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The struggle for recognition in foreign policy: Malaysia under Mahathir 1981-2003.

Muhamad, Ahmad Faisal (2008) The struggle for recognition in foreign policy: Malaysia under Mahathir 1981-2003. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis aims to understand the motivation underpinning Malaysia's foreign policy during the period when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was its prime minister (1981-2003), In particular, it questions the adequacy of understanding Malaysia's foreign policy as being driven only by concerns for security and a search for acquisition of wealth. This thesis proposes that the desire to seek recognition was also significant, even if it might not be, in some instances, the driver of Malaysia's foreign policy. In exploring the quest for recognition, this thesis adopts a qualitative method of inquiry. It discusses the 'belief system' of Mahathir and uses both public and private pronouncements of his beliefs as evidence of the importance of his personal quest for recognition as compared to other motives of enhancing security and wealth acquisition. For this purpose, this thesis draws on Axel Honneth's insights on the struggle for recognition in order to offer a systematic understanding of the different modes of recognition. The case studies of this thesis focus on three separate foreign policy addressees - the developing countries of the 'South', the Islamic ummah and the countries of East Asia. These three respective areas pertaining to Malaysia's foreign policy issues were given significant emphasis by Mahathir and received special attention by foreign policy decision - makers. In addition, they make appropriate case studies because understandings of their importance are generally attributed only to the country's search for security or its economic interest. In answering the question to what extent the desire for recognition enhances our understanding of Malaysia's foreign policy under Mahathir, this thesis concludes that in some areas of policy, the search for recognition was a dominant, and almost an over-arching motivation. In other areas, the struggle for recognition remained significant, even though it might not have been the primary motivation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, Political Science, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2318

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