Černy, Hannes (2017) Iraqi Kurdistan, the PKK and International Relations: Theory and Ethnic Conflict. Abingdon: Routledge. 342 pp.

​ISBN: 978-1-138-67617-6

Scott N Romaniuk

University of Trento

​PKK's operations expanded considerably after 1978 and so too did its perceived identity and role in the construction of ethno-nationalist architecture. Hannes Černy employs the PKK as an in-depth case to unpack and examine the concept of 'groupism in explanatory IR discourses on ethnic conflict and sovereignty' (p. 5). Černy critically engages with traditional IR scholarship for a precision assessment of ethnic conflict through explanatory lenses: (neo)realism, (neo)liberalism, and systemic constructivism. Deeply methodical and rich in analysis, Černy’s deconstruction of theoretical instruments and concepts of explanatory IR reveals often overlooked shortcomings feeding unintended distortions and misreading of world elements. The author’s deconstruction entails a discursive approach by which meaning behind meaning is exposed and re-cast to capture explanations escaping a violation of their presuppositions. Fixing core concepts in the employ of IR, Černy engages the PKK for its popularity as an 'internationalized conflict' in a vital, contentious, and sought-after region as well as the tension among concepts related to the study of identity, agency, and behavior. This arrangement is an effort to reconfigure the modes of theoretical application and representations of empirics. The author first deals with theoretical and conceptual matters. He then turns to the mechanics of state formation, ethno-nationalisms, and politics of the region. Next, he offers a treatment of the substantive components and delivers the study's core, linking the intellectual ventures introduced earlier. The final section portrays the explanatory potential of the PKK case study, enhancing understandings of inherently subjective and shared terms; occurs across peoples and identities as a restorative effort across epistemological, ontological, and methodological milieus. Meticulous and stimulating, Černy’s work is an outstanding contribution to existing scholarship.