Convergence towards a European strategic culture? A constructivist framework for explaining changing norms

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Series Details Vol.11, No.4, December 2005, p523-549
Publication Date December 2005
ISSN 1354-0661
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The article contributes to the debate about the emergence of a European strategic culture to underpin a European Security and Defence Policy. Noting both conceptual and empirical weaknesses in the literature, the article disaggregates the concept of strategic culture and focuses on four types of norms concerning the means and ends for the use of force. The study argues that national strategic cultures are less resistant to change than commonly thought and that they have been subject to three types of learning pressures since 1989: changing threat perceptions, institutional socialization, and mediatized crisis learning. The combined effect of these mechanisms would be a process of convergence with regard to strategic norms prevalent in current EU countries. If the outlined hypotheses can be substantiated by further research the implications for ESDP are positive, especially if the EU acts cautiously in those cases which involve norms that are not yet sufficiently shared across countries.

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