The sociology of the European Union: an agenda

Abstract : We seek to shape an agenda for the growing interest in using sociological approaches to study the European Union (EU). In order to deepen and broaden the Europeanization agenda, the article points to how sociology can help reveal the 'social bases' of European integration (i.e. processes of European Union), as well as identify effects on European society that might reconnect EU studies with key comparative political economy debates about the European 'varieties of capitalism' and its models of economy and society. Unfortunately, however, 'sociological' approaches towards the EU have mostly been wrongly equated with the 'constructivist turn' in EU studies, and its characteristic preference for 'soft' qualitative discursive methods and meta-theory. We argue that, rather than turning to culture, identity or social theory for inspiration, an empirical sociological approach to the EU would reintroduce social structural questions of class, inequality, networks and mobility, as well as link up with existing approaches to public opinion, mobilization and claims-making in the political sociology of the EU. To conclude, the article identifies some exemplary studies along these lines.
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Adrian Favell, Virginie Guiraudon. The sociology of the European Union: an agenda. European Union Politics, SAGE Publications, 2009, 10 (4), pp.550-576. ⟨hal-01023724⟩

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