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European security in integration theory: contested boundaries

European security in integration theory: contested boundaries
European security in integration theory: contested boundaries
Following the recent outbreak of the war in Ukraine, policy practitioners and scholars have been in search of a deeper understanding of the likely causes of the conflict and its consequences for the European security architecture. Various theories have been deployed to this end, but international/European integration theory remains conspicuously absent. Perhaps it is irrelevant? This book re-examines federalism and functionalism – two fundamental, yet largely forgotten, theories of international integration – in order to demonstrate that the dilemmas facing Europe are not new and were already theorised after World War I (WWI).

The book subsequently shows how the core tenets of these early theories, particularly how they viewed territoriality and geopolitical boundaries, remain as relevant today as they were almost 100 years ago. To this end, the book demonstrates intellectual continuity between federalism and the contemporary research programme on the European Union (EU) as a global power, and between functionalism and the contemporary research programme on European security governance. The first of these programmes is often considered to have suddenly emerged in the 1970s, inspired by the external activities of the European Economic Community (EEC). The second one emerged in the 1990s, inspired by the ‘governance turn’ in Politics and International Relations (IR). In reality, the heritage of both research programmes, even if indirectly, is much longer and richer.

The book aims to accomplish three objectives:

Empirically: To demonstrate to those concerned with international security order in Europe (students, scholars, policy practitioners) that some of the fundamental security dilemmas facing Europe in the 1920s–1950s were not that different from the challenges we currently experience. As soon as the first ideas for international integration in Europe were formulated after WWI, it became clear that there was no consensus on the boundaries of the envisaged European integration project. Most importantly, there was no agreement among European political thinkers and policy makers on the eastern frontier of the future European federation, specifically the place of Soviet Russia. Starting with Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, the place of Russia in Europe continued to dominate the debates, with arguments ranging from those urging Europe to unite against the imminent Russia’s invasion, through those urging peaceful co-existence of united Europe and Soviet Union, to those advocating Russia’s membership in the possible European integration project. David Mitrany, of course, represented a completely different take on the problem. He wanted to circumvent the problem of boundaries all together through his functionalist approach. He rejected the idea of closed, continental unions. Today, Europe is in a different place. The Soviet Union is long gone. And yet, many of the important arguments on European security order mirror the arguments raised in the past. In the debates concerning EU-Russia relations following the conflict in Ukraine, at the risk of slight simplification, two competing positions can be clearly distinguished. One considers Europe to be, once again, threatened by expansionist Russia, and advocates a more coherent and more assertive EU response to this threat. The other position calls upon the EU to become more inclusive towards Russia, recognising it as an equal partner rather than a disobedient recipient of European norms and values. It is thus important for students, scholars and policy practitioners to recognise this continuity. By understanding the arguments which shaped the debates on the boundaries of European integration in the past, they will be better equipped to understand and contribute to the discussions in the present.

Theoretically: To demonstrate that early integration theories remain fundamentally relevant and important (a) to understand the contemporary European security predicament; and (b) as intellectual heritage informing, even if indirectly, contemporary research programmes on Europe as a global power and European security governance. Both federalism and functionalism, as two of the major early integration theories, remain relevant and important for the understanding of the dilemmas facing Europe today. The book explains why and how they are important. The book also re-examines two of the major contemporary research programmes: Europe as a global power and European security governance. The main purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that some of the key differences between these programmes resemble the differences which distinguished the functionalist and federalist approaches. The question of territoriality and boundaries is, again, at the centre. On the one hand, the contemporary ‘Europe as power’ research programme can be traced back to Coudenhove-Kalergi. It is mostly concerned with the EU as an international/global actor/power. It conceptualises, explains and prescribes the EU’s role in the world, often advocating a more coherent, capable and effective policy at the EU level. On the other hand, the contemporary ‘European security governance’ research programme displays a more flexible approach to the problem of territoriality and boundaries in international security. While both research programmes appreciate the unique, multi-dimensional nature of the EU’s institutional structure, the ‘governance’ approach is more focused on decentralised, often informal networks of actors and processes, typically operating across formal boundaries. For its problem-oriented, rather than territory-oriented focus, the governance approach can be fruitfully compared to Mitrany’s functionalism. The book explains exactly how early integration theory is relevant to understand the key tenets of the two contemporary research programmes, focusing particularly on their competing philosophies of territoriality and geopolitical boundaries. Chapter 6 of the book demonstrates how practitioners, scholars and students of European security can gain a deeper understanding of the dilemmas facing the EU vis-à-vis its Eastern neighbourhood by drawing on two competing theoretical traditions: federalism/EU as a global power on the one hand, and functionalism/European security governance on the other hand.

