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.

Introduction: Research Traditions

Introduction: Research traditions
Knud Erik Jrgensen

The aim of this introduction is to briefly characterize the main research traditions that have produced the major bulk of research on European foreign policy. The notion of research traditions connotes broad trajectories of scholarship, distinct dialectics of continuity and change as well as the gradual establishment of a scholarly infrastructure.1 Such an infrastructure consists of conventions, associations, specialized journals, a body of research literature, specialized discourses, trends, textbooks, book series and mythologies of origin as well as what Ted Hopf calls ‘a particular well-known consensually foundational literature’ (Hopf 2002: x; see also Olson and Groom 1991). Research traditions provide the general framework within which more specific analytical interventions take place, ...

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