Abstract

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.