Postgraduate Course: Foreign Policy Analysis (PGSP11300)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course covers the literature, research topics, and current issues in the area of foreign policy analysis -- an identifiable subfield within the study of international relations in political science. Research in this area is designed to answer the question: Why do states do what they do in international politics? The course is organized in a basic "levels of analysis" framework that roughly corresponds to the historical development of the study of foreign policy analysis. Particular attention will be paid to current decision making approaches to foreign policy. The emphasis in the course is on theories of foreign policy, although students will also be exposed to the substance/content of the foreign policies of various countries.
This course covers the literature, research topics, and current issues in the area of foreign policy analysis -- an identifiable subfield within the study of international relations. Research in this area is designed to answer the question: Why do states do what they do in international politics? The course is organized in a basic "levels of analysis" framework that roughly corresponds to the historical development of the study of foreign policy analysis ¿ from outside, ¿external¿ approaches associated with general international relations theories, to societal sources of culture and public opinion, to government organization and elite decision-making. Particular attention will be paid to decision-making, especially psychological, approaches to foreign policy. The emphasis in the course is on theories of foreign policy, although students will also be exposed to the substance/content of the foreign policies of various countries.
Week 1 What is Foreign Policy? What is Foreign Policy Analysis?
Week 2 External Influences on Foreign Policy
Week 3 Societal Sources of Foreign Policy: Culture, Identity, & Discourse
Week 4 Societal Sources of Foreign Policy: Public Opinion & the Media
Week 5 The Role of Government Structures and Political Opposition in Foreign Policy
Week 6 Organizational & Psychological Processes in Foreign Policy Making
Week 7 The Role of Personality in Foreign Policy Decision Making
Week 8 How Beliefs and Information Processing Shape Foreign Policy Decision Making
Week 9 Essay Preparation Week
Week 10 Small Group Dynamics in Foreign Policy Decision Making
Week 11 Multi-Level Frameworks and the Future of Foreign Policy Analysis
All participants will attend the two-hour seminar (for each of the ten weeks that the course meets). Lecture time will be minimal, although the topic will be introduced and and contextualised. The focus of the seminar will be in-depth discussion of the reading material. All students are expected to attend the course and take a full and active part in the seminar. The seminar is designed to be interactive and student contribution is vital. This course is not an exercise in passive learning ¿ if you do not read, prepare and contribute each week, the seminar will not be as useful or as enjoyable as it otherwise will be.
Overall, students will be required to: undertake critical, objective analysis of theoretical approaches to foreign policy analysis; critically assess methodological techniques and research design used in the empirical study of foreign policy; apply competing theoretical frameworks to understand important foreign policy choices made by actors in international politics; and practice skills important in academic and non-academic careers, including the evaluation of scholarly work and policy positions, construction of research questions and programs, and verbal and written articulation of theories and arguments.
From this course students should gain: a balanced and comprehensive appreciation of the study of foreign policy, with particular emphasis on current decision making and psychological approaches; a theoretical foundation with which to understand and explain the substance and process of foreign policy making across many states and in comparative perspective; an in-depth understanding of the major epistemological and methodological issues in the study of foreign policy; and an appreciation of the relationship between foreign policy analysis and the study of international relations and politics more generally.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessed requirements for this course are two assessed participation assignments (10% each), a brief written summary of an academic paper (10%), and a long essay (70%).
||Each student will be assigned two weeks in which they are in the ¿spotlight¿ for the discussion. Spotlight responsibilities include 1) attendance, level of engagement in the spotlight discussion, listening skills, and preparation, and 2) briefly summarising and bringing in insights from one supplementary reading, to be chosen from the supplementary reading section for each of the student¿s two spotlight weeks. In each of their spotlight weeks, students will be expected to be the ¿frontline¿ in class discussion ¿ answering questions and making comments. Performance in each spotlight week will count for 10% of the final mark (20% for the two instances). Assessment will be based on the quantity and quality of the student¿s participation in the spotlight discussion. Students will be given a feedback sheet for their participation in the spotlights within 2 weeks after each of their spotlight dates.
For one of their spotlight weeks, each student will write a one-page summary of one of the supplementary readings. Students can choose which supplementary reading they summarize and which of their spotlight weeks they will write their summary.
All students will write one essay of approximately 4000 words, worth 70% of the final mark. The essays will critically assess the readings and/or apply the readings to explain foreign policies. There will be pre-assigned questions for the essays; however, students can choose their own topics, provided they fit the course topic and are approved in writing by the course convenor. The essay assignment gives students the opportunity to develop a critical review of scholarship that may be helpful in their MSc and MSc(R) dissertations. Essay feedback is given via the standard essay feedback form and within three weeks of submission.
Formative assessment: Since there are two participation spotlight requirements, the mark and feedback on the first spotlight can be considered formative assessment for the second spotlight. The mark and format for the article review can be considered formative feedback for the essay.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Have a balanced and comprehensive appreciation of the study of foreign policy, with particular emphasis on current decision making and psychological approaches
- Have a theoretical foundation with which to understand and explain the substance and process of foreign policy making across many states and in comparative perspective
- Have an in-depth understanding of the major epistemological and methodological issues in the study of foreign policy
- Have an appreciation of the relationship between foreign policy analysis and the study of international relations and politics more generally.
|Hudson, Valerie (2005) "Foreign Policy Analysis: Actor-Specific Theory and the Ground of International Relations". Foreign Policy Analysis 1: 1-30.|
Foyle, Douglas C., "Leading the Public to War? The Influence of American Public Opinion on the Bush Administration's Decision to Go to War in Iraq," International Journal of Public Opinion Research 16:269-294.
Hollis, M. and S. Smith (1986) "Roles and Reasons in Foreign Policy Decision Making". British Journal of Political Science 16: 269-286.
Levy, Jack S. (2003) "Political Psychology and Foreign Policy," in David Sears, Leonie Huddy, and Robert Jervis (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 253-284.
Michael D. Young and Mark Schafer, "Is there method in our madness? Ways of assessing cognition in international relations," Mershon International Studies Review, 1998, 63-96.
Hougton, David P. (2007) "Reinvigorating the Study of Foreign Policy Decision Making: Toward a Constructivist Approach," Foreign Policy Analysis 3:24-45.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Juliet Kaarbo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4252
|Course secretary||Mrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 5:00 am