'Via Media' vs. the Critical Path: Constructivism(s) and the Case of EU Identity

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ALL AZIMUTH-A JOURNAL OF FOREIGN POLICY AND PEACE, vol.3, no.2, pp.21-36, 2014 (ESCI) identifier identifier


The European Union's international identity is a theme that has attracted great scholarly interest in the last two decades, parallel to the increasing role of the Union as a global actor. This period has also witnessed the rise of constructivism as an approach in International Relations with a specific focus on the social nature of and ideational factors in international affairs. Many of the works published in this time frame have approached the topic of European Union identity from a constructivist perspective that focused on the outcomes of the identity construction process within the Union, drawing parallels between the processes of identity construction and dissemination in nation states and at the European level. This study, by differentiating between the critical and conventional constructivist accounts of identity, offers a discursive analysis of the European Union's identity that concentrates instead on the building blocks and evolution of the identity construction process within the Union. To this aim, it explores the ways in which the identity of the European Union has been represented in the foreign policy discourse originating from the Union's various institutions and leaders, based on a particular conception of 'Europe.'