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Challenges to Swedish identity and sovereignty

Neutrality as a concept and practice has long been conceptualised in IR theory as problematic. Broadly seen as the tool of small and weak states with dubious moral credentials, a limited understanding of neutrality has persisted from the Peloponnesian War to the ‘war on terror’. Furthermore, as globalisation and non-traditional security problems animate international politics, neutrality is seen as a policy of the past. This book argues that neutrality has been a neglected and misunderstood subject, limited to realist understandings of war and viable statecraft, and in doing so aims to uncover the normative strands of neutrality that mesh with identity, security and alternatives to the anarchic international order. Using Sweden as a case study, it explores the domestic roots of neutrality via a constructivist analysis, examining how neutrality is embedded in ideas of self, and part of a wider Social Democratic vision of active internationalism. Identity, however, is malleable and subject to change, and this analysis also considers the impact of globalisation and European integration, the end of bipolarity, and new security threats such as global terrorism on neutrality as an idea and a practice.

Rethinking neutrality through constructivism
Christine Agius

specific accounts of the nation-state, which reflects certain notions about the self and other. Furthermore, neutrality has become a key reference point in determining what makes up the nation-state and how it responds to other actors in the international environment. Therefore, the aim is to investigate the endogenous sources of neutrality, rather than simply the exogenous. Through the lenses of social constructivism

in The social construction of Swedish neutrality
A framework of inclusion and exclusion
Mark Webber

’ exhibiting minimal democratic features alongside some distinctly authoritarian characteristics. And it is not just weak states which exhibit this semi-democratic character – Russia, Belarus and, outside of the former communist region, Turkey also arguably fall into this category. 29 Social constructivism Social constructivism, according to Alexander Wendt, is ‘analytically neutral

in Inclusion, exclusion and the governance of European Security
Naomi Head

Introduction The growing significance which has been attributed to language and communication in IR responded to the critical turn in social and political theory. Its impact on IR manifested itself variously in the insights of social constructivism, the application to the world stage of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, the philosophy

in Justifying violence
Abstract only
Christine Agius

neutrality This book proposes to rethink the mainstream conceptualisation of neutrality through a social constructivist methodology. Briefly, constructivism is concerned with the impact of ideas as well as material factors, and focuses on how the interests and identities of actors are flexible, or a result of certain historical processes. By focusing on what constitutes identity

in The social construction of Swedish neutrality
Abstract only
Naomi Head

’s work has been adopted in IR. It also poses a number of important questions to the existing theoretical approaches in IR which have been engaged with in the course of the book, namely, the concepts of ‘good international citizenship’ and ‘responsibility to protect’, the constructivism of Johnstone and others who take the role of language seriously, and the critical theoretical

in Justifying violence
Abstract only
The failure of neutrality?
Christine Agius

neutral states, and re-examine neutrality from a different perspective that brought in intersubjectivity, identity and norms. Social constructivism was employed to rethink neutrality as a concept and a practice, uncovering how norms and values become embedded over time, producing their own realities, frames of reference and myths. Viewing neutrality from this prism opened up new understandings of why it

in The social construction of Swedish neutrality
Charlotte Wagnsson

‘stories on security’ from the points of view of each of the key European actors. 10 A constructivist approach to security studies suits such an ambition particularly well, since constructivism involves the conviction that the concept of security is context-bound and requires specification. 11 It is an approach less circumscribed by preconceptions about the nature of international relations, and

in Security in a greater Europe
Lee Jarvis
Michael Lister

constructivist literature is that of poststructuralist explorations of security discourses. This literature tends to work with a broader conception of the discursive than do more traditional forms of constructivism, seeing it as fully constitutive of the social, and the identities, institutions, threats, risks, subjects and objects therein (Herring and Stokes 2011 : 6). Poststructuralist analyses tend also to

in Anti-terrorism, citizenship and security
Theory and framework
Boyka Stefanova

‘subtle, indirect, incremental, and difficult to measure and assess’ (Olsen 2007 : 242–3). As a result, the influences of European integration often are subsumed under the insights of organisation theory (Olsen 2002 ), sociology (Grote and Lang 2003 ; Schimmelfennig et al . 2006 ), social constructivism (Checkel 2001 ), and regionalism (Hettne and Söderbaum 2000 ; Tavares 2004 ). The object of Europeanisation: what is

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution