Hix, Simon. (1995) "Parties at the European Level? A 'Comparative Politics Theory' of the Development of the European Party Federations". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. Since its birth in the 1950s, the European Community (or European Union (EU)) has mainly been studied as an example of the supranational integration of, or intergovernmental co-operation between, (previously) sovereign nation-states. With this research focus, it is appropriate that the dominant theoretical assumptions used in the analysis of EU politics come from the field of International Relations (IR). If the IR framework is not used, either the research is distinctly atheoretical (as has been most academic work on EU politics!) or the EU can be treated as sui generis, and theory can be built through purely inductive analysis. However, a number of recent approaches adopt an alternative strategy, which uses theories and methods from the field of Comparative Politics (cf. Hix, 1994). Despite their diversity of empirical focus these approaches share some basic research strategies: they deliberately distance themselves from the classic 'integration' theories; they concentrate on the 'internal' politics of the EU; and they analyse the EU as a "case study in comparative perspective" (Lijphart, 1975). For example, several approaches use a comparative theoretical framework to analyse the EU institutions (e.g. Wessels, 1991; Majone, 1993; Bulmer, 1994), or policy decisions (e.g. Garrett & weingist, 1991; Lange, 1993); and there is a growing body of literature which analyses the structure of institutions and interests in the EU using comparative politics concepts: such as co-operative federalism (e.g. Pryce & Wessels, 1987; Sbragia, 1992), consociationalism (e.g. Taylor, 1991; Gabel, 1994), and pluralism or corporatism (Schrnitter & Streek, 1991; Harlow, 1992).
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