European Political Science

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 437–465 | Cite as

the babel of European Union studies: beyond the trans-Atlantic divide

  • Mads Dagnis JensenEmail author
  • Peter Marcus Kristensen


This article examines four lines of scholarly difference in European Union (EU) studies – meta-theoretical, (sub)disciplinary, epistemological and methodological – and whether these are linked to the geographical and institutional affiliations of the authors operating in the field. The study uses a novel dataset based on a quantitative content analysis and human coding of 1597 articles in leading journals dealing with the EU published in the period 2003–2012. The article shows that USA-based scholars score on average – though in many cases, not significantly – higher when it comes to indicators of a comparative politics approach to the EU, use of a rational choice, positivist and statistical vocabulary, and articles coded as quantitative. However, on most of these indicators scholars in some European countries, and especially some institutions, score significantly higher, suggesting that we should disaggregate ‘Europe’ when discussing scholarly differences in the field.


European Union studies meta-analysis scholarly styles sociology of science quantitative–qualitative divide 



We are grateful for the valuable feedback provided by the reviewers and the participants at Center for European Politics’ research meeting at University of Copenhagen and the Globalization and Europeanization Research Group at University of Roskilde where we presented earlier versions of the paper. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Dirk Leuffen and Kristoffer Kropp who read and commented on the paper. The paper could not have been written without research assistance from several people including Benjamin Carl Egerod, Casper Waldemar Hald, Egil Andreu Gräs and Mikkel Kinch-Jensen. We would also like to thank Holly Snaith for proofreading. Finally, we are in debt to Center for European Politics for financing the project. The standard disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde School of GovernanceRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

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