Europeanising Diplomatic Spectacles: A Praxeological Account of the Article 34 Negotiations of EU Member States at the UN in New York
This thesis analyses the Article 34 (Art.34) coordination sessions of the EU-Member States (EUMSs) at the EU Delegation (EUDEL) at the UN in New York. Through the application of practice theory, I seek to depict what these Art.34- negotiations entail. The aim is to showcase how EUMS-diplomats undergo a process of Europeanisation through practical diplomatic intercourse in these Art.34-meetings. In particular, I resort to Pierre Bourdieu’s tripod of capital, habitus and field as constituent elements of local diplomatic practices. As part of a wider practical turn, which has steadily taken up momentum in IR/EU studies, this permits a novel gaze onto the internal dynamics in the negotiation room, which transcend mere considerations of structuralism or existentialism; intergovernmentalism or constructivism; but instead favours process over stasis; practical improvisation over fixed interests. Practices represent: “competent performances”, as well as, “socially meaningful patterns of action, which … simultaneously embody, act out, and possibly reify background knowledge and discourse in and on the material world” . As such, examining these local practices renders new conceptual lenses on the very “‘stuff’ of international relations – war, balances of power, diplomacy, international legal norms, treaty making and so on” , which are steeped in local practices. It became evident throughout my field work at EUDEL, how very much local practical mastery marshalled both the manoeuvrability of the diplomat as well as their EUMS, but also managed to advance the collective group’s preferences as a whole.
Such utilisation of skilful practices amounts to, what I label, a ‘Europeanising diplomatic spectacle’. The central argument is thus: By participating in the EUDEL’s Europeanising diplomatic spectacle, EUMS negotiators not only create a common EU-position at the UN but are equally Europeanised by their display, appreciation, and pursuit of competent practices.
This spectacle sees EUMS diplomats jockey for influence within the field of Art.34-negotiations by making use of their unevenly distributed resources through meaningful, that is what ‘makes sense’ in the Art.34-field, diplomatic practices. These resources are meshed from both personal as well as state-bestowed capital and habitus onto the diplomat, ultimately forging a “diplomatic-self” – a diplomatic hybrid between personal and national.
Smith, Julie Elisabeth