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  • 1.
    Gustafsson, Karl
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.
    Hagström, Linus
    Hanssen, Ulv
    Long live pacifism! Narrative power and Japan's pacifist model2019In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 502-520Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    International relations research acknowledges that states can have different security policies but neglects the fact that 'models' may exist in the security policy realm. This article suggests that it is useful to think about models, which it argues can become examples for emulation or be undermined through narrative power. It illustrates the argument by analysing Japan's pacifism-an alternative approach to security policy which failed to become an internationally popular model and, despite serving the country well for many years, has even lost its appeal in Japan. Conventional explanations suggest that Japan's pacifist policies were 'abnormal', and that the Japanese eventually realized this. By contrast, this article argues that narratives undermined Japan's pacifism by mobilizing deep-seated beliefs about what is realistic and unrealistic in international politics, and launches a counter-narrative that could help make pacifism a more credible model in world politics.

  • 2. Hagström, Linus
    et al.
    Gustafsson, Karl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.
    Narrative power: how storytelling shapes East Asian international politics2019In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 387-406Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We are living at a time when people appear to have become more aware of the power of narratives in international politics. Understanding how narratives exercise power is therefore more pertinent than ever. This special issue develops the concept of narrative power for international relations research by focusing on East Asia-the region that has been at the centre of debates about international power shifts since the 1990s. This introduction seeks to elucidate and define four key binary distinctions: (a) narrative power as understood from the perspective of an individualist versus a narrative ontology; (b) narrative power as explanandum versus explanans; (c) narrative power as more prone to continuity or change; and (d) the scholar as a detached observer of narrative power versus the scholar as a narrative entrepreneur and a potential wielder of power. Informed by the individual contributions, the introduction demonstrates how and with what implications research on narrative power can negotiate and traverse these binary distinctions.

  • 3.
    Hammargård, Kajsa
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.
    Olsson, Eva-Karin
    Explaining the European commission's strategies in times of crisis2019In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 159-177Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite the growing debate over the European Commission's (hereafter, Commission) role in crises, there are few systematic explanations for the variety of actions undertaken by the Commission in times of crisis. This article outlines a heuristic device to explain the Commission's actions during crises, based on the variables 'Commission mandate' and 'member state engagement'. To this end, it examines two crisis events that affected two strategically important policy areas for European Union integration: the early stages of the financial crisis that began in 2008 and the migration following the 2011 Arab Spring. Based on analysis of these cases, this study identifies four strategies applied by the Commission: doer, follower, cooperator and recycler. Our study concludes that member state engagement and Commission mandate are important variables in explaining under which circumstances these strategies are used by the Commission.

  • 4.
    Hellquist, Elin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
    Either with us or against us? Third-country alignment with EU sanctions against Russia/Ukraine2016In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 997-1021Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since the mid-1990s, selected neighbours have in impressive numbers aligned with European Union (EU) foreign policy sanctions. However, much more than for any other sanctions case, neighbours have declined joining recent measures against Russia/Ukraine. This article uses freshly gathered data from the entire period of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) to analyse how the practice of alignment influences international relations in Europe. Thereby, the article demonstrates that: (1) sanctions are not a two-party game, but an instrument that impacts broadly on relations with third countries; (2) alignment with sanctions not only articulates similarity, but contributes to normative polarization in wider Europe; (3) for a high-salience case such as Russia sanctions, neighbours are reluctant to be instrumentalized for EU foreign policy purposes.

  • 5.
    Kuyper, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Transformative pathways to world government: a historical institutionalist critique2015In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 28, no 4, p. 657-679Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Proposals for world government (WG) have come from a variety of sources including international relations (IR) scholars, economists, normative political theorists and global justice academics. In general, these visions are couched as ideal models to be approximated as closely as possible. The key argument of the article is that, in evaluating the democratic potential of these proposals, we should focus upon the process of designing and building a WG. This is because there is an ineluctable gap between ideal conceptualization and non-ideal realization that emerges through institutionalization. I employ a historical institutionalist lens to describe and problematize potential institutional shifts along a WG pathway. I argue that institutionalizing these ideal visions in our current, non-ideal context would actually exacerbate the democratic deficit. Specifically, building a WG would likely entrench existing inequalities, expand the authority of unaccountable bureaucrats and limit institutional improvements over time. These three points respectively undercut three core values of democratization: equal participation, accountability and institutional revisability. Given this argument, I conclude that an incremental approachwhich focuses on advancing values rather than moving towards an ideal modelrepresents a more productive pathway for global democratization.

  • 6.
    Winkler, Stephanie Christine
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.
    'Soft power is such a benign animal': narrative power and the reification of concepts in Japan2019In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs, ISSN 0955-7571, E-ISSN 1474-449X, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 483-501Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this article is to analyse how the seemingly natural fit between Japan and the soft power concept has been possible despite the notorious vagueness of the concept and what the consequences of soft power's reification are. By building on recent scholarship on concepts, expert knowledge and narratives, the article suggests that reification processes are best conceptualized as driven by concept coalitions. The article finds that soft power was narrated and nurtured into Japan's cultural diplomacy, Japan's relationship with the United States (US) and its security policy. The article, moreover, shows that the more soft power was understood, framed and accepted as benign and necessary, the more persuasive arguments about what Japan should do or be in order to wield soft power became. This has legitimized narratives that suggest that Japan's 'proactive contribution to peace' as a responsible ally of the US constitutes an inevitable source of soft power.

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