Comparative European Politics

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 110–126 | Cite as

Using Europe: Strategic action in multi-level politics

Original Article

Abstract

This article examines the importance of action-theoretical considerations in European studies. By outlining the notion of ‘usage’ of the European Union, we argue for a more systematically sociological consideration of strategic action in the study of European transformations. The recent turns towards constructivism and comparative political sociology allow analyzing the rationality of political actors without falling in the trap of overly reductionist rational choice assumptions. Concentrating on intentional action helps to reveal the importance of three aspects of the multi-level polity: (1) informal and non-constraining procedures; (2) the effects of ways in which actors move in between the different levels of the European political system; and (3) the ambiguous and often surprising coalitions that come together despite often considerable disagreement over their final goals.

References

  1. Adler, E. (2002) Constructivism and international relations. In: W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse and B.A. Simmons (eds.) Handbook of International Relations. London: Sage, pp. 95–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balme, R., Chabanet, D. and Wright, V. (eds.) (2002) L’action Collective en Europe. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.Google Scholar
  3. Bereni, L. (2004) Le mouvement français pour la parité et l’Europe. In: S. Jacquot and C. Woll (eds.) Les usages de l’Europe: acteurs et transformations européennes. Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 33–54.Google Scholar
  4. Börzel, T.A. and Risse, T. (2000) When Europe hits home: Europeanization and domestic change. European Integration Online Papers 4: 15, http://eiop.or.at/eiop/texte/2000-015a.htm.Google Scholar
  5. Börzel, T.A. and Risse, T. (2006) Europeanization: The domestic impact of European Union politics. In: K.E. Jørgensen, M.A. Pollack and B. Rosamond (eds.) Handbook of European Union Politics. London: Sage Publications, pp. 483–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bruno, I., Jacquot, S. and Mandin, L. (2006) Europeanization through its instrumentation: Benchmarking, mainstreaming and the open method of coordination… toolbox or Pandora's box? Journal of European Public Policy 13 (4): 519–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bruno, I., Jacquot, S. and Mandin, L. (2007) L’européanisation saisie par son instrumentation: Benchmarking, gender mainstreaming et MOC… boîte à outils ou boîte de Pandore ? In: B. Palier and Y. Surel et al, (eds.) L’Europe en action: Analyses d’européanisation. Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 193–250.Google Scholar
  8. Caporaso, J.A. (1996) The European Union and forms of state: Westphalian, regulatory or post-modern? Journal of Common Market Studies 34 (1): 29–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caporaso, J., Cowles, M.G. and Risse, T. (2001) Transforming Europe: Europeanization and Domestic Change. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chabanet, D. (2001) Mobilisations et clivages socio-politiques en Europe. Politique européenne 2001 (4): 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Checkel, J.T. (2005) International institutions and socialization in Europe: Introduction and framework. International Organization 59 (4): 801–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Checkel, J.T. (ed.) (2007) International Institutions and Socialization in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa, O. and Magnette, P. (eds.) (2007) Une Europe des élites? Réflexions sur la fracture démocratique de l’Union européenne. Bruxelles, Belgium: Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  14. Dehousse, R. (1994) Comparing national and EC law: The problem of the level of analysis. The American Journal of Comparative Law 42 (4): 761–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Delazay, Y. and Madsen, M.R. (2006) La construction européenne au carrefour du national et de l’international. In: A. Cohen, B. Lacroix and P. Riutort (eds.) Les formes d’activité politique: Elements d’analyse sociologique. Paris: PUF, pp. 277–296.Google Scholar
  16. Dobbin, F.R. (1994) Cultural models of organization: The social construction of rational organizing principles. In: D. Crane (ed.) The Sociology of Culture: Emerging Theoretical Perspectives. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, pp. 117–141.Google Scholar
  17. Duchesne, S. and Frognier, A.-P. (2002) Sur les dynamiques sociologiques et politiques de l’identification à l’Europe. Revue française de science politique 52 (4): 355–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elster, J. (1986) Rational Choice. Oxford: B. Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Erhel, C., Mandin, L. and Palier, B. (2005) The leverage effect. The open method of co-ordination in France. In: J. Zeitlin and P. Pochet (eds.) The Open Method of Coordination in Action: The European Employment Strategy and Social Inclusion Strategies. Brussels, Belgium: PIE-Peter Lang, pp. 217–247.Google Scholar
  20. Favell, A. (2006) The sociology of EU politics. In: K.E. Jørgensen, M.A. Pollack and B. Rosamond (eds.) Handbook of European Union Politics. London: Sage, pp. 122–137.Google Scholar
  21. Fearon, J. and Wendt, A. (2002) Rationalism vs constructivism: A skeptical view. In: W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse and B.A. Simmons (eds.) Handbook of International Relations. London: Sage Publications, pp. 52–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Featherstone, K. and Radaelli, C. (eds.) (2003) The Politics of Europeanization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fligstein, N. and Stone Sweet, A. (2002) Constructing politics and markets: An institutionalist account of European integration. American Journal of Sociology 107 (5): 1206–1243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Georgakakis, D. (2002) Les métiers de l’Europe politique. Acteurs et professionnalisations de l’Union européenne. Strasbourg, France: Presses universitaires de Strasbourg.Google Scholar
