ARENA Working Papers
WP 01/11

International Institutions and

Socialization in the New Europe-

Chapter I: introduction

Jeffrey T. Checkel


Prepared for the IDNET/Workpackage-II second project workshop,

European University Institute, Florence, 18-19 May 2001



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.


Over the past decade, the "alphabet soup" of international institutions and organizations of West Europe has been extended eastwards.In the early 1990s, organizations like the Council of Europe (CE) and Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) moved quickly to expand, offering membership to numerous transition states in East Europe and the former Soviet Union. [1] More recently, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has done likewise, albeit on a more limited scale.Even for the European Union (EU), once a laggard in this race to expand, enlargement to the East is now a central near-term policy objective.

Needless to say, all this institutional activity in post-Cold War Europe has not escaped the attention of political scientists.Students of what might be called the new comparative regional organizations have explored how all this institutional activity matters. [2] Likewise, EU scholars have begun to study how the Union�s policies � notably, its application of strict political conditionality � are promoting domestic change among the transition states of East Europe (Grabbe 1999).Renewing and reinvigorating an earlier (neo-functionalist) line of reasoning, West Europeanists are once again examining how participation in the institutional structures of the EU may affect the loyalties and identities of state agents (Egeberg 1999).

A common � often implicit � theme running throughout all this work is the socializing power of European institutions.This volume makes that theme explicit.We explore the conditions under which and mechanisms through which institutions in Europe socialize states � that is, "the induction of new members into the ways of behavior that are preferred in a society" (Risse, Ropp, Sikkink 1999, 11).While standard sociological definitions, with their stress on the internalization of values and norms, emphasize the end point of this process, we seek to unpack it � exploring the intervening mechanisms that may lead to such end states. [3]

Our contribution is three-fold.Theoretically, the volume explores these intervening mechanisms of state/agent socialization from a variety of analytic perspectives, including organizational theory, social constructivist, rational choice and social psychology.Put differently, we do not pretend to offer a single theory of socialization; rather, the emphasis is the development of so-called scope conditions.In theoretical terms, the book�s goal is thus middle-range or partial theories of socialization.Such an approach not only fits well with trends in both European studies (Checkel and Moravscik 2001) and international relations (Katzenstein, Keohane and Krasner 1998); it also avoids the error of an earlier generation of socialization research, which tried -- unsuccessfully -- to articulate more comprehensive theories.

Empirically, this theoretical diversity helps us capture the complex reality of contemporary Europe, where a variety of mechanisms are socializing states and individuals/groups within them.Authors thus analyze the socialization potential and practices of several different European institutions (EU, NATO, Council of Europe), and do so in both West and East Europe and in "public" (state socialization by European institutions) and "private" (EU Commission, COREPER, etc) settings.

Methodologically, each contributor explicitly addresses a series of operational issues � how to recognize socialization when we see it; the development of empirical indicators; what counts as good data � and thinks in terms of scope conditions (when and under what conditions is a particular socialization mechanism more likely to be at work).Attention to such questions not only improves the validity of individual contributions; it will also help put the nascent socialization literature in IR (Moravscik 1997) and EU studies (Caporaso and Jupille 1999) on a more systematic footing.

The remainder of this introductory chapter is organized in three parts.I begin by surveying the state of the art in the EU and IR socialization literature, making a distinction between macro/public and micro/private approaches.In each case, the goal is not just a review of the literature, but a critical assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.A second section highlights the particular causal mechanisms of socialization explored in this volume.I conclude by previewing the empirical studies (Part II) and the theoretical/methodological critiques (Part III) that comprise the core of the volume.

Institutions, Socialization and Social Agents: The State of the Art

Until recently, political scientists with an interest in socialization faced an unsatisfactory choice.Within international relations (IR) theory, neorealists advanced a Darwinian and empirically inaccurate view of it (Waltz 1979), while neoliberals, with their rational-choice underpinnings, viewed socialization as a process that affects only the strategies of self-interested agents (Martin 1992).Even the so-called "English School," which stressed the socializing role of international society, paid little heed to how, precisely, this occurred (Bull 1977).

A similar state of affairs confronted students of the European Union.While the early neo-functionalist work of Ernie Haas and others had hinted at the powerful socializing role of the EU, theoretical underspecification and methodological challenges had hindered the development of a robust empirical research program (Pollack 1998; Martin and Simmons 1998).This was and is a pity, for the EU�s densely institutionalized structure would seem an ideal laboratory and "social soil within which actors� preferences might be transformed" (Caporaso and Jupille 1999, 440).

