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Sara Dybris McQuaid

Good neighbourly relations or family values? Assessing British Irish Cooperation in a Comparative Perspective 1990-2010

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Good neighbourly relations or family values?
Assessing British Irish cooperation in a comparative perspective 1990-2010.

This paper forms part of a larger comparative study, which charts the past 20 years development of British Irish cooperation and Nordic cooperation.
It examines specifically the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, the British Irish Council, the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers (that is, both parliamentarian and intergovernmental cooperation). Through an examination of how these institutions have tried to assert, apply and position themselves I will
suggest problems and possibilities relating to political community formation at a transnational level.

The paper will examine cooperative continuities and change under three headlines:

1. The nature of the cooperation: what basis does it rest on? (neo-realism/liberal institutionalism/constructivism)
2. The potential of the cooperation: what can it be used for?
3. The relationship between these institutions and other loci of political agenda setting (i.e. the EU, the nation states and competing regional organisations.)

The paper will argue more broadly that the continued importance of transnational political associations lies in the legitimacy they derive from a historical narrative of a common social, cultural, economic and political fabric. Importantly, however, the impetus behind the cooperation is constructed from both associative and ascriptive components of collective identity; cooperation is motivated by equal amounts of emotional/primordial belonging (identity) and instrumental/ pragmatic arguments (interests). Cooperation can glide effortlessly between both ends of this continuum to negotiate the national moods of the time. It is this sphere between social union and political union that makes them arguably more flexible and less contested than most international institutions. The council model of cooperation can serve (and has served) as a prototype for creative adaptation of the nation state to better accommodate the hybrid and layered identities of citizens as well as become a launch site for more normative international activities and a response site for cross border challenges.

StatusUdgivet - 2011
BegivenhedPolitical Studies Association of Ireland: Political Reform in Ireland - Dublin, Irland
Varighed: 21 okt. 201123 okt. 2011


KonferencePolitical Studies Association of Ireland

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