Role theory and Foreign Policy Analysis in Latin America

Cameron Thies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This paper generates a framework to understand Latin American foreign relations through the use of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) role theory. The use of roles to describe and analyze regional interstate relations has previously been found in the literature on Latin America, but these studies have not taken advantage of the full range of concepts and theoretical implications associated with role theory to analyze the region. The paper develops a typology of states with associated national role conceptions (NRCs) and generates expectations for the sources of those NRCs, as well as elements of the role enactment and role location processes for Latin American states. The paper then illustrates the framework’s applicability through a brief analysis of the role location process for Venezuela during the Presidency of Hugo Chávez. The analysis of NRCs selected by the leader of Venezuela, and their reception by role partners and the audience of interested states during the role location process demonstrates the fruitfulness of role theory for understanding Latin American regional relations. The analysis also suggests some modifications for FPA role theory itself as a result of the Venezuelan case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-681
Number of pages20
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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