The Many Faces of Europeanization

This paper takes the contested concept of Europeanization, investigates its contrasting uses and maps out an institutional approach to European dynamics of change.

ARENA Working Paper 02/2002 (html)

Johan P. Olsen

Europeanization is a fashionable but contested concept, used in a number of ways to describe a variety of phenomena and processes of change. Because "Europeanization" has no single precise or stable meaning, it has been argued that the term is so unwieldy that it is futile to use it as an organizing concept. Still, it may be premature to abandon the term, as most studies are of recent origin and there have been few systematic attempts to map and compare different uses of the term. Therefore, rather than rejecting the term outright, I make an attempt to create a little more order in a disorderly field of research. The issue raised is not what Europeanization "really is", but whether and how the term can be useful for understanding the dynamics of the evolving European polity. A working assumption of this paper is that the transformation of the European political order may be fruitfully studied as changes in and among key institutions and identities. Furthermore, it is assumed that Europeanization is not a unique process; rather, it should be possible (in principle) to compare European dynamics with the dynamics of other systems of governance.

A later version of this article was published in Journal of Common Market Studies 40 (5): 921-952, 2002.

Tags: Europeanization, international regimes, neo-institutionalism, methodological issues
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2011 11:40 AM