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f_0019744_16820 - Re-thinking Normative Power Europe from a...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 3, Fall 2009 73 Re-thinking ‘Normative Power Europe’ from a Historical Perspective: Non-European Integration and the “Normative Shift” Ioana Puscas* Abstract This article is a follow-up of the ‘grand’ theoretical debate on Normative Power Europe and it seeks to engage with the surprising lack of in-depth historical investigation of this research program. The article attempts to contribute to the existing literature by trying to identify the origins of EU’s ‘normativeness’, i.e. to locate a significant normative shift in the EU’s becoming as a normative power. In doing so, it will advance the premise that the innovative model of governance of the European Union, which inspired other processes of regional integration elsewhere, constituted and validated the EU as a normative power long before the EU itself assumed such a role. Such forms of “silent”, quiescent and “passive” normative behavior were a priori to conscious political endeavors to promote new norms and structural change in the world. This means that the normative ontology of the European Union was first acquired through its ideational impact and the emulation of its system of governance beyond Europe, in different other forms of regional integration. The exploration of this largely under-theorized and empirically uninvestigated strand of enquiry will hopefully bring valuable reflections and perspectives on the normative content of the EU system of governance. It is almost taken for granted that the European Union (EU), in the pursuit of its goals and policies internally and externally, acts in a normative way, by promoting and supporting a thickly normative agenda. In a more concrete sense, this entails an ability to re-mould and re- define rules and standards of behavior in the realm of interstate relations. There has been a vivid interest in this particular problematique in the past years, with the ever-growing leading role of EU in global affairs.
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 3, Fall 2009 74 Both in the academia and also in political speeches, the adjective “normative” has often been added to “the European Union” in order to capture the specificity of EU’s identity on the international scene. An overview of the literature focusing on “normative power Europe” points to a continuously expanding research program, which has been built around some core issues and areas of focus. Starting with Ian Manners, who coined the term “Normative Power Europe” (NPE) in 2002, there has been an impressive number of scholars who, drawing on this concept, have developed similar or alternative conceptualizations and case-study investigation. This article challenges a particular aspect of this debate, namely the utter lack of solid
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