From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe 

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The Economic Community Reading of Europe: Its Discursive Nodal Points and Ambiguities towards "Westphalia" 

Thomas Diez

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute

Paper for the 39th Annual Convention of the
International Studies Association (ISA)
17-21 March 1998, Minneapolis, Minnesota


1. The Challenge of European Governance

2. Governance in a Liberal Economic Community
The British Debate
The EU as a Liberal Economic Community
The Liberal Economic Community Discourse in the British Debate

3. Enabling Legitimation: The Discursive Nodal Point of the Liberal Economic Community
Discursive Nodal Points
The Liberal Economic Community's Discursive Nodal Point

4. Transcending and Reifying: State and Liberal Economic Community
Two Criticisms of the Current State of the EU
Overlapping Constructions
Overlapping Structure

5. The Power of the Economic Community Reading
The Power of the LEC
Working within the Ambivalences

1. The Challenge of European Governance

The European Union (EU) has widely been characterized in recent years as a political organization moving beyond the Westphalian model of the state. The labels it was given varied from "multiperspectival polity" (Ruggie 1993) to a system of "multilevel governance" (Marks 1993; Jachtenfuchs & Kohler-Koch 1996) to a "condominio" with variable territorial and functional constituencies (Schmitter 1996: 134). Not all of this is novel - back in 1970, Ernst Haas already offered readings of the then EC as a "regional commune" which he described as an "anarchoid image of a myriad of units" or an "asymmetrical overlapping" with "infinitely tiered loyalties" (Haas 1970: 635). But the extent to which studies were devoted to "explore the nature of the beast" (Risse-Kappen 1996) has increased tremendously in the 1990s. Generally speaking, the EU has been seen in this literature as a form of "governance without government", a political system in which decisions are made that are binding for its members, but which lacks a single centre on top of an hierarchical structure (Kohler-Koch 1993: 113-7).

To some, these assessments have been a cause for celebration. From this perspective, the EU provides a model of how to overcome the anarchy of the international system, and enable lasting cooperation. To others, they have been a matter of despair. Here, it is argued that there is a severe democratic deficit in the way decisions are made within the EU, and that the social provisions of the welfare state were abandoned with the enshrinement of a liberal market ideology in the Treaty on the European Community, the EU's as yet only supranationally organized "pillar". These criticisms have gained momentum particularly in the wake of the Maastricht Treaty, and are by now a familiar line of argument, especially in many "continental" member states.

This paper will address these questions from a different starting point. As I have argued elsewhere, the EU is not a reality that is simply "out there". Instead, it is a "contested concept" (Connolly 1983) that is constructed differently in different discursive contexts (Diez 1996: 257-9; 1997b: 293-4; see also Wæver 1997a). Much of the latest criticism, it seems, is directed at a specific reading of the EU as a Liberal Economic Community. In the past, this reading has been dominant in the British debate on European integration, while debates on the "continent" largely remained within the Federal State / Intergovernmental Cooperation dichotomy (Diez 1995; Jachtenfuchs, Diez & Jung 1998). Thus, a focus on the discursive production of this reading in the British debate should provide a basis for a reassessment of the appraisals and criticisms made.

The following section will begin by introducing the basic discursive approach taken in this paper. This is followed by the reconstruction of the discourse reading the EU as a Liberal Economic Community (henceforth LEC) from the British debate. In section three, I outline a model of "discursive nodal points", which, as I will argue, enable the various readings of the EU to be articulated by providing the necessary metanarratives on which to built the latter. In the remainder of that section, these metanarratives are summarized with respect to the LEC. The two criticisms mentioned above are elaborated in section four, which then argues that while transcending the Westphalian model of the state in some respects, the LEC also reproduces some problematic features of the latter to the extent that some of the respective metanarrative's constructions are the same, and that there is an overlap in the structure of the discourses involved in both nodal points. Thus, I conclude that the current focus on the abandonment of achievements of the nation state should be supplemented by a critique of the reification of certain state practices. Finally, section five assesses the power of the LEC and suggests a way to formulate and foster alternative readings. 1

2. Governance in a Liberal Economic Community

The British Debate

One of the most lively debates about the future of European integration can be found in Britain. This is somewhat astonishing, considering that Britain is usually taken to be the odd one out, having moved from a position of "hesitant outsider" to "awkward member" (Volle 1989; George 1990). But whereas in Germany the notion of the EC/EU being a nucleus of a future, federal United States of Europe until very recently could hardly be questioned (Diez 1995), and whereas in France the debate has been centred around the concepts of state and nation (Jung 1997; Wæver/Holm/Larsen 1998; Holm 1997), an analysis of the British debate about European integration shows that at least starting with the discussion of Macmillan's first bid of entry in 1961, a number of various conceptualizations of what European integration is about have been present in this debate. Only a small minority of them fits the picture of Euroskepticism as a force for exit and pure intergovernmental co-operation that persists at least in broad parts of the media. There is, it seems, a mismatch between the force attributed to such a position in newspapers, particularly in the tabloids, and the rather limited number of respective articulations elsewhere in the political debate (George 1996: 48; Hardt-Mautner 1995; Wallace 1997: 96). It is instructive to note, for instance, that during the Maastricht debate in the House of Commons in May 1992, hardly any of the speakers suggested to withdraw from the Union or insisted on a system of pure co-operation, that is with no binding decision-making power deferred to the European level at all (Hansard 1992). To argue that party discipline was responsible for this would rather reinforce the point to be made: That what is often seen as the dominant "British" position is rather a minority one. Besides, European integration issues have not exactly been driven by party discipline in the past: even when party whips were in action, they often failed to secure unanimity. Maybe even more important is the fact that the Referendum Party gained only a negligible percentage of votes in the 1997 election. Instead, voters decided to cast their ballots in favor of New Labour, which was presented as much more "pro-European" during the election campaign.

However, to say that there has been a multitude of positions towards European integration is not to say that none of them has acquired a dominant status within the debate. Instead, it can be argued that what is in the following to be developed as the Liberal Economic Community reading has prevailed over competing readings of the EC/EU, at least since the late 1960s.

The EU as a Liberal Economic Community

To distinguish between various readings of the EU, it is useful to analyze the respective criteria used for the legitimation of European governance (Jachtenfuchs 1995; Jachtenfuchs, Diez & Jung 1998; Diez 1997a: 41-46). In most political systems, governing has to be justified by reference to some sort of underlying authoritization to govern. Even in the era of absolutism, kings and emperors referred to God as the source of their authority. During the last three centuries, such a legitimation has become largely unacceptable, at least respective articulations elsewhere in thein Western societies. Here, parliamentary elections are deemed to be much more, and in fact often the prime legitimation for governing.

In other words, conceptualizations of governance are dependent upon sets of legitimation criteria that usually take the form of references to participation, output or identity (Scharpf 1970; Schimmelfennig 1996: 20-22). If the latter change, so does our understanding of governance. This fits into a general discursive model in which a discourse, defined as a set of articulations, is characterized by the object  it produces according to a set of rules . There will always be various discourses claiming to construct the "same" object (e.g. the EU) but doing so in very different ways according to different rules. Such discourses will in the following be taken to form a discursive formation . Accordingly, all the discourses producing a reading of European governance belong to a discursive formation. Other formations may produce other kinds of objects, such as, for instance, various readings of "democracy", which in turn would be products of specific discourses with specific rules.

