The Politics of Identity and Interest in European Defense Industrial Collaboration

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This dissertation is a social constructivist analysis of the ideational foundations of West European defense industrial cooperation. Traditional analytical approaches within International Relations theory, namely structural realism, do not highlight the role that social identity may play in shaping state behavior?except to regard it conceptually as predetermined, as methodologically unapproachable, or as epiphenomenal. The study of European armaments collaboration, however, demands that scholars consider identity as both official elite rhetoric and mass surveys maintain that an emergent, transnational European identity not only exists within the member societies of the European Union (EU), but it may also shape certain areas of state activity. This thesis uses social constructivism as an explanatory framework in order to ascertain the degree that this regional identity facilitates the Europeanization of defense production within the EU. This dissertation explores five episodes of multinational European defense industrial collaboration conducted between 1967 and 1997: Tornado, Eurofighter, Field Howitzer 70, Self-Propelled Howitzer 70, and the Anglo-French Reciprocal Purchasing Agreement. Further, these cases are divided into high-technology and low-technology categories, with Tornado and Eurofighter forming a high-tech dyad, while the others denote examples of low-tech industrial and market-oriented cooperation. I hypothesize that the production of high-tech military equipment is bound to conceptions of self and of self-interest that promote nationalist behavior and thus restricts the potential for multinational procurement collaboration. Low-tech weapons, on the other hand, do not challenge national identity and thus may reveal the influence of an emerging, cross-cutting transnational identity. This identity subsequently can be manifest in the potential willingness of states to rationalize intra-regional production and to integrate national defense equipment markets. I find, however, that while a distinct European identity exists, its effects do not extend far into the procurement field regardless of the level of technology involved within a given collaboration. Weapons procurement in the European Union remains intrinsically national in orientation.

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Dr. Judith Reppy, Committee Chair Dr. Jonathan Kirshner, Committee Member Dr. Thomas Christensen, Committee Member Dr. Matthew Evangelista, Proxy/Reader


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European Union; procurement; Eurofighter; Tornado; Reciprocal Purchasing Agreement; NATO; Western European Union; IEPG; defense; social constructivism; realism; international relations; defense industry; Europe


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bibid: 6475925

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dissertation or thesis

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