The EU – a normative power on human rights? : an assessment of the EU’s pursuit of human rights in Myanmar between 1996-2011 in the light of normative power theory

Gulde, J. (2011) The EU – a normative power on human rights? : an assessment of the EU’s pursuit of human rights in Myanmar between 1996-2011 in the light of normative power theory.

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Abstract:Relating to the debate of what kind of power the EU is this paper examines to what extent the EU pursued its human rights agenda in Myanmar between the years 1996-2011 through normative power. Despite a deliberate debate on the concept itself little empirical research on whether the EU acts through normative power exists. Hence, deriving an operationalisation along the dimensions of principles, process and impact, this paper gives an account on how to measure the concept and provides empirical findings for the case of Myanmar. To do this, a content analysis of 61 EU- and UN-documents is conducted. The program ATLAS.ti, by coding data, is used to assess the groundedness of categories, to conceptualize findings and to visualize relationships. The findings prove normative power theory to be a valuable account to explain - at least - parts of EU policies on Myanmar. As a part of this the construction of a European human rights identity by means of a ‘self-other’ distinction is observed. The case of Myanmar, however, does not adhere to the ideal type of normative power. Other forms of power – especially economic – co-exist. In addition to that, whereas, power in the classical sense is not observable, the concept of normative power may rather refer to ‘power’ as the constant use of rhetorical and symbolic means to pursue legitimized norms. Finally, it can be concluded that the EU actively pursues norms in the case of Myanmar. Moreover, acknowledging the co-existence of different forms of power and reflecting on the meaning of ‘power’ the concept proves to be a useful tool to explain EU action.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration BSc (56627)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62678
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