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Title: Constructing 'China' : culture and U.S. think tank narratives : a Bourdieusian investigation
Author: Guttormsen, David Sapto Adi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 6687
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This study examines the role of culture, investigating to how China policy-research experts socially construct ‘American-ness’ through ‘China’ as the Other. I posit the following overarching research question: “How and why are social and cultural boundaries of ‘American-ness’ dialectically drawn by China policy-research experts within U.S. think tanks through their social construction of narratives on ‘China’ as the Other?” The empirical foundation is comprised of 40 face-to-face, in-depth interviews with China policy-research experts across 26 internationally leading think tanks in Washington, DC, and New York, USA, as well as four interviews with relevant experts (i.e. State Department and academia). Additional methods encompass participant observation, contextuality, triangulation, informal conversation, descriptive statistics/database, and collection of written material. The multimethod, ethnographic research strategy is coupled with a social constructionist epistemologically driven study, and deploys Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice and the embedded conceptual “thinking tools” as the theoretical framework (including cross-tabulation and ethnographic/interpretivist contents analysis). The engagement with Bourdieu is also dialectic in its own right, herein allowing obtained field-data and ‘native categories’ of the research subjects to unveil new lines of inquiries as well as to expand and nuance Bourdieu’s conceptual “thinking tools” themselves in a “bottom-up” fashion. This study contributes to the Bourdieusian sociological ‘turn’ in International Relations (IR) research (in particularly, making the non-state, individual level the focal point of the inquiry, in addition to contesting the assumptions concerning immateriality/construction innately preceding materiality/physicality – within the IR constructivism research programme), and to the specific think tank literature by propagating a third ‘school of analysis’, i.e. conceptualising the thinking of policy-researchers. More broadly, this study provides an important perspective on a key bilateral relationship (U.S.–Sino relations) in U.S. Foreign Policy (and for the world) as well as a prominent category of key players in U.S. Politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom ; British International Studies Association ; Lise and Arnfinn Hejes Fond
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JZ International relations