(Journal of Contemporary European Studies) (Co-authored with Sandra Fernandes) Abstract: The aim of this special issue is to look at challenges to the EU and NATO and their relations and policies with both member states and neighboring countries, in particular, how recent developments contribute to the new dynamics of center–periphery relations in a wider Europe and the space of Euro-Atlantic institutions. We stem from a need to understand in what sense weaker countries today might be central to European governance, security and identity. What is a matter of utmost interest for the contributors to this special issue is the question of how countries that are (perceived as) non-central and thus weaker try to present and position themselves as belonging to Europe’s core, especially in security domains. Inspired by the concept of marginality developed by Noel Parker and a group of his colleagues – as part of post-modernist/post-structuralist scholarship in the sociology of international relations – we move the concept further on by expanding the empirical base for the scholarly expertise on centrality and marginality. In the context of the illiberal turn, we test two main hypotheses. First, we claim that the core/margins relationship is not unidirectional, and margins are increasingly capable of reshaping Europe in one way or another. Secondly, we argue that the phenomena of centrality and marginality can be conceptualized as both normative and spatial concepts.
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