SubjectsSubjects(version: 867)
Course, academic year 2019/2020
Sociology of European Integration for MA - JSM037
Title: Sociology of European Integration for MA
Czech title: Sociologie evropské integrace pro mgr.
Guaranteed by: Department of Sociology (23-KS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2019
Semester: summer
Points: 8
E-Credits: 8
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited / unknown (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D.
Teacher(s): Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D.
Incompatibility : JSB456, JSM019
Last update: Jana Vojanová (04.02.2019)
Sociology provides us with a wide-ranging repertoire of heuristic tools for investigating an historical process such as European integration from a variety of perspectives. Using a selection of different approaches, we will be able to reexamine some of the central themes of EU studies in political science, history, economics and legal science (governance, transnational public spheres, democratic legitimacy, public participation) in ways that reveal aspects these disciplines might occlude, by paying attention to the inclusionary and exclusionary effects of social institutions and practices, by focusing on the engagement of ordinary citizens in European integration or the mobilisation of Europe’s civic resources both in European Union decision-making or policymaking and in the construction of a European social space. The course will shift our gaze away from the substantialism that dominates much social science and away from the institutional and regulatory dimensions of European integration towards its processual and performative dimensions, that is: “exploring the EU from the point of view of the people actually producing it [or resisting it] ‘from above' and ‘from below'” (Adler-Nissen 2016: 88).
We will be interested, in particular, in how actors speak and debate about Europe: how they ‘make’ Europe in ‘talking’ (about) it and what they signify in acting out particular ‘European’ practices and routines. What claims get make about Europe? What principles get invoked to justify positions on Europe? How is definitional power attributed to certain participants and denied to others? What formal and informal procedures govern political discourse in the various arenas in which European integration is performed and what are their politicising or depoliticising implications? How are statistical measures of public opinion made to ‘speak’ in ways that integrate a European space-economy? What effect do actors’ positions in the ‘linguistic market’ of a multilingual entity have on their inclusion or exclusion from governance processes often heralded as ‘open’ or ‘participatory’?
The structure of the course is as follows. After considering what it means to study Europe sociologically, we will assemble an investigative repertoire from a range of sociological currents (some familiar, other perhaps less so), and then use them to reproblematise recurring normative and empirical debates about European integration, institutional design and the ‘character of the polity’ that the European Union is or should be. The final section of the course consists of three case studies where we can explore the enactment of top-down and bottom-up visions of Europe in specific practices and procedures.
Aim of the course
Last update: Jana Vojanová (04.02.2019)

Familiarise yourselves with the sociological literature on European integration.

Acquire an aptitude in applying several different sociological approaches to the investigation of European integration.

Learn to study the communicative/discursive dimensions of social practice as constitutive features of organisation, institutionalisation and Europeanisation.

Explore specific sociological case studies relating to the functioning of European institutions, their democratic legitimacy, and civil society involvement in politics.

Last update: Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D. (18.03.2020)

(numbers in brackets indicate relevance to course programme)

(1, 3b) Adler-Nissen, R. (2016) Towards a Practice Turn in EU Studies: The Everyday of European Integration, Journal of Common Market Studies 54(1): 87-103.

(9) Aldrin, P. (2011) The Eurobarometer and the making of European opinion. In: Gaxie, D., Hube, N. & Rowell, J. (eds.) Perceptions of Europe. A comparative sociology of european attitudes. Colchester: ECPR Press: 17–34.

(3d, 10, 11) Badouard, R. & Monnoyer-Smith, L. (2013) Hyperlinks as Political Resources: The European Commission Confronted with Online Activism, Policy & Internet 5(1): 101-117.

(6) Baisnée, O. (2014) Reporting the European Union: A study in journalistic boredom. In Kuhn, R. & Nielsen, R. (eds.) Political Journalism in Transition. London: I.B. Tauris: 131-150.

(2) Ban, C. (2013) Management and Culture in an Enlarged European Commission: From Diversity to Unity? Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

(3e, 11) Blokker, P. (2012) A Political Sociology of European Anti-Politics and Dissent, Cambio. Rivista sulla Trasformazioni Sociali 2(4): 17-31.

(5) Börzel, Tanja A. (2018) Governance Approaches to European Integration. KFG Working Paper Series, No. 84, May 2018, Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG) “The Transformative Power of Europe”, Freie Universität Berlin:

(6, 11) Cammaerts, B. & Van Audenhove, L. (2005) Online political debate, unbounded citizenship and the problematic nature of a transnational public sphere, Political Communication 22(2): 179-196.

(3c, 11) Della Porta, D. & Caiani, M. (2007) Europeanization from below. Social movements and Europe, Mobilization: An International Quarterly 12(1): 1-20.

(3d, 11) Doerr, N. (2012) Translating democracy: how activists in the European Social Forum practice multilingual deliberation, European Political Science Review 4(3): 361-384.

