An end to ‘Merkelism’? German decision-making in the Eurozone crisis as stigma management

Light lunch provided

This research project critically engages with the question of what motivated German decision-making in the Eurozone crisis, and specifically, in the negotiations over Greek financial assistance after January 2015 – a period that arguably remains underspecified by dominant IR and European politics approaches. To this end, I propose a sociological, actor-centred framework with which to study German decision-making as a case of ‘stigma management.’ Drawing on data from a wide range of elite interviews, I argue that from January 2015 onwards, Germany’s moral standing in the European community was directly challenged, inducing a shift in the negotiation climate that shaped its decision-makers’ strategic and social concern for saving ‘face.’