IRGS Seminar : Reluctance in World Politics | Shiv Nadar University
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IRGS Seminar : Reluctance in World Politics

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 14, 2022 -

The Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR cordially invites you to an online Seminar on Reluctance in World Politics by Prof. Dr. Sandra Destradi, University of Freiburg, Germany on Thursday, 14 April 2022 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM IST.

World politics is in many cases a chaotic field: international actors frequently adopt indecisive, hesitant, muddling-through approaches instead of clear-cut foreign policy decisions – in other words, they are reluctant. This also applies to powerful states, which frequently disappoint the expectations of those who would want them to exercise leadership or contribute to the solution of pressing problems. Yet, surprisingly, the ubiquitous phenomenon of reluctance has been largely ignored both by mainstream International Relations theories, which in most cases implicitly assume straightforward decision-making on foreign policy matters, and by Foreign Policy Analysis, which often fails to connect the detailed study of decision-making processes with the identification of broader foreign policy patterns.

The talk is driven by the following question: Why do international actors, including powerful states, often pursue reluctant foreign policies? To answer this question, I develop a conceptualization of reluctance in world politics and a theorization of its causes. I argue that reluctance emerges if actors are faced with a combination of competing international expectations and domestic factors hampering clear preference formation, particularly capacity problems, bureaucratic quarrels, or domestic conflicts over competing norms.

This theory of reluctance is applied to the analysis of a set of ‘hard’ cases: the foreign policies of the rising powers India, Brazil, and Germany during phases of domestic political stability. For each, I focus on crisis management in these countries’ respective regional neighbourhoods. I find that the theory of reluctance proves helpful in explaining variations in reluctance, thereby shedding light on the sometimes puzzling foreign policy behaviour of these countries.

Speaker Bio 
Prof. Dr. Sandra Destradi holds the Chair of International Relations at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Currently, she is a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Her research interests include the role of emerging powers in global governance, the impact of populism on foreign policy and international politics, as well as issues of regional security, with a particular focus on South Asia. She has published the monograph India’s Foreign and Security Policy in South Asia: Regional Power Strategies and a range of articles in journals such as European Journal of International RelationsReview of International StudiesForeign Policy AnalysisAsian Survey, and Democratization.

Thursday 14, Apr 2022
12:30 PM - 02:00 PM