The End of a Noble Narrative? European Integration Narratives after the Nobel Peace Prize

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 to the EU (European Union) came as a surprise. Not only was the eurozone economic crisis undermining both policy effectiveness and public support for the EU, but it was also seriously challenging the EU's image in global politics. The eurozone crisis, the Nobel Prize and the search for a ‘new narrative for Europe’ demonstrate that the processes of European integration are always narrated as sense‐making activities – stories people tell to make sense of their reality. This article argues in favour of a narrative approach to European integration through the construction and application of an analytical framework drawing on different theoretical perspectives. This framework is then applied to six European integration narratives to demonstrate the value of a narrative approach. The article concludes that narrative analysis provides a means of understanding both EU institutional and non‐institutional narratives of European integration.


External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Melbourne
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • European Union, European Integration, narrative, Nobel Peace Prize
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)185-202
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographic note

JCMS Special Issue 2016: Another Theory is Possible: Dissident Voices in Theorising Europe. Guest Editors: Ian Manners and Richard Whitman