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What do they mean by saying ESDP? Exploring the social construction of European security

By Sebastian Barnutz


This thesis addresses the question of how actors of the EU’s security policy were able to say ESDP at the turn of the 21st century. Despite previous attempts to implement a security policy at the EU or EC level, ESDP was first launched in 1999 and became operational in 2003. The very interest of the thesis is how central EU actors – who were responsible for the institutional development and implementation of ESDP – understood security; that is: what they perceived as referent object, what they perceived as threats or as security problems, and how this made possible the implementation of a security policy at the EU level. By asking these questions the thesis does what discourse analysis is best in: discourse analysis enables the researcher to discover the underlying rationalities which led EU actors to presume a security policy as being necessary at the EU level. \ud This argument on discourse analysis is derived from Nicolas Onuf’s work, which most plausibly conceptualises the role of language in the construction of social reality. The thesis starts from a constructivist perspective arguing that actors’ behaviour is based on their identity and that they perceive the world from this intersubjective perspective. The rational of security is based on this intersubjective perspective and constructed by relating identity to the perception of threats or security problems. This relation of threats and referent objects lead to the construction of rules of appropriate behaviour in the case of security. These processes of social interaction take place through language and can best be studied from a discursive perspective. \ud The concept of security established at the EU level leading to the institutionalisation of ESDP is understood to be a result of this type of social interaction. Overtime, it led EU actors to a robust construction of the EU as an international actor in the field of security facing dynamic security problems by a cooperative and multilateral approach but also by using civilian and military capabilities

Topics: JZ, JN
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