44119150 - Australian Journal of Politics and History:...

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Australian Journal of Politics and History : Volume 55, Number 3, 2009, pp. 375-393. © 2009 The Author. Journal compilation © 2009 School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Foreign Policy Studies in Australia D EREK M C D OUGALL School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne Australian contributions to foreign policy analysis have focused mainly, but not exclusively, on the study of Australian foreign policy. Contributions have been made not just by political scientists, but also by historians, journalists and practitioners. While some Australians have made theoretical contributions that are relevant to understanding foreign policy, the emphasis in the study of Australian foreign policy has not been strongly theoretical. The main focus has been on giving greater depth to issues that have been important in the public debate about foreign policy in Australia. Considerable attention has been given to Australia’s major Western relationships (Britain and then the United States) and also the Asia-Pacific regional environment. During the pre-Second World War and Cold War periods the emphasis in the study of Australian foreign policy was broadly realist (at least implicitly), but there was also an assumption that there was an element of choice in relation to the major issues. In the post-Cold War era Australia’s international situation has become more complex, and this has been reflected in foreign policy studies. While the realist tradition is still strong, there has been more scope for critical approaches to emerge. Developments in cognate fields such as political economy, security studies and environmental politics have had some impact. There is considerable scope for more theoretically engaged work to be undertaken, but it is also important to continue the focus on the issues that are important in the public debate about foreign policy in Australia. The Australian study of foreign policy has always been part of the broader field of international relations in this country. By foreign policy I mean the ways in which governments have attempted to achieve their objectives in relation to the international environment. Foreign policy by definition focuses on the behaviour of states, although students of foreign policy can give attention to the impact of domestic politics on such behaviour. Similarly, if one focuses on the global environment more generally, foreign policy analysts will certainly emphasise the role of states but can also take account of the whole range of political actors. 1 In examining Australian contributions to the study of foreign policy it is important to be aware of how those contributions relate to and were influenced by what was going on in the field of international relations more generally, both within Australia and abroad. In this discussion I will make some reference to this context but to avoid
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2011 for the course PGE 323K taught by Professor Lake during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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44119150 - Australian Journal of Politics and History:...

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