Reconstructing respect : the quest for prestige in the international system
Author(s)Kacos, Samantha Anne
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
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Prestige is a term that appears in a wide range of international relations literature, but it is rarely ever defined. There is a vague consensus that prestige involves measures of status and respect, but its exact usage is different in every work. This thesis analyzes the various manifestations of prestige to develop a workable definition of the concept and then uses this definition to show how prestige plays a role in the major foreign policy decisions of states. This thesis argues that prestige motivations can overcome security concerns in some instances and cause a state to take an action that seems irrational. This is especially true if the state has recently suffered a severe drop in prestige, such as one incurred after losing a war, becoming isolated from the international community or facing state collapse. When such a dramatic loss occurs a state must take one of four paths to salvage its lost reputation: winning a war, becoming an economic power, taking the lead on an important political negotiation or developing nuclear weapons. This thesis uses two large case studies - Iran and Egypt - along with three smaller case surveys - France, Japan and Pakistan - to illustrate these four paths of status adjustment in action. It also presents a dataset of states that have suffered a severe loss in prestige to show how states can lose prestige and how they can gain it back.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 141-150).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology