N° 44, 2014/2 – Europe: Crisis, Crises, Crisology
Antoine Mégie, Antoine Vauchez – Introduction. Europe: Crisis, Crises, Crisology
This article explores different empirical sites where public debt techniques of quantification operate: entries in the accounts, scenarios of budgetary sustainability, and sovereign ratings. Embedded in the political game, these indicators have the potential to destabilize government policies, but also to perform sovereign debt crises. More than a passive mirror of reality, public debt measurement techniques shape the state’s value, that is, its price but also what it is worth on the accounting, financial and economic level. They also prioritize the state’s political objectives, for example sanctifying creditors’ repayment at real value, and contribute to setting the agenda around an alarming diagnosis of the “crisis” of public and social accounts.
Guillaume Sacriste – The Social Logic of the European Field of Power. The Dalli Case
This article explores the workings of the European field of power through the Dalli case. The alleged bribery of a European commissioner reveals how large European public relations firms operate as a go-between between private corporations and EU institutions. Drawing from the documentary evidence of this case, the paper argues that the European field of power is a strongly heteronomous “weak field” that is torn apart between, on the one hand, the national and the European and, on the other hand, the public and the private. I conclude that, in the current set-up, the private dominates the public, so that European institutions are very receptive to the interests of corporations.
Laurent Warlouzet – European Integration History: Beyond the Crisis
Widely used by historians of European integration, the notion of “crisis” has frequently been associated with “relaunching” the Community. This use betrays an implicit focus on the 6 founding members as well as a teleological temptation. As a result, the field of European integration history has been accused by its critics of being itself in crisis. Nowadays however, the methods and conceptual approaches of European integration history are being renewed through the “history of European cooperation.”
How have European Union scholars described and interpreted post-2008 economic difficulties? Based on a review of the four main English-language journals in this academic field (Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of European Integration et West European Politics), this article first analyses the quantity of articles produced and their producers. Secondly, it uncovers the theoretical, conceptual and normative assumptions that have guided these publications. In so doing, I revisit sociological hypotheses regarding European Studies and their relationship to academic disciplines, the scientific method and supporters of greater European integration. While validating and refining these hypotheses, I also highlight the weakness of political economy within contemporary political science, together with its virtual absence in European Union scholarship.
The recent debt crisis in the Eurozone has led to austerity reforms that present many common features. Going beyond the debate on their efficiency and political consequences, this article aims at understanding the specific discourse that supports these measures. The context of crisis is understood as exacerbating a dominant depoliticized discourse. The article explores three depoliticization strategies : embedding the discourse in technical terms, and referring to globalization and the EU as external constraints that justify the reforms. The analysis focuses on the Italian case, considered as paradigmatic and analyzed through 41 speeches made by Mario Monti during his mandate. The findings show a tendency to present the EU both as a (voluntary) constraint and as the right place to deal with the challenges of globalization. The technical dimension of the discourse is expressed through a clinical metaphor of public finance.
Areas of Research
Europe is experiencing a profound democratic malaise and contemporary democracies are facing an extreme challenge as more and more voices become critical of their institutions. Populist and radical parties are on the rise, reflecting the growing discontent of segments of the population towards traditional parties and elites (Albertazzi and McDonnell, 2007; Mair, 2011). At the same time,…