Chapter

Neutrality ‘is what states make of it’: rethinking neutrality through constructivism

Christine Agius

in The Social Construction of Swedish Neutrality

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780719071522
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701263 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719071522.003.0003
Neutrality ‘is what states make of it’: rethinking neutrality through constructivism

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This chapter aims to reconsider the legacy of neutrality outlined in the previous chapter. With the end of the Cold War and the demise of bipolarity, the rationale for neutrality seemingly disappeared. However, neutrality persisted, despite expectations that it would no longer be a viable security policy option. This opened up intellectual space to question the limits of realist explanations in this context. By linking neutrality to identity via a constructivist approach, it is possible to explore how ‘neutrality is what states make of it’ rather than an isolationist, exogenously-determined security policy choice. Viewing neutrality through constructivism furthermore challenges some of the rationalist assumptions that have defined neutrality as a largely self-interested policy, uncovering the possibilities for understanding neutrality as a form of active internationalism.

Keywords: Constructivism; Sovereignty; State; Identity

Chapter.  12946 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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