Content

Carmen Gebhard, Broad Tendencies and Competing Traditions in EIT in:

Carmen Gebhard

Unravelling the Baltic Sea Conundrum, page 157 - 164

Regionalism and European Integration Revisited

1. Edition 2008, ISBN print: 978-3-8329-4084-3, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-1239-5 https://doi.org/10.5771/9783845212395

Series: Nomos Universitätsschriften - Politik, vol. 164

Bibliographic information
157 The following considerations aim at structuring the plethora of theories at hand according to broad tendencies and developments in order to support and prepare the then following discussion about applicability and interpretation of European Integration Theories for the analytical purposes of this study. II. Broad Tendencies and Competing Traditions in EIT Given the confusingly large number of different approaches to (European) integration, it appears appropriate to offer some kind of reference pattern or line for orientation that helps to overview the bulk of European Integration Theories. It is not in the scope of this chapter to provide an exhaustive picture of the history and the state-of-play in EIT. The following discussion is rather meant to impose some sort of structure onto the large sum of theoretical approaches that decades of research in the field of (European) integration have brought about. There are different ways of how to structure EIT. Diez and Wiener offer a chronological classification that helps to grasp the development of EIT as a strain within the broader framework of IR Studies.553 Before outlining the three main phases of EIT, they draw an overall picture of what they call the “proto-integration theory period,” i.e. the scholar development that set the basis for what later became known as “European Integration Theory”. According to this perspective, classic Functionalism, with David Mitrany being its main representative, poses as some sort of ‘prototype’ for all the theoretical reflections on European integration that followed.554 Wiener and Diez offer an overview that suggests different phases of EIT, emphasising the close relation between the socio-political context and the development of theory. Phase Period of time Main issues in EIT Explanatory after 1960 integration as a process Analytical after 1980 the outcome of integration, EU governance and institutional features Constructive after 1990 different forms and levels of governance social and ideological construction of integration Table 15: Phases in European Integration Theory555 553 See WIENER Antje: Finality vs. Enlargement. Opposing Rationales and Constitutive Practices towards a new Transnational Order. In: Jean Monnet Working Paper, 8/02. New York 2002, p. 4. 554 ‘A Working Peace System’ (1943) was Mitrany’s core publication. Impressed by the war experience, his contributions followed a very strong normative agenda. The main question addressed in his study was how to constrain states and prevent future war through the establishment of a network of transnational organizations on a functional basis. For him this question was more of a global concern than a specific European issue. In fact, Mitrany even strongly opposed the idea of regional integration since he perceived it to replicate rather than to transcend the state-centric design of International Relations. See ROSAMOND Ben: Theories of European Integration. Basingstoke 2000, p. 36. Early Federalism can also be perceived as part of this formative proto-period of European Integration Theory. In contrast to Functionalism, Federalism was more directly related to the European case, claiming, for instance, for the establishment of a European Federation of States. See DIEZ Thomas/WIENER Antje: Introducing the Mosaic of Integration Theory. In: Idd. (eds): European Integration Theory. Oxford 2004, pp. 1-24, here p. 7. 555 Table generated on the basis of DIEZ Thomas/WIENER Antje: Introducing the Mosaic of Integration Theory. In: Idd. (eds): European Integration Theory. Oxford 2004, pp. 1-24, here p. 7. 