Not being of the West; being behind the West; not being modern enough; not being developed or industrialized, secular, civilized, Christian, transparent, or democratic - these descriptions have all served to stigmatize certain states through history. Drawing on constructivism as well as the insights of social theorists and philosophers, After Defeat demonstrates that stigmatization in international relations can lead to a sense of national shame, as well as auto-Orientalism and inferior status. Ayşe Zarakol argues that stigmatized states become extra-sensitive to concerns about status, and shape their foreign policy accordingly. The theoretical argument is supported by a detailed historical overview of central examples of the established/outsider dichotomy throughout the evolution of the modern states system, and in-depth studies of Turkey after the First World War, Japan after the Second World War, and Russia after the Cold War
Comment: The author attempts to understand East-West relations by examining the dynamics that constructed the behaviour of the East towards the West and vice versa. Zarakol argues that within the international system, following major historical events such as the both World Wars, the Western states continued to be understood as the 'insiders', while their Eastern counterparts became 'outsider' states. This outsider status resulted in stigmatisation of the states she studies, and through being stigmatised the outsiders felt inferior and their access to certain political, economic and social privileges was hindered. The book is therefore a highly useful overview of East-West relations for students of the history of international relations, and can be used within the debate about East-West relations in the post-Cold War world. This book is also useful for understanding how theoretical concepts in diplomatic history/ international relations can be applied to real-world cases.