Reconsidering the EU as a Geoeconomic Actor : A Critical Discourse Analysis of the internal debate regarding a New Industrial Strategy for the European Union
Abstract: In recent years there has been a growing internal debate within the EU regarding the direction of its trade policy. Circled around the understanding of a geoeconomic development within the international economic sphere, the Union is divided in terms of how to best respond in this proclaimed situation for ensuring its future success and prosperity. Where the European Commission has adopted several protectionist measures at the same time as upholding its liberal route one may ask what this implies for the future, as well as what the underlying forces behind this trend are, which is part of the general aim of this study. Previous research has provided both rationalistic and constructivist approaches to analyzing EU’s trade policy agenda, where rationalistic approaches has investigated to which degree trade policy has been politicized and constructivists more focused to understanding to which degree ideas, norms and values has contributed to the Commission’s legitimization and continuation of liberal trade politics. However, the area of discourse(s) role in this nexus is left relatively unexplored. With use of the IR theories of Realism and Liberalism as well as the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis and Norman Fairclough’s three-dimensional framework for critical discourse analysis, this paper examines the main respective arguments of the debate regarding a New European Industrial Strategy, through three dimensions of discourse(s): as text, discursive practice and social practice. Findings suggests that realist discourses have gained traction within the Commission at the same time as it is constrained by institutional and integrational discourses, which are factors that indeed may result in troublesome years to come.
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