The European Union: A Political Sociology by Chris Rumford. Maiden: Blackwell, 2002. (pp. 312 / $69.95 (cloth) / $34.95 (paper)
The self-conscious aim of this book is to write an interpretation of European integration from a political sociology perspective, which, as the book quite correctly argues, has not been done since Amitai Etzioni published his substantive work titled Political Unification (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965). The benefits of using the literature of political sociology are not made entirely clear except in the rather vague assertion that "it questions the dominant nature of integration...and questions the extent to which the EU controls and shapes all of the processes taking place within its sphere of influence" (p. 4).
The book has eight substantive chapters whose titles refer to the EU and globalization; the question of the European state; European society; unemployment, social exclusion and citizenship; cohesion policy and regional autonomy; rethinking core-periphery relations; Europe and democracy; and EU enlargement. Rumford engages in lengthy discussions of various scholars whose work has some relevance to the broad subjects under consideration in each chapter. Each chapter also contains exegeses on subjects that probably have tangential relationships to the subject of European integration, although it is difficult to decipher relevance because connections are either merely asserted or not convincingly demonstrated.
The author's decision to argue that a very urgent question for integration theorists is "what sort of state does the EU represent" is answered, for instance, by a claim that the chapter will not talk about states at all but instead concentrates on forms of government. This is exactly what a large proportion of EU integration theory does concentrate on, but it is set up here as if it were something novel emanating from the pen of the author. This chapter is also notable for a five-page discussion on the common agriculture policy, which purports to …