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Ideas as Building Blocks of a Path: Islamic Challenge to the pro-Western Turkish Foreign Policy, 1996-1997
Unformatted Document Text:  remained intact due to the attachment to the “idea” of “Scandinavian model”, which is based on a particular combination of the values of universality, solidarity and market independence (decommodification) (2004). Cox concludes that ideas “help people develop cognitive maps of the world and interpret complexity” (2004, 206). Similarly, Blyth suggests that ideas operate as cognitive locks (2001, 4-5). Once successfully institutionalized (i.e. taken for granted by actors), ideas shape actors’ perceptions, goals, and behaviors, and consequently policy outcomes. This process eventually leads to a cognitive locking (lock in certain policy choices), which constitutes an ideational path (Blyth 2001, 4). It would be a mistake, however, to limit ideas to psychological or cognitive factors. As constructivist studies show (see Wendt 1999; Finnemore 1996; Barnett 1998; Ruggie 1998), once shared (i.e. collectively held), ideational elements (ideas, values, norms) also operate as social factors. As Legro indicates, collective ideas should be treated as “social and holistic” rather than simply “individual conceptions that are shared or added together” (2000, 420). Once adopted and internalized by a social group or an institution, ideas construct collective identity (Tajfel 1981), which, in return, shapes interests and preferences (Wendt 1999; Lieberman 2002). As a result, some policy options and actions would be regarded more favorable or appropriate than some others. This process, in the long run, would lock certain actions and policies in, while locking others out. Thus, ideas may also constitute an ideational path through a process of identity formation. The main mechanism of self-reinforcement in such ideational continuities becomes taken-for-grantedness or legitimation rather than cost-benefit assessments (i.e. increasing returns). As indicated above, internalization of ideas and values shape 10

Authors: Sarigil, Zeki.
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remained intact due to the attachment to the “idea” of “Scandinavian model”, which is
based on a particular combination of the values of universality, solidarity and market
independence (decommodification) (2004). Cox concludes that ideas “help people
develop cognitive maps of the world and interpret complexity” (2004, 206). Similarly,
Blyth suggests that ideas operate as cognitive locks (2001, 4-5). Once successfully
institutionalized (i.e. taken for granted by actors), ideas shape actors’ perceptions, goals,
and behaviors, and consequently policy outcomes. This process eventually leads to a
cognitive locking (lock in certain policy choices), which constitutes an ideational path
(Blyth 2001, 4).
It would be a mistake, however, to limit ideas to psychological or cognitive
factors. As constructivist studies show (see Wendt 1999; Finnemore 1996; Barnett 1998;
Ruggie 1998), once shared (i.e. collectively held), ideational elements (ideas, values,
norms) also operate as social factors. As Legro indicates, collective ideas should be
treated as “social and holistic” rather than simply “individual conceptions that are shared
or added together” (2000, 420). Once adopted and internalized by a social group or an
institution, ideas construct collective identity (Tajfel 1981), which, in return, shapes
interests and preferences (Wendt 1999; Lieberman 2002). As a result, some policy
options and actions would be regarded more favorable or appropriate than some others.
This process, in the long run, would lock certain actions and policies in, while locking
others out. Thus, ideas may also constitute an ideational path through a process of
identity formation.
The main mechanism of self-reinforcement in such ideational continuities
becomes taken-for-grantedness or legitimation rather than cost-benefit assessments (i.e.
increasing returns). As indicated above, internalization of ideas and values shape
10


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