Meta-theoretically: To demonstrate the importance of empirical-normative theories for generating policy-relevant, practical knowledge, urgently required by policy practitioners and experts in Europe today. Granted, all theories of integration contain normative dimension, but the difference between empirical-explanatory and empirical-normative theories can be explained by comparing functionalism with neo-functionalism. Ernst Haas rightly observed that functionalism was embedded in political theory, and thus engaged in both analysing and prescribing. Functionalists not only analysed the existing society, but also claimed ‘to know the way in which a normatively superior state of affairs can be created’ (Haas, 1964, p. 7). Hass explicitly rejected this approach and instead opted for the functional theory as a way to ‘map out the problem area’ so that it can be rigorously studied using appropriate methods. He aimed at description, explanation and prediction. In turn, Mitrany complained that the majority of international theorists were busy attempting to uncover ‘”scientific” ways and laws’, using tools which ‘would have stunned all the policy makers from Bismarck to Bevin’ (Mitrany, 1975, p. 26). This book challenges the popular perception of early integration thought as ‘pre-theories’ or ‘normative visions’, which merely paved the way for the post-World War II (WWII) theories ‘proper’. It argues that the eclectic, empirical-normative character underpinning early international integration theories makes them more practical and policy-relevant. In other words, the theories of this kind are more suitable for the purpose of providing a valuable contribution for those who are concerned with the practical aspects of politics and international relations (policy practitioners). The most pressing questions concerning international security order require an empirical-normative mode of theorising. In the context of the war in Ukraine, it is not only important to know why exactly the conflict erupted, but also how the international community should react. Or, how the EU should behave towards Russia in this context. Indeed, in the 2015 assessment of the conflict by the House of Lords, the witnesses were equally requested to analyse the causes and likely consequences of the dispute, as they were invited to offer expert advice on the best plan of action. The empirical-normative kind of theory equally informs the contemporary research programmes on Europe as power and European security governance. This is sometimes obvious already in the publication titles, such as ‘Wake Up, Europe!’ by Howorth and Menon in Global Affairs. By explicitly engaging with meta-theoretical assumptions informing discussions on European security order, the book demonstrates that empirical-normative theorising does not only constitute a legitimate form of scholarship, but can lead to generating policy-relevant knowledge so urgently needed.
Palgrave Macmillan
Zwolski, Kamil
eadd4b99-f0db-41b8-a3a1-f71918f09975
Zwolski, Kamil (2018) European security in integration theory: contested boundaries, Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan

Zwolski, Kamil (2018) European security in integration theory: contested boundaries, Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan

Record type: Book

Abstract

Following the recent outbreak of the war in Ukraine, policy practitioners and scholars have been in search of a deeper understanding of the likely causes of the conflict and its consequences for the European security architecture. Various theories have been deployed to this end, but international/European integration theory remains conspicuously absent. Perhaps it is irrelevant? This book re-examines federalism and functionalism – two fundamental, yet largely forgotten, theories of international integration – in order to demonstrate that the dilemmas facing Europe are not new and were already theorised after World War I (WWI).

The book subsequently shows how the core tenets of these early theories, particularly how they viewed territoriality and geopolitical boundaries, remain as relevant today as they were almost 100 years ago. To this end, the book demonstrates intellectual continuity between federalism and the contemporary research programme on the European Union (EU) as a global power, and between functionalism and the contemporary research programme on European security governance. The first of these programmes is often considered to have suddenly emerged in the 1970s, inspired by the external activities of the European Economic Community (EEC). The second one emerged in the 1990s, inspired by the ‘governance turn’ in Politics and International Relations (IR). In reality, the heritage of both research programmes, even if indirectly, is much longer and richer.

The book aims to accomplish three objectives:

Empirically: To demonstrate to those concerned with international security order in Europe (students, scholars, policy practitioners) that some of the fundamental security dilemmas facing Europe in the 1920s–1950s were not that different from the challenges we currently experience. As soon as the first ideas for international integration in Europe were formulated after WWI, it became clear that there was no consensus on the boundaries of the envisaged European integration project. Most importantly, there was no agreement among European political thinkers and policy makers on the eastern frontier of the future European federation, specifically the place of Soviet Russia. Starting with Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, the place of Russia in Europe continued to dominate the debates, with arguments ranging from those urging Europe to unite against the imminent Russia’s invasion, through those urging peaceful co-existence of united Europe and Soviet Union, to those advocating Russia’s membership in the possible European integration project. David Mitrany, of course, represented a completely different take on the problem. He wanted to circumvent the problem of boundaries all together through his functionalist approach. He rejected the idea of closed, continental unions. Today, Europe is in a different place. The Soviet Union is long gone. And yet, many of the important arguments on European security order mirror the arguments raised in the past. In the debates concerning EU-Russia relations following the conflict in Ukraine, at the risk of slight simplification, two competing positions can be clearly distinguished. One considers Europe to be, once again, threatened by expansionist Russia, and advocates a more coherent and more assertive EU response to this threat. The other position calls upon the EU to become more inclusive towards Russia, recognising it as an equal partner rather than a disobedient recipient of European norms and values. It is thus important for students, scholars and policy practitioners to recognise this continuity. By understanding the arguments which shaped the debates on the boundaries of European integration in the past, they will be better equipped to understand and contribute to the discussions in the present.

