National identity and foreign policy: An analysis of the performative in Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy and the Swedish national identity
Viewing Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) as a paradigmatically case of national identity formulation, this thesis overarching aim is to answer the following research question: to what extent is Sweden’s national identity constructed through foreign policy? It assumes that there is a correlation between foreign policy and national identity, with background in earlier theoretical work of selected poststructuralists who all rely on the performativity theory of Judith Butler. It assumes that Sweden and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have a self-perception of itself as feminist and gender equal. Thus, the intention of thesis is to get a further understanding of how the Feminist Foreign Policy can be understood as a performative act which constitutes the Swedish self-concept as gender equal. To explore the formulation of national identity through foreign policy from a critical perspective, critical discourse analysis (CDA) is used as methodology. Data is retrieved by mapping out the linguistics, discourses and social practices through the methodology of CDA and Fairclough’s three-dimensional model, while the theoretical framework of performativity is applied to interpret the results. Speeches and policy documents that address Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy in an international context are examined, held or published by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. The findings suggest that foreign policy is highly interdependent with the constitution of the Swedish national identity, brought out by the case of Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy and Sweden’s self-perceived identity as gender equal. By demonstrating the relation between the two phenomena, deeper and richer research is called upon.