From Civilizing Mission to Civilian Power: Rethinking EU peacebuilding from a postcolonial perspective
PhD Seminar - Martina Paone (ULB/University of Warwick) / ULB-IEE, Geremek Room
Even if much of the world has been decolonized, sediments of Eurocentrism seem to be still present in the way in which the EU presents itself in International Relations. And it is even more evident in the discourses the EU enacts to substantiate its peacebuilding missions, where the recourse to rhetoric of civilization is maximised. Amplifying the call launched by EU scholars as Merlingen, Fisher Onar and Nicholaidis that opened up the debate to the need of acknowledging the inflections of colonialism in the EU project itself, this research is primarily interested in analysing whether EU discourses in peacebuilding are bounded up with a legacy of “coloniality”. For this purpose, an interdisciplinary approach is mobilized, that combines EU Study with Postcolonial Studies and Discourse theory, in order to unveil the historical co-constitution of three main concepts: EU identity – civilizing discourses – peacebuidling practices. Two case studies - EU peacebuilding mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Democratic Republic of Congo - are firstly examined trough a synchronic perspective anchored in discourse analysis and then included in a diachronic perspective that relies on a Foucauldian genealogy. The research intends to contribute to the literature by working both “backwards” in terms of deconstructing and problematizing current EU narratives in peacebuilding, as well as “forwards” in order to envisage any possible reconstruction of a decolonial EU identity.