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Europeanisation: solution or problem?
Radaelli, Claudio M.
University of Exeter
European Integration online Papers (EIoP)
Is there something new in recent research on Europeanisation? Or should we go back to what we already know about political integration in Europe and avoid the term? This article reviews recent work in four steps: the identification of the specific domain of Europeanisation; the relationship between Europeanisation, on the one hand, and governance, institutions, and discourse, on the other; the methodological problems and the models emerging in this new field of research; and an assessment of the results arising out of theoretical and empirical research. One theme throughout the article is that, in order to develop a progressive agenda, Europeanisation should be seen as a problem, not as a solution. It is neither a new theory, nor an ad-hoc approach. Rather, it is a way of orchestrating existing concepts and to contribute to cumulative research in political science. Europeanisation does not provide any simple fix to theoretical or empirical problems. Quite the opposite, it can deliver if approached as a set of puzzles. A problem in search of explanation – not the explanation itself (Gualini 2003). The conclusion is that Europeanisation has contributed to the emergence of new insights, original explanations, and interesting questions on three important issues: the understanding and analysis of 'impact', how to endogeneise international governance in models of domestic politics, and the relationship between agency and change. These three issues are prominent in the research agendas of international relations, theoretical policy analysis, and comparative politics. To contribute to major issues at the core of political science is a valuable result for a relatively new field of inquiry.