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Globalization and Foreign Policy Analysis: Neglect of or Successful Adaptation to Changing Political Practices?

Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA), the actor-centric sub-field of International Relations (IR), focuses on the process of foreign-policy decision-making. FPA scholars were among the first theorists within IR to open up the black box of the state. Taking
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    Globalization and Foreign Policy Analysis:Neglect of or Successful Adaptation to Changing Political Practices? Rainer Baumann and    Frank A. Stengel  Paper prepared for Presentation at the 51 st Annual Convention of theInternational Studies Associationin New Orleans, LA, 17 – 20 February 2010 Panel on “Globlization, State Transformation and Foreign Policy: Towards a PostnationalWorld or Business as Usual?” Prof. Dr. Rainer Baumann Frank A. Stengel University of Bremen University of BremenBremen International Graduate School Bremen International Graduate Schoolof Social Sciences (BIGSSS) of Social Sciences (BIGSSS)P.O. Box 330440 P.O. Box 33044028334 Bremen 28334 BremenGermany Germany++49-421-218 66410 ++49-421-218   1 Abstract  Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA), the actor-centric sub-field of International Relations (IR),focuses on the process of foreign-policy decision-making. FPA scholars were amongthe first theorists within IR to open up the black box of the state. Taking in insightsfrom a number of disciplines like social psychology, sociology and anthropology, thesescholars ask how (groups of) individuals make foreign-policy decisions. A differentstrand of IR research has argued that during the past few decades, processes of internationalization, privatization and transnationalization have significantly alteredthe way international politics is conducted today. Once the privileged actors, foreignoffices have increasingly faced competition not only from other ministries andgovernment agencies but also from non-state actors and from internationalorganizations. This paper asks how these trends have shaped the roles and behavior of foreign policy practitioners and to what extent researchers have taken them up. Dueto their focus on actors and processes, one would expect FPA scholars to be among thefirst to include non-state actors in their frameworks. By means of a meta-analysis of articles that have appeared in the journal “Foreign Policy Analysis”, we show, however,that FPA research pays surprisingly little attention to these changes. We argue that thisis mainly the case because FPA has remained largely state-centric – not in the sense of taking states as unitary actors, of course, but in the sense of mostly focusing ongovernmental actors as well as domestic private actors. The consequence is a neglectof transnational and non-state actors which are emerging as important players in theforeign-policy game. By giving up this kind of state-centrism, FPA could often bettergrasp the patterns of governance in a denationalizing world, and it could make a vitalcontribution to the body of research on globalization and state transformation.  2 “Just as the real world of international politics is becoming increasingly globalized and interactive, scholarship in FPA needs to do the same.”  Douglas Foyle (2003: 170) 1 Introduction 1   International relations were once conceived of as a world of states. Great powers (and notso great ones) were seen as pursuing their national interest in an anarchic world unfetteredby constraints of democracy and the rule of law. International affairs were thus considered aworld apart from the realm of domestic politics. Consequently, the main theories of theacademic discipline of International Relations (IR) conceived of states as unitary actors andoften paid little attention to the domestic level.This picture, if it was ever true, has been severely damaged. The latest blow to it has comefrom globalization, which challenges both states’ predominance by means of the rise of newprivate and transnational actors as well as the neat distinction of a hierarchically ordereddomestic sphere and an anarchic international sphere. As a consequence, IR scholars askwhether we are moving from international to global politics, and “global governance” is oneof the buzzwords of the day. There may be different answers to the question of whether weare really entering a “postnational constellation”, as Jürgen Habermas (1998) would have it,and there may be different answers – and yet no conclusive ones among them – as towhether this change requires new theories and a new way of thinking in IR. There is nodoubt, however, that the question is an interesting and important one.Of course, challenging the predominance of states and the assumption that states may beregarded as unitary actors is anything but a novel idea in IR. Already in the 1960, proponentsof Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) questioned this notion. These scholars maintained that theinternational and the domestic were closely intertwined and that, in order to understandforeign policy decisions (and eventually international politics), one had to look not just atbilliard ball-like states, but at bureaucracies, interest groups and, ultimately, individuals. 