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179 APPENDIX A Brief Note on Methodology and Theory this book constitutes one narrative of nato’s post–Cold War history while acknowledging there will be others that differ in their arguments and that no single work on nato should be considered authoritative. It also makes a claim that theories in themselves should be viewed as narratives about international relations, not least because they can never be fully separated from the biases and intersubjective opinions and contexts that they are derived from. Narrative histories in particular, “are showing that researchers are always personally present in their writing” and that “the claim to scientific objectivity is not only impossible but also, critically, undesirable.”1 By recognizing these important points, and by drawing on history itself as a tool to understand nato, this book has sought to analyze an important international alliance in way that recognizes the vital contribution of a range of theoretical scholarship, while at the same time avoiding some of the pitfalls of going down one particular theoretical rabbit hole. In writing the book I spent many days, weeks, months, and years examining the theoretical literature on nato, and particularly the theoretical contributions of the realist, liberal, and constructivist camps. Even though these many articles, books and other analyses of nato are not considered in full in this text, I feel it is important to acknowledge this vital body of scholarship. Each of the main camps provides insights that students of international relations should be able to understand, critique, and be used to provide different points of view on nato. Theoretical eclecticism is something I value highly in my approach to ir and I believe it should be encouraged across the discipline. As well as trying to gain a thorough understanding of the theoretical literate on nato myself, this book is based on a number of other research methods. I spent a great deal of time reviewing the nontheoretical and historical literature on nato, delved into primary materials on nato’s post–Cold War history, including policy documents , nato official sources, speeches by transatlantic decision makers, records of nato committee meetings, and some archival 180 ◆ appendix material. In addition, the research was informed by interaction with nato officials directly on a number of different occasions: in 2010, when I traveled to nato hq to conduct interviews for the book; in 2013, when I traveled to nato as part of a group of scholars from nato partner countries for a series of seminars and workshops on nato and its role in global affairs; and in 2015, when I conducted a series of seventeen semistructured interviews with nato officials as part of a separate project on Global Perceptions of nato, which informed the last chapter in particular. The book also takes a largely chronological approach to nato, beginning with the alliance’s entry into the new security environment of the 1990s and ending in 2015–2016. In doing so it addresses most if not all of the alliance’s main operations and processes during that period, with in-depth case studies of the main conflicts nato has been involved in. This approach was deliberate because it allowed for the sources of nato’s durability to be isolated, but also for the aspects of continuity and change to be better appreciated. As stated earlier in the book, an approach that looked at isolated case studies may not have fully revealed the historical dynamics that have been so important in nato’s evolution. Finally, this research is part of my own personal narrative. I began to study nato in detail in 2004 as part of my master’s degree in international studies and am still actively involved in research on other aspects of nato’s role in international affairs. I have thus experienced and studied nato’s evolution through my own eyes for well over a decade as an active researcher. I certainly bring my own subjective opinions to this work—I believe nato has an important role to play in world affairs. But I hope my opinion is based, as much as opinions ever can be, on a reasoned, nuanced, and well-researched approach to an alliance that still has the power to fascinate and confound in equal measure. ...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781438468747
Related ISBN
9781438468730
MARC Record
OCLC
1002693080
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2018-03-06
Open Access
No
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