Multiple Identities, Interfacing Games: The social construction of Western action in Bosnia

  • Citation: Fierke, Karin M. "Multiple Identities, Interfacing Games: The social construction of Western action in Bosnia." European Journal of International Relations 2.4 (1996): 467-497.
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • Eastern Europe
    • Bosnia
    • Herzegovina
    • Western major powers
    • 1990-91 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict
    • Gulf War

This article explores an alternative approach to the analysis of patterns in International Relations. These patterns are not to be found in recurring cause-effect sequences, but in shared rules, drawn from the past, by which actions are constituted. The metatheoretical approach builds on the later work of Wittgenstein, and particularly his use of `language games’. The approach is applied to a cursory analysis of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The exercise is less explanatory in any complete sense than illustrative of the approach. The choice of context did, however, result from a number of questions that arose during the dramatic events of the summer of 1995. The first was how to understand the apparent inability of `the West’ to act. The second was how to understand the change by the end of August 1995 towards more interventionary strategies thought originally to be unrealistic in this context.

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