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Title: Europe as Concept and Discourse: A Comparative Analysis of Liberal and Radical Right Ideology
Author: Goward, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3507 9458
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University.
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2008
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The central aim of this thesis is to provide a comparative analysis of the treatment and development of the conceptual and discursive theme of 'Europe' within the generic perspectives of liberalism and the radical right throughout the twentieth century. Through an inter-disciplinary combination of conceptual analysis and empirical research, the work investigates areas of convergence and divergence between the two types, providing an explanation of their respective characteristics in relation to specific philosophical traditions. The theoretical and methodological approach rests upon a form of ideal-typical analysis, influenced by the work of \X!eber and Freeden. In each case, a proto-typical model is developed, against which empirical evidence is tested and appraised. The liberal conceptual model of Europeanism is therefore located within a tradition of liberal-rational philosophy, strongly identified ,vith the work of Kant, Hegel, Durkheim, Rawls and Popper. The radical right model of Europeanism is associated ,vith a form of anti-rational, primordialist philosophy, evident in the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bergson and Sorel. Using these proto-typical models as a priori points of reference for empirical analysis, the subsequent chapters of the thesis seek to test the validity and heuristic value of these comparative types by applying them in the context of ideological texts. In each case, a wide range of examples is considered and evaluated according to the proto-typical conceptual characteristics. In order to achieve an objective detachment from the subject material, the empirical methodology is based upon a form of postmodern textual deconstruction and discourse analysis, influenced by the work of Foucault, Lyotard and Baudrillard. The conclusions of the thesis suggest that a significant degree of convergence and exchange has taken place between liberal and radical right conceptualisations of Europe. In the post-war period particularly, within a fluid, destabilising ontological context, each type of Europeanist ideology has adapted itself away from its orthodox profile, following a pattern of cross-fertilisation. \X'hilst radical right Europeanism has sought to develop an increasingly subtle and complex form of discourse based upon identity and self-determination, liberal ideology has tended to become more rigid, defensive and exclusionary. The conclusion proceeds to argue that within both perspectives it is the presence of a counter-productive, dialectical, Hegelian dynamic that prevents each from achieving a stable, coherent and enduring paradigm of European identity and community. In opposition to this dialectical approach, the thesis proposes an alternative, consensual strategy modelled on the ideas of Havel. According to the broad range of literature surveyed during the preparation of this thesis there is no full-length comparative treatment of this subject in existence. Previous analysis has tended to focus upon either one or other model of Europeanist ideology, thereby failing to address the comparative significance of many points. The methodology of textual deconstruction and discourse analysis has also rarely been used in such a comparative context. As such, the thesis makes a significant original contribution to this field of inquiry and its conclusions are potentially of direct relevance to the theory and practice of European integration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available