The Human Factor: Accounting for Texts and Contexts in the Analysis of Foreign Policy and International Relations

Carta C. and Narminio E. (2020) ‘The Human Factor: Accounting for Texts and Contexts in the analysis of Foreign Policy and International Relations’ International Studies Perspectives


Acknowledging the role of discourses as the entry door to social reality, the article highlights the value that discourse analysis (DA) can add to the cognate fields of foreign policy analysis (FPA) and international relations (IR). It argues that DA offers researchers an analytical platform to focus in parallel on the interaction between levels of analysis traditionally considered as separate (domestic/international, agent/structure, text/context). The first section of the article discusses the framing, generative, performative, and coordinative functions of discourse and highlights how DA helps disciplinary cross-fertilization. The second section reviews the way in which various perspectives on DA have approached the cognate fields of FPA and IR and makes the case for moving across theoretical and disciplinary boundaries. The third section critically reviews the methods of analysis that allow scrutinizing the connections between texts and context and the performative power of a word.