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Nikki Ikani

After discussing its foundations in historical institutionalism, this chapter sets out each building block of the framework. It explains ‘critical junctures’ and how they open up political space for foreign policy change. It explains how institutions shape the process, through providing the setting for the decision-making process, and by determining the ‘key actors’ and their power to pursue change. Key actors may reframe the debate, generate new ideas, shed new perspectives on policy issues and attempt to rally support for their perception and policy change. Institutions and the ‘temporal context’ impact on the process of deciding to change policy following a critical juncture. The chapter explains how to measure the change that follows this process. It proposes to assess EU foreign policy change through mapping the level, substance and the ‘directionality’ of change and ends by discussing research design, historical process tracing and evidence.

in Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy
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Pursuing a multipolar mirage?
Luis L. Schenoni

This chapter explores the use of the concept of multipolarity in the Brazilian foreign policy debate, with an emphasis on the period associated with Brazil’s rise to great power status from 2000 onwards. It analyses documents from Brazilian governmental agencies in order to reconstruct how polarity was thought of and what impact this had on actual policy. It also draws on a series of in-depth interviews conducted in June 2017 with academics and Brazilian public officials to help unravel their understanding of the term and the interests of different actors. This is complemented by a review of the public speeches of politicians and diplomats in forums such as the Brazilian Congress and the United Nations General Assembly as well as academic articles that discuss the role of Brazil in a scenario of multipolarity, published in the two major Brazilian IR journals and a number of non-Brazilian IR journals. The chapter argues that the concept of the global order becoming increasingly multipolar – and Brazil playing a key role in the process and outcome – has been emotionally potent and ‘sticky’ over this time period, despite clear empirical evidence to the contrary. After providing a map of the interests involved and a raw measure of conceptual stretching, the chapter outlines a typology of typical ways that the concept has been moulded to suit various causes within Brazil. In addition, it identifies common themes across actors and uncovers the implicit theoretical framework they use to reinterpret the concept.

in National perspectives on a multipolar order
Bailout politics in Eurozone countries

Since 2010, five Eurozone governments in economic difficulty have received assistance from international lenders on condition that certain policies specified in the Memoranda of Understanding were implemented. How did negotiations take place in this context? What room for manoeuvre did the governments of these countries have? After conditionality, to what extent were governments willing and able to roll back changes imposed on them by the international lenders? Do we find variation across governments, and, if so, why?

This book addresses these questions. It explores the constraints on national executives in the five bailed out countries of the Eurozone during and beyond the crisis (2008–2019).

The book’s principal idea is that, despite international market pressure and creditors’ conditionality, governments had some room for manoeuvre during a bailout and were able to advocate, resist, shape or roll back some of the policies demanded by external actors. Under certain circumstances, domestic actors were also able to exploit the constraint of conditionality to their own advantage. The book additionally shows that after a bailout programme governments could use their discretion to reverse measures in order to attain the greatest benefits at a lower cost. It finally explores the determinants of bargaining leverage – and stresses the importance of credibility.

Six things you should know about Eurozone bailouts
Catherine Moury, Stella Ladi, Daniel Cardoso, and Angie Gago

Chapter 7 concludes. We compare countries and their policy fields, and show that our argument ‘travels’ well: even in least likely cases, governments had some leeway to shape the policies adopted under conditionality and to reverse some of these after a bailout. Additionally, we present the comparative results of our database on conditionality and policy reversals during and after conditionality. We finally address the theoretical and policy implications of our findings and discuss their implications for the current economic crisis resulting from the spread of the Coronavirus.

in Capitalising on constraint
Nikki Ikani

This chapter develops a typology by first addressing shortcomings in existing conceptualisations of policy change when applied to EU foreign policy change. The starting point is the different kinds of policy change observed in Chapters 2 and 3. This chapter identifies changes which are difficult to identify using cumulative typologies that divide policy change into progressive ‘orders’, either because first-order and second-order policy changes – which ought to precede or accompany third-order ‘paradigm changes’ – are absent, or because they constitute a different kind of paradigm change, where the policy rationale is questioned and modified without policy undergoing substantive change. It argues that two categories – symbolic change and constructive ambiguity – complement the policy change outputs for the EU, and both institutional plasticity and temporal contingency affect which outcome is more likely. This chapter suggests dividing the temporal context into three registers: structural (decades, centuries), conjunctural (years) and liminal (days, weeks).

in Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy
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Debating the distribution of power and status in the early twenty first century
Benjamin Zala

