Raspotnik, Andreas (2016). The European Union and its Northern Frontier : EUropean Geopolitics and its Arctic Context. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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The present study explores EUropean geopolitical agency in a distinct spatio-temporal context: the Arctic region of the early 21st century. Thus, it provides an in-depth analysis of the European Union’s process to construct EUropean legitimacy and credibility in its ‘Northern Neighbourhood’ between 2008 and 2014. Embedded in a conceptual and methodological framework using critical geopolitics, this study assesses the strategic policy reasoning of the EU and the implicit geopolitical discourses that guide and determine a particular line of argumentation so as to claim a ‘legitimate’ role in the Arctic and accordingly construct a distinct ‘EUropean Arctic space’. In doing so, it establishes a clearer picture on the (narrated) regional interests of the EU and the related developed policy and concrete steps taken in order to get hold of these interests. Eventually, the analysis gets to the conceptual bottom of what exactly fashioned the EU with geopolitical agency in the circumpolar North. As a complementary explanation, this study provides a thick description of the area under scrutiny – the Arctic region – in order to explicate the systemic context that conditioned the EU’s regional demeanour and action. Elucidated along the lines of Arctic history and identity, rights, interests and responsibility, it delineates the emergence of the Arctic as a region of and for geopolitics. The findings indicate that the sui generis character of the Arctic as EUropean neighbourhood essentially determined the EU’s regional performance. It explicates that the Union’s ‘traditional’ geopolitical models of civilian or normative power got entangled in a fluid state of Arctic affairs: a distinct regional system, characterised by few strong state actors with pronounced national Arctic interests and identities, and an indefinite local context of environmental changes, economic uncertainties and social challenges. This study applies critical geopolitics in a Political Science context and essentially contributes to a broader understanding of EU foreign policy construction and behaviour. Ultimately, it offers an interdisciplinary approach on how to analyse EU external action by explicitly taking into account the internal and external social processes that ultimately condition a certain EUropean foreign policy performance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Raspotnik, Andreasandreas.raspotnik@thearcticinstitute.orgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-70832
Date: 2016
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Management, Economy and Social Sciences
Divisions: Weitere Institute, Arbeits- und Forschungsgruppen > Department of Political Science and European Affairs
Subjects: Political science
Geography and travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:
European Union; EU; Geopolitics; Critical Geopolitics; Arctic; Arctic Geopolitics; European Geopolitical Agency; Space-Making;English
Date of oral exam: 12 October 2016
NameAcademic Title
Wessels, WolfgangProf. Dr.
Heininen, LassiProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/7083


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