POL S 346 / JSIS 302: The Europeanization of political systems
(Spring 2017, Frank Wendler)
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The Europeanization of political systems: Germany, France, Italy and the UK
The politics and decision-making of European countries is no longer limited to the nation-state but increasingly affected by a process described as Europeanization: namely, the effect of multi-level governance in the European Union on the institutions, policies and mass politics of the EU Member States. The class starts from the premise that this development has indeed had very far-reaching and sometimes transformative effects, as demonstrated through events during the Eurozone crisis, the debate on transatlantic free trade and the refugee crisis, among many other examples.
From a political science perspective, the process of Europeanization represents a twofold puzzle: On the one hand, membership in the EU confronts all Member States with shared opportunities, problems and challenges that require responses by national policy-makers. These shared challenges have prompted a debate about the following questions: How is democratic politics at the national level changed through EU membership? What makes for a successful member state? On balance, what are the main arguments for Member States to continue to pursue the project of European integration? On the other hand, the analysis of Europeanization is a classical question of comparative politics: namely, one aimed at understanding the distinctive differences between the institutions, decision-making processes and political culture of European countries. In this sense, Europeanization is like studying a family that is going on a hiking trip: Everyone is exposed to the same surprises and challenges, but every family member reacts in their own different ways.
This class will introduce you into the politics of four major European countries that are tied together in the European Union but have shown very different responses to it: namely, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. While we will study the distinctive differences of their political systems, the class will introduce you to the main concepts and debates of research on Europeanization, providing an overall framework to analyze the past, present and future of these four European countries.
Assignments include a short in-class presentation on an assigned topic, an end-term written exam and a term paper on a research question of your choice of ca. 8 pages.