Using Europe: Strategic Action in Multi-Level Politics
Comparative European Politics
GB : Palgrave Macmillan
110 - 126 p.
This article examines the importance of action-theoretical considerations in European studies. By outlining the notion of “usage” of the European Union, we argue for a more systematically sociological consideration of strategic action in the study of European transformations. The recent turns towards constructivism and comparative political sociology allow analyzing the rationality of political actors without falling in the trap of overly reductionist rational choice assumptions. Concentrating on intentional action helps to reveal the importance of three aspects of the multi-level polity: (1) informal and non-constraining procedures, (2) the effects of ways in which actors move in between the different levels of the European political system, and (3) the ambiguous and often surprising coalitions that come together despite often considerable disagreement over their final goals.