• Webster Tinashe Chakawata Sports Sciences Department, Malmö University, Sweden.



European Union, Normative Power, Actorness, Normative Actorness, Sport


Research on the European Union in the fields of international relations and European studies has all too often been skewered towards two important axes of debate which have been running relatively independently of each other: the study of the European Union (EU) as a normative power (NPE) and the study of EU actorness. This paper sets out to demonstrate the conceptual applicability of an integrated EU actorness-NPE perspective for understanding the EU’s unique identity. To build on this conceptual linkage, the article utilizes as its unit of analysis, the EU’s area of sport policy, before going onto frame it within the NPE-actorness debates when assessing the identity of the EU in international sport. Two central questions drive the study: (1) is the EU a normative actor in the manner espoused by Ian Manners when looking at sport and (2) if it is a normative actor, does it conform to the traditional characteristics of EU actorness that characterizes Jupille and Caporaso’s EU actorness thesis. It makes use of document reviews pertaining to EU sport during the period between 2009 – 2022 along with meta-theoretical content analysis. Findings show that the EU is a normative actor through the sport regulation, sport diplomacy, and competition law tracks, whereas it scores highly when looking at the actorness thesis. By showcasing that the EU actorness thesis and EU normative power concepts are complementary, this analysis contributes to the mainstream EU literature and not least by coupling sport as the prism of appraisal, a novel agenda focusing on EU sport policy and its interaction with other EU literature grounded in the political sciences is left to more meaningfully crystalise.


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How to Cite

Chakawata, W. T. (2023). EU NORMATIVE ACTORNESS IN SPORT: AN IDEA(L) WHOSE TIME HAS COME? . Sports Law, Policy & Diplomacy Journal, 1(2), 35–62.