158 This scheme may serve as a first orientation guide. Anyway, most past and current approaches combine different aspects of theory and thus, do not clearly fit into these chronological categories. This is particularly true for the recent development in EIT, as the approaches that evolved after 1989/90 tend to be much more diversified and complex. The Eastern enlargement has brought about another rush of very diverse and innovative theoretical perspectives that made it even more difficult to identify some sort of analytical trend in EIT. This explosion of diversity is what Diez and Wiener referred to as the “mosaic of European Integration Theory”. Recent theoretical contributions have proved to be close to incommensurable, since their underlying analytical perspectives are becoming less mutually exclusive.556 What is changing as compared to the initial phase of theorizing about the EU is the higher degree of theoretical pluralism and the mutual irrelevance of approaches. New insights in, say, coalition formation in the European Parliament do not have any impact on theorizing about EU constitutional bargains because these theories have different fields of application which do not overlap. [...] In the early days, European integration was the subject of a controversy within international relations about the relative importance of ‘second image’ vs. ‘third image’ explanations, about the relevance of state actors vs. societal actors and about the possibility of creating durable peace by overcoming the anarchical structure in the international system. This clear embeddedness in one single sub-discipline has been lost.557 From the early 1950s onwards, Integration Theory used to be dominated by the major strands that academic thinking in IRT had put forth: Realism, Functionalism and their respective neo- and neo-neo-versions. In the late 1980s, as methods and approaches from other disciplines started to penetrate the field, the scenery became more and more diverse and fragmented. Even though indeed, it has become much more difficult to give a general overview of current theoretical approaches to regional and European integration, there are still certain “grand tendencies of thought” in the field. Scholarship about EIT has recently identified two significant “turns”: – the “governance turn”, bringing numerous concerns about the specific structure of the Union onto the European integration research agenda. This “second wave of integration theory”558 loosened from the bulk of tradition EIT by turning its focus more to the question of the Union’s specific “making”, i.e. the structural nature of its polity and the way politics occur across these structures. – the “constructivist turn” that entered the Political Science scene by taking inspiration from sociology, linguistics and particularly from psychology;559 what Rittberger decided to call the “deliberative turn” in EIT could be defined as a new strain of theories that highlight “the contribution of argumentative interaction.”560 556 See DIEZ Thomas/WIENER Antje: Introducing the Mosaic of Integration Theory. In: Idd. (eds): European Integration Theory. Oxford 2004, pp. 1-24, here p. 19. 557 JACHTENFUCHS Markus: Deepening and Widening Integration Theory. In: Journal of European Public Policy, No. 9/2002, pp. 650-657, here p. 651. 558 See KELSTRUP Morten: Integration Theories. History, Competing Approaches and New Perspectives. In: WIVEL Anders (ed.): Explaining European Integration. Copenhagen 1998, pp. 15-55, here p. 34. 559 See CHECKEL Jeffrey T.: The Constructivist Turn in International Relations Theory. In: World Politics, No. 2/1998, pp. 324-348. 560 See NEYER J?rgen: The Deliberative Turn in Integration Theory. In: Journal of European Public Policy, No. 5/2006, pp. 779-791. 159 The emergence of these turns did not follow any sort of time axis. There was no specifically identifiable point in the development of EIT where academia “turned” towards the analysis of governance; also, the “constructivist turn” should not be seen as an event reversing the direction of European integration thinking. Instead, the two turns occurred largely parallel to one another, or rather, they drew upon each other, and in turn, contributed to each other. A similar interpretation is suggested for the alleged “spatial turn” in integration theory, which has, as identified by Rumford, introduced issues like territoriality, spatiality as well as reflections about bordering and rebordering to the field. He claims that, while the above-mentioned “governance turn” has largely been acknowledged and documented; the transformation of space that this very turn has entailed has hardly gained much attention in the theoretical debate.561 This assessment shows once again that these so-called “turns” should not be perceived as conceptual turning points that crossed the academic debate with a clear-cut new way of argumentation. In fact, the “governance turn” contributed to the transformation of what in traditional theoretical approaches was commonly perceived as “space” or “European territoriality”. The “levels” that multi-level governance approaches mainly focus on can be perceived as constructed spaces, and there again, the “spatial turn” starts to intersect with the constructivist trend in theoretical reasoning about