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The Social Construction of Swedish NeutralityChallenges to Swedish Identity and Sovereignty$
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Christine Agius

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719071522

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719071522.001.0001

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Neutrality ‘is what states make of it’: rethinking neutrality through constructivism

Neutrality ‘is what states make of it’: rethinking neutrality through constructivism

Chapter:
(p.32) 2Neutrality ‘is what states make of it’: rethinking neutrality through constructivism
Source:
The Social Construction of Swedish Neutrality
Author(s):

Christine Agius

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719071522.003.0003

This chapter aims to reconsider the legacy of neutrality outlined in the previous chapter. With the end of the Cold War and the demise of bipolarity, the rationale for neutrality seemingly disappeared. However, neutrality persisted, despite expectations that it would no longer be a viable security policy option. This opened up intellectual space to question the limits of realist explanations in this context. By linking neutrality to identity via a constructivist approach, it is possible to explore how ‘neutrality is what states make of it’ rather than an isolationist, exogenously-determined security policy choice. Viewing neutrality through constructivism furthermore challenges some of the rationalist assumptions that have defined neutrality as a largely self-interested policy, uncovering the possibilities for understanding neutrality as a form of active internationalism.

Keywords:   Constructivism, Sovereignty, State, Identity

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