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(p. 144) 8. Social Constructivism and European Integration 

(p. 144) 8. Social Constructivism and European Integration
(p. 144) 8. Social Constructivism and European Integration

Thomas Risse

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date: 23 October 2020

This chapter examines social constructivism as an approach to the study of European integration and a challenge to more rationalist approaches such as liberal intergovernmentalism and versions of neofunctionalism. It first defines social constructivism before discussing the constructivist emphasis on the mutual constitutiveness of agency and structure, along with communicative and discursive practices, in the context of the study of European integration. It then considers the question of European identity as a particular subject area to which research inspired by social constructivism can contribute, paying attention to the contested nature of European identity, ‘Europeanness’ and national identities, and contested meanings of Europe and the European Union. The chapter also analyses constructivist contributions to the study of EU enlargement and concludes with reflections on the future of European integration research inspired by social constructivism.

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