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The EU in quest for the recognition of its institutional identity: the case of the EU-US dialogues

Blanc, Emmanuelle (2018) The EU in quest for the recognition of its institutional identity: the case of the EU-US dialogues. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.er58wmt1hrvy


While the literature on the European Union’s foreign policy has heavily emphasized the EU’s marked preference for diplomacy and the conduct of dialogues, the rationale behind the salience of this practice has not yet been fully explored. Therefore, this thesis asks why the European Union promotes and conducts so many political dialogues with third countries in its external relations. The original contribution of this thesis is two-fold: theoretically, it contributes to the literature on the practice of dialogue in International Relations by moving away from theories stressing the rationality of the institutional actors involved in dialogical interactions. Instead, this thesis grounds itself in socio-psychology applied to institutions to conceptualize the practice of dialogue as a symbolically-framed interaction through which institutional identity is recognized and anchored. In doing so, this research demonstrates that the European Union promotes and conducts such an extraordinary number of dialogues with third countries in order to get recognition of its institutional identity as a distinct and relevant international actor. More specifically, the study sheds light on the mechanisms through which the dialogical interaction at the micro-level helps anchor the institutional identity of the EU at the macro-level. Empirically, the thesis contributes to a more nuanced and better understanding of one of the most complex and important relationships of our times – the transatlantic relationship — by presenting original findings on the multiple dialogical encounters occurring at different levels of representation: at the highest level of diplomatic meetings, at the interparliamentary level and at and the level of civil society. The present work thus departs from traditional perspectives on transatlantic relations by focusing on the micro-level of interaction and its symbolic implications at the macro-level. Through the conduct of interviews with European and American officials involved in these dialogues and several participant observations in the meetings, this study offers a fine-grained analysis of the dialogue as one of the most frequently tool of foreign policy used by the EU in its external relations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Emmanuelle Blanc
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Bicchi, Federica

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