Foreign policy analysis, globalisation and non-state actors: state-centric after all?

  • Rainer Baumann
  • Frank A Stengel


This paper is concerned with Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) and non-state actors (NSAs). Globalisation has brought NSAs back on the agenda of International Relations (IR). As a result of globalisation, we witness at least some shift of authority from the state to NSAs (the extent of which remains debated). Although most of the empirical studies focus on ‘domestic’ issues, there are good reasons to assume that foreign policy is equally affected by this trend. Not only are NSAs autonomous actors in world politics, they are also increasingly involved in the making of states’ foreign policies. In this article, we ask to what extent FPA, IR's actor-centric sub-field, has taken into account this growing importance of NSAs. Given FPA's criticism of seeing the state as a unitary actor, one would expect FPA scholars to be among the first within IR to analyse decision making involving NSAs. However, a closer look reveals that FPA remains focused mainly on state actors, while ignoring private, transnational and international ones. Thus, FPA remains in a way state-centric. We close with an outline of possible directions for further FPA research.


Foreign Policy Analysis foreign policy decision making globalisation international organisations intergovernmental networks non-state actors 



Previous versions of this article were presented at the 51st Annual Convention of the International Studies Association in New Orleans, LA, USA, February 2010, and the 7th Pan-European Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on IR in Stockholm, September 2010. We thank three anonymous reviewers, the JIRD editors, Jesse Crane-Seeber, Philipp Genschel, Valerie Hudson, Johannes Kruse and Bernhard Zangl for their most helpful comments. Marion Dossner, Annegret Kunde and Anca Gabriela Scurtu provided valuable research assistance, which is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Baumann
    • 1
  • Frank A Stengel
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Global Cooperation Research (Käte Hamburger Kolleg), University of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany
  2. 2.Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), University of BremenBremenGermany

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