Transforming Habitus of the Foreign Policy: A Bourdieusian Analysis of Turkey As An Emerging Middle Power
Ongur, Hakan Övünç
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Since the end of World War II, the infamous structure-agent problem in studies of International Relations has perhaps never been as complicated and multi-dimensional as it is today. The popular phenomenon of the emerging middle powers (EMPs) has led to further conflicts—particularly in investigating the agent dimension. EMPs have also presented a new challenge to the conventional theoretical attempts. Employing a Bourdieusian understanding of structuration, this study aims to reveal the gap between theoretical expectations from and practical limitations of EMPs. The three chosen cases concern Turkey’s increasing foreign assistance, its mediation in Iran’s nuclear swap deal, and its involvement in the Syrian civil war. Selecting these cases has implications and affects projections for an EMP’s policy-makers with regard to discourse and actions within a boundary that the structure has plotted to halt other agents’ potential threats against the international system’s functioning. The distinction between high-politics and low-politics is also highlighted here as an important factor that determines the limits and positioning of EMPs in the international order.