JSIS A 494
Introduction to research into European topics and to the analysis of problems.
Course title: Theoretical Perspectives on European Integration.
Course description: The European Union (EU) is both the most advanced project of supranational integration in the world and a unique political system that blends features of an international organization and the nation-state. Its evolution thus represents a fascinating example of international cooperation and institution-building at the supranational level but also transforms institutions, styles of policy-making and processes of political competition and democratic legitimation in its Member States. The study of European integration therefore invites important theoretical questions in three directions: First, in terms of empirical conceptualization, we need models to understand the functioning of the EU and ways of comparing it to other political systems. Is the EU comparable to federal nation-states or is it a unique polity sui generis? Second, in terms of theoretical explanation, the EU continues to present interesting puzzles concerning the conditions leading to the evolution of political and economic integration, and the explanation of its limitations and contingencies. What factors have lead to the extension from initially 6 to 28 Member States and the establishment of institutions such as monetary union or the directly elected European Parliament, and will the EU continue to grow into a European super-state? Third, the increased contentiousness of European policies drastically demonstrated through protests and emerging discontent in the context of the current Euro crisis show the need of critically assessing the state and future of the EU’s public justification, legitimization, and potential democratization. Are there ways to correct the current tendency towards technocratic problem-solving and bargaining behind closed doors as demonstrated during the management of the European debt crisis, and what are concepts for a more democratic future of the EU?
Against the background of these questions, the course will introduce you into the classical approaches towards the theoretical study of the EU as well as more recent and innovative perspectives. In this sense, we will study the most relevant theories of European integration, move on to governance and comparative politics approaches and deal with some of the most recent theoretical debates, including the analysis of the EU as empire, deliberative approaches and theories of justification and politicization, the study of Europeanization, and theoretical approaches towards the study of the EU as an international actor. Throughout the course, we will combine the study of theoretical approaches with the analysis of case studies and the discussion of current developments taking place in the context of EU politics.
Student learning goals
- Knowledge of classical theories of European integration and more recent theoretical perspectives on EU governance and Europeanization
- Problem-oriented case studies relating to current events and debates related to European integration (Eurozone crisis, EU enlargement, EU foreign policy)
- Knowledge of normative debates about the legitimacy of EU governance and concepts for the democratization of the EU
- Comparison between the EU and other international organizations
General method of instruction
- Lectures, including Q & A - Discussion of assigned readings - Presentations by students - Discussion - Work on case studies in break-out groups
- At least basic knowledge of EU institutions and decision-making - Knowledge of international relations literature and theories - Awareness of current events and debates concerning EU governance
Class assignments and grading
- Regular, active, and informed participation (20%) - In-class presentation (20%) - Written exam (30%) - Final term paper (30%)