European integration. Summing up, the image of chronology as it is purported by the notion of a “turn” in EIT is actually more confusing than helpful. It appears more appropriate to identify these newly emerging analytical perspectives as broad tendencies gradually changing and shaping the corpus of traditional EIT. We identify a certain tendency of analysts increasingly stressing the significance of normative effects of political discourse or social interaction as well as the tendency of questioning the nature of European space, a perspective that, in contrast to the traditional notion of European territoriality, focuses on the importance of spatial change and the potential effect these changes could have for the functioning of European governance structures. Besides pointing at recent “turns” and emerging tendencies in EIT, references to the big and allegedly competing strands of theory in traditional European integration studies should help to gain an overview of the bulk of theoretical approaches at hand. One can identify two major axes of competition in EIT that have proved to be formative, and thus, structuring for the overall development of the field: 561 See RUMFORD Chris: Rethinking European Spaces. Territory, Borders, Governance. In: Comparative European Politics, No. 4/2006, pp. 127-140, here 128. See for example ANDERSON James/O’DOWD Liam/WILSON Thomas M. (eds): New Borders for a Changing Europe. Crossborder Cooperation and Governance. London 2002. Intergovernmentalism Neo-Functionalism Rationalism Constructivism Figure 5: Axes of Competition in European Integration Theory 160 1. Dichotomy I: Intergovernmentalism vs. Neo-Functionalism Intergovernmentalism and Neo-Functionalism are usually referred to as the main dichotomy that dominated the field of European Integration Studies over the decades. The intergovernmental strain covers the complex of realist approaches, including its pure intergovernmental and liberal intergovernmental modifications. The functionalist strain, on the other hand, includes its neo- and neo-neo-versions. The two paradigms are what Schmitter and Malamud called “historic or even natural opponents”.562 The establishment of the neo-functionalist paradigm could be seen as a “frontal assault” on the prevailing theories of IR at the time, which were intergovernmentalist approaches, or more specifically, approaches pertaining to the complex of Realism.563 The neofunctionalist and the intergovernmentalist paradigm do have something in common, which is: their central explanandum. In contrast to other EIT approaches, both neofunctionalists and intergovernmentalists are more concerned with the process of integration than with the political system that integration leads to.564 This common point of reference is what turns them into directly competing meta-theoretical models.565 The most important difference between the two approaches lies in both the ontology of actors that they build upon, and the epistemological grounds that form the foundation of their models of explanation. Schmitter and Malamud have elaborated on the significance of these two variables when competing theoretical approaches are compared. Generally, the ontological grounds of an approach result from whether it presumes a process that reproduces the existing characteristics of its member-state participants and the interstate system of which they are a part, or whether it presumes a process that transforms the nature of these sovereign national actors and their relations with each other. Epistemology, on the other hand, results from the theoretical choice of whether the evidence gathered to monitor these processes focuses primarily on dramatic political events, or on prosaic socio-economic-cultural exchanges.566 ONTOLOGY EPISTEMOLOGY Neo-Functionalism transformative (actions and actors change in the course of the process) observation of gradual, unobtrusive exchanges Intergovernmentalism sovereign states remain dominant actors focus on decisive events that lead to modifications Table 16: Ontology – Epistemology: Neo-Functionalism vs. Intergovernmentalism 562 SCHMITTER Philippe C./MALAMUD Andrés: Theorizing Regional Integration and Inter-Regional Relations. Workshop Proposal. Florence/Lisbon 2006, p. 3. Website of the European University Institute, Florence www.iue.it [22 November 2007]. 563 See JACHTENFUCHS Markus: Deepening and Widening Integration Theory. In: Journal of European Public Policy, No. 9/2002, pp. 650-657, here p. 651. 564 See DIEZ Thomas/WIENER Antje: Introducing the Mosaic of Integration Theory. In: Idd. (eds): European Integration Theory. Oxford 2004, pp. 1-24, here p. 5. 