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- Author: Beatrix Futák-Campbell x
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The European Union (EU), including its earlier formations, is a major economic and political actor in the region. This book seeks to gain insight into how EU practitioners consider the policy for which they have direct responsibility. It argues that a specific focus on practitioners' (diplomats, bureaucrats, and public officials) interactions can offer insight into the way EU foreign policy is practised. The book examines the data drawn from research interviews with EU practitioners who work on EU foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. The ways that practitioners manage identity, normative, moral, and collective interest concerns are crucial for international relations (IR) theory, and for understanding EU foreign policy. The book illustrates the factors that have guided the path of the practice theory towards an application within IR and EU scholarship, and explains the notion of indexicality and the subsequent social action. It demonstrates the ways in which EU practitioners both co-construct and deconstruct the concept of the 'European' during research interviews, and focuses on norms and the functions of norms in EU foreign policy. Implying a vocational element to justify the necessary course of action that the EU ought to pursue in its eastern neighbourhood is not new. Practioners ought to be aware that the way in which they practise foreign policy is just as important as the policy itself. They have identified energy security as the most pressing common security interest that unites EU member states' interest into a collective interest, in the eastern neighbourhood.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book argues that a specific focus on practitioners' interactions can offer insight into the way EU foreign policy is practised. It focuses on European Union (EU) foreign policy vis-à-vis its eastern neighbours, namely Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. The book also focuses on the more general approaches on the use of practice theory by Schatzki, Turner, and Rouse to the more specific ones such as Lynch's contribution that links language, practice theory, ethnomethodology, and conversation analysis (CA). It concentrates on the application of practice theory in International Relations (IR) and EU studies. The book outlines the new methodology used to study social action of practitioners' interaction. It considers the ways in which EU practitioners account for the normative role and power of the EU in the eastern neighbourhood.
The logic of practice needs to be approached as the product of highly localised and tacit knowledge shared between practitioners. This chapter offers a review of the state and development of practice theory in International Relations (IR) scholarship, European Union (EU) studies, and social sciences in general. It illustrates the different debates and discussions that have guided the path of the practice theory towards an application within IR and EU scholarship. The chapter emphasises the importance of Raymond D. Duvall and Arjun Chowdhury's contribution to the field, which highlights the emergence of two distinct approaches, namely the focus on behaviour/ conduct on one hand, and the discursive/linguistic on the other. Despite Duvall and Chowdhury's insights, an emphasis on conduct over discourse is found in the special issue of Cooperation and Conflict entitled Diplomacy in Theory and in Practice.
The understanding of accomplishment and personal accountability offers a greater acknowledgement of human agency and knowledgeability in the production of social action rather than traditional sociological approaches. In his attempt to break away from the traditional sociological approaches, Harold Garfinkel developed a radically new method for data analysis that focused on the examination of intersubjective social accomplishments. The morality is confirmed as a discursive action. Although discursive psychology (DP) was specifically developed to counter the rapid expansion of cognition in social psychology studies, its main interest was to examine identity formation as well as to capture the then fresh discussions around poststructuralism. Discursive International Relations (DIR) shares the same philosophical roots as some constructivist and most poststructuralist discursive approaches applied in International Relations (IR). It also combines features of DP, conversation analysis (CA) and ethnomethodology in order to combine discourse and practice.
This chapter focuses on norms, and the functions of norms in European Union (EU) foreign policy. The analysis presented here offers a form of evaluation of the EU's role as a normative power in the region. The chapter examines what EU practitioners understand as norms and the role of the EU as a normative power in its neighbourhood. It also offers insight into the context in which EU foreign policy is practised through norms which in turn guide the practices of EU practitioners. The chapter considers the EU model through the practitioners' accounts, or in other analytical terms, the relevance of the model for the neighbours. It analyses how EU's guiding principles are employed, while constructing policy vis-à-vis the eastern region. Trade issues take up most of the bilateral arrangements but even these are inherently linked with compliance to EU norms.
This chapter considers how practitioners manage moral concerns, while attending to collective energy security in the eastern neighbourhood. It demonstrates how collective foreign policy interests are identified even in an organisation such as the European Union (EU). Notions of interest and material capability have always been a pivotal part of International Relations (IR) theory and EU foreign policy analysis. The chapter also demonstrates how practitioners merge such interests with normative and moral ambitions in order to manage concerns over the collective EU interest. It also considers how practitioners connected interest formulations with moral concerns when discussing EU policy vis-à-vis the East. The practitioners offer justifications of EU interest in the eastern region, beyond the collective interests in energy supplies, and again through invoking moral concerns and the vocation attributes the EU has for the eastern neighbours.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book examines data drawn from research interviews with European Union (EU) practitioners who work on EU foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. It reflects on the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of studying EU practitioners in general. The book presents the different understandings of the category of the 'European' and the way that practitioners attended to the category entitlement of the 'European'. It contributes to the practice turn in International Relations (IR) and EU studies, and more specifically to the poststructuralist IR practice theory. The book focuses on energy security, but there were other shared interests that were made relevant by practitioners such as migration, terrorism, organised crime, transport, and the environment.
This chapter focuses on the identity and the analytical and theoretical construction of the 'European' by European Union (EU) practitioners and examines the category of the 'European'. Practitioners' main concerns while discussing the concept of 'European' identity are to differentiate between European neighbours and the neighbours of Europe, and account for the European credentials of the South Caucasus or Kazakhstan. In addressing differentiation between the neighbours, practitioners draw on geography, culture, history, and economic ties to distinguish between countries which are in Europe, and those which are not. This EU practitioner's narrative provides a further explanation of the category of the European by focusing on the origins of European civilisation. The chapter demonstrates the ways in which EU practitioners both co-construct and deconstruct the concept of the 'European' during research interviews.
This chapter focuses on the ways practitioners justify a vocational aspect of the European Union (EU) foreign policy, that is, the necessary course of action that the EU ought to pursue in its eastern neighbourhood. Concerns of duty, or in other words the EU's moral obligation to care for its eastern neighbours, seem to be a crucial matter for EU practitioners who work in the policy area. The message from the EU has to be carefully crafted, even in situations where practitioners perhaps feel obliged to help. According to EU practitioners, some EU neighbours have different moral standards and are reluctant to change, despite all efforts by the EU. Their complaints are directly aimed at Russia. The chapter examines the different moral values held by Russia and the EU in domestic and foreign policy.