1st Edition

National Role Conceptions in a New Millennium Defining a Place in a Changing World

    198 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    198 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    National Role Conceptions in a New Millennium examines the transformation of the international system through an examination of the role conceptions adopted by the different global actors.

    Advancing current role theory scholarship in International Relations, the contributors take as their starting point the question of how international actors are responding to the reordering of the global system. They reflect on the rise of new actors and the reemergence of old rivalries, the decline of established norms, and the unleashing of internal political forces such as nationalism and parochialism. They argue that changes in the international system can impact how states define their roles and act as a variable in both domestic and international role contestations. Further, they examine the redefinition of roles of countries and the international organizations that have been central to the US and western dominated world order, including major powers in the world (the US, Russia, China, Britain etc.) as well as the European Union, NATO, and ASEAN. By looking at international organizations, this text moves beyond the traditional subjects of role theory in the study of international relations, to examine how roles are contested in non-state actors.

    National Role Conceptions in a New Millennium is the first attempt to delve into the individual motivations of states to seek role transition. As such, it is ideal for those teaching and studying both theory and method in international relations and foreign policy analysis.

    1. Introduction, Defining Roles in a Polycentric World

    Michael Grossman, Francis Schortgen, and Gordon Friedrichs

    Part 1: National Roles

    2. Shrinking the U.S. leadership role: Populism and the Change of Domestic and International "Others"

    Sebastian Harnisch & Gordon Friedrichs

    3. The Evolution of Russia’s National Role Conceptions: From Cooperation to Great Power Competition

    Michael Grossman

    4. Taking Center Stage: China's New Role Assertiveness in the 21st-Century International System

    Francis Schortgen

    5. A Tenuous Island: The Destabilization of Britain’s Role in the International System of the 21st Century

    Spencer Whyte

    6. Berlin, We Have a Problem: Germany's Role Adaptability and the Transatlantic Security Community

    Florian Böller

    7. Contesting Japan’s International Role: The Responses of Japanese Non-Governmental Organizations to the Transformation of Japanese ODA Policy

    Kamila Szczepanska

    Part 2: Institutional Roles

    8. The EU’s Self-Conception of Its Roles in Global Affairs

    Rikard Bengtsson

    9. NATO's Role Transitions in a Changing International System

    Sebastian Mayer

    10. ASEAN: The Center of Asian Regionalization? A Model for a Global Future?

    Joel Campbell

    11. The Organization of American States’ role as facilitator of democracy promotion: Persuasion and social influence during the political crisis in Venezuela

    Gordon Friedrichs

    12. Conclusion, Turbulence in the 21st Century International Order

    Francis Schortgen, Gordon Friedrichs, and Michael Grossman


    Michael Grossman is Professor of International Affairs and National Security at the University of Mount Union, where he served as Director of International Studies and Department Chair. He has also served a faculty leader at the Washington Center’s National Security Seminar and as instructor at the University of South Carolina Political Science Department. His primary areas of research include Russian and Ukrainian domestic and foreign policy, international relations and US foreign policy.

    Francis Schortgen is a Professor of International Affairs & National Security and International Business at the University of Mount Union. He is currently the chair of the Department of Social Sciences and Criminal Justice. Dr. Schortgen’s research interests include Asian and international political economy, China-US, and China-North Korea relations, as well as international business and emerging/frontier market dynamics.

    Gordon M. Friedrichs is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Political Science at Freiburg University. His research deals predominately with US foreign policy, domestic polarization and populism, and international relations theory, as well as Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.

    "This book advances role theory scholarship by shedding light on how major global structural shifts affect national role conceptions. The chapters on international organizations also expand the reach of this theoretical perspective to heretofore under-explored agents. The book will be of interest to anyone who is curious about how states perceive structural changes and reevaluate (or not) their place in the world."

    Cristian Cantir, Oakland University

    "This volume brings role theory to bear on one of the biggest questions in international relations: how will countries adapt and accommodate themselves to new international roles as their relative power and position changes? Finding answers to this vital question would be enough to make this work an important contribution. By extending their analysis to the ways international organizations will also take on new roles in the 21st century, the authors push role theory in an unexpected new direction, marking another major advance."

    Paul Kowert, University of Massachusetts Boston

    "In the context of new actors taking on new roles and a rising polycentric world order, a vital question remains as to what shape future world politics will take. Here, role theory has great value as it goes beyond the surface of policy changes and provides more fundamental levels of analysis. Thus, readers will gain a better understanding of: which political concepts stand out; the impact of systemic changes; and the decision-makers’ ‘obsession’ with the role-play games—even when such roles deviate from ‘rational’ or expected responses."

    Guangyi Pan, International Affairs