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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

Digraph and Game Theory Models of Role Contestation

Comparative Politics
Foreign Policy

The concept of role contestation has emerged within the recent renaissance in role theory. It refers to the process that occurs within states as their decision units decide what role to select in relations with another state. This is part of a larger process of role location between Ego and Alter. In this paper one goal is to model role contestation as a causal mechanism that describes how the process begins and ends prior to a foreign policy decision, which is modeled with digraphs and signed graph theory. The other goal is to anticipate how the decision is likely to be carried out as a role enactment strategy, which is modeled with strategic interaction games and game theory. Illustrative applications of this two-stage model are taken from recent work on Britain’s appeasement decisions toward Nazi Germany in the late 1930s.
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