A Theoretical Framework for Energy Security Through Discourse

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  • Topic: European Union, Enlargement of the European Union, Institutions of the European Union
  • Pages : 12 (4238 words )
  • Download(s) : 67
  • Published : November 18, 2012
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The current chapter presents the theoretical framework for the thesis and a method for the analysis. The central question of the paper regards the evolution of the EU and Estonian energy security discourses and the implications for the EU governance models in the changing global conditions. For many years, studies of Europe have focused on the internal processes of integration and enlargement. Nevertheless, in the context of growing global challenges and the need for innovative solutions for gaining the competitive advantage signalled that there is a need to turn attention to external developments and to the internal changes simultaneously. This chapter will introduce some analytical perspectives which will help to examine developments in the sphere of energy security and linkages between the internal and external dynamics of the EU. 2.1. Discourse analysis

In order understand the political change, one must study the vocabularies in which such changes and their causes, desirable as well as undesirable futures are discussed, argued and opposed. These vocabularies are embedded in the texts, speeches, and negotiations of the actors. The political change is usually accompanied by the adjustments in the vocabulary used by actors, since interests, stakes, dependencies and connections are all under discussion. The developments in the environment affect the behaviour of actors, which in turn cause changes in meanings. Discourse analysis helps to understand the political environment in which through examining and revealing the meanings. According to Maarten Hajer and Wytske Versteeg, the novelty of discourse analysis in political science lies in studying the world through language, where language not only creates a picture, but shapes the views of actors. Discourse analysis stresses the importance of meanings, and how these meanings are reflected through language and construction of social realities. It provides the opportunity to observe the linkages between the interactions that might seem unrelated when applying other approaches common in the political science. Additionally, discourse analysis allows a detailed examination of the formation and the development of changes of actors’ preferences and interests instead of treating these as variables external to this process. Diez emphasizes, that meanings and ideas are embedded in the political discourses and various discourses are tied together through the interactions of actors. Diez also adds that in the political environment, discourses evolve through deliberative practices, in which actors are engaged in the act of establishing set meanings in discourses. This means that the central discourses, such as discourse on European governance, entail a number of other discourses, the articulation of which (through political texts, speeches, regulations) is a helpful indicator of rules and norms between the actors. Based on the arguments just outlined, discourse analysis is the appropriate method for addressing the central question of the present thesis and will be used as a lens to study the evolution of energy security discourses. Nevertheless, discourse analysis does not provide the theory for further studies. To provide a framework for the discussion of how and under what conditions policy changes occur, I will now present and consider some theoretical approaches which address the relations between the EU and its member states. 2.2. The concept of and analytical approaches to the EU governance The conceptualization of the term ‘governance’ is essential in understanding the environment in which actors interact and the discourses evolve. Mark Webber et al. argue that ‘governance’ as a concept has been used in the academic literature so often and in so many different ways that its analytical precision has been blunted. Governance is defined by Webber et al. as “the maintenance of collective order, the achievement of collective objectives, and the collective processes...
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