New ESRC Seminar Series grant for 'NATO after Afghanistan'

Posted on Monday 16th July 2012

Professor Mark Webber has been awarded a grant under the latest ESRC Seminar Series initiative to hold a series of meetings with practitioners, representatives of civil society and academics in 2012-2014 to explore NATO’s reorientation as its mission in Afghanistan winds down. Webber as Principal Investigator will work alongside co-investigators at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (Dr Martin Smith and Dr Jennifer Medcalf) and Dr Ellen Hallams (Kings College, London).

The seminar series addresses four sets of questions of both academic and policy significance:

1. What explains the seeming disjuncture between NATO's ongoing activism and the narrative of crisis which it attracts?
2. What are the underlying structures of power, norms and governance which inhere in NATO and, more broadly, within the trans-Atlantic relationship? How do these structures explain the persistence of the Alliance?
3. How effective has NATO been in developing and discharging its post-Cold War missions?
4. Is the Afghan crisis a qualitatively new one for the Alliance? And will it prove of lasting consequence in shaping NATO’s purpose?

To address these questions, the Seminar Series will convene five meetings on the following themes:

1. NATO – Afghanistan and after

2. The Responsibility to Protect and armed intervention

3. NATO and emerging security risks and threats

4. NATO partnerships: theory and practice

5. NATO: the national and the inter-governmental

The Series is intended to develop a dialogue on policy while also taking forward the still nascent field of NATO theory. Propositions on the Alliance will thus be submitted to the test of empirical and policy-relevant case studies. Theoretical reflection allows for investigation of institutional and operational change within the Alliance, the interactions of its leading states, and the nature of its underlying norms and values.

If you are interested in Professor Webber’s work on NATO and the Seminar Series, he can be contacted at: