The Transformation of Foreign Policy

Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, IWM library

9780198783862The study of foreign policy is usually concerned with the interaction of states, which date back to the so-called “Westphalian system,” also the time at which modern “foreign policy” vocabulary was invented. Given the close semantic ties between the two, examining foreign policy in earlier as well as in later periods involves conceptual and terminological difficulties. Questions concerning the status of “post-national” foreign policy actors like the European Union or global cities echo problems that involve the study of ancient Greek “city-states” or federal and imperial entities. This volume presents a novel understanding of what constitutes foreign policy which seeks to offer a way out of this dilemma. The authors argue that foreign policy is the outcome of processes that set some boundaries apart from others, and differentiate those within an internal space from others that mark foreignness. The creation of such boundaries can be observed at all times, and they designate specific actors—which can be, but do not have to be, “states”—as capable of engaging in foreign policy. Such boundaries are, however, unstable, and do not provide a single or a simple distinction between “insides” and “outsides.” Multiple layers of foreign policy actors with different characteristics are thus not a post-modern development, but a perennial aspect of foreign policy. This case is argued in a broad perspective extending from early Greek polities to present-day global cities via “classical” nation-states and empires, and it is presented by political scientists, jurists, and historians.

The Transformation of Foreign Policy: Drawing and Managing Boundaries from Antiquity to the Present, edited by G. Hellmann, A. Fahrmeir and M. Vec, Oxford University Press, 2016.

Miloš Vec is Professor of European Legal and Constitutional History at Vienna University and a Permanent Fellow at the IWM. He is co-editor with Thomas Hippler of Paradoxes of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe (OUP, 2015).

Gunther Hellmann is Professor of Political Science at the Department of Social Sciences and Principal Investigator at the Centre of Excellence ‘Formation of Normative Orders’, both at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main. He is one of the editors of the Zeitschrift fur Internationale Beziehungen.

Andreas Fahrmeir is Professor of Modern History at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main. He is a principal investigator with the ‘Normative Orders’ research cluster and co-editor of the Historische Zeitschrift.