Next Workshop: ‘Decision Time! PM, International Historical Sociology & Foreign Policy Analysis’, with Benno Teschke, Sebastian Hoppe, and Julian Germann

The Sussex PM Group will hold its next meeting on Thursday, 15 November, 11-1pm in the Silverstone Building. This workshop is intended to problematise this lacuna at the intersection of critical IR Theory and FPA. What methodological steps are necessary to capture foreign policy formation and the efficacy of foreign policy actors in international encounters at the highest level of state power?

Much of the critical IR, IPE, and IHS literature has followed general IR Theory in externalising foreign policy formation, international politics, and high diplomacy from its remit of explanation. The general tendency has been to collapse these phenomena back into deeper contextual and structural conditions – either domestic social forces or wider systemic logics – that purportedly govern international relations. This procedure downgrades the potential degrees of autonomy and agentic power that situated foreign policy actors wield in developing foreign policy strategies. It also fails to capture the often unexpected bilateral and multilateral resolutions of forms of conflict and co-operation through international politics and international diplomacy. More often than not, the specificity of such multilateral foreign policy encounters and their innovative outcomes tend to be re-normalised through their subsumption under general-framework-expectations. Foreign Policy Analysis, in turn, has classically tended to follow the protocols of comparative foreign policy analysis, restricting its scope to a series of single-country studies and inter-country comparisons premised on an “inside-out” perspective, aiming to identify the spectrum of ‘levels’ that determine foreign policy formation. This leaves international relations and more specifically international politics largely acknowledged.

We will explore this question through three case-studies: Benno Teschke (Sussex) on ‘Britain and the 1713 Utrecht Peace Settlement’, Sebastian Hoppe (Berlin) on ‘Putin’s Foreign Policy towards Ukraine and China’, and Julian Germann (Sussex) on ‘German Economic Foreign Policy, Austerity & the Eurocrisis’.

Readings will be circulated in advance through the mailing list.