The end of a noble narrative? European integration narratives after the Nobel Peace Prize

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Series Details Vol.54, No.1, January 2016, p185-202
Publication Date January 2016
ISSN 0021-9886
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Special Issue: JCMS Special Issue 2016: Another Theory is Possible: Dissident Voices in Theorising Europe. Guest Editors: Ian Manners and Richard WhitmanAbstract:
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 to the EU (European Union) came as a surprise. Not only was the eurozone economic crisis undermining both policy effectiveness and public support for the EU, but it was also seriously challenging the EU's image in global politics. The eurozone crisis, the Nobel Prize and the search for a ‘new narrative for Europe’ demonstrate that the processes of European integration are always narrated as sense-making activities – stories people tell to make sense of their reality.
This article argues in favour of a narrative approach to European integration through the construction and application of an analytical framework drawing on different theoretical perspectives. This framework is then applied to six European integration narratives to demonstrate the value of a narrative approach. The article concludes that narrative analysis provides a means of understanding both EU institutional and non-institutional narratives of European integration.

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