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Title: Ideo-affective politics and the construction of U.S. foreign policy : the beginning of the Cold War, 1945-1950
Author: Rosenberg, Brett
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 687X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis asks, how it is possible that in five years, from 1945 to 1950, the United States reoriented its foreign policy to allow for a total Cold War mobilization, one that included both policy elites and the public? At a broader theoretical level, this thesis investigates how public mobilization operates and explores the consequences - both intended and unintended - of pursuing certain mobilization strategies, especially affectively-laden ones. Drawing on constructivist theorizing and recent scholarship on affect and emotions, I advance a theory of 'ideo-affective politics, or the political use of ideas and emotions, and outline a three-part conceptual pathway of foreign policy change: ramping-tampingrevamping. 'Ramping' refers to the deliberate strategic cultivation of public emotions for the purposes of public persuasion; 'tamping' to the strategic efforts at calming public sentiment and restoring the balance between elite and public structures of feeling when the latter is no longer politically advantageous; and 'vamping' to the reconstitution of the initiating elite actor's ideo-affective approach for either strategic or genuine reasons. Using a form of affectively-sensitive discourse analysis and process tracing, I examine archival, published, and secondary materials to trace the construction of the Cold War along this pathway, from the ramping up of public emotions in 1947 with the Truman Doctrine and its accompanying campaign, to the failed attempts to tamp down those same emotions (due to the creative capacities of emotions and the strategic maneuvering of political opponents) when confronted with the 'shocks of 1949', to the revamping of the administration's own ideo-affective beliefs to match the newly reconstituted public structure of feeling in the face of the North Korean invasion in 1950. I argue that in strategically ramping up public emotions in 1947, the Truman administration unleashed dynamics that they could no longer control, laying the foundations for the reconstitution of their beliefs and interests to a Cold War footing by 1950. In examining this in-depth case, this thesis provides both a new explanation for the beginning of the Cold War and a new conceptual pathway for explicating the relationship between ideas and emotions in politics, highlighting the ways that emotions can be both strategic assets and dynamic phenomena that result in constraining structures.
Supervisor: Hall, Todd H. ; Rosenberg, Brett ; Dill, Janina Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available