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Constructivism, Narrative and Foreign Policy Analysis

A Case Study of Finland

Christopher Browning

Building on constructivist approaches to international relations this book develops a narrative theory of identity, action and foreign policy, which is then applied to account for the evolution of Finnish foreign policy. The book adopts an innovative approach by showing how foreign policy orientations need to be seen as grounded in overlapping and competing sets of identity narratives that reappear in different forms through history. By emphasising the dynamism implicit within identity narratives the book not only challenges traditional rationalist materialist approaches to foreign policy analysis, but also the current tendency to depict the story of Finnish foreign policy, identity and history as one of a gradual move towards a Western location. Rather the book emphasises elements of multiplicity and contingency, whilst re-establishing foreign policy as a highly political process concerned with power and the right to define reality and national subjectivity.
Contents: Making Space for Subjectivity: The Inadequate Treatment of Identity in Traditional Foreign Policy Analysis – Towards a Narrative Theory of Identity, Action and Foreign Policy – From Nation to State: The Construction of Finnish Subjectivity, 1809-1917 – Radicalisation: Competition and Conflict in the Inter-War Period – From Emotionalism to Rationalism: Finland in the Cold War – Inventing New Traditions: Westernisation, Europeanisation and Beyond.