This research theme within the ICCS focuses on the obstacles to building cooperation and trust internationally, and the possibilities for overcoming these through strategies, practices, and new institutional arrangements. Researchers within this area are exploring how adversarial groups develop new conciliatory processes; the contribution that other disciplines can make to understanding cooperation and trust at the international level; the role that processes of empathy can play in building new structures of cooperation; and the dynamics and possibilities of multilateral security cooperation.
Questions we seek to answer:
How can multidisciplinary theorising about trust contribute to theories of security cooperation in International Relations?
How far has trust been neglected as a variable in explaining how conciliatory processes begin, and how they can be sustained so as to transform adversarial relationships into cooperative ones?
How important is empathy in building cooperation between adversaries? What is the relationship between empathy and trust?
The TBNW project was based until February 2012 in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. The project was inspired and developed out of Ken Booth and Nicholas Wheeler's book The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation, and Trust in World Politics
This collaboration initially between Professor Nicholas Wheeler and Dr Naomi Head, began in 2011. It focuses on how far security dilemma dynamics have prevented an agreement between Iran and the United States, and its key Western allies, in relation to their fear and mistrust of Iran’s nuclear programme since the early 2000s. Drawing on multidisciplinary work on empathy and trust, and the role of emotions and narratives in shaping each side’s negotiating positions, the project is developing research which spans the entire period of the negotiations. The project has a strong empirical focus and key members of the project team are Professor Scott Lucas who is Managing Director of EA and Joanna Paraszczuk (Middle East editor). In addition, the project is supported by Josh Baker, a doctoral researcher in the ICCS, and Dani Nedal (former ICCS research assistant).