Beyond European Union's 'transformative power'

Thursday, June 27, 2013
2.13 (Binnengasthuis)
Ievgenii Rovnyi , Institut für Humangeographie, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Much of the analysis of the European Union’s ‘transformative power’ beyond its borders – or at least the presentation of research results – starts and ends with a view on the EU itself. The EU is from scratch given agency as an entity with expert technologies of governing at a distance, as an actor with superior performance whose success stories can be exported by substantiating their ingredients, thus enabling prescription for a course of action. Rather than discipline, manage and police Europe, this paper attempts to move beyond conceptualizations of the EU as either an ‘imperial’ power or a ‘force for good’ by abandoning the idea of its pre-fixed agency and essential characteristics. It temporarily decenters the EU per se as the means and purpose of the analysis instead focusing on the operation of European affairs expertise in one of the countries where EU’s transformative power is believed to apparently play out. In particular, it explores how the meaning of the EU as a geopolitical actor is stabilized, subverted and enacted through discursive, embodied and socio-technical practices, by zooming in on how Ukrainian think tanks make sense of EUropean geopolitics and how they render EU’s agency traceable in their publications and mundane work. In the end the accomplishment and relevance of the analysis are addressed.