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Title: Explaining small states' changing patterns of peacekeeping contributions through role theory : the case of Austria and Belgium
Author: Gigleux, Victor Adolphe
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 1129
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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This doctoral project explores the ways in which European small states' approaches to peacekeeping have been affected by the changing nature of peace missions. The central objective is to explain the choices made by small states' governments to participate in missions which no longer fit traditional peacekeeping models. The increasing need for comprehensive and robust responses to international crises characterised by intra-state violence has challenged small states whose elites and publics have been accustomed to deploying troops to low intensity missions tasked to separate parties. Throughout the Cold War and beyond, traditional peacekeeping developed along the norms of non-use of force, impartiality and consent. Identifying positively with the objectives and normative underpinnings of traditional peacekeeping, small states have actively committed their armed forces based on a perception of themselves as international norm entrepreneurs. This thesis challenges the notion that small states' governments commit material and human resources to new types of peace operations motivated by such self-images. Transformations in the practice of peacekeeping are forcing foreign policy agents in small states to rethink the function(s) that their states should play in the international system towards peacekeeping. Three questions are considered: I) what new or existing roles are small states adopting in this evolving peacekeeping system? II) through what political processes do these roles emerge? and III) how do these roles affect decision-making on peacekeeping deployments? Small state research cannot effectively answer these questions nor comprehensively explain what small states do in international affairs because it lacks analytical tools to link structure and agency. A theoretical approach grounded in role theory is better suited to understand the foreign policies of small states and re-evaluate their peacekeeping credentials. A model depicting the interaction between role socialisation and domestic role processes is constructed to guide four empirical analyses of recent peacekeeping decisions taken by Austrian and Belgian governments. This theoretical foundation allows the contention that small states' changing self-perceptions do not necessarily originate from internal ideational factors, as the norm entrepreneur argument suggests. Each case study traces how the interplay between external role demands and domestically conceived ideas about the state's position in an evolving peacekeeping system informs Austria's and Belgium's adjustment to new peace missions. Austria's decisions to withdraw from UNDOF in 2013, and to participate in EUFOR Chad 2007-2008, are telling cases of a small state adapting to new forms of peacekeeping through a reconfiguration of roles. This thesis also investigates the roles that have motivated the contributions made by two Belgian governments towards the Malian crisis, 2012-2013 and the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. This project contributes to small state research by showing that these actors fulfil a broad range of functions in the international system. It also improves the way we explain small states' foreign policy actions by providing a dynamic framework capturing the relationship between structure and agency, and by delving into the decision-making processes of small states. Additionally, it adds to the peacekeeping literature by providing an original account as to why states, and in particular small states, contribute troops to missions operating under evolving conditions. Finally, inputs are made to the scholarship on role theory by exploring how state size influences role conceptions and investigating how role socialisation and domestic role dynamics interact to affect the roles and decisions of an under-studied category of states.
Supervisor: Kaarbo, Juliet ; Cram, Laura Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: peacekeeping ; neutral ; small states ; Belgium ; Austria ; UNDOF ; EUFOR ; foreign policy ; state size