A Critical Copenhagen Reflection on the European Union as a Global Actor

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As the introductory chapter sets out, this volume critically interrogates the EU as a global actor and its normative power in global politics as part of the 2013 European Research Day of the Centre for European Research at Gothenburg University. This chapter will conclude this interrogation by providing a Copenhagen reflection on the EU as a global actor within the context of the Normative Power Approach (NPA). The chapter engages in a critical Copenhagen reflection, which means that it takes seriously the insights of critical social theory and the role of cultural hegemony. The chapter argues that the NPA must be understood within the context of two decades of Copenhagen critical social theory as this is where the approach was born and where I have worked intermittently since 2000. The chapter is organised as follows: first it will set out critical social theory and a Copenhagen reflection on the EU as a global actor. Second it engages with Franck and Lorenzoni’s chapter on postcolonialism in the NPA. Third it interacts with Jonasson’s chapter on the EU and the Mediterranean region through an examination of the EU’s consensual democracy support approach. Fourth the chapter contemplates Söderbaum’s analysis of the EU and Africa by comparing sustainable peacebuilding and social solidarity in development cooperation. The chapter concludes by reflecting on what the book says about the study of the EU as a global actor in a Nordic context. The chapter argues that the CERGU European Research Day and the contributing chapters demonstrate just how well developed the study of the EU as a global actor has become in the Nordic region over the past two decades since the Swedish and Finnish membership of the EU in 1995.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe EU as a Global Actor : 'A Force for Good in the World?'
EditorsAnja Franck, Fredrik Söderbaum
Place of PublicationGothenburg
PublisherCentre for European Research (CERGU)
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)9789189608351
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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