Theory of European Security Identity

Led by J. Peter Burgess

Jan 2003 – Dec 2003

In the last decade Europe has undergone a geopolitical transformation the architects of the European Union hardly could have foreseen. The political dissolution of the East-West divide has left Europe scrambling to redefine its relation to Eastern Europe, both in terms of the long-awaited enlargement to the east and in terms of a real foreign policy toward Russia, Asia and Africa. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the traditional rival of the US, has made way for an unprecedented US geopolitical hegemony, sharpening the EU’s aspiration to consolidate and crystallize its identity on the global scene. Simultaneously, the realization of the Schengen Area has given the EU a new outward identity, transforming it into a concentration of welfare and liberal economic policy in relation to a migratory global work force. Finally, the intense focus on global terrorism in the wake of 11 September has marginalized virtually all other global issues and crystallized the United States’ ‘global war on terrorism’ as the backdrop for any form of global thinking, be it military, economic, or environmental.

The aim of the project is to develop the theoretical foundation for conceptualizing the evolving European security identity, as both as a basis for articulating the European self-understanding outward toward the rest of the world and as a way of conceptualizing the position of Europe’s foreign counterparts with respect to the European project. The proposed project will map out the cultural history and the main discourses of European security and foreign policy, sharpening the theoretical and philosophical concepts at implicit in its foundations. It will study how Europe’s security identity is being formed and evolves in relation to other parts of the world.

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