  25. Graziano, P. and Vink, M.P. (2007) Europeanization: New Research Agendas. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  26. Graziano, P., Jacquot, S. and Palier, B. (2009) Europa Europae. The Europeanization of ‘employment-friendly’ welfare state reforms in Europe: A framework for analysis. Paper presented at the Third RECWOWE Integration Week; 9–12 June, Utrecht.Google Scholar
  27. Grossman, E. (2006) Europeanization as an interactive process: German public banks meet EU state aid policy. Journal of Common Market Studies 44 (2): 325–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Guiraudon, V. (2001) Weak weapons of the weak? Transnational mobilization around migration in the European Union. In: D.R. Imig and S. Tarrow (eds.) Contentious European: Protest and Politics in an Emerging Polity. London: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 163–186.Google Scholar
  29. Guiraudon, V. (2003) The constitution of a European immigration policy domain: A political sociology approach. Journal of European Public Policy 10 (2): 263–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Guiraudon, V. and Favell, A. (eds.) (2010) The Sociology of the European Union. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  31. Hassenteufel, P. and Surel, Y. (2000) Des politiques publiques comme les autres? Construction de l’objet et outils d’analyse des politiques européennes. Politique européenne 2000 (1): 8–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Heidenreich, M. and Zeitlin, J. (eds.) (2009) Changing European Employment and Welfare Regimes. The Influence of the Open Method of Coordination on National Reform. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Hix, S. (1994) The study of the European community: The challenge to comparative politics. West European Politics 17 (1): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. (2009) A postfunctionalist theory of European integration: From permissive consensus to constraining dissensus. British Journal of Political Science 39 (1): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Irondelle, B. (2003) Europeanization without the European union? French military reforms 1991–1996. Journal of European Public Policy 10 (2): 208–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Irondelle, B. (2006) French political science and European integration: The state of the art. French Politics 4 (2): 188–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jabko, N. (2006) Playing the Market: A Political Strategy for Uniting Europe, 1985–2005. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Jacquot, S. (2006) L’instrumentalisation du gender mainstreaming à la Commission européenne : entre ‘ingénierie sociale’ et ‘ingénierie bureaucratique. Politique européenne 2006 (20): 33–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jacquot, S. (2008) National Welfare State Reforms and the Question of Europeanization: From Impact to Usages. Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe (RECWOWE) 2008: 01, http://www.socialpolicy.ed.ac.uk/recwowepudisc/working_papers/01-08.
  40. Jacquot, S. (forthcoming) L’Europe entre marché et égalité. De l’égalité de traitement entre les hommes et les femmes au gender mainstreaming. Brussels, Belgium: P.I.E.-Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  41. Jacquot, S. and Woll, C. (2003) Usage of European integration – Europeanisation from a sociological perspective. European Integration Online Papers (EIoP) 7: 12, http://eiop.or.at/eiop/texte/2003-012a.htm.Google Scholar
  42. Jacquot, S. and Woll, C. (eds.) (2004) Usages de l’Europe: acteurs et transformations européennes. Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
  43. Joana, J. and Smith, A. (2002) Les commissaires européens : technocrates, diplomates ou politiques? Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.Google Scholar
  44. Jullien, B. and Smith, A. (2008) Industries and Globalization: The Political Causality of Difference. (Globalization and Governance). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jupille, J. and Caporaso, J. (1999) Institutionalism and the European Union: Beyond international relations and comparative politics. Annual Review of Political Science 2: 429–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Jupille, J., Caporaso, J.A. and Checkel, J.T. (2003) Integrating institutions: Rationalism, constructivism, and the study of the European Union. Comparative Political Studies 36 (7): 7–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kohler-Koch, B. and Eising, R. (1999) The Transformation of Governance in the European Union. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Le Galès, P. (2001) Est maitre des lieux celui qui les organise: How rules change when national and European policy domains collide. In: A. Stone Sweet, W. Sandholtz and N. Fligstein (eds.) The Institutionalization of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lequesne, C. and Smith, A. (1997) Union européenne et science politique: oú en est le debat théorique? Cultures and Conflits 28: 7–31.Google Scholar
  50. Majone, G. (1996) Regulating Europe. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. March, J.G. and Olsen, J.P. (1989) Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  52. Marks, G. and Hooghe, L. (2001) Multilevel Governance and European Integration. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  53. Mayntz, R. and Scharpf, F.W. (eds.) (1995) Gesellschaftliche Selbstregelung und politische Steuerung. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Campus.Google Scholar
