1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 18, 2022
ISBN 9780367545383
February 18, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

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 role 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.

Table of Contents

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. A Chinese Grand Strategy in the Making? The 'China Dream', the 'Belt and Road Initiative' and National Role Conceptualization in a Changing World

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: Explaining Crises in US-German Relations after the Cold War.

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 Changing Roles in a Post-Hegemonic Order

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

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Michael Grossman is Professor of Political Science and International Studies 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 and U.S. foreign policy.

Francis Schortgen is a Professor of Political Science & International Studies as well as Business at the University of Mount Union. He is currently chair of the Department of Political Science and International Studies and the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Schortgen’s research interests include Asian and international political economy, China-U.S. and China-North Korea relations, as well as international business and emerging/frontier market dynamics.

Gordon Friedrichs is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (Heidelberg University). His research deals predominately with U.S. 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