Summary and Keywords
Several strands of research on deterrence and crisis behavior were developed within different disciplinary, intellectual, and methodological traditions. Although sometimes coexisting as separate subfields, these studies share a common focus on coercive bargaining in international crises. To draw a common thread between two main subfields, strategic studies on deterrence on one hand and general literature on military crises on the other, both similarities and distinctions in their central concepts are delineated. Four general periods (“waves”) are also briefly outlined in the progression of this research area since World War II, each dominated by a distinct paradigmatic tradition. The main attention then turns to arguments about the causal conditions and mechanisms through which deterrence and crisis bargaining succeeds or fails. Since deterrence requires both capable and credible threats to work, divergent explanatory frameworks are discussed for each of these two requirements. Besides theoretical debates, there are also methodological controversies and measurement issues, which are introduced along with the major data collections that have been developed only recently in this area. In conclusion, several research paths are identified and discussed that have great promise for future advancements in the study of conflict and deterrence.
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