The Routinization and Institutionalization of Securitization and the Impact on Ethnic Conflicts: The Cyprus Case
Project Number: PENEK/0609/80
Host Organization: Cyprus Center for European and international Affairs
Summary of objectives: This project studies the theory of securitization and identifies a number of gaps and offers frameworks that would not only compliment the theory per se, but would also improve its applicability when used to understand the perpetuation of ethnic conflicts. The main hypothesis of this project is that securitization need not be a top-down approach only (that relies solely on speech acts), but also a bottom-up, while at the same time the process of securitization could also become more institutionalized in some cases. More specifically, the argument that securitization, as a process, could be institutionalized and routinized, could allow for successful securitizing acts to emerge without a significant intervention from the securitizing actor. By testing this hypothesis the project will meet the two broad objectives, which are (a) to improve a very important theory in security studies and (b) to improve our understanding for the perpetuation of ethnic conflicts such as the one in Cyprus. It will also examine how conflict resolution efforts from international organizations (such as the EU) could also become part of the securitization process.
Methodological approach: The project is methodologically split in two parts: the first part deals with the theoretical aspect of the thesis. The activities in this part include (a) a detailed literature review on: (i) securitization, (ii) routinization and institutionalization, (iii) ethnic intractable conflicts and (b) a proposed theoretical framework, which will complement both the theory of securitization and the existing frameworks used to explain the EU’s catalytic behavior. The second part is empirical and examines the Cyprus conflict, or rather the reasons behind its perpetuation. Activities of this part include: (a) interviews with both political elite and non-political but influential individuals, (b) roundtables/focus groups discussions, (c) analysis of the press and (d) analysis of (existing) opinion polls.
Expected Results and Contribution: It is expected that the empirical observations will help test extensively the aforementioned theoretical hypotheses. Thus, this project would improve the theory per se and contribute considerably to our understanding of the role of securitization in (especially) ethnic conflicts and how the former hinders EU efforts to resolve them. Moreover, the theoretical results are “generalizable” and as such could be used to improve our understanding for other cases such as Kosovo and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Acknowledgement: This work was funded by the European Regional Development Funds and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research Promotion Foundation (Project PENEK 0609/80)