About the Project

With the first wave of de-colonization during the interwar period and the first decades of the Cold War, the number of independent states multiplied. As these numerous new states across the globe struggled to become more independent foreign political actors, they were impacted by power politics of the great and superpowers, world economics and often governed at home by violent dictatorships. The "second wave" of decolonization that has followed, now further seeks to address and decolonize ideas about identities, approaches to knowledge and science together with worldviews about history in general. NONHEGFP seeks to deepen the understanding of decolonization in this sense by addressing, bringing forth and comparing examples of non-hegemonic foreign policies from 1945 until today as alternatives.

Traditionally foreign policies during the Cold War have been viewed through a lens of the three-world division: as a hierarchical relationship from Western Europe and the United States to > the Communist world led by the Soviet Union to > the most populous former colonial world. Historians have often argued that the success of global integration during the conflict demanded American hegemony, and that disruptions were caused by incidence of absence of Western based influence and values. However, at the end of the conflict the majority of states stood outside or in-between the three definitions carved out by Cold War historiography. Out of some 162 countries only 24 were ruled by communist parties; 35 countries were governed by the US model of liberal democracy. This left 103 countries outside or in between those definitions. For example, Finland, Sweden and Austria had established transparent and democratic institutions while promoting neutralism foreign policies. Spain and Portugal had abandoned their respective dictatorships, started their transitions to democracy as well as the dismantling of their former colonial empires. The Greeks had overthrown their governing military junta, choosing to adopt a democratic government instead. With trajectories such as these, minor European nations were operating their foreign policy on the outside of the traditional three-world conception, impacted significantly by the Soviet Union and as part of western led global economy, whilst also further constructing their partially own models regarding foreign policy at the margins of the superpowers and in dialogue with European integration.

The aim of the NONHEGFP project is to study the history of the foreign policy options considered and developed by these six aforementioned countries (Finland, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Greece). By analyzing the foreign policies scrutinized and utilized by democratizing and/or neutral nations during the Cold War, NONHEGFP will also provide a new outlook on how to understand global history and foreign relations of decolonization, whilst countering the traditional grand narrative around Euro-Atlantic integration. Alternative foreign policy choices are often linked to the Non-Aligned Movement and to the global south in the field of global history. NONHEGFP argues that abandoning the traditional North-South divide as water's edge, examples of minor European powers and their foreign policies during transformation could help historians gain new perspectives to de-colonization as well. Non-hegemony is also here experimentally thought of as a method / perspective to the study of global history and colonialism, whilst analyzing questions of diplomatic history.

– Rinna Kullaa

Project Leader/ Primary Investigator: Rinna Kullaa

Project Members:

  • Eirini Karamouzi
  • Alan Granadino
  • David Castano
  • Max Hurri

Project Funder: The Academy of Finland

Host Institution: Tampere University

Collaborating Institutions:

  • The University of Vienna
  • American University in Beirut
  • Complutense University of Madrid
  • Södertörn University