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Title: Foreign policy analysis : developing a theoretical scheme for fuller causal explanations of foreign policy behaviour and undertaking in-depth, comparative case study
Author: Eun, Yong-Soo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 7710
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Why do states behave as they do in world politics? Put differently, how can analysts develop a more precise and complete explanation of the causation of foreign policy behaviour? Drawing upon the insights of actor-specific Foreign Policy Analysis scholarship, this thesis argues that we need an approach which posits a human agent as an important analytical category in its own right. However, this thesis also emphasises that the state‘s foreign policy behaviour cannot be fully explained solely in terms of the actions and intentions of individual human agents. While it is indeed conscious human agents who make foreign policies, the parameters of their capacity to do so are constrained and/or facilitated by the structural conditions with which their nations are confronted. The key point here is that structural and agential sources of the state‘s foreign policy behaviour should neither be deemed exclusive nor be granted explanatory priority a priori. In this regard, this thesis presents rationales and guidelines for why and how one should pursue a multicausal approach to the study of foreign policy behaviour. Relatedly, it explores the structure-agent problem in international relations and rethinks currently dominant conceptions of causation in the field of IR. Then this thesis establishes a multicausal framework for the analysis of foreign policy behaviour. The framework consists of three factors associated with human (agential) elements and international structural conditions. With the aim of discerning the fruitfulness of the multicausal approach advocated here and of producing the empirical evidence that shows causation of complex foreign policy actions, this thesis undertakes intensive and comparative case study. The specific question that the case study aims to answer is why South Korea and Australia reacted to the US-led war in Iraq as they did: these two cases have neither received appropriate empirical attention nor been provided with any satisfactory theoretical explanation. The empirical findings gained from the case study leads to a testing and refinement of existing leading IR theories. Also, based on the case study findings and on the multicausal analytical framework built, this thesis creates an integrated theory of a particular type of foreign policy behaviour (i.e. weaker state behaviour vis-à-vis a dominant power) which encompasses both structural and agential perspectives. In a related vein, it discusses the role of theory for IR scholarship and modes of construction of IR. Ultimately it is suggested that a multicausal approach can contribute to the cumulative development and refinement of predictions and generalisations about why states behave as they do on the world stage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; University of Warwick. Dept. of Politics and International Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JZ International relations