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The Multiple Outcomes of European Integration

Thursday November 13, 2008, at 13:00
Sala Seminario - Planta Baja IBEI
Philippe C. Schmitter (European University Institute)
Our language for discussing politics -- especially stable, iterative, "normal" politics -- is indelibly impregnated with assumptions about the state. Whenever we refer to the number, location, authority, status, membership, capacity, identity, type or significance of political units, we employ concepts that implicitly or explicitly refer to a universe featuring sovereign states and "their" surrounding national societies. It seems self-evident to us that this particular form of organizing political life will continue to dominate all others, spend most publicly generated funds, authoritatively allocate most resources, enjoy a unique source of legitimacy and furnish most people with a distinctive identity. However we may recognize that the sovereign national state is under assault from a variety of directions -- beneath and beyond its borders -- its "considerable resilience" has been repeatedly demonstrated. My hunch is that we will need a new vocabulary to pick up such developments -- initially, at the level of discrete and novel arrangements as they emerge in the on-going practice of EU institutions and, eventually, at the level of general configurations of authoritative decision-making and policy-implementation once they begin to form a more coherent whole.