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Oppermann, Kai and Spencer, Alexander (2018): The Social Construction of Mistakes. Germany’s Abstention on UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya. In: Kruck, Andreas; Oppermann, Kai and Spencer, Alexander (eds.) : Political Mistakes and Policy Failures in International Relations. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 55-77

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The chapter explores how Germany’s abstention in the UN Security Council vote on Resolution 1973 in March 2011 regarding the military intervention in Libya was constituted as a mistake in German media reporting. To this purpose, we introduce narrative analysis as a discourse-analytical method for investigating the social construction of foreign policy mistakes. Based on insights from literary studies and Narratology, the chapter suggests that stories of mistakes have a number of key elements, including a particular setting which defines appropriate behaviour, the negative characterization of agents as well as an emplotment of mistakes through the attribution of cause and responsibility.

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