Analysing EU external action through the lens of global justice theory

Helene Sjursen and Joachim Vigrestad have published a chapter in the new book The External Action of the European Union.

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About the book 

This groundbreaking new textbook offers extensive coverage of EU External Action studies, from its major concepts to the key theories in the field. Over the past decades, the European Union has progressively developed into a significant global actor in an increasing number of policy fields. This long-awaited volume looks into different ways of conceptualizing the EU as a global actor, the processes and impact of EU external action, explanations offered by IR and integration theories, the discursive, normative, practice and gender ‘turns’, and the ‘decentring agenda’ for EU external action. The book offers a reader-friendly guidance on these various ways in which to study the EU as a global actor: each chapter introduces one concept, approach or theory and illustrates its application by a case study of EU external action. In drawing the different perspectives together, the book underscores that ‘EU External Action Studies’ is becoming an academic speciality in its own right.

Written by leading experts, the volume will make essential reading for students, scholars and practitioners of EU external action.

EU External Action Studies nowadays attract attention from scholars and students in International Relations (IR), Foreign Policy Analysis and (interdisciplinary) EU Studies, as well as from practitioners.

Analysing EU external action through the lens of global justice theory

In this chapter, Sjursen and Vigrestad argue that theories of global political justice are particularly apt for analysing the European Union’s ambition to play a strong role in promoting and safeguarding values at the global level. Acknowledging that what is just is contested, they delineate three different conceptions – justice as non-domination, as impartiality and as mutual recognition – of what a just global order might look like. These ‘reasonable’ conceptions may be seen as complementary, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to enhancing justice at the global level. At the same time, they all take as their starting point that dominance, which is what people experience when they are subject to the arbitrary power of others, is the essence of injustice. These conceptions allow for a more precise analysis of the EU’s global role while providing critical standards that take into account the implications of foreign policy for third parties. Sjursen and Vigrestad illustrate how theories of justice can be applied with a case study on the EU’s approach to sustainable development in trade agreements.

Full info

Helene Sjursen and Joachim Vigrestad
Analysing EU external action through the lens of global justice theory

In: The External Action of the European Union. Concepts, Approaches, Theories
Sieglinde Gstöhl and Simon Schunz (eds.)

Macmillan International (2021)
ISBN: 9781352012187 (hardcover) / 9781352012132 (ebook) / 9781352012125 (paperback)

Published Apr. 6, 2021 10:35 AM - Last modified Apr. 6, 2021 11:32 AM