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Why is Norway Outside the European Union?

Norwegian National Identity and the Question of European Integration


Gamze Tanil

This book introduces identity politics into the analysis of international relations. Through the usage of identification approaches, combined with an extensive presentation of the specific features of Norwegian nation-building, it offers a lucid account of how Norway’s history and culture shape the prism through which many Norwegians view the merits of their country’s relations with the emerging European Union.


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This book analyzes Norwegians’ conception of the European Union membership as a product of ideas and identity regarding themselves and the European Union. In this way, it offers a way of combining two different areas of study, namely identity politics and international relations, and examines the impact of the do- mestic structure, which is defined as a combination of identities and interests, on the foreign policy formulations. By doing so, it seeks to fill the gap in the existing literature on the subject, which has in general emphasized the economic aspects of the relations between nation-states and the European Union. It also contributes to the mainstream international relations theory which has for so long ignored the role of identity politics in the international system. This book employs ‘national identity’ not only to describe the condition in which a mass of people have made the same identification with national symbols, but also to refer to the possible mass mobilization of this people to act as one psychological group when there is a threat to, or the possibility of enhancement of, these symbols of the national identity. The ‘national identity dynamic’ that in the formulation of foreign policies definition of the ‘self’ as oppose to ‘other’, perception of ‘threat’ and people’s mass mobilization against the perceived or actual threat to protect their self definition/national identity are crucial elements. This perspective contributes well to the analysis of the Eurosceptic nations, and helps avoiding reductionist approaches which conceptualize national interest as a function of...

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