The Struggle Against Injustice: Towards an Alternative Theory of Normative Power

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Elena PAVLOVA , University of Saint Petersburg, Russia
The concept of “Normative Power Europe” is one of the most actively debated among international relations scholars. It is usually presented as an alternative way to conceptualize the role of the European Union as a new type of international actor. According to Manners (2002), the distinctive feature of normative power is its “ability to shape the conceptions of ‘normal’”, and thus provide classify certain actions as legitimate or illegitimate. Achieving the status of a normative power is considered by most scholars and politicians as the greatest success of European integration, which has opened new perspectives for the EU as an actor on the global political arena.

The concept of normative power has been developed to account for the EU’s distinctiveness as a foreign policy actor, but this paper is based on the premise that its applicability is much wider, and seeks to explore the conditions for the emergence and functioning of normative power in non-European countries by comparing discourses and political practice in the EU and Latin America. Using qualitative discourse analysis (Hansen 2006, Hopf 2002, Laclau 1991, Torfing 1999, 2005) and taking the EU as the model case, it then looks at the normative aspects of foreign policy discourse and practice in Latin America. This paper focuses on the pan-regional discourse, later to be complemented by individual country cases. The hypothesis is that a strong and independent counter-hegemonic discourse, based on the struggle against world neoliberal injustice,  exists in Latin America, which contributes to the emergence of normative power.