Europeanization and Integration as Matters of Perception: Social Movements in a Theorized European Union Context

By Leida Ruvina.

Published by The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 31, 2017 $US5.00

This article examines the concept of Europeanization from a Cognitive Constructivist approach beyond New Institutionalisms in Integration theories. The objective is to review the concept of EU integration as a resource for Europeanization, democratic culture, and institutions rather than a political consequence from the economic spillover. Referring to levels of sociological knowledge, ontology is assumed as the foundation of epistemology, which directs to empirical observations. The empirical grounding is then provided by considering significant interdisciplinary areas of Integration Theories and communication studies by adequately acknowledging existing literature on how Europeanization is conceptualized and by anchoring theoretical framework to events of societal mobilization in three nonmember states with European integration prospects. In the conceptual modeling of the article, cognitive concepts related to Integration Theories are used to help the reader understand and test the subject of Europeanization through the Norbert Elias model of integrating disciplinary perspectives and micro-macro level and theory-method-data. By relating the smallest parts (such as words in an actual discourse) to the largest wholes (such as general theories, social institutions, historical periods, and civilizations), the explanatory logic concludes that in representative democracies with autocratic tendencies, Europeanization is conceptualized as something to struggle and fight for rather than an automatic outcome. The effort to bring historical evidences from the ground through media reports and direct testimony of the events, in a comparative approach, aims to provide a more complete framework on recent events occurred almost contemporarily. The cases of the Albanian “November Movement,” Ukrainian “EuroMaiden,” and Turkish “Gezi Protests” are chosen for their assumed and proven similitude of new political actors such as civil society, protesters, investigative and social media, and human rights international organizations or observers present in domestic environment. The article demonstrates the role played by assumptions, emotions, and instincts in building theoretical perspectives of European integration in both economic and political terms. On the other hand, it recommends that the interchanging of the New Institutionalisms as suggested by Hall and Taylor may be the appropriate approach to understand local events and the influence played by the sociopolitical context in Integration Theory and the concept of Europeanization.

Keywords: Integration Theory, Europeanization, New Institutionalisms, Societal Mobilization, Albania, Ukraine, Turkey

The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review, Volume 15, pp.17-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 31, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 639.857KB)).

Leida Ruvina

Doctoral Student, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of New York Tirana, Tirana, Albania