Socially Distributed Foreign Policy: A Redefinition of Agency in International Relations.

Ceydilek E.

2016 CEEISA & ISA Joint Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 23 - 25 June 2016

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Ljubljana
  • Country: Slovenia
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Poststructuralism has opened an original path for the study of foreign policy for the last 30 years. Poststructuralism’s originality is its effort to problematize the explanandum (which is to be explained), as foreign policy is also a political practice capable of constituting identities. Assuming the hegemonic position of state in controlling the means of identity constitution (including foreign policy), it is understandable that poststructuralists have focused on official discourse. However, in the last decade, we witnessed the pluralization of the discourse together with the decentralization of the power thanks to the rise of the global digital public sphere. Individuals do not anymore need the elections or pressure groups to transmit their words on foreign policy to the national and international public. What we have today is a socially distributed foreign policy, in which the individuals are gaining agency day by day, from a poststructural point of view. It is now time to develop the necessary theoretical and methodological tools to analyze the identity constitutive power of the individual foreign policy discourses taking place in the global digital public sphere. This paper will try to draw a theoretical /methodological framework to deal with this challenge, as well as opportunity, for poststructuralism.