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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

"The EU as an Ideational Power": The Case of the Development of Domestic Policies in Chilean and Mexican Higher Education (HE)

Francis Espinoza Figueroa
University of Birmingham
Francis Espinoza Figueroa
University of Birmingham

The research character of this paper is mainly analytical and its purpose is to study the normative nature of the EU as an ideational power. I argue here that there is a failure within the existing literature with regard to the discussion about how third parties use European influences: there are no proper studies of receptiveness by others (non-European countries). Firstly this part deals with the debate analysing the EU as an ideational actor (Whitman et. al, 2011). This force is not characterised by any interplay where the influential process ‘wins’ through better argument, as scholars from the pragmatism of language have argued (Habermas, 1986); this persuasive phenomenon operates in a climate of producing effects through a more influential ‘weltanschauung’. Secondly, in this paper certain deficiencies within the analysis of the EU as an ideational power/actor and its ‘dissenting’ side are detected such as real concerns about how others have received European ideational influences.
The EU as an ideational actor has a significant impact on non-European countries. This paper examines the growth of European ideas circulating throughout the field of Latin American Higher Education (HE), as part of the Bologna Process. This phenomenon requires a rigorous analysis of European ideational factors present within Normative Power Europe (NPE), not only through a cluster of ideas, norms, principles and values but also through analysing language. I argue that the impact of European influences upon received countries is mediated by domestic circumstances. It makes a contribution to both existing understanding of the European Union’s influence over Latin America and Latin American HE, and also seeks to advance upon existing debates around the notion of Normative Power Europe in particular, by illustrating how the NPE literature would benefit from a deeper consideration of the use of language and considering translation processes of receiver countries.
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