From Cookbooks to Encyclopaedias in the Making: Methodological Perspectives for Research of Non-state Actors and Processes

Anna Leander

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The contributions to this volume helpfully highlight the methodological diversity, and also some of the specific difficulties, involved in researching Non-State Actors and Processes in International Security (NAPIS 1 ). In this concluding chapter, I wish to further underscore and contextualize what I read as the core insight emerging from the volume taken as a whole: that researching NAPIS demands an approach to method that is well informed, but also open, imaginative and ready to make unconventional methodological moves and combinations, as is this volume itself. I will insist that, as the contributions show, there are deeply ingrained reasons why narrow and restrictive approaches to method will do more to hamper than help NAPIS researchers. Some of these reasons are general and pertain to all research activities. But many of them are specific to NAPIS research. They are related to the complex relation between the state-centrism of the categories through which knowledge (of researchers as well as of the researched) is structured, and to the possibility of acquiring knowledge that defies these categories. Indeed, failure to problematize these categories and to incorporate them as objects of analysis (as opposed to the point of departure for analysis) will do more to distort, obscure or even obliterate NAPIS than to further explanations or understandings of them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching Non-state Actors in International Security : Theory and Practice
EditorsAndreas Kruck, Andrea Schneiker
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9781138947825
ISBN (Electronic)9781315669830
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesRoutledge Critical Security Studies

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