The symbolic manifestation of the EU’s normative role in world politics

Ian Manners

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The unfreezing of both the international order and the intellectual order
in the post-Cold War era has encouraged fundamentally different ways of
conceiving and understanding the roles of the European Union (EU) in
world politics. In particular, the influences of social theory developed
during the 1960s and 1970s were turned to by scholars eager to overcome
the ‘failure of international relations as an intellectual project’ (Buzan
and Little 2001). In this chapter, in line with the analytical framework
developed in the book’s introductory chapter, I will engage in a five-part
consideration of the symbolic manifestation of the EU’s normative role in
world politics. By drawing on social theory I first suggest how understanding
symbolism can help us to explain the EU’s normative role through the
use of role theory, negotiated order and symbolic manifestation. I then
proceed to use this understanding in a discussion of common EU role
conceptions, including a normative role. Third, I look at the origins of the
EU’s normative role by discussing its constitutive norms, together with
some examples of their symbolic manifestation. Next, I examine how the
EU’s normative role is institutionalized through a consideration of the
EU’s symbolic manifestation in three distinct forms – totems, rituals and
taboos. Finally, I conclude by discussing six examples of the EU’s normative
role performance and role impact. In this chapter I argue that a
fuller understanding of the EU’s roles in world politics, and in particular
its normative role, requires us to engage in the study of the symbolic manifestation of these roles. In this respect the chapter will both develop a
theoretical aspect of EU roles considered in the earlier part of the book
and complement the more empirical contributions of the chapters in the
later part of the book.
TitelThe European Union's Roles in International Politics : Concepts and Analysis
RedaktørerOle Elgström, Michael Smith
Antal sider18
ISBN (Trykt)0415459990
StatusUdgivet - 2006
Udgivet eksterntJa

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