Best Paper Awards

Dear members,

We are delighted to be able to announce the co-winners of the first prize for the Best Paper on Statehood, Sovereignty and Conflict:

De-sovereignisation as an instrument of Russia’s conflict resolution strategy in the context of post-Soviet de facto states. The cases of Transdniestria and the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples’ Republics’ by Jaroslava Barbieri, Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham


‘Reclaiming Sovereignty: Political Authority in the Strategies of Three Indigenous Leaders in Brazil‘ by João Nackle URT – Universidade Federal de Roraima, and Tchella F. MASO – Universidad del Pais Vasco, Universidade Federal de Roraima. 

In deciding the prize, the jury members (Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, George Kyris, and Karolina Werner) were guided by the aim of the prize to recognise the best paper presented at the ECPR General Conference section of the Research Network that makes, or shows promise for making, a significant contribution to the research areas of the Research Network, in conceptual, theoretical and/or empirical terms, and demonstrates relevance to current affairs. Papers were nominated by the panel discussants on this basis, and also using this opportunity to highlight the work of early career researchers, and other groups underrepresented in research, such as women, scholars residing in the global south, and LGBT+.

The jury congratulates Jaroslava Barbieri  for a conceptually novel, empirically rich and highly relevant to current affairs study. The conceptualisation of de-sovereignisation and of a triangular relation between parent, de facto and patron state is novel and makes an important contribution to existing literature. These conceptual inroads are supported by a meticulous study that draws on very extensive, original and interesting empirical material. As such, the paper directly speaks to the themes of the Research Network and it is also highly relevant to current affairs and Russia’s war in Ukraine. There, the paper offers very valuable insights into the developments leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the contradictions inherent in the Russian approach to using de-sovereignisation to its advantage, and helps us understand better Russian foreign policies towards Ukraine, as well as other conflicts in wider Europe. 

The jury congratulates  João Nackle Urt and Tchella Fernandes Maso for a paper bold in the way it draws on ideas of ontological politics, the pluriverse and worldings to reclaim the concept of sovereignty from its dominant Westphalian meaning for Indigenous politics, which has great conceptual and theoretical potential for bringing ideas about cosmovision and cosmopraxis directly into conversation with central western concepts. The paper opens the way for doing so through a methodologically rigorous and empirically rich study that traces in a fascinating way the written and spoken texts and biographies of three Brazilian Indigenous leaders. As such, the paper is not only very relevant to the themes of the Research Network but further provides food for thought for thinking of sovereignty, statehood and conflict beyond the typical context within which they are seen in International Relations and political science. The paper is also of great relevance to current affairs, particularly decolonisation as one of the most pressing issues of our time, not least if environmental degradation and capitalist exploitation is to be tackled.

We would also like to congratulate all authors of the following nominated papers, which the jury found of outstanding quality and potential to make important contributions to existing knowledge:

In the following months, our Network will host a set of activities to honour the prize-winners and their research and we will be in touch with more details in due course.

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