Domestic Role Contestation, Foreign Policy, and International Relations: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Domestic Role Contestation, Foreign Policy, and International Relations

1st Edition

Edited by Cristian Cantir, Juliet Kaarbo


228 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Despite the increase in the number of studies in international relations using concepts from a role theory perspective, scholarship continues to assume that a state’s own expectations of what role it should play on the world stage is shared among domestic political actors.

Cristian Cantir and Juliet Kaarbo have gathered a leading team of internationally distinguished international relations scholars to draw on decades of research in foreign policy analysis to explore points of internal contestation of national role conceptions (NRCs) and the effects and outcomes of contestation between domestic political actors. Nine detailed comparative case studies have been selected for the purpose of theoretical exploration, with an eye to illustrating the relevance of role contestation in a diversity of settings, including variation in period, geographic area, unit of analysis, and aspects of the domestic political process.

This edited book includes a number of pioneering insights into how the domestic political process can have a crucial effect on how a country behaves at the global level.


'Cantir and Kaarbo assemble in this volume nine thoughtful case studies of national role conflict in advanced democracies, constituting the first major study of role contestation among political elites and between elites and the general public. This is a key contribution to the burgeoning literature applying role theory to the study of foreign policy, and one that offers valuable insights into a deeply controversial political issue: as citizens, what role do we wish for our country to play in the world?' - Paul Kowert, UMass Boston, USA

Table of Contents

1. Unpacking Ego in Role Theory: Vertical and Horizontal Role Contestation and Foreign Policy Cristian Cantir and Juliet Kaarbo 2. Role Contestation in the July 1914 Crisis: The British and French Cases Joe D. Hagan 3. Active Independent or Faithful Ally? The Domestic Contestation of National Role Conceptions in Australia after World War II Klaus Brummer and Cameron G. Thies 4. Role Theory and Japanese Security Policy Keiko Hirata 5. Contesting Belgium’s Role in Development Cooperation Marijke Breuning 6. Domestic Sources of Changing Turkish Foreign Policy Towards the MENA During the 2010s: A Role Theoretic Approach Özgür Özdamar 7. Intervention: Domestic Contestation and Britain’s National Role Conceptions Jamie Gaskarth 8. Belief Systems and Foreign Policy Roles: Role Contestation in U.S. Foreign Policy Decisions Stephen G. Walker, Mark Schafer, and John Beieler 9. To Be Or Not To Be A State? Role Contestation in the Debate Over Scottish Independence Ryan Beasley, Juliet Kaarbo, and Hannah Solomon-Strauss 10. Multi-level Role Contestation: The EU in the Libyan Crisis Nicole Koenig 11. Agents in Structures: Insights from Cases of Internal Role Contestation Juliet Kaarbo and Cristian Cantir

About the Editors

Cristian Cantir is an assistant professor of political science at Oakland University in Michigan, USA. Some of his research interests include the domestic determinants of foreign policy behavior, the diplomatic activities of substate governments, role theory, and historical approaches to IR.

Juliet Kaarbo is a professor of international relations with a chair in foreign policy at the University of Edinburgh, UK. She is codirector of Edinburgh’s Centre for Security Research. Her research focuses on political psychology, leadership and decision making, group dynamics, foreign policy analysis and theory, parliamentary political systems, and national roles.

About the Series

Role Theory and International Relations

Advisory Board: Marijke Breuning (University of North Texas), Sebastian Harnisch (University of Heidelberg), Valerie Hudson (Texas A & M University), Paul Kowert (Florida International University), Stephen G. Walker (Arizona State University).

The Role Theory and International Relations Series aspires to attract and publish the latest and best research integrating knowledge in the field of International Relations with role theory. This aspiration cuts across a wide swath of subfields, including foreign policy analysis, peace and security studies, international political economy, diplomatic studies, and international organization. While each of these subfields of study is presently organized as an "island of theory," this series intends to integrate their signature phenomena within a system of knowledge, a "theory complex" or an alliance among different subfields. This series showcases the ability of role theory to generate useful theoretical insights on its own or in combination with existing theories across these traditional subfields. Role theory’s conceptual repertoire, plus its ability to span multiple levels of analyses and the major meta-theoretical divides in the discipline position it to be an important integrative force in the study of International Relations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General