Reflexive Integration

A Perspective on the Transformation of Europe

Authored by: Erik O. Eriksen

Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory

Print publication date:  March  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548250
eBook ISBN: 9780203875575
Adobe ISBN: 9781135997946


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Europe has been transformed from an order of largely independent nation-states with their divergent identities and interests to a supranational order with some capacity to rule in the name of all. Hence, the transformation of Europe not only testifies to Europeanization of the nation-states but also to new forms of political rule emerging beyond the international system of state relations. Europe has been integrated within the multi-level constellation that makes up the European Union (EU). While international affairs traditionally are conducted through diplomacy and intergovernmental bargaining between the executive branches of government, we are now witnessing problem-solving in policy networks and transnational institutions as well as collective goal attainment and conflict-resolution in supranational institutions such as the European Parliament (EP), the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and the European Commission. The EU has emerged beyond that of international regime and is a major force in the reorganization of political power in Europe. It constitutes a new type of political order that does not fit into the traditional dichotomy of intergovernmental versus nation-state regulation.

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