International Institutions and Socialization in the New Europe
Institutions, omnipresent in the governing of European affairs, have important effects of socialization on states and other actors. This paper gives the introductory chapter to a volume of institutional theory on European institutions.
ARENA Working Paper 11/2001 (html)
Jeffrey T. Checkel
International institutions are a ubiquitous feature of daily life in contemporary Europe. While by now virtually all would agree that such institutions matter, there is less agreement on exactly how they matter. This volume brings together European Union (EU) specialists and international relations theorists who explicitly address the latter issue, studying institutions' ability to transform the core properties (interests, identities) of states and other social agents. Put differently, we explore the socializing role of European institutions, and do so from a number of different analytic perspectives. Far from being a weakness, this theoretical diversity is a strength. Not only does it capture the empirical reality of post-Cold War Europe, where institutions such as the EU, NATO and Council of Europe seek to socialize states through a variety of mechanisms. It also accords with broader disciplinary trends within both EU studies and IR theory, where there is a pronounced move away from grand theory and towards synthetic theories of the middle range.