This chapter argues that affirmative action is sometimes justifiable. ‘Affirmative action’ refers to policies beyond anti-discrimination law that directly regulate selection procedures to enhance the representation of members of various socially salient groups, such as those based on gender, race, and ethnicity. The chapter outlines an argument in support of affirmative action by distinguishing three prominent forms of wrongful discrimination and by showing that affirmative action is the appropriate response to the past and present wrongful discrimination suffered by members of socially salient groups. It also adds a second argument for affirmative action that appeals to the importance of enhancing diversity and social integration. The chapter then tackles several objections and reflects on the implications of these arguments for the design of affirmative action policies.
William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton
This chapter examines the range of critical perspectives now applied to the European Union, including social constructivism, critical political economy, critical social theory, critical feminism, and post-structuralism. These critical—often termed ‘post-positivist’—approaches emphasize the constructed and changeable nature of the social and political world. Many such approaches reject the notion that social reality can be objectively observed and argue that various agents, including policy actors and scholars themselves, are involved in its construction. They highlight the less obvious manifestations of power that pervade the interrelated worlds of political action and political theorizing. It is important to consider why these more critical perspectives have been absent for so long within mainstream studies of the EU.
Ana E. Juncos and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán
The process of enlargement has transformed the European Union. It has had far-reaching implications for the shape and definition of Europe, and for the institutional set-up and the major policies of the Union. This has been accomplished through a number of enlargement rounds, which the first section of the chapter analyses in detail. This is followed by a review of the enlargement process itself, with a focus on the use of conditionality and the role of the main actors involved. The contributions of neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, and social constructivism to explaining the EU’s geographical expansion are evaluated in the third section of the chapter. The success and prospect of future enlargement are discussed in the context of wider EU developments, especially the effect of the economic crisis in the euro area, ‘enlargement fatigue’, the domestic context in the candidate countries, and Brexit.
This chapter examines the dynamics of Europeanization of interest groups and social movements in European Union member states. European integration has influenced interest groups and social movements since the beginning of the process in the 1950s. However, transformation has been induced by other elements such as globalization or the transformation of the state. Drawing on findings from empirical studies, this chapter analyses the change in interests, strategies, and internal organizational structures of interest groups and social movements, both in the ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states. It shows that the Europeanization of interest groups and social movements is highly differentiated, according to public policy areas, group types, and national origins. It concludes in analysing more recent developments such as interest group and social movement reactions to austerity politics as well as Brexit.
Sierens Vivien and Ramona Coman
This chapter studies causation, which occupies a central place in the social sciences. In their attempts to understand and explain ‘why’ social, economic, and political phenomena occur, scholars have dealt with causality in many different ways. The way to define and observe causal relationships has always been at the heart of harsh academic debates in social as well as natural sciences. Drawing on distinctive ontological and epistemological standpoints, at least four different understandings of causation have emerged in political science. Most authors have adopted a correlational-probabilistic understanding of causation, but some have preferred a configurational one, while others have adopted a mechanistic or even a counterfactual understanding. To illustrate the concrete methodological challenges generated by this theoretical pluralism, the chapter discusses how scholars have dealt with causality to explain the impact of European integration on domestic policies and institutions.
Richard Bellamy and Joseph Lacey
This chapter highlights the three main positions that have come to dominate the normative debate on the European Union: cosmopolitanism (premised on a social contract between individuals globally), statism (premised on a social contract between states), and, more recently, demoicracy (premised on a social contract between states and all their individual citizens). The main body of the chapter attempts to understand each of these normative perspectives, both as freestanding political theories and as they have been applied to the EU. Proponents of each view maintain that the EU embodies some of the principles that comprise their respective theories, but fall short in other regards. Using each of these three theories to evaluate the European response to the refugee crisis, which peaked in 2015, the authors of this chapter attempt to further illustrate the similarities and differences between them. Final reflections concern directions for future research on political theory and the EU.
Between Legal Integration and Politicization
John Bachtler and Carlos Mendez
Social policy in the European Union (EU) is characterized by a fundamental puzzle: integration has happened despite member-state opposition to the delegation of welfare competences. While the policy has developed in small and modest steps, over time, this has led to a considerable expansion of the policy remit. Negative integration pushed by judicial decision-making is often regarded as a main driver for social integration. Positive integration through EU legislation is, however, just as defining for EU social policy, and politics is very evident when EU member states negotiate social regulation. More recently, the policy has been marked by deep politicization.