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Title: EU-Russia energy relations : a discursive approach
Author: Ferrara, Domenico
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 6433
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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Much of the rationalist literature in International Relations explains the nature of the EU-Russia energy relationship by assuming that tensions evident in the relationship are a product of the actors’ distinct interests. In contrast, for conventional constructivists any tension is seen to derive from the essentially different identities of the actors. Conversely, existing discourse-based accounts analyze the construction of competing energy discourses or how the different approaches of the EU and Russia are indicative of a struggle for ‘Europe’. This thesis aims to contribute to the discourse-based literature by adding a focus on how energy discourses between Self and Other are constructed in the first place. This implies an understanding of discourses as socially constructed and ‘sedimented’. Deploying a framework drawn from Wæver the thesis identifies a tripartite and layered discursive structure through which key discourses are both ‘sedimented’ and can be studied. Layer one investigates the historical narratives and representations that Western Europe and Russia have constructed to represent each other; layer two investigates how the EU and Russia have constructed their energy paradigms and how actors have used these paradigms in their mutual energy relations. This layer also examines the extent to which the historical narratives and representations of layer one are reflected in the mutual energy relations between the EU and Russia. Layer three focuses on discursive practices (e.g. statements, written texts or symbolic acts) and examines how the discursive structure made up of layer one (historical narratives and representations) and layer two (energy paradigms) is played out in the debates over the Nabucco / South Stream pipeline competition and in the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue. The study of EU-Russia energy relations through ‘sedimented’ discourses provides the basis for arguing that actors’ positions alternate between cooperation and confrontation, rather than continually interacting in an assumed ever-present tension. The political implications that emerge from conceptualizing EU-Russia energy relations as a Self/Other discursive interaction are that a deeper discursive contest underlies EU-Russia energy relations. Such a contest sheds light on the mutual construction of actors’ identity, and on their construction of ‘Europe’ as a political project.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JZ International relations