Inviting the Power of Reflection

by Mouli Banerjee and Martin Wolf

The popular children’s game, Rock-Paper-Scissors, is in many ways a perfect example for the ways in which power is negotiated in different political debates on a global level. The winner depends on chance combinations, and no tool is the most powerful per se. However, when it comes to the most pertinent political issues of our times, there are certain normative expectations- of tools to not use.

It’s a common adage, to talk of the power of the pen (and now the keyboard) and discursive tactics. Within this arena of international relations some assumptions are convenient because they seem to provide a common ground for negotiations, bargaining and making a deal. In the toolset of diplomacy at least, 'communication' and 'cooperation' have positive connotations. They are strategies which reduce tensions and enable different actors to find common ground, to identify win-win opportunities and ensure the development, albeit at different speed, of all parties involved. However, the counter-narratives could also use these tactics of communication, to destabilize global cooperation. Whether it’s the pen or the keyboard, it can be a tool for great good as well as great damage. This has become clearer than ever before now, as we witness various aggravated political conflicts, rising anti-immigrant sentiments, and the everyday repercussions of our current climate emergency across the globe. 

When the narratives that deny the present crises gain momentum, what do we have left? The better arguments. The beautiful and often painstaking exercise of scientific research: to base your arguments on what has already been said. And then the carefully considered additional step: to express an opinion. It may not convince everyone, but it makes a start. It holds up a mirror on the arguments of the day and furthermore, it contextualizes the debates.

We invite you to be as frank as your research suggests you to be. We appreciate 'Opinion' pieces that focus on any concern that arises when you look at the global interplay of debates as a policy challenges, across all disciplines that you belong to and engage with. We appreciate different perspectives but ask you to frame your argument in an accessible way. We also welcome pieces written in response to opinions published in this section. We want to provide a platform for dialogue- an exchange and development of reflective arguments.

We welcome contributions that relate to the policy fields the Centre focuses on: Internet governance, governance of peacebuilding, climate change and migration. Further topics are also welcome.

Please send your proposal to communications@gcr21.uni-due.de.

We are looking forward to hearing from you. Enjoy reading!