Given this state of affairs, the good news is that the last decade has seen a revitalization of socialization research by both IR theorists and Europeanists.Within IR, this work has been carried out largely by social constructivists; among Europeanists, the most theoretically and methodologically inspired research on socialization has been conducted by institutional theorists.

Institutions as Promoters of Socialization.One strand of research � conducted by IR constructivists � views institutions in a macro and holistic sense as promoters of socialization in public arenas.In an important sense, this recent work thus builds on the arguments of Bull and others in the English School regarding the socializing effects of international society; its value added comes in systematically explicating how and when such effects actually do occur.

A recent volume edited by Risse, Ropp and Sikkink (1999) represents the constructivist state-of-the-art in this area.Theoretically, the editors� goals are to: (1) develop a generalizable model explaining the process through which international norms have socializing effects at the national level; and (2) advance a synthetic argument integrating insights from both rational choice and social constructivism.Empirically, the book traces the ways in which international norms shape the politics of human-rights compliance in a number of different settings.

The theoretical core of the book is a five-stage spiral model of socialization.Its starting point (Phase 1) is a situation where elites in rights-violating states are entrapped by a vise of transnational and domestic pressure generated by a broad array of agents -- NGO�s such as Human Rights Watch, say (see also Klotz 1995; Keck and Sikkink 1998).In Phase 2, norms further mobilize such actors, who engage in processes of shaming and moral consciousness-raising.During the early parts of Phase 3, compliance with human-rights standards occurs -- if at all -- through tactical concessions, that is, shifts in the behaviors and strategies of state elites; their preferences do not change.Towards the end of this third phase, however, the interaction between state officials and social actors shifts.The former now rethink their core preferences as they engage (Phase 4) in argumentation and dialogue with the latter.Finally, during Phase 5, these newly learned preferences become internalized.

The editors argue that the dominant mode of interaction in this socialization dynamic changes over time.Instrumental adaptation predominates during phases 1, 2 and part of 3; argumentative discourse comes to the fore during phases 3 and, especially, 4; and institutionalization dominates Phase 5.In more formal terms, a change occurs from the instrumental rationality preferred by students of rational choice, to the Habermasian argumentative rationality favored by constructivists (Risse 2000), and then, finally, to the rule-governed behavior of institutional theory (March and Olsen 1989).

Application of this spiral model has three important benefits.First, it produces ordered and comparable empirical research.The case studies are excellent in this regard.Their detailed empirical material is structured by explicit reference to the five-stage model; this makes comparison across the cases easy, for both the reader and the editors.Moreover, the country studies are chosen to avoid selecting on the dependent variable.We therefore read not only about socialization successes (South Africa, say), but also about more problematic cases, where there are continuing human-rights abuses (Tunisia, for example).

Second, the model emphasizes process, with the consequent process tracing among the best conducted by constructivists.One gets a vivid sense of how, under what conditions and through what mechanisms international norms shaped domestic outcomes.The book thus moves well beyond the correlational arguments that plagued earlier constructivist studies (Risse, Ropp, Sikkink 1999, 271).

Third, in applying the spiral, the editors wisely shy away from a fair-weather model of socialization, where material capabilities and self interest are absent from the story.Instead, they demonstrate how material incentives, self interest, norms and argumentative discourse combine to produce particular outcomes.The book is therefore on the cutting edge of an emerging trend in IR theory, where there is a move away from an either/or orientation (either rational choice or constructivism) to a both/and perspective. [4]

In sum, the socialization argument advanced by Risse, Ropp and Sikkink is powerful and important.At the same time, it is incomplete because of several analytic biases that inform their approach.Especially problematic are the editors� understanding of choice, political/state elites and the mechanisms of socialization.

From where did such biases arise?The key factor has been a cross-disciplinary theoretical move undertaken by a number of constructivists.Recent years have seen an exciting fusion of two literatures: studies on the diffusion of norms; and work on social movements.This synthesis has allowed constructivists to explain better the mobilization dynamics they see norms generating.More important, thanks to the strong emphasis on agency in the social movements literature (SML), it has promoted a greater theoretical balance between structure and agency in their accounts.The volume under review attests to the benefits gained from such a fusion.

