National Identities and International Relations by Richard Ned Lebow

By Richard Ned Lebow

Id is the grasp variable for plenty of constructivist students of foreign politics. during this comparative learn, Richard Ned Lebow exhibits that states would not have identities to any extent further than humans do. Leaders, peoples, and overseas actors search to impose nationwide identifications in line with their political tasks and mental wishes. those identifications are a number of, fluid and upward thrust in value as a functionality of priming and context. Leaders are no less than as more likely to invoke nationwide identifications as rationalizations for rules pursued for different purposes as they're to be motivated by way of them. nationwide identifications are however vital simply because they at all times tension the alleged specialty of a humans and its state, and are a imperative technique of looking prestige and development vanity. Lebow tracks the relative allure of those rules, the ways that they're built, how they effect nationwide identifications, and the way they in flip have an effect on local and foreign practices.

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Ontological security – or better yet, some formulation that supplants it – must make individuals or groups its unit of analysis. Its claims must be more cautious, better specified, and framed in a way to make them falsifiable. Its proponents need to tell us something about the circumstances in which people seek to reduce anxiety by clinging to routines or turning to more restrictive formulations of national identity. These are related but different processes, and it is important to theorize their relationship.

External actors also try to shape national identifications. Conflicts occur within and across these levels. A second tension concerns similarity and difference. Most individuals and almost all states proclaim their uniqueness. This is more illusion than reality, but a seemingly important illusion. Individuals want – perhaps need – to think of themselves and their countries as different and better than others. Self-serving definitions of this kind are an important means of building self-esteem. Our self-identifications – realistic or illusionary – derive primarily from our roles, affiliations, bodies, and the stories we construct about our individual and collective pasts.

38 It also engendered suspicion, even hostility, when one’s accomplishments are recognized in the West.  75.  549–50; Zarakol, After Defeat. ”39 Membership in high-status groups can be a vehicle for increasing wealth and mobility. Attending an elite school or church allows one to make useful social and professional contacts. Degrees from Ivy League schools open doors as do the contacts one makes while a student.  Kennedy, a Harvard graduate, an honorary doctorate in 1962. Yale was famous for seeding New York banks, law firms, and other prestige professions with its graduates.

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