This bachelor’s thesis in Political Science, is essentially a study of contemporary French foreign and security policy ‘roles’. Drawing on a doctoral thesis by Lisbeth Aggestam (2004), it investigates French National Role Conceptions, using Foreign Policy Analysis Role Theory. It thoroughly examines the nature of foreign policy-making and, notably, it explores the notions of foreign policy ‘roles’, ‘identity’ and ‘national role conceptions’.
The study encompasses over twenty key foreign and security policy centred allocutions delivered by the present French President, François Hollande, between the years 2012-16. Primarily, it aims at answering whether French National Role Conceptions, as conceived of by Aggestam at the turn of the millennium, are still relevant for the understanding of current French foreign and security policy and action. Aggestam’s French national ‘role-set’ therefore serves as the eminent point of reference and comparison throughout the analysis. In a broader sense, the essay also aims at investigating the ideational basis to contemporary French foreign and security policy roles. More narrowly, a special consideration has been accorded the notion of ‘Europe de la défense’ (Europe of defence), a key idea in modern French foreign and security policy.
The principal findings of the analysis show that most of the French National Role Conceptions identified by Aggestam, continue to be relevant. On the ideational level, France’s current self-image is arguably even more intimately suffused by the notion of ‘Europe’. On the foreign and security policy area, this is reflected in the continued French aim of constructing ‘Europe de la défense’, which is central to the general understanding of the French role-set. Lastly, the investigation supports the notion that French foreign and security policy roles are nourished by a ‘realistic idealism’, as advanced by Aggestam.