1st Edition

Discourse and Affect in Foreign Policy Germany and the Iraq War

By Jakub Eberle Copyright 2019
    160 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    160 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Foreign and security policy have long been removed from the political pressures that influence other areas of policymaking. This has led to a tendency to separate the analytical levels of the individual and the collective.

    Using Lacanian theory, which views the subject as ontologically incomplete and desiring a perfect identity which is realised in fantasies, or narrative scenarios, this book shows that the making of foreign policy is a much more complex process. Emotions and affect play an important role, even where ‘hard’ security issues, such as the use of military force, are concerned. Eberle constructs a new theoretical framework for analysing foreign policy by capturing the interweaving of both discursive and affective aspects in policymaking. He uses this framework to explain Germany’s often contradictory foreign policy towards the Iraq crisis of 2002/2003, and the emotional, even existential, public debate that accompanied it.

    This book adds to ongoing theoretical debates in International Political Sociology and Critical Security Studies and will be required reading for all scholars working in these areas.

    1. Introduction 

    2. The logics approach: discourse, affect and critical explanation 

    3. Rethinking foreign policy: including affect, encircling decisions 

    4. Contradictory common sense: Iraq war and social logics of German foreign policy 

    5. Constructing crisis: political logics and the madness of decision 

    6. Affective disorder and the desire for closure: fantasy and the fantasmatic logic 

    7. Conclusion


    Jakub Eberle is a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague, Czech Republic. His research interests include international relations theory, international political sociology, critical approaches to hybrid warfare, and Czech and German foreign policy. His work has appeared in International Political Sociology, Foreign Policy Analysis and Journal of International Relations and Development . He was awarded the Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize (2017) for the best dissertation in international studies defended at a British university.