1 We thank Marion Dossner and Anca Gabriela Scurtu for research assistance.    3 This paper asks two related questions: How is foreign policy affected by globalization? Andwhat contribution does or could FPA make to analyze the impact of globalization on statesand state behavior? We will argue that there are some clear signs that foreign-policymakingis indeed changing significantly. Furthermore, we make the case that FPA has hardly takennote of these changes so far, which we deem as in some way surprising.Due to their opening up of realism’s – and, for that matter, neo-liberal institutionalism’s andmainstream constructivism’s – black box, one could expect FPA scholars to be among thefirst ones to react to the changes in world politics commonly associated with globalization.For, as Brian White has observed with respect to European foreign policy, “there appears noprima facie reason why the perspective of and analytical techniques associated with FPAcannot be transferred from the state to other significant international actors or, indeed,‘mixed actor’ systems” (White 1999: 41). Nevertheless, FPA scholars thus far have devotedvery little time to the examination of whether and to what extent the decision-makingprocedures of states change as a result of the changing nature of foreign policy. This is a pity,not only since the denationalization of governance opens the path to interesting areas of research for FPA researchers. Moreover, with its bottom-up view and its interest in decision-making processes, FPA could make more of a contribution to understanding the nature,scope and the driving forces of the mentioned changes in governance than it currently does.In order to substantiate these points, we will proceed as follows. In section 2, we describewhat impact globalization has on the nature of statehood in the OECD world. We maintainthat there are clear trends of a denationalization of governance, which encompassesinternationalization, privatization and transnationalization. We outline how this might affectnot only domestic politics but also the way foreign policy is made. In the third section, weinvestigate to what extent FPA scholarship has adapted to these changes or at least takeninto account developments associated with globalization. More precisely, we conduct ananalysis of articles published in the subfield’s journal, Foreign Policy Analysis . The analysissuggests that FPA has in fact taken scant notice of the transformation of governance,especially concerning the trends towards internationalization and transnationalization. Weargue that this is mainly due to a certain kind of state-centrism that is prevalent in the field.  4 We close with a plea for foreign policy analysts to take into account the changing nature of statehood that we have witnessed since the second half of the 20 th century. 2 The Changing Nature of Statehood and the Practice of Foreign Policy 2.1 Denationalization and the Changing Nature of Statehood  At the latest since the 1980s, globalization has been one of the central buzzwords in socialscience discourse (Gerhards/Rössel 1999: 325). It can be broadly understood as “theextension of boundaries of social transactions beyond national borders” (Zangl/Zürn 1999:140). Commonly, it is seen as driven mainly by economic developments and consequentlymost of the literature focuses on the economic aspects (e.g. Genschel 2003). However, itshould not be seen as one single homogenous process but as a number of related processes,encompassing economic, social, political and cultural aspects (Shaw 1997). Moreover, few of these processes are truly global. Quite to the contrary, the bulk of this complex nexus of economic, social, cultural and political processes commonly labeled globalization is largelylimited to the triad of North America, Western Europe and Northeast Asia, in particularJapan (Sørensen 2004: 46-47). While these parts of the world become increasinglyinterconnected not only in economic terms, other regions become increasingly uncoupledfrom this development (Zürn 2002: 237). Consequently, authors have proposed alternativeterms like “triadization” (Hay 2007) or “societal denationalization” (Zürn 1998; 2002).There are basically two important aspects to the globalization debate. The first aspect is theamount of cross-border transactions, which has increased significantly roughly since the1970s. Although scholars continue to debate how significant changes are (cf. Hirst/Grahame1999), the majority of scholars agree that we can indeed observe an increase in cross-borderflows. The second aspect refers to the effects of denationalization on the nation state. Thefocus here is on how and to what extent this influences the state’s authority. Theseprocesses may not really be global, but they can still pose problems for national governance(Zürn 2000: 187). 2   2 This does however not mean that these developments should be taken as merely given. Although they areoften presented by politicians and pundits alike as unavoidable external pressures the state is subjected toand has to adapt to, one should keep in mind that the “fact” of (in particular economic) globalization is not
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