Introduction: Mistakes and Failures in International Relations

  • Andreas Kruck
  • Kai Oppermann
  • Alexander Spencer


This introduction firstly considers the concepts of ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’ and reflects on ontological and epistemological perspectives on how to study mistakes and failures. We secondly turn to the question of what causes mistakes and failures and introduce a range of theories for explaining and understanding mistakes and failures. Part three examines the notion of responsibility attribution and considers why and how actors get blamed for mistakes and failures. In these three parts, we both summarize the state of the art and point out how the chapters in this volume add new insights and perspectives. Part four offers an overview of the chapters which are to follow and part five elaborates on the lessons learnt from these insights on mistakes and failures in international relations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Kruck
    • 1
  • Kai Oppermann
    • 2
  • Alexander Spencer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social Sciences and HistoryOtto-von-Guericke University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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