There has been a lot of talk about the European Union's so-called 'democratic deficit', by which is meant its lack of legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. This book provides a critical analysis of the democratic stalemate in European politics. It argues that the root of the 'democratic deficit' has more to do with the domestic political fields of the Union's member-states and the structure of the evolving European political field than with the relationships between supranational institutions. The book analyses the complex ways 'Europe' is integrated into domestic politics and shows how domestic political fields and cultures have prevented deepening integration. As a result of the formation of a European political field, political resources in European 'postnational' and 'postabsolutist' polities are being redistributed. The theory of structural constructivism proposed fuses French structural theories of politics and a 'bottom-up' approach to European integration. The book examines the relationship between French political traditions and the construction of a European security structure from the point of view of identity politics and the French post-imperialist syndrome. The educational and social homogeneity of French civil servants provides a political resource that certain individuals can use in Brussels, influencing the direction and form of European integration. Studying legislative legitimacy in the European Parliament elections, the book highlights that intellectuals are important players in French politics: the politics of the street has always been a key part of French political life.
2 A structural constructivist theory of politics
and of European integration
In this chapter, I explore in detail structuralconstructivism as a theory of
European integration. By structuralconstructivism I refer to a mostly French
research tradition that develops some of Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical tools
(Bourdieu 1989, 14-25; Ansart 1990; Katshanov and Shmatko 1996, 90-104;
Kauppi 1996, 53-68, 2000). Bourdieu's structural constructivist theory of politics
offers powerful instruments for a critical analysis of political power. In European
studies, the theory
In Chapters 1 and 2, I critique current theories of European integration and
elaborate an alternative, structural constructivist theory of European integration.
Structuralconstructivism offers a middle-range approach that combines theory
with empirical research. By concentrating on the actions of politicians and
political groups, it can reveal some of the qualitative transformations brought
about by European integration in terms of political identity and power
opportunities. I show how this approach avoids the essentialism of social
transforms the ideational or symbolic and material context of political action
tied to national or regional contexts. Transformations are not teleological
(Foucault 1997), and they contain elements from concepts such as system change
or system substitution. Theoretically speaking, an examination of situated
action can reveal - through an analysis of a series of qualitative transformations the formal aspects of the 'essence' of European integration.
The theory of structuralconstructivism I propose in this book fuses French
structural theories of politics