This synthesis had costs, however.First, constructivists have incorporated in their accounts the consequential choice mechanisms that play central roles in SML (Morris and Mueller 1992).Indeed, much of the behavioral logic in recent constructivist/SML work is consistent with thin rationalism, where the goals pursued may be non-material (normative values, say), but the underlying choice mechanism is consequentialist � means-ends � in nature. [5] Not surprisingly, then, the Risse, Ropp, Sikkink volume is clearest analytically when this sophisticated version of rational choice is employed (phases 1, 2 and 3 of the spiral) -- a point the editors admit in the conclusions (Risse, Ropp, Sikkink 1999, 250-56).However, the theoretical basis and logic underlying their second choice mechanism -- argumentative rationality and persuasion -- in phases 3 and 4 is less clear.

Second, research on social movements is biased against granting causal primacy to statist variables.It is a deeply "bottom-up" view of politics, where state institutions or discourses among bureaucratic elites are accorded a secondary role.Consistent with this perspective, much of the newer constructivist/SML work portrays decisionmakers as passive reactants to movement pressure, instead of active agenda setters in their own right.Third, SML assumes that individuals� socialization by norms is a product of struggle and contestation.Put differently, it does not occur through "diffuse social learning processes" (Morris and Mueller 1992, 175, 197).

By incorporating these biases into their model, Risse/Ropp/Sikkink unintentionally limit the pathways through which socialization takes place.It occurs not just via social protest, where national elites react in a calculating, strategic manner to movement pressure (phases 1 and 2 of the spiral).It also occurs through a process of social learning, where puzzling state agents learn new interests from the start (Phase 1) and in the absence of social mobilization.The spiral model hints at this latter pathway, with the role it attributes to persuasion and arguing in phases 3 and 4.However, for theoretical and methodological reasons, this second, social learning mechanism is never fully developed.

Theoretically, the volume fails to specify exactly what is meant by persuasion, which is arguably the fundamental process underlying both arguing and learning (Elster 1991, 15-16).At some points, it defines persuasion as convincing an individual through argument and principled debate.Yet, in many other instances, persuasion seems defined as manipulating someone through pressure tactics and the strategic use of information.These are not the same. The second definition has a long tradition in rational-choice scholarship, extending back to the pioneering work of Riker on political manipulation (Riker 1986).

The theoretical problem of under-specification leads to a methodological one.Put simply, what combination of methods and proxies allows one to draw valid inferences regarding persuasion�s role?This crucial issue receives insufficient attention, although the empirical chapters suggest a number of proxies, including press reports, content analysis of speeches, transcripts of secret meetings and, in a few cases, interviews.Together, these might plausibly allow for sound inferences, but, separately, they are inadequate.The result is a disconcerting gap between theoretical claims about persuasion and empirical evidence (Checkel 2000c for details).In the end, then, this superb example of process tracing does not go far enough. [6]

Institutions as Sites of Socialization.Fortunately, the problems just highlighted are being addressed by another strand of socialization research that views institutions at a more micro-level as sites of socialization in private settings.Here, Europeanists and a smaller group of IR constructivists have taken the lead.The former theorize and document how West European state elites, in insulated settings where social pressure is absent or deflected, adopt multiple identities and redefine their interests through processes of social learning.The latter build upon a long tradition of research in IR theory and negotiation analysis that emphasizes the socializing affects of international organizations and institutions on the actors who participate in them (Haas 1990; Chayes and Chayes 1995, for example).In these diplomatic, in-camera settings, scholars have shown how social learning and persuasion can "change people�s minds."

In their arguments about socialization, Europeanists have emphasized time and structural factors, while the IR types have emphasized agency and interaction. [7] For example, some students of the EU emphasize the socializing effect of repeated interactions over long periods.In his study of the working groups under the EU Council, Beyers (1998) has explored the possibility of socialization, with his operational indicator of it being the number of years an individual participated in a particular group.While such a measure has methodological advantages (it is readably quantifiable and thus can easily be replicated by other scholars), it does bracket the interaction context in the group itself.Similar measures of socialization � with similar limitations -- have been offered in studies of the EU Commission (Hooghe 1999; Idem 2001), EU committees (Trondal 2000) and the Union�s Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER (Lewis 1998; Idem 2001)

While the rigor of these studies is admirable, the operational measure of socialization is somewhat problematic.As already noted, this work ignores the interaction context of the groups studied.The fundamental causal variable is contact or, more precisely, the duration of contact.It is thus the "rubbing of elbows," as it were, that induces a change in core actor properties.Equally important, these studies typically fail to control for so-called decoupling, that is, the longer a social agent resides in a particular setting or unit, the more he/she learns "to talk the talk." In turn, such behavior may well shield an actor from the socializing force of group pressures or arguments. [8]

Institutional theorists studying the EU have added nuance and specificity to this contact thesis, and they do so by invoking a greater causal role for organizational structures in the socialization process.For example, Egeberg has introduced two organizational dimensions into the study of (possible) socialization within EU institutions.The first is the principle of specialization, where it might be hypothesized that:

the purpose- and function-based (in organizational terms) Commission structure tends to evoke more �functional� orientations, while the (in principle) territory- or geography-based Council structure tends to remind group participants of their national origins, and thus highlights their role as government representatives (Egeberg 1999, 457-58).

A second dimension deals with whether an individual�s affiliation to a particular organization is of a primary or secondary character.For many national officials participating in EU committees, their affiliation to the latter is part-time and thus secondary.While work in such committees may have socializing effects, the impact will be less profound than in organizations to which individuals have a primary affiliation.In cases where the organizing principle of the secondary system � an EU committee, say � is incompatible with the principle embedded in the primary � national � institution, this clash may trigger change and possible socialization dynamics (Egeberg 2000).

While adding analytic bite to the spare (and underspecified) contact thesis, this argument � like many institutional arguments � says little about agency.In fact, a tough-minded critic could argue that social agents are viewed as "structural idiots" here.That is, an individual enters a new (institutional) environment � say, a particular EU committee � and a different role/identity is "evoked" (Egeberg 1999, 459), thus having possible socializing effect.Unfortunately, the social mechanism producing such "evoking" behavior is granted only a small role in such studies.Allusions to learning, arguing and persuasion as the motors driving the socialization process are just that � suggestive hints and not empirically testable concepts (Egeberg 1999, 459-60). [9]

A third group of Europeanists explicitly takes up this connection between social interaction and (possible) socialization.Arguing that the small size and expert focus of many EU committees promotes deliberation and common puzzling (as opposed, say, to strategic bargaining), these scholars portray socialization as being driven by Habermasian dynamics of communicative rationality.On the plus side, this is a welcome addition to the EU literature, as it adds a much-needed dynamic element to the socialization process.

However, problems remain.For one, the more empirically oriented work of this sort fails to employ a transparent research methodology, thus making it hard for other scholars readily to see deliberation�s causal role.Relatedly, this research fails to address questions of scope.That is, under what conditions is deliberation more likely to change the core properties of social actors (Joerges and Neyer 1997a, b)?In addition, other research � partly inspired by Habermas� own concerns � has been normatively driven, exploring and arguing the case for deliberation in restoring a greater sense of legitimacy to the European project (Eriksen and Fossum 2000).While this is an important analytic concern in its own right, it has left us no closer to an empirically testable deliberation-socialization research program.

The great value of this latter, more interactionist work on socialization in EU institutions is to remind us that it is not just the duration or quantity of contact that matters in a causal sense.Rather, equally (or more?) important is the quality of the contact.Is the social interaction within these institutions best characterized as a strategic bargaining game (preferences of all actors fixed)? As emulation (simple copying behavior)?As deliberation/argumentation (preferences of all agents "on the table")? As persuasion (preferences of some not fixed)?

At this point, the EU literature intersects with the work of IR constructivists doing work on socialization within international institutions.With a strong focus on agency and interaction, these scholars explicitly theorize the mechanisms of socialization hinted at above.To accomplish this, some draw upon Habermasian arguments concerning communicative rationality (Risse 2000; Lynch 1999), others seek to operationalize social learning concepts (Price 1998; Checkel 2001), while still others emphasize dynamics of persuasion and social influence (Johnston 2001; Idem nd; Gheciu 2001).

This move to the agency/micro-level by constructivists has three benefits for socialization research.First, it minimizes reliance on "as if" assumptions in theorizing socialization dynamics.While for sure we can never "get inside people�s heads," this work, by being methodologically self conscious and employing multiple data streams, has demonstrated that the choice-theoretic criticism of the impossibility of measuring preference change is simply no longer tenable. [10] Second, much of this work is cast explicitly in terms of scope conditions (Risse 2000, for example), asking about the conditions under which persuasion (say) will have a socializing effect � that is, change an actor�s preferences.

Third, in emphasizing the micro-level, this group has been well aware it is moving onto the "home turf" of rational choice.They have thus theorized and empirically documented not only "sincere" argumentation and persuasion in the socialization process, but also the strategic use of norms and arguments (Schimmelfennig 1999, 2000a, 2001; see also Fierke and Wiener 1999) and the manipulative use of persuasive appeals (Payne 2001).

