Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Glyn Morgan, Director

Honors Reader

Francine D’Amico, Professor

Capstone Major

International Relations

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | International Relations | Political Science | Political Theory


Scholars and journalists have periodically referred to Germany and its military, the Bundeswehr, as normalizing. The trend, which is defined here as the increasing frequency and intensity of out-of-area military operations, is contested among international relations scholars, and this debate reaches the core of the three main theories outlining drivers of state behavior. This paper analyzes the underlying causation of normalization from these schools of thought by considering the decision-making process leading to Germany’s participation in multilateral military operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

Including neorealism, neoliberalism, and constructivism, these theories are first divided into rationalist and constructivist classifications. In the former case, this paper finds both supporting and contradicting evidence. This leads to the claim that an alternative theory is needed to more accurately explain state security decision-making. In the latter classification, the constructivist concept of political culture is tested as this alternative. However, where neorealism and neoliberalism fail to sufficiently outline what actors actually do, constructivism is equally disadvantaged in predicting what should do.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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