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date: 27 March 2017

Identity and Foreign Policy

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Please check back later for the full article.

Identity has come to figure prominently in the study of foreign policy since the 1990s, when it was first introduced by constructivist theorists in the field of international relations. Consensus does not exist on what identity is and what it does, relative to foreign policy, and is unlikely ever to occur. Some scholars investigate the conditions under which state identities impact foreign policy processes and how international structures shape the formation of state identity. Others use the concept of identity to examine what foreign policy means for the constitution of modern political subjectivities in general. Still others are interested in bringing constructivist identity scholarship together with more traditional approaches in foreign policy analysis. There is a contextual emergence and evolution of the scholarship of “identity and foreign policy” in its many different and differing streams.