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The Nation, Bureaucratic Functionality, and EU Institutions: Three Socialization Worlds of CSDP Actors

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This paper engages with the theoretical debates about the emergence of a European Union (EU) strategic culture by focusing on social representations of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) actors. Using a case study of military cooperation areas, during a period of security crises (2008–2014), two research questions are addressed: (1) What are CSDP actors' social representations on military cooperation areas? (2) How do national, functional, and institutional socialization processes shape the emergence of the EU strategic culture? The paper shows that (1) CSDP actors have sharply state-centric social representations of defence and security issues. Nevertheless, the European security field is not only structured by the national cleavage between states, and especially between great powers in Europe, but also by transnational political cleavages. As regards military cooperation areas, CSDP actors share a set of social representations in favour of European cooperation through the CSDP rather than transatlantic cooperation through NATO. Their social representations are not reducible to their national preferences and suggest the emergence of an EU strategic culture. (2) This EU strategic culture is shaped within three areas or worlds of socialization: one national (the nation) and two transnational (bureaucratic functionality and EU institutions). This paper is based on a questionnaire of closed questions and on a set of semi-structured interviews, which investigated networks and social representations of CSDP actors in France, Germany, the United Kingdom (which are the three main military players in Europe), and in EU institutions. This paper contributes to the field of EU studies by offering a sociological perspective on the CSDP.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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