Of course, problems and challenges remain, with five being most central.First, like an earlier generation of constructivists who were accused (with some justification) of studying only good norms, these scholars have tended to study good socialization (adoption of liberal nationality laws, civilian control of the military, peaceful end of the Cold War, etc).Yet, socialization driven by persuasion and argumentation need not lead to better outcomes.Consider one example.The work surveyed above is nearly unanimous in stressing the role of small group size in promoting socialization.However, a new generation of work by social psychologists suggests that such settings might be ripe for "group think" dynamics (t�Hart, Stern and Sundelius 1997). [11]

Second, this emphasis on the micro has come at the expense of the macro.In particular, social and material power receive insufficient attention.Do socialization outcomes ever not coincide with the interests of materially powerful states and the international institutions they support?In a particular small group setting, what makes an argument prevail?Is it simply the force of the better argument, as students of Habermas might suggest?Or, does it have more to do with whether an agent�s arguments resonate and are thus empowered/legitimated by broader social discourses?

Third, most of the socialization studied by these scholars is "one way" � that is, the causal arrows run from international institutions to particular social/state agents (Checkel 2001, for example).Yet constructivists, with their emphasis on recursive practices and mutual constitution, should be especially sensitive to mapping out possible feedback effects on the institutions themselves.This has not happened partly for practical reasons � the process-tracing methodologies employed are resource and time intensive, and one can do only so much in a given project.However, epistemology plays a role as well.Most of the scholars surveyed above employ a loosely positivist framework; for their analyses to work, something � the institutions themselves � has to held constant for the causal mapping to proceed.

Fourth, other techniques are needed as a supplement to the interviews that figure so prominently in this micro-socialization research.Possibilities include cognitive mapping, the adoption of interview methodologies from clinical psychology, and utilizing content analysis techniques that isolate argument structures.All three would serve to reduce the reliability problems that arise from the attempt to get inside heads, as it were.

Fifth, these rich, micro-level studies of socialization are often overdetermined, with several causal variables leading to an outcome in a single or perhaps two cases (Checkel 2001).There are several ways to address such a problem.One possibility is to use a volume like this one "to winnow" the list of causal variables � an challenge Michael Zuern takes up in his chapter. [12] More ambitiously, one could study a single international institution, choosing cases where socialization was successful and where it was not.Even more important would be to select cases that load differentially on key causal variables � repeated versus infrequent interaction, novice political agents versus experienced ones, publicity versus confidentiality, and the like.While the latter is beyond the scope of the present volume, it is a clear direction for future research and should allow researchers to advance more fine-grained hypotheses on the institutions-socialization relation. [13]

Summary.Socialization is a process (see also Schimmelfennig 2000a, 112), one that occurs through a number of different causal mechanisms and in several different arenas.Above, I distinguished between two such arenas: the macro/public and the micro/private.In the former, socialization is promoted through a politicized and public process; social contention is a good metaphor for capturing socialization of this sort.For the latter, socialization occurs in de-politicized settings where confidentiality and privacy prevail; social learning might be the proper metaphor for this kind of process.The reality is that both socialization pathways matter, with the theoretical challenge being to think systematically about the conditions under which one or the other is more causally relevant. [14]

The Multiple Mechanisms of Socialization

Given that the macro-perspective on the institutions-socialization nexus has received significant attention in the recent literature, the contributors to this volume emphasize more the micro-level.Yet, even within the latter, several different analytic perspectives are evident.�� Key mechanisms of socialization include repeated contact over time (an argument about the quantity of contact), institutional environments (an argument about structural context and preconditions), and social interaction where communication in some form plays a central role (an argument about the quality of the contact).I address each in turn, focusing on the micro-foundations upon which these mechanisms of socialization rest. [15]

Contact.Approaches that emphasize the duration or intensity of contact as a key causal mechanism of socialization are the most rigorous methodologically (often employing various quantitative techniques), but somewhat unclear on theoretical micro-foundations (Beyers 1998; Trondal 2000; Hooghe 2001; see also Beyers and Dierickx 1997; Idem 1998).Is it simply the duration of contact that matters?Probably not: Otherwise, these analysts would find themselves arguing that as t �> infinity, socialization (and pervasive group think?) would become complete.