In general, these rules take the form of guidance for action, and will thus be called rationalities . They make a certain kind of action seem "rational", i.e. appropriate and understandable, which is not so say that this action is necessarily "rational" in the sense of profit-maximization. 2 Legitimation criteria such as the responsibility of government to an elected parliament, for instance, are rationalities to the extent that they proscribe certain actions such as the establishment of a parliament or the necessity to vote, although the latter does not have to be "rational" from a rational choice point of view.

It follows that our main concern here is with the Liberal Economic Community as a discursive object. Broadly characterized, the corresponding legitimation criteria establish two overlapping systems of governance: One operates on the European level and is largely legitimized by its economic output through the guarantee of a functioning single market; the second one organizes the "political" life of a national society and builds primarily upon legitimation through participation and identity. 3 Both systems are taken to be strictly separate, and interference from one into the other is not allowed - this would, in effect, be against the rules of the discourse. For governance on the European level to interfere with national, "political" matters would mean to be void of legitimation, and for national governments to interfere with single market matters would mean to distort the basis of EU governance's legitimacy. Both kinds of boundary-crossing between the systems would thus violate the rationalities of the liberal Economic Community discourse - they would be "irrational". In contrast, a reading of the EU as mere Intergovernmental Cooperation (henceforth IGC), based on the nation-state does not establish any sort of legitimate governance on the European level at all. There, economic and political matters are to be controlled through democratic processes within  the territorial confines of the state ensuring the democratic rights of its citizens.

The Liberal Economic Community Discourse in the British Debate

A closer look at the (at least until very recently) dominant discourse in the British debate about European integration helps to put the LEC's rationalities in more concrete terms. 4 After the foreign policy consensus that predominated this debate in the 1950s had gradually faded, one of the first articulations to construct the LEC was Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's speech in the House of Commons on 2 August 1961 in which he wooed the House for his bid of entry into the European Economic Community (EEC). Contrary to the assessment in parts of the literature dealing with Britain's European policy (Young 1993: 46n), Macmillan did not concentrate on the political advantages membership would provide for Britain. Surely, his argument was situated in the context of an enduring confrontation between Communism and the "free world" (Hansard 1961: 1480). But these references did not occupy the heart of the argument to be made. Instead, the latter largely rested on the notion that the EEC would establish a European market providing economic opportunities and wealth impossible to achieve within the boundaries of the nation state.

Thus, Macmillan urged the House "to note the word 'economic'. The Treaty of Rome does not deal with defence. It does not deal with foreign policy. It deals with trade and some of the social aspects of human life which are most connected with trade and production" (Hansard 1961: 1481). The EEC, Macmillan argued, was a "great challenge" to the British economy in that it provided the "opportunity" of a "mass market" which had already enhanced the "competitiveness and efficiency" of "European industrialists" (Hansard 1961: 1489). There is no reference to the participation of citizens in order to legitimize European governance, and the existence of an underlying European identity was explicitly denied - Europe was, in Macmillan's judgement, "too old, too diverse in tradition, language and history" to follow the path the United States of America had gone in their historical development (Hansard 1961: 1491).

Similarly, Reginald Maudling, Minister of Trade in Macmillan's cabinet and the future head of Britain's delegation in the negotiations with the EEC, insisted that despite the fact that in modern times, political and economic matters could not be completely separated, the Treaty of Rome was essentially "an economic Treaty" (Hansard 1961: 1597). And Roy Jenkins, then Labour MP and from 1977 to 1980 President of the European Commission, stressed the Community's "large, unified and rapidly growing market" (Hansard 1961: 1583). But it is clear from these articulations that this market was not conceptualized as a zone free of binding rules. In fact, what was established was a novel system of governance. Maudling, for instance, bluntly stated what he thought to be beneficial, while it was a worst-case scenario for opponents of EC membership who were in favor of pure intergovernmental co-operation: "Our freedom of action", he predicted in his speech in the House of Commons, "would be considerably circumscribed [in case of membership]. The Commission has powers that, I think, are probably unprecedented in any international body" (Hansard 1961: 1598).

The LEC may have been articulated from influential positions within the British debate in the early 1960s, but it was not dominating the latter if one takes the pure number of articulations as indicator. This, however, had changed by the end of the decade, and during the debate surrounding the actual accession to EC membership in 1973, the vast majority of articulations from Conservative MPs and from a significant minority within Labour followed such a reading. Whether at party conferences, in parliament, or in speeches elsewhere - in their legitimation of European governance, they always focused on the economic output they expected from EC membership in terms of increased competitiveness and overall prosperity. The government's two Command Papers dealing with the consequences of British membership in the EC that were published in 1970 and 1971, made it clear that if negotiations failed, "Europe would have lost another historic opportunity to develop its full economic potentialities in the interests of the welfare and security of its citizens" (British Government 1970: 46). If, however, they succeeded, "manufacturers will be operating in a 'domestic market' perhaps five times as large as at present, in which tariff barriers cannot be put up against them" (British Government 1971: 13). Again, references to peace and military security remain on a relatively abstract level, and references to participation or a European identity are hardly present at all. From the perspective of the LEC discourse, the impact of the Community was "by definition, confined to essentially economic matters" (Howe 1973: 2).

During the Maastricht debate, after two decades of EC/EU membership, the LEC reading was by far the dominant one in the British debate, and particularly so within the Conservative Party. Again, it was beyond question that the EU does constitute a system of governance, and a welcome one at that. Thus, Nicholas Ridley wrote that "fair competition is being enforced by the Commission with welcome vigour" (Ridley 1991: 137). There is no doubt that Britain had "ceded powers to the EU institutions [...] in specific areas and for specific purposes", as an information brochure jointly published by the Conservative Research Department and the Conservatives in the European Parliament stated (Conservative Party 1994b: 13), and that "all Member States must live up to their obligations under Community law", as the Tories' election manifesto of 1992 demanded (Conservative Party 1992: 3). In fact, the British government was not opposed to increase the competences of the European Court of Justice as long as they remained within the economic realm, but was rather proud that "at Maastricht, we secured agreement that the European Court will be able to fine any Member State which fails to do so" (Conservative Party 1992: 3).

Thus, to argue that the Conservative Party in this period was dominated by the euroskeptic "Patriotic Party" fraction (Paterson/Henson 1995: 94) misses the point. Although it is true that most often, the EU is not read in this context as a kind of federal state nucleus, a future United States of Europe, it is also true that the prevalent construction goes beyond a mere Free Trade Area which is essentially based on multilateral intergovernmental co-operation. 5 In this respect, even Margaret Thatcher's (in)famous speech at the College d'Europe in Bruges in September 1988 (Thatcher 1988) is far from being the euroskeptical programme as which it is mostly read (see George 1996: 46-47). Instead, Thatcher's speech, as well as the majority of the other articulations in the late 1980s and early 1990s, reiterated the LEC's rationalities in that it separated a political realm to be organized within the national member states from an economic realm to be governed on a European scale. The latter, in turn, was again by and large legitimated by economic output.

In her memoirs, for instance, Thatcher referred to "advantages in terms of jobs and living standards" that the European integration had brought about for each of its participants (Thatcher 1993: 750f), and the Conservative manifesto for the European elections in 1994 saw the EU's single market as the path towards "prosperity and job creation" (Conservative Party 1994b: 32). In as far as participation was attributed a role in the legitimation of European governance, it was confined to guaranteeing participation in the European market through the EC Treaty's "four freedoms" - freedom of capital, goods, people, and services (Willetts 1992: 171; Conservative Party 1994a: 20). Meanwhile, the strengthening of the European Parliament was conceptualized as a rather limited affair. Following the location of politics within the nation state, the national parliaments should instead have been given a larger role within the EU's institutional framework to guarantee democratic responsibility (see, for instance, Conservative Research Department 1992a: 76; 1995: 346; Ridley 1991: 141; Conservative Party 1994a: 38).

