Some theoretical premises of European Union research
in Democracy, social resources and political power in the European Union
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A major obstacle to an adequate examination of European integration is the definition of political phenomena as requiring either a national or an international relations (IR) approach. European political integration as the emergence of a relatively autonomous and structured European political field is often confused with the modernisation of national economic, social and political lives. The process of structuration of the European political field can be understood both as involving processes of convergence and divergence. This implies the institutionalisation of new political and economic values and patterns of behaviour that unite national politics into a structurally looser entity, the European political field. For politicians like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, integration into the evolving European political field, with its institutions and procedures, presents new fora for the accumulation of a distinct type of political resource.

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