The Narration of Roles in Foreign Policy Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)
503 Downloads (Pure)


Starting from the recurrent criticism that role theory is conceptually rich but methodologically poor, this article assesses the potential of interpretive narrative analysis for the methodological development of role theory within foreign policy analysis. It focuses on the methodological side of narratives from an interpretive perspective, so as to detect role conceptions and role change. The symbolic-interactionist role theory framework is already set up to incorporate the elements of doing interpretive narrative analysis from this perspective, because, as Mead (The philosophy of the present, Open Court, La Salle, IL, 1932) argued, agents constantly reinterpret their past as they face an emergent present. This is akin to Bevir and Rhodes’ (Interpreting British Governance, Routledge, Abingdon, 2003) interpretive notions of ‘traditions’ and ‘dilemmas’. The potential of narratives is demonstrated by focusing specifically on ruling narrations as advanced by the then President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (1999–2013), to conceive and cement a new role as a revolutionary state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-384
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Interpretive narrative analysis
  • Revolutionary role
  • Role change
  • Role conception
  • Role theory
  • Ruling narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'The Narration of Roles in Foreign Policy Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this