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Final Activity Report Summary - SPECIAL RELATIONS ('Special Relations' in International Politics)

In international history and politics, the terms 'special relations' or 'special relationship' are standard currency among policy-makers, journalists, and academics. However, international relations scholarship lacks the theoretical means and conceptual tools both to capture the substance of special relations and to examine their effects. This research project investigates the phenomenon of 'special' inter-state relations in international politics. It develops a conceptual framework to research diverse kinds of special relationships between states and to study their impact on international affairs. The project distinguishes among different types of special relationships, including especially 'good' ones (e.g. France-Germany, US.-Britain), especially 'bad' ones (Greece-Turkey, Japan-China), and especially 'problematic' ones (Germany-Israel, France-Algeria, Japan-South Korea). It also distinguishes among different degrees of specialness, ranging from 'unique' and 'very special' to 'somewhat special' or 'not quite ordinary.' My research shows that special relationships have their own logic. They can exert autonomous causal impact on the interests and policies of states involved in them. Whether and how strongly they do so depends on the inherent logics of the interactions and meaning that compose a particular special relationship, and on the interaction of this logic with factors from domestic politics. Investigating the practices and historical meanings that constitute special inter-state relationships, as well as their political implications, this project combines international relations theory, international and comparative history, and various kinds of area studies and country-specific research.

A first book manuscript, which has benefited enormously from my Marie Curie Fellowship, is now in the last stages of revisions. Tentatively titled 'Flying Tiger: Arms Procurement and Reality Production in Franco-German Relations,' this book focuses specifically on the contingent impact of the institutionalised Franco-German relations. I expect to submit it to an academic press during the spring of 2008. A second book manuscript will draw together the overall arguments and take a more distinctly comparative perspective. This manuscript's working title is 'Special Relations in International Politics.' I hope to bring this work to full fruition in the time ahead.

In addition, a range of substantive research papers has greatly benefited from my Curie Fellowship. 'Parapublic Underpinnings of International Relations: The Franco-German Construction of Europeanization of a Particular Kind' appeared in the September 2007 issue (Vol. 13, No. 3) of the European Journal of International Relations, Europe's leading international relations journal. Further, a number of other research papers are currently under review or in preparation to be submitted for review in the near future. In spite of the very unfortunate loss of a significant portion of time due to the reasons mentioned above, the Marie Curie fellowship has been greatly helpful for pursuing my research.

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