Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - WHY_SEEK_IO_APPROVAL (Why do states seek international organization approval for military intervention?)

Why do powerful states seek multilateral approval for their military interventions through institutions such as the United Nations and regional international organizations? The project aims to answer this question. My doctoral dissertation and previous publications explored related questions by focusing primarily on the USA. This project moves beyond that research, theorizing how international status concerns might motivate states to channel their foreign and defence policies through multilateral bodies. The project focuses in particular on France’s military intervention policy towards Africa and that policy’s evolution in an increasingly multilateral direction from the mid-1990s onwards.

Project objectives for the first half of the funding period included further identification and assimilation of relevant scholarly literature; further development of the theoretical framework and related hypotheses; planning and implementation of academic workshops; conducting interviews with current and former policymakers; presentation of preliminary results at academic conferences; preliminary analysis and evaluation of data; and establishing connections with scholars working on similar questions in Europe and North America.

The award of a CIG has allowed me to make significant progress on the project, enabling me to: assimilate relevant scholarly literature; spend several months in Paris for research interviews; present preliminary findings at several academic conferences and workshops in France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the USA; hire a research assistant who helped me with data analysis; and establish fruitful contacts with researchers in all of the aforementioned countries.

The main result achieved so far has been to refine my theoretical framework and related hypotheses. My central argument, to be developed further in part two of the project, is that status concerns can motivate what I call “insecure great powers” to seek multilateral approval for their military interventions. State-of-the-art research in political science and international relations generally explains states’ efforts to secure multilateral approval for their military interventions as the result of rational cost-benefit calculations having do to with burden sharing and domestic support. By theorizing how a non-material factor such as status seeking can motivate states to seek multilateral approval, this project makes an important and original contribution beyond the current state-of-the-art. The final intended output is a book-length monograph with a major university press.

The grant has also enabled to me to implement several smaller research projects, notably a project on the politics and ethics of humanitarian safe areas and a project on the ethics of forcible democracy promotion in the aftermath of humanitarian interventions. Two papers related to those projects are currently under review. More generally, the award of a GIG has allowed me to publish several of my articles in top-ranked journals on an open-access basis, thus greatly facilitating the dissemination of my research findings. All publications can be accessed through my personal website:

The award of a CIG has facilitated my successful integration into the scientific community of the European research area (ERA). I began my career as a Lecturer (assistant professor) at the University of Cambridge in 2012 on a contract with a five-year probation period. In the summer of 2016, upon an evaluation of my research and teaching performance to-date by my department and the University, I successfully passed my probation (one year ahead of schedule), and my contract has now been made permanent. I have also made a significant contribution to knowledge exchange through my teaching activities, student supervisions, and organization of various research seminars at Cambridge.


Renata Schaeffer, (European Policy Manager)
Tel.: +44 1223 333543
Fax: +44 1223 332988


Life Sciences
Record Number: 195365 / Last updated on: 2017-03-13
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