Seen from the Outside: The State of the Art on the External Image of the EU

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Series Details Vol.36, No.1, January 2014, p1-16
Publication Date January 2014
ISSN 0703-6337
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After years of collective fascination with the idea of the EU as a ‘special’ global actor, some scholars have started to investigate whether such a perception of distinctiveness is shared by people, institutions and intellectuals outside of Europe. Such investigations have already produced some interesting results, but they are still limited in terms of geographical and functional scope of research, and they tend to be under-theorised and to fail to engage to their full potential with other branches of literature. This article illustrates how the analysis of the external image of the EU can contribute to the overall understanding of the EU's identity and role in world politics. It goes on to review the main projects on the external image of the EU and their findings, as well as the main challenges to this type of research. It finally proposes avenues of research for the future.

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