Foreign policy and the politics of alterity: A dialogical understanding of international relations

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Abstract

Trying specifically not to fall into either eclecticism or redundancy; this paper is an attempt to develop a dialogical understanding of international relations within the meta-theoretical field of constructivism. Dialogism holds that the social world is constructed through an interweaving of mutually-responsive discourses between several agents. Further, it provides an interpretative tool, the hermeneutical locus, to understand agents' identities as a factor in international relations by discerning their expressivity contextuality and relationality. Dealing more closely with the questions of identity and identity formation within the discipline of International Relations, the paper further regards national identity as a factor which is expressed in a particular aspect of foreign policy: the politics of alterity. Grounding my approach in the works of the Russian intellectual Mikhail Mikhailovitch Bakhtin, in the first part of the paper I define what is to be understood by dialogism and its constitutive notion of transgredience. The second part is dedicated to the actual integration of dialogism within the discipline of International Relations. An example drawn from Japanese domestic and foreign policy prior to the Second World War further facilitates the comprehension of the theoretical argument concerning the link between the national and the international in a politics of alterity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalMillennium-Journal of international studies
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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