Welche Macht darf es denn Sein? Tracing 'Power' in German Foreign Policy Discourse

Holger Stritzel, Felix Berenskoetter

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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The relationship between ‘Germany’ and ‘power’ remains a sensitive issue. While
observers tend to agree that Germany has regained the status of the most powerful country in Europe, there is a debate whether that is to be welcomed or whether that is a problem. Underpinning this debate are views, both within Germany and amongst its neighbours, regarding the kind of power Germany has, or should (not) have. Against this backdrop, the article reviews the dominant role conceptions used in the expert discourse on German foreign policy since the Cold War that depict Germany as a particular type of ‘power’. Specifically, we
sketch the evolution of three prominent conceptions (constrained power, civilian
power, hegemonic power) and the recent emergence of a new one (shaping
power). The article discusses how these labels have emerged to give meaning
to Germany’s position in international relations, points to their normative and
political function, and to the limited ability of such role images to tell us much
about how Germany actually exercises power.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerman Politics
Early online date1 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2019


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