Conclusion: Thinking about
Future European Social
In a lead article entitled ‘European Revolution’, Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, recently declared:
A consensus…is beginning to emerge on the shape of economic reform. Europe is no longer crudely divided between corporatists and free-marketeers, between the Anglo-Saxon or continental model, or between advocates and opponents of the welfare state. Few are any longer in denial over the need for tough structural reform.
(The Guardian, 21 March 2000)
The contributions to this book clearly contest this construction of European restructuring. The aim of the book was to develop a study of the politics of European integration and economic restructuring, ‘understood as a body of practical rules and research and of detailed observations useful for awakening an interest in effective reality and for stimulating more rigorous and more vigorous political insights ( Gramsci, 1971: 175–6). In line with Morton’s argument in Chapter 2, it is argued that a series of related but diverse neo-Gramscian perspectives, rather than one ‘correct’ perspective or an ‘-ism’, capture the processes of struggle between social forces that are constitutive of the ‘New Europe’. All the perspectives, despite differences of emphasis, have concentrated on social forces as the main actors engendered by the production process. This makes it possible to overcome shortcomings evident in established integration theories, such as the inability to explain structural change or the problem of determinism. First of all, it becomes possible to incorporate the transnational restructuring of social relations, referred to in Chapter 1 as globalisation, in the