Foreign policy and the politics of representation: the west and its others

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Abstract

The patterns of representation that position the West as the dominant enlightened Self to the non-West's subordinate Other are evident in Hollywood filmmaking. Films such as A Mighty Heart, The Kingdom and The Siege continue to maintain the Hegelian Master/Slave dialectic of West/non-West, which becomes part of the narrative of the West's identity construction. In delving into this supposed relationship between West and non-West, it appears as though few scholars have considered how the processes of representation feed into this essentialised dialectic. In delving into the area of representation, a space for understanding emerges in relation to determining whether or how much being represented in certain ways affects or acts to manipulate the behaviour and choices of the Other, especially in terms of foreign policy conduct. This article examines representational dynamics in terms of the position of the Other as Self, in order to offer an authoritative conception of how schemas of representation influence the direction of foreign policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Change, Peace & Security
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Foreign policy
  • Historical narrative/metaphor
  • Representation
  • Self/other
  • Subaltern

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