Role Theory: A Conceptual Framework for the Constructivist Foreign Policy Analysis

  • Vít Beneš
Keywords: Role theory, national role conception, foreign policy analysis, epistemology, ontology, constructivism


This paper has two objectives. Firstly, I would like to introduce the conceptual framework for foreign policy analysis: the so-called role theory. In order for us to explain and understand the foreign policies of nation-states, the role theory focuses on the reasoning of national political elites, their understanding of the international system and the perceived role of their own states within this larger system. I will introduce the concepts of the role theory, its epistemological underpinning and the most important analytical applications of it. Secondly, I intend to make a contribution to the discussions about the application of social constructivism (as an IR theory) to foreign policy analysis. Thanks to its metatheoretical assumptions and conceptual outfit, the role theory is an appropriate candidate for bridging the gap between constructivist IR theory and FPA.

Author Biography

Vít Beneš