By Janice Bially Mattern
How do states maintain overseas order in the course of crises? Drawing at the political philosophy of Lyotard and during an empirical exam of the Anglo-American foreign order in the course of the 1956 Suez problem, Bially Mattern demonstrates that states can (and do) use representational force--a forceful yet non-physical kind of strength exercised via language--to stabilize overseas id and in flip foreign order.
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Additional info for Ordering International Politics: Identity, Crisis and Representational Force
Individuals are theorized to acquire their self-concept through the dual processes of categorization and self-enhancement. Categorization refers to a cognitive reaction through which individuals “sharpen inter-group boundaries by producing groupdistinctive stereotypical and normative perceptions,” while self-enhancement is an assumption about human nature which holds that individuals have a “very basic need to see themselves in a positive light in relation to others” (Hogg and Terry 2001, 4). These two processes work together.
Given this struggle over foundational concepts, one “definition of international order simply excludes from consideration…[the] competing models of international order” (Schweller 2001, 171, 169). The insights of one research effort appear irreconcilable with others such that the whole research program on international order has reached an impasse. But upon closer inspection, these different definitions of international order are not so incompatible. After all, the different conceptions of international order lie on a spectrum of continuity with one another, not in dichotomous relationships.
Thus, whereas realists argue that the effects of power politics to force order are automatic, it seems rather that the effectiveness of power politics to force order are indebted to a prior international order of shared knowledge about the significance of those material, physical stimuli. Finally, and significantly, implied in this discussion is the suggestion that power politics would be insufficient to impose order upon disorder. Disorder reflects a relationship among states in which shared understandings of expectations and behaviors are nonexistent or unreliable.