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Call for Panels and Papers Reviewing the Trends: The European Union from a Regulatory Institution to a Post-national Cosmopolitan Order
21 March 2013 — 23 March 2013
Historically, the EU is both curious and controversial: it is hard to explain from a state-centrist view the delegation of sovereignty and the fragile agreement on the gradual extension of the EU powers together with externalizations of the decision making to a polity that can be described, as Jacques Delors expressed it, as an unidentified political object. However, in the last 60 years the European Union absorbed increasing amounts of intellectual and political energies that attempted to singularly or complementary explain the nature of the beast and the logic of the processes unfolded within. A large amount of theoretical assumptions, methodological choices and explanatory techniques were imported from different fields of research to constitute what gradually took the shape of the EU studies. Still today, the European Union is seen as a unique project of regional integration that is unsettled and unfinished and yet a particular scientific vocabulary takes shape and influences research and policy making. The present conference aims to take into account the enormous creative energies invested in understanding and shaping the project of the European Union from the limited competences granted at the creation of the European Economic Community till the current formulation of the post-national understandings of its evolution.
From neo-functionalism to constructivism as IR theoretical imports to the EU seen as a political system in itself or as a post-national order, an overwhelming variety of puzzles and controversies animate the arena of the EU studies and bring partial agreements, alternative explanations, mutually exclusive proposals and unpredicted consequences regarding vital factors that shape the EU as a polity. Even the explanatory models often considered outdated prove to be resourceful in confronting determined policies, processes or institutional choices inside the EU. The innovation together with constant reevaluation, reformulation and revisiting of the past accounts seem to be the trademark of the EU studies. The plurality of approaches stands as the optimal choice in dealing with the diverse, multileveled, multitiered and multicentered reality of the European Union. Yet the advantage of plurality was also often used to blame the epistemological weaknesses and inaccuracies resulted from fragmentation and limited empirical applicability of particular trends inside European studies. The excessive conceptual imports from other fields and the limited methodological creativity were also established as skeptical positionings towards the European studies seen as a cohesive field of research and scholarship.