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"France and the social construction of Europe. Part I: France's Germany Policy and the Schumann Plan"

Parsons, Craig. (1997) "France and the social construction of Europe. Part I: France's Germany Policy and the Schumann Plan". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    Was the Schuman Plan the rational realization of French interests in a changing environment, or a bold, new interpretation of French interests? This paper poses this question as the first step in a larger project about the ‘social construction’ of the French role in today’s European Union. I argue that the Schuman Plan did reflect a re-conceptualization of French interests, that I can point to what was re-conceptualized, and that I can demonstrate its institutionalization historically. In the language of social science, my dependent variable is French policy towards Germany; specifically, I wish to explain the timing and content of French policy initiatives. I study two competing independent variables. The Milwardian rationalist story sees changing environmental constraints as the source of changing French policies. The constructivist story traces change in French policies to the introduction and institutionalization of innovative ideas. The immediate goal of this paper is to show that only the latter adequately explains the Schuman Plan and the changes it represented in French government policies. While this is the logical first step in the ‘social construction of Europe,’ it is unfortunately far from a self-sufficient piece of that puzzle. As will be discussed below, a constructivist argument needs to demonstrate both the introduction of new ideas and their long-term effects. These long-term effects will only be displayed in the full study, covering the subsequent steps of European institution-building. This essay thus only begins the historical story of the effects of the Schuman Plan innovations.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > general
    Countries > France
    Countries > Germany
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > social policy > general
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1997 (5th), May 29-June 1, 1997
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2006
    Page Range: p. 80
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:23
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2699

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