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Exploring identity within the institutions of the EU and assessing its impact on the Turkish membership bid

LEESE, HAMISH,ROBERT (2013) Exploring identity within the institutions of the EU and assessing its impact on the Turkish membership bid. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Although social constructivism has gained in popularity and increased in application in studies of the European Union, a deficiency still exists in the understanding of identity in the European Parliament and the interests of MEPs. In this study I formulate and employ a social constructivist theoretical framework to answer research questions concerning the presence and nature of European identity; the role the European Parliament plays in the constitution of identity and the impact of identity and normative factors on the interests of MEPs concerning Turkish accession. My analysis is grounded in secondary data sources, primarily statements made by MEPs and members of other EU institutions, and backed up by primary research, interviews and questionnaire responses from MEPs. My research indicates that a European identity is present within the European Parliament, largely based on the stated values of the EU, and is felt alongside other identities by the majority of MEPs. I found the European Parliament itself to be a key factor in the constitution of the identity of actors within it, with an important role in the socialisation of norms, as well as in selecting appropriate norms. Finally, I found that in debates concerning Turkish membership of the EU arguments of identity are sometimes used explicitly, but that ‘rational’ factors in decision making are inextricably tied to ‘normative’ factors, with the result that an analysis ignoring norms and identity would be fundamentally flawed. These findings are important in understanding identity within the EP, and have implications for EU decision making and, potentially, in understanding identity in other institutions. My research allows me to build on the basis of social constructivist theory concerning institutions to explore a model of actor identity within the European Parliament.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:European Union, European Parliament, Social Constructivism, EU, Turkey
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Oct 2013 14:58

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