A Comparative Appraisal of Normative Power

The European Union, the United States and the January 25th, 2011 Revolution in Egypt


In A Comparative Appraisal of Normative Power Ville Sinkkonen constructs a three-pronged analytical framework for the analysis of normative power, a theoretical concept recently associated with studying the international role of the European Union. This toolkit allows him to compare the foreign policy conduct of the EU and the United States in the context of the January 25th, 2011 Revolution in Egypt along three dimensions: ‘norms and identity’, ‘means’ and ‘paradoxes’. These components permit an in-depth analysis of Western norm promotion in the midst of the upheaval, building on a large pool of source documents. The monograph broadens the remit of normative power through its empirical bent, comparative research set-up and focus on a swiftly unfolding revolution/transition complex. In the process, the prevalent discourse of the EU as a benign international actor is subjected to rigorous analytical scrutiny.
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Biographical Note

Ville Sinkkonen, M.Soc.Sc. (2013), University of Turku. Sinkkonen's research encompasses foreign policy, International Law and the changing normative constitution of international politics. He has recently coedited (with Henri Vogt) a book on Finnish foreign policy visions, Utopia ulkopolitiikassa [Utopias in Foreign Policy] (Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2014).

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; List of Tables; List of Abbreviations; A Note on Referencing
1. Introduction
2. Insights from Social Constructivism
2.1. Constructivism, interests and identity
2.2. Norms and normativity
2.3. International law and International Relations: musings on interdisciplinarity
2.4. International law as a fundamental institution
2.5. On the concept of power
3. Reinterpreting Normative Power
3.1. Normative power Europe: the groundwork
3.2. Normative power, civilian power and military power
3.3. The European Union, normative power and international law
3.4. The United States and normative power – an oxymoron?
3.5. The United States, international law and global governance
3.6. Normative power and soft power
3.7. Normative power, hegemony and international law
4. A Three-Dimensional Framework for Analysing Normative Power
4.1. An analytical framework for normative power
4.2. The dimension of norms and identity
4.3. The dimension of means
4.4. The dimension of paradoxes
4.5. Data and methodological underpinnings
5. Setting the Stage
5.1. Egypt during Hosni Mubarak’s reign
5.2. The United States and Egypt
5.3. The European Union and Egypt
5.4. The January 25th Revolution and beyond
5.5. Change and the potential for normative power analysis
6. Dimension I: Norms and Identity
6.1. Norms advocated by the European Union
6.2. Norms advocated by the United States
6.3. Manifestations of cosmopolitan and multilateral norms?
6.4. Assessing normative identities
7. Dimension II: Means
7.1. The soft power means of the European Union
7.2. The economic power means of the European Union
7.3. The soft power means of the United States
7.4. The economic power means of the United States
7.5. The military power means of the United States
7.6. European and American means: reflections in light of normative power theory
8. Dimension III: Paradoxes
8.1. Paradoxes in the reaction of the European Union
8.2. Paradoxes in the reaction of the United States
8.3.Scrutinising the paradoxes: normative impact, identities and resistance to change
9. Final Assessment: Diagnoses, Diseases and Relapses
9.1. Three-dimensional vision: a final look
9.2. Side effects: a wider take on the pressures of reality
9.3. Searching for a foothold: normative power and international law
9.4. Theoretical rejuvenation and future vistas
9.5. A final diagnosis
Epilogue; Appendix 1; Appendix 2; References; Documents of the European Union; Documents of the United States; Other documents; Bibliographical references.


Academics and students interested in American and European foreign policy, the Arab Spring Revolutions and the interfaces between International Law and International Relations.


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