In describing identity, everything counts, no human activity is trivial or meaningless. There is a paradox in the continual tension between identity as association with some group, ideology, or vision, and identity as distinction by contrast within such groups. The constraints and opportunities which form the context of choice in the cultivation of identity are themselves the product of human choices and actions. Identity and interest are not alternative ways of describing individuals or groups, but are concepts describing different aspects of social life, so that the phenomena to which they refer stand in a symbiotic rather than a causal relation to one another, each presupposes the other, and an account in terms of one is not a denial of the reality of the other. General theories or narratives provide the necessary ingredients for complex or qualified accounts of real circumstances, not a sufficient or full account of what is going on. For this reason plays, poetry, cinema, or novels, are contributions in their own right to description and explanation.
Replying to Burke’s apologia for monarchy and aristocracy, Tom Paine famously complained that Burke pitied the plumage, but forgot the dying bird. But without the plumage, the bird is not a bird at all, and observing plumage is one of the first ways in which we try to see what sort a bird we are looking at. Human plumage is not limited to clothing, but consists of the whole complex cultivation of both conduct and environment, from all the visible and audible elements of individual identity to the created physical environment which its members inhabit. Clothing and cuisine, language and architecture, form the plumage of humans in all places and at all times. The paradox of identity is the tension between identification through association with others, and identity by individual distinction, the one sustaining equality, the other inequality.
The people and the places to which the title ‘Britain’ have been attached have shifted and changed across time. The identity of Britain is composed of all the various identities of its members, and is orchestral or patchwork, not fractal. The identity of any particular inhabitant or group of inhabitants is not a microcosm of a collective identity, but a mixture of some, and necessarily only some, of the elements which constitute the identity of Britain as a whole in terms of clothing, food, language, or religion. As a mobilised society moved towards democracy and the formal distance between elite and mass became both smaller and less mined with obstacles, the identity of rulers shifted in engagement with the shifting identities of the ruled and the growth of a culture of citizenship. Mobilisation was both from above cultivating subjects, and from below cultivating citizens. The changing public presentation of the people was complemented by a shift in that of monarchy, military, judiciary, legislature, church and executive.
In uncertain times, any aspect of plumage can be a marker of friend or foe. There are four ideal types of responses to uncertainty or instability, though in any single time or place events will be partial or mixed instances of these four: new plumage, the introduction of new forms of identity or the adoption by individuals or groups of different identities; iconoclasm, the attempt to destroy or discredit current practice as one part of the creation of new identities, plucking the old plumage; tradition, the attempt to effect change by presenting new identities as continuous with or re-assertions or developments or fulfilments of old or existing manners and customs, which manners and customs may be real or invented; and conservatism, the assertion or re-assertion of existing customs and ways of life. In each of these aspects of response, the initiative begins with minorities or elites.
Association and distinction in politics and religion
Leaders exemplify the tension between association and distinction, cultivating an identity which draws on a wider community or character, but which is intensified in order to achieve distinction. Religious leaders claim the ultimate association, but as with all other elements of identity the expression of identity is composed of specific human actions and artefacts, so that the divine, like the secular can speak only with human voices. Elites cultivate identity both towards their subjects and supporters and for their own enhancement, and whilst this does not distinguish them from other people, the intensity with which they do so does. This cultivation differs between unmobilised and mobilised societies. The difference between the various identities of a person can be greatest within an elite which has resources of both power and privacy.
This chapter establishes the analytical framework that will be used to examine EU- Mercosur relations. The chapter begins by offering a critical review of the existing literature. Until now, the existing literature on EU-Mercosur has been very descriptive but not very analytical. It has tended to cover very specific moments of the relations and as a consequence it has forgotten to look at the bigger picture. Most authors have chosen to explain EU-Mercosur relations by using more than one argument at the same time without choosing one as the most representative. Furthermore, some authors explicitly say that until the end of the negotiations of the Association Agreement there will not be a final answer. This is hardly a clear and strong debate on a policy.
