From Coherence to Coheritization

Published in Globalizations 17(4), 2020

From coherence to coheritization: explaining the rise of policy coherence in EU external policy

With Thomas R. Eimer

Over the past decade, the external policy of the European Commission has become increasingly entangled by the notion of policy coherence. Previously ‘siloed’ policy areas such as trade, agriculture, and development are increasingly approached as challenges only effectively resolved by addressing their positive and negative interlinkages. While the EC is critical of fundamental incoherencies between different policy areas, it simultaneously calls to harness synergies between them. To explain this ambiguous approach, we combine insights from speech act theory and cultural political economy. We aim for methodological triangulation by employing social network analysis, an explanatory narrative, and expert interviews. We argue that the Commission’s approach towards coherence can be understood as a process that reshapes the actor landscape around the discourse on coherence. By gradually pushing out the most outspoken actors, the Commission discursively resolves the inherent contradictions of reconciling free trade and development of the Global South.

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Suggested citation:
Schmitz, L. & Eimer, T.R. (2020). "From coherence to coheritization: explaining the rise of policy coherence in EU external policy ." Globalizations. 17(4). https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2019.1676103.