Thinking differently about Europe

Discussion on European Integration Research

Essen - 17–18 October 2014

In the last few years, research on European integration has become increasingly diversified. Initially it was focused on the political, legal and economic dimensions of the process of integration and characterized by a teleological perspective on the development of European institutions. Today there are more and more voices which emphasize the multidimensionality, fragility and ambivalence of the process of integration.

New approaches in integration research also draw attention to a Europe of citizens by concentrating on questions of a European public sphere, (civil) society, culture or identity. Methods, categories and ways of thought which have dominated research on Europe up until now are thereby questioned.

This was the point of departure for central questions addressed by the workshop: Can the process of integration be understood with the help of concepts and instruments which are tied to the level of the nation state or the federal state? Or is integration research facing the task to revise and modify old concepts and develop new categories? How is a critique of methodological nationalism related to certain concepts of political order and are these connections plausible and legitimate? How do new approaches respond to the deficits of former research on Europe? The workshop “Thinking differently about Europe”, held in Essen from 17–18 October, provided the opportunity to discuss these questions in an interdisciplinary exchange.

Hauke Brunkhorst (University of Flensburg), Volker Heins (KWI / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Duisburg), Andreas Hess (University College Dublin),Claus Leggewie (KWI), Andreas Niederberger (University of Duisburg-Essen), Kerstin Poehls (University of Hamburg), Wolfgang Schmale (University of Vienna), Birgit Schwelling (Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Duisburg), Marcel Siepmann (KWI)

Venue: Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI), Gartensaal, Goethestr. 31, 45128 Essen