Ambiguities of power: struggle and resistance in (the relations between) Turkey and the EU

H.L.M. Muehlenhoff

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Traditional definitions of power assume a unidirectional and coercive relationship between two actors. The debate about power in International Relations has questioned such a compulsive unidirectionality by pointing to the multidimensionality of power, as well as to the power of those who are traditionally seen at the receiving end. It is especially the latter aspect that has not been taken up seriously by empirical analyses. Moreover, research has ignored the complex power struggles the ‘receiving’ actors are engaged in and their possibility of resistance. If taken into account, these Foucauldian revisions of the concept of power allow us to analyse the development of the relationship between Turkey and the European Union (EU) since the turn of the millennium in a much more nuanced way than is often done in the existing Europeanisation literature. This case is particularly interesting, firstly because of the change in relations between the EU and Turkey, questioning the condition of a credible membership perspective under which the traditional form of power of the EU over its neighbourhood becomes effective. It secondly shows that the EU’s power extends much beyond the imposition of policy changes and has restructuring effects on society as a whole, while domestic actors are by no means passive recipients in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-306
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number3
Early online date20 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Ambiguities of power: struggle and resistance in (the relations between) Turkey and the EU'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this