Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Aleksanteri Institute
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2017–2018

Sergiu Buscaneanu, King’s College London, UK
“Strategic U-Turns between the EU and Russia: Explanatory Prospects of Prospect Theory“
(1 January – 28 February 2018)

Sergiu Buscaneanu is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of European and International Studies, King’s College London. Previously, he has been research fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study; visiting researcher at the Institute for European Integration, University of Hamburg; Institute of Social Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin; and Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He holds a PhD (2014) in political science from Humboldt University of Berlin and is the author of “Regime Dynamics in EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood: EU Democracy Promotion, International Influences, and Domestic Contexts” published in 2016 with Palgrave Macmillan.

Short description of ongoing research:
The project worked on at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, is part of a broader research project, which seeks to test the analytic potential of prospect theory (PT) in explaining the strategic choices of ruling elites in EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries to opt for the EU or Eurasian Economic Union as integration projects. Applications of PT to political science proved to be highly beneficial, but the existing scholarship tends to be limited to the US foreign policy, Soviet intervention in Syria, the study of wars and decision-making in domestic affairs. The situation in which ruling elites in EaP countries are forced by various circumstances to opt for definite integration choices offers arguably a unique possibility for testing the validity of PT in an essentially different policy, strategic and regional context. In this regard, the research seeks to assess the cross-cultural validity of PT, indicate how far it can travel in accounting for the strategic choices of ruling elites in the region concerned and identify its limitations and scope conditions. Drawing on an interdisciplinary area of knowledge, the project departs from the premise that communication between political science and related academic disciplines is essential for a better understanding of complex decision systems in Europe, its tumultuous neighbourhood and elsewhere.

At the Aleksanteri Institute, Sergiu Buscaneanu will work on a research article, which aims at situating his new project within the existing scholarship and at reviewing the applications of PT in political science. The article seeks also to conceptualize the domain of gain or loss with regard to states in situations of strategic choices. Understanding whether a given state is perceived as being in the domain of gain or loss stands crucial for the anticipation of risk-averse or risk seeking behaviours.

Email: sergiu.buscaneanu[AT]
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Tuomas Forsberg, Katri Pynnöniemi