(6) Eriksen, E. (2008) Conceptualising European public spheres: general, segmented and strong publics. In: Fossum, J. & Schlesinger, P. (eds.) The European Union and the public sphere: a communicative space in the making? London: Routledge: 23-43.

(6) Eriksen, E. & Fossum, J. (2002) Democracy through strong publics in the European Union, Journal of Common Market Studies 40(3): 401-424.

(5) European Commission (2001) European Governance - A White Paper:

(6) Eurospheres working paper series (see especially numbers 3 and 9):

(2) Favell, A. (2008) Eurostars and Eurocities: Free Movement and Mobility in an Integrating Europe. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

(1) Favell, A. & Guiraudon, V. (2009) The Sociology of the European Union: An Agenda, European Union Politics 10(4): 550-577.

(1, 2) Fligstein, N. (2008) Euroclash. The EU, European Identity, and the Future of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(2, 3a) Georgakakis, D., & Weisbein, J. (2010) From above and from below: A political sociology of European actors, Comparative European Politics 8(1): 93-109.

(1) Guiraudon, V. (2006) Europe through Europeans' Eyes: Political Sociology and EU Studies, EUSA Newsletter 19(1): 1–7.

(6, 11) Haug, C. (2008) Public spheres within movements: challenging the (re)search for a European public sphere. RECON working paper 2008/02:

(5) Jessop, B. (2016) Territory, Politics, Governance and Multispatial Metagovernance, Territory, Politics, Governance 4(1): 8-32.

(3d, 7, 10) Karolewski, I.P. & Kaina, V. (eds.) (2012) Civic Resources and the Future of the European Union. Abingdon: Routledge. Chapters by Smith (125-145) and Fossum & Eldholm (146-195).

(6) Keane, J. (2000) 'Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere' in Hacker, K. & van Dijk, J. (eds.) Digital Democracy: issues of theory and practice, London: Sage: 70-89.

(9) Penissat, E. & Rowell, J. (2015) The Creation of a European Socio-economic Classification: Limits of Expert-driven Statistical Integration, Journal of European Integration (37:2): 281-297.

(5) Peters, B. (2006) Forms of Informality: Identifying Informal Governance in the European Union, Perspectives on European Politics and Society 7(1): 25-40.

(1, 2) Recchi, E. et al. (2019) Everyday Europe. Social transnationalism in an unsettled continent. Bristol: Policy Press.

(8) Saurugger, S. (2010) The Social Construction of the Participatory Turn: The Emergence of a Norm in the European Union, European Journal of Political Research 49(4): 471–95.

(5, 8) Smith, S. & Dalakioudidou, E. (2009) Contextualising public (e)Participation in the governance of the European Union, European Journal of ePractice 7.

(9) Sternberg, C. (2016) Public opinion in the EU institutions' discourses on EU legitimacy from the beginnings of integration to today, Politique Européenne 54: 25-56.

(1, 2) Wilken, L. (2012) ‘Anthropological Studies of European Identity Construction’. In: Kockel, U., Nic Craith, M. and Frykman, J. (eds) A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Teaching methods
Last update: Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D. (07.05.2020)



In-class debate

Final exam


●End of semester exam (80%)
○written assignment / essay to be done at home. Deadline 25 September 2020
○length: about 3 000 words; to include at least 5 references from the course reading list and at least 2 other references not on the reading list
●Seminar-style presentations or written assignment (20%)
○in class, following sessions 6, 8, 10, 11. Groups of 3
○written assignment as alternative if unable to participate in a seminar group
Grading system
91 - 100 points: A - excellent (outstanding performance with only minor mistakes)
81 -  90 points: B - very good (above average performance with some mistakes)
71 - 80 points: C - good (overall good performance with a number of notable mistakes)
61 - 70 points: D - satisfactory (acceptable performance with significant mistakes)
51 - 60 points: E - sufficient (performance fulfils only minimum criteria)
less than 51 points: F - insufficient/failed (more effort needs to be made)


Last update: Simon Smith, M.A., Ph.D. (27.01.2020)

Weekly Programme

Monday 2 March 2020

1.       Introduction: how do we study Europe sociologically?

2.       Europe as institutional field versus Europe as social space and process

Wednesday 4 March 2020

3.       Multiple sociologies of European integration: a. field theory, b. sociology of knowledge, c. social movement theory, d. communication and discourse studies, e. sociology of critique

4.       Grammars of justification: apologetic and critical discourses on Europe

Monday 30 March 2020

5.       Hierarchy, market or network: what kind of governance regime(s) is the European Union?

6.       The integration of a European public sphere

Wednesday 1 April 2020

7.       Mobilising Europe’s civic resources for problem-solving, re-legitimisation and autonomy

8.       Public participation in European integration

Monday 27 April 2020

9.       Case study 1: enrolling statistics, measures and surveys in European integration

10.     Case study 2: the institutionalised game of European consultations

Wednesday 29 April 2020

11.     Case study 3: grassroots collective action and radical European utopias

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