565 See JACHTENFUCHS Markus: Deepening and Widening Integration Theory. In: Journal of European Public Policy, No. 9/2002, pp. 650-657, here p. 651. 566 Table generated on the basis of MALAMUD Andrés/SCHMITTER Philippe C.: The Experience of European Integration and the Potential for Integration in MERCOSUR. Prepared for delivery at the “2006 Joint Sessions of Workshops of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)” Nicosia, Cyprus, 25-30 April, 2006, p. 5. Available on the website of the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa in Lisbon. http://iscte.pt [12 December 2007]. 161 According to the ontological presumptions of the neo-functionalist approach, the key actors of integration are transformative, i.e. their actorness changes in the course of the process as well as the “games they play”. In contrast, Realism suggests a static ontology: sovereign nation states pursuing their unitary national interests and controlling the pace and outcome through periodic revisions of their mutual treaty obligations remain the dominant actors in the process.567 The neo-functionalist epistemology is rooted in the observation of gradual, normal and modest exchanges among a wide range of actors, while Realism rather looks at dramatic and obtrusive events that lead to decisive changes. Consequently, the intergovernmentalist definition of the integration process could be, as suggested by Katzenstein, “a sequence of irregular big bangs.”568 Interestingly, the relevance of the functionalist-intergovernmentalist dichotomy is not a purely theoretical one. The functionalist paradigm has also entered EU reality to the extent that has become a quasi-official ideology in the European Commission and other parts of the supranational structure of the EU. Ironically, it is also used by the opponents of further functionalist integration to increase the fears of a technocratic, centralized, and undemocratic Union. Accordingly, governments supportive of further integration tend to resort to the intergovernmentalist rhetoric of sovereignty being only pooled to alleviate these fears.569 2. Dichotomy II: Rationalism vs. Constructivism The second axis of competition presented here is different from the intergovernmentalist-functionalist divide to the extent that Rationalism and Constructivism have to be perceived as opposing meta-theoretical positions. Both Rationalism and Constructivism build on a broad foundation of theoretical considerations drawn from other disciplines, most importantly, from philosophy, cognitive science and epistemology. As a result, they both do not directly lead to testable assertions about observable outcomes, but first have to be turned into substantive theories and to be combined with a specific reference model of explanation. Some even doubt about the possibility that meta-theories can be tested against each other, but argue instead that they constitute equally acceptable ways of explaining and understanding the world which can only be assessed within their own framework of rationality or by meta-criteria such as internal consistency and scope.570 However, the distinction between these major meta-theoretical strands could serve for the retrospective classification of various theoretical debates by contributing to a better understanding of the variety of approaches current in the field. 567 SCHMITTER Philippe C./MALAMUD Andrés: Theorizing Regional Integration and Inter-Regional Relations. Workshop Proposal. Florence/Lisbon 2006, pp. 2-3. Website of the European University Institute, Florence www.iue.it [22 November 2007]. 568 See KATZENSTEIN Peter J.: International Relations Theory and the Analysis of Change. In: CZEMPIEL Ernst-Otto/ROSENAU James N. (eds): Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges. Lexington 1989, pp. 291-304, here p. 296. 569 See BACHE Ian/GEORGE Stephen: Politics in the European Union. Oxford 2001, p. 15. And DIEZ Thomas/WIENER Antje: Introducing the Mosaic of Integration Theory. In: Idd. (eds): European Integration Theory. Oxford 2004, pp. 1-24, here p. 14. 570 JACHTENFUCHS Markus: Deepening and Widening Integration Theory. In: Journal of European Public Policy, No. 9/2002, pp. 650-657, here p. 652. 162 When applying this structuring dichotomy to the various theoretical strands at hand it becomes clear that Constructivism marks a departure from what could be called ‘mainstream theory’ in European integration. The main protagonists of traditional EIT, Intergovernmentalism and Neo-Functionalism, both largely adhere to the rationalist camp. Coming back to the above-given outline on the intergovernmentalist/neofunctionalist divide alongside their respective ontological and epistemological foundations, Constructivism could be fit into the scheme as follows: ONTOLOGY EPISTEMOLOGY Intergovernmentalism sovereign states remain dominant actors focus on decisive events that lead to modifications R at io na lis m Neo-Functionalism transformative (actions and actors change in the course of the process) observation of gradual, unobtrusive exchanges Constructivism constituting (meaning is not restricted to the actor but comprises the significance given to it by other actors/society) focus on the permanent construction and reconstruction of political and social ‘reality’ Table 17: Ontology – Epistemology: Rationalism vs. Constructivism By largely rejecting causal explanations – and in its rigid version – also the need or possibility of formulating testable hypotheses, and by focussing on the social or discursive construction of events or actors/action units, Constructivism has clearly defied the epistemological and ontological grounds of both major paradigms.571 Christiansen et al. depicted two major “moves” entailed by the constructivist turn:572 – the ontological move: Constructivism does not perceive structure to be established by anarchy, but rather to result from social interaction among states; as Wendt put it: “Anarchy is what states make of it.”573 This claim is based on the constructedness of identity, as the character of anarchy depends on how identities are defined. What kind of anarchy prevails, depends on what kinds of conceptions of security actors have, on how they construe their identity in relation to others; – the epistemological move: highlighting the significance of inter-subjectivity in regime analysis, Constructivism perceives shared norms, rules and decisions as conditional. The relationship between conception of self and other and the prevailing systemic environment puts identities at the core of the constructivist approach. Again, identity is related to the claim about the inter-subjectivity of structures, which establishes the move towards the assumption that ‘reality’ is constructed, and away from any materialist stance. 571 See GUZZINI Stefano: A Reconstruction of Constructivism in International Relations. In: European Journal of International Relations, No. 2/2000, pp. 147-182, here p. 156. 572 See CHRISTIANSEN Thomas/JØRGENSEN Knud Erik/WIENER Antje: The Social Construction of Europe. In: Journal of European Public Policy 6:4, Special Issue 1999, pp. 528-544, here p. 535. 573 WENDT Alexander: Anarchy is What States Make of it. In: International Organization, No. 2/1992, pp. 391-425. 163 To large extents, Constructivism has perceived itself as offering an alternative research programme to the prevailing and established rationalist mainstream in EIT. Transcending the narrowness of rationalist perception constitutes one of the main formative foundations of constructivist contributions in the field of EIT. The argument that Constructivism allows the analyst to see issues and connections that Rationalism is simply not equipped to see, has been highly shaping in the early phase of its emergence in the field. [From a constructivist point of view] rationalist accounts miss an important part of the story, because they bracket identity and interest formation [...]. Constructivism can deal with the most interesting questions because it operates at the intersection between structures and agents: in contrast, rationalist [...] approaches ‘have life easy’, because they ignore the messy intersections and concentrate on one side of the story.574 However, arguments about the ontological primacy of a constructivist view are not very helpful, since they reduce the debate to an either-or level, or to the question of victory of one paradigm over the other. Instead of interpreting the above-mentioned “constructivist turn” as some sort of major cleavage in the field of EIT, the emerging dichotomy could be used in order to structure and classify various new approaches and to create distinct theoretical positions in the sense of categories that can be tested against each other. An important example of how the rationalist-constructivist dichotomy is structuring the current debate on European integration is the institutionalist incorporation of EU enlargement. The following comparison refers to the instance of different institutionalist positions on enlargement to clarify the opposing factors along this axis of competition. Rationalist Institutionalism Constructivist Institutionalism empowerment of domestic actors The domestic impact of the EU is perceived to follow a ‘logic of consequences’. The opportunity structure for utility-maximising domestic