European integration and its crises

Course Description: 

Advanced Topics class for CP, PE, PP and IR tracks

European Union (EU) integration has been identified as a process of fundamental political, economic and societal change. It is a process which is associated with Europe’s geographical, economic, political and military divisions of the Cold War period as much as with the post-1989 transitions and the eventual major expansion of the European Union. Yet, more recently the EU and with it the wider project of integration has been dubbed to be in existential crisis. The euro crisis, the migration crisis, Brexit as well as rule of law and democracy crises all have become attributes of contemporary European integration.


Though these recent episodes have hardly been the only crises the EU was associated with, they sparked a new wave of research which re-engages classic approaches in European integration theory. Scholars have started to contemplate the demise of the EU, developed new theories of disintegration as much as of further integration in response to recent crises episodes. They also have sought to conceptualise the changing politics of European integration in relation to the EU-level and the domestic spheres alike. This advanced topics course revisits the notion of crisis and engages with major theoretical approaches such as postfunctionalism, new integovernmentalism, discursive institutionalism and theories of disintegration. It helps students of European and domestic politics and policy to address contemporary phenomena in the light of a broader theories of European (dis)integration.



Learning Outcomes: 

At the outcome of this course students will have the ability to critically apply core theories and research perspectives in European integration theory and are able to develop strategies for empirical research in a particular subfield of inquiry. They will have developed an understanding of core conceptual, methodological as well as empirical challenges with regard to researching a range of different issues in contemporary research concerning EU integration. Moreover, students will be able to apply a number of core academic practices and will have developed oral and written presentation skills which are required for communicating the results of complex and advanced-level studies to different audiences (academic, professional expert setting, interested public). This course will contribute to the development of a new generation of researchers with a strong analytical potential, thus helping innovation in the field of European integration.


Class participation is mandatory for this class. Students missing more than two sessions per class might not receive a passing grade for this course. The successful completion of the course requires active participation in the class sessions. As this is a research class the emphasis is on interactive class discussions, the review of research approaches, the preparation of larger texts and regularly scheduled student presentations. 
Students need to sign up for 1-2 presentation(s). In case that students are required to be involved in more than one presentation, the workload will be adjusted. Presentations are linked with one of the session readings and are intended to lead the discussion on one of the readings and review implications for empirical research and the conceptual framing of a particular issue.

The allocation of presentation topics is discussed during the first course session.

The final grade is composed as follows:

general participation
final essay

Students will need to complete either a research essay (3,000 word maximum including references and footnotes) at the end of this class. The research essay should demonstrate the ability to critically engage with relevant research literature. It does not require own empirical
research. Essays can be related to the topic of one of the own in-class presentations but do not have to.
Please agree your final paper topic and format with the course directors by November 8, 2018.
The final paper needs to be submitted by e-mail to the course director by January 10, 2019 (by the end of the day CET).
Please note that paper deadlines are final and failure to submit in time will automatically result in a reduced or failing grade.