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Role Theory; New States in IR

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Ryan Beasley

on 4 July 2014

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Transcript of Role Theory; New States in IR

Role Theory and New States
Role Theory
Role Theory and IR
Learning Objectives
What is 'Role Theory'?
Role Theory &
New States in IR

Identity & Roles
Ryan K Beasley
Structure and Agency
Policymakers' definition of their state and the functions it should perform
Actor (role occupant)
International Norms, Rules & Expectations (external)
How does Role Theory relate to IR?
Roles and Identity
Agent-Structure; Material-Ideational
Role Theory and New States
Sociological Approach to Roles
Roles are Social Categories
Roles involve interaction of agents in a system
Socialize members
But only within highly institutionalized setting
Bridges Foreign Policy and IR
Bridges Structural Theories and Constructivist Theories
Each System (like a given play) only has certain roles
Roles require an 'other' to become activated
Roles aren't simply chosen
Role Bargaining Process
The 'Other' is called 'Alter'
Between 'Ego' (self) and 'Alter' (other)
The Heart of Socialization
Master Status
Super-Categories of Roles
The starting point for pursuing a role
Four 'Master Statuses'
Novice State
Small Member State
Major Member State
Great Power
(Thies, 2013)
Structure affects States via Master Status
Constrains Specific Roles
Role must fit within Master Status to be accepted
Power & Capabilities
The process of teaching and enforcing the rules
The rules can be specific (like laws) or general (like norms)
Norms are Ideational
Violating Norms can result in Sanctioning
Actors learn rules, through:
Sanctions and rewards by others
The 'Birth Process'
States come from somewhere!
New States Usually form by:
Internal Revolution
Major War
New States must be 'recognized' by other states
'You are only a state if we all say so'
Role Enactment -- How well a role is performed once selected
Can have several roles
Each role can be more or less emphasized
Altercasting -- Effort to impose roles on others
Provide cues to appropriate behaviour
Role Expectations
Norms, beliefs & preferences for performance of a role
The behaviours that one occupying a role should perform
A form of role socialization
Expectations are relative to other roles -- Role interdependence
Key Concepts
Still More Key Concepts
Vary in specificity, clarity, and formality
Role Demands
Specific situations call for certain role enactments
Need to pick the right role, at right place and time
Audience Effects
Those observing the role players
Accepts role enactments as appropriate (or not)
Gives feedback to help guide performance
Role Location
Process of locating proper role in a social structure
Select appropriate role for self and situation
'the role location process is where role expectations of the self and other, role demands of the situation, and cues from the audience all come together to produce a role for the actor and set the conditions for its appropriate enactment' (Thies, 2013: 35)
Identity and Role Theory
Degree of Involvement in the Role
Low involvement in a role = Low connection to identity
High involvement in a role = High connection to identity
Social Identity partially created by interactions with others in complimentary roles
Identity helps with Role Location
Identity shaped by social rewards and sanctions
Leadership important in negotiating identity
Initially negotiation with domestic audience
Subsequently bargaining with international audience regarding role
A sort of 'two-level game' (Putnam, 1988)
Identity and Role Theory
'Who am I?'
'What am I supposed to do?'
Identity, like role, is not fixed
Identity influences role location
Role Enactment influences Identity
Which Role(s) do you choose?
Reinforced Behaviour becomes internalized
If it Gains Independence it must be socialized
Each system has different roles
Novice State
Haiti's Independence (Cantir, unpublished manuscript)
1806-1820: Haiti was split into two regimes
Similar Material Constraints, but some differences in foreign policies
Independent State/Colony
Black Liberation Activist/Non-Involvement
Leaders interpreted these roles differently, and emphasized them differently
