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Theorizing Precommitment in European Integration: Mending the Constraints of Ulysses

[journal article]

Lavdas, Kostas A.

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Abstract The paper engages with the debate on Europe’s prospects by using Elster’s constraint theory to develop a model of precommitment in a context of diffuse reciprocity as a condition for interactive Europeanization. The current crisis constitutes a juncture in EU development, calling for a reassessment of the established views on Europe’s experiment. Europeanization emerges as a critical field for testing integration. The paper suggests a framework for the analysis of Europeanization which rests on two approaches: (a) the evolution of mixed and diffuse reciprocity (‘beyond tit-for-tat’) and (b) the development of precommitment and selfimposed constraints (‘Ulysses and the sirens’). It is argued that, given enormous challenges for the consolidation of precommitmnent due to a combination of economic strains and political gaps in steering, further evolution of advanced forms of reciprocity in Europe would require new goals, enhanced normative and value contents and increased political and normative scope for the constraints of Ulysses. This reassessment may bring European political traditions such as republicanism back in to the search for appropriate political, analytic, and normative prisms.
Keywords Europeanization; European integration; EU; reciprocity; social norm; EU policy; European institution; political institution; political lawsuit
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods; European Politics
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 10-25
Journal European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities, 1 (2012) 1
ISSN 2285 - 4916
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works