Roscher, Klaus. (1999) “Transforming the State or Diluting the Nation? Ideas, Interests, and French Discourse on European Integration”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)
Europeanization presents a major challenge to the traditional model of nation-state. One strategy of inquiry would be to ask whether at all or how much transformation has actually occurred. I will rather concentrate on the perception of political actors of these transformations. The study of ideas examines how policy orientations are constructed and mediated or ultimately turned into decisions. In political discourse, fundamental concepts about the nation-state are brought into accordance with the idea and effects of Europeanization. This cultural process of adaptation enables political elites to pursue their goal of European integration and provides a means of legitimization of domestic change. Now it seems that a point is reached at which some argue for further adaptations, whereas others warn against it because this would destroy the nation-state. How do they refer in discourse to these changes, what are the arguments used by both sides, and how can the positions be explained? To the latter question, usually an interest-driven account is presented. I claim that both interest and idea approaches are not mutually exclusive but can be combined. This paper will therefore start by proposing a framework of analysis that integrates both accounts, followed by a short introduction to the political discourse. I will then go on by applying an idea, and an interest driven account to my case, in turn. Finally, some concluding remarks plead for the value-added of a combined approach to the study of political discourse.
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