1791-1803: Kicked out British, Spanish, and French
Appointed Leader dies, results in in-fighting
Role Contestation
Social Identity and Roles
Three Dimensions: Status, Value, Involvement
'Status' is ascribed to other states
May not match status believed to have been achieved
Social Identity Theory
Our self esteem is connected to the status of our group
We elevate our in-group and denigrate out-groups
Degree of Identification with Group, and Group's Status
Achieved Roles vs Ascribed Roles
'Value' is an assessment of Role Enactment
Is a state effectively doing what it's role says it should
'Involvement' is about Investment in a Role
Do you feel connected to a role, and do you try hard to enact it?
Self-Role Congruence
How well-suited is a state to a particular Role?
1776-1783: Seeking the Role of the 'Sovereign State'
1783-1815: Novice State Status
Seeking the 'Neutral' Role
1815-1848: Small Member State Status
Seeking a Regional Role at a Young Age
1848-1898: Major Member State Status
Attains the Regional Leader Role
1898-?: Great Power Status
Slow shift from Neutrality to Belligerency to Great Power
Role Theory and Scottish Independence
'The Birth of a State has many Midwives'
The Economist, 3 November, 2012
Scotland’s role location will involve socialization
processes & pressures
But Roles advanced by Scotland may be rejected by others
Identities may conflict with interests
Identities will invoke history & culture and may be
relational and oppositional
Identity discourse will focus on distinctiveness from RUK
Claims about identity & roles will be closely related
this may affect role conceptions
Scottish Identity & Roles
an identity may be used to justify a role
Socialization Efforts?
Currency Union Questions
Defense Preparedness Questions
Altercasting as a 'Small State'
Nuclear Submarine
Membership Question
Altercasting as a 'reliable ally'
The United States?
Not much...yet
Early, both the U.S. & Israel had to force the role of 'sovereign state' on their primary socializers
Britain & Egypt
Both initially sought a 'neutral role', but failed
Both were altercast into a 'regional collaborator' role
The U.S. responded with a 'regional protector' role with the Monroe Doctrine
Israel accepted, with France
Israel tried to engage both the U.S. & the U.S.S.R.
Examples of Roles
Regional Leader
Regional Protector
Regional Collaborator
Internal Developer
Sovereign State
Faithful Ally
Bloc Leader
Global Leader
Defender of the Faith
Not Materialist vs Constructivist
Identities and Interests Interact to shape states' behaviours
Not Agents vs Structures
Agents choose, more or less effectively, roles offered by the structure of the system
Role Theory: Conclusions
Not External vs Internal
Identities shape roles which shape identities
Constrained by their 'Master Status' based on Power
Role Theory: Limitations
Doesn't make specific Foreign Policy predictions
Similar to Structural Realism (Waltz) in that sense
Primarily focuses on State actors
No clear theory of Role Conception Aggregation
Roles can be contested domestically
Leaders don't always agree on a role
Unclear Time Frame for Role Enactment
In individual cases? Across longer periods?
No clear theory of available roles in any system
Strengths and Limitation
'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players'
~Bill S.
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
1970s -- Bipolar Cold War World
Regular Behavioural Patterns of Classes of States
Foreign Policy Scholars (Holsti; Walker)
Wanted to explain states' behaviours
Focused more on the states than on the system
IR began to see system as a 'Social Structure' (Wendt)
IR is a Society of actors
The Origins of 'Role Theory'
Not just self, but self in relation to others
Reacting against dominant 'Realism'
Role Conception
An actor's perception of their own role and its expectations
Internal debates about role location and conception
Some roles are attained; others given
What it's OK and not OK to do
Roles and Socialization
Roles are rather like Norms and Rules
Roles are independent of a given actor
They exist regardless of who is cast in them
Roles have defined sets of behaviours
What an actor in a given role can and can't say and do
Inappropriate behaviour results in sanctions