An additional challenge for proponents of the contact thesis is that two, arguably different measures of it, are often conflated.On the one hand, it seems to be the length or quantity of contact that drives socialization.However, at the same time, we are told that the intensity of the contact also matters.This conflation raises difficult methodological issues.First, which is causally primary � duration or intensity of contact?Second, how is intensity operationalized and measured?Does more intense contact occur when social agents in a particular EU committee, say, defend fixed national positions?Or, does it occur when they engage in a first-principles debate over how to define those positions?

Although important methodological problems thus remain, the contact/time thesis deserves our attention.It not only builds upon earlier, neo-functionalist insights regarding the socializing force of the European project, but does so in a more rigorous manner.Equally important, a robust laboratory-experimental research program provides strong support for the core analytic claim of these Europeanists � namely, that prolonged exposure and communication do indeed promote a greater sense of we-ness, as well as socialization dynamics. [16]

Institutional Environments.Hypotheses about institutional context supplement those discussed above. The starting point for institutional arguments about socialization is that much, if not all, social life is bureaucratically and organizationally structured.Thus, decisionmakers participating in a particular European committee or group are embedded in multiple organizational contexts to which they have primary or secondary affiliations.Indeed, this work suggests a number of specific hypotheses on how contexts and affiliations promote or constrain socialization dynamics in small, private settings.

Consider institutional dynamics at the EU level, where one finds individuals with both primary and secondary affiliations.Egeberg would argue that the Commission, being the primary affiliation of the Commissioners as well as of the officials in the services, would be more likely to have a socializing influence on these agents.In contrast, the various committees under both the Commission and the Council represent secondary affiliations."Accordingly, preferences and basic role perceptions are supposed to change only partly, although additional concerns and loyalties might emerge" (Egeberg 2000; see also Idem 1999). [17]

The value added of this institutional work is to remind us that individuals participating in a (possible) socialization dynamic are in no sense free agents.They come into it with structural "baggage" that can influence its course and outcome.More specifically, this suggests that studies exploring the role of contact in promoting socialization need to control more systematically for organizational context.

Social Interaction.Recent work by IR constructivists goes a step further, arguing that one must consider both the quantity of the contact and the nature of the social interaction to explain possible socialization dynamics.The perhaps all too obvious point is that the quality of the interaction can crucially effect the possibility of socialization.Scholars have used different terms � deliberation, social learning, argumentation, persuasion � to characterize the interaction that can lead to preference change and thus socialization.However, whatever the term, the challenge has been to operationalize it in a manner amenable to empirical testing.As persuasion seems to be the causal motor underlying nearly all these terms, here, I focus on its role.

Utilizing research in social psychology and communications research (Zimbardo and Leippe 1991; Brody, Mutz and Sniderman 1996), one can advance five scope conditions for when persuasion should play a greater role in promoting agent socialization.In particular, persuasion is more likely to promote socialization when:

H#1���� The persuadee is in a novel and uncertain environment -- generated by the newness of the issue, a crisis or serious policy failure -- and thus cognitively motivated to analyze new information.

H#2���� The persuadee has few prior, ingrained beliefs that are inconsistent with the persuader�s message.Put differently, agents with few cognitive priors who are novices will be more open to persuasion.

H#3���� The persuader is an authoritative member of the in-group to which the persuadee belongs or wants to belong.

H#4���� The persuader does not lecture or demand, but, instead, "acts out principles of serious deliberative argument."

H#5 The persuader-persuadee interaction occurs in less politicized and more insulated, in-camera settings. [18]

Several comments are in order.First, the validity of these deductions is greatly enhanced by the degree to which they overlap with the results of other recent theoretical-empirical work by constructivists (Risse 2000; Gheciu 2000; Johnston 2001; Finnemore nd, chapter 5; see also Adler nd).

Second, precisely because these are scope conditions, they open up analytic space for more strategic perspectives on what drives agent socialization.For example, if H#2 and H#4 do not hold, the socialization process may more likely be driven by the manipulative use of persuasive appeals (Payne 2001) or by "rhetorical action" � the strategic use of norms and arguments (Schimmelfennig 2000a). [19]

Third, the hypotheses incorporate a key insight of institutionalist theorizing on socialization: Social agents are embedded in multiple � international and domestic � institutional contexts.In particular, H#2 is an argument about the importance of noviceness, where agents with few prior, ingrained beliefs are more open to persuasion/socialization.And, from an institutional perspective, it is precisely organizations that play a key role in constructing "ingrained beliefs," thus hindering socialization. [20]

This also suggests a key element of cross-regional variance in terms of socialization by European institutions � one this volume is well placed to study.Ceteris paribus, agents in the transition (or new!) states of East Europe and the former USSR � who come from domestic settings marked by weak political institutions � will be more open to socialization driven by persuasion, with the opposite holding true for political elites from the "old" states of Western Europe.Put differently, controlling for the presence or absence of national embeddedness is essential for explaining the socializing power of European institutions.

