Contradictions – Whither the Political, Economic and Social Integration of Europe?
For some years, pundits have said that the European Union has been under stress and showing resilience, undergoing ‘crises’ requiring adaptation. Social scientists are trying to understand how current political tensions and policy contradictions affect the European project now that the ‘permissive consensus’ has come to an end, and the EU post-Lisbon ‘constitutional compromise’ looks fragile.
Scholars have been reflecting on the state of European integration with a diachronic perspective based on empirical work or theoretical endeavours. They shed light on the EU as a set of institutions and policies with elites and interest groups embedded in a wider international context. Analysis of the EU as a source of political cleavage are key to understanding populism, party realignment, territorial tensions in many member states, against the backdrop of inequalities within and across member states.
This conference will address the complex relationship between socioeconomic dynamics and EU developments, to understand the bases of political integration and its potential effects. Are the terms ‘European society’ or ‘European economy’ constructs reflecting an empirical reality and can they be linked to EU policies? In this era of ‘lost illusions’, our Paris meeting will also engage with debates in political, legal and social theory around key concepts including democracy, the rule of law, and legitimacy.
The conference provides space for researchers from various backgrounds – political science, history, sociology, law, anthropology, philosophy, geography, economics – to present and discuss cutting-edge research focused on the pressing questions of European integration. The ECPR’s Standing Group on the European Union is committed to methodological pluralism, and encourages dialogue across academic disciplines.