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European Union Politics

European Union Politics (7th edn)

Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán
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date: 01 June 2023

p. 52p. 534. Neo-functionalismlocked

p. 52p. 534. Neo-functionalismlocked

  • Carsten Strøby Jensen


This chapter reviews a theoretical position, neo-functionalism, which was developed in the mid-1950s by scholars based in the United States. The fundamental argument of the theory is that states are not the only important actors on the international scene. As a consequence, neo-functionalists focus their attention on the role of supranational institutions and non-state actors, such as interest groups and political parties, who, they argue, are the real driving force behind integration efforts. The chapter that follows provides an introduction to the main features of neo-functionalist theory, its historical development since the 1950s, and how neo-functionalism is used today.

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