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The Quest for EU Legitimacy. How to Study a Never-Ending Crisis

Schrag, C; (2010) The Quest for EU Legitimacy. How to Study a Never-Ending Crisis. Perspectives on Europe , 40 (2) pp. 27-34. Green open access

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European integration has transformed the conditions of political life in Europe. The powers of the European Union (EU), expanded progressively since the foundation of the European Communities in the 1950s, are without precedent or parallel for a political entity that is not a state. How has this power been established? How has it been turned into (relatively) legitimate authority? This essay explores the inevitable and ongoing dynamics of discursive construction and contestation involved in the exercise, establishment, and legitimation of political power. The first section makes a case for approaching political legitimacy inductively, through interpretive, non-quantitative discourse analysis, and situates this line of inquiry in the literature. The second section provides a taste of the type of long-term discoursehistorical narrative proposed, singling out a number of key positions, patterns, and shifts of the past six decades in the discourses of EU institutions and in member-state public spheres (specifically, but not exclusively, in large samples of newspaper articles covering the French and German debates on the Maastricht and constitutional treaties). The essay closes by asking what one might learn from this kind of discursive history of legitimation.

Type: Article
Title: The Quest for EU Legitimacy. How to Study a Never-Ending Crisis
Location: US
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://councilforeuropeanstudies.org/publications...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503451
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