Workshop: The European Security Field

On 21 October 2009 SPES fellow Raluca Csernatoni presented her PhD project on “The Practical Logic of the European Security Field: The Case of the New EU Member States” to students of the MA programme Military Studies offered at the University of Potsdam.

Csernatoni’s research proposes to cross-cut the schol­arship of French socio­logist Pierre Bourdieu with the broader debates on Europea­niz­ation and strategic culture, the principal aim being that to trace and signify the reform dynamics of the new European Union (EU) member states’ security sectors. Three general lines of argumen­tation are followed in Csernatoni’s thesis: one that attempts to shed further light on the gaps existing in the literature of Europea­niz­ation and that of strategic culture; one that brings to the fore the conceptual apparatus proposed by Pierre Bourdieu, in an attempt to test his socio­lo­gical inquiry with the afore­men­tioned litera­tures; and finally, one that discusses the tensions and comple­men­ta­rities between two inter­na­tional influ­ences in the case of the new EU member states’ security and defence reform, i.e. the EU per se and the role of NATO in the post-Cold War security context. Three paradig­matic hard case-studies would eventually empiri­cally inform the research, namely the cases of Romania, Hungary, and Poland. Conse­quently, the conceptual apparatus developed in Csernatoni’s PhD thesis draws inspi­ration from three strands of literature: the state of the art in the Europea­niz­ation literature, the theore­tical debates centering on strategic culture, and the political sociology of Pierre Bourdieu – more precisely the inter­re­la­ti­onship between his three core conceptual clusters: the notions of field, habitus, and capital. Csernatoni argued that the added value of such a research is that it explains both inertia and change within the relevant security fields in both dimen­sions of practice and discourse: on the one hand by explaining why certain habits remain entrenched; and on the other hand why other practices transform due to the dialectic interplay between struc­tural condi­tions and the agency of actors with their specific capitals and habitual dispo­si­tions. Csernatoni concluded that the theore­tical challenge would be to develop a compre­hensive research agenda that can signify both material interest-based and normative cultural causes that have influ­enced the relevant social actors in the field of security.
Von: Raluca Csernatoni, Daniel Matteo