The welfare state (WS) and the EU are two precious legacies of the XX century. Their mutual relationship has been however fraught by unresolved tensions (and a potential “clash”), which the recent crisis seems to have markedly exacerbated. The project purpose is to develop a new theory on the genetic roots of such tensions, their temporal swings, the possible institutional solutions and their political pre-conditions.
The WS serves essential economic, social and political functions. The EU (EMU in particular) is in its turn essential for growth and jobs, but tends to undermine the WS’s very institutional foundations. When, how and why did the initial “elective affinity” between the two spheres start to weaken? Is “reconciliation” possible and how? The project will focus on the intellectual and political dynamics of both WS-building and EU-building. Drawing on Weber's method of historical analysis and Weber’s insights on the link between values, ideas, and politics, a new theoretical framework will be elaborated, aimed at reconnecting these three elements in the explanation of politico-institutional development, moving beyond contemporary neo-institutional approaches.
An extensive empirical work will be carried out, based on a multidisciplinary approach (political science, political philosophy, policy analysis, law and economics). Detailed case studies will reconstruct the logic of key past junctures, such as the crisis of the 1970s, the years between the Amsterdam and the Lisbon Treaties, the post-2008 crisis. Public attitudes on the EU’s social dimensions will be tapped through a survey and a “Blog Sentiment” analysis. Academic and expert networks will be involved as well as EU policy makers, in order to discuss the scientific and policy implications of the project's findings. Policy documentation, assessment and proposals will be produced through an “observatory” (EUvisions) for systematic data collection and analysis on (Social) EU-building “in action”.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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