David McCourt: The Social Sources of State Action: Explaining the Surprising Longevity of Britain’s Great Power Role
from 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM
Why does Britain maintain a great power orientation in world politics, despite being over half a century past the peak of its international powers? Adopting a historical sociological perspective, and drawing specifically on the work of George Herbert Mead, I argue that the reason lies with the “role” it has constructed for on the international stage over the period, and, crucially, been able to construct alongside the roles of others, notably the United States and France. I trace the predominant expectations attached to Britain in the world since 1945, focusing specifically on the Suez Crisis of 1956, and highlight the lack of a genuine gestaltswitch among policy-makers, despite Britain’s continued decline.