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The Role and Implications of Buffer States in Great Power Relations

Højgaard, Mads Henrik; Færgeman, David; Täuber, Simon Felix; Hermanns, Lisa; Friga, Lukas James – Roskilde 2017 – Open access to full report via The Danish Royal Library

This project considers the role and implications of buffer states in Great Power relations. It reviews the underlying theory behind both the core concepts, highlighting the debates in the literature and mapping out the current state of the art. A methodology review considers the ways that scholars have arrived at conclusions related to the topic. The paper concludes with three primary recommendations for future research. These include suggestions to update the literature on buffers in light of a changing geopolitical situation; to expand the theoretical frameworks employed by researchers to include frameworks beyond realism; and to reconsider the fundamental definition of a buffer by focusing on the ways buffers are utilised and operationalised by Great Powers.