Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-12202016-182505

Type of thesis
Human Rights in Foreign Policy – an Analysis of Counter-Piracy Discourse and Policies of the European Union and the United States of America"
Scientific disciplinary sector
SCIENZE POLITICHE - Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability
  • Counter-Piracy
  • Discourse Analysis
  • European Union
  • Foreign Policy
  • Human Rights
  • United States of America
Exam session start date
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY <br><br>This thesis examines the conceptualisation of human rights and their utilisation in foreign policy formulation and implementation by the United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU). We focus on analysis of discourse and policies related to counter-piracy in Somalia during the period 2008-2016. This research adopts a qualitative research approach. It reflects an interest in the meanings behind concepts. We rely on premises, tools and insights provided by the constructivist approach to international relations, role theory and foreign policy analysis. We argue that there are differences in the way the EU and the US articulate and operationalise human rights. These differences result from the two actors’ different prioritisation and interpretation of underlying political values and the international roles they envisage for themselves. We seek the grounds for the differences in predominant philosophical ideas, legal traditions and historical and social contexts. From a methodological point of view, the research employs a combination of content and discourse analyses. <br><br>Chapter 1 introduces our research question and main argument. It justifies the selection of units of analysis, the case study and the period of time considered. It explains the research framework and methodology. It argues why constructivism and role theory were deemed fitting for this kind of research. <br><br>Chapter 2 deals with the conceptualisation of human rights from a philosophical and legal perspective in a diachronic perspective. It also discusses the incorporation of human rights in foreign policy. The chapter presents the development of the human rights concept in the EU and the US respectively. This is supported by a discussion of major foreign policy traditions and roles adopted by the two actors. <br><br>Chapter 3, on the EU, and Chapter 4, on the US, constitute the core of the analysis. Both chapters begin with a presentation of the documents that were selected for the content and discourse analyses. The study aims at identifying key elements of human rights conceptualisation and the crossing points between the concepts of human rights and counter-piracy. Both chapters in their final part indicate what are the main features and directions of EU and US counter-piracy policies. <br><br>Chapter 5 presents the main findings of our research in a comparative perspective. The United States’ and the European Union’s ways of conceptualising and utilising the concept of human rights are discussed side by side in order to identify associated similarities and differences. <br><br>The Conclusion summarises the main findings of the research including theoretical and policy implications. It further sets some possible targets for future research, inspired and informed by the analysis and findings presented in this thesis.<br>