Parallels, prescience and the past: analogical reasoning and contemporary international politics

Mumford, Andrew (2015) Parallels, prescience and the past: analogical reasoning and contemporary international politics. International Politics, 52 (1). pp. 1-19. ISSN 1740-3898

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Analogical reasoning has held a perpetual appeal to policymakers who have often drafted in historical metaphor as a mode of informing decision-making. However, this article contends that since the beginning of the ‘War on Terror’ we have arguably seen the rise of a more potent form of analogy, namely ones that are selected because they fulfil an ideological function. Analogical reasoning as a tool of rational decision-making has increasingly become replaced by analogical reasoning as a tool of trenchant ideologically-informed policy justification. This article addresses three key areas which map out the importance of analogical reasoning to an understanding of developments in contemporary international politics: the relationship between history and politics, in intellectual and policy terms; a critical assessment of the appeal that analogical reasoning holds for policymakers; and the development of a rationale for a more effective use of history in international public policymaking.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: analogical reasoning, war on terror, policy making, ideology, history, politics
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Mumford, Andrew
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2016 14:11
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 16:18

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