Fashions and Fallacies in Contemporary Strategic Thought 

Every few years a new concept captures the attention of a large part of the strategic studies community. These buzzwords – such as hybrid warfare, grey zone conflict, counterinsurgency or the revolution in military affairs – are both ambiguous and powerful, sparking a wave of publications only to eventually be superseded by the next buzzword. How can we explain this recurring cycle? This talk looks at the dynamics and underlying ideas about war driving this process. It argues that these buzzwords are the outcome of fallacies inherent in much current strategic thinking in the West.

Dr Chiara Libiseller is a lecturer at the Institute for History at Leiden University and a deputy editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies. She obtained her PhD from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, having written her thesis on ‘The Rise and Fall of Fashionable Concepts in Strategic Studies’. Her most recent output, entitled ‘“Hybrid warfare” as an academic fashion’ was published in the Journal of Strategic Studies.