From Political Liberalization to Geopolitical Turn (Evolution of the EUS Discourse, and the Link between the Normative and the Material)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-8-25-33
T. Romanova,
Saint Petersburg State University, 1/3, entrance 8, Smol’nogo Str., St. Petersburg, 191060, Russian Federation.
Saint Petersburg State University, 1/3, entrance 8, Smol’nogo Str., St. Petersburg, 191060, Russian Federation.

Received 25.03.2021. Revised 19.04.2022. Accepted 23.05.2022.

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation (RSF). Project no. 22-28-00682,

Abstract. The article explores the geopolitical turn in the European Union’s policy, realized through two new and synonymous concepts in the EU’s official discourse – those of strategic sovereignty and strategic autonomy. The author demonstrates that these concepts do not imply a radical turn to pragmatism and materiality. Rather it is exposed that Brussels’ neoliberal paradigm has always presupposed the link between neoliberal normativity (liberal democracy of the Western type) and materiality (which incorporates prosperity through market economy, and security). The article defines several periods in the EU reconfiguring this link, each associated with a new concept (first democratization, then modernization, then resilience and, finally, strategic sovereignty/autonomy). Empirically, the study is based on speeches of the top EU officials, as well as on debates and documents of the European Parliament. Discourse analysis is used to define the link between normativity and materiality that evolves yet preserving its structure. It is demonstrated how the concepts of strategic sovereignty/autonomy incorporate virtually everything from peace, security and democracy to climate and innovation. The research most particularly focuses on the place that Brussels’ discourse allocates to Russia, which vividly reflects the specificity of the link between normativity and materiality in each period. More specifically, Russia evolves in the European Union’s discourse from being a country of modernization and democratic transition to a threat to the EU’s resilience and then strategic sovereignty, thus turning from an insider to the outsider in the symbolic space that the European Union establishes through the link between normativity and materiality.

Keywords: geopolitical turn, strategic sovereignty, strategic autonomy, EU–Russia relations, resilience, critical geopolitics, democratization, modernization, discourse


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For citation:
Romanova T., Kotsur G. From Political Liberalization to Geopolitical Turn (Evolution of the EUS Discourse, and the Link between the Normative and the Material). World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 8, pp. 25-33.

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