Date of Graduation
Currently there appears to be irrefutable evidence of the existence of a democratic peace. The concept of pacific interaction between democratic nations has become a virtual law in the study of Political Science. Many explanations exist, generally following one of two tracts. There are both structural and normative explanations. The premise of this dissertation is that neither current set of explanations is adequate. Therefore, it is necessary to pursue a third type of explanatory theory. This study examines the role of culture and attribution in foreign policy. The notion of polity similarity is replaced with cultural similarity. I examine the role of this similarity on the level of conflict between nations and on the types of attributions made by the President of the United States. Using data and methods consistent with the body of democratic peace literature I find that cultural similarity produces similar statistical results to polity similarity. Through case study methodology I find that similarity also influences attribution and attribution, in turn, influences foreign policy outcomes. The key finding of this research is that attribution appears to be impacted more by culture then polity, and that attribution varies within interaction among democracies. This suggests the potential for more conflictual international interactions as democracy flourishes among nations of varied cultures. I believe this dissertation contributes to the greater body of knowledge within the field of International Relations by providing evidence of the role of psychological factors in foreign policy decision-making and of an additional theoretical direction within democratic peace studies.
Goldcamp, Edward Michael, "Attribution: A political psychology perspective on the democratic peace." (2000). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8921.