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Individual experiencing of states


The author argues that the international context provides an apparent environment for the individual experiencing of the state as a distinctive unitary and cohesive actor with its own intentionality and personhood, social relations and coercive resources, manifested not only by actions and force, but also through symbols, figure of speeches and other allusive forms capable of affecting human identity. As a direct personal observation, individual experiencing of states contains an inner, phenomenological plan, though it is not a solipsistic process and depends on people’s shared meanings. Conventional perception of states as anthropomorphic actors regards relations between states as social or interpersonal relations, thus causal attribution and social expectations affect individual experience of states. Being primarily a common-sense phenomenon, individual experiencing of states has a wide-ranging effect on both ‘conventional’ and ‘conceptual’ understanding of international relations. In perception and explanation of international politics, real political developments are often overshadowed by observable, experiential, common-sense causations.

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* I would especially like to thank Professor Alexander Wendt of the Ohio State University for his generous advice and valuable comments, and to also thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions. I would like to express my gratitude to Mrs. Anne Lonsdale, Professor Christopher Hill, Professor James Mayall, Dr. Siddarth Saxena, Dr. Nick Megoran for their kind assistance during my visiting scholarship at the University of Cambridge, where a significant part of this article was written. An earlier version of this article was presented to the Staff and Graduate Seminar, Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge.

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Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
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