The European Union (EU) poses quite profound questions for scholars and students of the social and political sciences. This benchmark Handbook is designed to provide an authoritative state-of-the art guide to the scope of the field suitable for both established scholars and students of the EU; reflect and contribute to the debates about the nature of the field of EU studies and EU politics in particular; and explore in detail the development of the many approaches to the study of EU politics. Divided into four sections, the Handbook focuses on theorizing European integration; the EU as polity; politics and policy making in the EU; and the EU and the international system.
Had this handbook been published a decade ago, it is highly unlikely that it would have featured a chapter on executive politics. The issues addressed by students of executive politics today were still largely framed in terms of regional integration, and the theoretical approaches that nowadays dominate research on executive politics were still waiting to be imported from the general study of political science. This comparison of early and recent scholarship well summarizes the general argument of this chapter: the growing tendency of EU scholars over the last decade to conceptualize the EU as a polity or political system has produced a relatively distinct field of executive politics, concerned with issues of delegation, agency, and accountability, dominated by rational choice approaches to ...