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European Union?

Hooghe, Liesbet, and Marks, Gary. (2007) European Union? In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)

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    [From the introduction]. Developments on the ground have provided a powerful reality check for research on European integration.1 Harold Macmillan’s response to a question about his greatest challenge in office: “Events, dear boy, events,” applies with special force to research on Europe. As the character of the European Union has changed, so has our understanding of it. One might say that the object of research is unidentified and travels at great velocity. The EU is unidentified in that it escapes labels, such as nation, state, empire, region, federation, that form the conventional toolkit of political science. European integration challenges the long-standing division in political science between politics within countries—where justice, equality, freedom, and the rule of law are appropriate concepts, where executives, parliaments, and courts authoritatively legislate and arbitrate, and where interest groups and political parties intermediate interests—and politics among countries, where national governments express national preferences, and where relative economic or coercive power, arguably moderated by institutional and normative commitments, determine outcomes. Perhaps no field has spawned so much conceptual innovation as European integration; no field is so uncertain about what it is that needs to be explained. Moreover, the EU travels at great velocity. The speed of institutional change is undeniable: the creation of a supranational authority regulating coal & steel, and the extension of its authority to capital mobility, food processors and educational exchange; the creation of a continental parliament, its direct election, and its veto power over a growing swathe of EU legislation; the creation of a monetary union . . . Over the space of thirty-four years, the polity has increased two-and-one-half times in population from 190 million to 493 million, and in the process has come to encompass a continent.2 Has anything this big been subject to such rapid change in so short a period? The answer is, of course, yes. Wars have transformed and destroyed massive political units in glimpses of historical time. What is distinctive about European integration is that the transformation has been deliberative; it has taken place in the absence of the coercion that has shaped and reshaped empires in the past. In the pantheon of deliberative regime change, the EU is unparalleled in its breadth and speed.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > europeanisation/europeanization & European identity
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Other > researching and writing the EU (see also integration theory in this section)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2007 (10th), May 17-19, 2007
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2008
    Page Range: p. 26
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:50

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