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Towards a social theory of European foreign and security policy

Abstract : This article argues that the study of EU foreign and security policy has been hampered by its conceptualization of the sovereign state. Realist and constructivist scholars share Stanley Hoffmann's formulation of states as either ‘obstinate or obsolete’. EU foreign and security policy is puzzling in this respect as it corresponds to neither. Drawing on two examples – the EC's role in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in 1973–75 and the contemporary workings of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) – this article suggests that we think of EU foreign and security policy as driven not by the obstinacy or the obsolescence of the nation-state but rather by its transformation. In line with this claim, the article proposes a social theory of EU foreign and security policy with democracy and bureaucracy as two competing political forms within the framework of the modern state. It is the changing balance between these two political forms that drives forward closer foreign and security co-operation in Europe.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 21, 2022 - 11:52:04 AM
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Christopher Bickerton. Towards a social theory of European foreign and security policy. Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley, 2011, 49 (1), pp.171 - 190. ⟨10.1111/j.1468-5965.2010.02134.x⟩. ⟨hal-03582545⟩

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