A political sociology of the European Union

Reassessing constructivism

Edited by Jay Rowell and Michel Mangenot

A political sociology of the European Union


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8243-6
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2011
  • BIC Category: Politics, Constitution: government & the state, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Constitutions, EU (European Union), Society & social sciences / Constitution: government & the state
  • Series: Europe in Change


The study of the European Union has historically been a theoretical battleground. Since the 1990s, new theoretical directions such as neo-institutionalism, multi-level governance and constructivism have provided a new impetus. However, despite these new inroads, empirical work has often remained sociologically and empirically underspecified. This volume seeks to bridge the gap between theory and fieldwork by developing an actor-centred political sociology. In doing so, the volume engages in a critical dialogue with the constructivist framework and proposes to build on its insights through a sociological hardening centred on European actors.

The renewal of European studies through political sociology is only useful if it generates new understandings through empirical observation. This volume seeks to take a new tack on constructivism by asking what it is that Europe constructs by looking at three areas- social spaces and professions, policy 'problems' and policies and policy instruments such as the Eurobarometer.


Preface: Revitalising EU studies through constructivism - Andy Smith
Introduction: What Europe constructs: towards a sociological constructivism - Michel Mangenot & Jay Rowell
Part I: The construction of European fields
1. Making top civil servants: Europeaness as an identity and a resource - Marine de Lassalle & Didier Georgakakis
2. The invention and transformation of a governmental body: the Council Secretariat - Michel Mangenot
3. Lawyers as Europe's middlemen: a sociology of litigants pleading before the European Court of Justice (1954-1978) - Christele Marchand & Antoine Vauchez
4. The emergence of 'European' careers in sub-national French administrations - Marine de Lassalle
Part II: The social construction of European problems
5. Constitutional activism and fundamental rights in Europe: common interests through transnational socialisation - Laurent Scheeck
6. The construction of a European interest through legal expertise: property owners associations and the Charter of Fundamental Rights - Hélène Michel
7. A constructivist-institutionalist approach to EU Politics: the case of Protected Geographical Indications for Food - Andy Smith
8. The European Parliament and the politicisation of the European space: the case of the two port packages - Willy Beauvallet
Part III: Constructing reality through policy instruments
9. From integration by law to Europeanisation by numbers: the making of a 'competitive Europe' through intergovernmental benchmarking - Isabelle Bruno
10. From an instrument to the instrumentalisation of 'European opinion' - Philippe Aldrin
11. Expert measurement in the government of Lifelong Learning - Romuald Normand
12. The instrumentation of European disability policy: constructing a policy field with numbers - Jay Rowell


Jay Rowell is full time researcher in Sociology at the CNRS, University of Strasbourg and Director of the Centre for European Political Sociology (GSPE)

Michel Mangenot is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Strasbourg and Deputy Director of the Centre for European Political Sociology (GSPE)

A political sociology of the European Union

Edited by Jay Rowell, Michel Mangenot

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

Paperback £17.99 / $26.95

Or buy from your preferred bookseller:

Amazon Waterstones Blackwells

Click here for North and South America

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout