Transworld Paper No. 45
by Tobias Bunde
Social constructivists have always thought of NATO as the institutionalization of the transatlantic security community, based on a collective identity of a community of liberal democracies. Unfortunately, most researchers have just postulated this collective identity without studying its content and contestation in detail. An analysis of the speeches given at the annual Munich Security Conference, often dubbed the “transatlantic family meeting”, since September 11, 2001, reveals that the representatives of NATO member states often voice quite different understandings of their collective identity. While there is still a lot of agreement among the speakers, the debates also reflect a heterogeneous “identity terrain”, shaped by diverging conceptions of constitutive norms, different interpretations of NATO’s purpose, various interpretations of its relationship with other actors, and diverse cognitive models concerning diplomacy and the use of force.