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Governmentality, Political Field or Public Sphere? Theoretical Alternatives in the Political Sociology of the EU

Abstract : The call for a more sociological approach to the study of the European Union, reflected in a number of recent survey works by sociologists and political scientists, offers exciting new prospects for rethinking the empirical terrain of ‘Europeanized’ politics beyond the nation state – whether in terms of governance, policy-making, parliamentary and legal politics, mobilization, or political communication. Via a survey of three kinds of leading sociologicalwork on the EU, broadly split between three campsworkingwith the distinctive legacies of ‘Habermasian’, ‘Bourdieusian’ and ‘Foucauldian’ thinking, this article details the strengths and weaknesses of these paradigms. Focusing on a number of exemplary studies on the question of democratic legitimacy in the EUusing each of these approaches, it offers a preliminary attempt to map their agendas, contributions, and blind spots, moving towards a synthesis that might identify commonalities and streamline a more coherent agenda for the political sociology of the European Union. The most promising line would appear to be one that moves away from purely theoretical/conceptual debates towards specific operationalizations able to combine elements of the various sociological approaches.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 5, 2021 - 7:35:23 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 1:25:39 PM

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Ann Zimmermann, Adrian Favell. Governmentality, Political Field or Public Sphere? Theoretical Alternatives in the Political Sociology of the EU. European Journal of Social Theory, SAGE Publications, 2011, 14 (4), pp.489-515. ⟨10.1177/1368431011418028⟩. ⟨hal-03417569⟩

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