The wikileaks saga has certainly been an exciting thing to follow. There has been a huge debate about the impact of “cablegate” and how wikileaks redefines journalism, international politics, human rights, terrorism, history and internet freedom… Some argued that we haven’t learnt anything new from the cables, others claimed that this is a history-changing moment. Some argue that it is a great exercise in transparency, others think it will damage diplomacy for many years to come. However, everything has also been overshadowed by the Julian Assange story.
I have been wondering whether social scientists – and scholars of European studies in particular – have something to contribute to the explanation of the ‘wikileaks phenomenon’? And more generally, are leaked documents a good source for research? Although only a fraction of cables has been released so far I started wondering whether these cables constitute a good basis for case studies in international politics, US foreign policy but also European politics?
There is already some disagreement between different intellectuals. Timothy Garton Ash wrote a interesting piece in which he claims that wikileaks “is the historian’s dream” but “the diplomat’s nightmare”. Dan Drezner is more sceptical and argued that wikileaks is bad for scholarship.
This post is an experiment. I was thinking whether “wikileaks/cablegate” could be a good topic for a panel at UACES Cambridge 2011? (Deadline for panel proposals is 21 January 2011.) Usually panel ideas are circulated on some mailing list or just put together by some researchers. But why not use a blog for this? The process of developing a panel proposal or indeed a research papers could start on a blog and in the comments. Blogging is a great tool for networking and finding like minded researchers. So, if anyone has good ideas for a paper on wikileaks/Europe or is interested in contributing to such a panel – just leave a comment below or drop me an email!
What could a panel on wikileaks look like? There are quite a few topics – also from a European perspective that might be interesting to look at. The following list is by no means a complete list – just a few random ideas, feel free to suggest any topic you think is missing! Also, if you think it is not intellectual enough for a panel do let me know. This blog post is not a panel proposal, it is just an idea I had 5 minutes ago, maybe a good one, maybe a bad one but at least an idea for a blog post!
- The impact of wikileaks or cablegate on transparency/democracy/diplomacy/…
- An analysis of the politics of wikileaks: Redefining power, media, politics…
- Comparing the impact of leaks in Europe: National actors, EU actors…
- Comparing European discourses: The case of cablegate in different European countries
- Did ‘cablegate’ change policy-making or institutional structures in Europe (and US)?
- Case study: US perceptions and the politics of EU member state (s)
- Diplomatic cables or how diplomats perceive the world.
- Wikileaks and EU diplomacy – What lessons for the new European External Actions Service (EEAS)?
- The impact of ‘Wikileaks’ on IR and EU case studies – methodological challenges, practical experiences etc.
- Investigative journalism and EU politics
- Unpacking the concept of “scientific journalism” – What is ‘science’ – what is ‘journalism’?
- Methodological issues – Case study development and leaked documents.
- Wikileaks and research: ‘Help, I need to change my case study’ vs. ‘ I told you so!’