  54. Menon, A. (2008) French follies? Politique européenne 2008 (25): 217–230.Google Scholar
  55. Mérand, F. (2008) European Defence Policy: Beyond the Nation State. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Palier, B. (2005) Ambiguous agreement, cumulative change: French social policy in the 1990s. In: W. Streeck and K. Thelen (eds.) Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 127–144.Google Scholar
  57. Pasquier, R. (2002) Quand l’Europe frappe à la porte des régions. Européanisation et mobilisations régionales en France et en Espagne. Politique européenne 2002 (7): 159–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pasquier, R. and Weisbein, J. (2004) L’Europe au microscope du local. Manifeste pour une sociologie politique de l’intégration communautaire. Politique européenne 2004 (12): 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pasquier, R. and Baisnée, O. (eds.) (2007) L’Europe telle qu’elle se fait: Européanisation et sociétés politiques nationales. Paris: CNRS Editions.Google Scholar
  60. Pollack, M.A. (2005) Theorizing the European Union: International organization, domestic politiy, or experiment in new governance? Annual Review of Political Science 8: 357–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Radaelli, C. (2001) The domestic impact of European public policies: Notes on concepts, methods and the challenge of empirical research. Politique européenne 2001 (5): 107–142.Google Scholar
  62. Radaelli, C. (2004) Europeanisation: Solution or problem? European Integration Online Papers 8: 16, http://eiop.or.at/eiop/texte/2004-016a.htm.Google Scholar
  63. Radaelli, C. and Franchino, F. (2004) Analysing political change in Italy. Journal of European Public Policy 11 (6): 941–953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Risse-Kappen, T. (1996) Exploring the nature of the beast: International relations theory and comparative policy analysis meet the European Union. Journal of Common Market Studies 34 (1): 53–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rozenberg, O. (2004) Du non-usage de l’Europe par les parlementaires nationaux: la ratification des traités européens à l’Assemblée nationale. In: S. Jacquot and C. Woll (eds.) Les usages de l’Europe. Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 261–292.Google Scholar
  66. Sanchez Salgado, R. (2008) European money at work: Contracting a European identity? Cahiers européens de Sciences Po 2008:04, http://www.portedeurope.org/spip.php?article3602&lang=fr.
  67. Sauger, N., Brouard, S. and Grossman, E. (2007) Les Français contre l’Europe? Les sens du référendum du 29 mai 2005. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.Google Scholar
  68. Scharpf, F.W. (1988) The joint-decision trap: Lessons from German federalism and European integration. Public Administration 66 (3): 239–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Scharpf, F.W. (2008) Der einzige Weg ist, dem EuGH nicht zu folgen. Mitbestimmung 2008 (7+8): 18–23.Google Scholar
  70. Schmidt, S.K. (1998) Commission activism: Subsuming telecommunication and electricity under European competition law. Journal of European Public Policy 5 (1): 169–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Schmidt, S.K. (2000) Only an agenda setter? The European commission's power over the council of ministers. European Union Politics 1 (1): 37–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schmidt, V.A. (2008) Discursive institutionalism: The explanatory power of ideas and discourse. Annual Review of Political Science 11: 303–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Smith, A. (2004) Le gouvernement de l’Union européenne: une sociologie politique. Paris: LGDJ.Google Scholar
  74. Strudel, S. (2002) Les citoyens européens aux urnes: les usages ambigus de l’article 8B du Traité de Maastricht. Revue internationale de politique comparée 9 (1): 47–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Swidler, A. (1986) Culture in action: Symbols and strategies. American Sociological Review 51 (2): 273–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Telo, M. (ed.) (2007) European Union and New Regionalism. Regional Actors and Global Governance in a Post-Hegemonic Era. London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  77. Toens, K. (2006) Lobbying for justice? Organized welfare in Germany under the impact of Europeanization. European Integration Online Papers (EioP) 10, http://eiop.or.at/eiop/index.php/eiop/article/view/2006_010a/31.
  78. Warleigh-Lack, A. (2006) Towards a conceptual framework for regionalisation: Bridging ‘new regionalism’ and ‘integration theory’. Review of International Political Economy 13 (5): 750–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Weisbein, J. (2001) Le militant et l’expert. Les associations civiques face au système politique européen. Politique européenne 2001 (4): 105–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Weisbein, J. (2003) Représenter ou (faire) figurer le citoyen dans l’Union européenne? Les contributions associatives à la fabrique des dispositions citoyennes en Europe. In: S. Saurugger (ed.) Les modes de représentation dans l’Union européenne. Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 227–247.Google Scholar
  81. Woll, C. (2006) The road to external representation: The European commission's activism in international air transport. Journal of European Public Policy 13 (1): 52–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Woll, C. (2007) Leading the dance? Power and political resources of business lobbyists. Journal of Public Policy 27 (1): 57–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Woll, C. (2008) Firm Interests: How Governments Shape Business Lobbying on Global Trade. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sciences Po Paris, 28 rue des Saints PèresParisFrance

Personalised recommendations