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Title: Developing and utilising a realist-constructivist analytical framework towards understanding the European Union's Common Security and Defence Policy
Author: Turpin, Lee D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 8523
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis develops and utilises a realist-constructivist framework for the purposes of analysing the development of the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy. This thesis challenges ‘paradigmatic thinking’ within the discipline of International Relations to demonstrate that constructivist elements are not only commensurable to realist analysis of international relations, but can bring added value to our understanding of how states’ interpret and respond to the threats and incentives of the international system. Inspired by readings of classical realism, this thesis recognises that whilst structural realism provides theoretical parsimony and elegance in its appreciation for the role of power within the international system, it lacks the necessary analytical toolkit to understand how states respond to the threats and incentives of anarchy. This is demonstrated with specific reference to the shortcomings of extant realist approaches to the complex empirical puzzle that is the Common Security and Defence Policy, which have resulted in realist theorising being relatively side-lined in relation to this policy area. To address this gap in the literature, it draws upon a neoclassical realist multi-level model of foreign policy analysis, to integrate structural realist analysis at the system-level with constructivist analysis at the unit-level. In order to demonstrate the utility of this novel framework this thesis applies it to understanding the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy, making the case that this development may be interpreted as an instance of limited transatlantic bandwagoning under unipolarity to ameliorate the ‘alliance dilemma’ – the dichotomous dangers of entrapment and abandonment by the senior partner in the alliance. However, the approaches of EU member states facing similar system-level threats and incentives to this policy area diverge. Therefore the ‘black box’ of the state is opened to explore whether the scope and pace of involvement is impacted by ideational factors at the national level. This thesis takes account of the security cultures of the United Kingdom and Germany specifically as a basis by which to understand their respective approaches towards developing security and defence cooperation through the EU. In this sense, the thesis aspires to make a contribution to the literature in both empirical and conceptual terms. The investigation into the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy is understood through reference to both material and ideational factors and the interaction between these provides empirical findings, but the thesis also formulates a realist-constructivist framework to integrate these factors into a single analysis, which has attracted limited scholarly attention thus far. Furthermore, the developed realist-constructivist analytical framework offers significant insights on the continuing relevance of the realist tradition within International Relations to complement existing scholarship, on both theoretical pluralism and the Common Security and Defence Policy. The thesis thus offers a particular formulation and demonstration of realist-constructivist synthesis, but points to further opportunities of the framework within EU and global politics.
Supervisor: Germond, Basil Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral