Peterson, John. (1999) “The Choice for EU Theorists: Establishing a Common Framework for Analysis”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
European Union (EU) studies have entered a highly creative phase, with a range of theoretical perspectives, seemingly quite highly differentiated from one another, competing for influence and “space.” However, the questions remain: are EU studies developing theories which are truly competing theories? Or is it developing theories that do not compete so much as they aim to explain distinctly different “pieces of the EU puzzle”? This paper responds directly to these two questions. It argues, first, that we generally lack theories that are true rivals; and, second, that leading models explain different outcomes at different levels in a clearly multi-level system of governance. The result is somewhat phony debates between compatible theories masquerading as rivals, and between “comparative politics” and “international relations” approaches. Above all, perhaps, we find middle range theories posing as “meta-theories.” In the absence of a plausible meta-theory of EU governance, theorists must choose precisely which type of outcome they wish to explain.
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