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Click to print Opens in new window The study of foreign policy has always contained a healthy focus on how cognition and psychology impact on the beliefs of foreign policy actors.
Here, Oliver Daddow explains how published data by and about those actors can be used to interpret the beliefs that underpin decisions taken on behalf of the state by leaders and elites.
Foreign policy is difficult to define succinctly. It can be considered the sum total of external activity undertaken by a state, usually by a government supported by an accompanying bureaucratic machinery. How do we interpret what foreign policy elites are trying to do when direct access to those elites is minimal?
Interpretation is slightly less of an issue for historians because of the volume of archival records available. But how can political scientists explore contemporary decision-making? The outlooks and personality types of individual leaders, group decision-making dynamics, and the ways in which factors such as perception and misperception influence decision-making have all been treated at some length.
For example, does the leader believe conflict is an inevitable feature of international life? What are the basic interests of the nation as seen through the eyes of the leader: How are these interests inter-related and best secured through foreign policy activity?
How much control over events does the leader believe he or she can exert? Put differently, how do leaders construct the world around them, and their own agency within it, and what does this mean for their foreign policy practices? Some writers have been directly involved in the decision-making process itself in an advisory or other capacity.
As a result, interpreting individual or collective cognitive constructions poses a series of epistemological and methodological challenges.
Yet the beliefs of foreign policy actors can be accessed, even at one remove. More often than not this is via the interpretation of published data by and about those actors, rather than via first hand or ethnographic observation, which has often been a strong component of the interpretive method.
This is because a form of agent-centred qualitative public policy discourse analysis permits us to identify the textual markers that indicate core elements of the worldview of foreign policy decision-makers.
The emphasis is on foreign policy narratives and the links that can be made between those narratives and government foreign policy outputs. The positive news is that national elites leave traces of what they do on which to build inferences. The latter can often become post-hoc rationalisations of messier decision-making from the time, although they are no less useful for that caveat.
Clearly, however, each mark of foreign policy activity comes with its own value for the researcher, depending on the questions being asked.
Constructivist accounts have usefully put the view that foreign policy practices tend to be the product of three issues. First, they rely on an implicit or sometimes explicit judgment about the kind of national identity elites want to express through foreign policy activity.
Second, elites possess assumptions about the character of the international environment in which they operate. Again, these are sometimes acknowledged, but more often than not remain unspoken assumptions. Third, elites tend to merge values and interests in foreign policy decisions, often in complex ways.
It is through a conscious engagement with, and adaptation of, these past traditions, that foreign policy trajectories emerge, evolve and develop for more on this see here. The crux is that methods such as discourse analysis can tap directly into the identity-policy nexus that lies at the heart of a constructivist-interpretivist appreciation of foreign policy decision-making.About us.
John Benjamins Publishing Company is an independent, family-owned academic publisher headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. More. Nov 07, · Years of building pressure in many parts of the world, at least since the global financial crisis, 1 crystallized into dramatic political results during as public disaffection with the status quo gained traction.
In the West, consensus expectations were defied by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, by President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the United States.
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policies is questioned (de Barra, ). Similarly, the relationship between this.
The Craft of Political Analysis for Diplomats (Adst-decor Diplomats and Diplomacy) [Raymond F. Smith] on urbanagricultureinitiative.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Until the recent unauthorized release of thousands of classified State Department cables, public attention was rarely drawn to the frequently outstanding political analysis done by American diplomats abroad.
In the study of social processes, the presence of unobserved heterogeneity is a regular concern. It should be particularly worrisome for the statistical analysis of networks, given the complex dependencies that shape network formation combined with the restrictive assumptions of related models.