Despite the proliferation of empirical studies, the strategic culture approach suffered from a prolonged theoretical stalemate culminating in the schism of the Johnston-Gray debate. The paper outlines a new approach to overcome this theoretical deadlock. It consists of three arguments. First, scholars have failed to recognize that strategic culture is an institutionalist concept and should have had drawn on New Institutionalism literature. Second, aligning strategic culture theory-building with that of discursive institutionalism could overcome the fundamental fallacies of earlier work in the field. Third, a research programme for strategic culture should draw on computational social science methods to be able to present and test middle-range theories.
Dr. Tamir Libel is Beatriu de Pinós Research Fellow at the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacional (IBEI). While his stay at the Herder Institute he focuses on the Baltic states.