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The Site of Foreign Policy: A Field Theory Account of Ministries of Foreign Affairs

Abstract

This essay argues that the work of ministries of foreign affairs (MFA s) centres on three modes of articulation; namely, intersubjective, practical and material articulations. However, much research in diplomatic studies has yet to come to terms with the specific ways in which these modes of articulation coalesce to produce a distinctive foreign policy. I suggest that a field theory account of MFA s offers a reliable set of tools that enables us to understand how a foreign policy takes shape, the dynamics that sustain it and the circumstances under which it is likely to change. Because a field’s existence is often derived from its relational consequences, the essay clarifies the link between a field and its effects, using the concept of ‘affordance’. In this sense, theorising MFA s connects a philosophy of action — which focuses on the field theory’s concepts — and a philosophy of science — which emphasises relations within and between different modes of articulation.

Dates and versions

hal-03613719 , version 1 (18-03-2022)

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Thierry Balzacq. The Site of Foreign Policy: A Field Theory Account of Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the World. Actors of State Diplomacy, 18, Brill, pp.378-388, 2022, Diplomatic Studies, 9789004505872. ⟨10.1163/9789004505889_019⟩. ⟨hal-03613719⟩
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