Conceptualising EU foreign policy change
in Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy
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This chapter develops a typology by first addressing shortcomings in existing conceptualisations of policy change when applied to EU foreign policy change. The starting point is the different kinds of policy change observed in Chapters 2 and 3. This chapter identifies changes which are difficult to identify using cumulative typologies that divide policy change into progressive ‘orders’, either because first-order and second-order policy changes – which ought to precede or accompany third-order ‘paradigm changes’ – are absent, or because they constitute a different kind of paradigm change, where the policy rationale is questioned and modified without policy undergoing substantive change. It argues that two categories – symbolic change and constructive ambiguity – complement the policy change outputs for the EU, and both institutional plasticity and temporal contingency affect which outcome is more likely. This chapter suggests dividing the temporal context into three registers: structural (decades, centuries), conjunctural (years) and liminal (days, weeks).

Crisis and change in European Union foreign policy

A framework of EU foreign policy change

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