Publications of Michael Merlingen

Merlingen M. Applying Foucault’s Toolkit to CSDP. In: Kurowska X, Breuer F, editors. Explaining Eu’s Common Security and Defence Policy: Theory in Action. Palgrave Macmillan: Houndmills; 2012. p. 188-212. ( Palgrave studies in European Union politics).

From Governance to Governmentality in CSDP: Towards a Foucauldian Research Agenda

Governmentality theory is a tool to study networked governance beyond the state. Its research profile is characterized by a focus on power and micro-practices from a critical perspective. This article identifies the theory's comparative strengths and its distinct analytical style. It lays out the conceptual tools of governmentality theory before applying them to internal CSDP governance and the external governance by the CSDP of post-conflict societies. These short case studies serve the didactic purpose of demonstrating the kinds of research questions, analytical concerns, arguments, empirical evidence and methods that governmentality research calls for and the sorts of findings that it can generate. The article concludes by pinpointing shortcomings of the theory that will be of concern to some CSDP researchers.

Merlingen M, Ostrauskaitė R. EU Peacebuilding in Georgia: Limits and Achievements. In: The European Union and Peacebuilding: Policy and Legal Aspects. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press; 2010. p. 269-93.
Merlingen M. The EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUPM). In: European Security and Defence Policy: The First 10 Years (1999-2009). Paris: EU Institute for Security Studies; 2009. p. 161-71.
Merlingen M. Monster Studies. International Political Sociology. 2008;2(3):272-74.

Everything Is Dangerous: A Critique of “Normative Power Europe”

The article builds on the existing critique of `Normative Power Europe' (NPE), extending it in previously unexplored directions by drawing on the work of Michel Foucault. The author conceptualizes and empirically demonstrates the hidden face of European Union (EU) norm diffusion. The EU promotes human agency abroad through the promotion of fundamental civil, political and economic rights. This is the celebrated face of European foreign policy. Its other face — ignored by students of NPE (proponents and critics alike) — is that the EU's self-styled mission for humanity inscribes the very agency of those it seeks to empower in relations characterized by epistemic violence, the technologization of politics and administrative arbitrariness. The author delimits a conceptual space for investigating the two faces of NPE, making the case for a micropolitical analysis of EU norm diffusion. In two empirical snapshots, the article brings into focus the deep ambiguity of the EU's post-sovereign normative power.

Power/Knowledge in International Peacebuilding: The Case of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia

This article develops the argument that peacebuilding brings into play microphysical and nonsovereign forms of power that circulate through opaque capillaries that link foreign peacebuilders and indigenous populations. It examines the governmentality of liberal peacebuilding and the practices of “unfreedom” it licenses; brings into focus the constellation of social control that is effected by the EU's efforts, in the context of its security and defense policy, to promote democratic policing in Bosnia; and shows how a normatively committed form of governmentality theory can be employed to limit the inevitable political pastorate in the international construction of liberal peace in posthostility societies.

Governmentality: Towards a Foucauldian Framework for the Study of IGOs

n this article I draw on the later work of Michel Foucault to elaborate a governmentality framework for the study of international governmental organizations (IGOs). The main ‘value added’ of the proposed framework is that it brings into focus the micro-domain of power relations, thereby highlighting what mainline IGO studies fail to thematize. IGOs exercise a molecular form of power that evades and undermines the material, juridical and diplomatic limitations on their influence. They are important sites in the non-sovereign, microphysical workings of power that shape territorialized populations in unspectacular ways. In short, I argue that our understanding of IGOs remains incomplete if we do not pay attention to the effects of domination generated by their everyday governance tasks and good works. I develop this argument through a brief engagement with an innovative strand of IGO studies: research on international socialization, which is empirically illustrated through a brief exploration of the induction by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe of post-socialist countries into its embryonic security community.

The Right and the Righteous? European Norms, Domestic Politics and the Sanctions against Austria

In February 2000, 14 EU Member States collectively took the unprecedented step of imposing bilateral sanctions on their Austrian EU partner. How can this be explained? Was it, as the 14 governments argued, because the inclusion in the Austrian government of Jörg Haider's extreme right FPö opposes many of the ideas making up the common identity of the EU? Or, were the sanctions motivated, as the Austrian government argued, by narrow-minded party political interests that lurked beneath the rhetoric of shared European norms and values? Our analysis suggests that, without the particular concerns about domestic politics of certain politicians, it is unlikely that the sanctions against Austria would have been adopted in this form. On the other hand, without the recent establishment of concerns about human rights and democratic principles as an EU norm, it is unlikely that these particular sanctions would have been adopted collectively by all member governments. Thus, while norms might have been used instrumentally, such instrumental use only works, in the sense of inducing compliant behaviour, if the norms have acquired a certain degree of taken-for-grantedness within the relevant group of actors or institution.

Identity, Politics and Germany's Post-TEU Policy on EMU

n this article, I seek a theoretically informed answer to the question of why in the period after 1993 the German government clamoured for a clarification of and a tightening of the rules governing the transition to, and the operation of, EMU. To this end, I evaluate the explanatory power of two approaches that make strongly contrasting assumptions about European integration: liberal intergovernmentalism and constructivism. The empirical evidence shows that a constructivist approach does a better job of explaining Germany's post-TEU policy on EMU than liberal intergovernmentalism. It has the tools to deal with what turns out to be crucial for understanding the policy in question: social identities. They shaped how central governmental decision-makers and the mass public lined up and acted on the issue of EMU. This finding is indicative of more general, theoretical weaknesses of liberal intergovernmentalism. The theory is overly rationalist and materialist. The EU is a unique institutional arrangement in which more than consequence-oriented action and material considerations matter. Therefore, constructivism, which is analytically strong precisely where liberal intergovernmentalism is weak, should be part of the standard toolbox of every scholar of the EU. However, the empirical findings of the article also suggest that constructivist research would benefit from paying attention to what it has ignored so far: mass identities.