The Law in Political Integration: The Evolution and Integrative Implications of Regional Legal Processes in the European Community

By Stuart A. Scheingold | Go to book overview

3. INTERPENETRATION AND THE
CONSENSUAL REGIME

Introduction

Interpenetration has been a key concept in the study of regional integration virtually from the outset of research. Its importance stems from the belief that participation in regional decisionmaking processes will tend to socialize the participants and generate attitudes and behavior which are favorable to the regional system. As one study put it,

We can well imagine how participants engaged in an intensive ongoing decision-making process, which may extend over several years and bring them into frequent and close personal contact, and which engages them in a joint problem-solving and policy-generating exercise, might develop a special orientation to that process and to those interactions, especially if they are rewarding. They may come to value the system and their roles within it, either for itself or for the concrete rewards and benefits it has produced or that it promises. 74

It is, of course, readily recognized that "participation could well increase enmity and reduce incentives for further collective action." 75 Researchers must, therefore, test for, rather than assume, positive results.Still, the evidence gathered so far suggests at least a net integrative effect which is positive.

But, if the net effect of actor socialization is believed to be

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