Practice approaches

Authored by: Sabine Saurugger

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:


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Amongst theoretical approaches to study European integration, practice approaches are the ‘newest kid’ on the block. Finding inspiration in anthropology, sociology and ethnography, they have applied and further developed a specific ontology in order to understand European integration as a process of day-to-day politics. Practice scholars are interested in the actual actions of agents in the exercise of their work. Through fine-grained case studies, they focus on micro-sociological processes and pay attention to the role of habitual and unreflective behaviour in European integration. In other words, in rejecting the dichotomy of actors versus structures, prominent in social sciences, practice approaches are interested in what happens on the ground. What sense do taxi drivers make of European integration, how do diplomats negotiate directives, how does a migrant experience the European Union (EU) when she first arrives on EU territory, these are just some of the subjects the practice approach deals with.

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