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Delineating India’s Strategic Pluralism: The Subculture-Cleavage Model of Grand Strategic Thought

Beitelmair-Berini, Bernhard

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So far no one has devised a typology of Indian strategic thought and labelling of grand strategic worldviews has been arbitrary and superficial. Therefore, this thesis seeks to develop an analytical instrument that allows for the comprehensive delineation of India’s deeply-rooted strategic traditions. In order to build such a typology (called the ‘subculture-cleavage model of grand strategic thought’) two theoretical concepts are employed; firstly, strategic culture provides the empirical reference as well as the conceptual consistency to take hold of India’s ideational strategic pluralism. Secondly, cleavage theory as a heuristic tool adopted to international relations peculiar circumstances, helps to structure the different strategic subcultures along two conflict dimensions; one addressing the various ideological perspectives on grand strategy, the other taking the normative debates surrounding India’s cultural identity into account. These two semi-permanent ideational elite cleavages have been deduced by mapping the so-called pluralist strand of India’s strategic culture debate. Eventually, each cleavage, is constituted by two assumptions, which define three paradigmatic positions respectively. In the case of the ‘normative grand strategy’ cleavage (the outside dimension) these are a realist, institutionalist and an idealist grand strategic paradigm; while the cross-cutting ‘cultural identity’ cleavage (the identity dimension of grand strategy) is marked by the following range of culturalist positions: a secularist, pragmatist and revitalist paradigm. Both cleavages combined structure India’s ideational strategic pluralism in terms of nine strategic subcultures. Finally, these subcultures, should, to various degrees, be detectable in basically every Indian foreign and security policy contestation, vying for discursive hegemony in the formulation, assessment and ultimately legitimation of strategic choices. In the framework of neoclassical realism these strategic subcultures work as intervening ideational variables. To make them fulfill this task, future research has to develop an appropriate model of change (when do which ideas become dominant).

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Mitra, Prof. Dr. Subrata K.
Date of thesis defense: 12 June 2018
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2018 12:02
Date: 2018
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies > Institute of Political Science
Subjects: 320 Political science
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