Beyond the Progressive Story: Reframing Resistance to European Integration
In view of the recurrent crises that have hit the European Union over the last two decades, dominant assumptions about its historical development are under revision. Whereas important theories of integration mainly elaborated explanations of European integration as a linear progressive teleological process, recent criticism casts doubt on their capacity to capture the twists and turns both of current and past developments of the European Communities and Union. Particularly, the picture of the European Union as a political entity inexorably on its way to ever-deepening supranational unity has been called into question.
The conference is organized by the participants of the research project “(De)Constructing Europe”, a cooperation between the Max Weber Foundation and the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The conference will contribute to a reconceptualization of the history of Europeanization by starting from the observation that resistance and opposition to the EEC and the EU should not be conceived as mere obstacles that had to be overcome on the way to integration. Rather, they have often been important factors in shaping the institutions and policies of European cooperation that have emerged since the end of the Second World War. Multiple conceptions of Europe have intertwined and clashed, constantly redefining the scope and character of European integration, which consequently has not proceeded in a linear fashion and has not been consistently underpinned by a single vision.
By focusing on concrete historical trajectories and changes of direction, the conference aims to develop perspectives other than that of the conventional “teleological view” of European integration.