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Social Content of the International Sphere: Symbols and Meaning in Franco-German Relations. CES Germany & Europe Working Paper no. 02.2, 2002

Krotz, Ulrich. (2002) Social Content of the International Sphere: Symbols and Meaning in Franco-German Relations. CES Germany & Europe Working Paper no. 02.2, 2002. [Working Paper]

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    With respect to the particular empirical domain and historical period that this paper examines, a conceptual focus on symbols makes it possible to construct a narrative that brings together a host of symbolic Franco-German practices between the late 1950s and the end of the century. As isolated events all of these episodes and pieces are well documented. However, only the conceptual tool that this article develops provides the means to assemble these manifold incidents and occurrences into a coherent whole, to comprehend their connectedness, and to appreciate the social meaning with its characteristic effects that these symbolic acts generate and perpetuate in their entirety. In sum, in this paper I pursue three goals. First, I distinguish the concept of “predominantly symbolic acts and practices among states” and define symbolic acts as a distinct category of international practice. I provide the conceptual framework to capture important international social content as well as to appreciate the effects of such meaning and social purpose. Second, with this conceptual addition, I systematically explore the empirical manifestation of such acts, and the meaning and purpose they help to institutionalize, for the bilateral relationship between France and Germany between the late 1950s and mid-1990s. I specify their substance and review their meaning. Third, I propose to view symbolic practices and their effects as elements of international social structure of interaction and meaning, and, as such, to consider them and the meaning they embody as ontological building blocks of international life. Doing so, in this paper I connect symbols to a social-structural style of international analysis. Both conceptually and empirically, this article attempts to fill a gap in the literature. It is as much about the “special” Franco-German relationship as it is about important ontological issues in international relations theory.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > France
    Countries > Germany
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Harvard University, Center for European Studies > Program for the Study of Germany and European Working Papers Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2009
    Page Range: p. 42
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 18:00

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