European security and defence policy reform: a theoretical challenge

Keogh, Darrin M. (2008) European security and defence policy reform: a theoretical challenge. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This thesis problematises the emergence of the European Union's Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) that emerged with the Maastricht Treaty and has subsequently passed through successive phases of reform. It seeks to explain both why this project has emerged and what the dynamics of European Union (EU) reform efforts in this policy area are. For this purpose, the thesis has sought to explore how a range of international relations and integration theories approach the analytical puzzles which ESDP construction has thrown up. The range of theories chosen is not comprehensive but includes what we consider to be the most prominent perspectives in the academic literature before the recent rise of constructivist trends. All the theories chosen - neorealist, neoliberal, and neofunctionalist theories - broadly fit with the Deductive-Nomological model of theory construction in the social sciences. This enables us to draw deductive-hypothetical explanations applicable to European Security and Defence Policy Reform (ESDPR) where leading proponents of the various theories have not already done so themselves. These hypotheses may then, in line with the D-N Model, be tested against the empirical evidence of the activities connected to ESDPR since the start of the 1990s. This testing then enables us not only to explore a solution for our analytical explanandum - explaining the dynamics of ESDPR - but it also enables us to throw some light on the more general explanatory adequacy of the various theories which we are applying to this case. We have pursued these research goals by dividing the evolution of the European Union's security and defence policy into four reform phases (1989-1992,1992-1997,1997-2000 and 2000-2007). This division is structured by the fact that in each phase major EU decisions were taken on ESDPR. We then test the congruence of each of our chosen theories' hypothetical explanations against the evidence in each of these four phases. We test the congruence of the theories with the evidence not only through a `covering law' approach to explanation in which a fit is explored between independent and dependent variables, but also seek to use process tracing to explore the actual process mechanisms leading towards major decisions on ESDPR.
After carrying through this research on how the different theoretical schools seek to explain the four phases of ESDPR, we are then in a position to draw some significant conclusions both on our analytical puzzle - explaining the ESDP project - and on the empirical adequacy of the theories we test as explanatory perspectives on this aspect of EU construction. We hope that these conclusions will contribute both to future research on the evolution of ESDP and to future reflection and debate on the adequacy of the theories which we have tested in this particular case.

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