English School: European Union Working Group
Aims of the Group
The purpose of the working group is to explore how English School concepts can be used to fruitfully analyse the three major areas in European Studies: the EU's system of supranational governance, its enlargement, and its international role.
Our intention is to apply an analytical approach that operates with general categories but nonetheless allows us to do justice to the specificity of the EU: we argue the English School represents such an approach.
The relative isolation of European Studies from International Relations and the characterisation of the EU as sui generis have often been deplored, and for various reasons. Most importantly, they prevent cross-fertilisation of research on the more specific (Europe) and the more general (the international system), and they often lead to a view from inside only, and therefore a neglect of historical and international context.
The core concepts of the body of work often categorised as the 'English School': international system, international society and world society, allow us to grasp the specificity of the European system of governance within a general framework, and to conceptualise European integration both historically and within the current international system.
At the core of the English School argument is the claim that the realist worldview freezes a particular form of the international system, while the latter has actually varied across both time and space. The variation in this system lies partly in the type of its constituent units, and partly in the form and degree to which elements of international and world society are discernible.
Research Interests of Convenors
Thomas Diez is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Bath. His English School interest is in the Intertwining of Societies through Exploring the EU's System of Governance: a central puzzle that the EU poses for its analysts is its system of governance, and how this may be compared to the modern, territorial state system.
Among the most prominent answers to this puzzle is the conceptualisation of the EU as a system of multi-level governance (Christiansen, 1997; Marks, 1996), as opposed to a system where governing was, by and large, the responsibility of a single centre within a territorially and hierarchically organised society (although federalism had always complicated this simple formula).
Others, critical of the orderly picture of clear cut levels in European politics, have described the EU as a system of network governance, either to then study the decision-making processes in EU policy networks (Kohler-Koch et al., 1998), or to theorise the ethical implications of such a decentered form of governance in contrast to the modern state government (Diez, 1997).
The number of attempts to clarify the 'nature of the beast' (Risse-Kappen, 1996) are legion, but what they all share is an understanding of the EU that stands in stark contrast to Bull's dismissal of its transformative potential: namely that the EU transcends the state system to develop a system of governance in which the separation of a clear hierarchical order inside, and an anarchical order outside, no longer holds.
Richard Whitman is Director of the Centre for Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster. His English School interest is in the Enlargement of EU International and World Society: the enlargement of the European Union can be considered through the gradated structure of EU international society best characterised by the use of Watson's pendulum.
States within EU international society can be placed within a concentric circle of power relationships with one another. Wæver has considered how this might work itself out solely in terms of security relations (1996). Here it is being considered much more widely.
As discussed in the previous work, EU member states form the core of EU international society. The gradated relationship of other states to the core is dependent upon both the self-identification with the common interests and values of the core and furthermore the degree to which there is acceptance of EU rules and institutions.
This places EU applicant states in a dominion or suzerain relationship within the EU international society, where the EU can extend its governance regime beyond its formal borders (Friis and Murphy, 1999; Smith, 1996).
Ian Manners is a Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute of International Studies. His English School interest is in Normative Power Europe through the International Role of the EU: Hedley Bull's searing 1982 critique of the European Community's 'civilian power' in international affairs serves as the point of departure for his discussion of the European Union's 'normative power' in contemporary international society.
The idea of using Bull's examination of civilian power Europe as an entry point to a discussion on the value of using English School terms to study the EU may strike many as a contradiction in terms.
He will attempt to use this reseach to argue that two apparent contradictions are useful in this respect - the concept of an 'EU Society', and the idea of the EU's international role being primarily normative, not economic or military.
Please contact any of the convenors if you would like to know more about the themes and agenda of the working group.