In all of these articulations, the territorial space of Europe is covered by at least two layers of governance. One is organized on a supranational basis and along functional lines, establishing the EU as a purely economic community whereas all other matters of sociopolitical concern are "a kind of irreducible dry land", as Geoffrey Howe once put it, confined to the national governments and intergovernmental co-operation. Thus, the WEU was not supposed to be turned into a European army (Conservative Party 1994a: 50; 1994b: 11; Conservative Research Department 1992a: 75), and Europol was not seen as the equivalent to a new European police force, but as an organization for the exchange of information and mutual consultation. 6 It was not the least to ensure that the border between these two systems of governance was not violated, that John Major welcomed the increased power of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Maastricht - for him, this meant that it was also possible for member states to sue the Commission if it acted in breach of the rules (Hansard 1992: 266).

Major's reading, however, assumes that the ECJ is placed somewhat outside of the EU system as a whole, thus being able to judge "objectively" on matters of competences. In opposition to such a reading, one might suggest that the ECJ is itself entangled in a discursive web taking part in practices that establish the "EU". 7 This latter point might sound rather technical, but it leads to a whole set of questions that might be posed with respect to the underlying conceptualizations that the LEC's legitimation criteria build upon (in this case, the objectivity of the boundary between politics and the economy). In other words, there seems to be a set of discursive constructions that enable a particular reading of European governance and make it seem plausible. It is to those underlying and enabling constructions that I will turn to in the following section.

3. Enabling Legitimation: The Discursive Nodal Point of the Liberal Economic Community

Discursive Nodal Points

A few theoretical remarks are needed to clarify the notion that certain discursive constructions "enable" others. One of the central arguments of works written from a position that one may label "discursive" or "epistemological" constructivism has been that, although the existence of a reality "out there" is not denied, we cannot speak of reality outside discourse. Furthermore, the ways in which we formulate policies is not the result of our free will to do so, but depends on a basic discursive structure. In that sense, it is simply impossible in a specific discursive context to "reasonably" speak of certain things, while it may be perfectly fine to do so in another context.

But more than that, it would most often not even occur to us to use certain concepts in a given context in the first place. Our identity in the sense of the sum of our discursive positions is dependent on a discursive field that renders these positions possible. The formulation of "our" positions is situated in a knot of discourses from various formations, each of which restricts the space in which we think, speak and thereby act. The concept of "discursive nodal points" is an attempt to grasp this production of meaning. Its underlying idea is that various discourses are intertwined to produce a new discourse, which in turn helps to reconstruct the former ones. Thus, one may argue that, for instance, discourses constructing a certain understanding of rationality, time and space connect to produce a discourse constructing political organization as the nation-state. The latter's rationalities, in turn, have to somehow refer to the underlying constructions. To distinguish analytically between the disourses produced and those producing, the latter can be called "metanarratives". Usually, they have two characteristics: First, their objects and rationalities are much more abstract than in the case of the more policy-oriented discourses. Second, in acting as general frames to which discourses have to conform, they are harder to change than actual policy-discourses, for which there are always numerous possibilities within similar frameworks (Wæver 1997a: 6, 9).

Fig. 1: A model of discursive nodal points producing readings of the EU 

Figure 1 illustrates the concept of discursive nodal points: A number of metanarratives from various discursive formations (boxes on the left) combine to produce a new discourse, in our case a particular discourse on European governance with legitimation criteria in the form of references to participation, output or identity as rationalities (middle box). The articulations that follow from this have an ambivalent status to the extent that they are one the one hand part of this new discourse, but on the other hand, by referring to the metanarratives, they feed back into the wider discursive field, which is indicated by the overlap of the articulation and the European discourse box and the arrow pointing back to the metanarratives on the left.

Taking this concept to the analysis of the LEC discourse, the necessity for rationalities to refer to the respective metanarratives provides a useful starting point to investigate the underlying constructions that enable the LEC reading. The task, accordingly, is to focus on the legitimation criteria and explore their relation to a larger discursive universe.

The Liberal Economic Community's Discursive Nodal Point

In the following, I will suggest six discursive formations that are involved in the production of discourses on European governance, with specific metanarratives belonging to these formations enabling the LEC reading. 8 The metanarratives of the six discursive formations construct various readings of "politics", "economics", "society", "progress", "knowledge" and "nature". In the remainder of this section, the respective metanarratives in the LEC's nodal point and their relation to the LEC's legitimation criteria are developed in more detail, taking the articulations from the British debate as the empirical basis.


First, the LEC's legitimation criteria refer to a conceptualization of politics as the articulation and defence of interest. Thus, the acceptance of supranational governance to the extent that it provides prosperity is intertwined with the notion that the set-up of binding rules outside the nation-state has to operate in the name of a national interest, which already indicates a metanarrative constructing "society" in a particular way. By the same token, any form of supranational governance that does not provide such benefits is to be rejected.

Accordingly, the most prevalent question to be posed from such a position is, "What do we get out of our membership of the European Union?" (Conservative Party 1994b: 8). Advocates of EC membership have always argued that not only did membership square with Britain's economic interest, but that being an active part of the integration process would also enable British representatives to steer governance into a direction that is compatible with British interests (see, for instance, Conservative Party 1969: 82n; 1970: 83; Labour Party 1969: 312; Hansard 1971: 965, 1235n). At the same time, it is a standard argument in this discourse that the "vital interests" of nation-states must be safeguarded against integration stretching beyond its limits. "Centralization" becomes an omnipresent threat to the political self-determination of a (national) society, whereas a "decentralized" Europe, "which would [...] reserve the rights of states to go their own way" (Thatcher 1993: 548), is seen as the only legitimate Europe (see Hansard 1991: 298; 1992: 282, 302; Conservative Research Department 1992b: 245; Major 1994: 3-4; Thatcher 1993: 536, 728).

In fact, it is impossible for articulations of the LEC to make sense of politicians' behavior that does not seem to start from the premise of (national) interests. Margaret Thatcher, for instance, noted in her memoirs that "the Germans seemed strangely reluctant to defend their own financial interests" (Thatcher 1993: 546). This does not take into account that interests, let alone that politics might be defined in a different way, e.g. as the principal control of societal life as such, regardless of particular definitions of society, or as the pursuit of worldwide development. Both conceptualizations, have indeed been present in other nodal points such as the one enabling a Federal State reading of the EU. There, particular societal interests are subordinated in favor of a more general concern that the "political" realm loses its decision-making power to other actors beyond society's control, multinational companies being the most pressing force. 9

But why, then, should nation-states become part of supranational governance at all? Would it not be more "rational" to simply co-operate when it seems appropriate, but at the same time to stay clear of any commitment that reaches beyond specific situations into the long-term future? In fact, this is a line of argument that is far from absent in the debate, and often appears in combination with a certrain conceptualization of "Parliamentary Sovereignty" writ large along Diceyan lines. 10 But as we have seen, the LEC discourse reads the EU as a system of governance that does not stick to "pure" intergovernmental co-operation. Instead, its solution to this puzzle lies in the construction of a certain kind of economics that can and must be separated from the political realm and which follows universally valid, quasi-natural laws. More on this is to be found in the next subsection, but for the moment it is important to note that once such an economic realm is established, decisions about economic issues do no longer have the quality of a political  decision. Instead, it is in the interest  of nation-states to move them outside the realm of interest politics in order to prevent decisions that would contradict the rules of the economic realm. Thus it becomes possible to speak of a "general interest" in Western Europe, an interest that is economically defined and in principle universal in character. 11


As we have already seen, the legitimation of European governance builds upon the notion that there is an economic realm that can be distinguished from the political sphere. It has to be stressed that this is not simply taken to be an analytical distinction as "political" and "economic" sectors might be in the social sciences. Whereas the latter have "no independent existence" outside academic discourse (Buzan/Little 1998: ch.4), the necessary condition for the notion of a separate economic realm in the LEC discourse is that this realm does  exist "in reality". Thus, its organization follows rules that are very different from the ones that operate in the political realm, and supranational organization, whereas inappropriate within the latter, provides an economic output that is impossible to achieve otherwise.

But for the latter to be true, the economic realm has to be constructed in a certain way - as a "market". In accordance with neoliberal economic theory, it follows quasi-natural laws which secure that the individual is, on the average, better off if free trade in a space as large as possible is guaranteed. From the 1960s to the 1990s, the advantages of a "large, unified and rapidly growing market" have accordingly been placed at the centre of the legitimation of supranational governance in the LEC discourse. 12 Besides an overall increase in the standard of living, these advantages are to be found in higher efficiency and thus increased competitiveness of firms, eventually providing higher employment rates. In all of that, economies of scale become an essential rationality: The increased economic output is bound up with a bigger market, bigger companies, bigger production and bigger consumption. So does competition which is a "spur to effort and success". 13 It is no coincidence that the British debate about European integration, with the LEC discourse being dominant, was structured around the term "Common Market", with the various camps, despite all their differences, lining up behind the banners "pro-" and "anti-marketeers", while in Germany, with a Federal State image dominating, this term did not take root.

The problem is that, although the market is supposedly self-regulating, the economic realm nonetheless needs regulation, for there will always be efforts to disturb its rules, in favor of particular interests or simply because the "real" nature of economics has not been realized. Thus, the market needs to be safeguarded against such attempts. As Maudling noted, "there should be rules of competition and institutions" in the "Common Market" (Hansard 1961: 1600). These can only be adequately installed on the market level, and thus, given the current situation, on the European level. This is the crucial point where European governance comes into the argument: There have to be rules binding for all participants in the market to make the latter work. In contrast to governance in and of the political realm, however, these rules are not the outcome of a free decision-making process but of discovering and then enshrining laws that are already present but often violated. From such a perspective, governance on the European level is accordingly not about politics but about pure "administration" according to objective standards, as the discussion of the discourse on "knowledge" will further develop.

One of the major threats signifying illegitimate European governance, thus, is European protectionism, a "fortress Europe". 14 Protectionism violates the rationalities of the market discourse in two ways: First, it obstructs economies of scale and free trade. Second, and more generally, it crosses the boundary between the economic and the political realm. Protectionism runs counter to the logic of the market and is thus a political measure that goes beyond the pure "administration" required according to this logic. The Social Chapter of Maastricht was read in very much the same way, a path leading to corporatism or even socialism (Willetts 1992: 171; Conservative Party 1994a: 20; Thatcher 1993: 750). Many of the attempts to insert mechanisms of control of the Commission into the Community Treaty by the British Government (such as the introduction of a European ombudsman, the extension of the powers of the ECJ, or increasing the national government's influence) were made in order to prevent such a violation of boundaries and to ensure what has been labelled "limited government" (Willetts 1992: 179).

However, this is not to be confused with an "anti-European" policy. IGC readings of the EU, for instance, start from a very different reading of economics. Thus, they conceptualize a system of trade partnerships based on the granting of tariff preferences to be the best path to more prosperity, since it could be used as a means to choose one's trading partners according to compatability, whereas Macmillan took exactly the opposite view (Hansard 1961: 1485). He rather pointed out that the Commonwealth, the members of which were the most popular candidates on the lists of those favoring trade partnerships, "is not a single economic unit. Nor, to be honest, is there any practical possibility of making it one" (Macmillan 1962: 4). And the delegate M. Heath urged his comrades at Labour's 1962 party conference in Brighton to remember that in the case of EC membership, Britain would get "four potential customers for one", whereas of the seven hundred million potential customers within the Commonwealth, four hundred lived below the poverty line and were thus in fact no potential customers at all (Labour Party 1962: 172).


As far as society is concerned, there are two metanarratives intertwined with the LEC discourse, corresponding to the distinction between an economic and a political sphere. In the latter, society is, as already indicated, constructed as nation. This is most obvious in the insistence that the national parliaments, representing the national will and interest, must remain at the heart of the legitimacy of governance in the political sphere. This conceptualization of society as nation is also of exclusive status. Whereas it has become common in other readings of the EU - such as the Federal State one - to view European identity as a supplement rather than a threat to national identities, such a parellel existence of various "societies" alongside each other is simply not understandable from the LEC's point of view. Instead, the roots of European integration as such are seen as deeply embedded in the "old nation states", as the Conservative party conference delegate Eldon Griffith stated in 1969 (Conservative Party 1969: 83n). Macmillan had already insisted in his speech in the House of Commons in August 1961 that he was envisioning a Europe "which would retain the traditions and the pride of individual nations" (Hansard 1961: 1491). Consequently, the fostering of a cultural basis for integration on a European scale as suggested by the Adonnino Committee's report in 1985, seemed "plainly dotty" to Margaret Thatcher (Thatcher 1993: 550). From that perspective, a European identity would be an artificial construct, nonsense at best and dangerous at worst, running counter to a historical trend that had just made obvious that even a strong ideology as Marxism had not succeeded in destroying long-standing national cultures (Thatcher 1993: 728, 744).

The second societal metanarrative that runs through the LEC's nodal point places the individual at the heart of the market. In the economic sphere, freedom is conceptualized as the individual's freedom, as the freedom of entrepreneurs and consumers who are both to profit from the European market (Conservative Party 1994a: 20). In line with neoliberal economic theory, the "state" is not supposed to interfere with the life of individuals and families (Conservative Research Department 1995: 335). However, by providing optimal market conditions, it is to guarantee the free space in which entrepreneurial skills can develop best and consumers' demands can be met (Thatcher 1991: 10-12). In contrast to the individual as part of (and to a considerable extent defined by) a larger whole, the nation, there is no such overarching societal construction to be found in the economic sphere. Whereas legitimacy in its participation dimension is to be established in the political realm through a national parlament representing the nation as a whole, the individual's right to invest, trade, buy and move, secured via the "four freedoms" of Art. 48seq. TEC, is the only participatory criterion in the legitimation of governance in the EU's economic realm.

However, it is remarkable that this second construction of "society" (rather in its absence as a negative counterpart to the individual) can hardly be observed in the articulations of the LEC until the 1980s. Whereas Macmillan's version of the LEC relied nearly exclusively on output criteria and was explicitly sceptical towards such individual rights as free movement within the Community (Hansard 1961: 1490), the era of Thatcherism was in general characterized by its stress on the individual (cf. Dahrendorf 1988: 195n), a discursive shift that had its effect on the legitimation of the LEC, into which it could, however, be quite easily incorporated. Through the LEC and its two spheres of governance, the tension between the importance given simultaneously to the individual and the nation in Thatcherism (cf. Leach 1987) could be resolved - at least at first sight: Individual and nation were theoretically separated and thus did not have to interfere with each other. We will, however, see below that this separation was not easily sustained.

Progress  market

In a quantitative content analysis of LEC articulations in the British debate about European integration, "modern" and related terms would surely turn out to be among the most often used words. The LEC, so the message goes, is the kind of governance that is appropriate under "modern conditions" with their possibilities of "modern industrial production", as Reginald Maudling characterized his time in the 1961 House of Commons debate (Hansard 1961: 1605). This combination of modernity and industry is characteristic of the LEC discourse and relates to a construction of progress as a process of predominantly technological and economic modernization that is to be fostered but has at the same time a quasi-automatic quality which makes it continue even if individuals or particular groups of human beings do not follow its path - eventually, the modernization discourse predicts, it is them who will lose out instead of progress being stopped. The Conservative MP Ernest Marples thus found himself and his contemporaries to be living in an age of "technical revolution" in which "the rate and pace of change" is not determined by human beings alone who had to "learn to live with it" (Hansard 1971: 1135-6). At the same time, once humans have learned their lesson, they can well sit in the driving seat of modernization, most of all by making use of the opportunities provided by modern science and technology (see below).

Progress as societal and political transformation, however, does only come about in reaction to such technologiocal and economic modernization - thus the repeating claims that the nation state is "here to stay" (Conservative Party 1994a: 36). Again, to overcome the present geopolical structure of a world organized in nation states would end as the tower of Babel, as Thatcher remarked in her memoirs (Thatcher 1993: 726). Edmund Burke becomes an often quoted figure here, with comparisons being made between the French revolution as an "Utopian attempt tom overthrow a traditional order" which ended in "purgess, mass murder and war" and the "futuristic design" of a United States of Europe (Thatcher 1993: 753; Major 1994: 2). But at the same time, "evolutionary change and adaption" (Douglas-Home in Hansard 1971: 920) are necessary "if we are not to be left behind and drop out of the main stream of the world's life" (Macmillan in Hansard 1961: 1494). Among these necessary adaptions is the installation of governance in the economic sphere on a regional scale. In a world increasingly dominated by such regional groupings as envisaged by Douglas-Home at the Conservative Party's 1971 convention (Conservative Party 1971: 42), "sovereignty" could not be some eternal, unchangeable principle tied to a specific society. Instead, it had to be a flexible notion, pragmatically adjusting to current circumstances and being shared in order to build "effective partnerships" in specific sectors to meet "modern conditions" (Howe 1990: 693).


With the stress on technologically defined modernity comes a specific construction of knowledge that, instead of stressing tradition and experience, emphasizes the role of science. It is no surprise that in the early 1960s, when the first articulations constructed the LEC, science and technology had just become a general focus in British politics: A research council was founded in 1962, Harold Wilson urged for a new technological revolution in his "White Heat Speech" at the Labour Annual Convention in 1963, and in 1964 the British government added a new department responsible for technology (cf. Edgerton 1996: 53-59). These developments were preceded by the publication of discussion papers on science and technology by both major parties at the beginning of the decade (Conservative Political Centre 1962; Labour Party 1961). Following this discursive shift, European governance was conceptualized as the remedy to technological backwardedness. From the 1960s onwards, LEC articulations stressed the opportunities the Common Market provided for "industrial research". 15 During the Maastricht debate, the Conservative Party still underlined the importance of European Community funds for technological advancement (Conservative Party 1994a: 26-7). A reading of the EU as "pure" intergovernmental co-operation, in contrast, does hardly mention technological development.

The centrality of science to knowledge has a decisive influence on the parameters in which legitimacy of governance on the European scale can be articulated. First, it establishes the grounds on which one can demand that economic output is formulated not within the confines of a national space and tradition, but in terms of an abstract, universally valid theory. Second, it defines the means to achieve the welfare necessary to legitimize economic governance as technology, not politics. Governance is bound by the "most recent scientific knowledge" which serves as a signifier of the boundary between the economic and the political sphere. As long as such knowledge can be quoted to support the imposition of European-wide standards, they are regarded as a legitimate means of governing on the European level, whereas any further regulation is a political matter and thus to be dealt with within the member states (see Conservative Party 1994b: 39). Regulations concerning environmental protection, for instance, can only legitimately be set up on the European level if it can objectively be established that they deal with pollution that does indeed affect more than one member state (Conservative Party 1994a: 30-31). At the same time, the improvement of infrastructure and the achievement of a cutting edge in technology are seen as cornerstones of the European Union's economic output (cf., e.g., Conservative Party 1994a: 26-27).


Finally, there are two metanarratives constructing "nature" that run through the discursive nodal point of the LEC: one defining nature as a geographical restriction imposed upon humans, and a second one establishing a research".First, the "geography discourse" makes it possible to set the island of Britain apart from the European continent when it comes to political organization. This is a well-known argument recently used most often to reject the abandonment of border controls within the EU, one of the major concerns during the House of Commons debate about the Maastricht treaty (cf. Hansard 1992: 270-1, 288, 291 et al). As Margaret Thatcher put it most clearly in her memoirs: "As an island [...] it was quite natural that we should apply the necessary controls at our ports and airports rather than internally" (Thatcher 1993: 554). One might view this as an undisputable fact, but the issue is not as clear-cut as it may seem: As with other constructions of the metanarratives presented so far, the major question is whether and in what way the island "fact" is being brought into the argument. Surely, there is some water between Calais and Dover, but even these words put in this context are different from saying that Britain is an island that has not been conquered for nine hundred years which proves that the best way to defend an island is to do it yourself.

Accordingly, the geographic island story has not been shared throughout the debate, as the following two articulations reading the EU as a Federal State show: Back in 1971, former Secretary of State and member of Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC), George Brown summarized that "the little water that comes between us and the mainland" was "no longer a barrier" (Brown 1971: 209). And more than twenty years later, Giles Radice blamed his fellow politicians for their "offshore mentality" and declared the "island story" to be irrelevant in the age of the Eurotunnel (Radice 1992: 14, 151). Even a small number of articulations that construct the EU as LEC in other respects, discard the island factor as a relevant argument, mostly using the modernization discourse as a starting point. Geoffrey Howe, for instance, wrote in International Affairs  in 1990 that "the pace at which modern technology changes, not least the information revolution, are undermining the ancient dictates of geography and national borders" (Howe 1990a: 681).

Second, the "environment discourse" provides the ground on which it is possible to legitimately call for governance on the European level quoting the need to preserve nature and fight against pollution that knows no national (and often geographical) boundaries. This argument is most often to be found in articulations constructing a Federal State-type EU, and has become a cornerstone of the Liberal Democrats' European programme (see, for instance, Liberal Democrats 1994: 2-3, 5). In a similar way, Conservative election manifestos called for more European action on environmental problems (Conservative Party 1992: 4; Conservative Party 1994a: 30). However, they were more ambiguous in this respect, which comes as no surprise given the other metanarratives in the LEC's nodal point. As we have already seen, environmental regulations on the EU level have to take the form of minimum standards and be based on scientific evidence, among other things proving that they extend beyond national boundaries. Thus, in the overall picture even environmental regulation remains part of the political sphere, with (in contrast to Federal State readings) geography overriding environment. But the link to the environment discourse makes it possible, in certain circumstances, to legitimately formulate environmental policies on the European level.

This last discussion of the metanarratives constructing "nature" showed that none of the discourses shortly characterized above is decisive for the legitimation criteria of European governance alone and in itself. Instead, it is the interplay of the several metanarratives in a nodal point that is crucial to the definition of what reading of the EU is developed. In their interconnectedness, the metanarratives of the six discursive formations enable certain legitimation criteria to be formulated that would not find their way into an argument, or would not make sense if the respective discursive nodal point had a different composition. One the grounds developed above, however, articulations constructing the EU as LEC can call for economic regulations on the European level while reifying the competence of national governments in most other policy fields.

4. Transcending and Reifying: State and Liberal Economic Community

Two Criticisms of the Current State of the EU

In the current debate about the future of the European Union, two lines of criticism stand out in that they do not condemn supranational governance as such but point out more specific problems with the way governance is organized on the European level. The first one claims that there is a "democratic deficit", and most often serves as an argument for strengthening the European Parliament. 16 The second sees the European integration process as it developed from the Treaty of Rome as a sell-out of Europe's welfare states without providing for a different system of social security. 17 Although heading in somewhat different directions, both criticisms have in common that they question the legitimacy of the current set-up of European governance (one from the participation, the other from the output side) and that they do so from a basic diagnosis: that the EU is leaving behind what has been known as the modern state, and that the system it installs instead has severe deficiencies.

In line with the argument made above, I will treat these criticisms not as dealing with the factual present state of the EU but as specific readings of the EU in themselves, the second of which is of particular relevance here. In its division of market and state it shares many of the characteristic features of the LEC as outlined above, but with very different appraisals. Whereas guaranteeing the market is a legitimation requirement in LEC articulations, it is leaving the EU void of legitimation from the critics' perspective. This results in a gap between both kinds of articulations that would otherwise be prone to become major opponents in the debate: Whereas the critics see Europe as a "stateless market" (Kapteyn 1996), a sphere without regulation, it is clear from the LEC point of view (as we have seen above) that although the political sphere is separate from the economic realm, the latter nonetheless needs to be governed, and is not just an intergovernmentally organized Free Trade Area.

A critique of the LEC might thus take a quite different turn. Taking the preceding analysis of the LEC's discursive nodal point as the starting point, it concentrates on the underlying constructions enabling the LEC's legitimation crtiteria. In such a view, the problem with the LEC is not only that it abandons modern state practices relating to the provision of welfare. At the same time, it upholds and reifies Westphalia's most problematic practices. Whereas a more conventional criticism resulting from this analysis points towards the individualistic conception of society and the lack of solidarity it embodies, the following concentrates on the latter aspect of reifying the modern state, taking IGC readings of the EU as a point of comparison.

Overlapping Constructions

Of the six discursive formations that run through the nodal points of the various readings of the EU, three metanarratives are shared by both the LEC and the IGC reading: the construction of nature as geography; the construction of society as nation; and the construction of politics as interest-based. The first of these has just been noted: Although the environmental construction of nature is familiar to the LEC's nodal point, it is nonetheless dominated by the geography discourse. The island story is thus a widespread argument in both readings. 18 It makes it possible in both cases to resort to the geographic position to argue the case for isolationism and the rejection of supranational governance. Thereby, the geography discourse provides a case for British uniqueness, and more specifically negates the border-transcending quality of environmental concerns in principle, that is unless a certain set of criteria are met.

By establishing this uniqueness, it also feeds into the most obvious commonality between the LEC's and the IGC's nodal points: that they are both interwoven with a discourse constructing society as nation. However, whereas in the LEC, the European layer of governance does not work against the national one in a zero-sum game, but rather enables the continued existence of the nation state under increased economic pressures in an age of globalization, the IGC discourse does not allow for such a coexistence of various layers of governance. More important, though, for the present context is the general observation that one of the most criticized features of the modern state-system, its reliance of practices of inclusion and exclusion, is not fundamentally altered in the LEC reading, a point that will be taken up in the following subsection.

To the construction of "nation" is furthermore added the conception of a politics of interest. Since the nation plays such a prominent role in the overall conception of a LEC system of Europe, acting in the name of national interest remains a basic rationale for political action much in the same way as in the traditional states system. This is only constrained by the boundary drawn between the political and economic sphere, carrying with it the assumption that the market is in the general interest of every participant in European integration. This boundary therefore is crucial in assessing the degree to which the LEC has left the Westphalian model of the state behind: To what extent does it constrain the articulation of national interest? And secondly, to what extent does it establish an international order beyond the nation state?

Both of these questions hinge upon the status of this boundary. Within the LEC discourse, it is taken for granted - an objective condition that has to be defended not against differing interpretations but against misunderstandings of the world. From a constructivist point of view, it is, to the contrary, upheld by discursive practices continuously re-establishing the boundary. Thus, it is hardly surprising that various works dealing with "Thatcherism" have pointed to ambivalences connected with the boundary and have problematized the tensions between the individualism in economic and the nationalism in political matters (Leach 1987) and between the principles of a strong and a weak state in foreign policy (Wallace & Wallace 1990). 19 They indicate that - at least when it comes to "practical" politics - the boundary between the market and politics is hardly as clear-cut as it may seem. Three observations taken from LEC articulations substantiate this:

  1. The discussions about Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) provide an instance in which it was not possible from within the LEC discourse to decide whether the decision to participate in EMU or not was a political or an economic one. Accordingly, Geoffrey Rippon who headed the negotiations with the EC did not generally rule out EMU (Conservative Party 1970: 60), and Nicholas Ridley in 1972 found it still necessary, for economic reasons, "to seek a unified currency in the long run" (Conservative Party 1972: 106). The same Ridley later became a fervent opponent of EMU on the Keynesian grounds that "whoever controls the currency, controls the Government" (Ridley 1991: 149). The easiest solution from the LEC point of view would have been to use a European currency alongside national currencies and let "the market" decide which to use. This was finally proposed in the ill-fated "hard currency" plan of 1990 (Ridley 1991: 150; Hansard 1990a, b).

  2. Although the European market is set up as a separate sphere of governance, the underlying rationality of serving the national interest is not abandoned. It is not only still present in the political sphere, but also within the market itself, as the question of what benefits for Britain can be expected from membership has demonstrated.

  3. At the same time, the European market principle is in itself undermined by the interest politics discourse in that competitiveness as a central rationality within the market narrative is formulated in terms of competitiveness against other international actors. As Ernest Gellner has noted with respect to the advent of the nation as a principle of territorial organisation, although capitalism requires a larger sphere of communication, this very sphere at the same time has also to be defined (Gellner 1983: 63-64; see also Wæver 1997b: 9). Thus, it was already Macmillan's aim "to stand on an equal footing with the great power groupings of the world" (Macmillan 1962: 5), and the international competition between Europe and other economic powers (most particularly Japan and USA) has since then been a constant focus of LEC articulations.

Overlapping Structure

The discussion of the politics of interest metanarrative and its problematic relation to the politics/economics boundary leads to a more fundamental commonality between LEC and IGC: Both remain within a discursive structure operating along the lines of modern subjectivity. It was Richard Ashley who noted most lucidly in the case of "modern statecraft" that it is, after all, "a practice that works to constitute sovereign man" (Ashley 1989: 302). The sovereignty of "man" is the product of a general discursive structure that is not abandoned in the LEC discourse. Despite the conceptualization of overlapping systems of governance, modern subjectivity is not dissolved into a complex net of contexts and struggles. It does not give way to the conception of a "decentred subject" (Mouffe 1988: 35), a subject that does not represent (itself as) the origin of progress and action but recognizes its interdependence with other subjects - a conception of "radical interdependence" (Campbell 1994, 1996) that gives the "other" its appropriate place in one's identity and action and might thereby contribute to a more peaceful world.

Instead, modern subjectivity remains at the heart of the LEC's nodal point: It appears individualized in the European market; it is achieved through centering identity on the nation, much as in the old state system; it is only half-heartedly questioned in a modernization process that at least upholds the idea that "man" can act as a driving force (although it is admitted that "he" must do so); it is reified in the proposition that "man" can objectively know the world and thereby control it through technological development; and it is upheld in that "man" can control (or even rescue) nature if "he" understands it correctly, both as geography and environment.

Most of all, however, politics still operates in the name of the interest of a pregiven subject, although the latter is now no longer the nation state alone, but multiplied on three levels: the politics of individuals in a market; the politics of nation in the political sphere; and the politics of Europe on a global economic scale. It is the latter enframing of a subject that points most strongly towards the ambivalence of the market/politics boundary and the undermining of the market rationalities by the rationalities of interest politics. It rescues a subject from the danger of bursting into uncontrollable global scale. By way of that practice, what used to be one of the nation 302). Thstate's major contributions is now achieved on a new scale: The constitution of "free" individuals - now as entrepreneurs and consumers - by enframing a larger "whole". The difference to the practices of nation-based, "modern statecraft" is, however, that this enframing is now performed in a more subtle way, which at the same time makes it possible to uphold the old enframing of the nation.

In that sense, the LEC presents a sophistication of subjectivity rather than a journey towards a post-modern era. It is not the construction of the "first truly postmodern international political form" (Ruggie 1993: 140). It does not situate political action in a web of dependencies and responsibilities: interdependence still rules, "radical interdependence is not part of the game. And it is here that a critique resulting from the preceding analysis sets in. While the EU has achieved a peaceful area inside, most remarkably in terms of military security, having constructed the painful past as the dangerous "other" (Wæver 1996: 122; Wæver 1998a), 20 there are still other dangerous "others" against which, at least in the LEC discourse, Europe's economic security or the nation's societal security has to be defended. The "trade wars" within the triad of Japan, USA and the EU are the most obvious results of modern subjectivity remaining at the heart of the LEC's discursive nodal point. At the same time, the governance of an individualizing consumerism involves securitizing practices "inside", marginalizing alternative economic conceptualizations - which, after all, is the major task of governance on the European scale. This, one may add, is all the more deplorable in light of the alternative readings of European integration as being guided by a "Network horizon" that might well recognize "radical interdependence" (Diez 1997b) and which were and are available, from the Integral Federalists' visions in the early post-war years to the Green notion of a "Europe of the Regions" in the 1980s that can also be found in much of the articulations of the Welsh regionalist party Plaid Cymru.

5. The Power of the Economic Community Reading

Starting from an analysis of the Liberal Economic Community's discursive nodal point, I have shown that a critique of this reading of the EU is insufficient if it concentrates solely on the lack of a social dimension in the European market realm and thus on the abandonment of modern state practices. At the same time, practices of modern subjectivity that were at the heart of modern statecraft's most problematic practices of inclusion and exclusion remain a cornerstone of the LEC discourse which we have seen to dominate the British debate, but which at the same time is close to a familiar critique of the EU as a "stateless market". In this last section, two final reflections should be added: First, what makes the LEC such a powerful reading? And second, is there any hope for alternative readings in the future?

The Power of the LEC

To answer the first question, it is important to remember that history hardly ever proceeds in big ruptures, but presents us with a steady flow of continuities and discontinuities (Albert 1996: 1). From the discursive perspective developed above, the reason for this simultaneity of continuity and discontinuity is to be found in the principle of translatability that has to be met if a new concept is to become dominant.

Translatability can be defined as the degree of similarity between the nodal points of various discourses. In other words, we will expect the substitution of one concept by another concept if the accompanying rationalities result from metanarratives that are, in an overall perspective, rather close to each other. The reasoning behind this is pretty straightforward: A concept that relies on metanarratives that are fundamentally different from the ones the currently dominant concept builds upon cannot be made sense of. If a certain concept is to be successful, it has to avoid being discarted as outright and utter nonsense. This is, after all, why academic mainstream, for instance, does not switch over to challenging views completely, but most often comes up with attempts to "seize the middle ground", as the current debate over constructivism aptly illustrates (Adler 1997; see also Checkel 1997).

The similarity that determines translatability consists of two dimensions that are already familiar from the preceding section: content and structure. The argument made by Nikolas Rose and Peter Miller, for instance, that Thatcherism was successful in the 1980s because it combined neoliberal economic theory with traditional constructions of "nation, the family, the traditional greatness of Britain, the virtues of law and order, and the respect of tradition" (Rose & Miller 1992: 199) rests upon a content-based understanding of translatability. The argument developed above that the LEC and the modern state discourse rely - besides an overlap in the respective metanarrative's constructions - upon the same basic discursive structure illustrates the grounds on which a structure-based understanding of translatabilty might be based.

Thus, it is the very characteristics noted above in criticizing the LEC that also make it a powerful reading of the EU. It is able to accommodate pressures of economic liberalism in a discursive setting dominated by neoliberal economic theories and "globalization" discourses, while at the same time retaining a range of discursive characteristics (relating to content and structure) that were central to state-based readings of international politics. Other alternatives such as the Integral Federalists' "network horizon" do not have such a degree of transalatablity - after all, a complex web of oberlapping responsibilities does hardly meet the requirements of modern subjectivity.

Working within the Ambivalences

It follows that a promising strategy to foster such alternatives may consist of attempts to operate within the dominant discourse, making use of its ambivalences and thereby, in a sense, to "subvert" it. Even if the LEC discourse in itself does not constitute a significant departure from the Westphalian state, it nevertheless opens up a space in which such alternatives might be formulated. Take, for instance, the ambiguity of inside and outside: The LEC rests upon governance on two different levels. Although this is reconciled with the subjectivity structure, it makes obvious that "our" identity as "us", as individuals or any kind of group, is not confined to a single space. If that, however, is the case, the issues of responsibility and allegiance might be redefined involving not only territorial spaces, but interpersonal relations that transcend territorial boundaries.

This will not end practices of inside and outside (Wæver 1998b), nor will it necessarily abandon the structure of subjectivity. But as the ambivalences built into the boundary between an economic and political space have shown, each of these boundaries is contestable, and the multiplication of boundaries makes this more obvious. What one can hope for, then, is that this contestability leads to a recognition of the contextuality of our identities and practices, a recognition of "radical interdependence" that runs counter to modern subjectivity. If this could be achieved, we may indeed speak of a new international system transcending "Westphalia".

But are there any indications that such a development might actually take place? There are at least two readings of Europe that are present in the current debate and that move into the direction that is suggested here. One is the increased importance of transnational regions within the EU, but also across its borders, the most readily observable of which are the so-called "Euregios" (Diez 1997b: 301-2). It has been shown elsewhere that the increased importance of regions do, for instance, not affect the policy-making process to the extent that one might have expected (Kohler-Koch et al 1997). Furthermore, it is very likely that if they did they would still follow the interest politics metanarrative. But it is exactly because of this latter caveat that the encouragement of such regional initiatives fulfills the above criteria for a promising strategy: It works within the structures of subjectivity while at the same time introducing new ambiguities which take us a bit closer to a kind of integral-federalist "Network Europe".

The same can be said of a second reading of Europe that focuses on the development of "fragmented citizenship" (for the following, see Wiener 1996, 1997). With the introduction of a European citizienhip into the European Communiy Treaty at Maastricht, and the guarantee of voting rights for EU citizens in local elections, it become obvious that citizenship within the EU is no longer a concept solely attached to the nation state. Instead, citizenship consists of elements of identity, the ascription of certain rights to individuals, and the possibility of access to political and economic struture. According to the fragmented citizenship reading, these elements are now scattered over various places and layers of the EU. The result is ambivalent in terms of enhancing participatory rights, particularly of fromer non-residents. But the EU's fragmented cititzenship practice in itself opens up the possibility to free the granting of access and rights from the requirement of some pre-given national identity, thereby acknowledging the contingency of the individual's existence.

Another recent development seems to further increase the ambiguities and thereby create more space for alternative thinking. With the advent of the Blair government, official British policy towards European integration is no longer following the lines of the "pure" LEC, but adding a qualification to the market metanarrative and thus shifting the boundary between the political and the economic sphere somewhat. In line with a more fluid conceptualization of "society" which allows for a "European" society besides the nation where the LEC found only individuals, the economic sphere is, although still separated from "pure" politics, no longer constructed as a market being an infallible measure to achieve welfare. Instead, there are demands by a European society that have to be met by responding to social and environmental failures of the market (see e.g. Labour Party 1994: 3) plus giving more responsibilities to the European Parliament, alongside national parliaments (see Labour Party 1991: 115; 1994: 22). Thus, one might label this variation of the LEC "Social Democratic Economic Community" (SDEC).

There are a number of remarkable issues related to this shift which cannot adequately be dealt with here: The observation of Labour's European policy to be only a variation of the LEC makes the current Government policy look much more in line with what has been articulated during the election campaign than is usually assumed. Second, the SDEC seems to be much more translatable into a Federal State reading of the EU than the LEC was, which might explain why some have observed the appearance of two rather strange bedfellows, Britain and Germany (Economist 1997). But most important for the purpose of the present paper, the SDEC offers yet one more construction of the economy/politics boundary, and locates solidarity not only within the nation state, but at least also on the European level. If, as translatability would make seem most likely, the SDEC is to become the new dominant discourse within the EU as a whole, these two features might be used to develop new inroads into "Westphalia".

But in any case, as things are at present, "Westphalia" is a long way from being thrown into the dustbin of history. Its discursive practices are still with us, even in those articulations that, at a first glance, seem to transcend the modern state system, such as the Liberal Economic Community discourse. The long time period it took to establish "Westphalia" and its continuous reconceptualizations remind us, however, of the unfinished journey in European (and, more generally, international) political organization, which will eventually leave opportunities to further problematize the structure of subjectivity that has troubled the Westphalian world.


Note 1: The analysis is presented in more detail in my PhD thesis, submitted to the Department of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, October 1997 (Diez 1997a). The analysis is presented in more detail in my PhD thesis, submitted to the Department of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, October 1997 (Diez 1997a). It was partly developed in connection to a research project at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, comparing images of the EU in Britain, France, and Germany (see Jachtenfuchs, Diez & Jung 1998). This project was funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG), and I am indebted to the project director, Beate Kohler-Koch, and my former colleagues Markus Jachtenfuchs and Sabine Jung for the intensive and productive discussions during my time in Mannheim. Also at Mannheim, Stefan Steinbacher and Christian Hauck were of indispensible help in locating and getting British sources. Additional research was made possible through a Chevening Scholarship by the British Council that allowed me to complete my thesis at the Sussex European Institute, Brighton, where Helen Wallace, Mary Kaldor, Antje Wiener and Ulf Arvidsson provided further comments and a creative environment. Preliminary papers that resulted from this work were presented at the 1997 conferences of the International Studies Association, the European Community Studies Association and the University Association for Contemporary European Studies, and at workshops in Brighton, Mannheim, Salzburg, and at Goldsmiths' College, London, where I am particularly grateful to Nikolas Rose for his comments and encouragement. Last but not least, at COPRI, Barry Buzan, Lene Hansen, Pirjo Jukarainen, Jaap de Wilde, Michael Williams and Ole Wæver commented on earlier versions of this paper. Back.

Note 2: The notion of rationalities is developed from the work of Nikolas Rose and Peter Miller (Rose & Miller 1992), and of the German sociologist M. Rainer Lepsius who, although from a somewhat different epistemological as well as ontological position, worked with the concept of "Rationalitätskriterien" (see, e.g., Lepsius 1995). Back.

Note 3: For a more elaborate theoretical discussion of the LEC, see Jachtenfuchs 1997: 7-9. Back.

Note 4: On a methodological note, the following is based on an analysis of the British debate since 1951, with a focus on four particular period: the setting up of the European Communities 1951-1957; the first bid of entry 1960-1963; the accession to membership 1970-1974; and the Maastricht debate 1991-1995. Main criterion for this selection was that in periods of institutional change, the debate should be most lively. The documents analyzed included parliamentary debates, party pamphlets, party conference reports, election manifestos and other speeches by politicians. For a further reflection on methodology, see Jachtenfuchs, Diez & Jung 1998 and Diez 1997: 69-80. Back.

Note 5: For this difference between a Free Trade Area and the "official" British policy towards Europe, see Holt 1983: 45-16, and Greenwood 1996: 8 as well as George 1990: 27-28. Back.

Note 6: See Kenneth Baker's speech in the House of Commons, Hansard 1992: 287. Back.

Note 7: A similar point has been made by Neil MacCormick who has portrayed the ECJ and national courts as being part of separate, but interacting judicial systems with their own operational codes, but also establishing their own `borders' (MacCormick 1995). Back.

Note 8: It is not claimed that these are the only ones that one may reconstruct from the debate. However, they are the ones that I, from a specific perspective, have observed . The epistemological issues involved here cannot be adequately dealt with in this paper, but see Diez 1997a: ch. 2). Back.

Note 9: Accordingly, the foremost concern in such articulations is any action to meet the challenge of such forces, and to do so on the European scale seemed, especially in the 1970s, to be the most promising way (cf., e.g., Bow Group 1962: 9, 14-15; Chalfont 1975: 8; Banks 1971: 6). Back.

Note 10: On Diceyan and other readings of Parliamentary Sovereignty in the context of this debate, see Loveland 1996. Back.

Note 11: References to such a general European interest can already be found in Macmillan's 1961 speech, see Hansard 1961: 1491. Back.

Note 12: The quote is from Roy Jenkins' contribution to the 1961 debate, see Hansard 1961: 1583. Back.

Note 13: This formulation was used by Alec Douglas-Home at the Conservative Party's annual conference 1971 in Brighton (Conservative Party 1971: 43). Later, competitiveness became a central issue for the Major government (see Conservative Party 1994a: 9; Conservative Research Department 1995: 339). Back.

Note 14: This danger, again, has already been articulated by Douglas Home (see Conservative Party 1971: 42). For references during the Maastricht debate, see, e.g., Ridley 1991: 136, 157 or Conservative Research Department 1992a: 85. Back.

Note 15: This was the argument used, among many others, by Macmillan (Hansard 1961: 1489). Back.

Note 16: For an elaborate discussion of the "democratic deficit" criticism, see Kohler-Koch 1998. Back.

Note 17: This is sometimes, but not always, connected to the first criticism. Most popular has been the criticism by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (see, for instance, Bourdieu 1996). Political Science discussions include Kapteyn 1996 and Joerges 1996. A good example for the combination of both kinds of criticism is Newman 1996. Back.

Note 18: For its appearance in IGC articulations, see e.g. Derek Walker-Smith's 1961 speech (Hansard 1961: 1510) or Conservative Party 1971: 40. Back.

Note 19: For a more general discussion of the latter tension, see Buzan & Wæver 1997. Back.

Note 20: This is also a standard reference in the LEC discourse, see, for instance, British Government 1971: 7; Conservative Party 1994a: 9; Conservative Research Department 1995: 337). Back.