Theorizing European Disintegration in Times of Complexity

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 134 (University of Glasgow)
Senka Neuman , University of Groningen
This paper adds to a growing discussion on the need to explain and theorize European disintegration. The paper establishes that problematization of European disintegration should take place outside of the realm of traditional EU theorizing. Whereas the mainstream scholarship attempts to reevaluate ability of the existing integration theories to make sense of events such as the so-called euro-zone/solidarity/migration/identity/etc. crises, this paper takes an opposite turn. Events that have marked contemporary European political landscape are adopted to critically rethink how Europe is imagined within the European integration theorizing. Whereas Schmitter for instance adopts the neo-institutional concepts of spill-over and spill-back to classify political processes in terms of furthering supranational institutions (integration) or reversing them (disintegration), this paper sees the very terms integration and disintegration to be constrained by the presupposition of the existence of a European telos and the consequent definition of integration as a liner development towards that telos. In response, the paper draws from Latourian political philosophy – Latour’s redefinition of the political as a mode – to challenge the existing nature of the beast debates within EU scholarship. Analytical focus is consequently placed on heterogeneous assemblages and everyday enactments of these assemblages. Latour’s discussion of the “political” is adopted to shed a different light on the events that are increasingly classified as “the crisis” or disintegration. In the context of redefining European integration as multitudinal, disintegration is debunked as a useful concept and events widely referred to as disintegration are consequently re-examined via the actor-network theory.