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Symbolic foreign policy games: how the micro events shape macro results in the bilateral relations of the states

Dovilė Jakniūnaitė
Vilnius University
Dovilė Jakniūnaitė
Vilnius University
Open Panel

Abstract

The goal of the paper is to present the model to analyze the micro events in the bilateral relations of the states and the way they reveal the "visible" and "invisible" foreign policy tensions. The context for the research is in the frequent observation about the foreign policy act that "it does not mean what it says" (or "everybody knows it is about something else"). The "spy scandals", "slip of the tongue" comments by foreign policy officials are the most obvious examples. These day to day activities, small interactions, procedural matters etc make the largest part of the foreign policy of the state and they are called the micro events in the paper. Analysis of micro events tries to demonstrate the mechanism of their functioning, and their role in the countries’ foreign policy (or bilateral policy regarding the certain state). The main premise of the research is that these events reveal the "invisible" tensions not only in the bilateral relations, but also the strategy of the state positioning on the world political scene. The developed theoretical concept is applied to two case studies. The first is the relations between Russia and Great Britain since 2006 (from open animosity to cold but polite relations) and the second is the Lithuanian case since 2008 (the meaning of the rhetorical shift towards "pragmatic foreign policy"). The analysis is done using the discourse analysis of the micro events combined with the practice analyses of the bilateral relations of the particular state or two states.