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(p. 51) Part 2 Theories and Conceptual Approaches 

(p. 51) Part 2 Theories and Conceptual Approaches
Author(s):

Michelle Cini

and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

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date: 20 June 2019

This chapter examines the main assumptions of neo-functionalism, especially with regards to European integration. The fundamental argument of neo-functionalists is that states are not the only important actors on the international scene. They claim that supranational institutions and non-state actors, such as interest groups and political parties, are the real driving force behind integration efforts. The chapter first provides an overview of the main features of neo-functionalist theory and its historical development since the 1950s before discussing three hypotheses advanced by neo-functionalists: the spillover hypothesis, the elite socialization hypothesis, and the supranational interest group hypothesis. After explaining the concepts of supranationalism and spillover, the chapter considers the main critiques of neo-functionalist theory. It concludes by describing the revival of interest in neo-functionalism and giving some examples that illustrate how today’s neo-functionalists differ from those of the 1950s.

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