Assistant Professor of Political Science at Franklin, Bernd Bucher, and Ursula Jasper, Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zürich, have recently published “Revisiting ‘Identity’ in International Relations: From Identity as Substance to Identifications in Action” in the highly prestigious European Journal of International Relations.

In their article, Bucher and Jasper critically examine the concept of identity as it is commonly used in constructivist and post-structuralist thinking and stress the need for identity research to move beyond methodologically individualist commitments and causal reasoning. In developing a framework for studying the stabilization of identifications and applying it to the case of Swiss non-nuclearization, this article promises to make a visible contribution to both the theoretical and empirical constructivist literature in International Relations.

“Most basically, our model helps to grasp how foreign policy decision-making and articulations of identity are interrelated,” said Professor Bucher. “We can then move beyond arguing that a state, say Switzerland, acted on the basis of their identity and critically examine how certain articulations of identity are temporarily fixed and privileged in foreign policy decision-making. This improves on the ‘identity as cause’ perspective and allows us to study the politics of articulating national identity.”

When asked about the project, Professor Bucher said “We are very happy with the outcome. We both learned quite a bit in the research process. During this time, discussions with colleagues both in the U.S. and Europe challenged us to continuously push the argument further and we are very thankful for their support. We are particularly thankful for the research assistance which Franklin provided and to have had three of our brightest students on board to help with the final version of the article.”

Professor Bucher’s primary research interests involve the intersection of International Relations theory and sociology. Power, language and contestation practices as well as security dynamics are also central to his research, which utilizes (historical) discourse analysis and draws on qualitative methods. Professor Bucher has successfully published in leading academic journals and is part of a number of individual and collaborative research projects that focus on applying processual-relational thinking to International Relations.