The End of a Noble Narrative? European Integration Narratives after the Nobel Peace Prize

18 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Ian Manners

Ian Manners

University of Copenhagen

Philomena Murray

University of Melbourne

Date Written: January 2016


The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 to the EU (European Union) came as a surprise. Not only was the eurozone economic crisis undermining both policy effectiveness and public support for the EU, but it was also seriously challenging the EU's image in global politics. The eurozone crisis, the Nobel Prize and the search for a ‘new narrative for Europe’ demonstrate that the processes of European integration are always narrated as sense‐making activities – stories people tell to make sense of their reality. This article argues in favour of a narrative approach to European integration through the construction and application of an analytical framework drawing on different theoretical perspectives. This framework is then applied to six European integration narratives to demonstrate the value of a narrative approach. The article concludes that narrative analysis provides a means of understanding both EU institutional and non‐institutional narratives of European integration.

Keywords: European Union, narratives, Nobel Peace Prize, narrative theory, narrative analysis, European integration history

Suggested Citation

Manners, Ian and Murray, Philomena, The End of a Noble Narrative? European Integration Narratives after the Nobel Peace Prize (January 2016). JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 1, pp. 185-202, 2016, Available at SSRN: or

Ian Manners (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165

Philomena Murray

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, 3053

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