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A structural-relational analysis of party dynamics in proxy wars

Rauta, V. ORCID: (2018) A structural-relational analysis of party dynamics in proxy wars. International Relations, 32 (4). pp. 449-467. ISSN 1741-2862

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0047117818802436


Proxy wars are still under-represented in conflict research and a key cause for this is the lack of conceptual and terminological care. This article seeks to demonstrate that minimising terminological diffusion increases overall analytical stability by maximising conceptual rigour. The argument opens with a discussion on the terminological ambivalence resulting from the haphazard employment of labels referencing the parties involved in proxy wars. Here, the article introduces an analytical framework with a two-fold aim: to reduce label heterogeneity, and to argue in favour of understanding proxy war dynamics as overlapping dyads between a Beneficiary, a Proxy, and a Target. This is then applied to the issues of defining and theorising party dynamics in proxy wars. It does so by providing a structural-relational analysis of the interactions between the abovementioned parties based on strategic interaction. It presents a tentative explanation of the proxy relationship by correlating the Beneficiary’s goal towards the Target with the Proxy’s preference for the Beneficiary. In adding the goal-preference relational heuristic, the article advances the recent focus on strategic interaction with a novel variant to explanations based on interest, power, cost–benefit considerations or ideology.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:79835


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