Westlessness? Challenges for the EU’s Soft Power Approach

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The West claims to be an economic and political power. However, its moral authority seems increasingly pilloried in many places. Some political scientists even speak of “Westlessness”: populism, nationalism, right-wing extremism, terrorism and democratic fatigue are some of the symptoms. This disunity of many people in Western industrialised nations is nowhere more evident than in relation to the contested topic of immigration. It polarises societies, as it is precisely here that legal convictions clash with ethical and moral ones and subsequently fail in the attempt to create Realpolitik. This article will trace the events that led to the neologism “Westlessness” being coined, before it will contextualise responses from within and without to this diagnosis and use the EU’s responses to the so-called refugee crisis from 2015 until the present as a test case for its future in solidarity and unity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of European Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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