Beyond the emergency problematique: how do security IOs respond to crises—a case study of NATO response to COVID-19

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt


This article explores the discourses and strategies of security international organisations (IOs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, applying NATO as a case study. To build the argument, the article analyses speeches and public interventions by the SG and DSG coded in NVivo. First, the results of the empirical analysis suggest that during the crisis NATO discourse focussed on its ability to perform core functions, on constructing identity, generating “positive” legitimacy, or on increasing the relevance of military capital. Second, the findings show that the main elements of the organisation’s COVID-19 crisis management strategy were: proactiveness, continuous review and planning ahead, stepping-up activities and efficiency, lessons learned, adaptability, solidarity and civil-military cooperation. Third, a logic of IO exceptionalism and ‘emergency problematique’, underpinned by mission creep, could not be conclusively confirmed based on the analysed sample. The article adds a theoretical distinction to the literature on global governance in times of emergency. It demonstrates that security IOs might not always seek explicit authority leaps through lowering checks and balances (horizonal) or reducing the legal protection of subjects (vertical), due to risks of sanctioning.
TidsskriftJournal of Transatlantic Studies
Sider (fra-til)261-281
StatusUdgivet - 2021
Eksternt udgivetJa

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