This important text offers a full and detailed account of how to use discourse analysis to study foreign policy. It provides a poststructuralist theory of the relationship between identity and foreign policy and an in-depth discussion of the methodology of discourse analysis.

  • Part I offers a detailed discussion of the concept of identity, the intertextual relationship between official foreign policy discourse and oppositional and media discourses and of the importance of genres for authors' ability to establish themselves as having authority and knowledge. Lene Hansen devotes particular attention to methodology and provides explicit directions for how to build discourse analytical research designs
  • Part II applies discourse analytical theory and methodology in a detailed analysis of the Western debate on the Bosnian war. This analysis includes a historical genealogy of the Western construction of the Balkans as well as readings of the official British and American policies, the debate in the House of Commons and the US Senate, Western media representations, academic debates and travel writing and autobiography.

Providing an introduction to discourse analysis and critical perspectives on international relations, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars of international relations, discourse analysis and research methodology.

chapter 1|13 pages


part Part I|69 pages

The theory and methodology of discourse analysis

chapter 3|16 pages

Beyond the Other

Analyzing the complexity of identity

chapter 4|16 pages

Intertextualizing foreign policy

Genres, authority, and knowledge

chapter 5|18 pages

Research designs

Asking questions and choosing texts

part Part II|113 pages

A discourse analysis of the Western debate on the Bosnian war

chapter 7|29 pages

Humanitarian responsibility versus ‘lift and strike'

Tracing trans-Atlantic policy discourses

chapter 8|28 pages

Writing the past, predicting the future

Travelers, realism, and the politics of civilization

chapter 9|28 pages

The failure of the West?

The evolution of the Genocide discourse and the ethics of inaction

chapter 10|9 pages