Beyond cold monsters : a cognitive-affective theory of international leadership

Authors: Beauregard, Philippe
Advisor: Paquin, Jonathan
Abstract: Leadership is a process of social inflence through which an actor advocating for a position on an international issue induces followers to converge on the same position. Leadership in this sense, as a process of cooperation, has been neglected in the study of international politics. An accumulating body of evidence reveals that the United States is not the only state that can produce international leaders, and that policymakers from other states can also take the lead. Why is someone willing to take the lead? Why are other actors willing to follow this leader and not someone else, or just refuse to agree with the leader’s stance? To explain how the leadership process works, I develop a Cognitive-Affective Theory of international leadership. My argument is that leaders are willing to take the lead because of their strong convictions, and seek to persuade their followers that their position is representative of the wider community of which they are part. Followers rally behind the leader when their emotional beliefs align with the leader, when the leader’s position and behavior are representative of the community, and when mechanisms of persuasion and emotional resonance bring them closer to the leader’s position. In order to test this theory, I concentrate on the leadership process among transatlantic powers: the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. I study the cooperation between transatlantic policymakers on crucial issues that emerged during four cases of internationalized intrastate conflicts: recognition of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia as new sovereign states, peace mediation in the war between Russia and Georgia, economic sanctions against Russia during the Ukraine conflict, and construction of a broader coalition conducting air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 27 August 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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