Personality and International Politics: Insights from Existing Research and Directions for the Future

Room 417 Muirhead Tower
Monday 17 October 2016 (16:00-17:30)

Speaker: Professor Juliet Kaarbo (University of Edinburgh)
Chair: Dr Eszter Simon

This presentation will focus on personalities of political leaders.  After arguing that international relations theory has experienced a turn toward decision makers, I will overview one of the dominant approaches to the study of leader personality in foreign policy:  Leadership Trait Analysis.  I will illustrate this approach with my own work on Turkish leaders and prime minister leadership styles.  While past research in this area includes a number of important studies that engage with international relations theory, I argue that the subfield of personality studies in foreign policy is ripe for new theoretical and methodological developments.  I will conclude by outline several specific areas for future research, including a connection between foreign policy-personality approaches and the growing body of work on political leadership and on role theory.


Juliet Kaarbo is Professor in Foreign Policy and co-Director of the Centre for Security Research at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on political psychology, leadership and decision making, group dynamics, foreign policy analysis and theory, parliamentary political systems, and national roles and has appeared in numerous journals including International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Review, Political Psychology, Cooperation and Conflict, International Interactions, Foreign Policy Analysis, and Leadership Quarterly.   Kaarbo’s books include Coalition Politics and Cabinet Decision Making:  A Comparative Analysis of Foreign Policy Choices University of Michigan Press 2012) and Domestic Role Contestation, Foreign Policy and International Relations (co-edited with Cantir; Routledge 2016).  She is Associate Journal Editor of Foreign Policy Analysis, since 2013.

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