‘Identity’ in International Relations and Foreign Policy Theory

  • Ursula Stark Urrestarazu
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations Series book series (PSIR)


Quoting George Orwell, Frederick Cooper and Roger Brubaker once suggested that instead of elaborating alternative and better suited analytical concepts for social inquiry,1 the social sciences and the humanities have ‘surrendered’ to the word ‘identity’ — ‘the worst thing one could do with words’ (Brubaker and Cooper, 2000, 1).2 Indeed, the growing interest in this concept in social science in general, but also in International Relations (IR) and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) in particular, has not led to a substantial clarification about the relevance of identity in contemporary (international) politics. Considering the significant proliferation of conceptualizations, it even seems as though the field now amounts to ‘definitional anarchy’ (Abdelal et al., 2006, 695), apparently depriving the concept of any analytical advantage. Nonetheless, identity-based theoretical explanations of foreign policy and international relations have continued to gain popularity, even across fairly different paradigms and schools.


Foreign Policy International Relation Multidimensional Model World Politics Social Identity Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Ursula Stark Urrestarazu 2015

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