, OnlineFirst
GRAEFRATH, Moritz Sebastian, Power vacuums in international politics : a conceptual framework, Cambridge review of international affairs, 2023, OnlineFirst - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75978
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
Policymakers and academics alike frequently invoke power vacuums asimportant phenomena in international politics, referring to them in a diverse array ofcontexts ranging from civil war to the decline and retrenchment of great powers.However, students of international relations (IR) have largely neglected to seriouslyengage‘power vacuum’as a social scientific concept. This renders it virtuallyimpossible to undergird current policy debates on power vacuums with social scientificanalysis, and more generally raises doubts about the concept’s analytic utility. In thispiece, I argue that‘power vacuum’is not merely a popular buzzword but a conceptwith considerable theoretical promise. I develop a conceptualisation of power vacuumsas spaces that experience authority collapse. Since, in the context of internationalpolitics, organisations can claim authority on several political levels, I posit theexistence of several types of power vacuums of which two appear particularly relevantto the study of IR: national and international vacuums. My conceptualisation is able toreflect the diverse ways in which the term is currently utilised, paves the way for novelresearch on a subject of great concern to policymakers, and uncovers the potential forcloser collaboration across traditionally rigid thematic boundaries within IR.
Published online: 24 October 2023
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75978
Full-text via DOI: 10.1080/09557571.2023.2272272
ISSN: 0955-7571; 1474-449X
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