Title page for ETD etd-05142012-105452

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Seagle, Adriana
Author's Email Address aseagle@vt.edu
URN etd-05142012-105452
Title How Romanian Governmental Elites Conceptualize The European Union As An International Society
Degree PhD
Department Public and International Affairs
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stivachtis, Ioannis Yannis Committee Chair
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Member
Sjoberg, Laura E. Committee Member
Taylor, Charles Lewis Committee Member
  • Romania
  • International Society
  • European Union
  • Security
  • Values
  • Culture
Date of Defense 2012-04-30
Availability unrestricted
This study makes a contribution to the distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft models of society at the regional level by investigating the understanding of the Romanian governmental elites with respect to the EU and the EU’s Second Pillar. The findings of the study suggest that the conscious recognition of common culture and common values help distinguish between system and society at the regional level because they imply adherence to a common political identity. It is widely agreed in the ES that an international system develops an international society and when states engage in mutual recognition of “sovereign equality” an international society exists. The case of Romania shows that the EU is a pluralistic international society divided in decision-making between the core and the periphery in which political criteria serves for mutual recognition. Political criteria defined by the application of the rule of law and anti-corruption measures as well as by the common understanding of Western democratic culture and Western political values seem to hinder Romania from acquiring a distinctive voice in EU decision-making. Political instability continues to be a perennial concern for Romania despite EU membership. This study highlights that political instability results from an inadequate understanding of EU common political values underpinning the principles of western style democracy. The findings also indicate that before 2007 Romanians described the connection with the EU in sentimental, common historical ties in contrast to after 2007, when Romania’s Accession Treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon were increasingly invoked in context of equal recognition status hence highlighting contractual ties with the EU.

The study is framed by the international society and uses an interpretive methodology associated with international society to highlight that at the regional level culture and values give meaning to society and help the common understanding of members of international society to pursue common interests. Adherence to common EU political culture and values are imperative for political stability in Romania and for harmonizing Romanian elites’ mentalities in political and security practices with those of other EU members. A useful recommendation emerging from the findings is that international society should be examined further in context of power and prudence in order to understand how the existence of common interests, rules, norms, and values of the Union members influence the distinction between the international system and international society.

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