The Politics of Identity – The Influence of National Identity on States’ Foreign Policy Agenda: A Case Study of Post-Socialist Romania
thesisposted on 10.01.2018, 14:39 by Ioana Cristina Tartacuta-Lawrence
This thesis explores the influence of national identity on Romania’s post-socialist foreign policy agenda, working at the intersection of Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Analysis. It adopts a constructivist approach, putting forward a narrative theory of identity, according to which profoundly held beliefs about the nature of the Self and Others influence the behaviour of states through the prerogatives, anxieties and redlines they generate. The thesis identifies the telling of national history as the main vehicle for the socialisation of the identity narrative. It then traces the development of the Romanian identity narrative, from its formative years in the nineteenth century to contemporary times, arguing that the sedimentation of its main features is linked to the consistency of its historical narrative. A particular emphasis develops in the Romanian imaginary in terms of prioritising the issues of state security, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity. The thesis then explores the influence of these elements on Romania’s post-socialist behaviour. It focuses firstly on the transition period, when identity-related prerogatives resulted both in a desire for Euro-Atlantic integration, but also in an anxiety towards change at domestic level which acted as an obstacle to the realisation of these international goals in the first half of the 1990s. Secondly, the thesis investigates the nature of three relationships critical to Romania’s foreign policy agenda – those with Russia, Hungary and the Republic of Moldova. Overall the thesis shows that there exists a noticeable pattern of behaviour which conforms with Romania’s identity-driven anxieties and prerogatives, particularly in the current volatile environment. Whilst relations with Russia and Hungary are marked by attitudes of anxiety and distrust, that with Moldova is characterised by an affinity rooted in their shared identity markers. This makes Romania acutely sensitive to recent regional developments and has resulted in the state’s adapting its behaviour towards these three actors in order to alleviate its identity-related anxieties concerning security, unity and independence, not only of itself, but also of Moldova.