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Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession

The Comparative Analysis of Foreign Policy

Comparative Politics
Foreign Policy
International Relations
Section Number
Section Chair
Kai Oppermann
University of Sussex
Section Co-Chair
Klaus Brummer
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

The goal of this section is to foster the renewed interest in the comparative analysis of foreign policy (e.g., Beasley et al. 2012, Wong/Hill 2012). While James Rosenau’s pioneering work on comparative foreign policy in the 1960s belongs to the classics in the field of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) (Hudson 2013), the comparative approach to the study of foreign policy has not made much headway ever since. This can mainly be put down to a general sense of disillusionment with comparative foreign policy after Rosenau’s data-gathering efforts did not yield convincing results in terms of generalizable patterns of foreign policy behaviour. In consequence, FPA has largely missed out on the potential benefits of the comparative method, not the least with regard to theory development and theory testing. It is not surprising, therefore, that four decades after Rosenau’s work Juliet Kaarbo (2003) has called for a “return to comparison” in FPA regarding the levels of time, space, and issues.

The section follows up on this call for comparative work on foreign policy. More specifically, it puts emphasis on the spatial and temporal dimensions of comparison, that is on cross-country comparisons of foreign policy as well as on comparisons of foreign policy over time. Thus, individual papers (if submitted as standalone papers) or the papers of a panel proposal when taken together must either include a cross-country dimension or explicit temporal comparisons within countries. The panels of this section will be organised around specific levels of analysis (individual decision-makers; parliaments; public opinion; etc.) or themes (the use of force; foreign policy failures; the impact of austerity; etc.), which allows for discussion of how those levels of analysis and themes bear on foreign policy across countries and/or over time.

In particular, this comparative approach will further our understanding of the scope conditions of different theories of FPA and contribute to middle-range theorising about foreign policy. Empirically, the section will reinforce attempts at working out systematic differences (similarities) between different (similar) types of countries (e.g., small, middle and great powers) or political systems (e.g., democratic and authoritarian regimes; etc.) as well as between different (similar) types of decision making context (e.g., crisis, routine and planning decisions). Last but not least, the comparative angle of the section links in with calls for bridging the “analytical divide” between FPA and Comparative Politics which have often been voiced in both fields.

The section is not restricted to any particular country or region, historical period or issue area in foreign policy. Rather, the common thread of all contributions is their comparative approach to analysing foreign policy. Papers and panels that discuss the foreign policies of non-Western countries (or include such countries in their analyses) and that investigate current or recent developments are particularly welcome, however. The section endorses a pluralist perspective and calls for contributions of any theoretical and methodological orientation.

Biographies of Section Chairs

Klaus Brummer is assistant professor of political science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He has also taught at the University of Helsinki, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Duke University. He recently completed his postdoctoral thesis (Habilitation) on the domestic politics of foreign policy. His research interests are Foreign Policy Analysis, with a specific focus on the foreign policy decision making of European countries, European integration, and security studies. He has co-organized sections, workshops, panels, and roundtables at various international conferences (ECPR, ISA, BISA, etc.). He is a member of the Executive Council of the Foreign Policy Analysis Section of ISA and of the Editorial Board of Foreign Policy Analysis. He has published in journals such as International Politics (forthcoming), Foreign Policy Analysis, Acta Politica, European Security, and German Politics.

Kai Oppermann is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sussex. He has also taught at King’s College London, the University of Cologne, Philipps-University Marburg and the Free University Berlin. He has recently been awarded the Venia Legendi in Political Science at the University of Cologne, on the basis of a professorial dissertation on the domestic sources of foreign policy. In 2010, he won a Marie Curie Fellowship for his research on European integration referendums. He has co-organized sections, workshops and panels at various international conferences (ECPR, ISA, BISA, etc.) and is the Deputy Chairman of the German Association for the Study of British History and Politics. He has published in journals such as Journal of European Public Policy, West European Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P102European Foreign Policy View Panel Details
P119Foreign Policy in the Global South View Panel Details
P120Foreign Policy Role-Making, and Taking in Regional and Global Environments View Panel Details
P154Innovative Approaches to Foreign Policy Role Contestation View Panel Details
P204Mistakes and Fiascos in Foreign Policy View Panel Details
P283Populism in World Politics: Conceptual and Comparative Approaches in Global, Regional and Cross-Regional Perspectives View Panel Details
P329Sources and Dynamics of Foreign Policy Change View Panel Details
P393Theorising Indian Foreign Policy View Panel Details
P417Civil Society and Foreign Policy View Panel Details
P418Analysing Foreign Policy Crises: Conceptual, Theoretical and Practical Discussions View Panel Details
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