Discourse, ideas and epistemic communities in European security and defence policy

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Series Details Vol.27, No.2, March 2004, p211-234
Publication Date March 2004
ISSN 0140-2382
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Article is part of a special issue on Policy Change and Discourse in Europe.

Article abstract:

The post-Cold War world offered a relatively blank sheet of paper on which to write the outlines of a new world order. Research institutes, think-tanks, policy papers and ideas played a vital role in the shift towards new security policy preferences and eventually a new policy paradigm. This article concentrates on Britain, France and (to a lesser extent) Germany. They offer strikingly contrasting pictures of the metamorphosis of an epistemic community, of the seminal role of ideas, and of the functioning of political discourse. It assesses the comparative solidity of the defence consensus in each country by setting it in its cognitive and normative context and compares the working of co-ordinative and communicative discourses as these applied to elites and to electorates. The article explains how the ideational shift towards ESDP worked seamlessly in France, proved manageable in Germany, but remained problematic in the UK.

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