This book transcends the now problematic divide between representational and practical approaches to understanding geopolitical relations. More specifically, much research on the EU tends to focus more on the formal workings of the institutions and rarely penetrates the corridors of power to consider what actually happens within the bureaucracy itself. The book is to be welcomed as a contribution to theoretical debate in human geography and as a significant contribution to EU Studies.
John Agnew, UCLA
In contrast to the oceans of generalization about the European Union, here is a high resolution study of the balance of interests and power based on years of face–to–face interactions with diplomats and Eurocrats who inhabit Brussels European Quarter.James D. Sidaway, National University of Singapore
Geopolitics and Expertise is an in–depth exploration of how expert knowledge is created and exercised in European Union institutions. It traces how geopolitical arguments are deployed by foreign policy professionals there and how these practices fit into and transform the social milieu of the European Quarter. Rigorous, empirical, and engaging, the book offers a nuanced analysis of diplomatic practice, a sphere that is opaque and inaccessible by design. It incorporates over 100 interviews with EU foreign policy professionals over the course of seven years.
This study is unique in its focus on qualitative and contextual evidence gathered from interpersonal interviews rather than quantitative and questionnaire–based data. A rare full–length analysis of transnational decision–making, the book elucidates the complexity and creativity of European diplomatic practice. Blending human geography with international relations, anthropology, and sociology, this account illuminates the inner workings of knowledge and power in transnational regulatory institutions.
Introduction: The Crown Jewel 1
1 The Dead Relative: Bounding Europe in Europe 12
Geopolitics by Nobody; Carving Places out of Space; Embodied Europes
2 Knowledge and Policy in Transnational Fields 32
Placing Diplomatic Knowledge; Policy Fields; "The work of reciprocal elucidation"
3 Brussels and Theatre: Bureaucracy and Place 61
Planet Brussels; Those Who Hold the Pen: EU Professionals; The Political and the Technical and the Social
4 Transnational Diplomats: Representing Europe in EU 27 86
European External Action Service; Curved Mirrors: Negotiating the National; The Group for Which There is no Term: The New Member States
5 Powers of Conceptualization and Contextualization 112
A New Object of Knowledge; Fields of Expertise in the European Quarter; "Most people just want to do what they are told"
6 Feel for the Game: Symbolic Capital in the European Quarter 133
Symbolic Capital; "We are dealing with elites"; "In the third degree of depth"; "An urbane, subtle approach"; Shifts and Spirals
7 Political Geographies of Expertise 171
Knowledge From and On the East; Finding a Market; "Things are evolving"; Managing Difference
Conclusion: Circles of Knowledge 195