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Methodological and Theoretical Frameworks

  • Paul Soyez
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Diplomacy and International Relations book series (SID)

Abstract

This study of the development of the French–Australian bilateral partnership is based on a methodology combining a close reading analysis of primary textual documents and expert interviews. These documents are understood through a theoretical lens encompassing “smart power”, postmodern constructivism and interpretive theories. This research is conducted equally following empirical and theoretical approaches. Postmodern constructivist theories provide the book with relevant readings of the topic’s global issues, such as Joseph Nye’s definition of smart power strategies, while interpretive theories frame the analysis of the actors’ representations and arguments. However, these theories have some limitations that oblige the researcher to conduct his research not only with a theoretical framework but also by using empirical methods. The first methodological step of this research required a systematic analysis of archives. More than a year has been dedicated to the investigation of the following primary sources: archives, official statements, newspapers, other academic and journalistic commentary and surveys of public opinion. The second step of the research has required fifteen interviews of some the main actors of the French–Australian bilateral relationship in the last ten years. As it reflects the research questions framing this research, the relevant literature encompasses academic studies published in both English and French. However, it must be noted that French academic research pertaining to Australian diplomacy is characterised by its rarity. The same assessment can be made regarding Australian publications on French politics. In fact, such studies are noticeably limited, and consequently one of the core aims of this study has been to fill this lack of information in France and in Australia about both countries’ diplomatic actions since the end of the Cold War, focusing especially on the processes that have led to the constitution of the current French–Australian partnership. These diverse sources, combined with a review of relevant literature, have enabled an analysis in depth, and with originality, of the most important issues concerning the evolutions of the French–Australian relationship.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Soyez
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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