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This is a start-of-the-art consideration of the European Union’s crisis response mechanisms. It brings together scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to examine how and why the EU responds to crises on its borders and further afield. The work is based on extensive fieldwork in among another places, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Iraq.
The book considers the construction of crises and how some issues are deemed crises and others not. A major finding from this comparative study is that EU crisis response interventions have been placing increasing emphasis on security and stabilisation and less emphasis on human rights and democratisation. This changes – quite fundamentally – the EU’s stance as an international actor and leads to questions about the nature of the EU and how it perceives itself and is perceived by others.
The volume is able to bring together scholars from EU Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies. The result showcases concept and theory-building alongside case study research.
This chapter sets out a key conceptual notion that underpins the book. It expands the well-known conflict response framework of conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation to encompass crisis response by the EU. Thus it examines how a framework of crisis management, crisis resolution and crisis transformation may apply to the EU and expands the framework even further by considering the notion of critical conflict transformation. In keeping with other chapters in the book, it argues that elements of EU crisis response have shown signs of being progressive and emancipatory and conforming to crisis transformation or critical crisis transformation. Yet, and again as seen in later chapters, the trend has been away from emancipatory-style crisis response towards responses that emphasise security and stabilisation.
The Introduction sets out the structure and essential purpose of the book, and explains EUNPACK – the comparative study on which the book is based. It asks what EU crisis management seeks to address; introduces the innovative typology for crisis response that lies at the heart of the book; and highlights how much of the book is based on fieldwork, while being careful to note how difficult it is for outside researchers to authentically reflect the voices of local populations. The key findings of the book are presented, including the trend identified in a number of later chapters towards security-led approaches in the EU’s crisis response activities in its neighbourhood and further afield. The conclusion offers further thoughts on how EU crisis response has evolved and on its future role.