They are ideas that set boundaries
Certain actors are better cast in certain roles
There are real limits to what role any actor can take
Pressure to behave according to your part (role)
Find your role, learn it, play it, and don't deviate from it
Role Socialization
The Actors
Usually a significant other
Called 'Ego'
e.g. Can't have 'parent' role without 'child' role
How to Get a Role
Only certain Roles exist in a given system (Structure)
Material and Ideational Factors
Agents Seek & Reject Roles (Agency)
Actor must fit Role
Master Status
Internal and External Factors
National Identity & Leadership (within State)
Bargaining in Role Enactment Process (interaction between states)
How and whom to sanction or reward
The EU?
Possible Scottish Roles?
Nordic Ideals
Arctic States
International Law
Nato & Trident
Illegal Iraq War
Nordic States
Arctic Council
The U.S.
Sovereign State
Key elements of Scottish Identity will shape possible role conceptions
Great Power Role
Military Capability and Will to Project Force
Recognized by others as having special rights and duties around war and peace
Accept Responsibility for Influencing peace and security regionally and globally (Hedley Bull)
The U.S. and Israel Compared (Thies)
Sometimes States Reject Roles
Results in pressure by Alters
Japan & Germany
Sometimes States Aspire to a Previous Role
But misfit between Master Status & desired Role
Each plays a role beneath its potential
Role Transitions
Sometimes States are Slow to Adapt to New Roles
Maybe others (Alters) are hesitant to accept change
Maybe domestic Identities are slow to change
Early United States (Thies)
New States
Power Shifts
Old States in New Roles
Current China
Civil War -- Sovereign State Role
Communist Ally
Autonomous Developer
Growing Power
Pressure to play Great Power Role
Domestic Role Contestation
International Norms (Germany)
Regional Role Transitions (Japan)
France Portrays Self as Great Power
Seeks Leadership Role
Often Rejects other Great Power (U.S.)
Buzzing U.S. Aircraft Carriers
Invading Georgia; Spheres of Influence Talk
Planting Russian Flag in Arctic Seabed
Note: Russia Economy 1/2 of Japan's
Socialization begins before statehood
Great Power; Scotland
Great Power
Perhaps could apply to non-state actors?
(no, that's Roll Theory)
Almost like Scripted Roles
Roles in Everyday Life
Individuals are free to behave as they wish
We have nearly infinite possibilities
But each society has particular 'sets of behaviour'
People fit into social categories -- they take Roles
Can be interpersonal -- Friends; Lovers; Acquaintances
Can be Economic -- Banker; Lawyer; Professor
Can be political -- Citizen; Representative; Foreigner
Can be Familial -- Parent; Sibling; Child
Each Role has more or less prescribed behaviours
Violating your Role can be Problematic
Different Societies have Different Roles Available
Some Roles don't exist in some societies
The primary socializer
Master Status matters here
Both physical and social sanctions
Suez Crisis
Small States and Roles
Things to Consider
Can Role Theory Help Understand Issues in IR?
Old States and Roles
McCourt (2011) Britain and the Falklands
Not-Yet-States and Roles
The British Decision had no Economic or Geopolitical Rationale (at least, not primarily)
Based Largely on Identity
Status-Quo Oriented Power
Colonial Power
Argentina was 'Altercasting'
Britain Enacting
Important Others
U.S. & European Allies
But Identity Affirmed through Role Enactment
One of your Required Readings
Britain Affirmed an International Identity through Role Enactment
(or preferences)
Role Theorists (McCourt)
(and Role Socialization)
Ideas, Interests, & Roles
South - Led by Petion (to 1818)
North - Led by Christophe
abolish slavery and colonialism
Both pledged non-intervention (so big powers wouldn't invade them)
Both pursued black immigration policies (needed people)
But Petion supported Latin American revolutionaries; Christophe rejected this as interventionist
But Petion granted citizenship to any reaching Haitian soil (a 'black free state')
Petion negotiated with France; Christophe rejected this
'New States' after War
How might Roles affect Scottish Independence?
How do Roles relate to, and differ from, identity?
Ethnic Conflict
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