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Title: Institutional habitus, state identity, and China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Authors: Loh, Dylan Ming Hui
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Loh, D. M. H. (2020). Institutional habitus, state identity, and China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. International Studies Review, 22(4), 879-902. doi:10.1093/isr/viz051
Journal: International Studies Review 
Abstract: Foreign ministries play a critical role in international relations and are the main interface of diplomacy. Yet, in international relations scholarship, foreign ministries are relatively neglected as an object of scholarly analysis and feature very little around discussions of state's agency and identity. Using China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as a foil, I suggest that foreign ministries develop dispositions, perceive the social world around them, and react to the world from these orientations. The implication of this, then, are that foreign ministries are contributive to a state's identity and “actorness.” In that way, I develop the concept of institutional habitus to understand China's MOFA and the ways in which this habitus is sustained and performed through MOFA's physical artefacts and its agents. This rendering of habitus responds to sociology's invitation to extend Bourdieu-inspired analysis toward organizations and organizational change and, more broadly, complements existing theorization of state identity by showcasing an important but omitted source of identity: the foreign ministry. I argue that China's MOFA's organizational habitus manifests and preserves itself through three means: first, through the iterative reinscription of institutional memory and invocation of history; second, through displays of fealty; and third, in organizational and personal self-regulation, discipline, and taciturnity.
ISSN: 1521-9488
DOI: 10.1093/isr/viz051
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Journal Articles

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