Political Theory and the European Union


Giulia Bistagnino (University of Milan), giulia.bistagnino@unimi.it

Pamela Pansardi (University of Pavia), pamela.pansardi@unipv.it


The workshop aims at bringing together scholars interested in the normative dimension of the European Union.

Political theory has traditionally been concerned with nation-states and their institutions, while more recently its scope has been widening by tackling questions about the global world. The EU, understood as a sort of intermediate entity of a distinctive nature, has become a prominent object of research to reflect on political problems. Today, the financial and political crises taking place in Europe have shown not only the vulnerability of EU’s institutions, but also the urgency to provide conceptual and normative tools to assess the EU and evaluate its decisions. Indeed, since the creation of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the establishment of the Maastricht Treaty, the focus of EU integration has been set on legal and economic aspects only and academic discourses have been trapped into technical and economical debates with little attention for normative issues. A reflection on the nature and scope of the EU and an assessment of its problems and dilemmas is thus pressing and represents a fundamental task for normative political theory.

This workshop focuses on three main topics relevant for the EU: market efficiency vs. solidarity; supranationalism vs. national sovereignty; legitimacy vs. efficiency. We welcome contributions aimed at addressing one or more of the following questions – or related ones:

1) Market efficiency vs. Solidarity: What norms and duties of social and economic justice should apply to the EU? Which values should inform the political foundation of EU? How and to what extent common efforts and resources should be devoted to assist the countries which suffered the most from the effects of the economic crisis? How and to what extent should citizens of a member state contribute in providing the same social benefits to citizens of other member states who exercise their right to free movement across the EU?

2) Supranationalism vs. National Sovereignty: Should the EU be a supranational democracy, a transnational demoi-cracy, a federation of nations, or simply an international organization? Which principles should inform the process of European integration? How should EU relate to non-member states and their citizens?

3) Legitimacy vs. Efficiency: Is there a democratic deficit in Europe and why? What are the limits and the legitimate role that knowledge and expertise should play in democratic decision-making?


Abstracts (500-1000 words) should be sent to giulia.bistagnino@unimi.it and pamela.pansardi@unipv.it by May 20th, 2015. We warmly welcome earlier expressions of interest.


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