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Political Science 240

The Politics of European Integration

Fall 2010

Thursdays 10:05 am - 12:35 pm Perkins Library (Political Science Dept), Room 307 course website at http://courses.duke.edu

Prof. Tim Büthe Dept. of Political Science Perkins Library, Room 303 (919) 660-4365 (campus office); 493-0304 (home) buthe@duke.edu office hours: Thursdays, 12:35-1:30 pm


What today is known as the European Union was created in the 1950s, just like many other international organizations, through treaties among governments. Since then, the EU has gone from 6 to 27 member states and today stretches from Portugal to Cyprus and from Finland to Malta. National governments continue to play an important role, but the EU also has a directly elected parliament organized mostly along party lines rather than nationality, a quasi-constitutional court, and a common currency (the Euro). Moreover, when national governments meet in the "European Council" or "Council of Ministers," they take binding decisions on an increasing number of issues by majority vote, and they share executive powers with a supranational European institution, the European Commission. Today's EU is engaged in redistributive and regulatory politics, and it plays a major role in the world economy, not least thanks to its "competition policy" of antitrust enforcement, merger control, and restrictions on government subsidies. It also tries to act as one in matters of foreign policy, though military integration remains weak. How might we understand the politics and institutions of the European Union today and the historical process that led to it? Is this a super-state in the making, a new kind of transnational politics, or just traditional international politics behind the guise of an organization with lofty rhetoric?

In this seminar, we examine a range of theoretical perspectives that might help us explain the EU and the process of European integration. We will read the classics of integration theory, but also examine the EU comparatively as an instance of more common political phenomena, including state formation and domestic politics. Empirically, assigned readings focus on the history and current institutions of the EU in general and cover a few key policy areas. For the research papers, students should conduct empirical analyses of a particular aspect of the process of European integration or analyses of EU politics in a specific issue area.

PS 240 is research seminar for graduate students and advanced undergraduates (seniors and in e x c e p t i o n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s j u n i o r s ) w i t h s t r o n g p r e p a r a t i o n f o r a r e s e a r c h s e m i n a r a n d a w i l l i n g n e s s t o take on a substantial reading load. There are no formal prerequisites, but some prior knowledge of 20 century European political-economic history and previous coursework in comparative politics or international relations is recommended. For undergraduates, the course meets the CCI, R, and SS "modes of inquiry" requirements. t h


Course requirements are writing a research paper on a topic of your choosing (subject to my approval) and active participation in the seminar discussion, based on the assigned readings.

Participation: Active and thoughtful class participation is crucial and must be based on having

read (and thought about) the assigned chapters and articles. understanding as well as benefit from your classmates' insights.

It allows I might

you ask

to probe your own students to circulate

questions for discussion in advance and/or ask individual students or small groups to discussion. In assigning a participation grade, I heavily weigh the quantity of participation of contributions.

start off our by the quality

Research Paper: The research paper should be 30-35 pages in length for graduate students (12,000 words ±20%, including all notes and references); about 20 pages for undergraduates (7,000 words

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