Summary.While emphasizing somewhat different mechanisms through which international institutions socialize actors, the three approaches sketched above are united by one � crucial � shared assumption: International institutions are social environments (see also Risse-Kappen 1995; Barnett and Finnemore 1999; Wallander 2000a; Johnston 2001).Participating in them may change state agents in fundamental ways.This not only has the advantage of capturing the empirical reality of "what�s going on" in post-Cold War Europe; it also marks a new analytic turn for work on European institutions, which has been dominated by perspectives emphasizing their constraining role.While much of this work is very good (Keohane, Nye and Hoffmann 1993; Moravcsik 1995; Idem 2000; Kopstein and Reilly 2000; Wallander 1999; Idem 2000b), it can say little about the constitutive, socializing dynamics emphasized here.

Moreover, our explicit focus on causal mechanisms and the embeddedness of social agents in multiple � domestic, international � contexts marks an advance over both earlier neo-functionalist and social constructivist theorizing.On the former, contributors do not rely on vague notions of �spillover� or �learning� to analyze the (possible) identity-shaping influence of participation in the European project (Martin and Simmons 1998, 735-36).Instead, they theorize and empirically document specific socialization mechanisms � persuasion, institutional setting, rhetorical action and the like.In addition and again in contrast with neo-functionalism, there is no normative agenda driving the analysis (Caporaso 1998, 6-7).Indeed, as the case studies demonstrate, the socializing effects of European institutions are at best uneven and in no sense can be construed as shaping a radically new, post-national identity.

Regarding constructivism, by exploring the institutions-socialization relation at the micro/private level, we offer a supplement and corrective to recent work that examines it from a public and contentious perspective (Risse, Ropp and Sikkink 1999).More generally, the volume offers more fine-grained arguments helping to specify better the "international learning" or "social learning" dynamics often stressed by constructivists to capture the constitutive impact of international institutions (Adler 1997; Adler and Barnett 1998, chapter 2).

Theoretically, by stressing mechanisms, this volume contributes to the development of middle-range socialization approaches.Indeed, ever since Robert Merton�s pioneering work in the late 1940s, social theorists have argued that such theories can only be constructed by elaborating social mechanisms that shrink the gap between "input" and "output" (Merton 1968, chapter II; Hedstroem and Swedberg 1998, 7-9, 25).In turn, this requires one to minimize use of the "as if"assumptions that play such important roles in all too many studies of socialization (Checkel 2000c; Sterling-Folker 2000). [21]

For sure, the choice-theoretic critique of those who study socialization and preference formation is a well-taken and cautionary reminder of the difficulties involved in the enterprise.However, criticism should not be allowed to become dogma, especially if one�s concern is to model and explain the social world as it really works (see also Elster 2000).

Design and Organization

The remainder of the volume is structured as follows.Part II consists of 7 case studies that examine the socialization policies/practices of various European institutions.The chapters follow a common template, beginning with an introduction where authors highlight their socialization puzzle and provide background and context for the European institution on which they focus.Next, the theoretical argument linking institutions to agent socialization is briefly summarized.In a third section, authors spell out their particular mechanism or pathway of socialization, and suggest conditions under which they expect it to operate.A fourth section introduces the data, with contributors specifically asking what the ideal data set would look like � given their theoretical argument -- and how theirs falls short.Authors also describe and justify the qualitative or quantitative methods (or combination thereof) they employ to draw inferences about socialization processes/effects.

In a fifth and most important section, contributors relate their socialization "story."These comprise the heart of each chapter and, indeed, of the volume as a whole.Collectively, the case studies have important things to say about the multiple mechanisms through which international institutions in contemporary Europe are socializing both "old" (West European) and "new" (East European) state/societal actors.In this last section, contributors also address alternative explanations and employ counterfactual analysis, where appropriate.

Substantively, Part II begins with several studies of the European Union, with empirical data drawn from West European states.Later chapters add both a comparative institutional (looking beyond the EU) and cross-national (looking beyond West Europe) dimension.