actors changes due to the adaptational pressure emerging from the supranational framework of the EU. The main factors impending or facilitating changes in response to EU adjustment pressures are formal domestic institutions. In short, domestic change occurs by way of a differential empowerment of actors, and thereby, results from a redistribution of resources at the domestic level The responses to EU adjustment pressures follow a ‘logic of appropriateness’; The domestic impact of the EU results from the process of socialisation, i.e. from domestic actors internalising EU norms that they regard as legitimate and applicable to their respective framework. ‘Change agents’ or ‘norm entrepreneurs’ inspire the process of persuasion by mobilising other actors in the domestic context and convincing them to redefine their interests and identities.575 574 SMITH Steve: Social Constructivism and European Studies: A Reflectivist Critique. In: Journal of European Public Policy, No. 4/1999 Special Issue, pp. 682-691, here p. 685. Referring to CHECKEL Jeffrey T.: The Constructivist Turn in International Relations Theory. In: World Politics, No. 2/1998, pp. 324-348. 575 See MARCH James G./OLSEN Johan P.: The Institutional Dynamics of International Political Orders. In: International Organization 52:1998, pp. 943-969. 164 Rationalist Institutionalism Constructivist Institutionalism EU strategy towards candidate countries Conditionality: the EU uses conditional incentives to influence candidate countries. The clarity of the EU demands is perceived to be crucial just as the general credibility of the conditionality. Legitimacy is perceived to be achieved through overt pressure rather than through ‘soft tactics’. Socialisation: candidate countries come to consider that the EU’s rules have an intrinsic value, regardless of the material incentives for adopting them. Factors facilitating the process are: positive identification with the EU and the legitimacy of demands in light of the rewards. Table 18: Rationalist vs. Constructivist Institutionalism 576 As this example shows, the dichotomy between rationalist and constructivist models of explanation is highly significant when it comes to the question of how the EU interacts with member states, or in this case, with candidate countries. Given this strong compatibility with contributions from the constructivist camp, the model of Rational/ Liberal Institutionalism will be taken up at another point of this study.577 C. Applying Integration Theory to the Baltic Sea Case – Application Patterns The following chapter is based on the assumption that there are two basic ways of drawing on EIT in light of the purpose of this study. These two application patterns build the analytical point of reference for this study: application pattern I Both the European integration process and Baltic Sea Regionalism are assumed instances of regional integration. Therefore, it appears viable to apply European Integration Theories directly to the Baltic Sea Case. From this angle, the BSR is treated like a sort of micro-cosmic version of the EU, meaning an integrative unit with a specific regional and territorial affiliation. application pattern II This pattern is based on the consideration that the BSR as a European region holds a close albeit not exclusive connection to the EU. Thus, it appears legitimate to ask for a theoretical incorporation of what could be called the meso-macro connection, with the BSR being the meso-unit and the EU building the respective macro-framework. Table 19: Application Patterns for the Critical Discussion of EIT in the BSR Case 576 Table generated on the basis of SEDELMEIER Ulrich: Europeanisation in new member and candidate states. In: Living Reviews in European Governance, No. 3/2006. Online publication www.livingreviews.org [23 December 2007]. 577 See chapter “Neoliberal/Rational Institutionalism”, p. 168-.

Chapter Preview

References

Zusammenfassung

Seit 1989 ist es im Ostseeraum zu einer explosionsartigen Entstehung einer Vielzahl von regionalen Initiativen und Zusammenschlüssen gekommen. Der Ostseeraum weist bis heute eine europaweit einzigartig hohe Konzentration an kooperativen regionalen Strukturen auf. Diese bilden gemeinsam ein enges Netzwerk von Vereinigungen, die unter dem Überbegriff der "Ostseezusammenarbeit’ interagieren.

Diese Studie analysiert die Hintergründe dieses regionalen Phänomens oder so genannten „Ostsee-Rätsels“ auf Basis eines Vergleichs zwischen den Regionalpolitiken zweier staatlicher Schlüsselakteure, Schweden und Finnland, wobei der europäische Integrationsprozess als übergeordneter Bezugsrahmen für die Untersuchung dient.