Rethinking Strategic Culture: Epistemic Communities, Discursive Institutionalism and Computational Research Agenda
Despite the proliferation of empirical studies, the strategic culture approach suffered from a prolonged theoretical stalemate culminating in the schism of the Johnston-Gray debate. The paper suggests a first step in reviving the concept. Identifying strategic culture as traditionally implicit institutionalist concept, the paper draws on discursive institutionalism and perceives strategic culture as institution which is shaped by ideas concerning foreign and security policies. Change in strategic culture therefore results from discursive processes among elites. Thus, strategic culture is conceptualized as consisting of competing subcultures that are shaped in their respective identity by an epistemic community.The competition is operationalized by tracing the policy positions of rival epistemic communities in media debates and official policy documents.Methodologically, computational social sciences provide means for testing hypotheses derived from the proposed model of strategic culture.
Dr. Tamir Libel is a Beatriu de Pinós Research Fellow (A Marie Curie COFUND programme) at the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for War Studies, University College Dublin (UCD). He was formerly a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRE) at UCD, and a visiting scholar at both the Department of Political Science at the University of Trier and the Department of History at the University of Marburg in Germany. He received his PhD in Political Science from Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specialises in international relations, European studies and security studies with a geographical focus on Europe, North America and the wider Middle East. His articles on these topics were published in peer-reviewed journals such as RUSI Journal, Defense & Security Analysis, Journal of Intelligence History and Defence Studies. He is also the co-editor of Between the Yarmulke and Beret: Religion, Politics and the Military in Israel (2012, in Hebrew), and his book European Military Culture and Security Governance: Soldiers, Scholars and National Defence Universities was published by Routledge in March 2016.
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