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Loyalty in World Politics

Poulsen, LNS; (2020) Loyalty in World Politics. European Journal of International Relations , 26 (4) pp. 1156-1177. 10.1177/1354066120905895. Green open access

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Loyalty is part of the glue that holds relationships together in times of difficulty. Surprisingly, however, hardly any literature exists on the role of loyalty in international relations. The concept is routinely invoked – not least the notion of the ‘loyal ally’ - but typically only in passing and often based on questionable assumptions about the nature and effect of loyalty. Building on literature in moral philosophy on the ethics of loyalty, this paper presents loyalty as persistently partial behaviour driven by affective attachments. Such attachments are, in turn, driven mainly by a sense of shared social identity but also the interaction between subjects and objects of loyalty. I show how this understanding of loyalty differs from how most political scientists use the concept and illustrate why it matters for the study of world politics.

Type: Article
Title: Loyalty in World Politics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1354066120905895
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1354066120905895
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 by European Consortium for Political Research, SAGE Publications. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
Keywords: Loyalty, affect, foreign policy, alliances, social identity, selectorate theory, Hirschman
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10090913
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