Dirk Nabers

Culture and Collective Action - Japan, Germany and the United States after September 11, 2001

GIGA Working Paper, No. 9, September 2005

In order to provide a lens to the issue of international security cooperation after 11 September 2001, this paper will examine the question of how collective action in international relations becomes possible. The author maintains that it is possible to understand, if not explain, a fair amount of inter-state collective action by analyzing the culture of the international system. Using discourse analysis as a tool, the analysis addresses the underlying ideas, norms and identities that constitute the relationship between the United States and Japan on the one hand and Germany and the United States on the other hand as it evolved since September 2001. As a result, the paper argues that even if the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington have led to strong pressure on states like the United States, Germany and Japan to form a collective identity, rivalling identities have yet not given way.

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