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(p. 45) 3. Neofunctionalism 

(p. 45) 3. Neofunctionalism
Chapter:
(p. 45) 3. Neofunctionalism
Author(s):

Arne Niemann

and Philippe C. Schmitter

DOI:
10.1093/hepl/9780199226092.003.0003
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date: 08 December 2019

This chapter focuses on neofunctionalism, one of the earlier theories of regional integration. Neofunctionalist theory was first formulated in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but began to receive increasing criticism from the mid-1960s, particularly because of several adverse empirical developments, the culmination of which was the Empty Chair crisis of 1965–66 when French President Charles de Gaulle effectively paralysed the European Community. With the resurgence of the European integration process in the mid-1980s, neofunctionalism made a substantial comeback. After providing an overview of neofunctionalism’s intellectual roots, the chapter examines early neofunctionalism’s core assumptions and hypotheses, including its central notion of ‘spillover’. It then considers the criticisms that have been levelled against it before turning to later revisions of the theory. It also evaluates some most-likely cases and concludes with an analysis of the case of European Union enlargement.

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