6 - Conclusion – appraisal, prescriptions, paradoxes  pp. 128-163

Conclusion – appraisal, prescriptions, paradoxes

By William Bloom

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This final chapter assesses the analysis as a whole. It begins with a general appraisal of the original intentions of the analysis. It then addresses the various methodological criticisms that can be raised against it before proceeding to draw out some of the policy implications. It concludes with a few general and philosophical comments.

APPRAISAL

The purpose of this research is to make explicit a dynamic identification theory and then, using it as the analytical tool for aggregating from individual attitudes and behaviour to group attitude and behaviour, to give the mass national citizenry a methodologically coherent status in international political theory. In the introductory passage of the first chapter, I raised four questions that required satisfactory answers before such a status could be bestowed upon mass national publics. These were:

  • 1 Is it possible to know the attitudes of individual citizens?
  • 2 Even if one does know these attitudes, is it possible to predicate that these attitudes will dictate action?
  • 3 Is it possible to aggregate or generalise from an individual citizen's attitude in a way that explicates the attitude of the total citizenry? Can there be an explicit theoretical link between individual attitudes and mass national attitudes?
  • 4 Is there a method for explicating the relationship between these mass attitudes and actual foreign policy decisions?