Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN32_04a: EU(ropean) constructions
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Pauline Cullen, Maynooth University
Location: GM.338
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Western Balkans and the Crisis of the European Integration

Tatjana Sekulic

University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

The paper investigates the interrelation between the ongoing crisis of the European integration project and the patterns and effects of its transformative democratizing power towards accession states. In the literature on the EU enlargement process in Central and Eastern Europe and the 'Western Balkans', the basic conditionality principle of the enlargement is conceived mostly in terms of a transfer of cognitive, structural and institutional patterns and practices from West and North to East and South, from the center to its multiple peripheries. This view is problematic insofar as it construes the EU accession process as a unidirectional process of harmonization with Acquis, thus uncritically reducing the notion of Europeanization to its normative and procedural (and thus coercive) dimension, equating it with the implementation of ‘best practice’ packages by the aspirant countries. Contrary to this view, the translation of the policy as such (and of specific policies regarding all segments of the society) has been shown to be unpredictable and contingent, so that its adaptation requires constant re-contextualization, taking into account asymmetrical power relations. The research aims to discover how the institutional process of accession of the ‘Western Balkan’ countries unfolds at the local, national, and European level. The longitudinal inquiry (2008-2018) combined theoretical and empirical analysis of the European integration and enlargement process in this specific frame, in its normative and in its practical dimension. The analysis concerned (1) narratives of the actors involved in the enlargement/accession procedures in a longitudinal and multi-site perspective, collected by the means of semi-structured interviews and analyzed by CDA methodology; (2) critical discourse analysis of the EU progress reports and other EU strategic documents.

Sociology and EU integration theories. What role for Political Sociology?

Ioanna Christodoulaki

Boston university, United States of America

The paper reviews the literature of EU integration, and discusses the role of sociological approaches in the study of the European Union. Although dominant integration theories have over the years more or less successfully captured developments in the EU, and have reflected the scope of EU integration predominantly as a process of economic coordination, the rise of Eurosceptic voices, along with the particular expansion of populist nationalism, especially in the context of the European sovereign debt crisis, have pointed to the structural defaults of the European project, and have put into question continued popular support. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review dominant EU integration theories, and to shed some light on the contribution of political sociology as a discipline in the study of the European Union in times of crises. With its particular focus on state-society relations, political sociology may provide complementary angles and tools to suggest alternative analytical and explanatory frameworks to the study of the EU, especially with regard to the political, social and economic developments that followed the Eurozone crisis. With political sociology’s further emphasis on the relationship between publics and the political elites, the social dimension of the EU, and the impact of the economic crisis on the society, the paper finally seeks to establish the missing link in the way in which political actors interact to produce particular political outcomes on the society at large.

Depoliticisation and politicisation through the discourse analysis: from Mario Draghi to the Spitzenkandidaten, how re-politicise the European Union

Elania Zito

Department of Political Sciences, Sapienza University, Italy

The research investigates how the European Union is facing with a new way of politicisation since the arrival of Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, on the european scenario. This research investigates on a first analysis on the Spitzenkandidaten in the next EP elections, comparing the two sides of politicisation and depoliticisation. The first side, made by the ECB in the first time of the european financial crisis, and by the European Commission - in this second part of the post financial crisis - with the attempt to re-politicise the EU starting from a political approach through the Spitzenkandidaten. The second side, made by the national and euroskeptic leveles, engaged on a disruptive and anti-political rethoric. Comparison the different levels of leadership in the EU (European Commission, European Council, European Central Bank), the aim of this research is to demonstrate the assumption that we are facing with two parallel processes of politicisation and depoliticisation in the EU.

When the EU Is Appealing to the Disadvantaged: How Utilitarianism and Identity Shape Attitudes Towards a Social Europe

Borbála Göncz

Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

The member states of the European Union have been recently facing an economic and a refugee crisis that put under test one of the fundamental values of the European Union, solidarity. In this context of missing congruence between market integration and social integration many argued that further legitimacy, common identity and solidarity is needed for further integration stressing the importance of a social Europe.

Going beyond the widely researched topic of public support towards the European integration process this paper examines the potential public support for a social Europe. While recent studies approach European solidarity from the perspective of the welfare state and welfare attitudes, this paper links it to support for the EU and the concept of identity. It is argued that general support for the European integration process and support for a social Europe are different phenomena. Building on the analysis of the ESS survey data collected in 2016 results confirm that, while their drivers might be similar, i.e. interests and identities, the mechanisms at work behind are different also depending on the institutional context of a country.