From Stability to Uncertainty: “Zeitenwende” and the Delegitimation of European Security Governance
Inter-state war is back to Europe. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken many governance norms in Europe with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz calling the moment a “Zeitenwende”. But even recently, many analysts argued that a Russian aggression was unlikely due to the strong security norms established in Europe over the previous decades. What does this mean for European security governance and how can we explain the processes transforming it?
To explain this transformation, the project theorises the recent contestations of European security governance as shaped by (de-)legitimation processes: States advance various justificatory discourses to claim as righteous different expectations of the continent's security governance. By supporting or contesting these justificatory discourses, they (de-)legitimise the norms European security governance is built on and make new security policies justifiable. Drawing on discourse network analysis, the (de-)legitimation of territorial sovereignty and the ius ad bellum among actors such as the European Union, the US, Russia and Germany is examined.
The project provides tools to analyse how conflict dynamics within Europe in the last decade are interwoven with the (de-)legitimation of international rule of law on the European continent and considers pathways for sustainable solutions to create stable security structures.