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Geopolitics and Expertise: Knowledge and Authority in European Diplomacy by Merje Kuus

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Chapter Five

Powers of Conceptualization and Contextualization

A New Object of Knowledge

To specialists in today’s European Union, the story of the European Neighbourhood Policy or ENP is familiar: it is one in which the union “responds to new challenges”, “meets the needs” of its neighbours, and “exports security, stability, and prosperity” in the process. There is a sizeable industry of commentary and analysis on the policy. What happens in the fast-paced world of ENP and what the main actors say about it is well known. That story-line offers a valuable big-picture starting point, but it remains too schematic for the purposes of this study. It tells us what the various EU or national institutions have done, what the representatives of these institutions have said about these actions, and what contradictions and tensions weaken the policy. However, it gives us little sense of the daily practices and paper flows out of which the various statements emerge. We know what has happened after the fact, but the process of knowledge production that makes these developments possible remains out of focus (Shore 2000, 2). The policy appears as a black box: outputs emerge, but their production remains hidden inside the box. To develop a more nuanced understanding of ENP, we cannot deduce the policy process from its outcomes but must make the process an object of analysis in its own right.

The complexity of the neighbourhood policy and the many moving parts on which it hinges are illustrated by ...

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