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.
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 the matter more
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.
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
MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 08/19/2013, SPi
Political rights under a military rule
Citizenship, as a bundle of rights and as experience, is regarded in the political
thought as a safeguard for the citizens against excesses by the state or by powerful groups (e.g. Marshall, 1950). Among these, political rights have been
associated with highly esteemed notions such as the sovereignty of the people.
However, what could the meaning of political rights be under a state of exception, where the basic rights, which enable citizens to
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
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
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
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
. 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
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
process disrupted a multiplicity of regional ties while reorienting many economic and communications links to the Western ‘core’. In reaction, new supra-state ideologies, expressive of the lost cultural unity, were increasingly embraced: Pan-Arabism by the Arabic-speaking middle class and political Islam among the lower middle classes. Both, at various times, challenged the legitimacy of the individual states and spawned movements promoting the unification of states as a cure for the fragmentation of the recognised community. The result has been that the Arab world