Culture and International Relations

Culture and International Relations

Culture and International Relations

Culture and International Relations

Synopsis

Meeting a major challenge, 24 scholars collaborate to produce this unprecedented volume on the cultural dimensions of international relations. This 18-chapter book provides a theoretical overview, examines the present status of scholarship where international relations and the humanities intersect, and studies the impact of cultural differences in shaping foreign policy. Key issues in culture and international relations are covered. Special attention is given to U.S. international political culture. Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East are also given closer study.

Excerpt

The cultural dimension of international relations is one of the most neglected topics in the field. It is perceived as too broad and its boundaries as too vague, with the result that one's energies can easily be wasted in this uncertain territory. Because of my background and special interest in both international relations and the humanities, I felt that I should attempt to do something about this situation. Consequently, I turned to Richard Falk for advice, and he, as usual, responded thoughtfully, suggesting that I undertake this volume.

Because of the breadth of the subject and the size of the ensuing project, I discovered that I needed the collaboration of specialists in international relations and the various fields of the humanities. Many of those I approached responded positively to my challenge, and about two dozen active scholars in a variety of subject areas set to work during the fall of 1986. In the meantime, three overall objectives were established for the project: to survey the work that had been completed to date in the area where international relations and the key disciplines of the humanities-- anthropology, history, philosophy, literature, music, and the arts-- intersect; to determine the impact of cultural differences upon the foreign policy-making process and international interactions; and to push forward as much as possible the frontiers of knowledge in the field.

Some of my colleagues were very thoughtful as well as candid in pointing out that they thought the project was too vast and that the work would be unmanageable. My response was to underscore the importance of the task, insisting that someone had to undertake it and that the only thing needed was enough courage to address the vastness of the job. Eight authors completed their work by the spring of 1987, and their papers were presented to enthusiastic audiences at two lively panels at the annual convention of the International Studies Association in that year.

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