A Quick Introduction to the Upcoming ISN Editorial Plan

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The earth viewed from space. Photo: NASA Goddard/flickr

Dear valued members of the ISN community:

As of next Monday, 14 November, you are going to see something slightly different on the ISN webpage. Yes, you will continue to see many of the features we already provide. We are, however, going to embark on an experiment – a new Editorial Plan.

One of the temptations of being exclusively current events-oriented is that you can be “all over the map.” To try and avoid this problem, and to provide a service that few other websites of ISN’s type provide, we are going to implement an Editorial Plan. The title may infer something grand but all we actually want to do is tell a story. We want to walk through a three-part narrative that stops and thinks about some of the enduring issues that define international relations and security studies today.

The following slides depict what our story will focus on and how we will walk through it. Frankly, there is nothing complex about the three-part narrative of this tale, which is as follows.

At the macroscopic, global level we are collectively experiencing structural changes in how we politically organize ourselves. These changes are indeed historically unique in their system-wide, vertical and horizontal, and cascading effects. We will look at the following topics as part of this analysis.

If the international system is undergoing major structural changes, how does this process then impact the exercising of power by various actors? Part 2 of our story will focus on the changing power dynamics that we are experiencing all around us today. We will look at the following topics as part of this analysis.

Finally, if at the global level we are seeing structural changes that are historically unique, and if these changes are impacting the exercising of power in major ways, what impact will these trends then have on specific issues – the very issues that the ISN website already covers daily? Part 3 of the plan – the “Impacts” section – will attempt to answer this question by looking at the following topics.

This then is the story we would like to walk through in the coming weeks and months. Our initial look at changing global structures, for example, will look at eight topics and take 14 weeks to unfold. From Monday through Friday we will look at various aspects of the topic under discussion and we will use various tools to do it – ISN Partner reports and analyses, podcasts or videos, infographics and much more.

So, please plan on following this tale with us. In addition to familiar ISN features, the first item on our daily webpage will address, in a systematic way, the ins and outs of the broad categories and specific topics we have listed here.

Best wishes to all and thank you for your continued support of ETH/CSS and ISN,

Professor Dr. Andreas Wenger
Director of ETH/CSS
Peter Faber
Head of ISN

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