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The European Union: How does it work?

The European Union: How does it work? (5th edn)

Daniel Kenealy, John Peterson, and Richard Corbett
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date: 07 February 2023

p. 31. Introductionlocked

p. 31. Introductionlocked

  • Daniel Kenealy,
  • John Peterson
  •  and Richard Corbett


This introductory chapter discusses the practical and analytical reasons for studying the European Union. It also considers some of the main conceptual approaches to understanding the EU: international relations approaches; the comparative politics approach; the sociological/cultural approach; and the public policy approach. Furthermore, it outlines three broad themes that help the reader make sense of the EU: experimentation and change; power sharing and consensus; and scope and capacity. Finally, it provides an overview of the chapters that follow, which cover topics ranging from an historical overview of the EU’s development to the EU’s relations with the wider world, EU enlargement, the EU’s foray into security policy, and the EU’s growing role as a global actor.

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