The European Union (EU) is not a state and is not a traditional International Organization. It is common to characterize it as a hybrid system with a federal component. Since nothing comparable to this exists at this point, understanding the internal system of the EU is crucial. In addition to outlining the internal policy-making of the EU, it is also important to understand the internal system of the Mercosur, particularly given that the Mercosur has tried to replicate the institutional design of the EU. Since its creation in 1957 with the Treaty of Rome, the EU has changed dramatically in a variety of ways in a short period of time. The discussion will examine these changes in relation to the period between 1985 and 2007. In addition to analysing the changes in policy-making over this period of the time it is also important to note that the number of EU member states has quadruplicated since it was created in 1957. It could be argued that this has resulted in a decline in the amount of power held by each individual member state. In 1986 Spain and, to a lesser extent, Portugal brought a Mediterranean influence into EU politics. This was later balanced out by further enlargement in 1995 which saw Austria, Finland and Sweden joining the EU. However, the single largest enlargement in the history of the EU took place in 2004 when 10 Central and Eastern Europe countries became EU members. Prior to 2004, this issue was the main focus of the EU external relations since 1989 until it came into effect in 2004. The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union into several independent republics absorbed EU external relations to the point that it had an effect on other external relations, including external relations with Latin America. The enlargement of the EU in 2007 is not discussed in any detail here because it did not have an impact on the EU policy towards Mercosur.
This monograph seeks to examine the motivations for the European Union’s (EU) policy towards the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the EU’s most important relationship with another regional economic integration organisation. This monograph argues that the dominant explanations in the literature -- balancing the US, global aspirations, being an external federator, long-standing economic and cultural ties, economic interdependence, and the Europeanization of Spanish and Portuguese national foreign policies – fail to adequately explain the EU’s policy. In particular, these accounts tend to infer the EU’s motives from its activity. Drawing extensive primary documents, this monograph argues that the major developments in the relationship -- the 1992 Inter-institutional Agreement and the 1995 Europe Mercosur Inter-regional Framework Cooperation Agreement – were initiated by Mercosur and supported mainly by Spain. This means that rather than the EU pursuing a strategy, as implied by most of the existing literature, the EU was largely responsive.
This chapter aims to explain the phase in EU-Mercosur relations which negotiated the association agreement without reaching a successful ending. Both parties developed those negotiations under the European Mercosur Interregional Cooperation Agreement (EMIFCA). It was agreed that this agreement would be carried out in two phases. The first phase related to the preparation of the ground for future negotiations by comparing standards, statistical systems, trade procedures, whilst the second phase focussed on trade liberalization. The second phase of this agreement was also focussed on the actual negotiations. In the end, both parties were unable to reach an agreement and the negotiations were stopped in October 2004. This chapter will focus on the period up until the period where the EU became set on developing a political partnership with Brazil. In doing so, this decision marked the beginning of a new stage in history of EU policy towards Mercosur. By looking at how these two parts of the policy were developed, and how far both sides went in both their statements and actions it will be possible to discuss the level of engagement on the EU side towards Mercosur. It seems that there were actors within the EU willing to both increase and decrease the level of “ambition” and “commitment”. Also, Mercosur countries helped to overcome some of the obstacles and this should be considered in order not to attribute the whole outcome solely to EU behaviour. The EU developed the association agreement towards Mercosur at this stage because of the efforts of the Commissioner in charge of the policy until 1999.
The study of European Union relations with Mercosur
Arantza Gomez Arana
This monograph seeks to examine the motivations behind the European Union’s (EU) policy towards the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the EU’s most important relationship with another regional economic integration organisation. In order to investigate the motivations (or lack thereof), this monograph will examine the contribution of the main policy and decision-makers, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, as well as the different contributions within both institutions. By doing so, it will be possible to show the degree of “involvement”/”engagement” reflected in the EU’s policy towards Mercosur, which is the dependent variable in this study. The analysis offered here examines the development of EU policy towards Mercosur in relation to three key stages: The non-institutionalized relations (1986-1990), official relations (1991-1995), and the negotiations of an association agreement (1996-2007 and 2010-present). This degree of engagement will be measured using a scale of low, medium and high degree. The outcome of the measure is created by analysing two factors, the level of “ambition” and “commitment”.