Brexit As a Wake-up Call: Contestation and Citizen Agency in European Integration Theory

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
East Quad Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Antje Wiener , University of Hamburg
This paper argues that the British referendum vote of 23 June 2016 triggered a long overdue debate about agency of the governed in the European Union’s non-state. While European integration theories have addressed the issue of ‘legitimacy’ from various theoretical standpoints, this paper suggests that theories of governance and citizenship may be more fruitfully engaged in order to better theorize agency. The paper suggests a framework for doing this. To that end it draws on ‘contestation theory’ (Wiener 2014), which offers a practice-based focus on stakeholders. The paper presents the theoretical framework and its roots in International Relations (IR) theory as well as Recognition theory, and elaborates on the Brexit case as a wake-up call for theorizing the agency of the governed in European integration theories.
  • CES2017WienerBrexitPaper.pdf (1.6 MB)