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.

Normative Political Theory and the European Union

Normative political theory and the European Union


In 2005 the French and Dutch referendum rejections of the European Union's Constitutional Treaty once again brought issues of the EU's legitimacy and identity to the forefront of political debate.1 Does the EU suffer from legitimacy deficits? If so, what are their alleged symptoms, diagnoses and prescriptions? Is there, and should there be, a ‘European identity’? Must Europeans share a core of values, traditions and rights – and should that requirement deny Turkey membership?

The expression of public concern in Europe for these issues of normative political theory underscores the value of such research both for doing and for understanding politics. This academic subdiscipline centrally seeks to evaluate the legitimacy of institutions and ...

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