Role Theory in International Relations: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Role Theory in International Relations

1st Edition

Edited by Sebastian Harnisch, Cornelia Frank, Hanns W Maull


326 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Role Theory in International Relations provides a comprehensive, up-to-date survey of recent theoretical scholarship on foreign policy roles and extensive empirical analysis of role behaviour of a variety of states in the current era of eroding American hegemony.

Taking stock of the evolution of role theory within foreign policy analysis, international relations and social science theory, the authors probe role approaches in combination with IR concepts such as socialization, learning and communicative action. They draw upon comparative case studies of foreign policy roles of states (the United States, Japan, PR China, Germany, France, UK, Poland, Sweden, and Norway) and international institutions (NATO, EU) to assess NATO’s transformation, the EU as a normative power as well as the impact of China’s rise on U.S. hegemony under the Bush and Obama administrations. The chapters also offer compelling theoretical arguments about the nexus between foreign policy role change and the evolution of the international society.

This important new volume advances current role theory scholarship, offering concrete theoretical suggestions of how foreign policy analysis and IR theory could benefit from a closer integration of role theory. It will be of great interest to all scholars and students of international relations, foreign policy and international politics.

Table of Contents

Section I. Role Theory in IR and social theory 1. Introduction and defining of key terms of analysis Sebastian Harnisch 2. Role Theory research in IR. State of the art and blind spots Marijke Breuning 3. George Herbert Mead, the pragmatist tradition and role theory Sebastian Harnisch 4. Habermas meets role theory – communicative action as role playing Harald Müller 5. Identity and role change in international politics Dirk Nabers Section II. Comparative Foreign Policy Analysis. Combining Role theory with complementary approaches 6. Role transformation of NATO and its new members. socialization as a two way street? Trine Flockhart 7. Reconsidering the EU’s role in international relations – do role performances fit to role conceptions? Ole Elgström & Rikard Bengtsson 8. Civilian power meets transforming Euroatlanticist. Comparing Germany’s and Poland’s European Security and Defence Policies Cornelia Frank 9. Does membership in EU and NATO matter? Convergence of Sweden’s and Norway’s role concepts by interaction with International institutions Rachel Folz Section III. On Hegemony and Hierarchy in IR. Foreign policy roles in the United States and allied countries 10. Agency and role change. the Obama factor in the reconstitution of US hegemony Hanns W. Maull 11. Terrorized America? September 11 and its impact on US foreign policy Raimund Wolf 12. With or without consensus? US hegemony and France as a reluctant ally Ulrich Krotz & James Sperling 13. With or without consensus? US hegemony and China’s role as a rival but responsible power Jörn-Carsten Gottwald Section IV. Conclusions 14. Hegemony and consent. the current state of role theory and the international social order Sebastian Harnisch, Cornelia Frank, Hanns W. Maull

About the Editors

Sebastian Harnisch is Professor of International Relations and Foreign Policy at the University of Heidelberg, Germany

 Cornelia Frank is Lecturer in Political Science at the Chair for Foreign Policy and International Relations, University of Trier, Germany.

 Hanns W. Maull is Professor of Foreign Policy and International Relations at the University of Trier, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics

International relations is a rapidly changing area of research, reacting to and anticipating an ever more integrated and globalised world. This series aims to publish the best new work in the field of international relations, and of politics more generally. Books in the series challenge existing empirical and normative theories, and advance new paradigms as well as presenting significant new research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General