Constructing a Swedish conflict prevention policy based on a powerful idea and successful practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The story of how conflict prevention became an integral and legitimate part of Swedish foreign policy illustrates the relationship between successful practices and powerful ideas. This article suggests that the demonstration of an idea in practice empowers the idea and contributes not only to its selection, but also to its framing and institutionalization within foreign policy. Hence, the article sets out to explore the relationships between practice, ideas and foreign policy. Adopting a social constructivist perspective, the article provides a detailed process-tracing of the construction of a Swedish conflict prevention policy and concludes that conflict prevention was a powerful idea because it was morally appealing and persuasive as well as successfully demonstrated in practice. In fact, preventive practices spearheaded the advancement of the conflict prevention idea. In addition, the idea resonated with the Swedish foreign policy elite, with commonly held values and with the traditional Swedish foreign policy that stressed internationalism and solidarity.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • foreign policy ideas, conflict prevention, social constructivism, UNPREDEP, Swedish foreign policy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-185
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch