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Power and cause
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2016 (English)In: Journal of International Relations and Development, ISSN 1408-6980, E-ISSN 1581-1980Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conceiving power relations as a subset of causal relations can be used toexpose the problems of a certain behaviouralist take on causality and develop aninterpretivist approach to explanation. The first section of this article shows that abehaviouralist approach ultimately clashes with a relational understanding of power,since the latter requires endogenising values and understandings in an analysis in whichseveral causal paths to the same outcome can exist (equifinality) with radically differentimplications for attributing power. Power relations can be non-linear, and power dispositionalor latent, as well as not translating into influence. The second section drawsthe consequences of these contradictions by conceptualising causal/social mechanismsfor and in an interpretivist framework. Such mechanisms can be part of a wider analysisof contingent processes that answer ‘how possible’ questions. Although interpretivistprocess-tracing provides explanations without strict regularity, such processes includemechanisms which are transferable to other cases, hence generalisable. Finally, thearticle establishes a specific discursive mechanism of crisis reduction in foreign policyidentity discourses, as developed in the comparative study of the processes that make usunderstand the unexpected return of geopolitical thought in Europe in the 1990s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
causation; constitutive theory; constructivism; disposition; equifinality; interpretivist process-tracing; power; social/causal mechanism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Philosophy
Research subject
Political Science; Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-310937DOI: 10.1057/s41268-016-0002-zOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-310937DiVA: diva2:1058218
Projects
Power and International Relations
Available from: 2016-12-20 Created: 2016-12-20 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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Journal of International Relations and Development
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)Philosophy

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