Democracy, social resources and political power in the European Union

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.

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