Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 315–336 | Cite as

Misplaced ‘other’ and normative pretence in transatlantic relations

  • Simon DukeEmail author


Normative pretence in EU-US relations argues that the role of ‘Europe’ as a normative power has often been promoted by reference to the United States as the ‘other’, often using evidence of American exceptionalism to bolster this view. This introduces two unhelpful elements into the debate over whether either is a normative power. First the confusion over who or what ‘Europe’ is, alongside the tendency to identify the US rather narrowly with the last administration, thereby introducing not only terminological confusion but a potentially distorting element of ahistoricism. Second, it artificially promotes differences in transatlantic relations that are generally exaggerated or false. Seven brief case studies suggest that the EU and the US are in fact remarkably similar as normative powers.


normative power European Union United States exceptionalism George W. Bush 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Institute of Public AdministrationMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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