Best Article in the European Journal of International Relations 2016

The winner of the EISA´s Best Article in EJIR 2016 is Lisel Hintz for her article ”Take It Outside´ National Identity Contestation in the Foreign Policy Arena”.


The abstract of the article:

Turkey’s Islamist-rooted Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) aggressively pursued European Union accession as a primary pillar of foreign policy, only to swing sharply away from the West in subsequent years. Actor- and party-based Islamist identity approaches cannot account for Turkey’s initial European Union-centric orientation, while domestic politics and economic arguments fail to explain the timing of the shift eastward and its domestic repercussions. Examining the advantages that foreign policy offers as an alternative arena in which elites can politicize identity debates helps to distill this complexity. This article argues that elites choose to take their national identity contests to the foreign policy arena when identity gambits at the domestic level are blocked. By taking its pursuit of hegemony for Ottoman Islamism “outside” through aggressive European Union accession measures, the Justice and Development Party could weaken domestic challengers supporting a competing, Republican Nationalist proposal for identity, and broaden support for Ottoman Islamism at home. The theory of identity hegemony developed here thus explains the counter-intuitive finding that Turkey’s European Union-oriented policy helped make possible the rise of Ottoman Islamism. Turkey offers an ideal empirical window onto these dynamics because of recent and dramatic shifts in the dynamics of its public identity debates, and because Turkey’s identity is implicated in multiple international roles, such as North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, European Union candidate country, Organization of Islamic Cooperation member, and aspirant regional power broker. The framework developed fills a gap in existing scholarship by closing the identity–foreign policy circle, analytically linking the spillover of national identity debates into foreign policy with the changes in the contours of these debates produced by their contestation in this alternative arena.


About the Best Article in the EJIR award

The prize recognizes and supports the crucial role of theory and theoretical pluralism in and for International Relations in Europe. It is awarded to theoretically innovative articles that elaborate a novel idea, make a significant contribution to existing debates, provide a rigorous analysis and impetus for new research.


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