European (Dis)Union: Revisiting Theory

    • Cover Venice
    • Presentation speakers
      • Mila Marinova Temnyalova, The George Washington University, Washington, USA


    I study whether the phenomenon of European disintegration can be explained within the framework of three theories of integration – neofunctionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, and multi-level governance. I revisit primary scholarship, analyze each theory’s basic assumptions, and examine the scholars’ original claims to test whether these theories have the capacity to explain the process of disintegration within the EU. In addition, I run each theory’s basic assumptions behind integration in reverse in order to propose what each theory may view as a disintegrative process and identify the causal mechanisms behind one such process. I hypothesize that while these theories were originally created to explain integration with single directionality, their frameworks may also be used to account for disintegration to various extent, depending on the theory being tested. This is largely due to the multi-dimensional nature of the EU, which is not only a political and economic union, but also a social and cultural one. Given the complexity of the EU, I consider integration and disintegration as processes that occur simultaneously in separate domains. With the 21st century challenges faced by the EU, I propose a more interdisciplinary approach to the study of integration and disintegration, including more nuanced definitions and assumptions.