Arguing and Bargaining

The aim of this project developed in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse (Free University Berlin) is to work out the conditions under which arguing influences the process and outcome of multilateral negotiations. Our research to date has revealed firstly that arguing and (purpose-orientated) “bargaining”, while needing to be strictly differentiated from one another for the purpose of analysis, almost always occur together in empirical reality. Secondly, we were able to show that arguing is less dependent on participants’ directing their actions towards a search for peace (which is in any case hard to determine empirically) than on specific social and institutional contexts. In certain negotiation contexts even the most calculated and rational diplomat must not only produce good reasons for the interests s/he represents, but also allow her-/himself to be persuaded by the “better argument” and at least try to alter her/his own negotiating position. It is the aim of this research project commissioned by PRIF to determine the social and institutional contexts under which arguing influences concrete courses of negotiations and introduces persuasive processes. We are systematically examining the influence of arguing on both the various stages of multilateral negotiations (setting agendas, defining problems, negotiating texts of treaties) and the outcome of such negotiations.