Multiple Correspondence Analysis in International Relations
The chapter showcases the benefits of resorting to multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) in enquiring international relations (IRs). To do so, it recounts how I investigated the aid that Central Asian States receive, usually in the form of projects, from international organizations (IOs) in the area of border security. I first turned to qualitative interviews with actors working “in the field” to deliver this assistance directly in contact with Central Asian beneficiaries. Those revealed a set of heated struggles over who is the most legitimate actor of border security in this region of the world. But, simultaneously, no one agreed on the hierarchy resulting from those struggles. MCA helped solving this conundrum by mapping out the positions that actors occupy in their operational environment, and from which they talk. They show which actors are more autonomous than others, and how some IOs remain heavily development-driven while others implement security-oriented projects. As such, MCA provides a promising venue for scholars who try to work through those complex socio-bureaucratic transnational settings that make the bread and butter of IR research.
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