Handbook of European Policies
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Handbook of European Policies

Interpretive Approaches to the EU

Edited by Hubert Heinelt and Sybille Münch

This definitive Handbook addresses the current lack of research into European policymaking and development using an interpretive perspective. Questioning areas that mainstream approaches tend to neglect, contributors target the ways in which ideas, arguments and discourses shape policies in the institutional context of the EU.
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Chapter 15: EU foreign policy

Xymena Kurowska


This chapter sketches currents trends in interpretivist scholarship on the foreign policy of the European Union and suggests an outline for an interpretivist research agenda in this area, which is based on a more sociological approach. It focuses on three constitutive blocks of this agenda: increased awareness of the disciplinary effects of the EU foreign policy field as a research programme, narrative and reflexivity. The (re-)turn to narrative has been at the core of the interpretivist research agenda as both an analytical category and a means of instantiating reflexivity as an interpretivist methodology. This growing sensibility about the inherently contextual and contentious character of knowledge production signals a major shift in the field. Next to a range of interpretive contributions within EU foreign policy studies, the chapter looks into some untapped inspirations from critical geopolitics and postcolonial work as additional cues for interpretivists working on EU foreign policy.

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