The History of the European Union: Origins of a Trans- and Supranational Polity 1950-72

The History of the European Union: Origins of a Trans- and Supranational Polity 1950-72

The History of the European Union: Origins of a Trans- and Supranational Polity 1950-72

The History of the European Union: Origins of a Trans- and Supranational Polity 1950-72

Synopsis

This book radically re-conceptualises the origins of the European Union as a trans- and supranational polity as it emerged between the Schuman Plan of May 1950 and the first enlargement of the European Communities at the start of 1973.

Drawing upon social science theories and debates as well as recent historical research, Wolfram Kaiser and Morten Rasmussen in their introductory chapters discuss innovative ways of narrating the history of the EU as the emergence of a transnational political society and supranational political system. Building on these insights, eight chapters based on multilateral and multi-archival research follow each with case studies of transnational networks, public sphere and institutional cultures and policy-making which illustrate systematically related aspects of the early history of the EU. In the concluding chapter, leading political scientist Alex Warleigh-Lack demonstrates how greater interdisciplinary cooperation, especially between contemporary history and political studies, can significantly advance our knowledge of the EU as a complex polity.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Politics, European Studies and History.

Excerpt

As editors and authors of this book we are united in our belief that the history of the European Union (EU) is in great need of conceptual innovation. We advocate theoretically informed, source-rich multi-national and multi-archival historical narratives, which retain their disciplinary distinctiveness, but are also suitable for interdisciplinary communication and co-operation. The desirable combination of conceptual sophistication and time-intensive archival research also means, however, that such historical narratives, which span longer periods of time and cover a multitude of institutional and political actors and different policy fields, require greater joint effort in the reconstruction of the history of the EU. Conscious of our limitations as individual scholars, we have from the beginning conceived of this book as a highly integrated collective endeavour. All of us have profited tremendously from working together so closely with each other and commenting on earlier drafts of our chapters during a workshop at the University of Trondheim and on subsequent occasions including the annual conferences of the University Association for Contemporary European Studies in Limerick and Portsmouth. Suffering from various new public management ‘quality assurance’ schemes, which increase our administrative burden and tend to stifle innovative research, we have enjoyed co-operating closely on this project. We hope that this will encourage other scholars, not merely contemporary historians, to work towards greater interdisciplinarity in the study of the EU as a trans- and supranational polity.

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