S02 | Analysing Foreign Policy

Section Chairs:

Kai Oppermann,
University of Sussex

Klaus Brummer,
Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

The section will discuss original and innovative theory-guided works in the field of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). The hallmarks of FPA are its penchant for actor-specific, middle-range theorising and for interdisciplinary and multidimensional approaches. Theoretical approaches in the field can be differentiated along several dimensions, such as levels of analysis, whether they are structural or agent-orientated, or whether they are constructivist, rationalist or cognitive/psychological. At the same time, FPA has a rich tradition of efforts at theoretical integration, which indeed have been singled out by Valerie Hudson as the 'true promise' of FPA. In many ways, however, FPA is still largely an 'American social science'. In American IR, FPA is a well-established sub-discipline: it is one of the largest sections of the International Studies Association and has its own journal, Foreign Policy Analysis. In European IR, in contrast, FPA tends to be somewhat at the margins. The section, therefore, is meant to strengthen the profile of FPA in European IR and to foster an exchange between scholars in Europe who are engaged in it. In particular, it seeks to explore the contributions which 'European' FPA can make to the discipline and possible ways of strengthening the links to 'American' FPA. To this purpose, we invite panels that elaborate on different theoretical perspectives in FPA, address the challenge of theoretical integration in the field or apply theories of FPA to specific empirical puzzles. The section espouses a pluralist perspective and welcomes panels of any methodological orientation.