German foreign policy has continued to evolve since the re-unification of the country. The majority of studies that focus on this evolution take a top-down approach. However, this approach provides limited insight into the mechanics of change and thought within Germany. This paper is inspired by the histoire des mentalités approach to the study of history, which is part of the larger Annales school of historical inquiry. The mentalités school of thought seeks to address the shortcomings of the idealist tradition of culture history by studying the average citizen on the street. The study of mentalités offers a way to connect the elite and the person on the street, which is arguably important given that in a representative democracy such as the Federal Republic, it is the ordinary person that empowers the elite at which point the elite then do have an ability to craft a narrative, which may in turn, impact the thinking of the people. But in the first instance understanding a mentalités of the people is useful to understanding why certain thinking endures and prevails, despite changes at the top of society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations