Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics

The Struggle for EU Legitimacy

Public Contestation, 1950-2005

Authors: Sternberg, Claudia

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About this book

This award-winning book answers some of the big questions on the legitimacy of the European Union. Specifically, it looks at what it would mean for the EU to be considered a legitimate body and where our ideas on this question come from. The Struggle for EU Legitimacy traces the history of constructions and contestations of the EU's legitimacy, in discourses of the European institutions and in public debate. Through an interpretive, non-quantitative textual analysis of an eclectic range of sources, it examines both long-term patterns in EU-official discourses and their reception in member-state public spheres, specifically in the German and French debates on the Maastricht and Constitutional Draft Treaties. The story told portrays the history of legitimating the EU as a continuous contest over the ends and goals of integration, as well as a balancing act—which was inescapable given the nature of the integration project—between 'bringing the people in' and 'keeping them out'. In addition, it was a balancing act between actively politicizing and deliberately de-politicizing the stakes of EU politics.

 

About the authors

Claudia Sternberg is Senior Research Associate at the European Institute, University College London, UK. She holds a PhD from Cambridge and an MA from Yale, and taught and researched at Oxford for six years before joining University College.

Reviews

'To the much studied and contested subject of EU legitimacy this book brings a rare historical depth and a rich analysis of the shifting discursive strategies used by the different political actors to legitimate the EU's existence and institutions, or to challenge them in turn. It helps put the current crisis of EU legitimacy into a much broader perspective.'

David Beetham, Professor Emeritus, University of Leeds, UK and Honorary Fellow, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, UK.

With the Eurocrisis and its aftermath, the struggle for legitimacy in EU politics has never been so acute. In this pathbreaking book, Claudia Schrag Sternberg takes us back through 50 years of competing narratives aimed at justifying the European project. By bringing together normative theory and empirical data in novel ways, the book sheds new light on the various ways in which the standards of legitimate political order for the EU have been re-imagined over time and continue to be today. A must read for anyone interested in EU affairs.

- Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford

'There is no shortage of scholarly works on the legitimacy of European institutions. But this book is unlike any other: it does not try to offer one more normative approach, or to review shifts in public perceptions of the EU. Rather, it offers a fine-grained analysis of the legitimation strategies pursued by European institutions and political leaders, and the debates they have given rise to in France and Germany. Because of the new light it sheds, this much-needed contribution will enable readers to get a clearer perspective on an issue that remains central for the future of Europe.'

- Renaud Dehousse, Director, Centre d'études européennes [OR: European Studies Centre], Sciences Po, Paris

'The Struggle for EU Legitimacy offers a highly illuminating analysis of the production and reception of political ideas. Through the close empirical study of contested claims to legitimacy, Schrag Sternberg reveals not just the evolution of a core political concept, but the shape, the richness, and also the brittleness, of the intellectual foundations of today's EU. A very accomplished work.'

- Jonathan White, Reader in European Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science


Table of contents (9 chapters)

  • Introduction: Approaching Legitimacy through Discursive Meanings

    Sternberg, Claudia Schrag

    Pages 1-13

  • Peace, Prosperity, and Progress: Early Legitimating Narratives, 1950s–1970s

    Sternberg, Claudia Schrag

    Pages 14-44

  • Democracy and Other Challenges: Early Counter-Discourses, 1950s–1970s

    Sternberg, Claudia Schrag

    Pages 45-75

  • A Europe Closer to its Citizens: The People’s Europe Project of the 1980s

    Sternberg, Claudia Schrag

    Pages 76-102

  • Maastricht in the French and German Debates: Crumbling Promises and the Question of Who Might Rule

    Sternberg, Claudia Schrag

    Pages 103-127

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-32784-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-32783-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $95.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-46025-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Struggle for EU Legitimacy
Book Subtitle
Public Contestation, 1950-2005
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-32784-0
DOI
10.1057/9781137327840
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-32783-3
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-46025-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 290
Topics