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.

Constructivism and EU Politics

Constructivism and EU politics


The complexities and challenges for a chapter such as this are captured in the very phrase ‘social construction of Europe’. Should the emphasis be on Europe – thus suggesting the sui generis nature of the post-war European project and the special, regional-specific (constructivist) conceptual tools needed to study it? Or, should it be on the words social construction, implying a particular analytic orientation that can be applied across regions – including but not limited to Europe and the EU?

This essay comes down heavily in favour of the latter, as this would seem a natural choice. After all, within political science, constructivism's origins and two-decade long gestation were within the subfield of international relations, not in EU studies (Adler ...

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