Foreign policy analysis and critical international relations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Belied by limited cross-field publications, Critical International Relations (CIR) scholars and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) scholars actually have much in common. They share common cause in challenging state-centric and purely rational approaches while embracing subjectivity and multi-disciplinarity, yet they have diverged in their specific approaches. We review three areas central to FPA, agents and agency, perceptions and images, and decisions, mistakes, and surprises, showing how CIR and FPA might make contributions to, as well as challenge, each other. We suggest FPA scholars consider the agency of non-humans as well as time, the importance of iconic foreign policy images, and reflect on both misrecognition and spontaneity as aspects of foreign policy mistakes and surprises. Similarly, we encourage CIR scholars to foreground the study of elites, consider foreign policy as a specific arena for visuals and spaces, and to reflect on the emergent properties and visceral experiences of foreign policy crises. We conclude by highlighting FPA’s and CIR’s shared motivations towards enhancing pluralism and practical deliberations as crucial ways of avoiding disastrous foreign policies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford handbook of foreign policy analysis
EditorsJuliet Kaarbo, Cameron Thies
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191878961
ISBN (Print)9780198843061
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Agency
  • Images
  • Time
  • Suprises
  • Pluralism


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