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A multistakeholder foreign policy : dynamics of foreign policy making in post-apartheid South Africa

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:41 by Lesley Masters
In the main, the study of South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy has been preoccupied with the examination of policy performance with comparatively little critical reflection on the role of actors within the so-called 'black box' of foreign policy decision-making. This analysis moves away from this particular approach by identifying the actors seeking an influence in the making of the 'new' South Africa's foreign policy. The thesis contends that while South Africa's post-apartheid presidents have maintained a predominant position at the centre of the decision-making process, this has not excluded influence from a number of stakeholders. Following South Africa's democratic transition (1994), a growing number of state and non-state actors from the domestic and international milieu have been active in pursuing a position near the centre of the foreign policy process. Through a longitudinal analysis, covering the period 1994-2007, this thesis examines the role played by the president, the foreign policy bureaucracy, domestic and international sources of pressure; highlighting the plurality of actors and the varying degrees of influence that play a part in shaping post-apartheid foreign policy. Certainly developments within the domestic context, coupled with South Africa's international ambitions, expanding international agenda and growing national-international linkages, have seen actors traditionally on the periphery of foreign policy decision-making increasingly drawn into a more prominent position in the foreign policy process. The thesis thus presents South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy as a multistakeholder foreign policy. This not only depicts the multi-layered structure and the plurality of actors (state and non-state) in the foreign policy machinery, it accounts for the changing dynamics, or the fluid movement of actors within the centre-periphery structure of the foreign policy process.


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University of Leicester

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