The concluding chapter reflects on the implications for both scholarship and policymaking of the contested nature of the multipolar narratives analysed in the previous chapters. It brings together a set of recurring themes and topics from across the case studies and draws out some of the general and longer-term implications that emerge from the individual national contexts. For scholars, it discusses the theoretical and empirical challenge of distinguishing between regional and great (global-level) powers as well as making the case for a more fine-grained focus on the perceptual components of polarity analysis. For policymakers, it highlights the need to be able to deal effectively with ambiguity and subjectivity in net assessments and strategic analysis relating to power transitions. It also discusses the likely policy impacts of the continued salience of narratives of imminent multipolarity on issues such as alliance management.

in National perspectives on a multipolar order
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Nikki Ikani

This book provides a single, dedicated, analytical framework for investigating and explaining how the EU adapts its foreign policy after crises, which can be applied to the formal, institutional realm of EU foreign policiesand the ‘softer’ areas of EU external action. We need to assess first the institutional ‘plasticity’ of the policy area: how rules and institutions constrain the key decision-makers during the process of change, but also how the institutions are moulded by decision-makers. Institutions can give form and can take form. The concept of plasticity holds special value in European studies. A second important building block of this analytical framework is temporal contingency, meaning that the policy reform was not logically necessary but has come about owing to events, not all of them foreseen or expected. The conclusion summarises a revised typology of EU foreign policy change, outlining its potential and suggesting avenues for future research.

in Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy
A framework of EU foreign policy change
Author: Nikki Ikani

This book provides readers with an analytical framework that serves to investigate and explain how the EU adapts its foreign policy in the wake of crisis. While a range of studies dedicated to foreign policy stability and change exist for the US context, such analyses are rare for the assessment and measurement of foreign policy change at the European Union level. This book explores a range of theories of (foreign) policy change and assesses their value for explaining EU foreign policy change. Changes to EU foreign policy, this study proposes based upon an in-depth investigation of recent episodes in which foreign policy has changed, are not captured well using existing typologies of policy change from other fields of study.

Offering a new perspective on the question of change, this book proposes an analytical framework focused on how institutions, institutional ‘plasticity’ and temporal context impact on the decision-making process leading to change. It thus provides readers with the tools to analyse, explain and conceptualise the various change outcomes in EU foreign policy. In so doing, it sets the theoretical approach of historical institutionalism to work in an EU foreign policy setting. Based on a rich empirical analysis of five case studies it provides a revised typology of EU foreign policy change. It proposes two novel forms of foreign policy change, symbolic change and constructive ambiguity, as frequent and important outcomes of the EU decision-making process.

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Catherine Moury, Stella Ladi, Daniel Cardoso, and Angie Gago

Chapter 6 focuses on Cyprus, a case which has warranted much less discussion in the literature. This therefore constitutes an important contribution to the understanding of the contagious nature of the Eurozone crisis. Among other things, it sheds light on the conditions that forced the Cypriot government to ask for a bailout and the strain that the Russian factor put in the relationship with the EU. This chapter shows that once the bailout was agreed a different pattern of negotiations emerged, where consensus between the political parties and increased participation of technocrats enabled room for manoeuvre for the Cypriot government.

in Capitalising on constraint
James Johnson

This chapter analyses the state of debate about relative US decline and the ‘rise of the rest’ from the point of view of the United States. It frames this around three categories of actors involved in creating and shaping the discourse on multipolarity in the United States: ‘denialists’, ‘accepters’, and ‘resisters’. Denialists argue that unipolarity is in fact durable and that serious US decline is a myth, accepters advocate for retrenchment or strategies of ‘offshore balancing’ to navigate the inevitable arrival of a multipolar order, and resisters are concerned about the rise of peer competitors but believe that Washington can still see down the challenge and maintain its hegemonic position. This typology is then used to frame a more specific discussion of how this is currently playing out via the lens of debates over power and high-end technological superiority. The chapter sets up the debate over the rapid diffusion and proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities through an exploration of those that view harnessing these capabilities as a key aspect of efforts to maintain Washington’s unipolar dominance. It uncovers a key strand to this which, while often shrouded in the language of multipolarity, is actually based on perceptions of a bipolar order based around a new competitive struggle between Beijing and Washington. The chapter analyses calls from within the US to take action to sustain its primacy in the emerging global AI race in the context of predictions of a shift to a multipolar order.

in National perspectives on a multipolar order