During the last two decades the study of European foreign policy has experienced remarkable growth, presumably reflecting a more significant international role of the European Union. The Union has significantly expanded its policy portfolio and though empty symbolic politics still exists, the Union’s international relations have become more substantial and its foreign policy more focused. European foreign policy has become a dynamic policy area, being adapted to changing challenges and environments, such as the Arab Spring, new emerging economies/powers; the crisis of multilateralism and much more. The SAGE Handbook of European Foreign Policy, Two-Volume set, is a major reference work for Foreign Policy Programmes around the world. The Handbook is designed to be accessible to graduate and postgraduate students in a wide variety of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. Both volumes are structured to address areas of critical concern to scholars at the cutting edge of all major dimensions of foreign policy. The volumes are composed of original chapters written specifically to the following themes: • Research traditions and historical experience • Theoretical perspectives• EU actors• State actors• Societal actors• The politics of European foreign policy• Bilateral relations• Relations with multilateral institutions• Individual policies• Transnational challenges The Handbook will be an essential reference for both advanced students and scholars.

Social-Constructivist and Discursive Approaches to European Foreign Policy

Social-constructivist and discursive approaches to European foreign policy
Senem Aydn-Dzgit

Introduction

Social-constructivist and discursive approaches to European foreign policy have gained momentum since the changes in the security architecture following the end of the Cold War and the steps taken towards a more integrated foreign policy in the EU. Before outlining the main contributions of these approaches, to European foreign policy in the following sections, certain theoretical caveats need to be underlined. All of the approaches that are subsumed under the ‘social constructivist and discursive’ label in this chapter share an emphasis on the role of norms, values, ideas, identities and discourse in the constitution of the social world. They underline that, just like ...

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