Soft Power and the Social Construction of Collective Identity. Why Does the European Union Fail to Attract the British Public?

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Soft Power and the Social Construction of Collective Identity. Why Does the European Union Fail to Attract the British Public?

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Publication Bachelor thesis
Title Soft Power and the Social Construction of Collective Identity. Why Does the European Union Fail to Attract the British Public?
Author Simpanen, Teppo-Tuomas
Date 2018
English abstract
The European Union is claimed to exercise significant soft power in world politics due to its numerous ‘soft power resources’ (Nye, 2004: 11) that make it attractive to international audiences. A puzzle arises, however, when we notice that despite its vast ‘resources’, the EU fails to attract the British public, as demonstrated by the recent ‘Brexit’ referendum and the low support for the Union in the UK already before it. In this paper, I challenge the dominant resource-centric understanding of the EU’s soft power by adopting a constructivist approach that links attraction between subjects to perceived collective identity between them. By studying implicit frames in the British ‘identity discourse’, I discover the EU only weakly represented in the United Kingdom’s construction of the ‘self’. Based on my results, I argue that the EU fails to attract Britons, because they perceive their country to have little collective identity with the Union. My results demonstrate that when it comes to studying soft power, the focus needs to be on the audience’s perception. Also, more attention needs to be paid to the EU’s attractiveness to its own populations particularly these days, when the Union appears threatened by increased Euroscepticism in the member states.
Publisher Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle
Language eng (iso)
Subject eu
european union
uk
united kingdom
soft power
collective identity
framing
implicit frames
constructivism
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/26163 Permalink to this page
Link to publication in DiVA Find this research publication in DiVA.
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