Call for Papers: Foreign Policy Changes and International Norms. Examining Internal and External Determinants

Workshop at the University of Freiburg, Germany

October, 23-24 2014

Organization: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke (University of Freiburg) & Dr. Samuel Brazys (University College Dublin)

The study of foreign policy has a long-standing tradition within International Relations, due to its incorporation of individual agency into understandings of international cooperation and conflict (Hudson 2005, Stuart 2008). Already in 1966 James Rosenau, wrote that “foreign policy is shaped by internal as well as external factors” (1966: 99). Subsequently, foreign policy studies have opened the black box of decision-making. They analyze how institutional structures, bureaucratic capacities, domestic interest constellations or party politics as well as politicization or leader characteristics influence how decision-makers construct foreign policy positions on the basis of which the respective diplomats engage in international affairs. External determinants are, however, often reduced to the framing of the international context or the perception of the problem at hand (e.g. Sprout and Sprout 1965). Moreover, many empirical studies focus on the initial construction of foreign policy positions, but fewer examine the conditions under which these positions change. This is especially surprising since many IOs and regimes deal with the same or similar norms on a repeated basis and states can (and do) shift from non-adherence to compliance for a given international norm (or vice versa). Finally, due to the focus on individual actors, foreign policy studies are often not comparative in nature. They do not examine why some states are more persistent in their foreign policy positions towards specific international norms or what accounts for variation in norm consistency between states.

The workshop seeks to add value to the already rich field of foreign policy analysis through comparative studies in foreign policy changes in relation to international norms.

  • How and when is foreign policy change likely and why are some states more flexible while others are more consistent when it comes to foreign policy positions concerning international norms on the negotiation agenda of an IO?
  • Why do some states sometimes change their foreign policy stance with respect to existing international norms, while others are more persistent in their positions?

In answering these questions, special emphasis should be placed on integrating internal and external determinants of foreign policy change. The former might include, but is not limited to, changes in government composition, changes in foreign policy capacity or changes of domestic structure, and the latter includes the role of international socialization, naming and shaming, the development of trust between cooperation partners, dynamics of alliance or coalitions, the agency of third states, or IO institutional features (such as dispute settlement or adjudication).

The conference contributors are asked to shed light on foreign policy positions in at least two states with respect to at least one international norm (on the agenda of an IO or already passed). Taken together the papers will provide new comparative insights into internal and external determinants of foreign policy changes vis-à-vis emerging and existing international norms, thereby shedding light on several blind spots in the state of the art foreign policy analysis.

The workshop aims towards a collective publication, either as a special issue or a volume edited by the workshop organizers. The workshop is financially supported by the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).

If you are willing to participate, please let us know as soon as possible and please send an abstract including your full contact details (300-500 words) to by March 15th 2014. We would ask for complete papers (7000 words) by October 10th 2014.


University of Freiburg

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)

Albertstraße 19
D-79104 Freiburg i.Br.


Date:  October 23-24th 2014

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