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Romantic narratives in international politics

Pirates, rebels and mercenaries

Alexander Spencer

This book is a story about the importance of stories in International Relations. It brings insights from Literary Studies and Narratology into IR and political science by developing a new discourse analytical method of narrative analysis. Focusing on the three narrative elements of setting, characterization and emplotment, the book argues that narratives are of fundamental importance for human cognition and identity construction. Narratives help us understand the social and political world in which we live. The book emphasizes the idea of intertextual narratability which holds that for narratives to become dominant they have to link themselves to previously existing stories. Empirically the book looks at narratives about pirates, rebels and private military and security companies (PMSCs). The book illustrates in the case of pirates and rebels that the romantic images embedded in cultural narratives influence our understanding of modern piracy in places like Somalia or rebels in Libya. Dominant romantic narratives marginalize other, less flattering, stories about these actors, in which they are constituted as terrorists and made responsible for human rights violations. In contrast, in the case of PMSCs in Iraq the absence of such romantic cultural narratives makes it difficult for such actors to successfully narrate themselves as romantic heroes to the public.

Open Access (free)

David Rieff

established global order has been greatly exaggerated, then you will doubt that those changes are likely to pose any existential challenge to the humanitarian international, be it in terms of the efficacy of what relief groups do in the field or in terms of the political and moral legitimacy they can aspire to enjoy. But if, on the contrary, you believe that we are living in the last days of a doomed system – established in the aftermath of World War II and dominated by the US – then the humanitarian international is no more likely to survive (or to put

Open Access (free)

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Raymond Hinnebusch

This text aims to fill a gap in the field of Middle Eastern political studies by combining international relations theory with concrete case studies. It begins with an overview of the rules and features of the Middle East regional system—the arena in which the local states, including Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Jordan and Iraq, operate. The book goes on to analyse foreign-policy-making in key states, illustrating how systemic determinants constrain this policy-making, and how these constraints are dealt with in distinctive ways depending on the particular domestic features of the individual states. Finally, it goes on to look at the outcomes of state policies by examining several major conflicts including the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Gulf War, and the system of regional alignment. The study assesses the impact of international penetration in the region, including the historic reasons behind the formation of the regional state system. It also analyses the continued role of external great powers, such as the United States and the former Soviet Union, and explains the process by which the region has become incorporated into the global capitalist market.

Open Access (free)

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Raymond Hinnebusch

relations, this study will deploy a combination of several to capture its complex reality. The Middle East is arguably the epicentre of world crisis, chronically war-prone and the site of the world’s most protracted conflicts. It appears to be the region where the anarchy and insecurity seen by the realist school of international politics as the main feature of states systems remains most in evidence and where the realist paradigm retains its greatest relevance. Yet neo-realism’s 1 a-historical tendency to assume states systems to be unchanging

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The political economy of security

Geopolitics and capitalist development in the Asia-Pacific

Series:

Mark Beeson

decidedly different from their counterparts in ‘the West’. 1 At the very least, such structural and discursive variations serve as powerful reminders that, even in an age characterized by global processes and ever greater degrees of economic and political integration, significant differences remain – differences that often have an enduring regional dimension

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Introduction

Once upon a time …

Alexander Spencer

culture in the world. Humans comprehend the social world around them in the form of stories, or rather narratives, from which they draw identities and which guide their actions (Sarbin 1986; White 1973, 1978, 1987). Narratives not only reflect the world but influence how it is understood and made. Narratives are an essential part of how we make sense of the environment around us. This holds true not only on the individual level but also on a collective and international political level. The primary concern of the story told in this book is to show how political science

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Conclusion

The end

Alexander Spencer

political phenomena outside of the romantic story genre. The story of the book The theoretical and methodological contribution of this work has been to illustrate the narrative nature of international politics. The book has argued that the idea of a narrative adopted from literary studies and narratology is helpful as it offers both an explanation for why narratives matter in the first place as well as providing a conceptual framework for the empirical analysis of narratives. Narratives are important for international politics from both a cognitive and a cultural

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Alexander Spencer

chapter is structured as follows. The first part reflects on the historical as well as literary linkage between romanticism, rebellion and revolution. Employing the method of narrative analysis outlined in Chapter 1 and focusing on setting, characterization and emplotment, the second part then emphasizes the romantic side of an ambiguous and partly orientalist narrative about 92 Romantic narratives in international politics the Arab rebel in movies such as Lawrence of Arabia. Following this, the third part of the chapter shows the persistence of these romantic

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Alexander Spencer

. In particular they try and tell romantic stories about themselves in which they strategically employ romantic settings, characterizations and emplotments. In contrast to the chapter on pirates in which the romanticization was not so much down to the strategic employment of particular stories but was rather 126 Romantic narratives in international politics embedded in a wider cultural narrative of the pirate, this chapter is interested in a more strategic perspective in which the agent attempts to tell certain stories to the world but is nevertheless limited in

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Tim Aistrope

WHILE PARANOID politics has received significant attention as a characteristic of American popular culture, only a handful of scholars have examined its international political dimensions. This gap is particularly notable since the paranoid psychology of enemy leaders and the conspiracy mindedness of regional cultures are regular subjects of foreign