Part III is entitled "Theoretical Extensions and Critiques."Its purpose is to contextualize and critically assesses the arguments advanced in earlier chapters.Iain Johnston, who has done research on China and its socialization by international institutions, writes the extension, suggesting refinements of and limitations to the volume�s core analytic claims.He is thus well placed to help us confront the implicit sui generis nature of arguments about international institutions in Europe.Is there something truly unique about the post-World War II European experience that limits our ability to generalize?

The critique is developed by Michael Zuern.As an empirically driven, "soft" rationalist, he is an obvious choice to reflect critically on the volume's theoretical framing and empirical cases. [22] What is good and bad?Where do we need ‑‑ theoretically or methodologically ‑‑ to go next?Has our explicit emphasis on developing scope conditions further promoted dialogue among competing theoretical schools (see also Risse 2000; Caporaso and Jupille 2000; Olsen 2001)?What are the benefits of such a dialogue, and, equally important, what are its costs?(see also Checkel and Moravcsik 2001)Has the focus on causal mechanisms contributed to the development of middle-range arguments on the institutions-socialization nexus?How should future work build upon or, perhaps, depart from our efforts?


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[1] In 1994, the CSCE gained a permanent secretariat and headquarters, thus becoming the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).Farrell and Flynn (1999).

[2] See, especially, the Darmstadt Enlargement Project.Schimmelfennig 2000b.

[3] More formally, socialization is a "process of learning in which norms and ideals are transmitted from one party to another"; its endpoint is the internalization of norms.Siegel 1965, 1.Also see Ikenberry and Kupchan 1990, 287-92.

[4] See, for example, the various contributions in Katzenstein, Keohane and Krasner 1998.

[5] See also Finnemore and Sikkink 1998; and Keck and Sikkink 1998, chapter 1, on "strategic social construction."

[6] While it is always easy to be a critic, my concerns here attest more to the accomplishments of Risse and collaborators than to their failings.Both the clarity of the theoretical argument and its integration with rich empirical material make it easy to see what works -- and what does not.

[7] While I make these distinctions for analytic purposes, they should not be overstated.See Trondal 2001 for a good discussion.

[8] Thanks to Johan P. Olsen and Jarle Trondal for discussion on these points.See also Trondal 2000, n6.

[9] As with the Risse/Ropp/Sikkink volume, my criticisms of Egeberg are in fact a tribute to the analytic clarity of his analysis.

[10] Johnston�s work is especially good on these scores.

[11] See also Moravcsik�s response in Checkel and Moravcsik 2001.

[12] I am aware of one other collaborative project with similar aspirations.See Harald Mueller and Thomas Risse, "Arguing and Bargaining in Multilateral Negotiations," proposal submitted to the Volkswagen Foundation (no date).

[13] On these methods and research design issues, see also Iain Johnston�s discussant comments, panel on "The Multiple Pathways to Socialization: Exploring the IO/Identity Nexus," International Studies Association Annual Convention (February 2001).

[14] A stronger argument about the relation can be made.Simply put, private socialization absent broader, political processes of public socialization may not be durable.It is only the latter that generate institutionalization dynamics in the broader polity, which, in turn, can lock in new values and beliefs.My own work on socialization in post-Soviet Ukraine provides suggestive evidence on this score.Checkel 2001

[15] I stress micro-foundations because such an approach better helps one identify points of overlap or commonality among the different perspectives.

[16] Orbell, Dawes and Van de Kragt 1988, for example.Thanks to Jim Caporaso for alerting me to this work.

[17] Or, as symbolic interactionists would argue, "role conflict" can inhibit agent socialization.Stryker 1980.See also Barnett 1993.

[18] Checkel 2001.For empirical applications, see Idem 2000a, b.

[19] Put differently, this constructivist move to the micro-level creates points of contact and possible overlap with more rationalist accounts of socialization.See also Moravcsik�s discussion in Checkel and Moravcsik 2001.

[20] For one attempt at measuring agent noviceness and, more generally, domestic institutional embeddedness in a methodologically sound way, see Checkel 1999; and Idem 2001.

[21] Wendt 1999, 119-22 is a superb meta-theoretical and philosophical deconstruction of the damage wrought by "as if" assumptions in contemporary IR theorizing more generally.

[22] The attribute soft denotes scholars driven more by empirical puzzles than by the ontological purity of their arguments.The chapter by Kowert and Legro in Katzenstein 1996 played a similar critical, reality-check role.