The Argument

Caroline Fehl

in Living with a Reluctant Hegemon

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608621
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731730 | DOI:
The Argument

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This chapter introduces the theoretical framework developed in the book to explain the European choice for or against non-hegemonic cooperation. It starts by discussing older ‘rational institutionalist’ arguments about the possibility of cooperation without hegemonic leadership, arguing that these remain both underspecified and incomplete when applied to present-day transatlantic controversies over multilateralism. The chapter therefore proposes a new analytical framework, which adapts rational institutionalist arguments to the specific research question of the book, and combines them with insights from constructivist approaches to multilateral institution-building. The framework’s rationalist baseline hypothesis holds that European decision-makers aim to maximize the practical effectiveness of the specific treaty at stake. In addition, the chapter proposes a range of hypotheses pertaining to material and normative considerations which are external to the basic calculus of treaty effectiveness, yet may equally constrain European strategic choices vis-à-vis the US. The chapter concludes with a discussion of methodological choices.

Keywords: hegemony; hegemonic stability theory; non-hegemonic cooperation; rational institutionalism; constructivism; norms; regulatory competition; two-level games; norm entrepreneurs; NGOs

Chapter.  8485 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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