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Title:'States have emotions too': an affect-centred approach to South African foreign relations
Author:Naudé, Bianca
Periodical:South African Journal of International Affairs (ISSN 1938-0275)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:international relations
Abstract:Building on established scholarship in international relations theory, notably Alexander Wendt's assertion that 'states are people too', this paper explores South African foreign policy decisions that are routinely dismissed as being 'schizophrenic', and makes two claims: first, that existing scholarship fails to adequately address causal factors of South African foreign policy and, second, that we need to turn to emotions and affect to do so. As such, the theoretical framework adopted for the purposes of the paper treats 'state-level' affect as a central explanatory factor, in contrast to established scholarship on emotion theorisation, which treats states as ontologically subordinate to their constituent members and thus subject to the private affects and cognitions of the individuals that make decisions on behalf of the state. Existing literature on collective emotion seems to support the possibility of state emotion. This notion of transsubjective emotionality facilitates the argument that states have emotions too, and that these emotions condition not only identities but also actions in international relations. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]