Book

South Korean identity and global foreign policy (2019)

dream of autonomy

in: Role theory and international relations, 8

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Abstract

In the 20th century, South Korea was usually seen as a "shrimp amongst whales", a minor player with limited agency in regional and global affairs. Korea's risen status as a "middle power" today, however, begs the question about related changes in the South Korean identity or "sense of self" in the world. In this book, Patrick Flamm presents the first comprehensive and agency oriented empirical account of South Korean international state identity and Seoul's global foreign policy in the 21st century. Advancing a performative and narrative understanding of identity in International Relations, Flamm uses South Korea's global engagement in peacekeeping and climate diplomacy to offer much-needed insight into the various identity narratives and role conceptions at play. In the case of peacekeeping and climate diplomacy, South Korea's identity as an international actor has been dominated by practices of self-identification that position the country at the brink of advanced countries, aspiring to lead the rest of the world but with the overall objective to maintain national autonomy in a changing regional and global context. South Korean Identity and Global Foreign Policy is a must-read for scholars of International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis and Asian/Korean Studies.