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Critiques of the rational actor model and foreign policy decision making

Alden, Chris (2017) Critiques of the rational actor model and foreign policy decision making. In: Thompson, William R. and Capelos, Tereza, (eds.) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford Research Encyclopedia. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 9780190228637

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Identification Number: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.474

Abstract

Foreign policy decision making has been and remains at the core of foreign policy analysis and its enduring contribution to international relations. The adoption of rationalist approaches to foreign policy decision making, predicated on an actor-specific analysis, paved the way for scholarship that sought to unpack the sources of foreign policy through a graduated assessment of differing levels of analysis. The diversity of inputs into the foreign policy process and, as depicted through a rationalist decision-making lens, the centrality of a search for utility and the impulse toward compensation in “trade-offs” between predisposed preferences, plays a critical role in enriching our understanding of how that process operates. FPA scholars have devoted much of their work to pointing out the many flaws in rationalist depictions of the decision-making process, built on a set of unsustainable assumptions and with limited recognition of distortions underlined in studies drawn from literature on psychology, cognition, and the study of organizations. At the same time, proponents of rational choice have sought to recalibrate the rational approach to decision making to account for these critiques and, in so doing, build a more robust explanatory model of foreign policy.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL: http://oxfordre.com/
Additional Information: © 2016 Oxford University Press USA
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 09:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2018 10:53
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/84466

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