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Gallagher, Julia (2009) 'Can Melanie Klein help us understand morality in IR? Suggestions for a psychoanalytic interpretation of why and how states do good.' Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 38 (2). pp. 295-316.

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Abstract

This article explores the question of why states attempt to ‘do good’ or behave morally beyond their own borders. It draws on the conceptual model developed by the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein in her work on moral development. Klein suggested that children develop ways of dealing with moral ambiguity and guilt by projecting idealised forms of good and bad into the wider world beyond the family. There, they are separable from each other in ways that more complex, intense familial relationships do not allow, are safer to deal with because they are less bound up with personal identity and survival, enabling reparation of an internal sense of the good. The article explores how far Klein’s approach might provide a basis for thinking about state behaviour. Situating Klein within a communitarian framework, it argues that her ideas provide insight into the ways in which states might project good beyond the morally more complex community in order to reinforce a stronger sense of a ‘good state’. It explores the question of how far international normative behaviour is derived from a projection of domestic ideas of what is good; and how far the expression of good in the international context supports the development and safety of norms at home. These themes are discussed in relation to British policy in Africa between 1997 and 2007.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
ISSN: 03058298
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829809347534
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2018 13:03
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/26061
Related URLs: http://journals ... 305829809347534 (Publisher URL)

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