This module offers an introduction to the academic field of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) – both as a theoretical framework and an analytical toolkit. Where does foreign policy come from? Who defines its cornerstones and day-to-day content? How can we separate rhetoric from substance? How does the (bounded) rationality of political leaders impact international affairs? Inspired by puzzles such as these, we will approach foreign policy from the power of view of its movers and shakers: individuals, cabinets, bureaucracies, interest groups and political parties.
Drawing selectively from FPA scholarship, we will investigate an abundance of real-life scenarios from diplomatic history, including but not limited to dinner parties, peace talks, missile launches and shoe banging. Those likely to be intrigued by our enquiry include future students of political science, international relations, sociology, social anthropology, history, psychology, and related disciplines. Others might look upon the module as a chance to cultivate their growing interest in international affairs beyond the wisdom that daily press reports are able to provide.