Theoretically: To demonstrate that early integration theories remain fundamentally relevant and important (a) to understand the contemporary European security predicament; and (b) as intellectual heritage informing, even if indirectly, contemporary research programmes on Europe as a global power and European security governance. Both federalism and functionalism, as two of the major early integration theories, remain relevant and important for the understanding of the dilemmas facing Europe today. The book explains why and how they are important. The book also re-examines two of the major contemporary research programmes: Europe as a global power and European security governance. The main purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that some of the key differences between these programmes resemble the differences which distinguished the functionalist and federalist approaches. The question of territoriality and boundaries is, again, at the centre. On the one hand, the contemporary ‘Europe as power’ research programme can be traced back to Coudenhove-Kalergi. It is mostly concerned with the EU as an international/global actor/power. It conceptualises, explains and prescribes the EU’s role in the world, often advocating a more coherent, capable and effective policy at the EU level. On the other hand, the contemporary ‘European security governance’ research programme displays a more flexible approach to the problem of territoriality and boundaries in international security. While both research programmes appreciate the unique, multi-dimensional nature of the EU’s institutional structure, the ‘governance’ approach is more focused on decentralised, often informal networks of actors and processes, typically operating across formal boundaries. For its problem-oriented, rather than territory-oriented focus, the governance approach can be fruitfully compared to Mitrany’s functionalism. The book explains exactly how early integration theory is relevant to understand the key tenets of the two contemporary research programmes, focusing particularly on their competing philosophies of territoriality and geopolitical boundaries. Chapter 6 of the book demonstrates how practitioners, scholars and students of European security can gain a deeper understanding of the dilemmas facing the EU vis-à-vis its Eastern neighbourhood by drawing on two competing theoretical traditions: federalism/EU as a global power on the one hand, and functionalism/European security governance on the other hand.

Meta-theoretically: To demonstrate the importance of empirical-normative theories for generating policy-relevant, practical knowledge, urgently required by policy practitioners and experts in Europe today. Granted, all theories of integration contain normative dimension, but the difference between empirical-explanatory and empirical-normative theories can be explained by comparing functionalism with neo-functionalism. Ernst Haas rightly observed that functionalism was embedded in political theory, and thus engaged in both analysing and prescribing. Functionalists not only analysed the existing society, but also claimed ‘to know the way in which a normatively superior state of affairs can be created’ (Haas, 1964, p. 7). Hass explicitly rejected this approach and instead opted for the functional theory as a way to ‘map out the problem area’ so that it can be rigorously studied using appropriate methods. He aimed at description, explanation and prediction. In turn, Mitrany complained that the majority of international theorists were busy attempting to uncover ‘”scientific” ways and laws’, using tools which ‘would have stunned all the policy makers from Bismarck to Bevin’ (Mitrany, 1975, p. 26). This book challenges the popular perception of early integration thought as ‘pre-theories’ or ‘normative visions’, which merely paved the way for the post-World War II (WWII) theories ‘proper’. It argues that the eclectic, empirical-normative character underpinning early international integration theories makes them more practical and policy-relevant. In other words, the theories of this kind are more suitable for the purpose of providing a valuable contribution for those who are concerned with the practical aspects of politics and international relations (policy practitioners). The most pressing questions concerning international security order require an empirical-normative mode of theorising. In the context of the war in Ukraine, it is not only important to know why exactly the conflict erupted, but also how the international community should react. Or, how the EU should behave towards Russia in this context. Indeed, in the 2015 assessment of the conflict by the House of Lords, the witnesses were equally requested to analyse the causes and likely consequences of the dispute, as they were invited to offer expert advice on the best plan of action. The empirical-normative kind of theory equally informs the contemporary research programmes on Europe as power and European security governance. This is sometimes obvious already in the publication titles, such as ‘Wake Up, Europe!’ by Howorth and Menon in Global Affairs. By explicitly engaging with meta-theoretical assumptions informing discussions on European security order, the book demonstrates that empirical-normative theorising does not only constitute a legitimate form of scholarship, but can lead to generating policy-relevant knowledge so urgently needed.

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Published date: 2018
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

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Local EPrints ID: 398886
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/398886
PURE UUID: ab8f695f-bfd8-4aff-b5e9-e0a78f392b9c

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Date deposited: 04 Aug 2016 10:36
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 18:26

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Author: Kamil Zwolski

University divisions

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