Brexit and the Problem of European Disintegration

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
East Quad Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Ben Rosamond , Political Science, University of Copenhagen
This paper uses Brexit as a platform for thinking through some key issues associated with what might be called ‘European disintegration’. The result of the referendum in the UK held on 23 June 2016 certainly poses many more questions than it answers, but at the very least it raises the very real prospect of a member state leaving the European Union. What that might mean for both the UK and the EU has very quickly become one of the defining questions of contemporary European politics. At the same time, scholars working on the EU are arguably very poorly prepared to grasp analytically the mechanics of disintegration that Brexit has unleashed (or of which it is a symptom). This paper revisits some key currents in EU Studies to show that the absence of a worked through concept of disintegration is not necessarily a failing of extant theory as a few scholars have suggested, but rather reflective of a general tendency to divorce the analysis of the EU from broader discussions about the dynamics of capaitalist democracy in Europe. Bringing political economy 'back in' in this way allows us to develop a more systematic understanding the meaning of distintegration, the dynamics of distintegration and the associations between distintegrative tendencies and the unravelling of teh European democratic capitalist compact.
  • CES_Paper_17_The problem of European disintegration.pdf (208.5 kB)